The period starting from the departure of Sayyid Mubarak Shah (Son of Sayyid Akbar Shah who served as King of Swat) in 1858 till 1915, when Abdul Jabbar Shah was proclaimed King by a Jirga of Nikpi Khel and Sebujni, is called ‘Da Pukhto Zamana’.
In these sixty years of anarchy, “might is right” was the law of the land. Racial and caste discrimination was prevailing in its worse form. All Non-Pukhtuns were second class segment of society. Some families claiming descendentcy from religious devotees were given some kind of respect and had the right to hold land possessions but were not taken into confidence in Jirga meetings. Though they could arbitrate in disputes of ‘Khels’, and could stop active fights by waving a white shroud for making ceasefire. You may consider them second class citizens of the lawless community of Swat.
Then there were the Mullahs, who led five times prayers in the Masjid, taught the Holy Quran and performed some other religious customs. They were respected and abhorred at the same time. The real blue blooded Pukhtun was not clear regarding their behavior towards them. Sometime they addressed him as Sahib and the next minute he was ‘Ya Alaka Mulla’. His stay at the Masjid depended on the sweet will of the respective ‘Khel’, who claimed the ownership. For example, there were Bas Khel Jumath, Khatoon Khel Jumath etc. The ‘Pesh Imams’ were a miserable lot and lived from hand to mouth. He left in legacy only ‘Imamath’ to his son and the land given to him by the Pukhtuns. But he had no ownership rights of that land.
Then there were professionals, the carpenters, the iron-smiths, the gold smiths, the Parachas and the ‘Ghareebs’. The ‘ghareeb’ owned no house and no land. He was totally at the disposal of the Khan and every Pukhtun was and still is considered a Khan.
With the advent of the Miangul Dynasty, the social values remained the same and no worth mentioning changes were brought in the class based society. Pukhtuns were given preference in State jobs and were made ‘Majab Khor Malak’.
But, intentionally or instinctively, Badshah Sahib preferred other castes on high posts. If we look at the prominent names of that period, we find that the Wazir Brothers were basically from Chitral, Sipah Salars, secretaries, Kaman Officers, Commanders etc included some great names of those castes which the Pukhuns called ‘Non Pukhtuns’.
This change was a great breakthrough for the insulted and humiliated ‘Non Puktuns’ people. For the first time they felt that they were also respectful human beings and they gave best performance on any position they were posted by Miangul Abdul Wadud, Badshah Sahib. They were ministers, Hakims, Tehsildars in civil and judicial branches but also on high posts in the State army. Most of the ‘so called ghareebs’ also found jobs in the State administration and army etc, releasing some pressure on them from the feudal community.
But the inferiority complex still exits though at a lower scale. Fortunately, in this twenty first century, men of science and technologies are more valued.