Monday, April 4, 2016

Notes on Kasi Afghans of Quetta or Shal

By Khan Barmazid

Account of Kasi in Makhzan-i-Afghani

Kasi, Kharshbun's son, had twelve sons, Mohammedzye, Alozye, Zamrani, Shinwari, Kithur, Salba, Kubhar, Samzye, Musalagh, Salat, Hasmar, and Sabarval."(History Of The Afghans: Translated From The Persian Of Neamet Ullah By Bernhard Dorn, p-45)

The Shinwaris have detached themselves from the main tribe and founded settlements in and around Landi Kotal and are known by their own name. The progeny of other sons of Kasi are grouped under the general name of Kasi. Raverty mentions Zarnriarnaey and Kithrans (The Kasi Khithrans should not be confused with those of Miyana Khethrans) whom he places around the shrine of Pir Hussain in Kalat-i-Ghilzai and the Kithrans south of Kaha Pass in Dhadar in Balochistan. The Kasi clans , which are presently identifiable , are namely, Achozai, Ahmad Khanzai, Akazai, Badazai, Mirzai and Samunuli.

Shaikh Mahti Kasi and Shaikh Hassan Kasi are the Afghan saints of medieval period mentioned in Makhzan-i-Afghani. The latter belonged to the Khitan Kasi tribe and was contemporary of Shaikh Mulhi Kattal.

Shaikh Jamaluddin Kasi (d.1604 AD)

He was a leading Chishtiyya of Unnao (U.P, India) in the sixteenth century. He enjoyed considerable respect from his own Kasi tribe as well as other tribes. He held a high post in the Afghan government under Sher Shah Sur. After the downfall of the Afghans, Jalaluddin Kasi decided to renounce the world and moved to Bangarmao in Unnao where he joined the khanqah of Shah Muhammad Chishti. In 1604 AD he was murdered by some local thieves while he was reciting Quran at midnight. (Biographical Encyclopaedia of Sufis: South Asia By N. Hanif, p-175)

Tatar Khan Kasi

He was one of the principle nobles of Islam Shah Sur and was the governor of Rohtas fort in his reign . After death of Islam Shah, Tatar Khan supported the cause of Sikander Shah Suri (Ahmad Khan) and held the Rohtas fort for him. When Humayun army approached Rohtas fort in 1555, Tatar Khan Kasi abandoned the fort without any resistance . Later Sikandar Shah Sur deputed him with 30,000 men to attack the advance forces of Mughals in Sirhind but he got defeated. Sikander Khan Sur, after several defeats at the hands of the Mughals, entered Bihar with a small following in 1558 and established himself there but his days had already been numbered. On his death, Tatar Khan Kasi was destroyed by Fateh Khan Bhittani. (The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol-5, p-237 , and, "Mughal relations with Indian ruling elite", p-144)

Kasi tribe and Roshniya movement

Bayazid Ansari or Pir Roshan, while in Hashtnagar, sent Khalifa Mawdud to Kandahar province to propagate his mission. He stayed with the Kasi tribe. His mission was very successful. Most of the people of Kasi tribe took the oath of Bayazid's allegiance. Sikandar Khan, the chief of Kasi tribe, took the oath of Bayazid's allegiance. He was a brave and strong man. Later on he married his most beautiful daughter to Rashid Khan, the son of Jalal-ud-din. Her name was Feroz Bakhti who later on, got the title of "Qandahari Mahal".  From the tribe of Shinwaris in Kandahar, one Abdul Karim, who was a learned man and a poet of Pashto, became the Khalifa of Bayazid Ansari. (Halnama as cited by "The Rowshanites and Pashto literature" by Yar Muhammad Khattak, p-115)

Kasis as mentioned in Ain-i-Akbari

Kasi Afghans were the principal inhabitants of Shal and Mastung, dependencies of Kandahar, in sixteenth century according to Ain-i-Akbari of Abu Fazal (written around 1590 AD). Shal (Quetta) had mud fort at that time and its lands were assessed at four and half tumans in money, 940 sheep and 780 kharwars in grain. The Kasi Afghans of Shal (along with Balochs) had to furnish 1,000 horse and 1,000 foot. The town of Mastung and its dependencies paid 10 tomans and 8,000 dinars in money, 470 kharwars in grain and its Kasi inhabitants (along with Balochs) 200 horse and 500 foot. There was also a fort of unburnt brick at Mastung. ( Ain-i-Akbari, Eng.trans by H.S.Jarret, Vol-II, p-397)

Haji Habibullah Kasi

Haji Habibullah Kasi was employed by Mughal Emperor Akbar in conducting negotiations with his brother Mirza Muhammad Hakim and was also sent to Goa on a commercial mission in 986 H. (Studies in Indo-Muslim history, S.H.Hodivala, Vol-I, p-474)

A clash with Rind Balochs in early 17th century

In the reign of Shahjehan (1628-1655) Rajo and Zangi, Rind chiefs raided Shal by way of the Bolan. They were defeated by the Kasis after a severe engagement about three miles south of Quetta. Since then the small stream of Zangi Lora was given its name , as the action took place at its source when Zangi, the Rind chief, was killed. (Memoir on Kalat by G.P.Tate as quoted by A.Aziz Luni in 'Afghans of the frontier passes' p-228)

Mustafa Khan Kasi

Mustafa Khan Kasi was an Afghan mansbadar in the service of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who had the rank of 1500 zat and 900 sawars. In the words of Mughal historian Khafi Khan, “Mustafa Khan Kasi was the most renowned personality , well known for his merits , virtues, courage and correct opinions and decisions”. He was the closest associate and comrade of Prince Muhammad Azam. He impressed the prince so much with administrative genius that soon the entire administration of his jagirs passed into the hands of Mustafa Khan. He was held responsible for every thing and answerable for any matter relating to the prince. His growing influence over the royal family was actually disliked by Aurangzeb. Consequently he advised the prince to free himself from the clutches of the Mustafa Khan, but in vain. Mustafa Khan Kasi continued to enjoy the power and influence . Being fed up with his growing influence, Emperor ordered him to go to Mecca, thus he became a victim of court politics. When Mustafa Khan returned from Mecca , he failed to attain the previous influence and power as Aurangzeb didn’t allow it. Prince pleaded for his favorite many a time, but Emperor paid no heed to his requests. ("Afghan nobility and the Mughals" by Rita Joshi, p-178)

Kasis during the Durrani period

When Ahmad Shah Abdali became king, the valley of Shal formed a part of his dominions and the office of Arbab was conferred upon Muhammad Thalib Kasi. Mahbat Khan Brahui of Kalat killed him when he was at village Katir. News of the occurrence immediately was dispatched to Kandahar, and Ahmad Shah summoned Mahbat Khan to Kandahar to explain how he came to slay the Shah's representative in Shal.  (Memoir on Kalat by G.P.Tate as quoted by A.Aziz Luni in 'Afghans of the frontier passes' p-229)  

Qazi Nur Muhammad Kalhora (a servant of Mir Nasir Khan) in his Jangnama contends that Ahmad Shah Abdali, on return from one of his Indian campaigns, on a written request from Mir Nasir Khan, granted Shal to and also sanction some cash awards for the Brahui Mujahids. Kasis say Shal always remained theirs. Compiler Hatu Ram, also, on page 624 of his Tarikh-i-Baluchistan (1907) quotes a Sanad granted by Ahmad Shah Abdali to Tarin Afghans in which the Shah incidentally acknowledged the fact that Shal valley belongs to Kasi Afghans. This the compiler considers an astonishing statement especially in view of the common impression that Ahmad Shah Abdali bestowed Shal on Naseer Khan Brahui. Hitu Ram therefore, conjectures that it is quite possible that the Shah subsequently restored Shal to Kasis because of his annoyance at the subsequent rebellious conduct of Mir Nasir Khan. Hitu Ram also quotes a document given to Kasis by Nasir Khan I in which the precise outer limits of the Shal valley (owned by Kasis) were defined. This shows that at least Abdali and Nasir Khan both considered the valley of Shal to be a legitimate possession of the Kasi Afghans. (Afghans of the frontier passes' by A.Aziz Luni, p-229)    

Quetta fort, 1839