Friday, April 15, 2016

The story of Fateh Khan Barech

Fateh Khan Barech was the son of Aslam Khan, the ruler of Qila- i-Bost (Lashkar Gah, Helmand). After developing differences with his father, he decided to migrate towards India, with 60 companions. On their way to India, they came across Tarin tribesmen engaged in a battle with their enemies, at Shorawak (a district in Kandahar). Fateh Khan and his men threw their weight behind Tarins, and together they defeated the enemy. From Shorawak, he and his band, journeyed towards Sialkot. In the mean while, Mughal Emperor Akbar died and he was succeeded by his son Jehangir. Fateh Khan and his band arrived at Mughal Kot near Delhi and and captured Gawarian Fort. After capturing the fort, their ambitions grew and they decided to capture the Delhi city and to overthrow the Mughal dynasty, and re-instate Afghan rule in India.

The fall of Gawarian Fort, alarmed the Mughals and an army was immediately dispatched, which besieged Fateh Khan and his men in the fort. Fateh Khan gathered his men and sought council from them. They discussed whether they should save their lives by surrendering themselves to Mughals or fight to the death. All of them opted for fight. After twelve days siege, Fateh Khan and his band suddenly came out of fort and attacked the unprepared Mughal camp. After inflicting losses on Mughals. they retreated back to the fort. In this raid, Fateh Khan got heavily wounded. But next day , he and his men came out of the fort again to confront the Mughals for the last time. They attacked the Mughals and died one by one.

The Mughal army sustained heavy losses in this whole affair, at the hands of sixty Barechs. Their extraordinary bravery impressed the Emperor Jehangir, and he renamed the renamed the town of ' Mughal Kot' to 'Fateh Pur'. Fateh Khan and his companions were buried there.( Zahir, Khan (Advocate). Barech Pathan (Vol-I), Dost Associates Lahore, 2006.)

 Hayat-i-Afghani (1867) has the following description of Fateh Khan Barech;
"Kila Bist is best known as birth-place of the Pashtun hero and outlaw, Fateh Khan Barech, son of Aslam Khan. Fateh Khan was a Barech man, who having quarreled with his own family, got together a robber-band and went off to the neighborhood of Sialkot , where he carried on his marauding practices , until in the reign of Jehangir, a violent death put an end to his career. But these plain facts have been transformed into a glowing romance , and the spirited Pashto ballad that recounts his bravery and wails over his untimely end, is listened to by Afghans with never-failing delight. (Muhammad Hayat Khan, "Afghanistan and its inhabitants", p-82)

Ruins of Qila-i-Bost