Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti

Major Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti (Mardan district, KP), Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1931



Major Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti (Mardan district, KP), Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The Khans of Hoti are Kashranzai Kamalzai Mandanr-Yousafzai.

"Akbar Khan was an educated person and was known for his polished manners. He is the first 'Khan' of Hoti Family who started his career in Imperial Cadet Corps and escorted Lord Curzon. then Viceroy of India, during the Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1902-03, and was awarded Delhi Coronation Durbar 1903 Medal.

In 1904, Akbar Khan accompanied Sir Louis Dane's Mission to Afghanistan. Two years later, as a Lieutenant, he was sent on special duty with Amir of Afghanistan from 22nd September 1906 to 1st of May 1907.On completion of his assignment the Amir acknowledged his good services with compliments and good wishes and sent him memento of inscribed watch. In 1912, he was on Escort Duty with King of England during his Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1912-13 and was awarded Delhi Coronation Durbar 1913 Medal. Just after one year the First World War started. Captain Akbar Khan and Maharaja of Indore were selected by the Government of India to be Special Service Officers to serve in the operations in the vicinity of Suez Canal from February to August 1915. He served for six months at Suvla Bay in the Gallipoli peninsula and thereafter he moved to France and joined the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Later, he joined the 3rd Ambala Cavalry Brigade and 8th British Division in Somme campaign and Albert in France.

Captain Muhammad Akbar was transferred to Indian Army with effect from 25th August 1917 and was posted to 1st Brahmans at Santa Cruz. On 27th February he sailed with the regiment to Aden Field Force staying there till 4th September 1918. He served as the second-in- command and for some time acted the commanding officer of the regiment.. Soon he commanded a joint force consisting of two squadrons of Aden horse, two batteries of the Royal field Artillery, 7th Hampshire Fusiliers, 73 Carnatic Infantry, two companies of the 62nd Punjab Regiment and lst Brahman Regiment, and successfully attacked the Turkish positions at Bir Jabbar and Darab Front under Turkish General Said Pasha. Thus he earned the distinction to be the first lndian and particularly the first Muslim who commanded the British troops in operations against the Turkish General Said Pasha of Aden. After the war he was promoted on 5th January 1919, and posted to l/ 124 Baloch Regiment at Lahore. On 16th April 1919, he was appointed the Martial Law Commander at Badami Bagh. Soon the Regiment was called for the active service in connection with the Third Afghan War on 25th May 1919. During the war he again acted as the Commanding Officer of the Regiment at Hangu. After the war he resigned from his military service and retired as a Major on 28th April 1923.

In 1922, the government raised the Indian Territorial Force in North West Frontier Province. However, the government felt some difficulty in recruitment. Several local notables including Subedar Ghulam Haider Khan of Hund, Sher Afzal Khan of Jhanda and some of the latter’s relations were asked for help, however, ultimately Major H.A. B. Johnson, Officer incharge of recruitment turned to Major Muhammad Akbar Khan of Hoti for help. On the latter’s inducement the Yousufzi recruitment was completed to the entire satisfaction of the government. Subsequently, Akbar Khan was appointed the President of the Advisory Committee of the Indian Territorial Force of his Province and remained so till 1931. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 28th September 1928. [Source: "History of the Pathans", Haroon Rashid, Vol-II, pp.184-185]