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 7)

“I found, from what I hear of the most respectable inhabitants of Tarrnah, that Shaykh Mali was a Yusufzi Afghan, and that his descendants still dwell in Suwat; but they could not give me full particulars as to what village they might be found in; neither could they inform me regarding the place where the Shaykh was buried. Khan Kaju, or Kachu belonged to the Rarnizai branch of the Yusufzi tribe; and his descendants also dwell in the valley, at the village Allah Ddaud, and will be mentioned in the notice of that place, further on.”

“The historical work written by Shaykh Mali is not in the possession of the Tarrnah chiefs; and they moreover,  informed us, that that work would not be found in the whole country, save in the possession of Khan Kaju’s family.”

“We now prepeared to start from Tarrnah towards Upper Suwat. On the morning of the 22nd August, we left Tarrnah, bending our steps towards the north, but inclining to the east, which might be termed N.N.E. We passed the villages of Jalala, Haibat Gram, and Ddandakaey, and reached the mountain of Landdakaey, close at the foot of which the Suwat river runs. On this account, in the summer months, when the rivers is swollen from the melting of the snow towards its source, in the direction of Gilgit, the pathway, lying along the banks , at the foot of the mountains, is impracticable from the force of the stream, which foams and boils along with great violence. A road has, consequently, been made over the crest of Landdakaey itself; but it is extremely narrow, and so frightfully steep, that one of our own party, an Afghan, and accustomed to the mountains from his childhood, passed with the greatest difficulty; for when he ventured to look down he became guite giddy. In the cold season, when the volume of water decreases, the path at the foot of Landdakaey is used. This last named mountain has no connection with that of Morah; but it is a spur of the range, of which Morah is a part, that has come down close  upon the river, or rather the river washes its base, as appears from the map, which you sent with me to the filled up. In this part of the river, there are two branches, one much more considerable than the other. The lesser one becomes quite dry in the cold season, and in the hot season has about three feet depth of water. This is very narrow, with steep banks and rugged bed, along which the water rushes impetuously. The other branch contains a much greater volume, and lies furthest from the Landdakaey mountain.  On ascending the mountains, up to the end or extremity of the spur, where, in the map, I have brought the mountain and river together, the road leading along the side of the precipice is very difficult, being naturally scraped, like a wall,for about fifty paces; and the road, if it can be so called, is built up into rough steps with slabs of stone, so very smooth, that a person is liable to slip. After this dangerous path has been passed over, you have to ascend about fifteen paces, then some twenty more in a horizontal direction; and, finally, fifteen paces, or thereabout, down again. I mentioned before, that one of our party had great difficult in getting along; this was no other than the KHAN SAHIB himself. When we came to this dangerous passage, he stopped and waxed pale; and turning towards me said: “I die for you.” I was astonished, and asked, “why?” he replied: “ My eyes turn dim, dim.” I conforted him as well as I could, and took off my shoes: and with my face to the river and back to the mountain, I crawled along, and he followed after me: and so afraid was he, that he looked at the river every moment, although I forbade him: but he was so overcome with horrid fancies, that he had not the power to restrain his eyes. This difficult path is not quite a yard broad, and is, at least, two hundred yards above the river, which foams beneath. After we had escaped from this place in safety, the KHAN SAHIB came to himself again, in some measure, for the put on his shoes, and began to walk upright. I could not discover who had made this road, although I afterwards made inquiry. There is another road to the east of the one we had passed, which leads over the crest of Landdakaey itself, and by it animals are brought, when the water is at its height, but I did not examine it. We noticed that on the opposite side of the river, the mountains forming the north-western boundary of the Suwat valley approach withing about three miles of that point. The river is said now to have entered that part of Suwat termed wuchah or the dry, which will  be referred to in its proper place. Landdakaey is about three miles distant from Tarnah, to the north.”

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 235-237.


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