Editor ChoiceSwat History

‘The Yusufzai State of Swat’ By Major. W. R. Hay (Part 11)

As far as I know, only one European has visited any part of this country on the ground, and that is Sir Aurel Stein, who identified the height of Pirsar lying just north of Chakesar with the famous stronghold of Aornos, the capture of which by Alexander the Great is described in so much detail by Arrian. Sir Aurel Stein has given a description of this expedition in the paper to which I have already referred.

Swat proper is controlled directly by the central authorities who reside at the State’s capital Saidu. It is divided up into eleven Tehsils, nine of which bear the names of various Akozai sub-sections and coincide with their tribal holdings in the valley. Of the other two Churarai comprises a few villages occupied by Syeds and a portion of the Kohistan, while the administrative headquarters of the rest of the Kohistan is at Baranial. Buner consists of five Tehsils based on tribal sub-divisions and is administered by a Hakim or Governor residing at Gagra. In Mandanr the three tracts I have described Chamla, Sori Amazai, and Khudu Khel-each forms a separate Tehsil, and the Governor resides at Totali in the last-named tract. In the country between the Swat valley and the Indus there are, as already noted, seven Tehsils formed on geographical rather than tribal lines. Six of these are under a Governor who resides at Chakesar, while the seventh, Kana, is for special reasons controlled directly by the central authorities at Saidu. Governors of districts administer the Tehsils in which they reside. Other Tehsils are under Tehsildars responsible either to the Governor or directly to the central State authorities, as the case may be.

The whole State is ruled autocratically by the Wali, who is assisted by his eldest son, the Wali-e-Ahad, his Wazir, and his Sipah Salar or Commander-in-Chief. The Wali-e-Ahad is chiefly responsible for financial matters, the Wazir for the political and judicial administration, and the Sipah Salar for the military organization. The Wali is illiterate but decides every matter of importance himself verbally over the telephone. The revenue of the State is derived chiefly from Ushar, or the tax on grain and other products, and from tolls on imports and exports. The ushar is mostly recovered in kind, and State employees are mostly paid in kind. The average annual revenue works out in cash at about twelve lakhs of rupees, say 90,000 (Pounds), a year. The State finances are carefully handled and the expenditure is not allowed to exceed the income. Justice is administered on the lines of tribal custom. Whenever the Wali occupied a new tract he called upon the local elders to put on record their riwaj or tribal custom, and this custom is normally followed in all cases of purely local importance. Offences against the State or crimes affecting the public welfare, such as highway robbery, are generally settled by the Wali himself on their merits.

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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