Swat History

SWAT IN THE YEAR 1862, AS DESCRIBED BY MAJOR HENRY GEORGE RAVERTY (PART 23)

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 23)

No gold is found in the river or its smaller tributaries, unless it be at their sources; and there are few or no trees on the river’s banks, in the whole of the lower parts of the Suwat valley, not a hundred altogether I should say, save in the smaller valleys running at right angles to it. Here and there, one or two may be seen, in fields near the banks, under which the peasants rest themselves, and take their food in the hottest part of the day. It is in the mountains, on the sides of the valley, that trees are numerous.

The mountains on either side as seen from the broadest part of the valley constituting Lower Suwat are of different degrees of elevation. The first, or lower ranges, are of no great height, and of gentle ascent; and the second are rather more abrupt; and on these there are, comparatively, few trees, but much grass. The third or higher ranges appear like a wall; and that to the north is densely covered with pine forests, which are seen overtopping all.

Firewood is scarce in the lower parts of the valley, and the dry dung of animals is used instead; but in those smaller valleys at right angles to, and opening out into that of Suwat, there are woods and thickets enough. There are no shrubs or wild trees, such as we call jungle in India, in any part of Lower Suwat, save in these smaller valleys, and in the higher ranges which I did not reach; and therefore I cannot speak confidently on that subject.

The Suwat valley, not including the Kohistan north of Pia, is, according to Shaykh Mali’s arrangement, divided into two parts, known as bar or Upper, and lar or Lower Suwat, which two divisions are thus defined. From Manyar to the village of Tutakan towards the mouth of the river, it is termed Lower Suwat; and from Manyar northwards to Pi’a is Upper Suwat. Lower Suwat is hot, and produces little in the shape of fruit, but grows plenty of rice; has numerous villages; and is densely populated. Upper Suwat again is cold, and the climate temperate; but it has few rice-fields; produces much fruit; but has fewer villages, and is less densely populated than the other part of the valley. I heard of no part termed middle Suwat, which you say is mentioned in Elphinstone’s book, and those of others ; the only divisions beyond the two I have named are not recognized, unless we take the boundaries of tribes and Khels as such; but the people of a country know best about such matters ; and I have stated accordingly. No Suwati would know what middle Suwat means.

In Lower Suwat rice is extensively cultivated, whilst in Upper Suwat, wheat, barley, and bajri are the chief grains. As regards temperature and excellence of climate, picturesque beauty, fruits, and game, Upper Suwat, from Munglawar to Chur-rraey, which I saw myself, is by far the best. The Kohistan beyond is much the same. The whole of the upper portion of the valley is intersected, at right angles, by the most picturesque little vales, of about half a mile or less in extent, the very residence in which would be sufficient to make a man happy. Each has its own clear stream running through, towards the main river ; and their banks, on either side, are shaded with fine trees, many of which bear the finest fruit, and beneath which, every here and there, there are fragments of rock where one may sit down. The hills on both sides, up to the very summits, are clothed with forests of pine, whose tops yield a most fragrant smell. Dust is never seen.

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 262-264

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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