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Thal Canal
Mianwali ( ) is a District in the north-west of Punjabmarker province, Pakistanmarker. It borders Lakki Marwat district in the west, Kohatmarker and Karak districts in the North west and Dera Ismail Khan Districtmarker in the southwest. Attockmarker lies in the north, Chakwalmarker in the north east, Khushab in the east and Bhakkar in the south. In November 1901, the North-West Frontier Provincemarker was carved out of Punjab and present day towns of Mianwali, Isa Khel, Kalabagh, and Kundian were separated from Bannu District (NWFP) and hence a new district was made with the headquarters in Mianwali city and placed in Punjab.


The majority of the population is of Hindko origin similar to the people of Attockmarker.Niazi Tribe is The Most Famouse Tribe of this District. Niazi Tribe is Mostly Living in The Mianwali City, Shahbaz Khel, Mosa Khel, Mochh, Sawans. The Tribes who known as Jats are living in the Kacha and Thal speak a Hindko Seraiki, lived in all parts of the district but mostly in Waan Bacharaan, Kundian, Ding Khola, Khanqah Sirrajia, Saeed Abad, Bakharra/Kacha Kalo, Kacha paar,khita-e-Atlas, Kacha Gujrat, Kacha Shahnawaz Wala, Phaati, Hurnoli, Alluwali, Duaba, Jaal, Piplan, Wichveen Bala, Moosa Khel, Shadia and many others villages which are parts of the district. There are small minority of Pashtuns and Punajbis. Mostly people speak a unique dialect of Seraiki which borrows many words from Hindko and Pashto. However the Khattak tribes living in the suburbs of Isakhel, Chapri, Bhangi Khel, Sultan Khel, Makarwal and Bani Afghan are bilingual, Pashto being their primary language but can fairly communicate in Seraiki as well. Awans living in the Salt range of Mianwali speak a dialect of Potohari which is called "Uttraadi"(pertaining to the highlanders).

According to the 1998 census of Pakistan the district had a population of 1,056,620 of which 20.39% of which 85,000 inhabit the district capital.


Mianwali used to be the part of Bannu district but on November the 9th,1901 a new district was made with headquarters at Mianwali city.Deputy commissioner used to be the head of the district.The first deputy commissioner was Captain A.J.O'Brian.The first district judge was Sardar Balwant Singh.It is worth mentioning that Capt.O'Brian served Mianwali not once but thrice.He was again given the charge of D.C.Mianwali in 1906 and then in 1914. This time he was promoted to the rank of Major.

The system continued even after the creation of Pakistan as a sovereign nation.It was not until year 2000 when the new local government system was introduced by the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.Three basic changes were made
  • Divisions which used to be third tier of the government were abolished and more autonomy was given to the districts under the motive of devolution of power.
  • With this new status of the districts Nazims were to become the administrators of the district with more authoritative powers.
  • The post of D.C. was abolished with the aim to put an end to the bureaucratic rule however the bureaucracy was offered an olive branch by creating a new post of District Co-ordinating Officer.However the Nazim remains the main elected representative and administrator while the D.C.Os serve as representatives of the government.
The district is administratively divided into three tehsils and 56 Union Councils:

Name of Tehsil No of Unions
Isakhel 14
Mianwali 28
Piplan 14
Total 56


Mianwali district covers an area of 5,840 square kilometres. The area in north is a continuation of the Pothohar Plateau and the Kohistan-e-Namakmarker. The district consists of various towns, including Kalabaghmarker, Isa Khelmarker,Ding Khola (Khanqah Sirrajia),Kundianmarker, Paikhelmarker, Piplanmarker, Kamar Mushanimarker, Mochhmarker, Rokhrimarker, Harnoli, Musa Khel, Zimri, Wan Bhachhran, Daud Khel and the district capital - Mianwalimarker city.

  • Kundianmarker is the second largest town at a distance of 15 km from the city of Mianwali.There is a Chashma Nuclear power plant(Chashnupp)Ding Khola (PAEC),Kundian(Chashma)Barrage,K.J(Kundian Jehlum)Chashma Jehlum)Link Canal
  • Thal is a large area which is mostly desert and semi-arid. It is located between Jhelum and Indus river (The Sindh-Saagar Doab). The boundaries of the old district established in 1901 included almost 70 % of this great area, but after the separation of Layyah and then Bhakkar Tehsils, only about 20% remains in this district. First deputy commissioner Mr. A J O'Brian wrote in his memoirs
" In 1901 the District of Mianwali was formed out of the two Punjab halves of two older districts, and I had the good fortune to be put in charge. It was a lonely District with, as my Assistant Mr. Bolster called it, three white men in a wilderness of sand.'"
  • Nammal (Namal) Lake is a place of interest for the hikers and holiday-makers in Chakrala.

  • Amongst fine views should be included that of the Indus and the eastern valley from a little conical hill at Mari, where the "Kalabagh diamonds" (quartz crystals) are found and which is crowned by an old Hindu ruin. Amongst picturesque spots may be mentioned Nammal, just beyond the Dhak Pass in Mianwali, also Kalabagh and Mari on the Indus, and Kotki in the throat of Chichali Pass.. The average rainfall in the district is about 250 mm.

  • Isa Khelmarker is another important town located in the west of Mianwali. It is a historical town named after Isa Khan, a famous Niazi chief.


The city is an economic and commercial hub in the district. There are several educational institutions up to post-graduate level, affiliated with the University of Punjab.


Whole of the district has extreme weather, summer last from May to September, June is the hottest month average temperature of month rise up to 42°C and maximum could go to 50°C whereas in winter, December and January temperature is as low as 3 to 4°C average per month
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °C 19 21 26 33 38 42 39 37 37 33 28 21 31
Avg low temperature °C 3 6 12 17 22 27 27 26 23 16 9 4 16
Rainfall in. (Cm) 1.6 2.1 4.1 2.4 1.9 1.8 7.6 11 4.5 0.7 0.1 0.9 38.5
Source: Weatherbase


Brief Overview

Traditionally all major rulers of South Asia governed this area in their turn. Mughal emperor Babur mentions Essa Khail (Isakhel) whilst he was fighting against the Pakhtuns as part of his campaign to conquer the Punjab during the 1520s (ref. Baburnama). Then came the Sikhs, that era was famous for lawlessness, and barbarism, they ruled until the annexation of Punjab in 1849 by the British.

During British rule, the Indian empire was subdivided into province, divisions and districts, (after the independence of Pakistan divisions remained the third tier of government until 2000). The British had made the towns of Mianwali and Isa Khelmarker tehsil headquarters of Bannu District then part of Dera Ismail Khan Division of Punjab province.

The district of Mianwali was created in November 1901, when the North West Frontier Province was carved out of Punjab and the towns of Mianwali, Isa Khelmarker, Kalabaghmarker, and Kundianmarker were separated from Bannu District which became part of the NWFP. A new district was made with the headquarters in Mianwali city and placed in Punjab, the district became a part of Multan Divisionmarker. Mianwali originally contained four tehsils namely Mianwali, Isa Khelmarker, Bhakkarmarker, and Layyahmarker, in 1909 Layyah was transferred to Muzaffargarh Districtmarker. The district became a part of Sargodha Divisionmarker in 1961, in 1982 Bhakkarmarker tehsil was removed from Mianwali and became a separate district of Sargodha Divisionmarker.

Detailed History

(As found in Gazetter of Mianwali-1915)

          Bannu Mianwali settlements
Presented to the LIBRARY of the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO from the lilorary of A. P. Thornton F^bpttbpra %eqmd [tie) eh haveBANNU; OUR AFGHAN FRONTIERS. S. THORBURN,INDIA CIVIL SERVICE,SETTLEMENT OFFICER OF THE BANNU DISTRICT.LONDON: TRtJBNEIt & CO., 57 and 59, LUDGATE HILL,1876.All Rights Reserved.HERTFORD :PRINTED BT STEPHEN AUSTIN AND SONS.PREFACEIn the spring of 1848, just twenty-eight years ago, the late Sir Herbert Edwards, then a young lieutenant in the service of the East India Company, achieved in a few months the bloodless conquest of the Bannu valley — a valley studded with 400 village-forts, which all the might of a military nation like the Sikhs had failed to subdue, though for twenty years and more they had made repeated efforts to do so. Lieutenant Edwards had been supplied with the means wherewith to compel submission, or rather to attempt it, in the shape of several Sikh regiments ; but happily his personal influence and tact enabled him to accomplish his task without resorting to physical force. The troops, as well as the people they had been sent to conquer, saw with wonder and admiration how difficulties, formerly deemed insurmountable, disappeared in a few weeks before the earnest enthusiasm of one Englishman. The good work had hardly been completed, when the second Sikh war broke out, and Edwards hastened away with what troops and levies he could collect to stem the tide of rebellion by boldly laying siege to Multan.VI PREFACE.At the close of the war, in which he had proved him-self a heroic soldier and skilful officer, he went home on furlough to find himself the lion of the hour. There he devoted his leisure to the production of a book called "ill Year on the Punjab Frontier ^^"^ in which he de-scribed, in vivid and glowing language, the events of 1848-49 in the Punjab, and his own share in them. This work is perhaps the best of its class ever yet published on an Indian subject, and, owing to its delightful sparkle and graphic scene-painting, bearing the impress of reality in every line, its pages afford charming reading to young and old alike, whether in-trusted in India or not. The very school-boyish vanity and ingenuousness of the writer enhance the pleasure of the reader, who sees the author before him as he then was, a young officer, who had bravely and wisely used a great opportunity, and who had gone to England, fresh from the scene of his conquests, to find himself made a hero of by his countrymen.In Part I. of the following pages extracts are intro-deuced from Edwards' book, which is now, I believe, out of print ; and the previous and subsequent history, social and political, of the Trans-Indus tracts of this District are sketched. A short account is then given of the revenue system as it was under the Sikhs, and as it is under the British; of the primitive collective form of property in land, which still survives in some parts of Marwat; and of the Settlement operations now in progress. I have endeavored to interweave with the narrative some account of how rulers and ruled spend their livesPREFACE. Vllin this far-away corner of the British Empire, which may, perhaps, prove not uninteresting to Englishmen at home. Part II. is devoted to an account of the customs and folklore, the proverbs, ballads and popular tales, the unwritten but fondly treasured literature of the Pashto-speaking inhabitants of the District, from which some insight into the thoughts and opinions which govern their actions may be gained. Let me now tell how and why this piece of patch-work, which I am venturing to publish, ever came to be written. In 1872 I began the Settlement of this District, and my duties as Settlement Officer afforded me great opportunities of studying the people, and caused them to be ready to serve me in any way I desired. I then commenced making a collection of their proverbs for my own pleasure, and, meeting with encouragement from Government, the idea of having it published occurred to me. With this intention I arranged the collection as it appears in Part II. during the hot weather of 1874. Having done so, I felt that an introduction, descriptive of the people whose thoughts and sayings I had strung together, was required. Accordingly when in camp during the cold season of 1874-75, I wrote in odd hours of leisure the six chapters which comprise Part I., and it was not until the last sheet was laid aside, that the unconscionable length of what had at first been meant to be a short introduction dawned upon me. Finally, possessing a number of Pashto stories, IVIU PREFACE.translated some of them, and wrote a chapter on Pathan social life. As the subject was a dry one, I adopted a narrative form, hoping by that means to render the account less uninteresting than if no thread of connection had run through it. As the book has been composed amidst the hurry and winy of engrossing and constant work, I hope all shortcomings will be pardoned, and that want of time may be accepted as my excuse for having failed to prune these overgrown pages.

For the accompanying map, my acknowledgments are due to Colonel H. C. Johnston, C.B., Bengal Staff Corps, Deputy Superintendent of Survey, Sort-western Frontier. I have also to thank Henry Priestley, Esq., late Bengal Civil Service, for having corrected the proofs of the sheets printed in Pashto type. The task of revising the work and seeing it through the press has been kindly undertaken by my cousin. Captain W. Stewart Thornburg, 41st Regiment, to whom will belong all the credit should errors be few.S. S. THOEBUKN,Settlement Officer, BANNU; Edwardesabad,JIfay, 1876.CONTENTS.PART I.PAGEChapter I. — Geographical. Bannu and its Environs . . 111. — Bannu Independent and under Native Rule . 12III. — Bannu under British Rule 42IV. — The Muhammad Khel Rebellion, and its Lesson 65V. — Times of Peace and Plenty 86VI. — Land Revenue System — Tenures and Settlements 107PAET II.Chapter I. — Social Life, Customs, Beliefs and SuperstitionsOF THE Peasantry 141„ 11. — Popular Stories, Ballads and Riddles. . .171Class I. — Humorous and Moral . . . .173„ II. — Comic and Jocular . . . . 192„ IIL— Fables 217Marwat Ballads 224,Riddles 228,III. — Pashto Proverbs translated into English . . 231Begging 236,Boasting 238,Bravery 241,Class and Local 245,Co-operation 256,Cowardice 257Custom 259,Death 260X CONTENTS., Chapter III. (continued) : —PAGE, Enmity ...263,Family 267,Fate 269,Friendship 271,God 278,Good Looks 281,Good and Bad Luck 281,Goodness and Wickedness 285,Haste and Deliberation 288,Home 291,Honour and Shame 292,Husbandry, Weather and Health .... 296,Ignorance and Foolishness 308,Joy and Sorrow . . . 312,Knowledge 316,Labour 319,Lying 322,Liberality and Parsimony 324Man's Justice 330,Old Age•.332,Poverty 333,Pride, Self-conceit and Lame Excuses . . 338Selfishness and Ingratitude 342,Strength 344,Wealth . .348,Women 350,Unclassed, Ethical, Didactic and Miscellaneous . 361, IV.— The same Proverbs in Pashto . 414,Appendix 475PAET I.INTRODUCTORY.Being an Account of the District of BANNU, its People and THEIE Rulers, Past and Present.OUE AFGHAN FRONTIER.CHAPTEE I. GEOGRAPHICAL. BANNIT Avid ITS E:N'VIE0NS.Competition is now so keen, that any ordinary Englishman who aspires to a competence by the time he is fifty has to spend the first twenty-five years of his life in preparing for and passing examinations, and the next twenty-five in one continuous grind of work, broken by the occasional brightness of a holiday—at home a trip abroad or to the sea- side ; in India a month in the hills or a run to England, During those busy years his early bookish acquirements are forgotten, and most of his general know-ledge consists of a smattering, gleaned from periodicals and newspapers hastily read in leisure hours. .... India in matters ...2 BANNU AND ITS ENVIRONS.
.. if we consider for a moment what a profundity of ignorance Englishmen in India often
display about the people and country in which their lot happens to be cast for a few years. An example in point was afforded by a relation of my own, whose corps was stationed at Peshawar in 1868, and who, when he came down the frontier on a mad-cap ride to visit me, actually admitted he did not know whether the mass of the inhabitants in the Peshawar valley were Hindus or Mohammedans — they were all " niggers " in his eyes, that was enough ; and though he had once before crossed the Indus, he never thought of inquiring what river it was, until, on the second occasion, he happened to get a ducking in it.BANNU AND ITS ENVIRONS. 3Now, though most of us possess an atlas and a geography, Bannu a terra...incognita.yet not ten educated men in a hundred could state off-hand where New Granada, Trinidad, Manila, and Yemen are, and to whom they belong. I shall therefore take it for granted that not one in five hundred, whether resident in India or England, knows anything about such an in-significant little place as Bannu, its environs, and its inhabitants; and I shall proceed to describe both, beginning of course " from earliest times," which will not take long, as neither country nor people has any ascertained ancient history to speak of.

The Punjab is divided into thirty-two districts, amongst which, with reference to size, Bannu stands tenth on the list. Its superficial area is 3786 square miles,^ which isgreater than that of any English county except Yorkshire, and a little more than half the size of Wales. The District, as formed in 1861, is divided by nature into two valleys, nearly equal in size. The western comprises that portion shown in the map Physical features of western valley.which accompanies this book as now occupied by Bannuchis,^ Waziri, Khataks, and Marwats, and is surrounded on all sides by a wall of bare crumbling sand and limestone hills, the height of which vary from about 2000 feet to 6000 feet above sea-level. The plain itself slopes gently^ This is the result obtained from my survey, before which 3471 square miles used to be the stated area. In it, however, the whole of Pakkar " and a strip of land running along the base of the Khatak Ni^zai Hills were not taken into account at all.2-Until about three years back no two men spelt Indian names alike; hence maps, gazetteers, guide-books, etc., were often unintelligible, and the postal department had hard times of it. Many a well-known station, as, for instance,Julundur (Jalandar) was spelt in seven or eight different ways. At last, after years of discussion, the "modified Jonesian" system has been prescribed.Under it all names, except those which have acquired a set spelling, e.g. Calcutta, Delhi, have to be transliterated according to a fixed method. This system has been followed in this book. Though rational, it has its drawbacks, for, when once accustomed to it, one is inclined to use it in spelling English names and words, e.g. to write " Mai dir Sar " for " My dear Sir," " Northbrook " for " Northbrook," and in reading, too, the eye is apt to trip when it meets a name not spelt phonetically.4 BANNU AND ITS ENVIRONS.from north to south-east, its highest level above the sea being somewhat over 1300 feet, and its lowest just under 750 feet. To the north-east and east the hills are in Khatak territory and within our border, as are those to the south, and present no remarkable features to the eye, beyond a weird grotesque appearance, when viewed from near at hand, due to their abrupt rugged sides being almost devoid of vegetation, and closely seamed with deep water-courses. When looking at them, one feels as if in the presence of the half-bleached bones of some enormous carcass. This fancy has often come over me when taking a bird's-eye view of the range called Nila Roh(blue mountain) from Shekhbudin, a conical hill, which rises abruptly from the western extremity of that range to the height of 4516 feet.Two thousand five hundred feet beneath him the spectator sees this Nila Roh, stretchingout eastwards towards the Indus for well nigh thirty miles, like the close-ribbed back of some huge antediluvian monster. He can almost count every vertebra and rib. The clayish colour of the mass, together with the solemn stillness which reigns around, help to intensify his fancy. Its boundaries. But to return to my boundaries. North, west, and south-west all the encircling hills are in Waziristan, that is, " the country of the Wazirs," independent territory, which its inhabitants can boast with truth has never yet submitted to the " proud foot of a conqueror.'* Of those hills only two call for special notice. To the north, a stupendous mass termed Kafirkot, that is, " infidels' fort," from its fancied resemblance to one, and long supposed to be of man's handiwork ; and to the west, the Gabber(kaber), so called from its resemblance to the tumulus over a Muhammadan grave, which rises with a comparatively easy ascent from the Marwat plain to the height of 6378 feet, and which, strange as it may appear, though only twenty miles south-west of the Bannu cantonments, has never yet been troddenBANNU AND ITS ENVIRONS, 5on by English foot. Beyond this first rampart of independent hills, but connected with them, appear towards the north the everlasting snows of the lofty Sufed Roh,or, as Pathans call them, the Spinghar chain, both of which terms mean simply " white mountain." The impetuous Kiirm takes its rise in them near Ghazni ; and after entering the valley at its most north-westerly corner, and fertilizing the tract occupied by the Bannuchis, travels through the country of the Marwats in a south-easterly direction, and pierces the hills at a point called Tang Darrah, or "the narrow pass." Behind the Gabar appear the peaks known as Pirghal (hoary thief), or Pirghar (hoary mountain), the elevation of which is 11,583 feet, and Shivi Bhar (10,998 feet), both belonging to the Suleiman Eange, the mighty chief of which, the Takht-i-Suleman , or " Solomon's Throne," so familiar to every school-boy, rises with clear-cut outline directly over the thickbelt of low Bhattani hills, which run eastward from the Pirghal to the Pezu Pass at the foot of Shekhbudin. Yiewed from some coigne of vantage on this mountain, marwat the approach of a dust-storm sweeping southwards over the Marwat plain is a grand and impressive sight. At firstbut a speck on the distant horizon, it rapidly elongates, until it stretches from east to west — a mighty threatening wall, about one thousand feet in height and thirty miles in length. Nearer and nearer it comes phantom-like, its rushing noise being as yet inaudible to the spectator.

Now one wing is pushed forward, now another ; nearer still : and now the birds — kites, vultures, and a stray eagle or two — circling in its front are visible, and one by one the villages at the foot of the hill are enveloped and hidden from the eye : a few seconds more, and the summit of Shekhbudin, till then bathed in sunshine, and sleeping in the sultry stillness of the June morning, is shrouded in yellow scudding clouds. Vanished is the grandeur of the scene in a moment, and naught remains but a stifling begriming dust flying and eddying about in all directions,penetrating everywhere. Outside nothing can be seen but a darkness which can be felt, and nothing is audible . . . .Salt Range, and spilt half . . .which extends along the left bank of the Kururm for a distance of nearly twenty miles, lies the "Waziri and Khatak Thai, a high, un irrigated sandy plain, which gradually gives place to clay and gravel towards the hills.The Indus and its vagaries. "When entering it from the Marwat side, you feel that you are descending into a new country, for the general level of Isakhel is considerably below that of Marwat. Although, too, the dominant class of its inhabitants are Pathans, and nearly related to the Marwats, they have long since discarded their mother Pashto, which they speak like foreigners, for the broken Punjabi dialect of the hardy Jat cultivators of the soil. An amphitheatre of hills known as the Salt Range to the east, and its Khatak-Niazai branch on the west, of an average elevation of two thousand feet above the plain, incloses this valley on all sides but the south, to which it is open. The broad-bosomed Indus, after a narrow tortuous course amongst hills and mountains of more than one thousand miles, bursts through a gorge of its own making in the Salt Eange at the quaint old town of Kalabagh,i and Kalabagh. That is” black garden," and suet it was until (in 1841 I think) a cataclysm of the Indus swept half the town and its gardens away. It is an odd little place still, containing 5131 inhabitants, and is picturesquely situated on the right bank of the river, at the point of its debaucher from the Salt Range into the plains. The houses rise one above the other on the hill-side, nestling close packed in an abandon of dirt and confusion, amidst the glistening carnation-colored salt of the rocks. It has a municipality, and an old standing grievance ; for as Government levies a duty of about eight shillings and four-pence on every hundredweight of salt quarried in the Hange, and as half the town is built of salt and on salt, the people are fined heavily should they attempt to eat their houses, and their cattle, when they loiter by the way in order to lick the rocks or the house walls, are ordered to " move on " by stern-visage constables, whose mud- and salt-built sentry boxes are perched about on every commanding knoll. Amongst the advantages of the position— for the flows placidly through the valley in a southerly direction for the first forty miles of its course. Immediately above Kalabagh it is under a quarter of a mile in width when at its highest flood ; but a few miles lower down, as if re-joining in its newly-gained freedom, and greedy for conquest, its breadth from bank to bank increases to ten miles, and during the summer floods, when swollen by a thousand torrents, and fed by the melting snows of the Himalayas, its waters reach from one bank to the other. The reader can easily conceive what a capricious tyrant this mighty stream is, and how anxiously tens, nay hundreds of thousands, who acknowledge it as the dispenser to them of life and death, watch its annual rise and fall. From the point of its final debouchure from the hills to Karrachi, near which it discharges its waters from many mouths into the Indian Ocean, the Indus travels about six hundred miles, and has an average width during the flood season of from six to twelve miles. The number of villages on its banks, or in its bed, which are subject to its influence, cannot be under two thousand five hundred, and the average population in each is certainly over two hundred. We have thus, at the lowest computation, no fewer than half a million of human beings whose subsistence depends on this river's vagaries. Within the last twenty years it has ruined many of the once thriving villages of Isakhel and Mianwali, by converting their lands into sand wastes or engulfing them altogether ; whilst others it has enriched with a fertilizing deposit, and raised their inhabitants from the position of wretched cattle graziers, struggling for existence, to that of prosperous peasant proprietors. Its last freak in this district was to shift its chief channel eight miles eastwards, a feat it accomplished constables — not the least is, that from their high places they can admire the domestic arrangements in houses beneath thera(Thala). The people are used to it now, and don't object. between 1856 and 1864. In doing so it submerged between seventy and eighty square miles of cultivated land and seventeen villages. From this we may judge bow it may have fared within the same period with the hundreds of villages within its influence farther south.The country lying right and left of its high banks has an excellent soil of soft white and red clay, with a varying immixture of sand, and slopes gently upwards to the foot of the hills on either side. After every fall of rain, numerous mountain torrents spread their waters in shallow channels fan-like over the plain beneath, which is thus supplied three years out of four with a sufficiency of irrigation for all agricultural purposes.

The open country to the south, being beyond the influence of these torrents, is little cultivated, and, except in years of drought, resembles the pictures drawn in books of an American " boundless prairie " — a rolling sea of green sward sprinkled over with shrubs and bushes, and covered in spring with flowers ; in short, a pastoral paradise.Three small corners of the district still remain to be Bhangikhei. noticed I Bhangikhel, lying trans-Indus to the north of Kalabagh, a wild mountainous tract of steep hills and stony ravines, covering an area of 173 square miles, and inhabited by a hardy race of Pathans, who claim to be of Khatak descent, and who have supplied many a recruit to the gallant little army which, under the designation of "The Punjab Frontier Force," guards our trans-Indus territories, and stands sentinel for India on its most exposed and vulnerable border : Pakkar, a narrow strip of ridges and depressions, occupied by a quiet industrious race of Awans,which runs along the northern base of the Salt Range from the left bank of the Indus opposite Kalabagh to Sakesar (5010 feet), the highest hill in the whole chain ; and, lastly, at the other extremity of the district, the little valley of Mulazai, occupied by a Marwat tribe of that name, which Pakkar. Mulazai. …………. . .Sultan Mahmood marched from Ghazni with a great host of the faithful, and took Sat Ram, and destroyed it with fire, and slew all the unbelievers with the edge of the sword, so that not one was left, and the land was desolate for two hundred years.". . . . found at Akra, so far confirm this tradition as to demonstrate that its destruction was sudden, complete, and by fire. Two old ruins —both called by the people, as usual, Kafirkot or " Infidels’ Forts," the smaller perched on the summit of a hill at Mari, on the left bank of the Indus, opposite Kalabagh ; and the larger forty miles lower down on its right bank in the Rattah Roh or Red Mountain— appear to have been fortified Buddhist monasteries ; for, although they have not been examined by any one competent to give an opinion, they conform in appearance and style of architecture to other ruins scattered about in the Salt Range and hills surrounding the Peshawar valley, some of which have been examined by antiquarians and pronounced to be Buddhist, and we know that Buddhism flourished in many parts of India for several centuries before and after the commencement of the Christian era. The lower ruin is chiefly remarkable for its good preservation, extent, and the stupendous size of some of its stones still in situ in its walls, which makes one wonder how they got there, pathan immigration- The ancestors of all the Pathan^ tribes now settled in the District immigrated into it from the West. Each tribe represents a distinct wave of conquest, and was impelled eastwards by the superior pressure of other Pathan races, whose younger branches, finding home too narrow for them, had, like bees, left the parent hive in successive swarms, to seek out new resting places for themselves either in the hills of "Waziristan or in the plains and valleys of the Upper Derajat.. . . . .. . . The Bannuchis, who about five hundred years ago displaced two small tribes of Mangals and Hanis, of whom little is known, as well as a settlement of Khataks,from the marshy but fertile country on either bank of the Kuram. The Niazais, who some one hundred and eighty years later spread from Tank (a tract of country lying at the foot of the Takht-i-Suliman in the Derah Ismail Khan District, in which they had settled some years previously) ,over the plain now called Marwat, then sparsely inhabited by a race which has left us nothing but their name, PotM. The Marwats, a younger branch of the same tribe, who, Who are^the i Writing of Pathans, it miglit be expected I should say something on the Afghans . vexed question of their nationality and language ; but as " doctors differ " still on both subjects, and I can say nothing new on either, I have refrained from doing so. Suffice it to state here, that the idea of " Pashto " being a Semitic tongue is pretty well exploded, and the fight now rages round the question as to whether it is derived from Prakrit-like Hindi or is of older and independent origin. The race question is more puzzling, but the weight of evidence and opinion is in favour of the traditionary account, namely that the Afghan nation is of Jewish descent, and very probably the remnant of the " lost tribes." Tradition, features, geographical position, and many peculiar customs obtaining amongst tribes of purest blood, e.g. the Passover-like practice of sacrificing an animal and smearing the doorway with its blood in order to avert calamity,the offering up of sacrifices, stoning to death of blasphemers, the " Vesh'^ land tenure, etc., — all support this view. Still many learned men, mostly those however who have little or no personal acquaintance with Pathans, contend that they are a distinct nation, having a separate and more or less traceable history from the time of Herodotus downwards.within fifty years of the Niazai colonization of Marwat,followed in their wake and drove them farther eastward into the countries now known as Isakhel and Mianwali,the former of which they occupied, after expelling the Awans they found there, and reducing the miscellaneous Jats inhabitants to serfdom. Lastly, the Darweshkhel Wazirs, whose appearance in the northern parts of the valley as permanent occupants is comparatively recent, dating only from the close of last century, and who had succeeded in wresting large tracts of pasture lands from the Khataks and Bannuchis, and had even cast covetous eyes on the outlying lands of the Marwats, when the advent of British rule put a final stop to their encroachments. I propose to follow the above order in giving a brief historical sketch of each of the four great Pathan tribes of the District.

I shall touch very lightly on their  distribution and internal feuds and friendships until I come to a time within the re-collection of every village grey beard, when I shall pause to contemplate the picture of what they were on the eve of British conquest, in order subsequently to view them as they now are, after a quarter of a century of enforced peace under a strong Government. It will be convenient to adopt the simple style of narration in which the people themselves relate their story, and which would bear almost literal translation into idiomatic Pashto.
. . . . . . . .it was peopled by a race . . . .of true believers of the tribes of Mangal and Hani. They lived in peace for many generations, until they forsook the laws of the Lord and his prophets, and withheld tithes from . . . . . their Pir Shekh Muhammad. Then the holy Pir, . . .Now Bannu was the wife of Shitak, whence his descendants were called Bannudzais, and she had two sons. Kiwi,which was the father of Miri and Sami, and Surani. The share of the sons of Miri fell to the south, of the sons of Sami in the middle, and of the sons of Surani to the north and west. Now the name of the land was Daud, for there was much water ; but the Bannudzais dug drains and sowed Name changed qq^^jx. and Said, "Let us call this place Bannii, after our to Bannu. ^ ' ■*■ '

Thev remained there lor one veneration, until striie half of sixteenth , , , century,arose amongst them about the division of the land ; for the sons of Isa Khan were many, and wished to take the land nearest the river for themselves, and refused to cast lots.Then the men of the family called Miar sent to the leaders of the Marwats, saying, " The sons of Isa and Sarhang have broken the laws of our forefathers in the division of the land. Come and avenge this wrong. Are we not brothers, and is not Lodi our common father ? " Then the Marwats were glad, and they came, a great host, with their fighting men in front, and their women and little ones and cattle and old men behind. The sons of Isa and Sarhang had heard of their coming, and went out to meet them in the passes of Pezu and Bain, but fled at the first onset, for the Sarhangs were faint-hearted, and fought not as brave men. This is the popular account and that given in the "Haydt-i-Afghdni,"but my investigations do not substantiate it. There was an Isa Khan killed,as here narrated ; but he was not the progenitor of the Isa,khels. All Pathans are full of race-pride, and their aspirations lead them into many errors, which in process of time become accepted as facts. This is a common failing of mankind in all countries. During this settlement,a Jat Thalokar clan set up a claim to a Pathan descent, and attempted to affiliate themselves to the Iskkhels.The preparation of the genealogical trees of the agricultural classes in this district was the cause of many and bitter disputes, which would have been intensely amusing but for the serious honour-or-shame view taken of them by the people concerned in them. A low-caste man born and brought up in a Pathan country, if serving away from his home, invariably affixes '^ Khan" to his name and dubs himself a Pathan. It goes down if he can talk Pashto, and his honors proportionately goes up.Marwats expel The Marwats marched into the heart of the land, and them eastwaids. made their camp on the Kurm river, and the two sides proposed a peace, but the sons of Isa were headstrong, and said to those of Sarhang, "If ye acquit yourselves like men, we shall prevail ; let us fight yet once again." So they fought, and in the battle Maddi, the leader of the Sarhangs, was slain. Then his tribe turned their backs and fled ; and when the Isakhels saw it, they fled also, and were pursued with a great slaughter, even to the Narrow Pass (Tang Darrah). These events took place in the last years of the reign of the King Akbar, and lived in the minds of the Marwats, handed down from father to son for many generations, until they were written down in the book of the chronicles called Hay dt-i- Afghani. So it came to pass that the children of Marwat possessed the land, and named it Marwat after their forefather. Of all the Isakhel not one remained in it but the house of Miar ; and of the Sarhangs not one but the tribe of Michankhel, who were God-fearing men. When they had buried their dead, the Marwats counted out their tribes,each under its own head, and the good lands which lay along the banks of the river they divided by lot, according Marwats divide *^ *^^ custom of their forefathers. Now the division by amongst them- lo^^ was in this wisc I the land was marked ofi" in great squares, and in each to every mouth a strip was allotted,so that the share of the sucking-babe and the grown-up man was the same. They left the lands which were far from the river in common for their flocks and their herds to graze on, as they had many cattle, and the country was large ; moreover, they were not good husbandmen. At the end of every eighth year, their elders used to meet together and divide the river lands again ; and as they increased and multiplied, the common lands also ; so they ^ The *' Vesh " custom will be described at some length in a later portion of this book. became skilful tillers of the soil, and spread over the face of the country, and walked in the ways of their forefathers. When the Niazais, that is, the children of 'isa,Sarhang,Niszai occupation of Isikhel. and Miisa, fled beyond the Kurm to the east, there was discord in their camp ; but the Isakhel were strongest, and took the best lands to the south. ^ When they had expelled the Awans, and subjected the Jat tribes dwelling on the Indus, Moolah Shekh Farid divided the land amongst them into sixteen shares, and the descendants of the sons of Isakhan, the Mammakhel, Badinzai, Zakkukhel, and Abukhel received four eac . The Sarhangs and Mushanis^went north one day's journey, and settled on the right bank of the Indus ; but the Ghakkars held the left bank until the army of Ahmad Shah Abdali came from Khora-san and destroyed Moazimnagar, their chief city, and drove the remnant out of the country. Then many of the Sarhangs, the Daud Khel, Tajokhel, Wattakhel and others, crossed over and built themselves cities^ on the other bank, and live there to this day.Whilst the Sarhangs were establishing themselves on wazirs appear to the scene.the left bank of the Indus, and Marwats and Khataks were grazing their flocks and camels on the pasture lands north of the Kiirm, or contending together for their possession, a new competitor appeared on the scene, who soon after became a dangerous foe to both, and robbed the faction-distracted Banniichis of many a fair field. This competitor was the Darweshkhel branch of a great pastoral tribe, acknowledging a common descent from a progenitor
Before the Niazais, as a tribe, were driven east of the Klrm into the country now called Isakhel, but formerly termed Tama, that is, *' aqueduct,"owing to the number of canals in its southern parts, and still often so styled by Marwats, a branch of the Ni&zais named Sumbal had spread from Marwat and located themselves in the country. The Isakhels expelled them, on which they settled in an Bakhharra,alluvial tract in the bed of the Indus, and still reside there.

2 The descendants of Miisa, properly termed Mtisi-^ni, but corrupted into Mushanis.
^ Any large village, if one generation or more has passed since its foundation, is talked of by the people as a " Shahar " or " city." So, in the Old Testament, the villages of Canaan great and small are called " cities." named Wazir, owing to which they speak of themselves collectively as Wazlrs. The Darweshkhel branch was and is divided into two chief sections, the Ahmadzais, or " sons of Ahmad/' great-grandson of "Wazir, and the l/tmanzais or *' sons of l/tman," brother of Ahmad, and each of these sections is sub-divided into numerous Khels or clans. They had long inhabited the hills forming the western boundary of the valley ; and many of their camps had, since early in the eighteenth century, been in the habit of descending in the cold weather, and pasturing their flocks and herds in the plains below. Let us hear and learn their story, how from occasional visitors they became permanent occupiers of the lands they now possess. I shall leave them to tell it themselves, for it is simple and true. How the Wazlrs " C)ur homcs are in the everlasting hills from Spinghar se e in ann . ^^ Takht-i-Suliman. In them our ancestors lived grazing their flocks, carrying salt and plundering the Kdfilahs which journeyed through their defiles, a simple people, happy and content to spend their lives as their forefathers did before them. As time went on our numbers increased, and our camps descended in the winter time to the plains, but returned again in summer. This was our custom for many years, until, five generations ago, the Bakakhel and Janikhel seized the Miri grazing lands beyond the brook Tochi, and the weakness of the dwellers in the plain became manifest to our eyes. In two generations more the Muhammad Khel had taken much stony land from the Daudshah ; and not many years after, the other Ahmadzais began to occupy the Thai north of the Kurm. In those days we had many stout battles with the Khataks and Marwats, but the Banniidzais were weak and cowardly. After that the Sdhihlog came and took the whole country,and though we had never paid tribute, neither to the Kings of Delhi nor of Khorasan, we bowed our heads and submitted to be taxed. until one by one each declared himself independent, and commenced to make war on his neighbours, only to fall an easy prey a few years later to the devouring Sikh. In the general scramble for territory which commenced early in this century amongst those quondam vassals, but now indepen-dent princes, NawabHafiz Ahmad Khan of Mankera managed is^khei annexed to auucx Isakhel and part of the Cis-Indus tract as well ; but Mank6ra. in 1822 he resigned the latter to the Sikhs, after standing a short siege in his fortress of Mankera, prudently declining further contest with Ranjeet Singh, " the Lion of the Punjdb." With a keen eye for his own aggrandizement and coining events, this prudent Nawdb had, three or four years before his withdrawal to Trans-Indus, taken advantage of the distracted state of Marwat to assist one of the two factions ^^arwat also attacked and overinto which that country was divided. The " black " ^ '^*^'faction had lately gained a decided superiority over the " white," which latter in its distress was unpatriotic enough to call in foreign aid. The Nawab of Mankera dispatched his troops, accompanied by a revenue collector named Diwan Manak Rai, and with their assistance the " whites overthrew the " blacks " in a pitched battle at a place called Lagharwah near the Torwah torrent, on which the wily Diwan informed both that his master had ordered him to take possession of the country for himself.^ From that date Marwat lost its independence, and for the next four years the Nawab's troops each spring, when the crops were ripe, ravaged the lands of the "blacks," and extorted a large share of the produce from the " whites." On one occasion the Diwan had the temerity to advance to Akra in the Bannu valley, and requisition the maliks or village head men for supplies and tribute ; but they shut themselves up in their villages, and defied him and his master, on which the disappointed Diwan had the discretion to retire, vowing future vengeance. His departure was hastened by the loss of half his baggage camels, which had been cleverly cut off when out grazing, and of several men who had incautiously ridden within matchlock range of one of the Bannuchi village forts, which, like hornets' nests, dotted the valley. The Nawab annexed Isakhel in 1818, and overran The sikhs appear nr ' 1 n 11 ' 1 1 P 1 on the scene.Marwat m the loUowmg year, but was not leit long to enjoy the fruits of either conquest by the insatiable Eanjeet ^ Division of Marwat into two great factions dates from ninety to one hundred years back. Party feeling is as strong now as ever, and it is very important that a deputy commissioner should know to which side the head men of the country belong. In 1823 he crossed the Indus at the head of a large force, marched through Isakhel and Marwat without opposition, and pushed on to the outskirts of Bannu. Their connexion with the Cis- Indus portion of that valley commenced towards the close of the reign of Timur Shah, the feeble son and successor of Ahmad Shah, the celebrated conqueror of Delhi and destroyer of the Mahrattas. Before Timiir Shah's death, which occurred in 1793, the Sikh troops had on several occasions overrun the greater part of Mianwdli, and levied contributions and tribute from its villages; but it was not until after the fall of Mankera (1822) that it was completely annexed and settled. The Trans-Indus portion, that is, Isakhel, continued subject to the Nawab of Derah until 1836, when it was formally incorporated into the Sikh kingdom ; but for the ten or twelve years preceding that event,

the Nawab's sovereignty was more shadow than substance ; for in their expeditions to Marwat and Bannu, the Sikhs used to march through Isakhel whenever they required it as a highway, and treated the Nawab and his government with scant courtesy. Except in Sindh, I ha e never seen such a degraded people. Although forming a distinct racein themselves, easily recognizable, at first sight, from any other tribe along the Indus, they are not of pure descent from any common stock, and able, like the neighbouring people, to trace their lineage back to the founder of the family,^ but are descended from many different Afghan tribes, representing the ebb and flow of might, right, possession, and spoliation in a corner of the Kabul empire, whose remoteness and fertility offered to outlaws and vagabonds a secure asylum against both law and labour. The introduction of Indian cultivators from the Punjab, and the settlement of numerous low Hindoos in the valley, from sheer love of money, and the hope of peacefully plundering by trade their ignorant Muhammadan masters, have contributed, by inter-marriage, slave -dealing, and vice, to complete the mongrel character of the Bannu people. Every stature, from that of the weak Indian to that of the tall Durrani ; every complexion, from the ebony of Bengal to the rosy cheek of Kabul ; every dress,from the linen garments of the south to the heavy goat-skin of the eternal snows, is to be seen promiscuously among them,reduced only to' a harmonious whole by the neutral tint of universal dirt.'* Let the reader take this people, and arm them to the teeth ; ^ They do trace their descent from a common ancestor, as was shown a few pages back, but the descendants of numerous later settlers from Pesh&.war,Khatak, and Kabul are now generally termed Banuuchis also. Some of the Waziri clans resisted measurements as long as they could, and at last, when they accepted the inevitable, they attempted to impose on me by transparent little innocent lies, such as assuring me that their lands were so poor that they only bore crops once in twelve years,although the truth was they bore a crop every year or second year at least.On another occasion the Hathi Khel Maliks came up in a body, and asked me to reinstate a patwdri who had been dismissed a year before."Why," said I, "the Deputy Commissioner turned him out some time ago, because you complained of his interfering with the privacy of your women, and generally thathe was a bad man."TENURES AND SETTLEMENTS. 123" No, no,'* said they ; " lie is a quiet Hindoo : pooh ! pointing contemptuously to the wretched paticdri standing beside them, with hands clasped and the uncomfortable look on his face that a schoolboy has before he is whipped,"do you think our women would look at such as he, or such as he dare to look at them ? The truth is, he told the Deputy Commissioner of some cultivated lands of ours which we had contrived to keep off the rent-roll ; and as we look on our lands as we do on our women, that the less the Sarkar or strangers know about them the better,we complained to the Deputy Commissioner about the patwdri. But now you know everything, why, what is the use of further concealment?" After such a straightforward explanation, the poor patwari as reinstated, and the deputation went off highly satisfied with their own honesty, and laughing at the way they thought they had hoodwinked the Deputy Commissioner the previous year. Let us now jump to Harnoli, a pastoral village Cis-Indus. "When the cattle of this village were being enumerated,(Juiya) ^a^^^^ij^u we with a view to allotting it sufficiency of grazing land, and ^^®^"demarcating off the rest as Government waste, the graziers were pitch-forked on to a dilemma. They feared that if they understated the number, they would get less land ; and if they overstated it, their tirni (poll-tax on cattle) would be increased. In their extremity, they sought the advice of the most knowing men of their neighbor-hood, and at last boldly went to the native Deputy Collector at Mianwali, stated their difficulty, and wound up by touchingly asking him, " Now, which way shall we lie ? " The advice they got was to tell the truth, a simple solution of the question they had not thought of themselves. Of all the curious proprietary systems thoroughly brought to light and investigated in this Settlement, the 'Which124 LAND REVENUE SYSTEM—Vesh tenure of the Marwats is tlie most remarkable, as it exhibits in a state of complete preservation that original collective form of property which has lately been discovered to have been the common germ out of which individual rights in land must have everywhere sprung. tive "propenyS' ^ir Houry Maine, in his admirable little work entitled ^^ Village Communities in the East and West" devotes the greater part of Lecture III. to an examination of this ancient usage, which he shows once universally obtained amongst all Teutonic races, and still survives in Russian villages. At page 76 of his book he writes : *' It is most desirable that one great branch of native Indian usage should be thoroughly examined before it decays, inasmuch as it is through it that we are able to connect Indian customary law with what appears to have once been the customary law of the Western "World. I speak of the Indian customs of agricultural tenure and of collective property in land." In the succeeding pages he draws a picture of what this collective form of property used to be in certain parts of Europe ; but both he, and other writers on this subject quoted by him, seem — like skilful anatomists, who,with the help of an odd bone or two, boldly reconstruct extinct animals — to have built up their model of a primitive Teutonic cultivating commune from various agricultural customs, which had been observed by them to be still existent in Germany and Great Britain, but which are at most meagre relics of the past. Here, in Marwat,no patchwork of disjecta membra is required, the model is before us animate and almost vigorous in its old age. The Vesh tenure Under such circumstanccs I shall make no apology for in. Marwat. describing, at considerable length, this time-honoured tenure as it obtains in Marwat.^ * The account here given is condensed from a report I made on the subject, which was published in the Supplement of the Punjab Government Gazette of JSovember 27, 1873.TENURES AND SETTLEMENTS. 125"When, nearly three centuries ago, the Marwats seized the plain to which they have given their name, they imported into it their ancient usage of Khula Veshy or periodical redistribution of tribal lands by lot, according to the number of " Khulas '* or mouths in the tribe. As might have been expected, in the course of two and a half centuries of semi-subjection to Moghal, Durrani, Barakzai,Jats and Sikh, those periodical re-allotments of lands have been long discontinued in many sections of the tribe, and it is a matter of surprise to find so much vitality in the custom that, after what Maine would call " the destructive influences " of a quarter of a century of our rule, it still flourishes among some of their communities. Until the commencement of the present Settlement operations, no systematic inquiries had been made regarding this custom. It is true that Marwat has twice undergone Summary Settlement, but then no maps were prepared, and the very nature of the tenure rendered the distribution of the assessment a very easy matter amongst the shareholders of a " Vesh " community ; for every revenue payer knew the number of *^ Khulas'^ he was returned as possessing at the last " Vesh, and paid his fraction of revenue at an equal rate on each. In the same way, when, during currency of the Settlement, a new ^' Khula Vesh took place, the calculation was as easily made ; but if a simple new " Vesh," or re-allotment on the basis of the previous enumeration, was made, the dis-tribution of the revenue remained unchanged. Soon after beginning measurements in the hot weather of 1872, I had to encounter and solve the problem of how to make my surveys and records of rights in such villages, without, by any direct action of my own, extinguishing a custom endeared to the people by many generations of observance, and which, notwithstanding the general objections to any tenure which does not secure permanency of126 LAND REVENUE SYSTEM—occupancy to each landholder, has, nevertheless, many special recommendations not to be found under any other system. After ascertaining in what villages redistributions of lands or exchanges (" hadlim ") had been carried out since annexation, I held meetings with the head men and grey-beards of such villages, and from first to last discussed the question with them in all its bearings pretty well threadbare. A new difficulty isclosed itself at a very early stage ; namely, that, owing to the inflexibility of our revenue system, long series of bad years, and in some cases over- assessment, a considerable proportion of land in several of the villages had been mortgaged, and that at a new repartition mortgagees would be sufierers. Besides the communities in which the custom was known to survive, my inquiries extended to others, in which it seemed primd facie to have become extinct through desuetude. For them the investigation was purposely of a very summary nature, as I was apprehensive that by making it at all searching I would rouse parties who would agitate for re- distribution of lands, though none such had occurred since annexation.132 LAND REVENUE SYSTEM—rule should be, not a '■^ Khula FesA," but simply a " Veshj according to census returns made sixteen years c?S^o|erating ^g^- Thus tbou it sccms that the causes operating to Ve^!^^^^^ bring the '^ Vesh " custom to an end are chiefly — (1). The mortgaging of lands, necessitated by an inelastic assessment, in a country subject to drought, and depending entirely on the rainfall for its crops.(2). Growth of a feeling of individual rights in land, fostered by our land laws and the unintentional tendency of the administrators of those laws to sympathize withsuch a feeling.(3). Predominance of one family, or group of families, in a community, causing them to disregard custom, and assert the principle of " might is right." To the three causes just enumerated must be added another, which must give the custom its death-blow. I refer to the obstacle of expense which this Settlement creates; for were repartition in any village to be carried out during the term of Settlement, the revision of a portion of its record of rights would be necessary and very costly.Under these circumstances I think it may be assumed that the preservation of the custom for a generation or two more, even were it advisable, would be impossible, and that this Settlement will finally extinguish it. I am aware that any land tenure which is not one of permanent severalty is generally condemned, and that there are strong objections to the one I am writing about. These are, that under it little capital can be laid out in the permanent improvement of the productive qualities of the soil, no encouragement is given to special thrift and industry, and that, consequently, every one remains at a dead level, and the community, so long as it labours under the trammels of " Vesh/' cannot be a progressive one. There is also another objection I had almost overlooked, namely, that the rules regarding trees in " Vesh "

TENURES AND SETTLEMENTS. 133villages are subversive of any attempts at arboriculture. Certainly Marwat is very bare of trees, but it is the fault of the soil and the rats, not of the people ; and I can safely assert that " Vesh " villages contain as many trees as "non-Vesh villages. Though the rules about trees encourage their periodical destruction, the force of public opinion makes the rules almost a dead letter. As Marwat is for the most part a plain of undulating sandy downs, and as the water-level generally lies at too great a depth to permit of sinking wells for irrigational purposes, any outlay of capital on the land would in most " Vesh communities, except Mulazai, be a useless waste of money. Thus, two out of three of the general objections to the " Vesh " tenure, when applied to Marwat, are, I think, partly removed. The third, namely, that under it no encouragement is held out to extra thrift and labour, cannot be denied. But though the material prosperity of the community may not under the system be increased, still I think this objection, for people like the Marwats, is (and must continue to be for generations to come) more than compensated for by the check the custom exercises on a community's moral decadence. Through this custom the habit of self-government, which under our rule is elsewhere falling to pieces, is maintained. The members of a community are taught obedience to their own laws and customs; reverence to their elders; to hold together and act in union ; the speediest method of increasing their numbers to the maximum their land will support, because the moment a child is born its birthright is secured to it, thus the larger a man's family is the larger is his share in land. Poverty is kept from every door, for all are equal, and the evils attendant on the unequal distribution of wealth are non-existent. I am persuaded that the Marwats, who are pre-eminent for honesty, simplicity.134 LAND REVENUE SYSTEM—powers of self-management, aversion to litigation, and ready obedience to authority, owe these good qualities in a great measure to their moral superiority over their neighbours, acquired by a long adherence to their old collective system of property, the influence of which, though the custom is now extinct in most parts of the country, has not yet had time to become lost.ofSgroSn Many of us Englishmen out here, in our pride and disp^^raged. iguorauce, habitually decry Indian systems of agriculture, laugh at the sharp pointed stick the peasant terms a plough, call his use of it scratching the surface of the soil, and in our lordly self-sufiiciency pity him as a poor spiritless slave to the antiquated ways of his forefathers.Such self-constituted critics and judges, puffed up with a little theoretical knowledge, supplemented perhaps by some hastily-drawn conclusions, arrived at from having witnessed the wondrous results of high farming at home, forget how different are the conditions of life and labour in this country and in England. Here, the land is owned by a peasantry who live from hand to mouth, are often sickly — for few escape at least one long bout of fever each autumn, — have to work half the year under a fierce and deadly sun, and to pay to Government from a fourth to a tenth of their produce. There, the landlord or farmer lives luxuriously in a glorious climate, and has leisure, capital, or the means of raising it, and education, which enable him to cultivate his land according to the best known method of tillage. In England, with all its advantages, successful farming depends on capital, which is always procurable on reasonable terms, but in this country it never is. Out here, when the State even has supplied Our model farms the meaus, and with lavish hand started model farms, either failure has resulted, or profits have been so small, that were the farm assessed at full rates, the Settlement would break down. Tea, coffee, and indigo planting con-TENURES AND SETTLEMENTS. 135cerns have, no doubt, often succeeded, thanks to capital ;but let us not forget that many a fortune has been sunk in them as well. The peasantry of this District are probably as deficient as any in the Punjab in agricultural knowledge and energy ; indeed Pathans are proverbially worse cultivators than Sikhs, Awans, Jats, or Eajpiits. Three years' study has opened my eyes considerably, and has dispelled many prejudices. Instead of being the lazy ignorant beings I once thought them, the majority of the agriculturists of the District have proved, on better acquaintance, to be a shrewd, hard-working, and intelligent class, who understand thoroughly how to make use of their slender means in extracting full measure from their soil. When I state — and, remember, I am writing of Pathans, kSwredgetnd perhaps the worst cultivators as a race in Upper India — p^^^^^^ces. that they appreciate the value of fallows, rotation of crops, selection of seed, deep ploughing and manuring, and can tell to a nicety which of their known cereals or pulses are best suited for each soil, I shall hardly be believed, but it is a fact nevertheless. In Bannu Proper fallows are seldom resorted to, because the Kurm is ever renovating the soil with fertilizing silt, and manure is everywhere used to supplement it. So highly is house and farm manure valued, that disputes concerning the right to a share of that of dependents — one of the last manorial dues which remain to the descendants of the original founders of each village — are a fruitful source of long and bitter litigation.

Even with such powerful auxiliaries as water silt and manure, the soil would soon be impoverished and exhausted, but for the system of rotation which Rotations, is practiced, whereby two crops, which withdraw similar constituents from the soil, are seldom grown in succession. The number of crops is so various — wheat, barley, peas, tobacco, and clover in spring or early summer, and rice.136 LAND REVENUE SYSTEM—sugar-cane, turmeric, cotton, and maize in autumn or winter — that the husbandman has a wide field to select from ;and every year he always raises two, and sometimes three, crops on every rood of land he possesses. In the un-irrigated parts of the district gram is rotated with wheat in light soils, and bdjra with wheat in stiff" soils ; or fallowing is practiced, intentionally or involuntarily, for rain is seldom abundant in two successive years. In at least one village, occupied by Thalokar Jats, and not Pathans, the truth has, however, dawned that the rearing of cattle is not incompatible with the growing of corn. In it many hundred head of buffaloes are fed, to a great extent on Kiwi, a kind of grass, and other green crops are grown for them on the best lands of the village, which, in the following year, produce first-class wheat crops. Selection of seed. Throughout the District the best seed is always reserved for sowing, and in some parts, where excess of humidity or overworking of the soil causes the production of a poor grain, wheat- seed is annually imported from the Thai, where the finest grain is grown. Deep ploughing, ^g to deep ploughing, it is a fact that in this country the soil is rather scratched than ploughed ; but the reason is, that the means for piercing deeper than from four to six inches do not exist. The oxen are small, and for at least five months in the year in poor condition, and have not the strength to force the plough, light though it be, through the soil at a greater depth. I have never yet spoken to a peasant on this subject, but he has lamented his inability to turn over the soil to a greater depth ; and, pointing to his sorry yoke of oxen, asked what more he could do. That they are lean and hungry looking is no fault of his, but of the heavens, for drought and heat in summer, and frost and rain in winter, are invincible enemies to size and condition, with whom it is vain for poor men to contend. In Bannii Proper, where the soil is in many villages a stiff tenacious clay, the plough is not used at all, but a large heart-shaped spade, worked by two men, one on either side, with which the soil is turned over to a depth of nine or ten inches, and each clod is subsequently broken up.CONTNEUED…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Of the early history of the district nothing can be stated with any certainty, beyond the fact that its inhabitants were Hindus, and that before the Christian era the country formed an integral portion of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom of Kabulmarker and the Punjab.

Early History

The Thal, however, without wells would be a desert, and the probability is that in early historic times nearly the whole of it was a barren waste. There is no record of any plundering expedition on the Thal side by Alexander the Great's forces, when they passed down the Jhelummarker to its junction with the Indus Rivermarker, though they lightly undertook such an expedition across the waterless Bar to the Ravimarker. This affords a presumption that the Thal was then a poorer country than it is[261613]

Architectural Objects and Remains

In the southern part of the district the general absence of antiquarian remains also tends to prove that it can never have been the site of a rich and populous Government. In the Kachhi tract, of course, such remains could not survive the action of river floods, and this tract must, at one time, have been much wider than it is now. The Thal, however, is admirably suited for the preservation of antiquarian relics, had any such ever existed, but there are none that date from earlier than the fourteenth century.

Ruins at Mari Indus & Mari City

At Marimarker in the Mianwali Tahsil there is a picturesque Hindu ruin, crowning the gypsum hill, locally called Maniot (from Manikot, meaning fort of jewels), on which the Kalabagh diamonds are found. The ruins themselves must once have been extensive. It appears that the very top of the hill was built over with a large palace or fort.

Architectural Objects and Remain-Ruins of Sirkapp Fort

Overlooking the village site of Namalmarker in the Khudri is a ridge of great natural strength, cut off on three sides by hill torrents. On the top of this ridge there are extensive ruins of what is said to have been the stronghold of Sirkapp, Raja of the country , who was a contemporary of Raja Risalu of Sialkotmarker, by whom he was vanquished. The outer wall of the fort still exists in part in a dilapidated condition, but the enclosure, which must once have contained accommodation for a fairly large garrison , is now one mass of fallen houses and piles of hewn or chiselled stones . The series of lifts, made for carrying water from the bed of the stream to the top of the hill, have left their marks.

Other Antiquities

The above, together with two sentry-box like buildings, supposed to be dolmens, midway between, Namalmarker and Sakesarmarker, and several massive looking tombs, constructed of large blocks of dressed stones in the Salt Range, comprise all the antiquities above ground in the district. No doubt many remain concealed beneath the surface. The encroachments of the Indus and even of the Kurram near Isakhelmarker often expose portions of ancient masonry arches and wells.

The only other antiquity worth mentioning is a monster baoli at Wanbhachran , said to have been built by order of Sher Shah Suri. It is in good preservation and similar to those in the Shahpur District.

The Rule of the Ghakkars in the North - Invasion of Nadir Shah in 1738

Prior to the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1738, there is little to relate concerning .the history of the northern portion of the district. The upper half of the district was ruled by the Ghakkars, who became feudatories of the Mughal Empire, of which the district continued to form a part until the invasion of Nadir Shah. In 1738 a portion of his army entered Bannu, and by its atrocities so cowed the Bannuchis and Marwats that a heavy tribute was raised from them. Another portion of the army crossed the Pezu pass and worked its way .down to Dera Ismail Khan. The country was generally plundered and contingents raised from the neighbourhoods of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan marched under Nadir Shah's banner to the sack of Delhi. In 1739 the country west of the Indus was surrendered by the Emperor of Delhi to Nadir Shah, and passed after his death to Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Grave of Lt.Col. A J O'Brien 1st Deputy Commissioner of the district, Brompton Cemetery, London

Expulsion of the Ghakkars in 1748

In 1748 a Durrani army under one of Ahmad Shah's generals crossed the Indus at Kalabagh, and drove out the Ghakkars, who still ruled in the cis-Indus tracts of the district, owing nominal allegiance to the Emperor at Delhi. Their stronghold, Muazzam Nagar, was razed to the ground, and with their expulsion was swept away the last vestige of authority of the Mughal Emperor, in these parts.

The armies of Ahmad Shah marched repeatedly through the district, the cis-Indus portion of which was, with the rest of the Punjab, incorporated in the Durrani Kingdom in 1756, and for the next sixty years a precarious hold was maintained on their eastern provinces, including this district, by Ahmad Shah and his successors to the throne of the newly created Kingdom of Kabul.

The history of the Bhakkar Tahsil comprising the southern portion of the district both in the period which preceded and that which followed the incorporation of the district in the

Durrani Kingdom, requires separate recording. Its history is bound up with that of Dera Ismail Khan and of Leiah, and to some extent with that of Dera Ghazi Khan.

During the greater portion of the reign of Ahmad Shah, no regular Governors were appointed by the Kabul Government. The country was divided between the Hot and Jaskani chiefs, whose predecessors had been the first Biluch chiefs to form settlements along the Indus.

References to the original settlements of the first Biluch chiefs are found in Ferishta and in a Persian manuscript, quoted in Mr. Tucker's settlement report of the Dera Ismail Khan District. The account given by the latter is, that in 874 Hijri (1469 A.D.) Sultan Husain, son of Kutubudin, obtained the Government of Multan. He held the forts of Shor and Chiniot in Lyallpur District and of Kot Karor (Karor Lal Isan) and Din Kot (near Kalabagh). Soon after Malik Suhrab, a Dodai Biluch, along with his son, Ismail Khan, and Fatih Khan and others of his tribe arrived from Kech Mekran, and entered the service of Sultan Husain. As the hill robbers were then becoming very troublesome in the province of Multan, Sultan Husain rejoiced in the opportune arrival of Malik Suhrab, and assigned to him the country from the fort of Karor to Dinkot." On this becoming known, many Balochi came from Kech Mekran to the service of the Sultan. The lands, cultivated and waste, along the banks of the Indus were assigned to the Balochi, and the royal revenue began to increase, The old inhabitants of Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan relate that after Suhrab's arrival, Haji Khan, with his son Ghazi Khan and many of their kindred and tribe, came from Kech Mekran to enter the service of the Sultan. When the tracts along the Indus were in the hands of Malik Suhrab and Haji Khan, Malik Suhrab founded a Dera named after Ismail Khan, and Haji Khan another, with the name of Ghazi Khan ". This account is confirmed, though in less detail, by the historian Ferishta.


Tribes & Clans

The populations of the district is split into four main groups, the Pashtuns who predominate in Isa Khel Tehsil, and riverain Mianwali Tehsil, the Awansmarker who are found mainly in the Salt Rangemarker, and Kalabaghmarker in Isakhel Tehsil. The Thal desert portion is held by Seraiki speaking Jat and Baluch tribes. The city of Mianwalimarker and town of Wan Bhachran are both home to the Qureshi - Makhdooms and Miana tribes respectively.

The district are includes descendents of refugees from East Punjab and Haryanamarker in Indiamarker, who settled after partition..


The district has been settled by a triple immigration from opposite directions, of Awan from the north-east, of Jats and Balochi up the valley of the Indusmarker from the south, and of Pakhtuns from the north-west.


The Awan now occupy that part of the district which lies east of the Dhak Spur of the Salt Rangemarker and is known as Khudri, Pakhar, or Awankari. "Men of Mianwali mostly know the name Pakhar; but residents of the Kacha and Isakhel generally speak of the tract and parts beyond as utrad. i.e., the high country." Bannu district Gazetter

Watercolour of an Awan sepoy, painted by Major A.C.
Lovett, circa the early 20th century

They have been almost the sole occupants of that extensive tract for at least six hundred years and may perhaps have resided there since the Arab invasions of the seventh century.Previous to the decilne and extinction of Ghakkar tribe authorities in Mianwali, the Awan possessions extended westward of the Salt Range. At first Awan under the leadership of legendary Awan warrior Qutab Shah pushed the Niazi tribe out of Mianwali who were previously residing in Mianwali. But afterwards , Niazis rose up and were able to fight back most of their captured land from Awan.

The Awans were amongst those the British considered to be "martial races" and as such, formed an important part of the British Indian army, serving with distinction during World Wars I and II. Along with Rajputs, Awans occupy the highest ranks of the Pakistani army.

Sir Colin Campbell Garbett (founder of Campbellpur, modern day Attock), said of the Awans, "There are no better people in India."

Awans claim themselves to be of Arab origin , a claim which is disputed by many British anthropologists and historians. Some label them as remnants of "Bactrian Greeks".While the others insist that they are the descendants of Raja Risalu of Sialkot , thus insisting on their Rajput origins. Some also relate them to the Qutab Shah who had Arab ancestry thus giving a proof to their claim.

However in general Awans are brave, big landlords , religious and best known for their hospitality. They also got the fame of being the good horsemen.

The Jat and Baloch Immigration

Before the fifteenth century the lower portion of the district was probably occupied by a few scattered tribes of Jats, depending on their cattle for subsistence. The valley of the Indus was a dense jungle, swarming with pig and hog-deer, and frequented by numerous tigers; while the Thal must have been almost unoccupied.
All the traditions of the people go to show that an immigration of mixed tribes of Jats Talokar/Tilokar/Talukar/Thalokar,(Siyars, Chhina, Khokhars, &.c.,) set in about the beginning of the 15th century from the Multanmarker and Bahawalpurmarker direction. They gradually passed up the valley of the Indus to the Mianwali Tahsil, occupying the intervening country. Most of their villages would have been located on the edge of the Thal and a portion of the immigrants probably crossed the river and settled along its right bank. After these came the Balochi.They also came from the south, but in large bands under recognized leaders, and they appear to have taken military rather than proprietary possession of the country. They were the ruling class, and served under their chiefs in the; perpetual little wars that were then going on in every direction. It is probable that the Jat immigration continued for sometime after the Balochi first came into the country. However it may have been, all the Kachha, immediately adjoining the Thal bank, seems to have been parcelled off to Jat families. Each block was accompanied with a long strip of Thal to the back. These estates are the origin of the present mauzas as far north as Kundianmarker in the Mianwali Tahsil.

They are almost all held by Jats. Here and there, shares are held by Balochi, but these have mostly been acquired in later times by purchase. In the same way the unoccupied lands towards the river were divided off into blocks, and formed into separate estates; and sometimes; where the hads first, formed had too much waste land, new hads were formed in later times by separating off outlying portions of the old estates. This division into hads extended right up to Kundianmarker. In course of time, as the Balochi settled down in the country, individuals acquired plots of land for wells, but generally in subordination to the had proprietors or lords of manors. Here and there a small clan settled down together, but this was the exception. Balochi are still numerous all through the southern part of the Kachha, up to Darya Khanmarker; but though they were originally the ruling race, still, as regards proprietary rights in the land they hold a position inferior to that of the Jats and Sayyads, by whom the superior proprietorship of hads is generally held. North of Darya Khan there are very few Balochi. In the Thal the population is nearly entirely Jat.

Baluch Clans

The Mamdanis of Khansar, the Magsis, a tribe which came in very early, and settled in the eastern Thal about Dhingana and Haidarabad, and the Durranis of Dab in the Mianwali Tehsil, are almost the only considerable bodies of Balochi to be found in the Thal.

The Jat Clans

All through the Kachha the mass of the villages are named after Jat families, who form the bulk of the proprietors. These are generally the descendants of the original founders, and have stuck together as like 'Jat Talokar/Tilokar/Talukar/Thalokar in Ding Khola(Khanqah Sirrajia) and bakhharra(kachha).In the Thal there are a large number of villages held in the same way by men of particular families ; but in most the population is very mixed, nearly every well being held by a man of a different caste. The only Jat tribes in the Thal deserving of special mention are the Chhinas and Bhidwals. The Chhina country extends across from Chhina, Behal, Lappimarker and Notak, on the edge of the Kachha, to Mankeramarker and Haidarabad on the further side of the Thal. The Bhidwals possess a somewhat smaller tract round Karluwala and Mahni in the neighbourhood of the Jhangmarker border. They have always been a good fighting tribe.

see also: List of Jat Clans of West Punjab

The Pakhtun Immigrations

Mahmud of Ghazni is said to have conquered the upper half of the district together with Bannumarker, expelling its Hindu inhabitants and reducing the country to a desert. Hence there was no one left, capable of opposing the settlement of immigrant tribes from across the, border. The series of Pakhtun immigrations into Bannumarker took place in the following order :-

  1. The Bannuchis, who about five hundred years ago displaced two small tribes of Mangals and Hannis, of whom little is known as well as a settlement of Khattaks, from the then marshy but fertile country on either bank of the Kurram.
  2. The Niazis, who some hundred and fifty years later spread from Tank over the plain now called Marwat, then sparsely inhabited by pastoral Jats.
  3. The Marwats, a younger branch of the same tribe, who within one hundred years of the Niazi settlement of Marwat, followed in their wake, and drove them farther eastward into the countries now known as Isa Khelmarker and Mianwali.

Immigrations - The Niazis

Burqa-clad women in Mianwali--This district is famous across the country for strict Burqa-observance
Bannuchis must have settled down for nearly two centuries, before the Niazi arrival into Marwat took place. The Niazis occupied the hills about Salghar, which are now held by the Sulaiman Khels, until a feud with the Ghilzais compelled them to migrate elsewhere. Marching south by east, the expelled tribe found a temporary resting place in Tank. There the Niazais lived for several generations, occupying themselves as traders and carriers, as do their kinsmen the Lohani Pawindahs in the present day. At length towards the close of the fifteenth century, numbers spread north into the plain now known as Marwat, and squatted there as graziers, and perhaps too as cultivators, on the banks of the Kurram and Gambila, some fifteen miles below the Bannuchi Settlements. There they lived in peace for about fifty years, when the Marwat Lohanis, a younger branch of the Lodi group, swarmed into the country after them, defeated them in battle, and drove them across the Kurram at Tang Darra, in the valley beyond which they found a final home. At the time of the Niazai irruption, Marwat seems to have been almost uninhabited, except by a sprinkling of pastoral Jats; but the bank of the Indus apparently supported a considerable Jat and Awan population. The most important sections of the expelled Niazais were the Isakhel, Mushanis and a portion of the Sarhangs. The first named took root in the south of their new country and shortly developed into agriculturists ; the second settled farther to the north roundabout Kamar Mushani, and seem for a time to have led a pastoral life ; of the Sarhangs, some took up their abode at Sultan Khel, while others, after drifting about for several generations, permanently established themselves cis-Indus on the destruction of the Ghakkar stronghold of Muazzam Nagar by one of Ahmad Shah's lieutenants. That event occurred about 1748, and with it terminated the long connection of the Ghakkars with Mianwali.They seem to have been dominant in the northern parts of the country even before the emperor Akbar presented it in jagir to two of, their chiefs. During the civil commotions of Jehangir's reign the Niazais are said to have driven the Ghakkars across the Salt Range, and though, in the following reign, the latter recovered their position, still their hold on the country was precarious, and came to an end about the middle of the 18th century as stated above. The remains of Muazzam Nagar, their local capital, were visible on the left high bank of the Indus about six miles south of Mianwali, until the site was eroded by the river about the year 1870. The Niazais thus established themselves in Isa Khel over three hundred years ago, but their Sarhang branch did not finally obtain its present possessions in Mianwali, until nearly 150 years later. The acquisition of their cis-Indus possessions was necessarily gradual, the country having a settled, though weak Government, and being inhabited by Awans and Jats.

Immigrations - The Niazais, Khattaks and Bhangi Khels

A few of the Khattaks, who had preceded the Niazais into the Isa Khel Tahsil, clung to the foot of the Maidani Range. The Bhangi Khels, a strong little section of Khattaks, spread up into the Bhangi Khel tract some 400 years ago, and remain there to this day.Trag is one of the biggest village of Tehsil Isa Khel(Tarna, an old name),District Mianwali.Trag came into being in between 1660-1685. It is populated by one of the significant clan “Shado Khel” hailing from Niazi Pathan.These people are basically Afghan in origin and adventured Hindustan along with their main tribe i.e. Niazi. Their entry route was Wana----Tank----Dera Ismail Khan and Paniala/ Kundal. They finally settled at present location.Background: Trag is named after his notable elder, literally meaning an “Iron Helmet”. He was an adventurous and brave combatant. He was famous for his ever readiness, most of the times seen in combatior outfit. Hence his real name is not traceable. And he became well known as Trag.The family tree of Trag is Trag bin Amir Khan bin Jehangir Khan bin Shado Khel bin Khir bin Jam bin Tor bin Habib bin Wagan bin Jamal Niazi. He had three sons Ako, Bako and Khero. Descendants of these sons of Trag occupy main bulk of the village and are known as Akwal, Ibrahim Khel and Kherowal.Syeds, Quereshis, Arayans,Bhambs, Buchas,Awans, Mohanas, Dheor and Jats etc hold significant number in local population and contributing their role in the social development of their beloved soil.

Biluchch Pashtuns

A few families of Biluchch Pashtuns came across the Indus . from the Paniala Hills .Of these, one became dominant at Piplan, while the others moved on into the Thal and took up their abode eventually in and about Jandanwala.


A tribe occupying few villages near Kalabagh. According to some traditions, they are Jat and not Pashtun.


Is a tribe living in Pai Khel,Mianwali.Hundred years ago there was a great sufi saint, named "Mian Muhammad Wirali".He was a philanthropist with much regard among the masses.He distributed his land to the poor.Now a days his shrine is at Pai Khel,in the base of a mountain from where dolomite is extracted for steel mills. After him, his tribe is known as "Wirali".

Further reading

  1. "Gazzeter of the Mianwali district 1915" by Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, Pakistan
  2. "Tareekh-e-Niazi Qabail"
  3. "Tareekh-e-Alvi Awan"
  4. "Wichara Watan" By Harish Chander Nakra, New Delhi, India
  5. "Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan" by Major Henry George Raverty, Indus Publications, Karachi, Pakistan.


  1. Urban resource centre
  2. Tehsils & Unions in the District of Mianwali - Government of Pakistan
  3. Mianwali Folklore Notes
  4. Bannu district gazetter

External links


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