Friday, 4 March 2016

Sher Shah Suri's action against Balochs in Punjab

In 1543-44 , Sher Shah ordered Haibat Khan to expel the Balochis from Multan, who were responsible for depopulating the Multan subah, they had plundered and devastated those parts during the time of Mongol (Arghun) raids. Sher Shah ordered Haibat Khan to restore prosperity to the subah and re-populate it by bringing peace to the region, for which expulsion of predatory Baloch elements was necessary . Haibat Khan first perused the robber chief , Fateh Khan Jat of Kot-Kabula, who had devastated the entire tract of Lakhi jungle and was robbing and killing the travelers in the area. One of the chief associate of Fateh Khan Jat, was Meedu Baloch, his Balochs were in league with Jats in their predatory activities. Some of the Baloch chiefs in the region, like Chakar Rind, were loyal to Afghans and provided contingents to the army of Haibat Khan in his expedition against Fateh Khan Jat and Meedu Baloch. Another powerful Baloch chief in the region, Fateh Khan from the Dodai tribe, who had earlier assured Sher Shah of his loyalty in 1541, was now up in arms against Afghans and their ally Bakhshu Langah. Haibat Khan Niazi prevented the union of Fath Khan Jat of Kot-Kabula and Fath Khan Dodai Baloch at Multan, by lodging his army at Pak-Pattan. Fateh Khan Dodai Baloch didnt make any movement from Multan, but the other Fateh Khan, the Jat, and his Baloch associate, Meedu, fled from their stronghold of Fatehpur and proceeded towards the desert of Rajputana. On his way, he took shelter in a mud fort. Haibat Khan hotly perused them and besieged the mud in which they were taking shelter. Realizing the hopelessness of their situation, Fateh Khan Jat sought the help of Shaikh Ibrahim to act as an intermediary, the latter was descendant of  renowned saint Shaikh Farid Ganj-Shakar, who was revered greatly by Afghans. Fateh Khan Jat surrounded himself to Afghans. Haibat Khan put him in confinement till the arrival of fresh instructions from Sher Shah about the fate of robber chief. Meedu Baloch, however, refused to surrender and kept himself in the fort. He and his men, numbering three hundreds, put their wives and children to death and decided to fight the Afghans to the last man. But next day, for some reason, Meedu Baloch and his men also surrendered themselves to Haibat Khan Niazi. Both Fateh Khan Jat and Meedu Baloch were hanged on the orders of Sher Shah.

Haibat Khan then marched against Fath Khan Dodai, who was stationed at Multan. Fath Khan was defeated and Balochs were expelled from Multan. After fall of Suri dynasty in 1555, Balochs who were expelled by Haibat Khan, returned back to Multan. Balochs were also expelled from Khushab and its neighborhoods by Haibat Khan Niazi, there they were subsitituted with the settlements of Isa Khel and other Niazi clans. They were also expelled from Bhera (Sargodha) and replaced with settlements of Awans. The Sitapur tracts of Naghar Afghans (Muzaffarnagar district of Punjab), which had been conquered by Dodai Balochs in 1482 A.D, was restored to Naghars by Haibat Khan. In Akbar times, this Afghan tract was able to provide 1000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry for militia purposes. The Sarkar of Dipalpur was also cleared of Balochs, with the exception of Rinds who under Chakar Rind were loyal to Afghans. Bakhshu Langah was given back all the lands snatched from him by the Balochs and confirmed as the Zamindar of Uch.

As a reward for his services, Haibat Khan Niazi received the title of Azam Humayun , with the rank of commander of 30,000 troops, and he was given the governorship of Multan in addition to Lahore. Haibat Khan appointed his deputy Fath Jang Khan, as governor of Multan.  Fath Jang Khan re-peopled Multan and the country flourished greatly under his governorship and under the general rule of Suris. 


1.   B.Dorn, "History of the Afghans". Barmazid-67
2.   Haroon Rashid, "History of the Pathans"
3-   K.R.Qanungo, "Sher Shah and his times
4-  Ain-i-Akbari , English translation
5- Tarikh-i-Ferishta, English translation

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