He was a daring soldier, a perfect horseman and a wise man. Though totally illiterate, he had unmatched knowledge of Pukhtun code, Pukhtun Jirga and Pukhtun customs and tradition.
By caste, he belonged to a religious family. His genealogy reaches Hazrat Umar R.A, through Mujadid Alfi Sani. Thus they were called Sahibzadgan. His personal life was also full of adventures and romantic like a film story. It was said about him that after the mysterious death of his first wife, he took another widowed young lady by sheer force and crossing River Swat on horseback, took asylum with the Khan of Jura, Bar Swat.
How I came to know him? Because he lived in the last house at Afsar Abad, Saidu Sharif, at the foot of the hill. I was a kid of eleven plus years and used to go with my father to his Hujra for hearing Pashtu news from Radio Pakistan Peshawar and the ‘talk shows’ of Painda Khan etc.
I was talkative by instinct and so was he. Thus I went well with him and he patronized me. My father often asked me to be very careful about my words and respect the wise man’s point of view as he was senior to my father not only by age but also by rank. He was Commanding Officer of the State Cavalry, the Horse Regiment of the State forces.
Some time, we went to his Hujra after Isha prayers also in winter’s long nights and enjoyed the warmth of fire in the big rooms. We had oranges sometimes, sent by his cousin from Thana, Malakand Agency. My childhood passed in the company of such wise and wonderful State officers. But he was above all the rest in wisdom, sagacity, justice and command on ‘Riwaj’. He had unwavering confidence of both Badshah Sahib and Wali Sahib, when the Horse Regiment was dissolved, he was made Captain in the rest of the State Forces.
Probably it was in the second half of 1950s, that his wife died with a stray bullet of 0.22 caliber rifle, from unknown direction. Anyhow, his life continued with the same dignity and honour. After retirement, Wali Sahib made him ‘Munsif Judge’ or arbitration judge. He was given some staff and an officer in Saidu Sharif known as ‘Daftar Munsifan’.
He was assisted by Abdul Khaliq Khan of Odigram. They held equal ranks and authority in conducting their official duties. Wali Sahib had great confidence in him and mentioned him in his autobiography, as told to Fredrik Barth.
This was Sahibzada Muhammad Sherin Farooqi of ‘Gash Korh’.
(Photo Courtesy: Swatnama)