Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jaji or Zazi tribe ځاځی

The Jajis are believed to be the descendants of  Khogianaey son of Kodaey. They are settled in the valley of the Aryob, in the Paiwar Kotal area of Paktiya. In the early 19th century , they could muster about 5,000 armed men. They are divided into numerous smaller sections; there are 8 divisions, called "wands," as fallows:--

1, Lehwani;
2, Ada Khel ( tribe of the chief ) ;
3, Petla
4, Ahmad Khel, who combine with the Bayan Khel;
5, Ali Khel;
6, Shamu Khel;
7, Hussain Khel; and
8. Karia Ahmad Khel,

Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan Volume-6 (pp-280-283) gives following description of Jajis ;

"It is said that the Jajis and Turis are descended from a common ancestor, and judging from the similarity between the two tribes, Donald thinks this is not at all unlikely; but while the Jajis are of the Sunni sect, the Turis hold Shiah tenets. At the same time it is a very usual thing in Kurram and its neighborhood to find two brothers , one of whom is a Sunni and the other a Shiah. The Jajis make excellent laborers, and all the buildings in the Kurram station of Para Chinar have been made by them. As a tribe they are greatly weakened by internal feuds , and most of their villages are divided accordingly into numerous separate parts to suit these factions, while rival towers shoot up side by side in every direction.

The houses of the jajis are of peculiar construction, which is indicative of the life of contention they lead. Each house is  detached tenement built in a square form. In the center of one side is the entrance by a large door of stout pine plants, which are often closely studded with broad mushroom-headed nails. The floor, which occupies the whole of the interior space , is sunk a little below the level of  the ground outside. The walls are built of unhewn stones , cemented together by a plaster of clay and chopped straw and rise 2 or 3 feet above the level of  the flat roof, which during fine weather is there sort of the family, who here bask in the sun and perform their  toilette in its genial warmth.

The roof communicates with the  interior of the house by a trap-door and ladder. The latter is formed of a fir pole notched at intervals and fixed in a slanting position between the trap-door and the floor. The interior of the house is an open space that shelters the entire family, their cattle , poultry, etc., and contains also stores of wood, grain, and fodder; for the Jajis are liable to frequent blockades, not only by their  enemies, but by the snow also which sometimes, it is said, covers the ground to a great depth. The walls all round are pierced with a series of apertures, in two or three rows, near the upper part. These serve the three fold purpose of ventilators, chimneys, and loop-holes for shooting through . In some of the houses galleries run round the walls inside, and are used for the shelter of the family, and storing fodder, wood, grain, etc., whilst the space on the ground floor is allotted to the cattle, goats, mules, etc. The Jajis are a very prolific race, if one may judge from the number of children to be seen about every village but they have barely culturable land sufficient to produce subsistence for them; wheat, barley, rice and peas are produced from the irrigated lands, but their chief stock is goat. Timber, fuel, and fodder are abundant, and some provisions are exported to Kabul, to which they also send some planks of pine about 6 or 7 feet long. Some honey also is exported , especially from the village of Rakian. The Jajis wear the lungi or turban, and Bellew, who saw them in their  own homes, says they are mostly dressed in loose shirts and trousers of cotton dyed blue, and over one shoulder they carry a matchlock with a forked rest , whilst from the depends  against the  back a large circular shield of camel's or buffalo's hide around their waist are suspended by leather straps three or four  Powder-flasks of uncured sheep skin, together with a host of other Paraphernalia belonging to the matchlock, such as tinder box, flint and steel, hammer, picker. Those not armed with the rifle carry an Afghan knife (chura). They wear their hair long. Their skins are tinged a deep brown colour from constant exposure to the sooty smoke of thee pine-wood they use as fuel aided by their aversion to the use of cold water. These people, as their dress and dwellings indicate, are very poor, and depend for support  entirely on the Produce of their cattle and crops. They breed, however, numbers of mules, which are much esteemed and greatly in demand at Kabul. The Jajis have, or had, a blood feud with the Turis. When Lumsden's mission passed through their  country it was with the greatest difficultly they were prevented from attacking it. Bellew's description of the scene  of excitement which occurred on this occasion is as follows :

"Of their  proximity, indeed, there was no doubt, for we hear the sounds of their drums ('nagara') and pipes ('surnai'). The sound of the latter very much resembled that of the Scotch bagpipe, These sounds rolled along  from valley to valley, and seemed to acquire fresh impetus from each projecting spur and opposing hill, whilst the loud and shrilly yells , into which the Jajis burst every now and then , were echoed along in the same way, and told us of the excited state of the tribes . Before our party, headed by the officers of the mission, had fairly emerged from the forests bordering the  summit of the hill, our road was obstructed by a party of some fifty or more Jajis , who with 'Chura' (Afghan knife) in hand, were capering about and gesticulating in a wild fashion to the exciting notes of a war-song chanted by the leaders of the band, and in the chorus of which the whole party joined with a sonorous Woh-ho,  Aa -ha' repeated several times a deep voice  , and followed by a peculiar shrill yell, during which the actors leapt through about like mad men over the intervening rocks , till they approached our advancing party to within 8 or 10 yards , and equally wonderful was the agility with which the Jajis bounded about from rock to rock up the faces of the hill with the ease and nimbleness of monkeys. A few hundred yards lower down the hill we were met by a similar though larger party of Jajis, among whom were several armed with the long Afghan rifle , or 'jezail.'


" We were disturbed during the whole day untill nightfall by these villainous Jajis who, with war-songs and dances, accompanied by a constant beating of drums, worked themselves up to a pitch of excitement barely restrianable, their scattered parties on the hill tops around following each other in succession of defiant shouts and yells , and such like exhibition of hostility

"Their war-dance was a most exciting performance, and as far as I could make out from watching the proceedings of a crowd occupying an eminence, some 300 yards off, was conducted somewhat in this fashion; some dozen or fifteen men of their  number, after divesting themselves of  their rifles , shields etc., uncovered their  heads, and tied the 'pagri,' or turban round the waist; each man then unsheathed his ' chura, ' and took his place with his fellow, the whole together forming a circle. They then commenced chanting a song , flourishing their knives overhead  , and stamping on the ground to its notes , and then gradually revolving, the whole body moving round together and maintaining the circle in which they first Stood up. Whilst this was going on, two of the party stepped into the center of the ring and went through a mimic fight, or a series of jumps, pirouettes, and other movements of alike nature, which appeared to be regulated in their rapidity by the measure of the music,for towards the close of the performance the singing ceased, and the whole party appeared twirling and twisting about in a confused  mass, amidst the flashings of their drawn knives, their movements being timed to the rapid roll of their drums . It was wonderful they didnt wound each other in these intricate and rapid evolutions with unsheathed knives. On the conclusion of the dancer the whole party set up a shrill  and prolonged  yell  that reverberated over the hills  , and was caught up by those on the neighbouring heights and thus prolonged for some minutes. (The Turis perform a similar dance--Donald.)

"Whilst all this was going on upon the heights around our camp, several parties of armed Jajis ranged in columns, three Or four abreast and eight or nine deep, followed each other in succession round and round the skirts or our camp, all the time chanting an impressive and passionate war-song in a very peculiar sonorous tone that seemed to be affected by the acoustic influences of the locality , which, as already mentioned, was a deep basin enclosed for the most part by bare and rocky eminences and hills. This effect was most marked in the chorus 'Woh-ho, Ah-ha,' the slowly repeated syllables of which were echoed back in a continuous and confused reverberation of rumbling noise. At the conclusion of the war-song, they all leapt simultaneously into the air, and on again alighting on terra firma, the whole party together took a leap, or skip , forwards, at the time yelling and screaming like fiends. The excited appearance of these men and the wild antics they performed are hardly credible."

The Jaji country can be entered from the Logar by the Shutur Gardan pass and perhaps others ; from Zurmat through the Mangal country; from Kabul by the Gharigi road; from the  Jalalabad district by a
road leading from Marki Khel, south of Gandamak; and from Kurram either by the Paiwar Kotal or the bed of the Kurram and Chamkani. (Bellew, Donald, I.B.C.)