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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Dehri Alladand in Malakand.#Shaheeda Abai (martyred grandmother).#Sir Tor Faqir

#Dehri Alladand in Malakand.#Shaheeda Abai (martyred grandmother).#Sir Tor Faqir

I visited Dir on April 15, 2014 to visit Koto hydropower site. Along with me was a local engineer from  Malakand  Mr. Fazal Kareem. On my return we reached to a place #Dehri Alladand. He shared interesting historical fact about this place; On my return, i read  further articles regarding this area and reproduced following interesting information.

The British came to India in the guise of merchants, but gradually came to dominate it. Before the British rule the Mughal and Sikhs empires had roots in the area. With the fall of Sikh Empire, the British annexed Punjab in 1849. They also occupied some tribal areas and sent many expeditions from time to time. Though the British failed to interfere directly in the way of life of the tribals, they were able to create the first agency  in 1878. The aim of creating the agency was to keep the Khyber Pass open. 

The British commenced their campaign against Malakand in 1853. First of all they raided the Uthmankhel. A big battle took place at Prang Ghar and owing to the defenders being a small band of mujahideen with nominal arms, the Uthmankhel were subdued. As Pukhtoon brethren, the Ranizais supported the Uthmankhel wholeheartedly, which enraged the British, so, after defeating the Uthmankhel, they decided to punish the Ranizais. 

In the closing months of 1853, under the command of Lord Klaidy, a brigade was sent after them. At the first stage they raided Dargai and Kharkaey---small Ranizais villages at the bottom of Malakand Pass. The enemy was well equipped with artillery, so the poor Ranizais accepted a ransom of Rs. 5,000. At the time the enemy sent its troops, but its sole aim was to seize the pass at all cost. 
Pukhtoons belonging to different parts of the then Malakand Division realised the intentions of the British, and at various places jihad was proclaimed against them. In Buner (Swat), which was ruled by Syed Akbar Shah Badshah---Ameerul Jihad---the situation was particularly tense, and the British felt a great risk from that side. Time and again they planned to storm Buner but were unable to find way of doing so.

When in 1877 the Akhund Sahib (Saidu Baba) of Swat died, the Pukhtoon union, which troubled the British, collapsed. The colonisers took advantage of the rivalries among the Pukhtoons and in 1878 Lord Klaidy took a strong army and entered Ranizais territory via Palai and Sherkhana---hamlets at the southern boundary of Malakand Agency. The Ranizai again resorted to arbitration.
In April 1895, Sir Arlo, a major in the British Army and Colonel Kelly started a war against Umara Khan ---a renowned, gallant indomitable sardar and a shrewd politician whom Sir Winston Churchill calls "the Afghan Napoleon". The British were camping at Dargai and Kharkay, and with the help of Prince Ibrahim Khan, Ranizais were warned against putting up resistance but when the British marched on to Malakand, a huge battle took place at the Malakand Pass in which the Swat Ranizais displayed great valour.

The Uthmankhel of Bar Swat, Dir and Bajaur also joined hands, and the enemy was badly beaten. Now the British, instead of fighting resorted to negotiations. On September 12, 1895, an agreement was signed between them and the Swat and Sam Ranizais. 

In the year 1897, when the second battle of Malakand took place, the Sam Ranizais again remained quiet while the Swat Ranizais resisted. This battle was a decisive one, and when it lasted, even Pukhtoon women came out to fight. History notes the valour of a woman belonging to a respectable family of Dheri Alladand. Not a great deal is known about her, although it is stated that she used to fight day and night and to provide food and water to the mujahideen, and never put her sword down till she was martyred. She lies buried on the outskirts of village Dheri Alladand, but no epitaph marks her grave. The people of the area call her Shaheeda Abai (Martyred grandmother).
Another instance, which can be quoted here, is that of Hazrat Sadullah Khan, alias Sar Tor Faqir (bear-headed Faqir), also known as Mullah Mastan or Mad Mullah by the British. He belonged to Riga, Buner in Swat. He gathered a batch of mujahideen and started to take Malakand, where the enemy had taken position, by storm.

As soon as the British learnt about his proclamation of jihad, the Mardan Guides Regiment was sent after him. They seized Amandara, while Sar Tor Faqir marched from Landakay towards Thana, where several other mujahideen joined his small band. Together they proceeded to Dheri Alladand and then to Batkhela. They by-passed the British troops at Amandara and decided to raid Malakand. 

Sar Tor Faqir assaulted the British at Malakand Khas and defeated them soundly. Later, the Sikhs joined the British, but still they were beaten. The mujahideen captured the British quarter guard and seized a huge quantity of arms and ammunition. They were fighting till the following morning and the enemy was massacred with its own arms. At dawn the next day the battle stopped. A large number of British and Sikhs were killed, while 19 mujahideen were martyred, including Sar Tor Faqir. His tomb stands at the bottom of Elephant Pass (Hathi Darrah) to the south of village Zulamkot in Malakand. 

An instance is also of Hazrat Sikandar Shah Shaheed. It is stated that he would carry a large red and white banner, and whose followers were martyred but alone kept on fighting till he also fell near the British line. He could well have been Hazrat Sikandar Shah Shaheed (Spin Shaheed), who is buried near the modern road close to the Malakand Pass. The ex-political agent of Malakand Abdul Wakil Shah constructed his beautiful mausoleum during his tenure in 1991-93 on the funds being collected from the mausoleum. 

A mosque has also been constructed besides the tomb of Sikandar Shah Shaheed. People travelling from Mingora to downwards and upwards, while passing through the mazar of Sikandar Shah Shaheed stay for offering their prayers in the mosque. 

Instances of the bravery of the Pakhtoon mujahideen have even been narrated by the British writers in their reports and books. Captain J. Young and Colonel Sir Francis write in their book " Relief of Chitral" as follows: 

"Of the enemy's bravery it is difficult to speak too highly, and individual cases were conspicuous. One leader, carrying a large red and white banner, called on his men to charge the Scottish Borderers when they were half way up the hill. The charge was made, but all his followers gradually fell, till the leader alone was left. Nothing daunted he held steadily on, now and again falling, heavily hit, but up and on again without a moment's delay, till at last he was shot dead close to the British line. More desperate courage than this is difficult to imagine. Again, one of the enemy's drummers, not content with taking his fair share of risks, perished in mounting on to the roof of a hut, where he showed up clear and conspicuous against the sky line, and hence cheered on his comrades. Every now and again, a bullet would find him out and he would drop to dress his wounds, and then again mounting recommenced beating his drum. At last a bullet got him through the heart, and he fell headlong a hundred yards down the cliff, and there lay stark dead, but with his drum round his neck, and his arms ready raised to strike it. 

Later, the British formed a new force known as Malakand Field Force for dealing with tribes in Malakand. Winston Churchill, later Prime Minister of Great Britain, was a captain in that force. He was also the war correspondent for the"Allahbad Pioneer" and "Daily Telegraph". He also wrote a book “Story of the Malakand Field Force" which brought him much fame.