Swat has always been an interesting topic for historians, tourists, anthropologists and sociologists since lots of centuries. As compared to Dir State in its neighborhood, Swat has always been open to all sorts of invasions. People of diversified origin have come to stay and then forced to leave by other invadors, but every occupant has left their mark on the land. Swat has attracted fierce destructive forces also from time to time, but none of them tried to stay for long. Even the Britishers marched all along the valley and according to Winston Churchill, went up to Bazarkot, (Yakhtangay, Shangla). They looted Mingora and other houses en-route their show of power. Churchill says in his book, “Story of the Malakand Field force”, that the local people turned their backs to the marching army, and kept on working in the fields. As the Britishers were not interested in permanent occupation of Swat, they did not established forts or garrisons here, as they had done in Malakand and Dir.
So books on Swat are available in many languages, but in the neighboring Swat of Dir, researchers face hardships in finding Dir oriented books for reference. Dir was a ‘Khanate’ till 1905, and the family in power was the descendent of Akhun Elyas, a religious mystic and scholar of Nehag Dara. After Umara Khan of Jandol took over Dir and the then Khan of Dir, Mohammad Sharif Khan sought refuge in Mingora, Swat. The British Government considered the rising of Umara Khan as a threat to their power, hence they helped Sharif Khan to regain his Khanate. So Umara Khan was defeated and Sharif Khan installed as first Nawab of Dir. After his death, Nawab Aurangzeb Khan alias Charha Nawab reigned Dir. His tenure was continuously disturbed by conflicts with the neighboring new emerged State of Swat. But the most powerful and strong Nawab in the history of Dir was Nawab Sir Shah Jahan Khan. He kept Dir isolated from outside world. He established personal relations with the Kings of Iran and Afghanistan. His reign came to an abrupt end in 1960s, as the Pakistani authorities dethroned him and air-lifted him to Lahore, where he died in exile. He kept his people away from education and health facilities. After his removal, Dir started its journey of development with the assistance of Government of Pakistan. There are a few books available on Dir, such as ‘Dastan e Dir’ by Riazul Hasan and ‘Gumnan Riyasath’ by Suliman Shahid. Besides these two books, I am personally unaware of other record about Dir. An Iranian tourist Mahmood Danishwar has given some details about the atrocities of Shah Jahan but these look more like horror movies than a valuable historic substance.
Writing about Dir is an unexplored field and has a great potential and material for appropriate men of knowledge presently. We have good writers in Dir, who are young and had all the favourable conditions for research. We request them to come forward and bring the hidden facts to light.