Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Wardag or Wardak tribe

(Excerpt from "Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan" by H.G.Raverty, page 694 and 695, published in 1881)


The tract of country now in possession of the Wardags was, in former times, held by the Hazarah people, but, from the time of Humayaun Badshah, and his son, Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar Badshah, they have been gradually pushed back towards the west through the expansion of Afghan tribes from the eastward.

In the assessment made in the reign of the last-named Badshah (Akbar), who became possessed of these parts after the death of Muhammad Hakim Mirza, his half-father, the present Wardag belak(district) appears to have been included in the Toman of Maidan , which paid revenue of 16,06,799 dams, equal to 40,168 Rupees and a fraction, out of which sum 1,664 dams were saiyur-ghal , or free grants, equal to 41 Rupees and 24 dams. The people then inhabiting it are designed Maidanis , that is, Tajiks of Maidan , and Hazarahs ; and the district was assessed as liable to furnish 2,000 horse for militia purposes but no footmen.

The Wardag tribe , then dwelling in the Toman of Bangash, were very strong in point of numbers; for in the Ain-i-Akbari they are related as able to furnish 500 horsemen and 5,500 foot , equivalent, at least, to their amounting to 6,000 men capable of bearing arms. The exact locality in which they then dwelt is not indicated, but it was, in all probability in the south-west extremity of the Bangash Toman , in , or near the territory held by their Jadran kinsmen of the Karlanri division of the Afghan nation. When they and other Karlanries increased to a great extent than their lands could support , and the Hazarah people , from constant harrying by the government officials , had grown weak, the Wardags pushed westward to near their present locality , forcing back the Hazarah people at the same time , as the Ghalji Afghans have since done .

The Wardags are descended from the Sayyid , Muhammad-i-Gisu-Daraz, or “of the long locks” , who among his four legal wives , married a daughter of Karlanraey , which wife bore him two sons, Honaey and Wardag, the progenitor of those two tribes. Wardag had seven sons; Nur, Danaey, Mir, Gada or Gada-i, Mamak, Turak, and Mahyar. Turak or little Tur , appear to have been an adopted son, and by some accounts, Mahyar was also an adopted son, but this is very doubtful. His descendants are the Mahyars .They, and some other Wardags, were among the allies of the Khashis present with Khan Kaju when he overthrew the Ghwariah Khel and their confederates in the great battle at Shaikh Tapur , near Peshawar. The Gada Khel, or Gadai Khel, as they are also called, on account of family quarrels , retired into Hindustan, where their descendants are to be found. The Mahyars contains four Khels or sections , but the other descendants of Wardags do not appear to throw out many branches. Those dwellings in the belak named after them (Wardak province of Afghganistan), previously noticed, are said to number about 10,000 families (in 1881). The most numerous among them are the Mir Khel , and , after them, the Nuri Khel, and the Mahyars are the strongest in point of numbers. The chieftainship continues in the Nuri Khel , whose progenitor, Nur,was Wardag’s eldest son.

There are numbers of Wardag dwellings in the Chahhach Hazarah territory , now forming part of the Rawal Pindi district of Punjab (now a division), especially at and around Hazrao and Nitopa or Nitopah.

Wardag, their progenitor, and his brother Honaey, as well as other sons of the Sayyid , Muhammad-i-Gesu-Daraz, by his Sherani and Kakar wives , namely Ushtararnaey, Bakhtyar, and Mashwanraey respectively , are accounted Sayyid-zadas on their father side , but their mothers being Afghans , and they and their descendants having continued to intermarry among their Afghan kinsmen , are accounted Afghans like-wise. The Sayyid descent of Wardags, like the Ush-tararnis , Bakhtyaris, and Mashwanris, causes them to be looked up to by others, just as are the Sayyids of Peshang among the Tarins.

The Wardags are said to on good terms with their neighbors, and to have no feuds among themselves; and they are accounted quiet and inoffensive, and well-behaved. This is, doubtless, true to some extent, but I fear they are much like other Afghans and Asiatics generally, when opportunity occurs.

The people are sedentary and follow agriculture , but a few of them feed flocks and herds . They are of robust build and full stature , but, in their dress , they are slovenly , and instead of a turban , generally wear the Kabuli skull cap. Their district is verdant and fertile,. The kharif or Autumn harvest is not great, but the rabi or spring harvest in plentiful and consists of good crops of wheat and barley. Their villages, like those of Tajiks of the neighboring tracts , each contain about fifty families , whose dwellings are constructed of stones and stiff clay. They are connected all around by walls, which conceal the houses , and which generally are flanked with towers , and a single gateway gives admittance to the place.