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_An account of Upper and Lower Suwzit, and the Kohistdn, to the source of the Suwdt River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those va,lZeg.s-.—.Z?g Captain H. G. RAVERTY, 3rd Regiment, Bombay IV. I.
In August, 1858, I sent an intelligent man, a native of Kandahar, who had been for many years in my service, and who spoke and understood the Pushto language well, for the purpose of obtaining a scarce work in the Pushto language “the history of the Yusufzi tribe, and their conquests in Suwat and other districts near Peshawar, by Shaykh mali, Ylisuizi,” a copy of which, I was informed, was in the possession of the chiefs of Tarrnah, one of the divisions of Suwat. That valley, although so close to Peshawar, is almost a tenm incognita to us; and various incredible reports have been circulated about the fanaticism of its people and their A.kh1ind,* who is made out to be employed, the whole of his time, in plotting against the English ; and has had the credit of every disturbance that has taken place on the frontier since the annexation of the Panjab. Such is his power, so they would make out, that armies of Ghazis arise at his bidding, and that he makes and unmakes kings at his will. On this account, now that an opportunity offered, I was anxious to gain as much information as possible on this subject. The person I sent had on previous occasions collected information for me, on such matters, and was acquainted with the chief points on which inquiry should be made; but I also furnished him with a. number of questions, the replies to which have been embodied in the following pages, and will account for the rambling style in which, I fear, it has been written. At the end will be found a. description of Suwzit, taken from a, poem in the Pushto language, written about two hundred years since, by the renowned Warrier and poet, Khushhal Khan, chief of the Khattak tribe of Afghans.
“ On the 14th August of the year 1858, agreeably to your orders, I set out from Peshawar, in company with the KHXN S.in1B,1' towards Suwat. Our first journey was to Hashtnagar; and in the village of Prrzimg I purchased three quires of English paper, as requested by him, which I made over to Shahbéz Khan to have the manuscripts of the poem of Khusrau and Shirin copied thereon by the time I returned. The next stage brought us to Jamal Garraey, the residence of Muhammad Afzal Khan, Khattak. On the 17th August, we proceeded by way of the mountain of Chicharr, and the village of Kéttlang, which I visited with you when the 3rd Bombay N. I. was here with Colonel Bradshaw’s force, in December, 1849. \Ve halted at the village ofK1'1hai, a short distance in advance, for the night; and the Kn.iN SAIIIB sent for the Malik, or head man of the village, to ask his advice as to our entering.Suwat, which, as you are well aware, is difficult at all times, but more particularly so for one, like myself, who am a Mughal, not an Afghan. Malik Muhammad Eali said, that the matter would not be a very difficult one, if Amir-ullah Khan, chief of Pala’i, should consent to allow us to proceed by that route, otherwise it would be difficult indeed. At length it was determined, that in the first place, Muhammad ZEali should go to Amir-ullah Khan, and speak to him on the subject; and in case he should agree to receive us, to bring us his reply accordingly. He set out; and in due course brought us a reply from the chief of Pala’i to the effect, that at the present time, there was continual skirmishing going on between himself and Khurzisan Khan of Shir-khéna’i and Zor-mandda/i, two villages higher up the valley. You will doubtless recollect also, that these were the selfsame villages which were burnt by the force under Colonel Bradshaw before referred to; and it was on the hills, to the north of these villages, that the large force of Afghans were assembled on that memorable night when you commanded the outlying Picket of the 3rd Regiment, when you heard the Afghans in front-—to get a sight of whom you had gone in advance of your centries, with a simple sepoy—exclaiming in Pushto, that“ all the Farangi dogs were asleep,” and that it was a favorable time to come on, not knowing that a hot reception was awaiting them. To return, however, to the message from the Pala’i chief, he said, that in consequence of the disagreement between himself and Khurasan Khan, there were also disturbances at Tarrnah, the chief town of this part of Suw:'1t, to the _Khéns, or chiefs of which they were both related, and who were, themselves, at enmity with each other; and on this account he considered our going into Suwat, at present, a very difficult matter. This message, however, did not satisfy the KHXN SXHIB; and Muhammad ]Eali was again sent to the Pala’i chief, Amir-ullah Khan, with another message, to the efl'ect, that “This
* A Persian word signifying, 0. tutor, a preceptor. 1' The name of this chief I have not given, as he would not like it to be known, lest it might create lwurt-burning against him.
feud between yourselves will take a long time to settle amicably; ~
‘and as you are all of one family, if you do not hinder my going, the other party will throw no obstacle in my way.’ that he would conduct us, and be answerable for our safety within his own boundary; but he would not be responsible for any injury we might sustain at the hands of Khurzisan Khan, the Shir-khé.na/i chief. The KHXN SAHIB accepted these terms ; and, next morning, we set out by Way of the village of Ghazi Babzi; and in the evening, before dark, reached Pala’i in safety. We found the Pala’i people, with their loins girded, sitting in their san_qa1's or breast works, and occupying the roads and paths by which the enemy from Shir-khzina’i and Zor-mandda’i might come upon them. Some of the men too had advanced a short distance from the village, and had placed themselves in ambush amongst the fields, in order to fall upon any of the Zor-manddafi people who might venture out of their stronghold.
That night we remained at Pala’i as guests of the chief, Am|'rullah, who did all he could to persuade the KHAN SXHIB to give up his journey; but he would neither listen to any excuses, nor admit of any obstacles. At length it was agreed on by Amir-ullah, that he should send one of his most trusty followers to his brother, Mir Ecalam Khan, one of the Térrnah chiefs, to let him know, that the KIIXN SAHIB, (mentioning his name) was on his way to Suwzit for the purpose of paying his respects to the Akhlind Sahib ; and that it was necessary he should treat him with all honour, and perform towards him the rights of service and hospitality, and not allow him to sustain any injury on account of the feud between themselves. The indefatigable Muhammad ]Eali, who had also come with us to Pals/i, now went with -a message to Khurasan Khan, chief of Shir-khaina’i and Zor-mandda’i, to let him know that the KHXN SXHIB was coming to his village as a guest, and that he should not be treated as the guest of the preceding day, who had been accidentally killed. This person was a traveller who had been entertained at I’ala’i the previous night. In the morning, about dawn,
he wished the gate open that he might resume his journey. The party there advised him to wait until it got a little lighter, but he would not consent; so they opened it for him. He had scarcely advanced a score of yards when he came upon a party of the enemy from Zor-mandda’i, who were lying in ambnsh for the Pala’i-wals. One of them, not knowing who it was, fired his matchlock at him, but missed. The guest began to call out, “Do not fire! do not kill me! I am a guest!” The words had scarcely time to pass his mouth and had not, probably, been heard by the enemy, when five or six matchlocks were discharged at him, two balls from which hit him, and he fell dead on the spot. On making inquiry, the unfortunate man proved to be of the Utman-khel. The messenger also added on his own part, that knowing who the KHAN SAHIB was, if he should receive any injury from the hands of himself (Khurésan Khan), or his followers, the powerful tribe to which he belonged would burn his villages about his head, and root out all his people. Muhammad ]Eali returned with a favorable reply; and on the morning of the 18th August, we proceeded towards Zor-mandda’i, which is only about the distance of a cannon shot from Pala’i; but we were greatly afraid lest the stupidity of the Zor-mandda’i people might lead them to try the range of their matchlocks upon us, who would be in danger of our lives, whilst alfording amusement to them; as they relate of the Khaiharis, who, having seized a very stout traveller, thought it an admirable opportunity to try their knives upon him, and did so too; and, of course, killed the poor man. However, we passed Zor-manddafi in safety, and reached Shir-khana’i, where the KHAN SAHIB obtained an interview with Khurasan Khan, the chief, who also strongly advised us not to proceed, as we could not have chosen a worse time for our visit to Suwzit ; but as before, the KHXN SAH113, with true Afghan obstinacy, would not listen to any advice or arguments tending to delay, or put off his journey; so without staying at Shir-kl1éna’i, we set out for Suwzit by the Pass over the Morah mountain, which is hence called the Morey kolat. About a mile or less from the last named village, we beheld to the right, as we proceeded, the road leading to the village of Upper Bari-darah. We passed the road or path leading to the other village of Lower Bziri-darah, which was also near; but a spur of the mountains intervening, hid it from our sight. These villages lie in the valley of Baz-darah, which is so called on account of the number of falcons taken there, for which it is celebrated ; and it is also famous as having been the residence of Durkh-ana’i the Peerless, whose love and misfortunes, and that of her lover, Adam Khan, have been celebrated, in prose and verse, and is sung or repeated throughout all Afghanistan. We had now to dismount and ascend the pass on foot, as it is full two miles in ascent ; and no loaded camel could possibly get up it, unless, indeed, it were one of the Baikhtrian breed; but then at considerable risk, even if without a load. The Pass is, however, practicable for ponies, horses, mules, and bullocks. We observed
immense quantities of the grass called scibah, with small leaves, and
growing very long ; and also that description called ear-garri in Pushto, which is the same as that given, dried, in bundles to horses in the Bombay Presidency. The sribah I never saw before. The ground is a. steep ascent; and like most paths of the kind, in this part of the world, it is full of boulders, in all directions. The path does not lead along between two cliffs, as it were ; but is trench-like, and as if deepened by heavy floods. It is very winding; and appeared to consist of a soft description of stone, like sandstone. As we went along, the KHXN SAHIB remarked, that if any one wanted to make a good road into Suwat, this was the best for the purpose on account of the softness of the stone, whilst in the other kotals, or Passes into the valley, there was only hard rock. This I found quite correct when I returned by the Malakand Pass. The breadth, as we ascended, was in some places so broad as to allow of the KHAN Sims and myself walking abreast ; but, generally, it was so narrow that we had to proceed in‘ single file. There are no pine trees in the path itself; but the sides of the mountains, to the very summits, were clothed with patches of them. It is from the cones of this description of pine that the nutglike kernel, similar to the pistachio, is produced; but they were not, then, sufficiently ripe. This Pass also contains, and in fact all these mountains contain, immense quantities of a sort of gravel, both coarse and fine, which is like small shot, and very heavy. It is called ckaratdl by the Afghans, who use it to shoot partridges, pigeons, quail, and the like. I saw it, generally, in all the diiferent Passes ; and in Upper Suwat, I also saw it on the roads and paths, but did not notice any in the ravines or beds of
rivers. Its colour is that of earth, turbid, or nearly black, and very