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    "Revelations Regarding Badakhshàn" was written during a tense period when Russia, Britain, Afghanistan, and China dueled over control of Badakhshàn. Eventually Russia and Afghanistan divided Badakhshàn into two parts and today Badakhshàn exists as the Gorno-Badakhshàn province in Tajikistan and the Badakhshàn province in Afghanistan. This article was written in order to provide a historical sketch of Badakhsan when very little was otherwise known about the region. "Revelations Regarding Badakhshàn" is a cut and dry history of Badakhshàn that can be slow and tedious reading but it is still an excellence historical source. Since this article was published in 1895 the common spelling of many of the terms used in this paper article have changed. For example the author uses "Uzbak" instead of Uzbek and Shignán and Raushan instead of Shugnan and Roshan. An additional reminder is that the author uses both the Islamic Calendar, denoted by "A.H.", and the Gregorian calendar (A.D.) Few changes have been made in this article, all of which are grammatical or the adding of accents to bring consistency to the text. 

Amir - Official head of the Afghan State 
Atálíks - A high official of the Amir 
Khán - Local sovereign 
Mír - short for amir; Local sovereign 

Useful resources: 

 Map of Central Asia: 1895 

 Political Map of Afghanistan - 1993 

 
 
 The Tajikistan Update 
The Imperial
and 
Asiatic Quarterly 
Review 
and 
Oriental and Colonial Record
New Series Ė Volume IX. Nos. 17 & 18.
January-April, 1895
The Oriental University Institute
pages 191-196
 

Central Asian Material. Ė III.
Collected by the Editor.
(Continued from last issue.)
Revelations Regarding Badakhshàn
 
    Had this paper been printed in 1872-3, the agreement then arrived at with Russia regarding the Russo-Afghan frontier in the direction of the Pamirs might have been less vague. The detailed account given of the names of places and of the affluents of the Oxus, as also of the sinuous course that this river takes in dividing Shignàn and Raushan, East and West, and Darwaz North and South, might have saved many of the conjectures alike of the Rawlinson School and of its opponents. The entire topographical knowledge of Badakhshàn and surrounding countries which it has been sought to impart for the first time in this account will still remain of value, whilst the rough historical sketch which we are continuing in this issue may throw light on the political game that is now being played between England and Russia. The first attempt likely to be made by Russia is to restore the hereditary chiefs of Raushan and Shignàn under her protectorate as a counterpoise to the extension of our influence in Waziristan. This may be followed by the re-establishment of the Badakhshàn dynasty, as we encroach further in the South. It was the Siah Posh Kafir, Jameshêd, the nephew of Genreal Feramorz and a major in the Amir Shere Aliís service, whose published adventures in Faizábád, Rostàk, etc., first in 1876 dissipated the confusion regarding the whereabouts of Badakhshàn and of places in it. In an early issue, we proposed to give detailed itineraries from India to Badakhshàn. In the meanwhile, travelling M.P.ís, unacquainted with any Oriental language will lecture experts on those countries and teach their native how to play Polo. 

Rough Historical Sketch of Badakhshàn, 1638 to 1872. 

    Designs and attempts of the Moghal Emperors of India against Balkh and Badakhshàn. The descendants of Baber, who ruled in India never ceased to covet the occupation of their hereditary territories in Transoxiana, Balk, and Badakhshàn. Humàyùn invaded Balkh, was baffled and returned to Kabul. His son, Akbar, alone refrained from encroachment on these territories. That prince, having reorganized his Empire in India, studied to preserve peace within, and security from invasion without. He did not covet his neighbourís lands. He was friendly with Adb-ullah Khán, Uzbak, who was master of Badakhshàn, promoted commerce between India and Tartary, and, by treaty with Abd-ullah Khán, agreed to acknowledge  Kàhmard and the Hindu Kush as boundary of his country from Uzbak Chiefs. Jàhangìr deputed Hakìm Hamàm  as envoy to Bokhára, and instructed him to take observations as far as banks of Oxus. But the Emperor died soon after his return. 

    Shah Jahàn, son and successor of Jàhanìr. He wished to unite his empire with those possessions of his ancestor, Balk and Badakhshàn. In 12th year of his reign he proceeded to Kabul to plan invasion of coveted counties. But rulers of Balkh and Bokára sent to Kabul, and urged that treaty of Akbar and Abd-ullah Khán had been observed, and deprecated its violation now. This proved successful, and Shah Jahán returned to India without invading Balkh. Eventually he determined to recover Taimur and Báberís possessions. 

    In 18th year of his reign Shah Jahán dispatched 20,000 cavalry under Kulich Khán, Bahádar Khán, Nijábat Khán, and Raja Hari Sing, to Cabul, to invade that place. Next year Shah Jahán arrived at Lahore, and gave chief command to Prince Morád Baksh. Nawab Ali Mardán Khán, Mirza Khán, Shekh Faríd of Fatahpur, Multafit Khán, Rajá Tahal Das, Rája Madho Sing, Khalil-ullah Khán, Kulich Khán, and Asálat Khán, all noted commanders, were associated with the Prince; 2,000 spare horses accompanied army, and 50 lakhs. Rupees were provided for expenses. Shah Jahán went to Kabul, and started expedition. The Forts of Káhmard and Ghori were captured, and Kunduz taken. Morád Baksh then advanced on Balkh. Bahrám Sultán and Subhán Kuli Khán, sons of Nazar Muhammad Khán, waited on Prince to pay respect. Next day the Prince entered city, and Nazar Muhammad Khán fled, viâ Maimana, Hirat and Mashad, to Persia, leaving 25 lakhs Rs. in hands of conquerors. The authority of Shah Hahán was established, and Khutba read in his name in Balkh. Nazar Muhammad Khán was pursued by Asálat Khán and Báhadur Khán. These Generals went through Maimana and Tirmiz to the Oxus and seized the territories, together with Kabádian, Khitlán, and Kaláb. Next year Morád Baksh returned to Cabul, and Wazir Sád-ullah Khán, was made Govr. of Balkh. The Wazir sent Kulich Khán, Mir-ul-Hasan, Bakhshi, and Nazir Bahádur, against Badakshán, which was easily occupied. 

 The following officers were appointed to different divisions of Balkh by the Wazir, Sád-ullah Khán: 

    Raja Pahár Sing, Rustam Khán, Raja Debi Singh, Candar Man Bondela and Muhammad Kásim at Andkho, with 2,000 matchlockmen and 3,000 archers; Shah Beg Khán and Ehtamám Khán at Ghori; Jabbárkúli Gakkhar at Shibarghán; Khushál Beg of Kashghár in territories of Nahr-i-Sarpul, Nahr-i-Shál, and Shang Chárik; Shádmáni Khán at Akhcha; Bahádur Khán, Loháni, at Darahgaz; Aflatún Beg at Haibák; Himmat Khán at Rahát Rez Kán; Nizam Khán at Mazár-i-Sharif; Mírak Beg at Khinján; Uggur Sing, of Cutch, at Farhang; Muhammad Zamán at Arlát; Kásim Beg at Andráb; Mír Karásh Beg and other native Mírs at Kuláb; and Raja Raj Rúp at Kunduz; Sád-ullah Khán then returned to Cabul. The family of Nazar Muhammad Kahn were deported to Lahore. 

    Next year Uzbaks rose against Imperial Governor, and were joined by Nazar Muhammad Khán, who returned from Persia. News having reached Shah Jahán, Prince Aurungzeb was despatched to quell it. Raja Jai Sing and Jáfir Khán accompanied him to Balkh. Meanwhile rebels were joined by the Alamáns and Abd-ul Aziz Khán, chief of Bokhára, and they mustered on Oxus. Aurungzeb place Bahádur Khán and Kanwar Rám Sing in charge of Balkh, and marched against rebels. At Taimur, Uzbaks were repulsed across the Oxus. Balkh and Badakhshán remained in possession of Shah Jahán. 

 Abstract of revenues derived by Shah Jahán from his possessions in Afghanistan and Turkistan: 

 40 dâms= I Shah Junarie Rupee. Kabul  Ö  10 crore dâms 
       Balkh  Ö    8    "         " 
       Badakhshán   Ö    4    "         " 
       Candahar       Ö    7    " " 

    1640 (A.D.). In 1057 (A.H) Balkh and Badakhshán were restored by Shah Jahán to Nazar Muhammad Khán. The Hindu Kush, Gorband, and Káhmard were defined boundaries between Afghan. and Turkistan, and Lieutenants of Emperors were recalled. 

    1644 (A.D.) In year 1061 (A.H.) Nazar Muhammad Khán, disgust with his sonís conduct, abdicated and proceeded to Mecca. Subhán Kuli Khán succeeded. At this period Bokhára was subject to repeated attacks from Khiva, and the chief of Bokháraís army was held by Mahmúd Bi Atálík Kataghan, descended from Beg Morád of Farghána. He fought against Khán of Khiva with success, and was rewarded by Abd-ul-Aziz Khán and Sabhán Kulí Khán with the Government of Badakhshán and Kuduz. 

    1651 (A.D.). In 1068 (A.H.) the Tájik tribe, who inhabited Yaftal, in Badakhshán, invited Mír Yár Beg Sáhibzáda from Samarkand, and made him Chief. In 2 years his fickle nature made people repent. They rebelled against Mír Yár Beg, built a strong fort at Lái Aba, and raised a man of their tribe, Shah Imád, to chieftainship. Mír Yár Beg then retired to Court of Aurungzeb in India. Shah Imád, disgusted people by this tyranny. The people regretted Mír Yár Beg, and sent to Akskál (greybeard) viâ  Chitrál to India to beg Mír Yár Beg to return. He accepted, and made war on Shah Imád. Shah Imádís son was slain, and he himself fled across Latta Band Mountains to Kunduz. Next year he received a patent from Sabhán Kuli Khán, ruler of Balkh, making him chief of Badakhshán, and his authority was established. He imposed the following taxes: 

 Per jáwal of grain, two seers; 
 From Arghanj Khowah, iron for shoeing his horses; 
 I out of each 40 head of cattle; 
 and ground rent from Shopkeepers. 

 He built a strong fort at Jouzgún where he made his capital. 
 Mír Yár Beg afterwards went to war with Subhán Kuli Khán, because of espousing the cause of Bayat Kara, a General of Balkh Ruler, who rebelling against his master obtained shelter at the Badakhshán Court. The rebel, general, with support of Mír Yár Beg, attacked Kisham, belonging to Kunduz then, but now to Badakhshán. Gházi Beg, son of Mír Yár Beg, was taken prisoner. This induced Yár Beg to open negotiations with Muhmúd Bi Atálík, the Lieutenant of Balkh ruler, and a treaty was made binding each to respect otherís territory. At a meeting after conclusion of treaty Mahmúd Bi, in jest, threatened Mír Yár Beg with a knife, concealed in his boot. Yár Beg, terrified, acknowledged allegiance to Govt. of Sulimán Kuli. Gházi Beg was restored. Báyat Kara put to death, and his heat sent to Balkh, thence to Bokhára. 

    1675 (A.D.) . In 1092 (A.H.) Abd-ul-Aziz Khán, Ruler of Bokhára, retied to Mecca, and his brother, Sulimán Kuli Khán, proceeded to Bokhára, and assumed sovereignty over whole of Transoxiana. He placed his sons Sádik Muhammad Khán and Mansur Khán in charge of Balkh. 

    1679 (A.D.). In 1096 (A.H.) Sádik died, and Balkh was entrusted to Mahmúd Khán Atálík. This year Sulimán received presents from Aurungzeb. The Hindu Kush mountains and Kúhmard were again boundaries between Bokhára, and schemes for commerce were arranged. 

    1682 (A.D.). The death of Jázim Bi Atálík in 1099 (A.H.) summoned Sabhán Kuli Khán to Balkh. He remember services of Mahmúd Bi Atálík, Kataghan, in repulsing Chief of Khiva. Therefore he gave a jágir and title of Amir-ul-Umara, and trusted to his charge Balkh and Bokhára. The rebellion of Mír Yár Beg, who sent back Mahmúd Biís agents without the tribute, impelled Mahmúd to advance on Badakhshán (1686 A.D.) in 1103 (A.H.). He besieged fort Jouzgún, and in 10 days Yár Beg purchased peace by tribute for 2 years. These two chiefs soon met again as enemies. Honours of Mahmúd Bi excited envy of Uzbak Karámas at Bokhára; and at their instigation Yár Beg sent parties to maraud in Kunduz. Disturbances were raised also in Maimana, Andkhu, and Shibarghán, in Balkh. Enemies of Mahmúd, impatient of delay, well-nigh caused his ruin. Convinced that Balkh required royal presence, Mahmud Bi having made unnoticed representations, retired. Shahzáda Múkim Khán, son of Sabhan Kuli Khán, was appointed to Balkh, and the Prince started from Bokhára. The Karáma Uzbaks advanced towards him by Kálip route, and Muhmúd Bi did the same viâ Daulabád. The Oxus was fixed for meeting, and the Karámas were to seize Mahmúd Bi. They were disappointed. Mahmúd Bi received intimation, and went direct to Balkh, which he gave to Khowaja Adb-ul-Wali Pársa, grandson (daughterís son) of Nazar Muhammad, a former ruler of Balkh. This afforded his enemies means of injuring him with his sovereign; and Prince Mukim returned to Bokhára. Meanwhile the depredations of Mír Yár Beg in Kunduz demanded attention of Mahmúd Bi. Leaving Yár Mahmúd Beg in Kunduz demanded attention of Mahmúd Bi. Leaving Yár Mahmúd Ming and Nazar Bi Turkmán as ministers of new Amir of Balkh, he proceeded to chastise Mir Yár Beg. He was recalled to Balkh be entreaties of his creature, to deliver him from Subhán Kuli Khán, who had laid siege to Balkh. Mahmúd Bi hastened to his relief with 70 followers, and by night threw himself into the fort. 

    His presence encouraged the garrison, and in 3 weeks Subhán Kuli Khán raised the siege and returned to Bokhára. Mahmúd Bi returned to Badakhshán frontier, recovered border from Mir Yár Beg, and returned to Balkh. Here he put to death Nazar Bi Turkmán who had instigated inroads of Turkmáns into district of Balkh, and had assassinated Mansúr Khán, son of Subhán Kuli Khán. He also deposed Khowája Abd-ul-Wali, and deported him to India. 

    1692 (A.D.). In 1109 (A.H.) Mahmúd Bi sent to Bokhára disclaiming ambition for power, and hinting that all his acts were for aggrandizement of Bokhára. He suggested again the location of a Prince at Balkh, and offered himself as Atálík or minister. Subhán Kuli Khán appointed Múkim Khán, his son, Governor of Balkh, and Mahmúd Bi as Atálík. 

    1695 (A.D.). In 1114 (A.H.) Shubhán died. He was succeeded at Bokhára by his son, Abid-ullah Khán. Múkim Khán remained Governor of Balkh. 

    1695 (A.D.). In 1112 (A.H.) the Sáhibzádas (religious characters) of Samarkand removed relic of prophet from Capital,ó his dress, which came from the Turkish Campaign, brought by Ami Táimur to Samarkand. Whilst conveying relic to India were despoiled of it by Mír Yár Beg, who deposited it at Faizábád. A shrine erected here was much resorted to. The Khoja of Badakhshán were made attendants at the shrine. 

       1699 (A.D.) Mír Yár Beg died in 1118 (A.H.) . Badakhshán was divided among 8 sons: 

     I.  Yusaf Ali Khán took Saddah and Pasakoh. 
     2.  Khoja Niaz occupied Bazrurg. 
     3.  Khoja Is-hak, Zardeo, Sarghalán, and Dast-i-Sheva. 
     4.  Shah Ismail from Kisham to Tarkhar, and Wassach to Tangarun. 
     5.  Zia-un-din. Arghaujkhowah. 
     6.  Mirzakand. Karan and Munjan. 
     7.  Sulaiman Beg. Jirm. 
     8.  Mir-Aibak. Bágh-i-Jirm. 

    The chief position was assigned to Solaimán Beg. The death of Mír Yár Beg tempted Mahmúd Bi, Kataghan, to encroach on Badakhshán territory. He invaded the country with a strong army. All brothers assisted under command of Solaimán Shah. In decisive battle, brothers proved victorious at Karki, and Mahmúd Bi defeated, returned to Balkh. He died in 1124 (A.H.) (1705 A.D.), and was succeeded as Atálík by Yusak Bi. This victory bred dissensions among the brothers. Next year 1125 (A.H.) (1706 A.D.) Khoja Niaz, employed Bába Kamr-ud-dín, a rich Tájik, to assassinate his brother Solaimán Beg. But Khoja Niaz succumbed to Yusuf Ali Khán. Latter advanced against Khoja Niaz to avenge Solaimán Beg, and slew Khoja Niaz and Bab Kamr-un-dín. Yusaf Ali Khán assumed supremacy. He invaded Kunduz, and occupied Tálakán, Ishkamish, Ghori, Hazarat Imam, and 17 passes of Munjan. Against Kunduz itself he failed. On his return he was poisoned, through his brother Zia-un-din, by a man of clan of Taimur Beg, and who lived at Yárkand. Zia-ud-din took supremacy, but Mír Bádshah, son of Yusaf Ali Khán, attacked him in for Laghárchi to avenge death of his father. Failure of this attack impelled Mír Bádshah to fly. He retired to Kunduz, and was well received by Irdana Beg and Sohrab Beg, sons of Yusuf Bi and Mahmud Bi, who were joint Atálíks in Kunduz. He was supplied with a strong force in Kunduz, with which he attacked Faizábád, and conquered. But he retired on Pasakoh. In aiding Mír Báshah with strong force, Atálíks of Kunduz thought of conquest of Badakhshán, which they occupied, and taking Mirza Bayat, son of Zia-un-din, prisoner, deported him to Hazarat Imám, in Kunduz. Zia-un-din collected 10,000 men through Kázi Omaid Kul, head of Ak Bori Clan, and advanced against Katághans to release his son. No battle ensued, because Mír Báshah was released. The Prince was conducted to Káziís own house, and Zia-un-din invited to meet him. 

    The Kázi had already been seduced by Mír Bádshah, son of Yusuf Ali Khán, who longed to avenge his father, Zia-un-din. At the first interview he was stabbed. Mirza Bayát was terrified, and, escaping from the Kázi, fled to Argu. Mír Bádshah took Faizábád. He was attacked by Mirza Bayát and Solaimán Khán, son of Shah Sulaimán Beg of Jirm, and, finding himself unable to cope with them, fled to Pasakoh. Faizábád was occupied by Sulaimán Khán, and Mirza Bayát, frustrated, attacked his successful rival. Unsuccessful, he retired to Jirm. An attack made by Mír Bádshah on Faizábád about same time also failed. In 4 moths Mirza Bayát made another attempt, deposed Solaimán Khán, and assumed sovereignty of Badakhshán. 

    Note.óIn 1135 (A.H.) (A.D.1716) Khodai Wazai Beg led an attack from Kulâb on Kunduz, and, deposing the joint Atálíks, Amraim Beg and Sohrab Beg, usurped the government. The deposed chiefs with their sons fled to Khular. 

    Note.ó 1150 (A.H.) (A.D. 1733). Nadir conquered Transoxiana and Balkh, but restored them to Abul-Faiz Khán, son of Subhan Kuli Khán. Khodai Nazar Beg was deposed at Kunduz, and replaced by Khizir Beg. 

    1733. Next year Mirza Bayat, firmly established, drove Mír Bádshah from Pasakoh, and found himself ruler of country. He opened commerce with Cabul, and exported Lajward (lapis lazuli) to China. He accumulated treasure. Mirza Bayat was a liberal ruler, but cruel. In his reign women were forbidden from going out of their houses. He was killed in 1160 (1743) by a jealous husband, Tukhta Beg, a slave, but afterwards commander, who suspected the Prince of intrigue with his wife, who was beautiful. On his death, Faizábád was occupied by Mír Bádshah; he was deposed by Solaimán Khán. The deposed chief retired to Lá-I Aba, when he swore not to shave till he had taken Faizábád. This is still a custom in Badakhshán. The vow was fulfilled by Mír Bádshah, with support of Degrez tribe, in 1162 (A.H.) (1745 A.D.). He was expelled by Solaimán Khán, and died in 1166 (A.H.) (1746 A.D.). Solaimán died next year. 

    1748 (A.D.). In 1168 (A.H.) sons of Shah Ghurbat of Shignán disputed sovereignty by attack on Sultán Shah, and obtained some advantage. Eventually he was disappointed. 

    1749 (A.D.). In 1169 (A.H.) a Colony of Khoja Sayads were driven from Yarkand by Chinese, who occupied E. Turkistan, and emigrated to Badakhshán. With them were families of Kilmáks and Káshgharis. Relying on numbers, these Khojas sought Badakhshán,  and they rebelled. The energy of Sultan Shah suppressed it, and ringleaders were punished. Security lulled Sulttan Shah into sensuality. Ahmad Shah Durráni despatched his Wázir, Shah Wali Khán, to seize Badakhshán. Sultan Shah submitted but the relic of prophet was transported to Candahar. The shrine can still be seen near the artillery lines. 

(To be continued.) 
 

 

 

* The above article was compiled by David Straub (davidstraub@geocities) and posted at the Tajikistan Update (www.angelfire.com/sd/tajikistanupdate)on August 26th , 1998.