Editor ChoiceSwat History

HISTORY OF SWAT FROM 1853 TO 1893 (PART 8)

Military Report on Dir , Swat and Bajour (First Edition) was compiled by the Intelligence Branch, Division of the Chief of Staff, India, Shimla, in the year 1906. This report was compiled by Major A.C.M, Waterfield, M.V.O., D.A.Q.M.G. Further it covered the geography, communications, climates, resources, ethnography, history, administration, military and political aspects of Dir, Swat and Bajour areas. Those parts which are related to Swat are produced here for the interest of readers. Part 8 of this series is given below. This part deals with the Ambela Expedition and scenario of Swat after the death of Akhund of Swat.

The Ranizais from Swat and within our border (british border) continued to commit acts of aggression and to cause disturbances on the Frontier which led to further military operations being taken against them. In March (1853) a force per margin, under Sir Colin Campbell, marched from Peshawar against the Uthman Khels and burnt several of their villages. The force proceeded as far as Dargai and a fine of Rs. 5,000 was imposed on the Sam Ranizai. The Sam Ranizai, however, repudiated their hostages and their fine unpaid. In May a second force, consisting of 3,270 of all arms, detail as per margin,under Sir Colin Campbell, moved against the people of Sam Ranizai. The village of Shahkot (Skhakot) was attacked and burnt on 18th May, and the enemy, who assisted by some 4000 foot and 500 hundred horses from Swat , were driven off with great loss and  pursued up to and over the Malakand pass, where the Akhund (Saidu Baba) and Badshah (Sayyid Akbar Shah) had  been spectators of the fight. Dargai was also burnt. Our losses were 11 killed and 29 wounded. The ammunition expended by our troops was 211 rounds of Artillery and Infantry, 20,613 rounds. The column marched all through Sam Ranizai colony burning several villages and returned on the 14th to Gujar Garhi where the force was broken up.

During the summer of this year preparations on a large scale were made for a punitive expedition into Swat but it was postponed sine die as the tribes desisted from giving further trouble.

Said Akbar Shah, the King of Swat, died on the 11th May (1857), the very day that the news of the mutiny at Meerut reached Peshawar. The native infantry regiment at Mardan, which had taken the place of the Guides when the latter went to Delhi, mutinied and some 500 of the mutineers crossed the border into Swat. Fortunately for us the Akhund, so far from taking active steps against us, drove out the mutineers.

The Government was obliged in I863 to send a punitive expedition against the Hindustani Fanatics in Buner. This came to be called the Ambela campaign. The Akhund probably had no very great desire to be drawn into direct opposition to us. The Bunerwals called on him for help and to refuse would have been to have lost his great influence. Not only did he joined himself, but by his influence the leading Khans of Ranizai joined with some 5,000 men: Faiz Talab Khan, the Tarkanri chief, brought a contingent from Bajaur and Ghazan Khan of Dir joined with 6,000 men. The power of the Akhund was strikingly illustrated by the ready reply to his call to arms and the severe fighting which ensued. For the next few years there were no serious disturbances on the frontier. The Akhund of Swat died in January 1877. During the latter years of his life he was never actively hostile to us and generally maintained a neutral attitude. On the death of the Akhund two powerful factions arose headed, respectively, by Rahmatullah, the Khan of Dir (son of Ghazan Khan), and by the eldest son of the Akhund, Abdul Manan, better known as the Mian Gul, both factions having numerous sympathizers among the Ranizais… In Swat the two surviving sons of the Akhund tried in December of this year (1879) to a Jehad against the British Government who were engaged in military operations against Afghanistan, but owing to the critical stage of the internal politics in Bajaur and Dir and the opposition of Sherdil Khan of Alladand, the leading Khan of Swat, the proposal happily for us fell through completely.

The next ten years (1880-1890) was a period of almost uninterrupted strife in Swat, Dir, Bajaur and Nawagai. The Mian Gul of Swat at one time siding with Rahamatullah, Khan of Dir, at another with Umra Khan of Jandul. It ended in 1890 in the complete mastery of Umra Khan. Mohammed Sharif Khan, the late Nawab of Dir, who had succeeded his father in 1884, was driven out of Dir and forced to take refuge in Lower Swat. Dir territory, including Maidan and Baraul, fell into the hands of Umra Khan and was put in charge of his brother Mohammad Shah Khan. Umra Khan also invaded the Talash valley and Adinzai country, establishing his authority as far south as Chakdara… An arrangement was made with the Khans of Lower Swat and Umra Khan (in 1892) whereby a postal route through Lower Swat and Dir, to Chitral was opened for the first time. This route was maintained by Umra Khan up to January 1895 without the slightest loss or damage to the mails. At this time the Mehtar of Chitral was trying to raise the Yusufzai tribe against Umra Khan in favour of the Khan of Dir, the Khan of Nawagai being also hostile to Umra Khan. Under these circumstances Umra Khan appealed to the British authorities for assistance in arms and ammunition, but the request was ref used. Umra Khan now attempted to extend his conquests to Nawagai. A battle (in 1893) ensued in which Umra Khan was worsted. Meanwhile the Khan of Dir advanced from Swat supported by the Adinzai and the people of Talash and Dosha Khel, the Sultan Khel and Painda Khel also joined them. Umra Khan patched up his quarrel with Nawagai and by June recovered all the country he had lost and inflicted heavy punishment on those clans who had risen against him…

Military Report on Dir , Swat and Bajour (First Edition), Intelligence Branch , Division of the Chief of Staff, India, Shimla (1906), Pages 22-22.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The writer is founding Chief Editor of www.swatencyclopedia.com. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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The writer is founding Chief Editor of www.swatencyclopedia.com. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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