Who’s Who’ was a confidential report published by the Political & Secret Department, Government of British India in 1933. The particular report covered the leading personalities of that era and provided basic information about them. The author has made an endeavour to provide details about those personalities who belonged to Dir State and whose names has been mentioned in that report. The details of those personalities is given below in alphabetical order:
The Khanate of Dir is an example of the potency of religious influence in securing temporal power. The founder of the family acquired merit and the title of Akhund by his religious qualifications and with the impulse, thus his successors succeeded in establishing a kind of hegemony over the Malaizai, to which group of tribes they belong… At present Nawab Shah Jahan Khan rules the greater part of his State on autocratic lines. The important family of the Akhunzadas of Khal (Dir) furnishes yet another example of the growth in the power of the church in the regions with which we are dealing… The prominent Khanships are, however, confined chiefly to the great families, the Ibrahim Khel, the Mast Khel and the Bahadur Shah Khel, and of these the last two are now completely subordinate to the Nawab of Dir. In fact the Mast Khel family has been almost entirely deprived of its possessions… the origin of these Khanates is not easy to trace .The most probable theory is that successful tribal leaders were either assigned large tracts of land by the tribal councils or were able to seize and hold such lands by force. It is significant that in most cases the estates of the Khans lie on the borders of foreign tribal country, and probably in many cases the founders were prominent military leaders in the tribe, who were appointed or recognised as wardens of the marches. The Maidan, Barawal and Dir Khans, aIso Khar, Jar and Mundah and Asmar, are examples of this process. The leading persons in Dir State are:
1. Abdul Jalil: He is Akhundzada of Khal and used to be a supporter of Alamzeb Khan, but came over to the Nawab in 1928 when Alamzeb Khan was turned out of Jandul. He was appointed “Mashir Mal” (Revenue Minister) and this office he still holds. Abdul Jalil is the Nawab’s nominee as Mail contractor on the Dir Road. He is a capable man who can give useful advice, and is more to be trusted than most of the Dir aristocracy.
2. Abdul Malik: Abdul Malik is a young man greatly in favour with the Nawab. He has lately been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Dir State forces. He is conceited and does not appear to possess much ability.
3. Abdul Matin Khan: Abdul Matin Khan is the eldest son of the late Umara Khan of Jandul. He was a political refugee in Kabul with the rest of his father’s family until beginning of 1916. Then he returned with the object of regaining his father’s patrimony in Jandul. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to get the Jandul and Mamund tribes to help him, and turned to the Nawab of Dir. The latter also was unable to do anything and Abdul Matin Khan became a pensioner, dependent upon the Nawab. In August 1917 he succeeded by a coupe-de-main in occupying the fort of Tor in Jandul on behalf of the Nawab, which largely contributed to the conquest of Jandul by the Nawab. Early in 1918, however, he made a serious attempt to seize Barwa from the Nawab but was defeated and taken prisoner. He was released but thence forward he became a formidable enemy to the Nawab and never related his efforts to make himself master of the whole of Jandul. In 1919 he returned to Kabul and from there announced his intention of advancing on Bajaur. In August of that year, he made an entry into Barwa and for a time dominated Upper Jandul. In September, however, the Nawab’s lashkars attacked Barwa and after desperate fighting, stormed the stronghold and captured Abdul Matin Khan, who from that time onwards, remained in Dir as a Political prisoner, but was soon after released and turned out of the Nawab’s territory. On the death of the late Nawab Badshah Khan, he was deputed by Khan Bahadur Shah Jehan Khan to raise a contingent of Bajauris and threaten Alamzeb Khan who aspired to the Nawabi of Dir. This, Abdul Matin Khan did with such success that he lost sight of Shah Jehan Khan’s interests and attacked Kalabat Fort in the hopes of regaining his patrimony. He was, however severely defeated and his contingent dispersed. He now lives quietly in a village near Chutiatan, which has been given to him by the Nawab.
4. Abdur Rahman Khan: Abdur Rahman Khan belongs to Rabat. He succeeded his father Abdullah Khan as Khan of Rabat in 1932. An old man without much personality or influence.
5. Akbar Said: Akbar Said is one of the Nawab’s “Commanding Officers”. A quiet and pleasant man-always ready to co-operate.
TO BE CONTINUED: