Swat History

SWAT IN THE YEAR 1862, AS DESCRIBED BY MAJOR HENRY GEORGE RAVERTY (PART 15)

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 15)

In the vicinity of this village the peculiar gravel called charata’i, before referred to, is found in great quantities. The people called it gitta’i, which is Pushto for gravel in general. Here too, the valley is not more than half an English mile across, even if so wide; and the banks of the river are very high. The fields are few, and the extent of cultivation insignificant.

There are more mills in this part of the valley than in any other part of Suwat. Great quantities of honey are produced here also. The Suwatis make dwellings or hives for their bees, and take great care of them. The hives are thus made. They place a large earthen pot in a tak or niche in the wall of the house, with the bottom of the pot towards the outside part of the wall, and the mouth level with the interior part of the wall of the house. They then plaster all around with mud, so that the pot may not fall out of the niche. The mouth is then closed with mud, that the bees may enter from the hole made for them in the bottom of the pot, which is turned outside. When the pot is well stored with honey, the bees having taken up their residence in it, the mouth of the pot, which has been closed with mud is re-opened from the interior of the house, and a piece of burning cow-dung, that smokes, is applied thereto. On this the bees go out, and then the hand is inserted, and the honey removed; but some of the comb is allowed to remain for the bees. The mouth of the pot is then closed up again.

Scarfs called shalaka’i both white and black, are woven here in great numbers, which are exported for sale to Peshawar and other parts. This part of Suwat is also famous for its fruit, every description of which comes into season earlier in this vicinity than in any other part of the valley.

The complexion of the people of Upper Suwat is quite different to that of the people lower down the valley; and the men are generally fair and good-looking. I also saw some females of Kashkar, and the Kohistan, to the north of Suwat, at this village, who were very handsome indeed. The women of the villages, along the river, in this part of Suwat, go out every morning to bathe, during the summer months; and numerous bathing machines have been built for their convenience. These consist of four walls of mud, or mud and stone, and of sufficient height to conceal the bathers. The men, also, use them; but they are intended for the exclusive use of females in the mornings. These places are called char chobaey.

The villages in this portion of Suwat are much smaller and more scattered than in the central parts of the valley; and the people of each village are generally at feud with each other and, consequently, little or no intercourse takes place between them.

I should mention in this place, that from Tarrwah to Chhar-bagh the ground rises gradually, and thence to Khuzah Khel still more so; and that at every hundred paces almost, the difference can be distinguished.

From Petaey we proceeded onwards about  three miles to Pia, the ground rising considerably and abruptly until we came to this village, the last held by the Yusufzi Afghans in the northern extremity of the Suwat valley, which here terminates. Beyond the country is called the Kohistan, which is, however, the Persian word for Highlands; generally used throughout most parts of Central Asia to designate all mountainous tracts. Between this and Petaey also, the river foams and boils along with great impetuosity; and is more considerable than the Arghandab river, near Kandahar, even when at its greatest power and volume.

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 249-251

TO BE CONTINUED...

The Chief Editor of the website (www.swatencyclopedia.com) is Jalal Uddin. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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The Chief Editor of the website (www.swatencyclopedia.com) is Jalal Uddin. He hails from Saidu Sharif, Swat. He is M.phil Scholar and his research field is Swat State. He regularly writes on Swat State and its various aspects.
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