Sunday, April 10, 2016

Khawas Khan, a Marwat or house-born slave of Sher Shah Suri?

Sher Muhammad Khan Mohmand in his booklet, "The Marwats" misquotes "Tawarikh-Khursheed-i-Jahan" (page-107) and writes,

"According to Khursheed-i-Jahan, Malik Mehr Khan was the Malik and Khan of the Marwats at the time when the Tehsil of Lakki was under their control. He was descendant of Behram kor of the Marwat clan. Allah Dad Khan and Jabbar Khan of Achu Khel clan, Mina Khan of Sikander Khel clan, Gulan Khan of Tittar Khel and Qatal Khan of Musa Khel clan were Maliks of the 2nd grade. Mehr Khan's father , Khawas Khan Lohani (born in 1515), was a senior minister (Field Marshal) in the court of Sher Shah who granted him the title of Amirul-Umara. His real name was Sahib Khan. Due to his gallantry, bravery, and courageous disposition , he earned the name of Khawas Khan....he was , however, killed by Sultan Islam Shah due to some misunderstanding . He lies buried by the side of Lal Darwesh of Delhi. Mehr Khan, then Khan of the Marwats, was son of this great man....."

 On page-27 he has :-

"Khawas Khan s/o Umar Khan (the grandson of Behram Khan was the chief of the Marwats from the Behram branch in the (at its) inception). He was one of the brave lieutenants of King Sher Shah Suri and rewarded with 1/10th of the lands of Suri dynasty. ....His real name was Sahib Khan. After his death , the chieftaincy of Marwats came down to his elder son Mehr Khan and then to Noor Khan. The Marwat tribe which was virtually a nation at this time , held allegiance to him. Jabu Khel, Khanzad Khel, Khairo Khel, Midad Khel,  Langar Khel, Aghzar Khel and Ghazi Khel - collectively known as Mar Khan Khel, are the offshoots of his progeny. Unfortunately in 1702, when Sikander Khan became the Khan of Lakki town, one Sher Khan was Mehr Khan's brother and Salar Khan's son, claimed to be Khan of Lakki....this rivalry was over the tribute or Qalang of Lakki bazaar which rested with Sikander Khan  s/o of Mehr Khan and which Salar Khan s/o of Midad challenged.

 The "Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi" ; a reputed work by Abbas Khan Sarwani on the Sur dyansty, has the following to say,

"Sher Khan was not yet told (about his family) that news reached him that Khawas Khan the senior had drowned in the moat around Gaur Fort and that Emperor Humayun, after a peace agreement, had taken over the Chunar fort. Thus shocked and perplexed , he (Sher Khan) sent the younger brother of Khawas Khan, named Sahib Khan, with the title of 'Khawas Khan'
The "Tawarikh-i-Khursheed Jahan" on page-107 has :-

"In the meanwhile, news was reached  that Khawas Khan had been drowned in the moat of Gaur Fort, so he (Sher Khan) bestowed the title of Khawas Khan on his (own) brother, Sahib Khan and sent him towards Gaur fort."
 A persual of the above mentioned statements reveal the followings :-

1- Nowhere does "Tawarikh-i-Khursheed-i-Jahan"  or for that matter any other book on the subject mention Khawas Khan, the court noble of Sher Shah, as a Marwat or father of Mehr Khan, the 'Khan' of Marwats. Malik Mehr Khan is not reffered by any credible historian to have been a "Khan" of the Marwats.

2- Sahib Khan was younger brother of Khawas Khan senior and not of Sher Shah as given by "Tawarikh-i-Khursheed Jahan". He was not a Marwat as quoted by Sher Muhmmad Mohmand. B.Dorn mostly follows "Makhzan-i-Afghani" and is very particular about writing the respective tribal names with each chief or a petty leader of the Lodi and Sur dynasties. He neither makes a mention of any tribal name with Khawas Khan nor of the title 'Khawas Khan' being bestowed on his own (Sher Shah's) brother Sahib Khan. He merely writes on page-108 of his book "History of the Afghans":
 "Previous to the arrival of the joyful news , sent by the latter (Raja of Rohtas), Sher Khan had received intelligence from Gaur, of Khuvaz Khan's being drowned in a ditch of that fort and of the conquest of Chunar by the Mughals...He sent Sahib Khan, a brother of Khawas Khan, in the direction of the fort of Gour (Gaur)

3- Khawas Khan was house born slave of Sher Shah , he was son of Sukka Khan and not of Umar Khan Marwat. Ahmad Yadgar (courtier of Daud Khan Karrani, ruler of Bengal, 1572-1576), while writing about the rift that occurred between Azam Humayun Haibat Khan Niazi and Khawas Khan, writes;-
"Khawas Khan asked one of the nobles of Islam Shah, 'you convey my request to the King that i am a slave of Sher Shah and because he had placed Adil Khan under my supervision , i supported him" (see "Tarikh-i-Shahi" p-244)
 Badoani writes,
"The rank of vazir and Vakil was bestowed upon one Shamsher Khan, a slave who was the younger brother of Khawas Khan and .....(Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Vol-I, p-537)
Abbas Khan Sarwani writes:-
 "The moment Sher Khan recieved this information, he wrote a note to his slave , named Sukka, the father of Khawas Khan who was in charge of Tanda, which is loacted near Benaras. (Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi, p-51)
 According to Tarikh-i-Khan Jahni, p-272,
"Sukka named slave, the father of Khawas Khan, was in charge of (Khawaspur) Tanda"
 4- According to Sher Muhammad Mohmand , the so called Khawas Khan Marwat was born in 1515 AD. His son Mehr Khan should have been born about 1540-45 (about 25-30 years after his father). Mehr Khan contemporaries , whom the author mentions as 2nd grade Maliks, lived in 18th century. There is a difference of two centuries ! How could Mehr Khan live for so long?

Book Reference:

" History of the Pathans"  by Haroon Rashid, Volume III, pp-427-431, with edits