Friday, 27 February 2015

Khajjak tribe


According to Makhzan-i-Afghani of Naimatullah Haravi [composed in 1612 A.D], Khajak was one of the 18 sons of Panni, son of Dani, son of Ghurghusht. The Khajjaks and some of the Panni clans have been invariably mistaken by the British writers for the Kakars. Charles Masson turns the Khajjaks into a Baloch tribe.

The Khajaks speak Pashto which has a mixture of Sindi words while other Panni clans of Sibi district speak Sindi in their homes.

According to the revenue statement of Khajjak elders, they used to live in Mekhtar area beyond Tal-Chotiali plain in the present-day Loralai district. About 1700 A.D, six of their leaders came to Siwi along with their flocks. Once, when some Baloch people forcibly took away a herd of camels of the then ruler of Siwi (Sibi) , the Khajjaks battled with the Baloch robbers and, defeating them , restored the herd of stolen camels to the rulers of Siwi. The latter, in recognition of services rendered, gave Khajjaks lands and water in Siwi area. On the given land they built themselves dwellings, which afterwards became known as the villages of Khajjaks , situated about eight miles northeast of Sibi. Khajjaks, being late-comers, did not participate in the 17th century Pannai-Brahvi or Afghan-Baloch battles fought during the 17th century and times of the renowned hero Mirza Khan Barozai and his adversary Mir Ahmad Khan Brahvi, the then Khan of Kalat.

According to manuscript of Mullah Muhammad Shadozai (compiled in 1766 A.D), the Khajjaks were given eight 'paos' of water in Sibi area by Ahmad Shah Abdali since they had not received any share in the conquered land as they had not taken part in the battle against Arghuns. During the reign of Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Khajjaks exploited the Barozai internal disunity and flouted the writ of the Barozai chiefs. They pestered the Barozai, and created hurdles in the administration of the Sibi territory. In 1762 A.D, Muhammad Khan Barozai proceeded to Kandahar and complained to Ahmad Shah Abdali of the maltreatment meted by the Khajjaks to his elder brother Ismail Khan, and latter's son Isa Khan Barozai. He also complained about the uncooperative attitude of the Khajjaks because of which the administration suffered. On return from Kandahar he demanded his share of revenue from the Khajjaks who slew him.

It is during Taimoor Shah's period that Khajjaks  gained a popular saying in the local populace that "though the Kakars may conquer in the hills, the Khajjak lord it in the plains"They started harassing and destroying their own Afghan kinsmen. To such a degree of power had the Khajjsk risen, and so great was their influence, that in 1813 when Ahmad Yar Khan , Sarfraz Khan and Maizainub, fled from the protection of Mahmud Khan , ruler of Kalat, they took refuge with the Khajjak chief, Mir Khan. The Khan of Kalat followed the fugitives with an army and sat down before the Khajjak capital, but would not risk an assault, and eventually came to an amicable agreement through Mir Khan's good offices. Later in Mehrab Khan's times, Khajjaks succored refugees from Kalat, and were similarly threatened by an investing army , which at last retired without coming to blows. Mir Khan Khajjak was a hard-headed person. He began other Panni clans as they had done with the Barozai. In 1812-13 he looted and destroyed the village of the Maraghzanis (Pannis) who had to seek refuge with the Dehpal Pannis. In this raid the Khajjak Mir Khan Khajjak was slain by a matchlock ball. In 1817, the Khajjaks further consolidated their supremacy in the region by defeating the Brahuis.

Soon after the above-mentioned showdown with the Brahuis, the Khajjaks cut off the Barozai water supply from the Nari river to their own use. Habib Khan Barozai being unable to control Khajjaks, was obliged to abandon Sibi. The Kandahar's sardars sent the notorious Haji Khan Kakar with an army to demand the arrears due since the dismemberment of the Durrani monarchs. Khajjks bribed Haji Khan Kakar to destroy their enemy Habib Khan Barozai who was then living in the village of Kurk, 4 miles from Sibi. Haji Khan Kakar accordingly seized him and gave him over to the Khajjaks, who put him to death. His brother Sadullah Khan Barozai fled with his three nephews (Bakhtiar Khan, Shakur Khan and Misri Khan) to Kandahar but their complaints were for long unattended to. At length Sadullah Khan was ordered to return to Siwi and Kachhi and collect the revenue as his forefathers had done. The Khajjaks persuaded him that Haji Khan alone had been the cause of his brother's death, and for some years they gave him a small portion of the tribute, but having quarreled with him for demanding the whole amount, Khajjks slew him. In the ' Battle of Jangjah ' near the Nari gorge, Khajjaks violated a Quranic oath which they had undertaken in the Safi mosque near the shrine of Akhund sahib north of Kurak village, and attacked the Barozai who were busy in clearing the irrigation channel. In the battle twenty-one Barozais were killed. The nephews of the slain Sadullah Khan Barozai flew to Lehri , and sought the protection of the Domki Balochs where they remained for years ; but reduced to extreme poverty, were at last compelled to throw themselves on the mercy of their enemies for subsistence, and the Khajjaks saw with pride the descendants of the Barozais, once the governors of Siwi and Kachhi, and their masters, now begging at their gates. For a year or two they were permitted to reside in the Siwi town , but then sent to Kurk. Later Kohandil Khan the Kandahari sardar, in compensation for murder of their father , granted them one 'pao' of water and 40 kharwas (unit of weight) of grain from the government revenue in 1826.

The in-fight helped the Balochs to encroach upon Panni lands and later drove them out of some of the important tracts. There is no evidence to show that Khajjaks ever defended other Panni clans from the raids and forays of their Baloch neighbors. They helped the Marri Balochs in double squeeze of the Panni clans in Sibi tract. The elders of the area refer to this period of Sibi as 'Highhandedness of Marris and Khajjaks'. Shakur Khan Barozai asked all Afghans of Sibi tract to shift to Kurak to meet the threat from the Marris and Khajjaks. In response besides the Barozai , the Kuraks and Safis who were already there, the Mizris, Maraghzanis, Dehpals and Lunis all shifted to Kurak village. However it was an exercise in futility as they lacked central leadership that could lead them in action.

In 1839, Misri Khan Barozai tendered his services to Shah Shuja and was taken into British service with a number of his followers, who were styled incorrectly the "Baloch Levy." In March 1841, Mr. Ross Bell, the Political Agent in Upper Sind, deputed one of his assistants with a detachment of troops under the command of Colonel Wilson of the Bombay Cavalry to collect the arrears of revenue due from the Khajjaks of Sibi on behalf of Shah Shuja. The detachment was accompanied by Misri Khan, and on the Khajjaks refusing to comply with the demands, attacked the town, but were repulsed with heavy loss, losing fifty- three men killed and wounded and four officers including Colonel Wilson. Reinforcements from Bhag were sent up under General Brooks, but before they could arrive the Khajjaks abandoned their town, the defenses of which were then demolished. The Khajjaks were permitted to return during the following year and the town was rebuilt. In 1840, Hart states that the Khajjaks purported to number from 700 to 1000 fighting men.

The Barozais, weakened by conflict with Khajjaks, lost Badra and Kwat-Mandahi valleys to Marri Balochs. Said Khan, chief of Badra, in 1842, fell fighting against the Marri invaders while defending the Badra and Kwat Mandahi valleys.

The Khajjaks considered Misri Khan Barozai responsible for their defeat at the hands of British. In 1855 Fateh Khan led the Khajjaks in a raid on the Barozai village of Kurak to avenge Misri Khan's role in bringing the British force in 1841 and causing destruction of their village. The Khajjak lashkar took up position three miles west of village Kurak. Over-confident, Fateh Khan Khajjak detached a band of his men to hide in a dry nullah running east of Kurak village with a view to ambush the fleeing Barozai, while his main force, supported by cavalry, attacked the Barozai from the west. After a fierce battle, the Khajjaks who could not get any help from from a large part of their force that was lying in wait for an ambush far away from the battlefield, were defeated. The leaders of both sides were killed in the battle.

Sardar Muhammad Khan, the Khajjak chief, refused to pay land revenue to the agents of Amir Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan. They (Durranis) drove off the cattle belonging to the clan of Khajjak. The latter gave them a chase, caught up with them near the Bolan village of Kirta and forcibly retrieved their cattle.  In 1872, the Khajjaks openly refused to accept the writ of Amir Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan who didnt give them any protection against the Marris. They stopped payment of the land revenue. The Amir sent a force that took the Sardar, along with Sardar Azad Khan Khajjak, as a hostage to Kandahar for payment of revenue due from the Khajjaks.









Sources:

1. A.Aziz Luni, "Afghans of the frontier passes", 2 Volumes
2. Haroon Rashid, "History of the Pathans" , Vol-III
3. Baluchistan District Gazetteer Series: Sibi district, compiled by Major.A. McConaghey
4.  MacGREGOR, "North-West Frontier Province", Vol-II




No comments:

Post a Comment