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Default The Lost Tajiks Of Pakistan - 02-08-2018, 12:40 PM

The Lost Tajiks Of Pakistan

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By Arif Hasan Khan Akhundzada On Feb 5, 2018

Pech River valley Kunar Afghanistan--photo by the author

The medieval Mumlikat-e-Gibar of northeastern Afghanistan and the northern areas of Pakistan was established as a Muslim Tajik sultanate in about 1190 AD. Being ruled in tandem by two brothers, Sultan Bahram and Sultan Pakhal (or Fahkal) Gibari, they were the scions of an earlier local Tajik princely dynasty of Zoroastrian converts, ruling the famous Pech Valley area in Kunar in Afghanistan. Hence their family was named Gibari which was taken from ďGabrĒ, a term used derogatively by early Arabs for unconverted Zoroastrians. The brothers were sons of Sultan Kehjaman, son of Sultan Hindu of Pech. Their family tradition states descent from ďSikandar-e-ZulqarnainĒ or Cyrus the Great Ė the founder of Persiaís Achaemenid Empire some 2600 years ago. The Gibari Sultans are more famously known as the ďJehangiri SultansĒ after Sultan Jehangir, a later member of this dynasty who became famous due to his achievements. A later name for these Sultans was ďSwatiĒ due to the fact that their capital was located at Manglaur in Swat.

The Gibar State was a major vassal state of the Ghori Empire and of the succeeding Delhi Sultanate. Originally extending from the Tagab River in the environs of Kabul and the Hindu Kush on one side, to the Karakorams and River Jhelum and Kashmir at the other end. In Pakistan, its territory originally consisted of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram, Dir, Chitral, Balor (Gilgit), Kohistan, Swat, Buner, Malakand and the Peshawar Valley districts to the north of River Kabul and west of the Indus Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi together with Hazara District across the Indus. The regions of the Gibar State located in Afghanistan, in and to the west of the Suleiman Mountains included parts of Kabul, Kapisa, Laghman, Kunar, Panjsher, Badakhshan, Ningarhar, Wardak and Logarónow all Afghan provincesó and with Khyber and Kurram.1 -Gibar Ė Introductory Map


This map shows the Gibar Sultanate (red line) as it was when it was originally established in about 1190 AD
After having brought the westerly portions under his sway, Sultan Bahram had established his capital in the village of Papin located at the foot of the Safed Koh (Spin Ghar) mountain range in Ningarhar, Afghanistan, while his brother Sultan Pakhal set out to conquer the lands to the east, as far as River Jhelum and made his base in Manglaur in Swat Valley. However, Sultan Pakhal died prematurely, and his many sons fell out amongst themselves and started killing one another. Their uncle Sultan Bahram had to go to Swat where he was forced to wage war on them to restore order. He thereafter emerged as sole ruler, and Manglaur became the permanent capital of the kingdom.

Come the 14th Century, the localities of the original Gibar State located to the west of the Suleiman Mountains, in Kabul, Kapisa, Laghman, Kunar, Badakhshan, Ningarhar and Logarópresently Afghan provincesótogether with the areas comprising Chitral and Gilgit succesively broke away and became separate princedoms. In 1339, Hindu-ruled Kashmir also passed into the hands of another Gibari, Shah Mir, later Sultan Shamsuddin, who had earlier gone to Kashmir from Batkhela in Malakand area and settled there with his family and retinue, at the urging of his father who had seen a dream in which his son was the king of Kashmir. He ended up in taking it over, setting up a separate vast Muslim kingdom and the Shah Miri Dynasty. He ruled till his death in 1342. During the reign of his son Sultan Shahabuddin, in about 1360, the remaining eastern parts of the Gibar Sultanate were then reformed into the Pakhli Sarkar, named in honour of its original conqueror Sultan Pakhal. This also became known as the Kingdom of Swat, which was made into a ďsarkarĒ or a provincial dependency of the larger Sultanate of Kashmir. Later in 1386, the Sultan of Kashmir further expanded his sultanate by adding to it vast swaths of the Potohar plateau in the south east. Although no specific records exist, the walled city of Purushawar (Peshawar) itself is believed to have always been under the nominal control of the Sultans of the Delhi via their Jehangiri vassals. The original Gibar State had almost exactly the same boundaries as that of ancient Gandhara immediately preceding it. It is also a strange coincidence that the western border of the later Pakhli Sarkar very closely resembled the Durand Line which has now taken its place. The mention of Chinggis (Genghis) Khanís passage through the early Gibar State has been reliably documented, taking place about 28 years after it was set up. 3 Ė Pakhli Sarkar Map:


Pakhli Sarkar MapĖby the author
With the exception of Kashmir and Hazara, the dominant rural population of the whole area north of the River Kabul (Gandhara) and upto the River Indus, at that point in time, consisted of Shalmani Tajiks and their aristocratic Dehqan ruling class, who are believed to have been among the areaís ancient inhabitants since the days of the great Persian empires before Islam.

There were also Dards in the region, the major group among whom were the Tirahis, now extinct. It is believed that the early Pashtuns or ďKarlanisĒ were originally Dardic Indo-Aryans called Pakhtas who later adopted the Saka Iranian language which became Pashto in due course. Prakrit (i.e. early Hindko) speakers lived alongside in the urban settlements. It is very clear that Tajiks, ethnic Persians or Farsiwans in the east, then existed far beyond what are now regarded as their traditional ethnographic borders in Wakhan and the Hindu Kush. This is further borne out by the fact that Gandhara had remained a ďsatrapyĒ or province of Imperial Persia for some 1,000 continuous years before Islam. The form of Persian that they spoke then was called Gabari (Zoroastrian Dari) which is now extinct.

There was also then an old Pashtun tribe in the region, the only Pashtun tribe present at that timeóby the name of Dilazak, which was very widely distributed. It was said to have come here very late in the day, with the first Muslim conqueror of north India, Mahmud Ghaznavi, somewhere in the 11th century. Most of the Dilazak Afghans were much later expelled across the River Indus into Hazara and Chachh areas by the invading Yusafzais and their alliesó where they are found today. The greater part of those who remained behind most likely changed their identity by adopting the name of their kindred Khattak tribe, which then lay further to the south, on the perimeter of Peshawar Valley.

Islam first came to the Gandhara region with Mahmud Ghaznavi, but actually began taking hold here during the rule of the Tajik Swati-Gibaris. However sizeable Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian populations still remained. Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, the Persian saint who introduced Islam into Kashmir, was a trusted confidante of the Jehangiri Sultans of Swat. He died in the fort of the Gibari governor of Bajaur area, Malik Khizar Ali Gibari. Though the Gibaris had become staunch Muslims by all accounts, local Muslim society was still very much in the process of formation.

In 1398 Amir Timur (Tamerlane) annexed the Pakhli Sarkarís Hazara portion across the Indus. There he settled some of his Karluk Turk soldiers who established the small independent Turk kingdom of ďPakhli-HazaraĒ which was to flourish for 323 years. Thus the old Tajik Pakhli Sarkar or Swat Kingdom was reduced in its extent to the areas of Bajaur, Dir, Swat, Buner, Malakand, Kohistan and Peshawar Valley ógoverned in the shape of four wilayats called of Bajaur, Swat, Buner and Hashtnagar-Bagram. However, these provinces were then far larger than the areas now denoted by the same names: Bajaur wilayat was bounded on the north by the Chitral River, on the west by the Sulaiman Mountains, to the east by Swat; and to the south by River Kabul. It included the Mohmand area and much of Dir. Buner stretched from the present Kohistan District and Shangla in the north, to Attock on the River Indus. Hashtnagar-Bagram wilayat included all the lands east of the River Swat, covering the upper portion of Peshawar District, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera.

The Tajik Swati Kingdom of Pakhli Sarkar finally came to an end as a result of two factors: mass migrations swept the area, emanating from southern Afghanistan and involving various Pashtun tribes of the Eastern Sarabani section headed by the Yusufzais, which had been provoked by Timurid political moves. At the same time, another Timurid prince from Ferghana, Zaheeruddin Babur, also invaded India. In 1519 he attacked and conquered the Kingdom of Swat (Pakhli Sarkar) as the first part of his strategy to overthrow the Delhi Sultanate and replace it with the Mughal Empire seven years later. In 1586 Shah Miri Kashmir also passed into the hands of his grandson Akbar.

The Sarabani Pashtun tribes, whose arrival en masse had flooded the area west of the Indus, at around the same time that Babur came, gradually settled in the lands of the Kingdom of Swat, and then established their domination over the area. Though the Kingdom of Swat was overthrown in 1519, the completion of the usurpation of its lands by the Yusafzais and their Sarabani kin is believed to have taken place over a 70-year period. This process began with the massacre in 1481 by Mirza Ulugh Beg, the Timurid prince, of hundreds of Yusufzai tribal chiefs in Kabul, which initiated the mass exodus of that tribe eastwards. Ulugh Beg was Baburís maternal uncle and governor of Kabul. The Yusufzai refugees who first arrived in Pakhli Sarkar in a state of trauma, were shown goodwill by the Swati rulers and their Shalmani and Dilazak subjects. They were given shelter and lands. Gradually the Yusufzais took root as manual labourers, and invited their other tribal relations to join them. The ranks of the Sarabani Pashtuns thus swelled here and after about 40 years they were strong enough to challenge the Tajik order. The Tajik Swatis had become decadent in the pursuit of pleasure, and were riven by factionalism and squabbling.

Babur first attacked the huge Gibar Kot fortress in the Babu Kara area of Bajaur, killing Malik Haider Ali Gibari, the Swati governor of the Bajaur wilayat of Pakhli Sarkar. He also massacred 3,000 inhabitants of the town located inside the fortress walls. The Mughals were at an enormous tactical advantage, because on this occasion they employed firearms, this being the first ever instance of guns being used in the Subcontinent. Baburís victory was assured because the Shalmani Tajik troops ran away, being frightened by the bangs and smoke of the unknown new weapons. Babur chronicles this conquest in all its vivid and bloody details in his memoirs, the Baburnama. The conquest of Swat Valley itself took place later that year by the Yusufzais, and was a bit different. Its ruler Sultan Owais had tendered his submission to Babar after the capture by the latter of Bajaur, and thus Babar had not invaded Swat. But he instigated the Yusufzai refugees who were then living in Bajaur and western Peshawar Valley area; and who were by then his allies, to revolt against the established order. Employing a mixture of surprise, intrigue, deception and aggression, they suddenly rose up in revolt, driving out the governor of the Hashtnagar-Bagram flatlands region, Mir Hinda Dehqan. His rapid retreat towards his village of Thana in Malakand and the dismal performance of the assembled Swati armies, and their failed last stand there, ensured that the pursuing Yusufzais gained access to the biggest prize of allóthe lush alpine valley of Swat. The Swatis were taken completely unprepared. The Yusufzai refugees who had been living as workers in the area for decades, were familiar with the riches and beauty of Swat, a place they had frequently visited in order to sell the straw mats they made. Sultan Owais at last abandoned his capital and fled to northwest to Nihag Darra in Dir where he took refuge among the Zoroastrian ĎKafirí Dehqan population of Talash and established a Ďnawabií where his descendants ruled in obscurity for a century before vanishing for good. 2 Ė Map 1200 AD

The greater part of the now extinct Shalmani Tajik population, and their Dehqans who did not flee the uprising or get killed, were forcefully absorbed and incorporated into these tribes under new Pashtun identities. Their refined culture and social system was assimilated by the invading Pashtun tribes. Many from among the Tajiks were subjugated into bondage and serfdom. The Persian term Dehqan, which once meant aristocratic landed proprietor, became synonymous with tenant cultivator or serf in local parlance. The great majority of Tajiks fled across the Indus to their brethren in Pakhli (Hazara), where they settled and now speak Hindko Ė and are known as ďSwatisĒ. The names of Shalman and Tirah also still exist as localities in Khyber Agency, now populated by Mohmand and Afridi Pashtuns, who were not there in those days.

Thus the old Turco-Tajik Ghorid-Khilji/Ghilji-Afghan order of Muslim rule in India passed on to the Timurid (Mughal) order with the fall of the joint kingdoms of Swat and Kashmir and their patron, the Delhi Sultanate. The Timurid order itself was replaced by the Afshar-Abdalid order to the west of the Indus (in Afghanistan) in 1747 while in India it remained in an increasingly diminishing and emasculated form for a further 110 years till it gave way to the British Raj.

This article will come as a surprise to most because there is no mention of any Gibar State or Pakhli Sarkaróor any Tajik population at allóin local public discourse. It is not at all insignificant as a subject, nor is it that far back in history, but its total absence from our countryís formal and national historiography seems very surprising, in particular with the continued emphasis on reminding everyone about how Islam came to India and furnished the basis for Pakistan. The Ghori Tajiks are frequently mentioned in this context. But no one even knows about their vassal Tajik kingdom that spanned the entire Northern Areas of Pakistan as well as a sizeable portion of northeast Afghanistan. The Gibar Kingdom and its sultans find mention in several standard and iconic early and medieval Muslim historical texts.These include the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, Tuzuk-i-Timuri, Baburnama, Ain-i-Akbari, Jehangirnama, Shahjehanama, Alamgirnama and Siyar-ul-Mutakhireen among others. The Jahangiri Sultans and their times are mentioned in a wealth of detail by prominent British colonial writers such as Major H.G. Raverty, and in other colonial literature. But as regards other modern scholarship, the situation is very dismal.


Map provided by the author
At times there even seems to be a formal ďcover-up conspiracyĒ spanning the centuries, with regard to this legacy, and its overthrow and takeover. A good example in this regard would be to refer to Sir Olaf Caroeís treatment of the matter. The last British Colonial Governor of the NWFP (now KP) and a senior colonial bureaucrat and strategic planner, his book The Pathans is still considered by most to be the best international work so far on the Pashtun ethnicity and their history. An otherwise keen and erudite scholar such as Caroe who, it is evident, was always anxious and at pains to show his propriety in matters of knowledge, can only casually mention the Gibari-Swati Sultans, and that also just three times, in his celebrated magnum opus. It is as if he was referring to a quantity so well known that it merited no further academic elucidation or introduction. But in fact this apparent innocence seems to smack of a wily deliberation: a sly way of distracting attention from and diminishing the importance of a key historical matter at the same time! But that comes as no surprise, as upon examining The Pathans, it is all too evident where the personal sympathies of this colonial official lay, as well as those of the establishment he was tasked to work for. We see that glaringly in his dedication of the book on its title page to the Yusafzais, as well as his wish recorded therein to be considered as an ďhonourary YusafzaiĒóa tribe which, like all the Sarabani Pashtuns, constituted the backbone of the British Raj in its Pashtun theatre throughout. On the other hand, eminent scholastic personages such as Pakistanís foremost historical authority, the late Dr. A.H. Danióthough he belonged to the Northern Areas himselfóhas declined any mention of the Kingdom of Swat, save for a few paragraphs which he has quoted from the early English author Elphinstone. He mentions in passing the (Gibari) Sultans of Kashmir, but not in the context of their background or the nature of their linkages with Swat. Awareness of this history has tended to exist as a memory in the informal oral discourse of the local countryside, and its illiterate folkloric milieu; remaining as confidential knowledge circulating among the local rural elites, discussed discreetly. These events are also extensively recorded in the traditional vernacular histories of the Yusafzais tribes themselves, in books such as Tawareekh-i-Hafiz Rehmat Khani and books by the contemporary saint Akhund Darweza such as Tazkiratul Abrar Wal Ashraar. But significant as they are, these accounts are far from being mainstream, visible or accessible to modern educated audiences of our own country, let alone internationally.

Without this historical cover-up, the history and culture and other causes of the area would appear in a new light, and the mysteries and enigmas surrounding it and the historical development of the Pashtun ethnicity, its culture and accurate academic definitionóa matter which is so lacking and deficientówould be dispelled. Systems of governance keep changing and social orders come and go all the time. That is what history is all about. But not many situations have such a legacy of hidden skeletons in closets; and not for such extended periods of time. With certain strong parallels to the Norman invasion and takeover of Britain in 1066, the historical process of the fall of the Kingdom of Swat has, however, been obscured by its local perpetrators and their Mughal and later British helpers. And we may surmise that those defeated also remained silent, out of not only fear but shame too. Moreover, Britainís Norman analogy cannot pertain to our present context, as by 1566ó500 years after its Norman takeoveróBritain was on the way of dominating the globe, while the same cannot be said of the inhabitants of the region we are looking at. Unlike the Norman invasion of Britain, the Sarabani-Timurid overthrow of the Kingdom of Swat or the Pakhli Sarkar was more sinister and insidious in character; and some of its consequences are fully manifesting themselves even today, centuries later.

A factor worthy of mention here which has greatly aided in uncovering this lost history, is that of genetic genealogy. This is a very young and revolutionary science which has progressed by incredible quantum leaps and bounds within the last 15 years. Genetic investigations conducted by this author since 2004 have shed light against which no historical cover-ups can stand a chance. The indigenous aboriginal Tajik populations that were forcefully absorbed and ďPashtunisedĒ by the Sarabanis in the Peshawar and Swat Valley regions 500 years ago, have now been clearly exposed by genetics in surroundings till now normally considered as ďPashtunĒ. Also, startling facts have been revealed behind the true ethnic origins of the presently dominant section of Sarabani Pashtun tribes which suppressed these aboriginal inhabitants 500 years ago, and subsequently also came to dominate their own Afghan ethnicity. Not only that, but genetic studies have corroborated the underlying traditional Ghori (Suri Tajik) origins of the greatest Afghan tribal confederacy, the Bettani (Ghalji) Ė which is in fact now the largest group of Pashtuns and historically the most accomplished, and included heavyweights such as the Khilji and Lodi Sultans of Delhi and Sher Shah Suri. But that is another subject.


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Default 02-08-2018, 12:41 PM

Never heard about this Tajik dynasty from Swat. I always considered this place as Pashtun homeland but this article says otherwise. @Samandri please help.

I have also found this article about Swati Tajiks but its written in Cyrillic

–Ę–ž“∂–˜–š“≤–ž–˜ –Ÿ–ž–š–˜–°–Ę–ž–Ě: –œ–ž –Ę–ž“∂–˜–š–•–œ, –Ě–ź –Ÿ–ź–®–Ę–£–Ě!

The lost Tajiks of Pakistan ‹ The Friday Times


"For thirty years, I endured much pain and strife,
I awaken the Ajam by this Persian [language]. "

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Default 02-08-2018, 03:20 PM

I have also heard about it but I'm not a historian and can't verify it. But I would like to know more about it.

Last edited by Elias; 02-08-2018 at 03:26 PM.
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Default 02-08-2018, 03:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firdousi View Post
Never heard about this Tajik dynasty from Swat. I always considered this place as Pashtun homeland but this article says otherwise. @Samandri please help.

I have also found this article about Swati Tajiks but its written in Cyrillic

–Ę–ž“∂–˜–š“≤–ž–˜ –Ÿ–ž–š–˜–°–Ę–ž–Ě: –œ–ž –Ę–ž“∂–˜–š–•–œ, –Ě–ź –Ÿ–ź–®–Ę–£–Ě!

The lost Tajiks of Pakistan ‹ The Friday Times
The Title says 'Tajikhoy Pakistan - Mo Tajikem na Pashtun!'
The Cyrillic article is written in tajiki.
I can decrypt it but I'm currently out of time.
Nice find, though.

Last edited by Elias; 02-08-2018 at 03:40 PM.
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Default 02-08-2018, 03:51 PM

We had some previous discussions on the topic:

Gabari Tajiks
Tajiks of Swat?
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Default 02-09-2018, 11:27 AM

alot of nonsense
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Default 02-12-2018, 06:45 AM

The word Tajik is not used but the population of Swat spoke Gibari (?) and Farsi languages before arrival of Yousafzais according to Akhund Darweza. It also appears that some of Swatis were of Afghan (Pashtun) extraction. Khwaja Malezai , contemporary of Emperor Akbar and original author of Tawarikh Hafiz Rahmat Khani, says that Mitravi clan of Swatis told the Yousafzais (after conquest of Swat in early 16th century) that they are also Yousafzai by origin and that long time ago they separated from the parent clan in Kandahar and migrated to Swat.

Some of the other communities in the region, who were believed to be Tajiks, turned out to be Dardics after linguistic study. This Akhundzada guy ( a wannabe Tajik from Charsadda) originally considered Tirahis to be Tajiks. I sent him the reference of "Notes on Tirahi" by Georg Morgenstierne. He dismissed the study of Georg Morgenstierne and insisted that they were Tajiks but from the above article it appears that he has now come to terms with the fact that Tirahis were not Tajiks but Dards.

This Akhundzada Hasan guy told me that he was once active on Tajikam.com
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Default 02-12-2018, 07:24 AM

Swatis | History of Pashtuns د پښتنو تاريخ
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Default 02-14-2018, 02:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samandri View Post
The word Tajik is not used but the population of Swat spoke Gibari (?) and Farsi languages before arrival of Yousafzais according to Akhund Darweza. It also appears that some of Swatis were of Afghan (Pashtun) extraction. Khwaja Malezai , contemporary of Emperor Akbar and original author of Tawarikh Hafiz Rahmat Khani, says that Mitravi clan of Swatis told the Yousafzais (after conquest of Swat in early 16th century) that they are also Yousafzai by origin and that long time ago they separated from the parent clan in Kandahar and migrated to Swat.

Some of the other communities in the region, who were believed to be Tajiks, turned out to be Dardics after linguistic study. This Akhundzada guy ( a wannabe Tajik from Charsadda) originally considered Tirahis to be Tajiks. I sent him the reference of "Notes on Tirahi" by Georg Morgenstierne. He dismissed the study of Georg Morgenstierne and insisted that they were Tajiks but from the above article it appears that he has now come to terms with the fact that Tirahis were not Tajiks but Dards.

This Akhundzada Hasan guy told me that he was once active on Tajikam.com
He made a huge mistake by calling Sikander Zulqarnayn Cyrus when its pretty well known it was Alexander the Great.

You are right. This article seems has some political bias.


"For thirty years, I endured much pain and strife,
I awaken the Ajam by this Persian [language]. "

-Ferdowsi.
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