Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Desecration of dead bodies of Pashtun Ghazis by the British

Burning the body of a Ghazi assassin outside the Peshawar Gate, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Second Anglo-Afghan War, illustration from the magazine The Graphic , volume XIX, no 480, February 8, 1879

1899: Death warrant of Sher Dil, issued at Peshawar by a judge of the British establishment. Its not clear what crime was Sher Dil executed for. However, Summary Execution and then burning of the dead body with lime was the punishment for killing any British. They would bury the ashes of the dead in the jail premises and the family of the dead would be refused to bid final farewell in any way.

Here in the photos, the death certificate and an additional note confirming burning of the dead body of Sher Dil.

1890: Zhob expedition ;
"This morning punishment by hanging was meted out to a Ghazi at Apozai. It appears that, having said his prayers, he got ready to murder the first man of any importance that passed, who in this case chanced to be Lieutenant Godfrey, the Assistant Political Agent, on his way to Europe on sick leave under cavalry escort. The fanatic fired at two sowars successively, each time missing, and then, when the kahars who were carrying the doolie in which lay the officer dropped it and bolted, he first shot at and then dashed with his sword at Godfrey, but was fortunately shot in the hip and disabled in time. When captured, he said he had been oppressed by the malik of his village, and he looked very ill and broken down. Before the drop fell, he shouted to the Pathan onlookers to pray for him. I may mention, also, that the native who shot the coolie within five hundred yards of the Bengal Cavalry lines on the 9th was also a Ghazi. He, too, was duly captured, and hanged almost on the spot of the murder, a little before 9 o'clock on October 21, in presence of three or four hundred people. In both cases the bodies were burned."  [With the Zhob Field Force, 1890 - Page 112]

From The Graphic 1897,
"The corpses of the enemy are always burnt as an additional terror to the living. At Malakand one of their most important chieftains was found dead within three yards of our trenches, and some twenty others not far from him who had been shot in attempt to recover his body out of the hands of the infidel. He was dragged by the feet by a common sweeper, and burnt in full view of the enemy in heights, which had a most depressing effect on them". [The Graphic, November 20, Vol-56, p-667]

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