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 25)

The patches of land about the lower ranges of hills, or spurs from the higher ranges, if fit, they also bring under cultivation ; and where they cannot bring their bullocks to work the plough, the work is done by hand. In fact, there is scarcely a square yard of tillable land neglected in the whole of Suwat; for all the valley is capable of cultivation, there are no stony places, no sandy tracts, or the like to prevent it.

When the Yusufzi tribe had effected the conquest of the samah, or plain of the Yusufzis, as it is now termed, lying along the northern bank of the Kabul river, from its junction with the united rivers of Panjkorh and Suwat, until it empties itself into the Indus near Attak,—from the Dilazak tribe, about the year H. 816, (A. D. 1413), they remained quiet for some time. At length Shaykh Mali who was, by all accounts, the chief of the tribe, and another of their great men, Malik Ahmad, having consulted together, determined to effect the conquest of Suwat, then held by a dynasty of kings, who claiming descent from Alexander of Macedon himself, had for many centuries past, ruled over the regions lying between the Kabul river and the mountains of Hindu Kush, as far east as the Indus; together with the whole northern or alpine Panjab, as far east as the river Jhelum, the Hydaspes of the ancients. The Yusufzis, accordingly, taking with them their wives and families, invaded Suwat by the Malakand Pass, the scene of a terrible defeat sustained by the troops of the Emperor Akbar under his favorite, Raja Bir-bal, at the hands of the Yusufzis in after years, and soon overran the whole of that pleasant valley, which they finally subdued, together with the surrounding districts of Buner, Bajawrr, and Panjkorah.

Shaykli Mali made a regular survey of Suwat and Buner; and portioned out the whole of the lands amongst the sons of Yusuf and Mandarr, according to the number of persons in each family; but leaving a portion for distribution amongst three clans who had accompanied them in their exodus from Kabul, a few years before, consisting of Kabulis, Lamghams, and Nangraharis, but who were not Afghans. The portion allotted to Afghans was termed daftar; and that given to Mullas, Saiyids, and the foreign confederate clans just referred to, was called tsira’i, by which names these lands are still known. Shaykh Mali first divided Suwat into two nominal parts. To that portion, lying between the right bank, and the mountains towards the north and west, he gave the name of lanwdah, in Pushto signifying moist, from enjoying a greater portion of water than the other; for where the river separates into several branches is part of this moist tract, hence the name; and to the land lying between the left bank and the mountains on the south and east, he gave the name of wuchah or dry. The bounds of the lanwdah half of the valley was fixed, by the Shaykh, from Brrangolaey, the boundary village of Lower Suwat, nearly facing Tutakan, on the opposite bank of the river, to Landdaey, the last village to the north, just opposite Pi’a, and extending in length about sixty miles. The wuchah portion extended from the village of Tutakan in Lower Suwat, to Pi’a, the boundary village of Upper Suwat, a distance of sixty-three miles. The width of both these divisions was from the respective banks of the river to the mountains on either side.

Suwat fell to the portion of the Akozis, a sept of the Yusufzis, who are again subdivided into two smaller ones. The wuchuh was given to the Ba’i-zi division, and the lanwdah to the Khwado-zi division. These two divisions again branch out into several clans or Khels. Thus from Tutakan to Tarrwah, are the Rarrnizis, who also hold a few villages under the low hills south of the mountain range of which mount Malakand forms a portion, such as Tsana-kott, or, as sometimes called, Shah-kott, and Dar-gaey. Their chief town is Allah-ddandd, the residence of Sher-dil Khan, before alluded to.

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 266-268

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