Friday, January 16, 2015

The Indian history of Panni Afghans

A great number of the Pannis, a Pashtun tribe from Sibi (Baluchistan) [1] migrated at an early period to India , where from time to time , they have made themselves conspicuous under various dynasties and rulers. Farid-ud-Din Ahmad furnishes more information on the Pannis in "Risalat-ul-Ansab Afghaniah",wherein he writes;

"This is the account of Ghurghushtis. Of them, the Panni nation do not inhabit their own country , on account of some fault , they were expelled from their country upon which they moved to the mountains of Jaypoor (Jaipur), Ahir , Joodhpoor(Jodhpur); others, whom they call Dhondhar, settled here. At present, which is the year 1217 of the hijra, they inhabit a hundred large villages , each containing from 1,000 to 5,000 men. They mostly occupy themselves with traffic and many of them are rich : they carry merchandise to Deccan: others subsist on various employments . They all dwell in Dhondhar."

A big number of them migrated to India at the same time of Sultan Bahlol Lodhi , the first Afghan who acquired sovereignty in India. Soon after coming into power he appealed to his countrymen for a mass migration to strengthen his forces . This appeal , coupled with the fact that the lands at home having became too limited to sustain them and too barren to afford sustenance , induced the Pannis , like clans of other Afghan tribes , to seek their fortune in Hind.  The Pannis of Marwar, under the leadership of Mian Buthan Panni helped Haji Khan Panni when he was attacked and surrounded by Rana Odae Singh and defeated him.[2]

"Hindustan", says an Afghan writer, "was filled, so to say with Afghans of different tribes, but with exception of Barets (Barechs), chiefly of the tribes dwelling nearest to the Indus and of Southern Afghanistan, during the reign of Sultan Bahlul, the Lodi, the first of the Afghan or Patan rulers" [3]

The Pannis were provided for and located in Dhondhar in the Maiwat territory by Sultan Bahlol Lodhi . As late as the year 1802-3 AD, a large colony of Pannis is mentioned settled in the hills of Jaipur, Amber, Jodhpur and in the adjacent Dhondhar tract. Subsequently , during the Mughal rule, they followed the footprints of the Mianas, and moved southwards to seek their fortunes in the service of the independent sovereigns of Deccan.. [4]

In the time of Sultan Sher Shah Suri, the fortress of Rohtas in Bihar, one of the strongest places probably in India, and where Sher Shah kept his treasures, was held by garrison of 10,000 matchlock men or troops armed with fire-arms, and the command over them was entrusted to Ikhtiyar Khan Panni, one of his Amirs.[5]

Pannis in Bengal

Kalika Ranjan Qanungo in his book ''Sher Shah and his times" writes that Afghan settlers in Bengal in the time of Sher Shah were drawn from the tribes of Kakars, Panni, Bettani, Ustarni (an allied tribe of Sherani), Tarin, Mahmud Khail (kinsmen of Musakhail Panins and kakars). [6]

Sayeed Khan Panni received Atia Pargana (District) in Bengal from the Mughal Emperor Jahangir as a gift in the beginning of the 17th century. According to Archaeology Department officials and local historians,  Sayeed Khan Panni, had the mosque built on the bank of Louhaganj River by the best masons and artisans of the time (1609). [7]

Atia mosque built by Sayyid Khan Panni

Wajid Ali Khan Panni also known as 'Atiyar Chand', 'Chand Mian' and 'Bengal's second Muhsin', was descendant of Sayyid Khan Panni .He was an educationist, philanthropist, and social activist, who belonged to the national elite. He was a zamindar (landlord) who was credited with establishing a number of educational institutions, small hospitals and dispensaries , and with building roads and canals. Among educational institutions  is Karotia college in Tangail district. He participated in non-cooperation movement against British rule and was jailed for 15 months. His sons Khurram Khan Panni and Humayun Khan Panni were legislators and ambassadors.; [8][9]

Panni nobility under Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb

Afghan Panni Mansabdars who held or reached the rank of 1,000 zat and above , during the period, 1658 to 1707.

1- Ranmast Khan Panni, 5000 zats
2- Daud Khan Panni, 4000 zats, 4000 sawars
3- Sar Andaaz Khan panni, 2000 zats, 1000 sawars
4- Shabbir panni, 1500 zats, 900 sawars
5-  Malik Jewan Panni , titled Bakhtiar Khan, 1000 zats, 400 sawars  [10]

The Panni rulers of Kurnool

The Muslim rulers of Kurool, now a district of Andhra Pradesh, who were mansabdars in the service of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, were of the tribe of Panni, and the branch of Baruzai.  [11]

Panni Nawabs of Kurool,

Kurnool city
1- Khizr Khan Panni (.....1674)
2- Dawood Khan Panni (1674-1712)
3- Ali Khan Panni   (1712-1717)
4- Ibrahim Khan Panni (1717-1731)
5- Alif Khan Panni (1731-1744)
6- Bahadur Khan Panni or Himmat Bahadur (1744-1751)
7- Munawar Khan Panni (1751-1792)
8- Alif Khan (1792..)
9- Munawar Khan (....1816)
10- Ghulam Rasool Khan (1823-1838)   [12][13]

Notes and References
1. Pannis are Ghurghusti Pashtuns

2. Haroon Rashid, "History of the Pathans", VOL.III, p-92

3- H.G.Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan, p-640

4. Haroon Rashid, "History of the Pathans", VOL.III, p-92

5- H.G.Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan, p-640

6. Kalika Ranjan Qanungo, "Sher Shah and his times", p-320

7. Mikey Leung, Belinda Meggitt, Bangladesh, p-168

8. Historical Dictionary of Bangladesh By Syedur Rahman, page-229

9. The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: By Muhammad Mojlum Khan, page-321

10.  The Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb: M. Athar Ali

11- H.G.Raverty. Notes on Afghanistan and part of baluchistan, p-647

12- Select letters of Tippoo Sultan to various public functionaries: including ...