By Qamar Yousafzai - Tue May 15, 8:35 pm
The ancient history, or even that up to a late date, of the nation now known as Yousafzai, is but very imperfectly, if at all, known in any connected record of successive events. Casual notices relating to it are, however occasionally met with the different native records of the past transactions of the various sovereigns of the two great empires on the natural boundary line between which it lies– India on one hand and Persia on the other. The position of the Yousafzai on the main road of the communication between these two empires, would naturally ensure for it to participate in the political vicissitudes of each; and, of such having been the case, the ruins and antiquities which at this day abound in all parts of the country, are the mute witnesses.
In all probability, it had been previously traversed by Darius Hypstapes. The earliest authentic account we have of this region dates from the time of Alexander the Great, who, as is well known, marched through it on his advance from Kabul to India in about 326 B.C . From the time of Alexander, to all the following rulers and leaders, the Yousafzai’s were always among them and were very much liked by them. At the time of Babur’s ruling, in the sixteen century, Babur took Malik Suleman Yousafzai’s daughter as his own wife, as she was known for her beauty around the area. Malik Suleman Yousafzai among other Yousafzais would always be present in the wine parties and later when Malik Suleman Yousafzai , along with his son , Malik Shah Mansur Yousafzai, Babur’s brother-in-law accompanied Babur to what was then their usual route, through Swat, Bajawar and Kunar and on arrival at Kabul, were received with due honor, whilst as a mark of particular friendship, Babur decorated them all. On his Brother-in-law he bestowed the “tugh” or “badge of honour” and each of the others with Shah Mansur was given a “khilat” or ,” robe of honor”. Before departing for their homes, Babur, at their own request, settled a long standing dispute as to the limit of the Yousafzai’s, and decided that all of the Country till Abua in Swat would be Yousafzai land; with the Country beyond that had no concern.
There is much uncertainty as to the exact date when the Yousafzai’s settled in the country that now bears their name. According to Akhun Darwaiza, they came from Kandahar, Afghanistan ; and in their migration eastward, arrived at Kabul when Mirza Ulugh Beg was governor. He succeeded his father Shah Rukh Sultan, who was the son of Taimur Lang, in 1446 A.D. The whole of Peshawar district had already been colonized by different Afghan tribes; and, on his second visit, fourteen years later, he found that the Yousafzai’s had spread well into swat. The settlement of the Yousafzai’s in their present limits, on these data, must, therefore, have been between and subsequent to the dates above-mentioned.
An account from the migration from Kandahar of the Yousafzai’s, their wanderings, and final settlement in their present limits which are, Districts Swabi, Mardan, Malakand, Bunair, Swat and Dir . It will suffice here to note that they took their present possessions from the Dilazaks, whom, without much difficulty, they drove over the Indus to the Hazarah mountains, after a single but desperate and decisive battle fought on the plain between the villages of Gadar and Langarkot. The site of the latter village is the present Garhikapura, which is near Mardan.
It was not clear who the Dilazaks were, they were supposed to be “Tarkilanri Pukhtoons”, but the Yousafzai’s dismissed this relationship and took them as from an Indian origin. After setting themselves firmly in the plain, the Yousafzai’s pushed on into the hill country beyond , and in a few years were the masters of Swat and Bunair. In 1519 A.D, when Babur journeyed this way, their limit included the lower half of Swat, and it was subsequent to this that they spread into their present limits. For many years after Babur’s time, the Yousafzai’s under the government of Malik Ahmed and Sheikh Malik lived in peace and prosperity , and devoted themselves to the cultivation of their newly acquired lands, which were about this time divided into hereditary lots and distributed amongst the different clans and their respective families, by common consent, under the direction of Sheikh Mali. The division of the land then made holds good to the present day throughout the Yousafzai Country.
But when Khan Kajoh succeeded to the chiefship, a feud broke out between the Yousafzai’s and their neighbors the Ghorikhails, who occupied the Peshawar district. It lasted many years, both sides facing serious loses and injuries. This was finally settled by the great clan fight at Shaikh Patur, when the whole of the Ghorikhails were completely broken and dispersed, and lost numbers of their men and women captives to the victorious Yousafzai’s. Shortly after this event, and during the early part of Akbar’s reign, the Yousafzai’s were further strengthened by the removal of their constant enemies the Dilazaks,. A great many of their families were deported to Hindustan, and their villages were made over to the Mahmands.
Whilst in this part of his extensive dominions, Akbar built the fort of Attak Banaras, and placed his son Salim in it as Governor. It was about this time, that the tribes of Lamghan, Bajawar and Swat quarrelled as to the boundaries of their respective lands. The Yousafzai’s who had never yet succeeded in occupying the whole of Swat, seized this opportunity for the advancement of their own interests, and formed an alliance with the Lamghanis, or Lughmanis, and both together ousted the Bajawaris and Barr Swatis, and appropriated their lands. The Yousafzai’s took Barr Swat and the hill to its North while the Lamghans took Bajawar.
After setting down, agents came several times from the government to get their government dues but the Yousafzai’s drove them out. This called for the emperor Aurungzaib Alamgir to enter with his troops, but the Yousafzai’s did not wait for them and made a strategical retreat to the hill. After sometime they came back down and we re-allotted their homes and land. Some were taken as hostages as to be a lesson for the Yousafzai’s for the future. After this they kept quite and peaceful during Shah Alam’s reign. But in the following reign of Mahomad Shah, the Yousafzai’s once again started to disobey government policies and rebelled against the authority of the governor of Peshawar, and laid violent hands on his son who was amongst those who came to collect the revenue. The Yousafzai’s continued this in 1725A.D when it was Nadir Shah’s reign. as the Yousafzai’s were the only Afghans who refused submission to his authority. When the Mughals entered the Yousafzai land, the Yousafzai once again retreated to the hills, but this time the Mughals were harsh and burned down all the crops and lands , leaving the sick and old with difficulties to escape. When the Mughals tried to go uphill to fight the Yousafzai’s , the Yousafzai’s full of spirit ran down the hill weilding their swords and attacked the Mughals, they in return started panicking and retreated. The Yousafzai’s with increased clamor , poured down the hill from all sides and pushed the retreating enemy as far as the Chalpani Ravine. In 1823 the Sikhs became the masters of Peshawar , punishing the Yousafzai on numerous accounts. In 1835, Dost Muhammad Khan came down from Kabul to fight the Sikhs. His troops however retreated without meeting the enemy, but not before they had plundered the whole country as far as the Indus. A couple of years later the Kabul leader came down to face the Sikhs. He was more successful than his previous expeditions, and after a confrontation managed to kill the Sikh general , Hari Singh at jamrudzai. He then proceeded to squeeze from the unfortunate peasants what little the Sikhs had failed to extract. He and his Durranis departed laden with the curses of the people, who declare them to have been greater tyrants than the Sikhs. About this time, Sir Alexander Burnes arrived at Kabul. His mission led to the advance of a British army into these lands in 1828. In 1841 acquired the memorable revolt at Kabul. In the following year came the avenging army under general Pollock. His troops performed only in time to join the Sikh campaigns that brought them into Punjab in 1845-46, and ended with the establishment of the British rule through all the country, as far as Peshawar in 1819. This then led to the colonization of the area. However, the Yousafzai still with their old traditions and rules led their normal life style and continue to do so until now.States Times (www.statestimes.net) (We regard your opinions and encourage you to contribute with your articles/ blogs. You can post your articles/ Stories/ Columns/ PRs to email@example.com. The views expressed by authors or media organisations, do not necessarily reflect our views. We aim to present a wide spectrum of opinion and analysis.)
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