Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yousafzai tribe (early history)

The ancient home of Yousafzais and other Khashis was in 'Margha-ghora' located in Southern Afghanistan near the banks of Arghastan river. They were defeated and expelled from there by the Tarins. Khashis settled for some time on the lands of their cousins Ghoria Khels then migrated southwards and settled in Garah-Naushki. The numbers of Yusufzai and Mandar branches of Khashi were still small, and about the beginning of 14th century A.D they were expelled from Garah and Naushki and migrated north ward towards Kabul. They were now joined by two other branches of sister-tribes viz. the Tarklani and Gigyani, Utman Khel (Karrani) and by the Muhammadzai-Zamand. They settled in around Kabul.

Settled in their new seats , Yusufzais and their allies rendered valuable service to Mirza Ulugh Beg , son of Abu Said. Abu Said was the most powerful of the Timurid princes in the middle of the fifteenth century, and Babur's grandfather. He is thus the the direct ancestor of the Mughal house of Dehli. In 1469 he conferred on his son, Ulugh Beg, the territories which Timur Lang had conquered towards Indus, namely Kabul, Ghazni, and their dependencies (including most of the present day Khyber-Pukhtoon Khwa). These, with the capital at Kabul, Ulugh Beg was able to hold until his death in 1501, and, as we know, three years later his nephew Babur succeeded in mastering this heritage.

It was to Ulugh Beg that the Khashi clans paid their addresses in Kabul. No dates are given by the historians and in the tribal chronicle, but the bracket covers the years 1469-1501, during which Ulugh Beg II was ruler of the city, and we may assign 1470 as the approximate year, especially as the story goes that the Mandanrs and Yusufzais were largely instrumental in raising him to the throne, and supporting him in sovereignty over a difficult country. On first accession Ulugh Beg treated these tribes with marked distinction; he was indeed dependent on their assistance for the support of his throne, but the turbulent independence of the Mandanrs and Yusufzais was not suited to an intimate connection with a sovereign, and, their insolence increasing with their prosperity, they insulted Ulugh Beg's authority, plundered his villages, and even filled his capital with tumult and confusion. Ulugh Beg, whose power was now strengthened by the accession of many Chaghatai Turks who flocked to his standard, resolved to rid himself of these turbulent allies; he began by fomenting dissensions between the Mandanrs plus Yusufzais and their less powerful Khakhay cousins, the Gigyanis, and attacked them at the head of that tribe and his own army. The battle is known as Ghwarah Marghah (oily lawn), aptly describing the locality and the bloodshed. In this battle Ulugh Beg suffered defeat, and was constrained to conclude an insidious peace, signalized by a banquet to which he invited all the Maliks of the Mandanr and Yusufzai, to a number of seven hundred.

From that famous banquet none but six came out alive; the rest were massacred to a man. After the holocaust, Ulugh Beg commanded that the bodies be taken outside the city and buried. This was done at a place three arrow-flights from Kabul to the north-east under the hill of Siah Sang. The burial ground still bears the name of the Shahidan Martyrs, and it is said that there also may be seen the tomb of Shaikh Usman (Malazai branch of the Yusufzai (Dir)), to whose resting-place until recently pilgrimages were made. Chief among the slain was Malik Sulaiman, a Mandanr, the leading Malik of both the Mandanr and Yusufzai tribes and father of Malik Shah Mansur who later gave his daughter (Bibi Mubarika) in marriage to Babur. Amongst the other most prominent maliks who were slain was Malik Mir Ahmad Khan (Mandanr) father of Malik Yara Khan. Malik Ahmad (Mandanr), Suleiman's nephew, then a young man and later both the Mandanr and Yusufzai leader, was one of the fortunate six. The date of this massacre is not given in the sources, but having regard to the reign of Ulugh Beg II in Kabul, we may set it between 1480 and 1490, about the time of Babur's birth.

All other left behind were ordered to leave Kabul . Mirza's soldiers looted and plundered Yousafzai villages and they were deprived of all their necessities and belongings.

Paralyzed by this sudden and crushing blow, the Yusufzais and other Khashi tribes were under circumstances of sever suffering, driven forth from Kabul. The Tarklnai clan now separated itself and went off to Laghman , the remainder settled in Nangarhar. Here arose a quarrel between the Muhammadzai and Yusufzai , in which the latter were victorious.

Soon after this would seem to have occurred the important migration of the Yousafzai to Peshawer. Yusufzais under the able leadership of Malik Ahmed , came to Peshawer via Khyber pass in early 16th century AD. It is said that the whole Yusufzai tribe accommodated under the shadow of a single tree, at the very mouth of Khyber pass.

At that time , Peshawer valley was inhabited by a tribe called Dilazak. The Yousafzia, having passed through Khyber pass and reached the western extremity of Peshawer valley, halted at Sufed Sang, and sent to dilzak a deputation , begging for an assignment of land for the support of the tribe . This was generously granted and the Yusufzai entered peacefully upon their new lands. The new comers gradually spread to the Doaba and felling themselves strong enough, held the whole of Hashtnagar from another tribe, Shalmani,  by means of force . But Yusufzais were not content with Hastnagar and laid hands on parts of Bajaur , which had, up to then, belonged to the Dilazaks.

Yusufzais settled in Doaba and Hastnagar while their kinsmen in Kabul followed them to the land in Peshawar. Settling in Doaba and Hastnagar , Yousafzais again turned  to their earlier ways of life. They looted and plundered the villages of Dalazaks. A fierce battle took place between Yousafzais and Dalazaks and combined forces of the former under Malik Ahmed utterly defeated the old occupants i.e Dalazaks in Peshawer valley and drove them across the east to the  Indus .

Stimulated by this surprising success, they now turned their thoughts to yet further conquest and under the direction of Malik Ahmad Khan , who was aided by the wise counsel of Shiekh Mali , marched against Swat. The Swatis fiercely contested the progress of the immigrant Yousazfais and it was not till the end of 12 years that Yousafzais made themselves masters of whole land and Sultan Awais, unable to maintain the struggle, fled from the country. These movements of Afghan tribes were well known to Babur badsheh as well to other writers. Babur has mentioned in his autobiography that "although Bajaur, Swat, Peshawer and Hastnagar were originally dependencies of Kabul, at the present time , some of these territories have been desolated by tribes of Afghans."

In 1519 Babur marched from Kabul upon Bajaur , which he reduced to subjugation and committed to the charge of Khwaja Klan. After several engagements with Yusufzais, who though badly worsted were yet always able to elude pursuit by taking to the inaccessible mountains. Babur granted them terms , and marched into Swat , where both Malik Shah Mansur and Sultan Awais paid him homage. After marrying the daughter of Shah Mansur  , Babur marched by way of Lundkhwar and Shahbaz Garhi to Hastnagar , laying waste the country. far and wide with fire and sword.

After this fearful experience , the Yusufzais enjoyed a period of quietness, during which the territories they had gained , were divided among them by revered Shaikh Mali, whose name is still famous through out the land. According to Shaikh Mali distribution of land, Hastnagar was allotted to Muhammadzai, another Pashtun tribe, who had some down from Kabul to help against the Dilazaks For the same reason Doaba and a part of Bajaur were made over to the Gigyanis. The rest of the lands were , by the Shiakh Mali rateably distributed according to the number of heads , among the Yusufzais and Mandar.

No doubt the Yusufzai tribe had played fairly significant in the Medieval history of India. Babur had to befriend them by entering into matrimonial alliance because for the certain reasons. Firstly Yusufzai tribe was in a position to disturb the main routes from Kabul and Central Asia to India. Secondly Mughals were vitally concerned with the people living in North-Western frontier and to them , in a much greater degree , the frontier problem was the pivot of their political existence. The conquest of India had been achieved from a trans-frontier kingdom and throughout the existence of their empire, they (Mughals) recruited their soldiers from these regions.