Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Aimal Khan, an Afridi or a Mahmand?

According to Dost Muhammad Kamil , Aimal Khan was a Mahmand on the basis of a couplet of Khushal Khattak. According to him Aimal Khan' s descendents are called Badshah Khels, who are Mahmands, as Aimal Khan declared himself a king, read Khutba in his name and struck his coins.

Haroon Rashid in his book 'History of Pathans (Volume 2), contests this claim in the following manner ;

Dost Muhammad Khan Kamil Mohmand constructs a claim that Khushal Khan Khattak alludes that Aimal Khan was a Mohmand, he quotes following verses,

(a)When Aimal’s rising began
     I joined hands with the Mohmands

(b) The booty have the Afridis and Shinwaris found their heart content
       And Aimal Khan Mohmand in honour and booty both
       But honour is Khushal Khan Khattak’s sole concern

       The rest of what the world may have and give is naught to him”

The translation of the above mentioned Khushal Khan Khattak’s verses is twisted.

(i)                 The first verse does not necessarily relate the word ‘Mohmand’ with Aimal Khan and both seem independent of each other.

(ii)               In the second verse, in the first line, there is no comma or the word ‘wao’ (و) between Afridi and Shinwari and likewise between Aimal Khan and Mohmand, however, Dost Muhammad Khan puts the word ‘and’ between Afridis and Shinwaris but not in the second line between Aimal Khan and Mohmand. Following the same precedence the word ‘and’ should have been inserted in the second line and then it would read “Aimal Khan and Mohmands” , and thus the whole meaning would be different than what Dost Mohammad Khan wants to give it.

Afzal Khan Khattak, the grandson of Khushal Khan, almost contemporary of Aimal Khan,  has mentioned ‘Aimal Khan Afridi’ in “Tarikh-i-Murassa” p-343. Afzal Khan alludes to the same Aimal Khan , the hero of Khyber battle 1672. Afzal Khan has mentioned thirteen times the name "Aimal Khan" in his book "Tarikh-i-Murassa"on pages 222, 262, 275, 277, 278, 279, 280, , 281, 283, 284, 343, 393, and 414. But not once he mentioned him as "Mohmand".

The “Badshah nama” and “Akhbarat-ul-Mualla” as quoted by Sir Jadunath Sarkar are supposed to be more authentic than other documents . These mention his name as “Aiman Khan Afridi”. There could be a scribble’s mistake in putting a point on ‘lam’ (ل) that changed it from Aimal Afridi to Aiman Afridi. In fact there was one Aimal Khan Afridi in Emperor Aurangzeb’s army , mentioned by Sir Jadunath Sarkar in the account of the battle of Deorai near Ajmer during the war of succession (See History of Aurangzeb, Vol-III, p-314). Most probably he is the same Aimal Khan Afridi mentioned in “Akhbart-ul-Mualla” as a subordinate of Muhammad Amin Khan during the Yousafzai rising of 1077-8 H, when he was detained on suspicion and transferred to Deccan. Later most probably he rebelled and joined the Ghoria Khels against Amin Khan.

Major Raverty mentioned him Aimal Khan Afridi in 1884 AD, and was followed by Sir Olaf Careo in 1958, who had remained the Governor of the province for quite some time and had a long and eventful political service in this province. Dost Muhammad Khan Kamil mentioned Aimal Khan a Mohmand in 1968, he was followed by Roshan Khan in 1971 and Bahadur Shah Zafar Kaka Khel in 1981. The whole exercise looks like an after thought.

Kafi Khan (Mughal historian of Aurangzeb period) Vol-II, p-232 and “Maasir-ul-umara” Vol-I, p-277 have it “Aimal’ , and ‘Akhbarat’ has ‘Aiman’.  Sir Jadunath Sarkar, writes it as “Acmal” and call him an Afridi (p-150), Biddulph spelt it as ‘Acmal’,

Colonel Mackeson , the first commissioner of Peshawar, to contain Adam Khel Afridis , constructed a fort at the mouth of the entrance of territory. Later , this fort, was named after Mackeson when the Afridis murdered him in 1852. Subsequently, its name was changed to “Aimal chabutra’ by Colonel Edwardes, the commissioner of Peshawar. According to Dost Muhammad Khan Kamil Mohmand, there is “no historical explanation as to why it should be associated with the name of the hero”. Location of the Aimal chabutra on the approach to the territory of Aimal Khan is sufficient expiation of his belonging to this territory. While the “Aimal Gutt” (the rock of Aimal) in Karappa is the place where one of the battles was fought and the place is known after him as Aimal Gutt.

Not withstanding the assumption of Aimal Khan being a "Mohmand" and Khushal Khan Khattak's hero and friend, we do not find the Mohmands anywhere fighting alongside Khushal Khan against the Mughals but certainly the Afridis supported him through thick and thin.

(Edited excerpts from “History of the Pathans” by Haroon Rashid, Vol-II, pp-433-435).