Saturday, February 13, 2016

Malik Jiwan Panni and Prince Dara Shikoh



Junaid Khan alias Jiwan (Gion) was son of Baru Khan Panni, chief of Dhadar (Bolan) . Junaid Khan succeeded his father around 1640. According to manuscript of Mullah Fazil , one of the sons of Junaid Khan abducted an already betrothed daughter of Malik Khan Mizri (Mizri is sub-tribe of Panni, so is Barozai). The grieved father of the girl complained to the governor of Multan, however, not receiving prompt hearing, he went to Delhi and appeared before Emperor Shah Jahan. The latter summoned Junaid Khan to Delhi and found him guilty of charges leveled against him. The Emperor ordered Junaid Khan to be thrown under the feet of an elephant. On the recommendation of Prince Dara Shikoh, Junaid Khan was pardoned and allowed to return to Sibi. Junaid Khan had earlier (1653 A.D), during Dara Shikoh's invasion of Kandahar, helped him in transportation of his heavy artillery and other equipment through Bolan pass and now the grateful Prince paid him back.

Once in his court at Dadhar, a Hindu complained against a son of Shah Baig Mandwani (a small clan of Khidrani Jafar Afghans) , who was alleged to have waylaid his son and torn off his golden earrings. Shah Baig admitted the guilt of his son and promised to punish him, however, he did nothing . Next day Junaid Khan raided Shah Baig Mandwani's village and in fight the latter's son , along with few others , was killed. The head of the son of Shah Baig Mandwani was severed and brought to Dhadar. Shah Baig, unaware of the Junaid Khan's intention , had stayed in Dhadar and didn know about the fate of his son. Next day, the head of the son of Shah Baig was shown to the people present in the court and told that it would be the fate of any person who committed robbery in Junaid Khan's domains. Soon after he lost his face by shamefully betraying Prince Dara Shikoh who had taken refuge with him.

Bernier, the French contemporary traveler, while narrating the events leading to the arrest of Dara Shikoh by Emperor Aurangzeb, mentions the same "Gion Kan" (Jiwan Khan/ Junaid Khan). Mughal historian Kafi Khan of Muntakhab-ul-Lubab also refers to their friendship and Prince Dara Shikoh's favour to Malik Junaid Khan, the Afghan chief of Dadhar. Nevertheless Malik Junaid Khan of Dadhar earned notoriety in the pages of history for his treachery and conduct unexpected of an Afghan chief. On Emperor Shah Jahan's illness, his sons got involved into a fierce and bloody struggle for succession. In  1658, Prince Dara Shikoh, after his defeat at Ajmer, retired to Gujarat and then to Sindh and Sibi. In a state of perplexity and indecision, he thought of Malik Jiwan Khan, whose life he had saved. He took refuge with him with a hope that he would help him in reaching Mohabat Khan , the governor of Kabul who espouse his cause. Mr.Bernier writes that his family members were not in favour of going to Gion Kan (Jiwan Khan) and entreated him to change his mind . He writes;
"His wife, daughter, and young son Sepe-Chekouh, fell at his feet, endeavoring with tears in their eyes , to turn him aside from this design. The Patan, they observed , was notoriously a robber and a rebel, and to place confidence in such a character was at once to rush headlong into destruction"
 (Bernier, "Travels in the Mughal empire, p-95)

Dara lost his favorite wife Princess Nadra from heat and thirst. This had further added to his grief and confusion. Bernier continues his narrative and writes:-
"Dara, as if hurried away by his evil genius , could not perceive the force of these arguments, remarking  what indeed was the truth, that the journey to Kabul would be full of difficulty and danger and that he did not believe it possible he should be betrayed by a man bound to him by such strong ties of gratitude"

Initially Malik Junaid Khan received the Prince with apparent respect and cordiality , ordering his men to look after the needs of the Prince's entourage. Later vicious temptation seized Junaid Khan. was it the temptation of the sight of  the mules laden with gold that the Prince had saved from the robbers or earning of favours from Aurangzeb who had occupied the throne in Delhi , that made the Afghan chief to act ignobly and against the norms of Pashtun code of conduct where hospitality is the main pillar of Pashtunwali. He seized the Prince at night, robbed him of his gold and jewels of family members and killed the persons who attempted to defend the Prince. Junaid Khan tried to seize Sepehr Shikoh, the second son of Dara Shikoh, who was then a child. The latter resisted with courage , killed three men with his arrows, but was soon overpowered and taken a captive. With his hands tied behind his back, he was brought in front of Dara Shikoh. The shocked father could not restrain himself and shouted at Junaid Khan,
"Finish, finish, ungrateful and infamous wretch that thou art, finish that which thou hast commenced; we are the victims of evil fortune and the unjust passion of Aurangzeb, but remember that i do not merit death except for having saved thy life and remember that a prince of royal blood never had his hands tied behind his back"

The ungrateful Junaid Khan, moved by these words, untied the Prince's hands and placed guards over father and son. Nevertheless , later he tried Dara on the back of an elephant , his son at his side. His escort was ordered to kill the Prince the moment he or his followers resisted. Junaid Khan went to Bhakkar (Sukkur, Sindh) and met Mir Baba, the Mughal commander at Bhakkar, who provided escort for his onward journey to Delhi. Emperor Aurangzeb, before executing Dara humiliated him by parading him on the streets of Delhi, tied on a feeble elephant, with his son seated on his side and the executioner sitting behind him. Junaid Khan rode beside him. Bernier writes ;
"From every corner i heard piercing and distressing shrieks, for the Indian people have a very tender heart; men, women, and children wailing as if some calamity had happened to themselves. Gion Khan rose near the wretched Dara; and the abusive and indignant cries vociferated as the traitor moved along were absolutely deafening. I observed some Fakirs, a several poor people throw stones at the infamous Patan; but not a single movement was made , no one offered to draw his sword , with a view of delivering the beloved a compassionate Prince"
 Malik Junaid Khan was awarded with a mansab of 1000, with 200 sawars, and a robe of honour was conferred upon him. He was dismissed to return to his country. Fate had some thing else stored for him. He was waylaid and assassinated in a forest within a few miles of Sirhind. Niccolao Manucci, in his travels, before entering into the town of Sirhind (located between Delhi and Lahore), writes;
"Before our entry into the town we saw , in a field a little apart from the gate, some fifteen corpses. Asking whose they were, they replied that they were those of Jiwan Khan and his relations and servants. After making over to Aurangzeb at Delhi the Prince Dara, they had received this reward. That same king gave orders to the governor of the fortress of Sirhind that when Jiwan Khan and his men should arrive on their way to their home, he should have them stoned in this field by all the population and thus be rewarded and slain (a most fitting chastisement for his ingratitude). This gave us all great pleasure, and  the Muhammadans themselves uttered a thousand curses over the corpses of Jiwan Khan"



Portrait of Dara Shikoh ,  c1650 , From the Collection of Archibald Swinton 


Young Dara Shikoh, 1615

Nadira Banu Begum, 1632

Entrance to the Bolan Pass from Dadur'
Lithograph from bound volume 'Sketches in Afghanistan' by James Atkinson, 1842






Book Reference:

"History of the Pathans" Volume III, by Haroon Rashid, pp-153-157, with some edits.