Swat History


We remained in Saidu Sharif for almost half a century. Besides the high ups living in the State capital, people from all parts of the State came to Saidu in search of opportunities and settled for ever there, spell bounded by the peace and tranquility, prevailing in Saidu.

More than 75 percent of the town population consisted of outsiders, but it is now their third and fourth generation most of whom might have forgotten when and where from, their forefathers had come.

The original Saidu Wals are either Papeeni Miangan, or weavers (julagan). There is also a stronghold of an influential family known as Thelian. Those are rich businessmen or highly educated. You can come across them in any department holding high posts.

The Papinees hold lands received in heritage from their ancestors, but rest of Saidu and adjoining lands up to veterinary hospital was the property of the Miangul dynasty. Now, I am introducing some known figures for your interest.

Shah Zar: There were two Shah Zars in Saidu Sharif. One was Shah Zar Ustad, who was driver of the elder begum household. He was a very calm, noble and soft tempered man.

But the Shah Zar of my story was a hardworking man who did all types of jobs to earn his bread. All winters, he open a popcorn stall where a prepared it in an ironware deep bucket. Children brought corn grains form their houses and he charged a handful of grains as his share. Thus he collected enough to suffice his two times bread for a few weeks.

But his real talent was his ‘Duff’ or ‘thumbal’ in Pashto. He was master of this musical instrument for which the English word is not in my vocabulary. When he was playing ‘duff’ accompanied by flute, played by another popular folk artist Bakhtyar, people enjoyed the rhythmic orchestra with great favour. Bakhtyar and Shah Zar were the best pair of folk music of our times.

Bakhtyar: He was the son of the Band Major of the Royal Band, Shafadar by name. Though his name was as above, but people called him ‘Shafadar’. Bakhtyar was probably his third son. As son of a professional band master, he was naturally drawn to play flute. He knew his art well and was often called upon by people interested in local music. Shah Zar was his indispensable partner.

Besides flute playing, he mended shoes and polished them in Saidu Bazar. He needed no shop to hire but just sit in front of Mir Hatam barber shop and opened his stall of repairing shoes. He was very talkative and attracted good audience who enjoyed listening to his jokes.

Next we will talk of Kalala, Dusham, Bachang and many more Insha Allah.

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