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 16)

About four or five miles further up the valley, beyond the Yusufzi boundary, there are a few hamlets, the two principal of which are called Chur-rra’i, on this bank, and Tirataey on the opposite side. These villages are inhabited by the descendants of the celebrated Akhund Darwezah, the great saint of the Afghans, and successful opponent of Pir Roshan, the founder of the Roshanian sect. It appears that the whole of Suwat, as far north as Pia, was conquered in Shaykh Mali’s time; but these few villages just referred to, were acquired from the Kafirs (as all people are termed by the Afghans, who are not of the same faith as themselves) about a hundred and fifty years after, in the time of Akhund Karim Dad, son of Akhund Darwezah. At the capture of Tirataey Karim Dad lost his life.

I was informed by the people here, that some years since, a number of dead bodies were discovered, buried in a mound at the side of a hill, near Tirataey. The bodies were quite perfect as if but recently dead; and had been buried with their arms, consisting of bows and arrows, axes, and swords. They were removed and re-interred along with their weapons, in some consecrated spot. When I heard this, the thought struck me that you would desire to possess specimens of these arms, but I could not obtain any without having one of these burying places opened, which, amongst such bigoted people, was dangerous and impracticable.

The people of Tirataey also told me, that they possess the body of Akhund Karim Dad; whilst the people of the village of Kanjuan affirm that when he fell fighting against the Kafirs, he was buried in their village. The reply of the Tirataey s to this is, that they stole the body from Kanjuan, and carried it off to their own village and buried it there. All such statements as these are solely for their own interested purposes, in order to enable them to peel off the skin and flesh of poor people, in the shape of offerings at the shrines.

Having now reached the boundary or extremity of Upper Suwat, beyond which I could not then penetrate, we began to prepare to cross the river, and return home by the opposite bank; but before giving an account of our homeward journey, I will here give you the information I gained respecting the country beyond, up to the source of the Suwat river, which I obtained from an intelligent Afghan who passed several years there.

After leaving Pi’a, the boundary of Upper Suwat, the first village is that of Chur-rra’i, beyond which the Pushto or Afghan language ceases to be spoken, and the Kohistani language is used. The fiist village is Biran-yal inhabited by Tor-wals, which is situated on the left or western bank of the Kohistan river as the river of Suwat is also termed. The distance between this village of Biran-yal and the village of Chur-rra’i is about eight miles, from the first of which the Kohistan may be said to commence. The people here too understand Pushto. From this to the extremity of the valley, at the mountain of Sar-dzaey, is a distance of seventy-five miles; but the valley is so narrow that a stone thrown from one side reaches the other; in short it is about a bow-shot across. The whole of this space is occupied by two tribes; first the Tor-wals, sometimes also called Bud-baris; and above them again, the Garwi tribe. The amount of the former is about 9,000 adult males,  and the Garwis about 3,000. Hence it will be seen, that this district is densely populated.

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 251-252


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