Swat History

The Yusufzai State of Swat’ By Major. W. R. Hay (Part 12)

Before the Wali had consolidated his position every tribesman was armed and was under an obligation to turn out for his ruler or tribe in a time of emergency. As soon as he felt himself strong enough the Wali disarmed all his subjects except at one or two points in his State where there is a danger of attack from outside. The more serviceable of the arms he immediately reissued to selected men in each village as State property, thus creating an army of his own to take the place of the old tribal lashkar, which lacked all organization and was liable to be fickle in its allegiance. The army is paid in kind and is divided into two separate forces. One mans the numerous forts, with which the countryside is studded, and may be regarded as a sort of constabulary, while the members of the other live in their villages ready to take the field when necessity arises.

The progress made by the country under the Wali’s strong but beneficent rule is marvellous. Peace and order reign even in the most remote and mountainous regions and trade flourishes. At Saidu there is a large school with about five hundred boys, a well-attended hospital, and a veterinary dispensary. There are also schools in many of the outlying districts. Fine residences have been erected at Saidu for the Wali and his eldest son, and several of the leading Khans and Maliks in the villages have built for themselves large tin-roofed bungalows on more or less modern lines.

To Be Continued…

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