Friday, April 10, 2015

History of Dotani tribe

Dotanis are the Lodis from the Mati branch of Afghans, they are divided into the following sections.

1. Madu Khel
2. Ibrahim
3. Badin Khel
4. Sado Khel
5. Hasan Khel
6. Bana Khel
7. Usmanzai
8. Sanki zai
9. Nuso Khel

In 19th century, they were reported to be as one of the richest Powindah tribes ;  chiefly bringing silk "pashm," carpets , and "charas."  Dotanis used to dwell in the central part of Wana valley, they had a walled village , about third of this tribe cultivated the land around it in 19th century , and the rest followed mercantile pursuits and used to only return at certain times of the year.

Hayat-i-Afghani, published in 1867, has following remarks about Dotanis;
"The Dutani division (of Lodis) is very small one, numbering perhaps not more than 200 families in all, of whom some are Pawandah merchants , noted for their courage and enterprise, and the rest are settled in Wana. Wana is a plain, of a climate not so cold to prevent mosquitoes from being numerous, situated to the north of the Haripal Shirani above those mountains, whose sides are towards Gomal. About 80 families of Dutani are here settled in a fortified village in the midst of the valley , and cultivate the greater part of the land , and though the Wazirs come hither in summer and have even taken possession of the land , they can not drive out these Dotanis. The Suleiman Khel (Ghilzais) have of late shown some indications of a desire to lay hands on this tract. The Kakar shepherds some times come with their flocks to the southern and western parts , and are not interfered with. In habits and dress the sedentary Dutanis are like the neighboring Wazirs.

History in India 

The Dotanis made some considerable figure in India during the time of the Afghan rulers. Hasan Khan Dotani was the governor of Rapri in the times of Sikander Shah Lodi. Sikander Khan Dotani was a Mughal Mansabdar in the times of Emperor Shah Jahan who supported the rebellion of Khan-e-Jahan Lodi,  the latter gave him charge of Burhanpur when he marched towards Mandu. The sons of Shahbaz Khan Dotani, who were brothers-in-law of Miyan Asalat Khan, son of Khan Jahan.

Raverty in 1895 reports that numbers of Dotanis are to be found in India. At the beginning of 19th century, many were to be found in Deccan, and southern India, in the Balari, Karrapah, and adjoining districts of Madras presidency.

Conflict with Wazirs in 19th century

It is to be noted that for peace or war the Dotani and Sulaiman Khel were one. Several hundreds of Sulaiman Khel were killed fighting the battles of the Dotanis against the Ahmadzai Wazirs over the Wana lands amongst them the father of Muhammad Akram, one of the leading Sulaiman Khel maliks of these parts. As late as October 1894 the allied army of the Powindahs including 1,800 Dotanis and 19,000 Sulaiman Khel, collected at Warshak with the intention of ravaging Wana and then attacking the Mahsuds.

In bygone times the Wana valley was in possession of the Dotanis. About 1840 the Ahmadzai Wazirs, who were a nomad tribe moved from their settlements in Margha and Birmal to Wana and obtained a footing in the valley, partly by force and partly by occupying land in the capacity of mortgages. In the  course of time almost the whole valley had come into their hands. Some 30 years later,  the Dotanis, with the aid of the Sulaiman Khel, who themselves claimed grazing rights in Wana, made a desperate  attempt to recover possession of the valley. A fierce  fight ensued, in which the invaders were worsted and lost heavily. The scene of the fights , old Dotani Kot became a ruin  After this there was a chronic dispute between the Ahmadzai Wazirs on the one hand and the Dotanis and Sulaiman Khel on the other, about the possession of landed and grazing rights in Wana. In the autumn of 1893 a dispute arose between the Ahmadzais and Dotanis respecting the right  to a certain "karez" known as Mir Khan. In the fight which ensued, the Ahmadzais killed a number of Dotanis and demolished their fortified village (new Dotani Kot).

 In consequence of this ,the Dotanis and Sulaiman Khel determined to make a joint attack on the Ahmadzais of Wana on their way back to Khorasan. On receiving information of this the Civil authorities in Dera Ismail Khan, summoned a jirga of Sulaiman Khel, Dotani and Ahmadzai Maliks, with a view to preventing reprisals and bringing about if possible an amicable arrangement between hostile tribes.  The Ahmadzais ultimately agreed to pay blood money or compensation for the Dotanis they had killed and to rebuild the village they had demolished. On receiving a satisfactory assurance of this the Dotanis and Sulaiman Khel promised to refrain from further hostilities .A band of eighty Waziris attacked Dotani shepherds near Ghoza Manda on the 3rd December 1891: they carried off about fifteen hundred sheep, killed one and wounded five Dotanis. In the summer of 1894,  the Dotanis were again attacked by the Ahmadzais at Tatai on the Wana Toi, where they had halted on their return to their summer quarters . In this raid the Dotanis lost seven men killed and had 120 cows looted  as well . The Dotanis thereupon determined to exact revenge for  this unprovoked attack, and accordingly approached their  allies , the Sulaiman Khel, with a view to  their taking joint action against  the Wazirs during the ensuing cold weather.

The Sulaiman Khel not only agreed to support them, but determined to get up a coalition of all the Powindah tribes for the purpose. The torah collected in October, as stated above, but the British Commissioner with the Afghan-Wazir boundary delimitation party warned the lashkar against committing hostilities in Wana, which was then under British protection and was shortly to be occupied by British troops.


References: 

1- Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan', Volume 6, p-163
2- "The Waziri Afghans and their country" , by H.G.Raverty
3- Afghanistan and its inhabitants, p-193