Swat History


Major Henry George Raverty’s brief work with the title, ‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’  was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal  (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta in the year 1862.  That work of Major Raverty is produced here on this website for the interest of the readers and research scholars. Raverty wrote: (PART 4)

“About a mile or less from the last named village, we beheld to the right, as we proceeded, the road leading to the village of Upper Ba-ri-darah. We passed the road or path leading to the other village of Lower Bari-darah, which was also near; but a spur of the mountains intervening, hid it from our sight. These villages lie in the valley of Baz-darah, which is so called of the number of falcons taken there, for which it is celebrated; and it is also famous as having been the residence of Durkhan’i the Peerless, who love and misfortunes, and that of her lover, Adam Khan, have been celebrated, in prose and verse, and is sung or repeated throughout the Afghanistan. We had not to dismount and ascend the pass on foot, as it is full two miles in ascent; and no loaded camel could possible get up it, unless, indeed, it were one of the Bakhtrian breed; but then at considerable risk, even if without a load. The pass is, however, practicable for ponies, horses, mules and bullocks. We observed immense quantities of the grasses called sabah, with small leaves, and growing very long; and also that description called sar-garri, in Pushto, which is the same as that given, dried, in bundles to horses in the Bombay Presidency. The sabah I never saw before. The ground is a steep ascent; and like most paths of the kind, in this part of the world, it is full of boulders, in all directions. The path does not lead along between the cliffs, as it were; but in trench-like, and as if deepened by heaving floods. It is very winding; and appeared to consist of a soft description of stone, like sandstone. As we went along, the KHAN SAHIB remarked , that if any one wanted to make a good road into Suwat, this is the best for the purpose of account of the softness of the stone, whilst in the other kotals, or Passes into the valley, there was only hard rock. This I found quite correct when I returned by the Malakand Pass. The breadth, as we ascended, was in some places so broad as to allow the KHAN SAHIB and myself walking abreast; but generally, it was so narrow that we had to proceed in single file. There are no pine trees in the path itself; but the sides of the mountains, to the very summits, were clothed with patches of them. It is from the cones of this description of pine that the nut-like kernel, similar to the the pistachio, is produced; but they were not, then, sufficiently ripe.”

“This Pass also contains, and in fact all these mountains contain, immense quantities of a sort of gravel, both coarse and fine, which is like small shot, and very heavy. It is called charata’i by the Afghans, who use it to shoot partridges, pigeons, quail, and the like. I saw it, generally in all the different Passes; and in Upper Swat, I also saw it on the roads and paths, but did not notice any in the ravines or beds of rivers. Its colour is that of earth, turbid, or nearly black, and very heavy, not smooth like the gravel of the sea-shore or beds of rivers, but rough and many-sided, like as if stone had been broken into the particles and then become somewhat rounded from having been rubbed together. This gravel has no doubt given the name of another Pass, a little to the west of that of Morah which we were ascending, known as Charat Pass. I noticed the path leading into that Pass; and have been told that it is very steep  and difficult, and only practicable for parties on foot, and animals without loads. The direction we proceeded in from Sherkhana’i first branched off a little to be right; and the path of the Charat Pass lay to our left , in a direction about north-west. I had collected a small quantity of charata’i to sent to you, but lost it, somehow or the other, before I reached Peshawar. In Upper Suwat, they call it gitta’i , but this is the Pushto term of gravel in general. I have no doubt but that it is some mineral substance containing iron, and that it has become rounded by the action of water; for, in the winter, the ravines become the beds of torrents.”

Reference (Source Details):

‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’  was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal  (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta, pages 230-232.

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