Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Farmulis

By Khan Barmazid




Raverty states that the Farmulis are named after the village of Parmul or Farmul (f and p being interchangeable) which is situated on the river Farmul, also known as Tochi,  and that they claim to be Afghans but Afghans generally do not admit their claim. (Notes on Afghanistan, p-30 and p-86). Though it is commonly held that Farmuli nobles of the Lodi period of India were Afghans because of their settlement in the country of the Afghans ; they had adopted local customs and, therefore, looked like the Afghans. (Some aspects of Afghan despotism, p-7)

We read in Makhzan-i-Afghani that " Farmul is the name of a river running between the confines of Kabul and Ghazni and that the Farmulis were called so because they lived on its banks. Their ancestor was converted to Islam by Shaikh Muhammad Musalman , a great saint among the Afghans and having passed some time in his service, they style themselves Afghans, though they really came from Khata and Khotan" (History of Afghans, B.Dorn, II, p-57). Khata is alternative name of China and Khotan was region in Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang of China or East Turkestan).

Emperor Babur speaks repeatedly of 'Farmul' in his description of Kabul. He explicitly states that the "Shaikhzadas, the descendants of Shaikh Muhammad Musalman, who were so much in favour during the Afghan period in Hindustan , came originally from Farmul. He tells us that Farmul was one of the 14 divisions of Kabul. It lies south-east of Ghazni. Its principle village was Urghun.

Sir Clements Markhan tells us that the " valley of Farmul is at the back of Khost , which is watered by the Tochi in its upper course" and that the "Tajiks who now inhabit it have one village called Urghun". (Proceedings of Royal Geographical society, 1879, pp-47-48)

According to Muhammad Hayat Khan , Farmuli call themselves Khalji, and they "say that some of the kings of Hindustan sprung from them , and this may seem to derive confirmation from Ferishta , who mentions the Khaljis as a Turki clan , to which belonged Sultan Jalaluddin (Khalji) , all famous kings of Hind. Another explanation of the name of Khalji is, that the Parmulis once inhabited a city called Khalj , said to have been on the Oxus or, as other relate , west of Kandahar , the river Helmand and Kila Bist" ("Afghanistan and its inhabitants", translated from Hayat-i-Afghani, p-301)........the author further says " Most of the Farmulis are cultivators or merchants , but those settled in Argun make vessels of iron and take them through out western Afghanistan for sale. With the Kharoti (Ghilzais), in whose midst they live, they have a most bitter enmity" (p-302)

Waqiat-i-Mushtaqi also throws some light on the origin of Farmulis when it refers to Said Khan Lodi's (Yusuf Khel) remarks against Masnad-i-ali Mian Hussain Farmuli that Said Khan said to Rana Sanga about the Masnad-i-ali;
"They are the Shaikhzadas like the Brahmans among you. We have raised them. We are the brethren of the king. According to the customs of the Afghans, sovereignty will either rest with the Shahu Khel or the Yusuf Khel. The rest are the servants"





The Farmuli nobles were held in high esteem and confidence by the Lodi Sultans. Mian Muhammad Farmuli, the famous muqta of Awadh and Bahraich, was Sultan Bahlul's sister's son (nephew). During the Sultan Ibrahim's reign Mian Mustafa Farmuli and his younger brother, Bayazid Farmuli, rendered important services to the Sultan by fighting against the rebel amirs.

According to Waqiat-i-Mushtaqi, "half of the kingdom (under Sikander Lodi) was held by the Farmulis. They (Farmulis) and the Nuhanis were dominant"



List of high-ranking Farmuli nobles in the service of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi 

1-  Shaikhzada Muhammad Farmuli   (commander of 30,000 to 40,000 cavalry, governor of Awadh and Lakhnau)

2- Miyan Hussain Farmuli  (previously governor of Saran and Champaran)

3- Miyan Maruf Farmuli 

4- Miyan Taha Farmuli   ( a captain of war, brother of Miyan Maruf )

5- Miyan Muhammad known as Kalapahar Farmuli  (governor of Bahraich)

6- Miyan Sulieman Farmuli  (commander of 5,000 cavalry, governor/muqta of Indri)

7- Shaikhzada Mahmud Farmuli  (a captain of war)

8- Masnad-i-ali Bhikan Khan Farmuli  (a captain of war)

9- Khan-i-Khanan Farmuli (a captain of war)

10- Shaikhzada Manjhu Farmuli  (governor of Chanderi)

11- Shaikh Said Farmuli (muqta of Harianah and Daisuya)

12- Shaikh Bayazid Farmuli