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Capital of Afghans in India from the facades of Rohilkhand – Bareilly. by Fahad Hussain

Founded by Mukrand Rai in 1657 & nourished by Afghan warriors Bareilly is a true Afghan city which in true sense was developed by the Rohilla warriors of the Mughal Army consisting of Yousufzai, Barech, Khatakzai. Since my childhood days I have always get fascinated by the stories & the history of these tribes which have contributed in their own respect. Growing as stepping stones walking in the by lanes of my grandmother’s house I always been a witness to the changing archaeology of this city once used to be thriving Rohilla stronghold where there are forts & estates of honoured warriors concreting the bricks of Afghan second home out of Durand wondering why they had made this place to be their second to none native place, so, the answer lies in the geographic location of this city which is been properly residing at the equidistance junction at the cross roads of Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Nepal & the mountains of Himalaya which gives both the feel of home & the political connectivity with different empires & kingdoms of those times. As I walked through life, I have witnessed the encroachment on the famous real estates of the Rohilla Empire which though was destroyed by the British after the 1857 revolt. Era of Hafiz Rehmat Khan (15 September 1748 – 23 April 1774). The Rohilla Fort (famously called as Qila localy) once a luxury resting place is now wears the worn & torn of the aftermath standing now as the gates with its remaining facades colour in the red brick over looking at the heart of India’s longest market where one can find shops dated back to late 19th & early 20th centuries making jewellery since the Afghan’s time. Afghans has not only developed this city but also contributed to its vibrant & tribal ideological culture mixed of all religions synonymously turning into the city of peace. There are lots of festivities & celebration where hardly people find in any other Indian city though now a day’s getting increasingly popular.

Legacy: One can see the archaeological sites though not protected still fighting for their survival can be reached easily by road. Archaeological sites one can still see in this century are: Jama Masjid – Pilibhit (Rohilkhand Division), Gates & Facades of ruined Rohilla fort – Bareilly, Ramnagar Fort – Aonla, Bareilly, Tomb of Hafiz Rehmat Khan – Badaun (Rohilkhand Division) Tombs built by other Rohilla leaders in Fatehganj , Bareilly, Raza Library – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Rampur Fort & Railway station – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Bibi Ji ji Masjid – Bareilly, various ruins & damaged estates across Rohilkhand Division, colony of Zakheera where one can still find the old estates of Rohillas & other districts which were earlier was the part of Rohilla Empire (Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur, Kumaon & Garhwal Regions of Uttarakhand state), Durgah of Hafiz Rehmat Khan centre of famous Islamic school of thought “Bareilvi”. One can meet & find pure Afghan people in the city living there for generations now though most of them have now become a mixed Indian due to the inter racial marriages but the feel of Afghan can still be feel & smell in the City with the presence of numerous Afghan tribes with the walls of the beautiful vibrant by lanes of this historic geography spreading the fragrance of its glorious past & telling stories of the martyred empire which once ruled the basin of Ramganga now a dried & filthy drain.

Yusufzai – Tribes of Afghanistan

Yusufzais are one of the largest Pashtun tribes. The majority of the Yusufzai tribe resides in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. And now sindh as URDU speaking. They are the predominant population in the districts of  Dir, Swat, Mardan, Malakand,Swabi, Buner, Shangla and in Mansehra and Battagram, they are known as Sawati. Other Yusufzai colonies can be found in the inner city of Sialkot and Lahore, arriving in the 13th century. There is also a Yusufzai clan of Dehwar tribe in the Mastung district of Balochistan who speak Persian with some mixture of Birahvi words. The name Yusafzai originates from Yusuf who was the younger son of Manday along with his elder brother Omar. Both died young and left behind only one son Mandanh. The descendants of Yusuf inhabit Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, and Malakand while the descendants of Mandanh live in Swabi and Mardan. The closest neighboring trive to the Yusufzai’s are the Alizai. Yusafzai speak the northern variant of “Pukhtu” with the hard “kh” replacing the softer “sh” of southern Pashtun tribes.

History: They migrated from Kandhaar when Mirza Ulugh Beg was governor. He succeeded his father, Shah Rukh, who was a son of Timur (Taimur-e-Lang), in 1446 A.D. In the time of Babur, who first came to Kabul in 1504 A.D., Peshawar had been colonized by Afghan tribes, such as the Swatis and Dilazaks. On his second visit, fourteen years later, he found the Yusufzais had spread into Swat. The current settlement of the Yusufzais must have come about after this time.

The Yusufzai took much of their current lands from the Afghan Dilazaks and Swatis, after a single decisive battle fought on the plains between the villages of Gadar and Langarkot. Babur helped subdue the tribes fighting the Yususfzais, using matchlocks for the first time against the Jahangiri sultan, Mir Haider Ali Gebri of Bajour. In previous battles the armies of Babur where never able to defeat the Yusufzai. In one instance Babur sent an army of 100,000 against the Yusufzai with elephants only to have the entire army almost completely routed.

Wars & Notable Personalities:

The Yusufzai tribe came to Swat in approximately 1450 and began fighting with the Pushtun tribes of Afridi, Swati and Dilazak. After several bloody battles between the Tanolis and the Yūsufzai, Tanoli Sultan Ameer Khan was killed while fighting with the Yūsufzai at Topi (near Swabi). The Tanolis were pushed to the eastern bank of the Indus. The Yusufzai tribes ruled northern India for centuries. The British army tried to take control of the Yusufzai parts of northern India but were defeated. The Yusufzai have fought the British in the 18th and 19th century, especially the clans of Swat and Black Mountain of Hazara. The battle of Ambela, Sura took place in 1863. Bakht Khan Rohilla (1797–1859) was the nominal Commandar-in-chief of Indian rebel forces in the Indian Rebellian of 1857 against the British East India Company. He too was a Yusufzai.

Demography: Three sections of the tribe, the Hassanzai, Akazai and Chagharzai, inhabit the west slopes of the Black Mountain, and the Yusufzai country stretches to the Utman Khel territory. The population demographics of Yusufzais is unknown but there are more than 3 million Pashtu speaking Yusufzais. The main districts of Yousafzais are Mardan,Malakand, Swabi and Dargai. The large populations of this tribe are also found in Northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Small proportions in Burma, Nepal.

Barech – Tribes of Afghanistan

Bareach are a Durrani Pashtun tribe found almost exclusively in the district of Shorawak in southern Kandahar province. There appears to be little ethnographic literature on the Bareach beyond the observations of some 19th and early 20th century British civil and military personnel.The Bareach formed the largest tribal grouping among the Rohilla Afghans of North India.

History: Barech was the son of Sharakhbun (Sharafuddin), whose other sons were Tareen, Sheerani, Miana and Ormar. Barech had two sons; Dawood al-Mulqab Otakh and Hussain. Dawood had six sons. 1: Malay, 2: Chopan, 3: Shakar, 4: Basok, 5: Badal, 6: Shaikh Saabit. Bareach’s other son Hussain had 5 sons. 1: Mardan, 2: Mando, 3: Zako, 4: Barak, 5: Basa. Barech sub tribes are named after his sons adding suffix ‘zai’ to their names like Shakarzai, Mandozai, Zakozai, Badalzai etc. Bareach moved from Qila Bust (Kalabus) province Helmand to Shorawak province Qandahar. The historic Fort in Helmand is still called the Barech Fort or Aslam Khan Barech Fort. Aslam Khan Barech was the ruler of Bust in around 1588. Shaikh Bostan Barech was a noble writer and poet of Pashtu language. He went to India and settled in Samana town, and then after his return to Shorawak in 1578, he wrote a book named ‘Bostan al Auliya’. This is mentioned in the Pashtu language’s authentic book ‘Pata Khazana’ by Hauthak bin Dawood. The most famous of all Bareachs is Khan Fateh Khan Barech; the son of Aslam Khan. He is considered as a hero and a symbol of pride for all Barechs. His 60 companions are famous in all Pashtun tribes. Their courageous victories in India and Pakistan are remarkable and all Pathans are proud of them. And still Barechs have their tribes in both Pakistan and India due to same victories of the Great Fateh Khan Barech and his 60 companions. Apart from Shorawak Afghanistan, Barech live in India and Pakistan. In Pakistan they live in Quetta, Naushki, Dalbandin, Sukkur, Rohri, Nawab Shah, Jacob Abad and other towns. A town in India is namedFateh Pur after the great Khan Fateh Khan Barech. In India the state of patodi was also the state of Bareachs and still the Nawab of Patodi is basically from Barech Tribe. The Imam of Barelvi Sect Muslims, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi also belonged to the Barech tribe.

Barech Sub Tribes:

Badalzai, Mandozai, Zakozai, Sherani, Alizai.

Alizai Sub Tribes: Herayzai, Sherkhanzai, Mirozai, Daisalzai, Paizai, Mamuzai, Akhterzai, Jangazai.

Bareach Saint tribes: Khaishki & Shaikh.

Bareach Saints:

  • Hazrat Shaikh Saabit, Hazrat Shaikh Ilyas, Hazrat Shaikh Maanki Shahbaz, Hazrat Mian Haji Muhammad,
  • Hazrat Shaikh Bustan, Hazrat Shaikh Umer, Hazrat Shaikh Shahabuddin, Hazrat Shaikh Milli, Hazrat Pir Wali,
  • Hazrat Mian Abdul Hakeem, Hazrat Maulana Fazil, Hazrat Maulana Aadil, Hazrat Maulana Raza Ali Khan,
  • Hazrat Maulana Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi, Mulla Kablai Akhund.

Bareach Notables:

  • Aslam Khan, Fateh Khan, Purdil Khan, Sardar Dawood Khan, Nawab Hafiz Rehmat Khan, Bibi Rabia, Bibi Saheba,
  • Mohterma Gohar Raqam Bibi, General Bakht Khan, Syed Khan Torzai, Shahbaz Khan Shaikhzai, Khan Samand Khan and others.

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