Swat History


The year 1964 saw unprecedented snow fall in Swat. Even Saidu Sharif had some two feet thick snow. The road was closed for traffic from Mingrora up to Marghazar and Islampur. Supply of milk and fire wood to Saidu Sharif usually depended on these areas. So it was also suspended. People of Saidu Sharif were facing great hardship. As most of the houses had stone and mud walls with wooden beams, battens, pillars etc, the roofs covered with heavy snow endangered the lives of the occupants. As per chance a year or two earlier, we had shifted to a great Haveli in Afsar Abad, vacated by Captain Abdul Hanan, on his retirement. It had some nine big rooms and two long verandas. Most parts were empty and not used by us. The wooden battens were hardly bearing the burden of the thick snow. We were a little spoiled boys though grown up but could not do the hard work of removing the snow from such a big house.

My cousin Sardar Ali was Jamadar in State Malatia. He was from Islampur. As per chance, he and his battalion were on duty at Saidu Sharif. He brought his soldiers and cleared our roofs from snow. People were facing great hardships in procuring milk and fire wood, when the weather cleared and the snow melted. The thick shrub on the Afsar Abad hill looked as if burnt. A man from Mingora offered Rs. Ten thousand for the rights of clearing the shrub. His offer was accepted and he deposited the money in the State treasury. That evening, one officer attending the dinner at Wali Sahib residence, told about the miseries of Saidu Wals. Wali Sahib called the Treasury Officer Sultan Muhammad Khan to return the money to the bidder and allowed the people to clear the shrub free of any cost. It was a scene out of some fairy tale. Hundreds of people attacked the hill like locusts and cleared it in a few days. People from far off villages also rushed to avail the opportunity. We were again handicapped, but called some men from village and had our share of the free lot.

If I add how much the Wali cared for his people, some faces will frown in their ill-tempered and evil nature.

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