Swat History


I think I have discussed various departments of Swat State except one which is worth mentioning,  ‘The State Royal Band.’ Now everyone knows that the State had its own Anthem, written by the famous Pashto poet Samandar Khan Samandar. But the Royal Band exited even before this anthem was introduced.

In the beginning, the State Band’s uniform was ‘Khaki’. Their instructors and officers were two brothers called Mashar Baji Ustad and Kashar Ustad. They lived in a house on Aqba Road. Both were thin and tall with drooping hena-dyed mustaches and trimmed beards. Sons of the elder ustad got education and joined Education Department. When the brothers were retired, they were replaced by Shafadar, son of one of them; I do not know which of the two.

Shafadar was given the rank of Subedar. He was an interesting character. Whenever he sat, his devotees gathered around him to hear his lovely talks. He kept well-nourished mustaches, which he kept turning up with his palms or thumb and finger. He used to boast that he fed ‘kishmish’ to his mustaches.

He braged about his performance whenever he got a chance to lead the band in Parades held on 5th of June (during Swat State yearly celebrations) or during weekly march on the road. The band consisted of Scotland bag pipes, and drums. All drums were of the same size but one was extraordinary large. It was played by a member of the Royal Band, whose name was Dusham. He used to tie it over his chest. The rest of drummers had them hanging from their waist to the left side.

The drummers had short two beating sticks but Dusham had two drum sticks with white round shaped heads.

They practiced not on drums but on a theatrical wooden fixture, installed where now is the G.P.O. They beat the tones on those wooden benches, following the Subedar’s directions. He had a long rod with a silver crown at the top. When he raised it, the trainees looked at him and he would suddenly bring it down and the beating stopped simultaneously. A few years before, Wali Sahib inducted another retired band major from the Pak Army.

Now the professional jealously among both often produced funny moments for the on lookers. Under the new Band Major, the uniforms were changed from ‘Khaki’ to white colour, embroided with golden laces  and white long boots.

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