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‘The Yusufzai State of Swat’ By Major. W. R. Hay (Part 1)

Before presenting the William Rubert Hay’s article, titled,  ‘The Yusufzai State of Swat’, it is appropriate to provide brief introduction of him. According to Wikipedia:

Sir William Rupert Hay (December 16, 1893 – April 3, 1962) was a British Indian Army officer and administrator in British India. He served as Chief Commissioner of Balochistan during the colonial era. He was educated at Bradfield and University College, Oxford. He was commissioned in the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1914 and served during World War I in Mesopotamia. He transferred to the Indian Army and was attached to the 24th Punjabis, being appointed Quarter-Master 30 October 1916. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1918. He was seconded to the Foreign and Political Department in May 1920 and was confirmed in his appointment in May 1924. He was Political Agent in South Waziristan 1924–28, Assistant Commissioner in Mardan 1928–31, and Political Agent in Malakand 1931–33. He was Resident in Waziristan 1940–41, Resident in the Persian Gulf 1941–42, Revenue and Judicial Commissioner in Balochistan 1942–43 and Agent to the Governor-General, Resident and Chief Commissioner in Balochistan 1943–46. He was again Political Resident in the Persian Gulf from 1946 to 1953 when he retired from the service and returned to England.

The Article is Given Below:

The object of this paper is to describe the creation and progress of an autocratically ruled State which since 1917 has come into being in the Tribal Territory on the North-West Frontier of British India-the Yusufzai State of Swat, as it is styled by its founder.

The Pathans, who reside in the tribal territory on our border, are essentially a democratic race, and though from time to time a Khan or Mullah has arisen amongst them who has acquired such influence that he has come to be regarded locally more or less as a King, it is doubtful whether an individual has ever before succeeded in establishing over any part of their country such absolute power as that now enjoyed by the present Ruler of Swat, Miangul Gul Shahzada Sir Abdul Wadood, K.B.E. Though his State occupies only a very small portion of the world’s surface, its creation is such a unique achievement that a brief description of it may not be considered out of place in the Society’s Journal.

The Swat valley is rich in historical and archaeological associations. It was the scene of one of Alexander the Greats’ campaigns and the home of an extensive Buddhist civilization. Almost every spur is crowned with the solid remains of ancient dwellings, while here and there in the side-valleys one suddenly encounters the majestic pile of some old Stupa gradually crumbling away and covered with grass and bushes. This aspect of the country has however been ably and meticulously described by Sir Aurel Stein in his paper which was published in the Society’s Journal for November and December 1927, and in his book ‘On Alexander’s Track to the Indus,’ and I shall not therefore deal further with it in the present paper.

During the last few years, by the kindness of the Ruler, I have visited many parts of Swat State by car or on foot, while through the courtesy of the Royal Air Force any parts of the State which I have not visited on the ground I have been able to see from the air. I have also had many long talks with the Ruler and those about him and have learnt direct from them all the recent history of the State and the details of its administration.

The Yusufzai are one of the largest of the Pathan tribes on the North – West Frontier of our Indian Empire. They are divided into two main branches, the descendants of Yusuf and the descendants of his nephew Mandanr. The latter are mostly settled in the Mardan Sub-Division of the Peshawar District in British territory, and we shall only be concerned in this paper with a few of them who occupy a fringe of the hilly country on the northern border of the Swabi Tehsil. The descendants of Yusuf are divided into four branches: the Akozai, who occupy the Panjkora and Swat valleys and some very mountainous country between the Swat valley and the Indus; the Malizai and Iliaszai, who live in Buner and some adjacent country towards the Indus; and the Isazai, who are mostly found on the left bank of the Indus but possess a small slice of country on the right bank of that river. All these sections are divided into numerous sub-sections of which I need only mention the powerful Malizai, a sub-section of the Akozai, who occupy practically the whole of the main Panjkora valley and must not be confused with the Malizai of Buner.

The article was published in the Geographical Journal, Volume 84, Number 3 in September of 1934 by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

To Be Continued…

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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