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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Religion in the Frontier [ex NWFP, now KPK]

And Pushtun/Pathan History

THERE could hardly be a more appropriate time for Dr Sana Haroon’s Frontier of Faith to hit the bookstores. Subtitled as a “History of Religious Mobilisation in the Pakhtun Tribal Areas from 1890 to 1950,” it traces the source of the clerical influence as a basic ingredient of the tribal culture from the Mughal period to the present day. Meticulously researched and profusely annotated, the scholarly discourse bristles with exciting revelations that hold the reader in thrall.
Frontier of Faith examines the history of Islam, especially that of local clerics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  The Tribal Areas was a largely autonomous zone straddling the boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan which was established as a strategic buffer zone for British India. Long before being referred to as elaqa-i-ghair (alien territory), it was known as Yaghistan, which means, variously, “land of the free or the rebellious; oily, slippery, uncontrollable or unmanageable.” The territory comprised Dir, Swat, Buner, Asmar, Shabqadr, Babra, Mohmand, Asmat and Chamarkand.

Called Yaghis, the highland Pakhtuns were fiercely independent: “[Yaghistan] was a forbidden land,” wrote Colonel Brazier Creagh of the Indian Army, who visited the area in 1893-4. “It was impossible to go [inside] and if you did your bones would be left there.”

When the NWFP was constituted the tribal areas of Kurram, Khyber, Malakand, North and South Waziristan were treated as “independent territories.” The British extended civil administration to the “settled areas,” such as Peshawar, Kohat, D.I. Khan, etcetera, but “the highlands were never occupied.” Instead Pakhtun tribal communities “were paid allowances to protect the roads and ensure the security of the inner border with administered areas.” The colonial administration did not get involved in their affairs. Maliks exercised temporal influence on the clans and tribes, while a network of clerics dominated religious organisation through the piri-muridi set-up. From the time of Emperor Jahangir, pirs received state patronage. In the absence of any functioning machinery of state, they became the “means of asserting state control”.

Frontier of Faith offers an in-depth study of the network and activities of the clerics’ transition from Sufi silsilas to the Deobanidi/ Wahabi school of thought. A list of the mullahs of the 20th century, along with the districts where they preached and the names of their pirs and “spiritual genealogy” provides a fascinating picture of the extent of their power and
influence. Notable among the functions they performed were making decisions on matters of law and inheritance, awarding and executing punishments under shariah law, acting as arbitrators in settling disputes and establishing truce between feuding tribes. They would travel to scenes of disputes and offer binding solutions to the disputants. They used lashkars to enforce truce or their political directives, exact fines and punish moral transgression, such as breach of an oath, under amr bil maroof.

To oppose British intervention in the tribal areas, the clerics often targeted the local allies of the British, such as “government institutions, check posts, communication lines and garrisons.” Religious militancy received its strength from arms seized in such raids and the growth of arms manufacturing industry.

During Syed Ahmad Barelvi’s jihad against the British, Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi chose the Tribal Areas as his base because of its state of non-administration, and revived its old name of Yaghistan. This further consolidated the “geography, substance and concerns of the piri-muridi network in the region” and made clerics much wealthier in the process.

The Afghan jihad and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has led to a “new articulation of the Tribal Areas’ independence from the government” and revived “the culture of autonomous activity.” In the meantime, Al Qaeda’s rise has injected the Wahhabi school of thought in religion and society which has resulted in a surge in extremism and militancy.

The book should be compulsory reading for all those who are in any capacity involved with the affairs of the Tribal Areas, whether as policymakers, role players or commentators. The importance of independence and autonomy, the core of the entire discourse in Frontier of Faith, should be understood, and the author’s warning in her concluding remarks — “The terrain of the Tribal Areas remains outside the systems of national participation” and that in the prevalent situation “power still accrues to the religious leaders as moderators of the north-west frontier area’s tribalism” — be given serious thought.

"Frontier of Faith: A History of Religious Mobilisation in the Pakhtun Tribal Areas c. 1890–1950" By Sana Haroon  Oxford University Press, Karachi, ISBN 9780199060252
Book Reviewed By S.G. Jilanee: http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/13/non-fiction-religion-in-the-frontier.html

Arrival of Islam

From Wikipedia
HinduismZoroastrianismBuddhism and Shamanism were the prominent in the region until Muslim Arabs and Turks conquered the area before the 2nd millennium CE[. Over the centuries several migrations took place by the local population consisting majorly of Hindus and Buddhists while the remaining were converted to Islam. Local Pashtun and Dardic tribes converted to Islam, while retaining some local traditions (albeit altered by Islam) such as Pashtunwali or the Pashtun code of honor.

Ghaznavid Empire

Between 963 and 1187 AD the area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became part of larger Islamic empires, including the Ghaznavid Empire(975-1187), headed by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, and the empire of Muhammad Shahabuddin Ghauri (reigned 1202-1206). The Ghaznavid domain included Afghanistan extending up to Punjab and parts of the Indian subcontinent, with its capital at Lahore from 1151 to 1186.
Later the Afghan Pashtun Muslims of the Delhi Sultanate controlled the region. (The "Delhi Sultanate" refers to the many Muslim states that ruled in India from 1206 to 1526.)
Several Turkic and Afghan dynasties ruled from Delhi instead of from Lahore: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khilji dynasty(1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).

Mughal Empire

In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate was absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire and the Ilkhanate Empire of the Turks, coming from GreatTimur Lang and his grandsons like Babur the Mughal Dynasty. Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the region and Islam flourished because of these Northern Afghan and Central Asian invaders.

Afghan control

The area formed part of the Durrani Empire founded by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747. Ahmed Shah Durrani was born in Kabul which was at that time part of Afghanistan. The empire included BahwalpurKashmirGilgitHazara with its main city Haripur. Under Ahmed Shah Durrani and later his son Timur Shah, who ruled from Lahore and Multan, but later shifted it back to Kandahar. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was an important iranian borderland that was often contested by the Mughals and Safavids who considered it part of their land. During the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa required formidable military forces to control and the emergence of Pashtun nationalism, who opposed Mughals who were trying to infiltrate it from India across the Indus River. A leading force in inspiring Pashtun miltancy was the local warrier poet Khushal Khan Khattak who united some of the tribes against the various empires around the region. As the Mughal had lost control by 1757, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came under the control of the Amir of Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Sikh rule

Most of the region referred to in the twenty first century as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa came under Sikh rule in the first half of the nineteenth century, when the Sikhs gained control of Peshawar. The Afghans governed Hazara-i-Karlugh, Gandhgarh and the Gakhar territory from Attock; while Kashmir collected the revenue from the upper regions of PakhliDamtaur and Darband. In 1813, the Sikhs conquered the fort of Attock, at which time lower Hazara became tributary to them. Upper Hazara shared the same fate in 1819, when the Sikhs conquered Kashmir. The territory referred to as Hazara formed when Maharaja Ranjit Singh bestowed the area as a jagir on Hari Singh Nalwa, Commander-in-Chief of the Sikh army, in 1822. The Sikhs forayed into Peshawar for the first time in 1818, but did not occupy the territory. In 1823, following the Battle of Naushehraon the banks of the Kabul river, Hari Singh Nalwa and his men chased the Afghans first to Peshawar and then to the mouth of theKhyber Pass. The Sikhs entered the city of Peshawar for a second time, once again affirming to hold Peshawar as a tributary to the Sikh Court of Lahore. After plundering the city they burnt its fortress, the Bala Hissar. The Sikh occupation of Peshawar in 1834, was executed in a most unusual manner.[19] By 1836, with the conquest of Jamrud the frontier of the Sikh Kingdom bordered the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Khyber Pass formed its western boundary. However the death of sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa at Battle of Jamrud spelt a blow to Sikh forward advance policy and their wish to conquer Kabul. The death of King Ranjit Singh in 1839 plunged the Sikh kingdom into turmoil and after the loss in 2 Anglo-Sikh wars, British took direct control of the region. The most significant contributions of Sikh rule to this region were the city of Haripur, the first planned city in this entire region, and the forts of Sumergarh (Bala Hissar, Peshawar) and Fatehgarh (Fort of Jamrud at the mouth of the Khyber Pass).

The British Raj and the Durand Line Agreement

Afghanistan before the Durand agreement of 1893.

Afghan tribesmen attacking the British-heldShabkadr Fort outside Peshawar in 1897
The British, who had captured most of the subcontinent without significant problems, faced a number of difficulties here. However, crossing theIndus River on to the Iranian plateau and Pushtun territory which lay there gave them a new type of challenge. The Pashtuns, strong in their belief that they must defend their land from foreign incursion, resisted the British advancement. The first war between British and the Pashtuns resulted in a devastating defeat for the British, with just one individual, Dr. William Brydon coming back alive (out of a total of 14,800-21,000 people). This happened during the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1849 and later the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1876. The Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919, was also a continuation of the fight for Reclaiming Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and claiming independence from British occupation efforts which the Afghans or the Pashtuns resisted with greatest zeal and effort to remain as independent nation.
Unable to enforce their rule and invade these territories fully in the region, the British changed their tactics and played a game of divide and rule. They exploited religious differences, installed puppet Pushtun rulers, divided the Pashtuns through artificially-created regions, and ruled indirectly to reduce the chance of confrontation between Pashtuns and themselves. Although the smallest size province Pushtoons were divided into Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Frontier Regions (FR) and Settled Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was restricted to five districts.
Occasional Pushtun resistance and attacks did take place on British in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the Siege of Malakand and Swat, both well documented byWinston Churchill who was a war correspondent at the time. A series of conflicts known as the Anglo-Afghan Wars during the imperialist Great Game, wars between the British and Russian governments, led to the eventual dismemberment of Afghanistan into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Khurasan. Divide and rule policy and the annexation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan region led to the demarcation of the Durand Line and administration as part of British India.
The Durand line is a poorly marked 1,519-mile (2,445 km) border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. After fighting in two wars against Afghans, the British succeeded in 1893 in imposing the Durand line, dividing Afghanistan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, FR regions, FATA which were incorporated into what was then British India. It was agreed upon by representatives of both governments. The international boundary line separating two countries was named after Sir Mortimer Durand, foreign secretary of the British colonial government, who in 1893 had negotiated with Abdur Rahman Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, on the frontier between modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Areas annexed from Afghanistan were the FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan, the successor state of British India and the successor Iranian state of Khorasan. In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand was sent to Kabul by the government of British India for the purpose of settling an exchange of territory required by the demarcation of the boundary between northeastern Afghanistan, Iran and the Russian possessions.
The Amir showed ability in diplomatic argument, his tenacity where his own views or claims were in debate, with a sure underlying insight into the real situation. The territorial exchanges were amicably agreed upon; the relations between the British Indian and Afghan governments, as previously arranged, were confirmed; and an understanding was reached upon the important and difficult subject of the border line of Afghanistan on the east, towards India.
From the British side the camp was attended by Sir Mortimer Durand and Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum the, Political Agent for the Khyber Agency. Afghanistan was represented by Sahibzada Abdul Latif and the Governor Sardar Shireendil Khan representing the King Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. While the Afghan side greatly resented the border and viewed it as a temporary development, the British viewed it as being a permanent settlement. The North-West Frontier Province was formed on November 9, 1901, as a Chief Commissioner ruled province, the Chief Commissioner was the chief executive of the province. He ran the administration with the help of his principal advisers and Civil servants better known as judicial and Revenue Commissioners.
The formal inauguration of the province took place five and half months later, at Shahi Bagh on April 26, 1902, on the occasion of the historical Darbar in the Shahi Bagh (Kings Garden) in the capital town of Peshawar. It was held by Lord Curzon the Governor of the North-West Frontier Province. The province then comprised only five districts after dividing annexed areas from Afghanistan into FATA, Frontier Regions and the North-West Frontier Province and Southern Punjab.
North-West Frontier Province districts were Peshawar DistrictHazara DistrictKohat DistrictBannu District and the Dera Ismail Khan District. The first Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province was Harold Deane. He was known as a strong administrator and he was succeeded by Ross-Keppel, in 1908, whose contribution as a political officer was widely known amongst the tribal/frontier people. North-West Frontier Province was raised to a full-fledged governor-ruled province in 1931 in accordance with the demand by the Round Table Conference held in 1931. It was agreed upon in the conference that the North-West Frontier Province would be raised to a governor-ruled province with its own Legislative CouncilSir Ralph Griffith was appointed the first Governor in 1932 (having succeeded Stuart Pearks as Chief Commissioner in 1931). Therefore, on January 25, 1932, the Viceroy inaugurated the first North-West Frontier Province Legislative Council. The first provincial elections were held in 1937 and the independent candidate and noted British loyal civil servant Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum was elected as the province's first Chief Minister.

After independence

During the early 20th century the so-called Red Shirts led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan agitated through Non-violence for the rights of Pashtun areas. Following independence, the North-West Frontier Province voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in 1947. However, Afghanistan's loya jirga of 1949 declared the Durand Line invalid, which led to border tensions with Pakistan. Afghanistan's governments have periodically refused to recognize Pakistan's inheritance of British treaties regarding the region, leading to a counter-claim by Pakistan that the original treaties, if they must be discussed, can only be held with the original signer, the Kingdom of Afghanistan, which is now defunct - essentially denying modern Afghanistan the same sort of inheritance rights that it denies Pakistan.
During the 1950s, Afghanistan supported the Pushtunistan Movement, a secessionist movement that failed to gain substantial support amongst the tribes of the North-West Frontier Province. Afghanistan's refusal to recognize the Durrand Line, and its subsequent support for the Pashtunistan Movement has been cited as the main cause of tensions between the two countries that have existed since Pakistan's independence. After Ayub Khan eliminated Pakistan's provinces, Yahya Khan, in 1969, abolished this "one unit" scheme and added AmbSwatDir,Chitral and Kohistan to the new North-West Frontier Province as the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas.
Read more - Pushtun history:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa#Arrival_of_Islam
An Other Narrative of History
Around 722 BC, Israeli civil war and changing strategic interests forced Assyria to deport ten tribes to the east, towards Persia (Iran). A hundred years later, the Babylonians deported the remaining tribe of Yehudah and some Benjaminites to Babylon (Iraq). The Yehudah returned to Israel with the help of Cyrus the great of Persia, but the other ten tribes never retuned. The search for the “Ten tribes of Israel” is a very controversial issue because their descendants lost most of their Israelite traditions and do not possess the Talmud (Oral Torah similar to the hadith of the Muslims).
Perhaps the focal point which has dissuaded Israelites from searching openly for their brethren is the Israelite civil war after King Solomon’s reign, which pitted Yehudah (Judah) against all the other tribes and eventually brought their collective downfall. Hence the descendants of the “Lost Tribes” have lived and spread in the lands east of Israel which are now known as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Burma and even western China.
The Pakhtuns have been living in the Afghanistan area for over 2,000 years. Their language Pashto/Pakhto borrows widely from the Arab-ized Persian of their neighbors (now Iran), yet it was a purely spoken dialect.
There was no Pakhto/Pashto written script whatsoever, the first Pashto book appearing about the 1500s. Hence the traditions, customs, tribal genealogy and law orally transferred from father to son. The first book on Pakhtun genealogy, the Makhzan-al-Afghani was written in 1613, and contained for the first time a printed table of descent from Abraham to the Pakhtun tribes, through the tribe of Binyamin. While the book was not accepted initially by British historians, modern historians consider it the most accurate account as compared to the other theories proposed by classical historians.
Speaking on this Zionism topic alone is quite interesting...the word "Zionist" is created from the mountains of Yerushalim which are called "Zion". Similarly the language of the Pathan tribesmen is called Pashto, and its speakers call themselves Pashtun, from the Persian word "Pasht" which means "back of the mountain" so in reality Pashtun is a person who lives in the mountains. The mountains the Pathan's have been living in after exile are called the Suleiman (Solomon) mountains. The Jews/ B'Ni Israel from Russia also call themselves Mountain Jews and are said to be from the same exile.
The word Pathan is a Pashto written form of the original word Pathan in DTorah (Divrei Hayomin/Kings 2), noting their ancestor from the line of Sarul ben Qish, the first King of Israel, who was King David's father in law.

Complete Pashtun/Pathan History (part 1/3)

After hearing, reading and seeing false rumours and misconceptions about my people, i decided to put the history of this great nation in ...

Complete Pashtun/Pathan History (part 2/3)

After hearing, reading and seeing false rumours and misconceptions about my people, i decided to put the history of this great nation in ...

Complete Pashtun/Pathan History (part 3/3)

After hearing, reading and seeing false rumours and misconceptions about my people, i decided to put the history of this great nation in ...

Pashtun/Pathan History

They are the Pashtuns, and they have lived on their lands without interruption or major migration for about 20000 years. They know their ...
History of Pushtuns & Khyber Pushtun Khwahttp://goo.gl/agMdL