History of Kohat District :: Khyber.ORG

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History of Kohat

Extracts from the Gazetteer of Kohat District

Contents

  1. The Buddhist Period
  2. Babar's Expedition
  3. Character of Subsequent History of Kohat
    1. Nadir Shah's Invasion
    2. Mr. Elphinstone's Visit
    3. Fall of Shah Shuja
    4. Sikh Conquest (First Sikh War)
    5. Kohat Granted to Sultan Muhammad Khan
    6. Second Sikh War
  4. History of Tribes Occupying District
    1. Bangash Tribe
      1. Bangash Pedigree
      2. Settlement in Kuram
      3. Defeat of Orakzais
      4. Settlement of Baizais in Kohat
      5. Gar and Samil Factions
      6. Effect of Factions on Present Times
      7. Dr. Bellew's Hypothesis
      8. Divisions into Miranzai and Kohat
      9. Sanad and Position of Chiefs
    2. Niazi Tribe
      1. Settlement in Kohat
    3. Khattak Tribe
      1. Malak Ako
      2. Sagri Khattaks
      3. Bhangi Khels
      4. Akora Khattaks
      5. Grant of Teri to Khwaja Muhammad Khan
  5. State of District at Annexation
  6. Construction of Roads
    1. Kohat Pass Road
      1. Further History of Pass till 1853
      2. Bahadar Sher Khan
    2. Road to Khushalgarh
    3. Road to Bannu
  7. Miranzai
    1. First Miranzai Expedition
    2. Anarchy in Upper Miranzai
    3. Kabul Khel Expedition
    4. Second Miranzai Expedition
    5. Murder of Ghulam Haider Khan
    6. Third Miranzai Expedition
    7. Government's Refusal to Annexe Biland Khel
  8. Akora Tappas
    1. Nilab
  9. Shakardarra
  10. Mutiny Years
    1. State of Border Tribes
    2. The Mutiny
  11. Death of Major Henderson
  12. State of Kohat Pass from Mutiny to 1875
  13. Bazoti Troubles
    1. Demonstrations Against Kabul Khel Wazirs
  14. Kohat Pass Troubles
    1. Settlement with pass Afridis
    2. Jawaki Disturbances
    3. Afghan War & Disturbed State of Miranzai Border
    4. Waziri Expedition of 1880
    5. Barak Disturbances
    6. Change in Management of Kohat Pass
    7. Evacuation of Kuram and Biland Khel
  15. Officers Connected with District
  16. Notes

The Buddhist Period

The early history of the district is limited to the vaguest traditions. It is said that in Buddhist times two Rajas named Adh and Kohat settled along the northern border of the district. Raja Kohat gave his name to the town of Kohat, and Raja Adh to the ruins of an old fort on the hill side north of Muhammadzai, a village four miles to the west of Kohat. The remains of this fort, which is known as Adh-i-Samut, consist of the ruins here and there of the old ramparts. These show that the plan of the fort was merely escarping with walls and bastions a spur of the hill projecting between two ravines. Like most of the forts of those days, Adh-i-Samut is situated far below the crest of the range, and is easily commanded with the weapons of the present day from the adjacent hill-side. The masonry of the ruins is inferior. None of those gigantic blocks are to be seen, such as compose the walls of the Buddhist forts of Bil and Til Kafir Kot on the Indus in the Dera Ismail Khan district. No ruins of buildings are now to be found within the fortified enclosure. There is a small spring, the presence of which undoubtedly led to the selection of the position. The other sights consist of an old banyan tree and a small stalactite grotto. The only other remnant of the Buddhist days is a road cut out of the mountain aide, near the Kohat Kotal, leading by a very even gradient towards the crest of the hill.

Babar's Expedition

The first historical mention of Kohat is to be found in the memoirs of the Emperor Babar. The district was then being taken possession of by the Bangashes and Khattaks who now hold it. Babar's annals, however, throw little or no light on the extent of their occupation. He first mentions generally that Bangash was a Tummun entirely surrounded by hills inhabited by Afghan robbers, such as the Khogiani, the Khirilchi, the Buri and the Linder, who, lying out of the way, did not willingly pay taxes. He then narrates that in the year A.D. 1505, when at Peshawar, he was induced by Baki Cheghaniani to visit Kohat on the false hope of obtaining a rich booty. Babar had never before heard even the name of Kohat. He reached the town through the Kohat pass in two marches, and fell on it at luncheon time. After plundering it he sent foraging parties as far as the Indus. Bullocks, buffaloes and grain were the only plunder. He released his Afghan prisoners. After two days he marched up the valley towards "Bangash." When he reached a narrow part of the valley, the hill men of Kohat and that quarter crowded the hills on both flanks, raised the war shout and made a loud clamour. At last they foolishly occupied a detached hill. Now was Babar's opportunity. He sent a force to cut them off from the hills. About a hundred and fifty were killed. Many prisoners were taken. These put grass in their mouths in token of submission, being as much as to say "I am your ox," a custom which Babar first noticed here. Notwithstanding he had them beheaded at once. A minaret of their heads was erected at the next camping place. The next day he reached Hangu. Here again he met with resistance. The Afghans held a fortified Sangar, which was stormed by Babar's troops, who cut off the heads of one or two hundred of them for another minaret.

Babar gives us no further account of either Kohat or Hangu. In two marches from Hangu he reached Thal, and thence marched for Bannu through the Waziri hills along the Kuram. His guides took him along the gosfand-lar or sheep road, which was so bad that most of the bullocks plundered during the previous expedition dropped down by the way. Babar uniformly speaks of the inhabitants of the country as Afghans, making no mention of special tribes by name. Like Kohat, Hangu appears to have been established as a town previous to the advent of the Bangashes.

Character of the Subsequent History of Kohat

The history of the Kohat district from the time of Babar is little more than an account of the Bangash and Khattak tribes. These clans appear to have taken possession of the district during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but before giving the history of this settlement it will be well to sketch the connection of Kohat with the outside world up to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. From the time of the Emperor Akbar to the invasion of Nadir Shah the Kohat district formed a part of the Mughal Empire.

Nadir Shah's Invasion (AD 1738)

In 1788 Nadir Shah invaded India. His main army appears to have forced its way through the Peshawar district. A portion of his forces is said to have marched by the Kuram route through Biland Khel to Bannu. The Kohat district thus escaped invasion. After the sack of Delhi, the whole of the Trans-Indus tract was surrendered to Nadir Shah. His death in 1747 was followed by the establishment of the Durani Dynasty in the person of Ahmed Shah. From that time till the conquest of Peshawar by the Sikhs, Kohat remained a portion of the Afghan kingdom. Till the beginning of the present century such Government as there might be was administered through the local Bangash and Khattak chiefs. These collected a little revenue, but were more often called on to furnish levies, and many of them served in person in Hindustan, the Punjab and Cashmere.

Mr. Elphinstone's Visit (AD 1809)

In the spring of 1809 Mr. Elphinstone passed through the Kohat district on his way to Peshawar to the court of the King Shah Shuja. He marched from Kalabagh on the Indus through the Bhangi Khel country to Chashmai near Shakardarra, and thence by Malgin and Shadi Khel to Kohat. It was February and the rain fell heavily, so that the march as far as Malgin was not pleasant. Some of the baggage was plundered by robbers. Mr. Elphinstone speaks of the country as belonging to the Baraks, whom he stigmatises as a wild tribe living in a state of anarchy and independent of the Khan of Teri. He probably confounded the Sagris and Bhangi Khels with the Baraks; the real Baraks being more to the west. He was escorted by Musa Khan, one of the King's officers. At Dodha he was met by Umar Khan, the son of the Khan of Kohat (Azizullah) with seven or eight hundred matchlock men. The party went on to Peshawar through the Kohat pass. Mr. Elphinstone mentions that the people of lower Bangash (Kohat) were very obedient to their Khan and to the King; those of upper Bangash less so.

Fall of Shah Shuja (AD 1810)

After the fall of Shah Shuja in 1810 Kohat was brought more directly under the control of the rulers of Kabul and Peshawar, and like the rest of Afghanistan was subjected to a constant change of masters. Kohat was first leased for Rs. 33,000 to Mirza Girani, Munshi Bashi. He was succeeded by Sardar Shakur Khan, who in turn had to evacuate in favour of Shahzada Muhammad Sultan, brother of the King Mahmud Shah. This prince resided at Kohat for some years. After the murder of Wazir Fateh Khan in 1818, the whole of Afghanistan, except Herat, revolted from the Abdali Dynasty. The country was parcelled out among Fateh Khan's brothers. Dost Muhammad Khan had Ghazni; Muhammad Azim Din had Kabul; Sultan Muhammad Khan, Syed Muhammad and Pir Muhammad had Peshawar. Samad Khan obtained Kohat and Hangu. Samad Khan was on good terms with Dost Muhammad Khan, who afterwards obtained possession of Kabul, and thus excited the jealousy of his other brothers at Kandahar and Peshawar. Samad Khan's sons were expelled from Kohat by a force under Pir Muhammad in 1827. Mr. Masson, who visited these parts in that year, passed through Hangu just as Sadu Khan, the son of Samad Khan, was retiring thence to Kabul. [1]

Sikh Conquest (1834)

Ranjit Singh first marched to Peshawar in 1819. In 1832 Azim Khan was defeated by Ranjit Singh with great slaughter near Nowshera, after which the Peshawar Sardars became tributary to the Sikh Government, who sent an army each year to collect the revenue and ravage the country. In 1834, on the flight of the Sardars, Harri Singh, the Sikh General, gained possession of Peshawar, and a Sikh Governor, Autar Singh Sindhanwalia, was now sent to Kohat. A Sikh outpost was at the same time established at Teri. On the arrival of the Sikhs at Kohat, Sardar Pir Muhammad made his way to Kabul by the Paiwar Kotal.

Kohat Granted to Sultan Muhammad Khan (AD 1836)

In 1836, however, Ranjit Singh became reconciled to Sultan Muhammad, and restored to him in service jagir Hastnagdar and half Doaba with Kohat, Teri and Hangu, the annual revenues of which were Rs. 1,50,000. The Sikhs now abandoned Kohat, and their garrison at Teri was at the same time massacred by the Khattak chief Rasul Khan. Harri Singh Nalwa was killed in 1837 in a battle near Jamrud. Tej Singh administered the Peshawar Government for a short time in his place until relieved by General Avitabile, who retained charge for five years from 1838 to 1842, and was again followed by Tej Singh, who governed for four years. In 1846 Tej Singh was succeeded by Sher Singh, who was accompanied by Colonel George Lawrence as assistant to the newly appointed British Resident at Lahore. All this time Sultan Muhammad remained jagirdar and ruler of Kohat.

Second Sikh War (AD 1848)

In 1848 the second Sikh war broke out. The troops at Peshawar did not mutiny till October 1848. Colonel G. Lawrence knowing that the road to Attock was closed then took refuge at Kohat, where he was hospitably received by Khwaja Muhammad, son of Sardar Sultan Muhammad. The Sardar himself had remained at Peshawar in order to receive over charge of that province in accordance with a treacherous agreement that he had made with Chattar Singh, the Sikh General. Previous to Colonel Lawrence's departure Sultan Muhammad had sworn solemnly to provide for his safety and that of his family and of the officers with him. The party, however, soon found that though well-treated they were really prisoners. In the beginning of November Lawrence was sent back to Peshawar and delivered over to Chattar Singh. On the termination of the war, Lawrence, who had been previously released by the Sikhs, was re-appointed to Peshawar, Lieutenant Pollock being appointed Assistant Commissioner at Kohat, which, with the rest of the Panjab, had been formally annexed to the British dominions on 29th March 1849.

History of Tribes Occupying the District

It will now be convenient to give some account of the tribes already mentioned as occupying the district.

The Bangash Tribe

The Bangashes are not real Pathans. They claim a problematical descent from Khalid Ibn Waleed Ibn Moghaira, a Sheikh of the Arab tribe of Koreish, whose descendants are said to have settled in Persia, whence they were driven at the commencement of the 13th century by the tyranny of the Mughal Emperor Jenghis Khan. They passed via Sindh into Hindustan, and their chief Ismail was appointed Governor of Multan. His oppression gained him the title of Bangash, or tearer up of roots, and his descendants have been known as Bangashes ever since. He and his people excited the enmity of the neighbouring tribes, who drove them off. They retired to the Suleman mountains and eventually settled in Gardez.

Bangash Pedigree

Ismail is said to have ruled in Gardez for 30 years. After his death his sons moved down into the Kuram valley. The statements as to the names of his sons and grandsons vary. Some say that he had four sons; Gora, Gara, Samil, and Bai. Others say that Bai was a descendant of Gara. Miran and Jamshed were also sons of Gara. The only facts to be deduced from these mythical genealogies seem to be that the Bangashes were originally divided into two main sections, Gara and Samil. The Gara comprised of the Baizais and Miranzais, who now occupy the tappas of those names. The descendants of Jamshed are included under the general head of Miranzais. The Samilzais are not divided into any well marked sub-sections. They also have given their name to a tappa, which is mainly occupied by their descendants.

Settlement in Kuram

The whole tribe at first settled in the Kuram valley. This immigration is supposed to have taken place subsequent to the invasion of Taimur (AD 1398); in the beginning of the 15th century they gradually moved down into Miranzai and eventually ousted the Orakzais from the country about Kohat. They appear to have done this in alliance with the Khattaks, who were simultaneously invading the Kohat district from the south. The Orakzais previously held as far as Reysi on the Indus. The Khattaks took the eastern country, Reysi, Pattiala and Zera; the Bangashes took the valley of Kohat. This occupation had been probably completed prior to the time of Babar's invasion in AD 1505. [2]

Defeat of the Orakzais

The decisive engagement which made the Bangashes masters of the Kohat valley is said to have been fought near Muhammadzai. Local traditions describe the battle as having lasted day and night for three days, till at last a youth in white appeared on the scene shouting "Dai, Dai, Dai, Sam de Bangasho; Ghar de Orakzo," which, being translated, means "It is, it is, it is, the plain of the Bangashes; the hill of the Orakzais." This legend is supposed by the Bangashes to satisfactorily dispose of any claims of the Orakzais to proprietary rights in the Kohat or Miranzai valleys. According to another tradition the Kohat valley before the Bangash invasion was occupied, not by Orakzais, but by the tribes of the Gabris, Safis and Maujaris, who are not now to be traced. Whoever the original inhabitants may have been they now entirely disappeared. They were either exterminated, or more probably they were incorporated with the Bangash settlers, at first as Hamsayahs till in process of time they became indistinguishable from the real Bangashes

Settlement of Baizais at Kohat

The original settlements of the Bangashes were in the Kuram valley. Miranzais, Samilzais, and Baizais were all located there. The Baizais, whose summer quarters were at Ziran in Kuram, used to move during the winter to the Kohat plain, much as the Waziris and Ghilzais now do. After a time they quarrelled with the inhabitants of the country. Being unable to cope with them alone, they got the men of Upper Miranzai and Hangu to join them, and with their assistance conquered the country, which has been since known as Baizai. In dividing the tract the Hangu and Miranzai confederates got allotments which their descendants still hold.

As the Bangashes took possession of these lower valleys the lands abandoned by them in Kuram were taken possession of by a new tribe, the Turis, who gradually obtained the mastery over the Bangashes that remained, and are now the dominant tribe there. The Bangashes still possess the following tracts in the Kuram valley: Baghzai occupied by Jamshedis, and Shalozam, Makhazai, Hajikhel, and Ziran occupied by Shamilzais.

Gar and Samil Factions

There seems at some remote period to have been a bitter feud between the two great branches of the Bangashes, the Gar and the Samal, and all the neighbouring tribes joined either one faction or the other. The distinction still remains long after the origin of the quarrel has been forgotten. The Khattaks, the Waziris, the Zaimushts, and most of the Orakzais and Khaibar Afridis are Samil. The Turis, the Adam Khel Afridis and some of the Orakzai and Khaibar Afridi tribes are Gar. The factions are not of much political importance nowadays, having been superseded by the more rabid enmity between Shias and Sunnis.

Effect of Factions in Present Times

In our own territory, though one village may be pointed out as Gar and another as Samil, the old faction feeling has almost disappeared except when kept alive by some further cause of enmity. As regards the relations of our people with trans-border tribes, as a rule where both are Gar or both Samil they are friendly. Where they belong to different sides, they are hostile. The Gar villages of Upper Miranzai hate the Waziris and the Zaimushts, who are Samil. The Khattaks and Waziris are both Samil, and are on good terms with one another. In the wars between the Sunnis and Shias which go on in Tirah, a Samil tribe on one side will sometimes interpose in favour of a Samil tribe on the other, on account of the old connection; and so with the Gars. Thus in 1874, when a great confederacy of the Sunni tribes had collected together to crush the Shias, the Ismailzais who are Samil got off the Bar Muhammad Khels, and the Ali Khels who are Gar got off the Mani Khels, so that the expedition came to nothing.

Dr. Bellew's Hypothesis

Dr. Bellew in his "Races of Afghanistan" explains the existence of these factions in the following way. He writes that "The factions evidently came into existence on the conversion of the people en bloc to Islam, when all became a common brotherhood in the faith, and called themselves Musalmans, though they yet maintained a distinction expressive of their original religious separation; a sign that their conversion was effected by force. And thus the people of the two rival religions, at that time flourishing side by side in this region, namely, the Buddhist and the Magian, ranged themselves naturally under the respective standards or factions of their original religions; the Buddhist Saman or Sraman giving the name to the one, and the Magian Gabr, Gour or Gar to the other." The theory is ingenious, but the simple explanation given by the people themselves seems more probable, viz., that the factions took their origin in a quarrel between the Gar and Samil sections of the Bangash tribe, in which the neighbouring clans took sides. The Bangashes did not enter the district till the 14th or 15th century, long subsequent to their conversion to Mohammedanism. It is hardly likely that they should have been affected by religious distinctions, which had come to an end centuries before they came into existence as a separate tribe.

The following villages and tracts are respectively Samil and Gar:

  Samil Gar
Baizai   Baizai (No Strong Gar Feeling)
Samilzai Muhammadzai
Kaghazai
Ushtarzai
Landai Kachai
Sherkot
Alizai
Khadizai
Machai except Landai
Marai
Nusrat Khel
Hangu Shahu Khel (Partly Gar)
Hangu
Shahu Khel (Partly Samil)
Lodi Khel
Bezar
Raisan
Ibrahimzai
Miranzai above Hangu Baliamin
Muhammad Khoja
Zaimusht and
Orakzai villages
All the old Bangash villages except Muhammad Khoja and Baliamin
Khattak Khattaks are all Samil  

The following statement shows the division of the border tribes into Gar and Samil:


Click on Image to Expand

Of the other Afridi tribes towards the Khaibar, the Aka Khels, Sipahs, Malik din Khels and Zakha Khels are Samil, while the Kambar Khels and Kuki Khels are Gar.

Division into Miranzai and Kohat

The Bangash tribe seem from the time of their first settlement to have been divided into the Upper Bangashes of Miranzai or Hangu, and the Lower Bangashes of Kohat. The Samilzai tappa was sometimes attached to Hangu, sometimes to Kohat. Probably when they arrived they had no recognised chiefs, managing their affairs on the democratic system peculiar to these Pathan clans. When, however, they settled in a comparatively rich and open country, easily accessible to the armies of the Mughal Emperors, the latter would naturally have found it advisable to recognise certain leading men as chiefs, and to employ them in the collection of revenue and the furnishing of levies.

Sanad and Position of the Chiefs

The Khan of Hangu has a succession of sanads given to his ancestors dating as far back as 1632 (from the Emperor Shah Jahan). The earliest of these gives him the farm of Kachai and Marai. Another from the Emperor Aurangzeb, dated A.D. 1700, gives him the lease of both Upper and Lower Miranzai on a net revenue of Rs. 12,000. The succession to the chief ship in the Kohat family has been more broken, and probably the older sanads have been lost and mislaid. The earliest forthcoming dates from A.D. 1745 and was given by Muhammad Shah to Izzat Khan, the ancestor of the present chiefs.

The rule of the Khans of Kohat and Hangu must have been of the most intermittent character. The boundaries of their jurisdictions were perpetually varying, and they were constantly engaged in internecine disputes. Upper Miranzai seems to have been all along almost independent. Sometimes a powerful chief, with the support of the king, became Governor of the whole country from the Indus to the Kuram. For instance Ghulam Muhammad of Hangu in the time of Nadir Shah is said to have ruled over Baizai and as far as Matanni in the Peshawar district. Zabardast Khan, Izzat Khel of Kohat, in the time of Timur Shah, held the whole country as far as Biland Khel, the Hangu family being temporarily expelled. When the Durani monarchy broke tip, its dominions were divided among the numerous brothers of Fateh Khan, and from that time members of the Barakzai family constantly resided both at Kohat and Hangu overshadowing the local chiefs. These sometimes held a public position as lessees of portions of the country. At other times they sank into obscurity or fled for refuge into the neighbouring hills.

The detailed history of these Khans and lessees is very confused and of no interest to the general reader, though an acquaintance with it is very necessary for officers connected with the district. It will be found in detail in the appendices to Mr. Tucker's Settlement Report. The Bangashes now form the bulk of the population of the Kohat and Hangu tahsils.

The Niazi Tribe

Associated with the Bangashes are large numbers of Niazis, who are now hardly to be distinguished from them. The Niazis are by origin Pawandahs, the general name for the migratory tribes who carry on the trade between Afghanistan and the Panjab through the Gomal pass in the Dera Ismail Khan district. A remnant of this tribe to the number of about 400 men are still engaged in the Pawandah trade. These Niazis are a Lodi tribe; their first settlements were in the Tank tahsil. They spread thence about the end of the 15th century into the Bannu district. Being driven out by the Marwats they moved on into Isa Khel and Mianwali, where they are now the dominant class. According to Sr. Thorburn they settled in Isa Khel about A.D. 1600 and in Mianwali about A.D. 1750.

Settlement in Kohat

Little is known of the settlement of the Niazis in the Kohat district. It must have taken place a century or two before their settlement in Isa Khel. According to local tradition they arrived here in the time of Daulat Khan son of Bai Khan. This would make their settlement contemporaneous with that of the Baizai Bangashes, which seems to have taken place previous to the time of Babar's invasion (A.D. 1505). It is probable, however, that they arrived before the settlement of Baizai. They probably first established themselves along the lower course of the Kohat toi, about Kamal Khel, and spread along one of its main feeders up the Sumari valley to where it debouches on Miranzai near Togh., Tegh, Barabbas Khel and Kotki in Miranzai, the two villages of Samari, Gadda Khel and a number of villages lower down on the Kohat toi, as well as the large villages of Togh east of Kohat, are now occupied by Niazis. In the Bangash pedigree tables, showing the allotment of shares in the land to the different sections, the Niazis are shown among the original sharers, but I expect that most of their lands were acquired independently of the Bangashes. The Niazi villages form a lone strip interposing between the Khattaks and the Bangashes from Togh, in Miranzai to Manda Khel, a distance of more than thirty miles. Except in Upper Miranzai the Khattaks and Bangashes hardly ever come directly in contact. The Baizai Togh is acknowledged to have been founded by settlers from the Miranzai Togh, when the Kohat lands were partitioned among the Baizais. This alone proves that the Niazi settlement must have been of very old date.

The Bangashes, including the Niazis, occupy the Hangu tahsil and the Baizai and Samilzai tappas round Kohat. The Khattaks hold all the rest of the district.

The Khattak Tribe

The first settlement of the Khattaks was at Shawal, a valley in the Waziri country lying to the west of Bannu, near the Pir Ghal peak. They migrated thence eastwards to the British district of Bannu and settled with the Afghan tribes of Honai and Mangal, who then held it. These tribes were driven out by the Shitaks, a clan allied to the Khattaks, also from Shawal, probably during the 14th century.[4] The Shitaks gradually drove back the weak Khattak communities previously settled along the left bank of the Kuram. The Khattaks thus pressed from behind gradually spread over the southern portion of the Kohat district. They first took Possession of the Chauntra Bahadar Khel and Teri valleys, and jointly with the Bangashes drove out the tribes previously occupying the north-eastern part of the district, and obtained the Gumbat, Pattiala and Zira tappas as their share.

Malak Ako

Malik Akorai, or Ako, the first of a long line of Khattak chiefs, who flourished in the 16th century, was a man of Karbogha, a village north-west of Teri. The Khattaks seem to have been firmly established there in his time, and to have carried on a predatory war with the neighbouring Bangashes of Darsamand. Malik Ako quarrelled with his relatives at Karbogha and removed to the Khwarra. The Karbogha men were subsequently induced to emigrate. They tried to settle in Shakardarra, but the Awans of Kalabagh were too strong for them, and after a good deal of fighting the Khattaks moved off and eventually settled with Malik Ako at Sunialu in the Khwarra. The Karbogha Khattaks were first class robbers, and from their strongholds in the Cherat range, they ravaged the country far and wide. The Malik had a special dislike on religious grounds to Hindu jogis. He used to kill them and keep their earnings, which eventually filled two large earthen jars. He successfully resisted the lances of the Emperor Akbar under Shah Beg Khan, Governor of Peshawar. When the Emperor himself happened on one of his campaigns to be at Nilab, A.D. 1581, he sent for Malik Ako and arranged with Lim that the Khattaks were to enjoy a transit duty on all cattle passing along the Peshawar-Attock road, in consideration for which they were to be responsible for its safety. Malik Ako also obtained a grant from the emperor of the country south of the Kabul river from Khairabad to Nowshera. He subsequently founded the village of Akora on this road, and established a serai there. Akora became thenceforth the capital of the tribe.

Sagri Khattaks

The Sagris, a branch of the Bolak Khattaks, who had accompanied Malik Ako to the Khwarra, soon afterwards moved down to Shakardarra and Nandraka. They drove out the Awans, and took possession of the country nearly as far as Kalabagh. They afterwards crossed the Indus and drove the Awans out of Makhad and the surrounding tract. The Shakardarra and Makhad tappas are still held by the Sagris. They have always had a chief; but the family holding the chief ship has been more than once changed. An account of the Sagri Khattaks will be found in Appendix IV to Mr. Tucker's Settlement Report. The present chief Ghulam Muhammad Khan lives at Makhad and is a jagirdar of both the Pindi and the Kohat district.

Bhangi Khels

The Bhangi Khel Khattaks were a section of the Sagris. They broke off from the latter and acquired an adjoining tract now included in the Bannu district.

Akora Khattaks

The Sagris seem to have been altogether independent of the family of Malik Ako, who established themselves at Akora and were the acknowledged chiefs of all the other Khattaks, from the Kabul river, to the neighbourhood of Bannu. Malik Ako's successors appear to have held their eldership under the confirmation of the Delhi Emperors, and usually met a violent death at the hands of their relatives. The celebrated Khushal Khan was their most noted chieftain. His great grandson Sadullah Khan, being on bad terms with his father Afzal Khan (the historian), established himself on the site of the present town of Teri which has ever since been the head-quarters of the western Khattaks. Sadullah himself afterwards succeeded to the chief ship of the whole tribe, but from this time forward the western Khattaks were separately governed by a chief of their own residing at Teri.

At first the Teri chief was merely the Naib of the Akora chief. Eventually the Teri chief ship became settled in the family of Shahbaz Khan, the younger son of Sadullah Khan, from whom the present chief, Nawab Sir Khwaja Muhammad Khan, is descended. The elder branch, the descendants of Saadat Khan, resided at Akora. They interfered a good deal in Teri matters, and exercised a sort of over-chief ship till they were overwhelmed by the Sikh invasion. The Teri chief ship was but little affected by the Sikh conquest, but the Akora chief ship as a whole was entirely broken up. All the leading members of the family were at feud with one another, and murder was more rife than ever. Two or three petty chiefs survived from the wreck and were found at annexation in possession of small jagirs bestowed on them by the Sikh Government. These will be mentioned further on. They divided between them the whole of the Akora Khattak portion of the Kohat tahsil.

Grant of Teri to Khwaja Muhammad Khan

During the second Sikh war Khwaja Muhammad Khan, the chief of Teri, took the side of the British Government. At annexation he was continued in the management of the whole Teri tahsil, which was confirmed to him in perpetuity at a fixed assessment equal to about a third of the revenue of the tract. Further information regarding him will be found further on in "Leading Families of the District."

State of the District at Annexation

At the annexation of the Punjab on the 29th of March, 1849, Kohat was included in the Peshawar district. The state of things was then as follows:

Construction of Roads

Kohat Pass Road

The attention of the District Officers was first drawn to the construction of roads to connect Kohat with Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Bannu. The first brought us at once into collision with hill tribes. At annexation the Government had agreed to continue to the Afridis of the Kohat pass the allowances that they had drawn under native rule. In the cold weather of 1849-50, Colonel Lawrence commenced to make a good road through the pass, but in 1850 the Bazotis showed their disapprobation by cutting up a working party of Sappers. On this there was a military expedition from Peshawar under Sir Colin Campbell. The Commander-in-Chief Sir Charles Napier himself accompanied the column, which marched through the pass, destroying the villages on the way, and reached Kohat on 12th February. The 1st Punjab Infantry under Captain Coke and some other troop were now left at Kohat, while the remainder of the force marched back through the pass to Peshawar, not without some opposition on the part of the Afridis.

Further History of Pass till 1853

No practical benefit resulted from this expedition, and the pass remained closed as before till the following November (1850), when fresh arrangements were made, and it was reopened, Rahmat Khan Orakzai [5] being associated in the management. The attempt to make a good road was at the same time abandoned. The pass now remained open for nearly three years. Eventually a quarrel sprang up between Rahmat Khan and the Afridis. In October 1853 the latter seized Rahmat Khan's post on the Kotal, and the pass was then closed. After this Captain Coke made an attempt to hold the Kotal with Bangash levies. These, however, fled precipitately on the first attack by the Afridis, Captain Coke being himself slightly wounded on the occasion. The Daulatzai tribes (viz., the Bazotis, Feroz Khels and Utman Khels), the Sipaiahs and the southern Jowakis were now associated with the Bangashes in the defence of the Kotal, and were given allowances, Rahmat Khan Orakzai being at the same time got rid of. Our position at the northern end of the pass was also strengthened by the construction of Fort Mackeson. The Afridis now came to terms; the pass was reopened at the end of 1853, and with one trivial interval remained open till 1865.

Bahadar Sher Khan

Bahadar Sher Khan, the Bangash Chief, was engaged at annexation as lessee for several villages near Kohat. In the beginning of 1851 he was in difficulties with his revenue, and fled into the Sipaiah hills. He was soon recalled however by Captain Coke and placed in charge of our relations with the pass Afridis, a position that he occupied till his death in 1880.

Road to Khushalgarh

The road by Khushalgarh to Rawalpindi gave comparatively little trouble. Occasional robberies were committed by the neighbouring Jowakis, who even ventured now and then to plunder boats on the Indus. Our relations with the Jowakis were very uncertain in their character. Sometimes when the Kohat pass was closed, a postal line would be established vid Bori; at other times we were threatening them with punitive expeditions. In 1853 the conduct of the Bori Jowakis was exceptionably bad, and at the end of that year a force was marched into the Bori valley. Some villages were burned, and in the beginning of 1854 Captain Coke was able to report their complete submission. The southern Jawakis had before this been associated in the arrangements for defending the Kotal.

Road to Bannu

The main route from Kohat to Bannu before annexation passed by Nar and Karak through the Khuni Gah ravine. As early as 1850 a scheme was taken in hand for opening out a more direct route vid Bahadar Khel and the Surdagh pass. A military road to Bahadar Khel was absolutely necessary to enable us to control the great salt mines at that place, which were jeopardised by the rebellious character of the neighbouring Khattaks as well as by attacks from the Waziris of the adjoining border.

A good deal of excitement had been caused in the neighbourhood of these mines, and among the salt traders generally, by a very heavy increase in the salt duty introduced in January 1850. In February 1850 the Bahadar Khel and adjoining Khattaks took advantage of the troubles in the Kohat pass, to show signs of insubordination. On this Lieutenant Pollock marched with a small force through their country to Latammar, which he reached unopposed on 2nd March 1850. This was enough to quiet the country, and in April the salt duty was reduced to the present low rates.

In October 1850, the men of Bahadar Khel and Drish Khel attacked a party of Multani levies who were protecting a working party employed on the new Bannu road near Totakki. They drove them off and took possession of the Bahadar Khel mines, but the insurrection was quelled on the arrival of a small force under Captain Coke and Lieutenant Pollock, who reached Bahadar Khel on 10th October. Arrangements were now made for constructing a fort at Bahadar Khel.

Hitherto the Waziris and Khattaks had been in league; but in November 1851 the Waziris attacked the village of Bahadar Khel and were roughly handled by the villagers and by a company of the 4th Punjab Infantry. This broke up the alliance; but to the present day the Khattaks of this border are generally on intimate terms with the neighbouring Waziris.

The last and the most serious of these disturbances occurred in the summer of 1852. There were rumours that our troops had met with serious reverses in Ranizai. The Deputy Commissioner, Captain Coke, was himself absent in Ranizai with his regiment. The Khattaks of Bahadar Khel, Karak, and Lawaghar, who had been annoyed at the establishment of military posts at Nari and Latammar, took advantage of our supposed difficulties to rise in open insurrection. They again seized the salt mines, while the men of Lawaghar threatened the garrison of Nari. Captain Coke, on receipt of the news, at once marched back with the 1st Punjab Infantry, four companies of the 3rd Panjab Infantry, and two squadrons of the 1st Punjab Cavalry. He reached Kohat on 3rd June and the next day made a forced march of 60 miles via Nari to Bahadar Khel. The villagers having refused to give in, and having retired to the adjoining hills, Captain Coke dismantled their village. These prompt proceedings led to the submission of the men of Surdagh and Latammar within a week. Most of the Bahadar Khel malcontents had given in by the end of August, but the Lawaghar men, protected by the remoteness and the difficult character of their country, did not submit till the following cold weather. The village of Bahadar Khel was removed to a site commanded by the new fort.

After this the new road to Bannu was completed without further disturbance, and by 1853 a good fort had been constructed at Bahadar Khel. This part of the country henceforward remained perfectly quiet till the Barak rising of 1880. Nari was at first garrisoned by the 5th Punjab Infantry under Captain Vaughan, but the change of route rendered it a post of but little importance, and when the fort of Bahadar Khel was built the troops at Nari were withdrawn, except a small detachment that was retained there for many years afterwards. About this time the old crumbling Durrani fort at Kohat was enlarged and reconstructed on a plan of Colonel Napier's.

Miranzai

It remains to sketch the history of Miranzai and the Akora Khattak ilaqa. As regards Lower Miranzai, Ghulam Haidar Khan, the Chief, was continued in charge after annexation as tahsildar. Our boundary to the west was at that time quite unsettled. For two years no revenue was taken from Upper Miranzai, and Sardar Azim Khan, Governor of Kuram, seeing that the British Government, were taking no steps to annex it, made arrangements in 1851 for including it within his own province. The Upper Miranzai villagers objected strongly to passing again under Kabul rule, and petitioned the Deputy Commissioner to be annexed to the Kohat district, to which they asserted they had always hitherto been attached. In accordance with their wishes the Upper Miranzai villages were solemnly annexed by proclamation in August 1851. Sardar Azim Khan in spite of this continued his arrangements for taking possession of the tract, and detachments of Kabul Cavalry had advanced as far as Torawari. The Waziris and Zaimushts were at the same time given khillats and instigated to continue their predatory attacks on the Bangashes of the valley. Captain Coke accordingly addressed a remonstrance to the Sardar, which he forwarded by his right hand man Mir Mubarak Shah, and meanwhile prepared to defend Miranzai by force.

First Miranzai Expedition (AD 1851)

The Waziris had already assembled at Biland Khel to attack Darsamand, when Captain Coke in September 1851 with a small military force and some Khattak levies, under their Chief Khwaja Mohamed Khan, set out on what is known as the first Miranzai expedition. After all there was no fighting beyond a little firing in the neighbourhood of Thal and Biland Khel, and the force returned to Kohat on 12th November. Captain Coke took advantage of this opportunity to settle the revenue arrangements of Miranzai.

Anarchy in Upper Miranzai

The only object of the Upper Miranzai villages had been to escape from the clutches of the Kabul Government. They had no intention of paying revenue, or becoming British subjects in anything but name. Captain Coke was exceedingly anxious to bridle the unruly inhabitants of these parts by the construction of a fort like that at Bahadar Khel, but his attention was too much taken up with matters elsewhere for him to interfere with any effect in Miranzai. At the end of 1854 Upper Miranzai was in a state of anarchy. The villages had paid no revenue since their nominal annexation; they resisted our civil officials, and fought with and plundered one another. At the same time no sooner were they attacked by Turis and Waziris from outside, than they screamed out loudly for aid, urging absurd reasons for their past misconduct. In addition to this the valley was an asylum for all the murderers and robbers of Kohat and the neighbouring districts, who raided from it in security of the adjoining portions of the Hangu and Teri ilaqas.

Kabul Khel Expedition of 1852

One or two attempts had been made in this interval to bring the Waziris and Turis to order. In December 1852 an expedition was sent up the Gumatti pass from the Bannu side against the Umarzai Waziris, who were to some extent assisted by the Kabul Khels, and caravans had from time to time been seized in reprisal.

Second Miranzai Expedition (AD 1855)

At last, in the beginning of 1855, it was determined to despatch a military force against Upper Miranzai. General Chamberlain commanded and Captain Coke accompanied the expedition. The troops first marched to Togh, where all the Upper Miranzai villages gave in their submission. The force marched thence via Nariab to Darsamand. At this latter place Afridis, Zaimushts and other hill men to the number of about 4,000 collected to oppose it, occupying the surrounding hills. On 29th April the enemy was attacked and routed. They fled with such precipitation that very few were kilted. The force then marched into the cultivated country of the Waziris along the Kuram below Thal, on which the Kabul Khels submitted without fighting. This, which is known as the second Miranzai expedition, lasted from 4th April to 21st May 1855.

Murder of Ghulam Haider Khan of Hangu

On 7th June 1855, Ghulam Haidar, who was Khan of Hangu and also tahsildar, was murdered by a relative, Munawar. The murderer forthwith escaped into the Orakzai hills. Ghulam Haidar Khan left some young sons, and a brother Muzaffar Khan, the present chief. Captain Coke, however, at once appointed Mir Mubarak Shah to the vacant tahsildar-ship. The Hangu family were the heads of the neighbouring Samil clans of the Orakzais, with whom in old days they had habitually taken refuge when in difficulties with the Governors of Kohat. It is not extraordinary, therefore, that these clans, especially the Rabia Khels, Sheikhans and Mishtis now began to raid on our villages. Accordingly General Chamberlain, accompanied as before by Captain Coke, led a force to Hangu. On 31st August the troops attacked the Rabia Khel strongholds in the Samana mountains, while a raiding party of Khwaja Muhammad Khan's Khattaks destroyed their villages in the Khankai valley behind. After this the Orakzais submitted. The force returned to Kohat on 7th October. The Commissioner, Colonel Edwardes, having insisted on Muzaffar Khan being appointed tahsildar of Hangu in the place of his murdered brother, Captain Coke, who objected to the removal of his own nominee, Mir Mubarak Shah, resigned the Deputy Commissionership. He retained the command of his regiment and continued to take a part in the subsequent expeditious. This was in October 1855. Captain Henderson, who commanded the 3rd Punjab Infantry, now became Deputy Commissioner, retaining at the same time his regimental appointment.

Third Miranzai Expedition (AD 1856)

In spite of the expedition in 1855, Upper Miranzai continued to give trouble. The Turis had been raiding as before, Darsamand had withheld its revenue, and the Zaimushts were rebellious. This led to the third Miranzai expedition. General Chamberlain, accompanied by Captain Henderson, with 4,500 men and 14 guns, started on 21st October 1856, and marched up the valley as far as Nariab. The Zaimushts of Torawari, continuing to be contumacious, their village was attacked and the greater part of it burned. The Zaimushts were fined. Darsamand had already given in and paid up the revenue due. The force now marched up the Kuram valley, nearly as far as the Paiwar Kotal. The Turis were fined Rs. 8,000. The Miamai section of the Kabul Khels having murdered some grass-cuts, the troops now turned against this latter tribe. After some fighting in the hills beyond Biland Khel they submitted. The force returned to Gandionr on 21st December, and after the settlement of some further difficulties with the Zaimushts was broken up.

Govt. Refuses Annexation of Biland Khel

The local officers at this time were very desirous that the Bangash village of Biland Khel and the trans-Kuram lands of Thal should be included in British territory. In spite of their representations the Government decided by orders, dated 14th September 1858, that the river Kuram was to be the British boundary in this direction. This decision appears to have led to fresh difficulties with the Waziris. In 1859, they raided on the trans-Kuram lands of the village of Thal, and their border was generally in an unsettled state. Eventually the murder of Captain Meecham on the Bannu road near Latammar led to another expedition against the Kabul Khels. A force under General Chamberlain, consisting of 3,900 men and 13 guns, accompanied by Captain Henderson, crossed the Kuram at Thal on 20th December 1859 and marched to Maidani; the Waziris lost some 50 men and much cattle. The force broke up on 7th January 1860. The Kabul Khel country was mapped, but the murderers escaped, except the ringleader, Mohabat, who not long afterwards was given up by the Ahmadzais and hanged.

The Akora Tappas

Nilab

As regards the north-eastern corner of the district, the Nilab tappa was fairly well managed by Jafar Khan. Afzal Khan, however, who was jagirdar of the Zira and Khwarra valleys, had allowed his country to fall into a state of utter anarchy. Zira had been nearly depopulated by Jawaki inroads. The Khwarra Khattaks were stronger, and were more or less in league with the neighbouring Hasan Khels. The whole jagir was an asylum for the outlaws of the Pindi district, who robbed and plundered at their pleasure, but were safe from pursuit as soon as they had crossed the Indus. The village of Sheikh Allahdad in especial had an unenviable notoriety, as being crowded with murderers and other criminals, who had been attracted to it as much by the advantages of its situation for purposes of plunder as by its sanctity. On 29th September 1853, Coke having quietly slipped down the Khushalgarh road, made an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Sheikh Allahdad. Most of the men that he had hoped to seize had fled before his arrival. The state of the country being intolerable, Afzal Khan was sent off to the Peshawar district and deprived of the management of his jagir, which in the beginning of 1854 was attached to the Kohat district. When Coke camped at Shadipur in November 1854, he found almost every village in the Zira valley in ruins. Owing to the exertions of Mir Mubarak Shah, this state of things was soon rectified; the fugitive inhabitants were recalled; police stations were established, and in this and the following year a road was opened out by the Mir Kalan pass to Peshawar. Zira and Khwarra are still a wild and thinly peopled country, where a good deal of cattle-stealing goes on.

Shakardarra

The Shakardarra jagir was perfectly peaceful from the first, the Khan and leading Maliks being generally engaged in fighting with one another in our courts as to the right of the former to resume the inams enjoyed by the latter, a contest which has kept them occupied down to the present day.

Mutiny Year

The mutiny year was a comparatively peaceful one in Kohat. On the breaking out of the mutiny the district was garrisoned by three regiments (2,700 men) of infantry, one cavalry regiment of 580 men, and a battery of artillery with 186 men.

On 14th May one regiment of infantry moved on Attock. Its detachments were recalled from Nari and Bahadar Khel, being replaced by Khattaks. On 18th May most of the mounted police were sent to Peshawar, and were followed by 600 foot police and village levies, most of whom, however, were in a few days sent back. Other military detachments were withdrawn to join Nicholson's force. The 2nd Punjab Cavalry marched to Peshawar on the 31st May. On 29th May three companies of the 58th Native Infantry arrived at Kohat. The 6th Punjab Infantry was largely a Hindustani regiment, and the arrival of the 58th made the Hindustani element for the time unpleasantly strong. The 58th men were quietly disarmed on 8th July. The 3rd and 6th Punjab Infantry were eventually so reduced by the transfer of detachments to form the nucleus of new regiments that by the end of August they could hardly muster 400 men between them. To supply the place of regular troops, local levies were raised to the number of 100 horse and 800 foot. Khwaja Muhammad Khan with a portion of these held the posts on the Bannu road.

When Captain Coke (then at Bannu) was ordered down country, Mir Mubarak Shah (5th June) started off to join him with 80 horses, which were attached to the 1st Punjab Infantry during the campaign. Mir Mubarak Shah was himself killed in fight soon after. These are the only levies that left the district for Hindustan. As a rule, the people did not object to serve at Peshawar, and volunteered readily for service at home, but shirked going south-east. The following levies were despatched to Peshawar:

  Horse Foot
16th May Bahadur Sher Khan Bangash 60 80
19th May Khattak villagers
Hangu villagers
50
42
83
198
27th May Kohat villagers - 174
30th May Police and Jail Guard - 42
31st May Jafar Khan's levies 11 82
26th June Shakardarra villagers 1 44
Total: 154 703

Bahadar Sher Khan remained at Peshawar for many months, and rendered good service, for which he was afterwards handsomely rewarded.

State of Border Tribes

The border tribes during this time kept unusually quiet, though a good deal of anxiety was felt with regard to them. At one time the Samil tribes on the Hangu border assumed a hostile attitude, and one unsuccessful raid was attempted by the Utman Khels. With the fall of Delhi all apprehension ceased.

The Mutiny

The following account of the event of 1857 is taken from the Punjab Mutiny Report. This district was presided over during the anxious period of 1857 by Captain B. Henderson. The force stationed at Kohat at the commencement of the mutiny consisted of three regiments of Punjab infantry and one of Punjab cavalry, with some artillery; in all about 3,500 men. This garrison was gradually reduced to about one-fifth of its original strength by the despatch of reinforcements to Peshawar, Attock, and the movable column. Thus on the 15th May, or within 24 hours of the receipt of intelligence of the outbreak at Mirat and Delhi, a complete regiment of infantry marched to Attock; on the 31st the regiment of cavalry proceeded to Peshawar, and from time to time smaller detachments were sent to reinforce General Nicholson's column as well as the reliable troops at Peshawar. The places of the absent forces were in some degree filled by levies of the warlike tribes in the district and beyond the border. Captain Henderson further contributed some 1,400 levies, as well as a large body of his police to the Peshawar forces.

Much anxiety was caused by a rumour which reached the Deputy Commissioner on the 22nd May, that the stock of ammunition, which had recently been received at Kohat, and some portion of which had been served out to all the troops, was prepared with the mixture of pig's and bullock's fat, and that it was intended to coerce the men into using it on the 1st June following. No other grievance was spoken out; but all the troops were said to have declared that they would refuse the ammunition. The traders began to conceal their property, and to carry it to the houses of Sayads and powerful villages; and the common bazar report was that the cavalry would not take the cartridge, and made no secret of it. Immediate precautions were taken. Strong infantry picquets were placed over the guns; the treasure was removed into the upper fort of Kohat, which was garrisoned by a company of the 3rd Punjab Infantry, and target practice was discontinued for a time. The excitement gradually subsided and happily nothing came of it.

The progress of events in Hindustan and the Punjab necessarily reacted on the people of Kohat, and created considerable excitement amongst them; nevertheless the peace of the district was preserved in a remarkable degree. There was a alight increase of violent crime; but on the whole the behaviour of the people, everything considered, was excellent. There was but one attempt at a petty raid with about 120 men, which resulted, writes Captain Henderson; "in the helter-skelter flight of the would-be assailants, who narrowly escaped destruction."

The Turis beyond the border, as well as a party in Bori, were at one time inclined to give trouble by plundering, but they were peaceably brought to reason, and obliged to give security for good conduct. The Afridis of the Kohat pass, before notoriously the most unruly tribe in the district, behaved in an admirable manner, furnishing levies with alacrity, and keeping the pass so safe that it was considered by Captain Henderson "the safest portion of the road in the whole country"; and during the seven months of trouble they were not charged with a single crime; not even a petty theft. This satisfactory state of things was mainly due to the wise measures taken by the district and military authorities to put down revolt and to counteract the evil effect of false and exaggerated rumours by disseminating throughout the district any good tidings that came to hand.

On the outbreak of the rebellion all the neighbouring tribes offered their services to the Government; but their feeling is described by Captain Henderson as "a strange mixed one, their best wishes at heart being in favour of the King of Delhi, in whom they clearly felt a great interest, though they were inimical to the Purbias. It was a constant subject of anxiety," continues Captain Henderson, "to the temper and feelings of the tribes all round, and we have not many real friends amongst them, though so long as we have power they hesitate to break their connection with us; but they were worked upon to rise against us, day after day, by faqirs and mullahs bearing every imaginable falsehood that could be invented against the Government; but, though the excitement was everywhere intense, and common report was everywhere rife that we were about to make our escape from the country, it was not until the end of August and early in September that any attempt at collecting men with any hostile intent was made, and before any harm was done, or matters had been brought to a head, dissension was happily brought about in their councils, and all angrily separated." The news of the fall of Delhi shortly afterwards completely placed these tribes on our side, and congratulations poured in from every quarter.

Towards the end of May a detachment of three companies of the 58th Native Infantry was sent to Kohat. As these men had been heard once or twice speaking in a manner that evinced bad feeling, they were disarmed on the 8th July without any show of resistance. Throughout the crisis there was not a single military execution at Kohat. Five men in all were fined and imprisoned for seditious language.

Death of Major Henderson (AD 1861)

Major Henderson died at Kohat on 21st August 1861. He was succeeded by Captain Shortt and Captain Munro, who held the district till 1866. During this period there is little to record till the closing of the Kohat pass in 1865.

State of Kohat Pass from Mutiny to 1875

The Kohat pass had been closed for a few days in September 1859 by Captain Munro, and again for a few days in September 1860, by Captain Henderson owing to petty disagreements with the Afridis. It was again closed owing to internal dissensions among the tribes in the beginning of 1865, and remained closed for a year and a half. At last the various disputes were finally settled, and the pass was reopened on the 6th November 1866. The Hasan Khels however continued to be contumacious, and it was not till they had been blockaded, and preparations had been made for an expedition against them, that they were brought to terms in the beginning of 1867. Meanwhile in April 1866 Lieutenant Cavagnari had succeeded to the charge of the district which he held with a few breaks till 1877.

Bazoti Troubles (1867-69)

Towards the end of 1867 the Bazotis also became troublesome. In March 1868 they came down in force to the mouth of the Oblan pass, where they were attacked by a force under Colonel Jones. The attempt was unsuccessful, and Captain Ruxton, commanding the 3rd Punjab Infantry, was on this occasion killed while trying to storm the enemy's position. On 25th February 1869 Colonel Keyes led a retaliatory expedition into the Bazoti country. A sudden raid was made on the village of Gara which was destroyed. The troops were unable to reach Danakhula as had been originally intended. Our forces retired with trifling loss, the enemy hanging on their rear. On 4th April the Bazotis and other Daulatzais tendered their submission and agreed to pay a fine of Rs. 1,200.

Demonstration Against Kabul Khel Wazirs

In this same year the Kabul Khel and Tazi Khel Waziris attacked Thal, and carried off seven or eight hundred head of cattle. This was in revenge for a Turi attack on them in 1866, supposed to have been instigated by the Thal men. Colonel Keyes in April 1869, with a force of about 1,000 men, made a demonstration against them, and on his arrival at Thal the Kabul Khels came to terms, surrendering the stolen property with a fine of Rs. 2,000. On 15th April 1870, Captain Stainforth was murdered in the pass. Some fines were inflicted and one of the murderers was hanged.

In April 1874 the Deputy Commissioner took a small military force up to Thal by way of a demonstration against the Waziris, against whom there was a long list of offences. A satisfactory settlement was arrived at, and fines aggregating to Rs. 12,000 were realized without the use of force. In this year there was a great coalition of the Samil tribes against the Sayads of Tirah. The Sayads were overpowered and had to take refuge in British territory, but owing to disagreements among their adversaries they were able in a few mouths to regain possession of their villages and lands.

Kohat Pass Troubles (1875-1877)

In December 1874 the permanent settlement of the district was commenced under the superintendence of Major Hastings.

In 1875 our relations with the pass Afridis were again disturbed owing to the proposals for the construction of a good road through the pass. These proposals had been first mooted by Captain Cavagnari in 1873. He had been assured by Bahadar Sher Khan, who had now managed the pass Afridis for nearly 25 years, that there would be no difficulty in persuading the pass men to agree to the project, and eventually in July 1875 the Government of India sanctioned the proposal on this understanding. By October, however, it was clear that the Afridis as a body would not willingly consent to the new road. They grew more and more excited and contumacious. On 27th December 1875 the pass was closed, and on 7th February 1876 the pass Afridis were formally blockaded. This had but little effect. Some crops belonging to Akhorwals in the Peshawar valley were cut under the protection of our troops, but otherwise no active measures were taken against the malcontents. Both the Jawakis and the Hasan Khels were inclined to be troublesome, and constant raids were occurring all along the Adam Khel border. In July the Jawakis Agreed to pay up the fine against them, but the Hasan Khels continued to be recalcitrant, and on 30th August 1876 they were Included in the blockade. During the winter a Hasan Khel outlaw named Naim Shay was the terror of the Peshawar border, and had the audacity to attack the thanna and plunder the bazaar at Nowshera.

Settlement with Pass Afridis

The blockade being quite ineffective the alternative lay between carrying out the road project by force, which would have necessitated a general campaign against the Adam Khel, or coming to terms with the pass Afridis on the basis of a postponement of the project. The latter course was selected. The Hasan Khels were gained over to the side of Government, and after a good deal of discussion it was arranged that the Government was to have the right of making a good road down the steep slope on the north side of the Kotal, and that the repair of the remainder of the road through the valley should be left to the Afridis. They also surrendered some plundered property and paid a fine of Rs. 3,000. Their former allowances were now restored to the pass men with an addition for the Kotal road, and the pass was reopened on 24th March 1877, Bahadar Sher Khan being made a Nawab for his services. The Jawaki disturbances commenced soon after, and these were followed by the Afghan war, and with the exception of the portion passing over the Kotal, the road through the pass has never been touched.

Jawaki Disturbance (1877-78)

The misbehaviour of the Jawakis during the pass blockade, more especially in the matter of the Kotal towers, had drawn on them the displeasure of the local authorities, and the forfeiture of their allowances (Rs. 2,000 a year) had been mooted at the time of the final settlement with the pass Afridis. The forfeiture had not been formally announced, but the Jawakis were in an uneasy state, which in July 1877 resulted in an outbreak. Among other offences they carried off a large number of Commissariat mules and cut up a party of sepoys going on leave. They were at once blockaded, but the length of their border, and its propinquity to the Khushalgarh road, made the blockade more troublesome to the blockading aide than to the Jawakis. On 30th August there was a small military expedition, columns being suddenly marched into the Jawaki country from various directions. There was no serious opposition; the troops, however, retired the same day, and the demonstration had but little effect. A military occupation of the Jawaki territory was at last decided on. In the beginning of November 1877 a force under General Keyes entered the Torki valley from the south, while General Ross marched into the Bori valley from the Peshawar side. Gradually the whole country was explored, and the Jawakis being expelled from their most secluded recesses had to take refuge with the adjoining tribes. They were eventually allowed to submit on easy conditions, their former share in the pass allowances being resumed. The troops were finally withdrawn from Jawaki lands in March 1878.

Afghan War & Disturbed State of Miranzai Border

Hardly was the Jawaki affair over when the Afghan war commenced. The main road to Kuram runs for nearly a hundred miles through the Kohat district, the resources of which were much strained by the requirements of the troops marching through. In November 1878 General Roberts force which had been collecting at Thal crossed the Kuram en route for the Paiwar Kotal. The war, and more especially the Khost expedition, excited the fanaticism of the border tribes above Hangu, and our own villagers in Upper Miranzai were probably to some extent affected by the contagion. In consequence of this it was difficult to guard the line of road. Serais were burned, coolies and travellers were murdered, and occasional raids were committed both by Zaimushts, Orakzais and Waziris. The attacks of these last, however, were rather directed against the Thal convoy route from Bannu and the road up the Kuram valley, than against the Kohat district itself. The cup of the Zaimushts and of the western Orakzais being at last full, an expedition was directed against them in the end of 1879. On 8th December, General Tytler, accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Major Plowden, entered the Zaimusht country from the side of the Kuram with a force of about 3,000 men. After a victorious march, during which he stormed their principal strongholds, he returned to Miranzai by the Sangroba valley, reaching Thal on December 23rd. His return had been hurried by the bad news that Sir Frederick Roberts force had been shut up in the Sherpur cantonments. Still the results of the expedition had been considerable. The Zaimushts had been crushed, and paid up at once a fine of Rs. 21,000. The Alisherzais, fearing that their turn would come next, had also paid up a heavy fine. The Mamuzais were ready to pay up, but there was some hitch, and finding that no further military measures against them were in contemplation, they afterwards refused. Some other tribes also escaped the punishment that they deserved.

Waziri Expedition (October 1880)

In March 1880 the convoy route from Bannu to Thal was finally closed owing to the constant attacks by raiders, consisting principally of Dauris, Khostwals, and men belonging to the remoter Waziri tribes. The continued misbehaviour of the Waziris in the neighbourhood of Biland Khel and along the Manduri road at last called imperatively for punishment. On 27th October 1880 General Gordon led a small force, about 800 strong, against the Kabul Khel and Malik Shahi Waziris. He surprised them on the Churkaunai plateau, and seized a large quantity of cattle. On this, they immediately submitted and paid up a fine of Rs. 13,200. The whole business was over in a day, and the force returned to Thal on the 28th.

Barak Disturbances

During the war there was a great demand for men both as guards and labourers on the line of road up the Kuram valley. These were in a great measure supplied by our old friend, the Khattak Chief, who had been made a Nawab in 1873, and a K.C.S.I in May of the same year, and was now Nawab Sir Khwaja Muhammad Khan. This service was very unpopular. At last in March 1880 large numbers of the Barak Khattaks, who were employed at Thal, ran away to their homes. The movement among the Baraks rapidly developed into a sort of. insurrection against the Nawab's authority. In June and July it became difficult to execute criminal or civil processes in the portion of the district lying south of the Teri toi. Prisoners were forcibly released, and all Government was at a standstill. In August 1880 a small force was marched into the heart of the Barak country, when most of the malcontents submitted, though a complete pacification of the Lawaghar tract was not effected for more than a year afterwards.

Change in Management of Kohat Pass

Nawab Bahadar Sher Khan died in August 1880. He had managed the pass Afridis for 29 years. He was succeeded as a temporary measure by his brother Atta Khan, but in June 1882 our relations with these tribes were placed under the direct control of the Deputy Commissioner, the employment of a local Khan as a middleman being dispensed with.

Evacuation of Kuram and Biland Khel

During the Afghan war a small portion of the Kuram valley, including Biland Khel, was annexed to the Kohat district. When Kuram was evacuated by our troops in October 1880, the Deputy Commissioner advocated the retention of a portion of this tract on the same grounds as had been fruitlessly urged in 1858. The proposal was disallowed, and the Kuram river once more became the district frontier. In the beginning of 1881 the troops stationed at Thal and in the Miranzai valley were finally withdrawn, and the district reverted to its normal state.

Officers Connected with District

Lists are annexed of the officers who have managed the districts as Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners since annexation. Officers who have held charge for less than three months have been omitted. On the formal annexation of the Punjab on 29th March 1849 Kohat was included in the Peshawar district. Colonel G. Lawrence was the first Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar, and held the appointment till his transfer to Rajputana in July 1850, when he was succeeded by Major Lumsden. Lieutenant Pollock who had come up from the Derajat was stationed as Assistant Commissioner at Kohat, till May 1851, when Kohat was formed into a separate district and placed under Captain Coke of the 1st Punjab Infantry. Captain Coke was succeeded in October 1855 by Captain Henderson of the 3rd Punjab Infantry, who held the district, with one interruption, till his death in 1861. Both Captain Coke and Captain Henderson continued while Deputy Commissioners to hold command of their regiments as before, though in all military matters they were entirely subordinate to the officer who might be commanding the station of Kohat. Shahzada Jamhura, a native gentleman of Peshawar, had accompanied George Lawrence when he returned to Kohat, and had afterwards helped to garrison the fort of Attock under Lieutenant Herbert till its surrender to the Sikhs. After this he had joined Lieutenant Taylor at Lakki in the Bannu district. He was sent to Kohat as Extra Assistant in November 1849, and he held this appointment till his death in 1868. He occupied a very influential position in the district, in which he has been succeeded by his son the present Shahzada Sultan Jan.

List of Commissioners who have held charge of the Peshawar Division since annexation:

Names From To
Lt. Col. F. Mackeson, CE March 1852 September 1853
Capt. H. R. James, Offg. Comr. September 1853 November 1853
Lt. Col. H. B. Edwardes November 1853 February 1857
Lt. Col. J. Nicholson, Offg. Comr. February 1857 May 1857
Col. H. B. Edwardes May 1857 April 1859
Capt. H. R. James May 1859 February 1862
Major R. J. Taylor March 1862 September 1863
Capt. H. R. James November 1863 October 1864
Col. J. B. Beecher November 1864 June 1866
Mr. D.C. Macnabb June 1866 July 1866
Major F. R. Pollock July 1866 November 1866
Mr. D.C. Macnabb November 1866 January 1867
Major F. R. Pollock February 1867 March 1871
Mr. D.C. Macnabb March 1871 March 1874
Lt. Col. F.R. Pollock March 1874 October 1876
Mr. D.C. Macnabb October 1876 December 1876
Col. Sir F.R. Pollock KCSI January 1877 31st March 1878
Lt. Col. W.G. Waterfield 1st April 1878 23rd November 1878
Mr. D.C Macnabb 24th November 1878 8th June 1879
Lt. Col. W.G. Waterfield 9th June 1879 23rd April 1880
Col. J.W.H. Johnstone 24th April 1880 29th August 1880
Col. W.G. Waterfield CSI 30th August 1880 31st April 1881
Mr. J.G. Cordery 1st April 1881 5th April 1883
Col. W.G. Waterfield 21st April 1883  

List of the Officers who have held the post of Deputy Commissioner of this District since annexation:

Names Term of Office
From To
Lt. F.R. Pollock, Asst. Comr. June 1849 31st May 1851
Capt. John Coke 1st June 1851 October 1855
Capt. R. Henderson October 1855 7th April 1858
Capt. S. Graham, Offg. 8th April 1858 20th February 1859
Capt. A.A. Munro, Offg. 21st February 1859 15th December 1859
Capt. B. Henderson 16th December 1859 21st August 1861
Capt. J.B.G.G. Shortt 24th August 1861 21st December 1861
Capt. A.A. Munro 22nd December 1861 28th February 1863
Capt. J.B.G.G. Shortt 1st March 1863 9th April 1866
Lt. P.L.N. Cavagnari 10th April 1866 3rd April 1870
Capt. C.E. Macaulay 4th April 1870 3rd July 1870
Capt. P.L.N. Cavagnari 4th July 1870 28th February 1871
Capt. T.J.C. Plowden 1st March 1871 15th February 1873
Capt. P.L.N. Cavagnari 16th January 1873 12th May 1877
Capt. T.J.C. Plowden 23rd May 1877 12th May 1881
Mr. H. St. G. Tucker 13th May 1881 12th September 1881
Major T.J.C. Plowden 19th September 1881 27th October 1881
Mr. H. St. G. Tucker 19th December 1881 --

Notes

  1. Mr. Masson was a traveller, who passed through these parts alone, and generally on foot almost like a faqir. He came from Bannu, and made his way through the Waziri country passing near the hill of Kafir Kot. He mistook the variously shaped rocks for the ruins of a gigantic fortress, with regard to which he was told numerous lies. He seems to have reached Upper Miranzai. He then travelled vid Muhammad Khoja to Hangu. He then describes Hangu and the country thence to Kohat much as a traveller would do now. Sadu Khan was regularly established at Hangu and had a small flower garden. He was well bred and amiable and was a devout Musalman. While at Hangu intelligence was received of the approach of a hostile force from Peshawar. Sadu Khan immediately collected the revenue due to him and proceeded to Kohat, where his elder brother, Muhammad Usman Khan, resided. The brothers in consultation, concluding that it was impossible to repel the invasion, returned to Hangu, and taking all their property with them retired by the Kuram valley to Kabul.

    Between Hangu and Kohat Masson was kindly received by the villagers. He was stopped on the road by Pir Muhammad Khan's troops. Pir Muhammad Khan was at first sulky, but afterwards treated him kindly. Masson put the number of houses at Hangu at about 300, at Kohat at about 500. There are now 272 houses in the first and 1,615 houses and 469 shops in the latter. He mentions that Samad Khan resided at Kabul leaving the government of Kohat to his sons. The revenue of Kohat was said to be Rs. 80,000, that of Hangu Rs. 20,000. This would be Durani money. He mentions that there was a difficulty in collecting the revenue. Even in case of Muhammad Khoja force had to be used. Pir Muhammad Khan's attack on Kohat was part of a pre-concerted scheme for advancing against Dost Muhammad Khan from both Peshawar and Kandahar. The attack was unexpected, and Sadu Khan spoke of the whole business as a most flagitious one.

    Pir Muhammad Khan having placed Abdul Wahab Khan as Governor of Hangu returned to Kohat. He now treated Masson with much civility. Pir Muhammad Khan was recalled to Kabul to meet an expected attack from the notorious Syed Ahmed Shah. He gave Masson a seat on his elephant and took him with him to Peshawar. Through the pass and as far as Masanni they were in dread of attack from the hill men. The Peshawar sardars had much to do with Kohat. Yar Muhammad Khan was the eldest and nominally the chief, and had the larger proportion of revenue, but Pir Muhammad, the youngest, was perhaps the most powerful, from the greater number of troops that be retained, beside being considered of an active and daring spirit, Sultan Muhammad Khan was not supposed to want capacity, but was milder and more amiable than his brothers; but his excessive fondness for finery exposed him to ridicule, and the pleasures of the harem seemed to occupy more of his attention than public affairs. Syed Muhammad Khan was much inferior in intellect to the others and looked upon as a cypher in all matters of consultation and Government. Soon after these events, Yar Muhammad Khan was killed in battle against Syed Ahmed Barelvi near Zeydah in AD 1828. Masson's amount is clear and wonderfully free from Mistakes.
  2. From the history of Khushal Khan it appears that the Orakzais were certainly ousted before the time of Malik Akorai, a contemporary of the Emperor Akbar (1556-1565); who led the Khattaks beyond the Khwarra to their present settlements
  3. Were originally Samil
  4. Major Plowden in his Notes on the Tarikh-e-Murassa gives the date of the Shitak invasion as Circiter A.D. 1300. Mr. Thorburn in the Settlement Report of Bannu puts it at 500 years from the present time, Circiter 1375.
  5. This Rahmat Khan was father of the present Chief Usman Khan, who resides sometimes in Peshawar and sometimes in Tirah. He has not much influence in the hills.