In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty
‘CHETRAR’ UNDER KATUR DYNASTY;
DOMAIN AND POLITICAL STRUCTURE.
Ghulam Sarwar Sehrayee
When the rein of power of the Ex-Princely State of ‘Chetrar’
(pronounced as Chitral later during nineteenth century in English
and Urdu), was being taken into hands by the last dynasty, called
Katur, it is generally said and believed that the State so achieved
at that time was distributed amongst the usurper brothers by its
‘partition’ into two even three pieces i.e. ‘Chetrar’, Mastuj /
Yasin and Ghezir at the start each as a separate State.
Basic problem infact was lack of documentation of events/writing
books and manuscripts in Hindu Kush region in general. The
situation as we all know was unluckily at higher degree in present
Chitral and Gilgit and Baltistan areas till later days. Writers
have therefore been facing difficult situation in the princely
State of ‘Chetrar’ (Chitral), where too documentation process of
events was not carried out since early time. Writing about history
of ‘Chetrar’ started slowly in the second half of nineteenth
century by English army officers which too on the authority of
corrupted and defaced traditions and folklores. Any how when the
history of the State was attempted to be written during the last
decades of 19th and during 20th century by
different writers, it was too late for them to gather correct and
live information/ data of the past events and like-wise very
difficult to be able to narrate the events with their true
pictures, shape and meanings.
We shall here for example analyze how the events of the process of
filling up of administrative units undertaken by the first Katur
ruler Muhtaram Shah 1 were narrated by some authors. Nai Tarikh-e
Chitral 1962, for example, described it (after a-lapse of 262 years
of the event) as under:-
Translation: - “Muhtaram Shah distributed this vast area (‘Chetrar’
State from Chaghan Sarai to Punial) amongst his brothers. Every one
was granted rulership and fief. To Khoshwaqt, who was brilliant and
capable amongst the brothers, he gave the rulership of Vershigum (Yasin)
and fief in Damil, Chumurkhon, Ayun and ‘Chetrar’. Khosh Ahmad was
given the rulership of Mastuj while Naimatullah was made ruler of
Ghizer with lands in Kosht and Lone”.(Ghulam Murtaza:1962:49).
The above narration in it’s present language was enough to give an
impression of ‘‘partition’’ of the State of ‘Chetrar’ for the
people un-aware of the past history.
Selection of words to narrate the said event made in another book “chitral
aik tarof” (Israr ud Din, Wazir Ali Shah and Inayatullah
1986:32) it seems, caused further escalation of the so-called
philosophy of ‘partition’ of the State alleged to have been
undertaken by the first Katur ruler. The said paragraph reads as
“The area from Gilgit’s borders to Bashgul in the south captured
from Rai’sa rulers, were apportioned/ partitioned by sons of
Muhammad Beg amongst themselves. Muhtaram Shan himself became ruler
over ‘Chetrar’. Shah Khosh Ahmad and Khoshwaqt became rulers of
Mastuj and trans-Shandur areas of Ghizer, Yasin and Punial
respectively”.(Israrud Din,Wazir Ali Shah & Inayat ullah Faizi,
Such were the traditions/folklores of the alleged ‘partition’ of
the State by the new Katur rulers into pieces, which with the
passage of time took so usual and common a term amongst general
public as well amongst rulers that some of such local rulers began
to think that they were independent of central government of ‘‘Chetrar’’.
Some of these local rulers of trans-Shandur areas of Yasin etc at
times went so far as to adopt the way of adventurism-beyond their
parameters-and even began revolt against their over lords sitting
in the capital of the Katur kingdom, ‘Chetrar’. Such expansionary
activities and constant state of cross-border attacks with advances
and retreats in Gilgit area also formed part of life of some
adventurous local rulers in trans-Shandur part of the State of ‘Chetrar’.
Consequences of all these developments but proved to be ruining and
fatal not only for regional/local rulers themselves during the
period, it was disastrous for Katur dynasty as well as ‘Chetrar’
itself as a State in the long run, which will be discussed later on
if possible, in brief, in this article.
It is clarified here that this article has nothing to do with
personal qualities-good or bad- of major or minor rulers of the
State as well as of areas so distributed and administered. Neither
relation of entire history of the country or any part of it is an
objective and nor is it possible here in this short article. Basic
aim of this article instead is to try to go deep into some parts of
history pertinent to our article and to show the readers that:-
1.’Chetrar’, during pre-Katur period as well as during Katur
dynastical period itself almost upto 1895, had been enjoying its
boundaries from Chaghan Sarai (later Bailam in Kunar to Boroghul in
the north and Punial in trans-Shandur tract of land in the east as
one unified State.
was not an act of ‘partition’ of the State by Katur ruler Muhtaram
Shah as is alleged or presumed by some people. The State, ruled
direct as well as indirect in some parts, was under one dynasty the
Kith and Kins, who were granted a kind of petty rulerships over the
delineated areas/principalities at the start by Muhtaram Shah the
Katur ruler were not enjoying the status of independent rulers with
separate State as a rule.
this is though now a part of the past but to set right the past for
completion of record and to safeguard the boundaries of Chitral as
a District, is also a noble job historically, which is being
attempted through this essay. Lets now see and try our level best
to go into historically known period of the State/Country of ‘Chetrar’-
a boring but unavoidable part of the article-and come up with as
brief a story as could be possible- substantiating our article.
CHUGHTAI/KASHGHARI RULE; The emergence of ‘QASHQAR’
of vast ‘Bulur’ or ‘Bilaur’, as called by Turk and Arab sources was
traversed, plundered, conquered and annexed during 1527-1540 A.D
with Kashghari kingdom then run by a Chughtai–descent
family.(Dughlat 1546/Elias & Ross 1898 & Tarikh-e Kashghar 1696/Holzwarth
1996:122). Mirza Muhammad Ghufran (1921:65) has also pointed
towards a Kahghari/Moghul hegemony over the region just before the
Raisa dynasty’ rule. The area so annexed included Boroghul to
probably ‘Chetrar’(Chitral town) down in the south while in the
trans-Shandur area it seems, extended to Yasin. After the Kashghari
conquest the area was being ruled as their dependency by Chughtai
rulers of Kashghar through their deputies (Daroghas) who were also
Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslims (Tawarikh-e Afghaniya 1620 A.D/Holzwarth
1996:122; Allami1886:641; Holzwarth 1998:304). The dynast himself
being based in Yarqand (Yarkand) with the title of Sultan- a
designation generally used by Muslim Turks/Moghuls as against
‘Shah’ in Persian for a ruler.
during this Kashghari period of rule that this part of the land,
first ever in its history, started to be called ‘Qashqar’ by its
inhabitants as a State/Country, as it was before Kashqhari take
over ruled by petty local rulers their way in pieces without any
concept of a central authority with a unified State. The word
‘Qashqar’ was no doubt derived from ‘Kashghar’- the bossing
country. The Sumalikis, most probably Kalash or pure pagan (Beg
1994:1-3), in northern parts i.e. Mulikoh, Torikoh and Mastuj while
Kalash petty rulers Bula Sing, Raja Wai and Naghar Shao etc in
lower parts below Barenis were ruling when Muslim forces attacked
and defeated them; especially the Sumalikis in the first stage in
Mastuj (Ghulam Murtaza 1962:30).
principalities during the Kashghari period, it seems, were Mastuj,
Yasin, and the site of present ‘Chetrar’ proper, where the
‘deputies’ were based. ‘Chetrar’ proper it is stated, lateron
gained the status of a major place amongst the principalities being
treated as with the central capital of Kashghar-i Khurd or
‘Qashqar’ in later years of the Chughtai period. Political
military, social and commercial activities had started taking place
here in a fort-like centre (Ghulam Murtarza 1962:37; Askara Rais
1992:122-23). The place of this centre was probably called ‘bazaar’
in those days, where now is a hamlet and also stand DCO office and
residence and Chitral Scouts’s officer etc. People in local
language, it seems, started to name the place as ‘Jang Bazaar’(
high/upper bazaar) or Bazaar-e Kohna (old bazaar) (Ghulam
Murtarza 1962:37), just to differentiate it from a new Bazaar or
Sarai set up later in about 1880/90 near to the site of present
‘Bazaar bridge’ down on ‘Chetrar’ gol (stream).The Fort was later
on shifted to its present place on the right bank of Chitral River
by Muhammad Shafi during second half of 18th century.
In other words the site of ‘Chetrar’ proper since Chughtai/Kashghari
period had been playing role of a major place, capital and centre
of political, cultural, civilizational and administrative
activities where an authoritative figure, if not of rank of a Shah
or Mehtar, on behalf of Kashghari Sultan, it is certain, used to
state of affairs of ‘Qashqar’ continued for about 77 / 78 years but
seemingly in somehow loose shape in later period when it was
occupied again by a foreign family from Badakshan side, later to be
called ‘Raisa or Shah Raisa’.
RAISA OR SHAH RAISA RULE; The emergence of ‘‘CHETRAR’’.
rulers connected with Shahan-e Badakhshan/Darwaz and claiming to be
Alexandrian descent (Bahr-al asrar 1635-40/ Holzwarth
1996:123&1998:306-7; Ghufran 1921:65 Kabuli 1964:14-15) occupied
that whole part of the country which was under Kashghari
domination. Raisa rulers retained the site of present day Chitral
town as their capital with the local name of ‘Chetrar’ or ‘Chitrar’
(Bahr-al-asrar 1635/40/Holzwarth 1996:123). It seems that name of
the Country/State was during this Raisa/Shah Raisa period changed
from Qashqar to ‘Chetrar’ with reference to name of the capital.
of the period tells that father (Shah Babur) ruled the State of
Chetrar right from Chetrar proper to Yasin and Bashqar with the
designation of ‘Wali of Chitrar and Bashqar’ (Tarikh-e Kashgar 1696
and Bahr-al-asrar 1635/40/ Holzwarth 1996:124), sitting here in
Chetrar (Chitral) capital of the country, while his son Shah Rais
being seated in Mastuj/Yasin as deputy (ibid; Shigar namah 1655-65
and Afiridi 1988:76). The sub-divisional area under his son Shah
Rais, it seems, was from Dalumgul Barenis onwards. Similarly of a
deputy Raisa/Shah Raisa rulers is heard sitting also in Mastuj when
it is said on the authority of an oral tradition that
“Shina-speaking people invaded the Laspur valley at a time when a
deputy, of Shah Rais was ruling in Mastuj”. (Faizi 1985: 259/
Holzwarth 1996:130). This tradition seems quite right when it is
boasted also in a Shina song, sung in praise of Shah Murad ruler of
Baltistan and his two brothers as under:-
‘Ala, Sher Shah,Ali Shah, Murad, trai draro
Khiri Brook ga Balim photai,
Khiri roni ronal tharaigai.’
(countrymen), Sher Shah, Ali Shah and Murad
brothers have conquered Brook and
and the women of the places are weeping.’
‘Ala,pote, Makpoon-ai pote,
draro, khiri Brook ga Balim
Photai khiri chai ghinigai’
(countrymen), the sons, the sons of Makpoon,
brothers, have seized Brook and Balim .
and have brought here a number of the girls of those places.’ (Ghulam
to be noted that Shah Murad ruled Baltistan during 1650-1688 (Afridi
1988:73), who is reported to have attacked Gilgit and the areas of
Punial, Yasin Ghizer and Laspur which included in and called
‘Chetrar’ during Raisa period as mentioned in part-3 of this
article. The Shina speaking people of the oral tradition can be
part of Shah Murad’s army inducted by him from the Shin area he
Chitral, confirming the existence of a strong central government
during the Raisa period right from Nursat to Gilgit State’s
frontiers, also writes that the said structure of Govt/Administration
was being practiced also during Katur period (Ghulam Murtarza 1962:
Tradition of a Raisa ruler and existence of Gumbad-i Raisan
in Warijun Mulkoh however confirms the possibility of a deputy also
there in Mulikoh in Raisa period.
could have been other principalities as well being seats of
deputies of the Wali or Shah of ‘Chetrar’ such as Torikoh, Shoghore
and Drosh etc during Raisa period but could not be verified through
Shah Nasir as well as his son Shah Mahmud, who had later regained
power from Shah Katur-1 temporarily, all had been sitting here in
the capital ‘Chetrar’ as central and sovereign rulers of the whole
State of ‘Chetrar’(from Chaghan Sarai down in Kunar to Yasin in
trans-Shandur tract of land).
process of further conquest under Shah Nasir, the last Raisa ruler,
especially the unconverted areas from ‘Chetrar proper’ down to
Chaghan Sarai, Islamization of the society on larger scale, taking
initiatives for bringing improvement in political and
administrative system in the State with Central Asain cultural and
civilizational touch are the deeds and main impacts on the
State/Country left by this Shahan/Raisa dynasty which around the
last decades of the seventeenth century was vanquished by a local
family, later called Katur.
DYNASTY ; The administrative structure.
It was this Raisa/Shah
Raisa dynasty explained in part-3 of the article from whom Muhtaram
Shah, grand son of Sangin Ali (Sang Ali of the locals) had after a
bloody revolt seized power with the help of his brothers and
section of local people loyal to him. The usurper was not amongst
the commoners. He belonged to a local but privileged class of
people. His grand-father Sangin Ali is said to have remained an
important figure of the Raisa court while his father, uncle and
cousins had also had a strong role and experience in running the
civil and military administration for some later decades of the
Raisa period. We therefore will take here an analysis of the
circumstances which took place before and after usurpation of Raisa
powers by Katur dynasty. As per practice in the dynastical history
of the princely State (States), Muhtaram Shah (seems to be well
aware of), captured ‘Chetrar’ the capital of the princely State as
successor of the outgoing Raisa ruler assuming the new dynastical
name of ‘SHAH-I-KATUR’. The State he captured scattered from
Chaghan Sarai to Boroghul in the north and Punial in the east (Ghufran
1921:71; Ghulam Murtaza 1962:49).
should ascertain first as to who was the main authority behind the
process of usurpation of Raisa power. It seems that Muhtaram Shah
amongst the brothers usurping the powers had a vital personal role
when it is said of him:
“ ….. ( Muhtaram Shah) usurped the power in his own hands from
the Raisa ruler who had to flee to Badakshan. Muhtaram Shah also
known as Shah Katur 1, founded the Katur dynasty in Chitral”. (Dani
Yet another quotation runs thus:
“…..Not only during the usurpation process but after it also, all
strategy (of the affairs of the State) was in the hands of Muhtaram
Shah himself”. (Wazir Ali Shah 1986: 31).
3. Writers such as Munshi Aziz-ud-Din, an Indian English
government servant in Chitral (1893/1999:3), Mirza Muhammad Ghufran
(1921: 71), Ghulam Murtaza (1962:44, 49) and Professor Rehmat Karim
Beg (1997:7) do confirm the existence of ‘Chetrar’ as one unified
State with boundaries almost from Chaghan Sarai in the Kunar to the
frontiers of Gilgit State, till Punial/Gahkuch in trans-Shandur
tract of Land.
When we say that ‘Chetrar’ was intact with its defined boundaries
as one unified State till its last shape in 1895 during English
hegemony, we should take the decision of the division made by
Muhtaram Shah 1 within the State as of a routine administrative
nature as was being done during Kashghari and later on Raisa period
to run the vast and scattered State as mentioned in part 2 and 3 of
the article. It is clear to every one that if a particular place is
quoted with defined political and geographical boundaries, it is
meant by one State or Country, especially in the context of olden
dynastical history. ‘Chetrar’ was also one unified State with
boundaries from Asmar to the frontiers of Gilgit as pointed out in
1870 by an outsider/impartial contemporary eyewitness, Faiz Bukhsh.
“CHATRAL is bounded on the east by the frontiers of Gilgit, in the
territory of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir;- The south western
boundary of Chatral adjoins the territories of Sheva an Asmar…Its
north Eastern boundary adjoins Kunjad and Nagri..”. He however
has shown two divisions of the country into Kashkar-i-Bala and
Kashkar-i-Payeen or Chatral-i-Bala and Chartral-i-Payeen (Faiz
Buksh 1870/1883:1,2,6 and 7), which was an administrative division
as per old practice in the State (see part 3 the Raisa period) as
is even now in practice in the shape of subdivisions called Mastuj
and ‘Chetrar’. Barenis was withdrawn from Mastuj unit of Yasin
subdivision in early period of rule of Mehtar Shuja-ul-Mulk
(1895-1936) and included with Chitral.
Another eyewitness, an outsider, Munphool Pundit also uses word
Chitral-i-Bala (upper Chitral) in 1867 for the same part of
‘Chetrar’ which was quoted by Faiz Buksh as Kashkar-i-Bala or
To eliminate the concept of ‘partition’ of the State, Muhtaram Shah
the first Katur ruler, it seems, had taken some technical and
political steps also, at the start such as:
While installing his younger brother Khoshwaqt in subdivision of Mastuj/Yasin,
he reserved Ashkuman valley in trans-Shandur area as jagir for
himself and Ghizer he earmarked for another brother Niamatullah (Ghufran
1921:71; Ghulam Murtarza 1962: 49). The point to be noted is that
both Ashkuman and Ghizer situated in the vicinity of Yasin
subdivision on which was Khoshwaqt installed.
Similarly, perhaps as a part of this same strategy, he granted
Damel valley along with some land in Ayun, Chomorkhon and ‘Chetrar’
proper to Khoshwaqt.
Torikoh had also been included in the sub-division of Yasin at the
start but the decision was revoked by Muhtaram Shah-1 some years
later (ibid: 117).
Such were the administrative and political steps that were taken by
the first Katur ruler at the beginning of his reign which pose him
as a central, sovereign and superminent ruler of the newly
established ‘Katur Dynasty’ – the successor of the Raisa/Shah Raisa
rulers. We can find some other events also which give strength to
the concept of one State and one central Ruler. We have seen for
example that during Raisa period two sons, out of four, of Muhammad
Riza, killed by Muhtaram Shah during the revolt were settled in and
busy doing State duties in Reshun and Yarkhun. (Aziz-ud-Din
1893/1991: 45 Ghufran 1921: 70). Both places came under Yasin
subdivision during the Raisa period. This proves that there were no
political boundaries on ‘partition’ basis as these sons of Muhammad
Riza actually were residence of Mulikoh, an area then under direct
control of Raisa ruler of ‘Chetrar’.
Another point to note relates to Sangin Ali-2 son of Muhtaram Shah
1 when he is stated to have come under siege in Mastuj Fort at the
time of invasion of Shah Mahmud son of Shah Nasir Raisa. Khoshwaqt
is stated to have reached in Danin, ‘Chetrar’ being unable to
revert the attack on Mastuj Fort. Here in Danin he was killed later
by invading force of Shah Mahmud Raisa (Ghufran 1921:74-75; Ghulam
Murtarza 1962:50). There seems possibility that Muhtaram Shah might
have installed also his own son along with Khoshwaqt in Mastuj Fort
which was besieged by Shah Mahmud’s forces. Later on Sangin Ali
from there managed his safe passage to meet his father Muhtaram
Shah 1 who was some where in Dir on exile.
Later developments in the politics of the State/Country show yet
many other dominating role of the central government of ‘Chetrar’
under Katurs. When, for example, Sangin Ali 2 son of Muhtaram Shah
regains rein of power of the whole country defeating Shah Mahmud
Raisa after a fierce battle, which was temporarily lost to him.
Shah Alam, Faramurd and Asmatullah sons of late Khoshwaqt were
residing then in Darel on exile. There was no role of these
Khoshwaqt princess at all in the said struggle of Sangin Ali in
regaining power but Sangin Ali installed them again in Yasin
subdivision when they came back from Darel (ibid:79;52-53).
Khairullah, a Khoshwaqt-descent local ruler of Yasin, becoming
strong, had deported other local rulers (his own scions) of Yasin
area to Darel and Tangir. Later on he was able to usurp the central
government of Katur ruler of Chitral also. Katur princess Shah
Nawaz and Muhtaram Shah after a great struggle regained not only
power of ‘Chetrar’ in the centre but whole the State/Country upto
Yasin as usual came under them. They killed Khairullah the usurper
ruler and called back the ex-local rulers from exile and installed
them on different principalities of Yasin subdivision once again
unsolicitedly whereas they had no role again in the long and
tiresome struggle and fight of the Katur princess with Khairullah.
Khan Bahadur and Khan Dawran sons of late ruler Muhammad Shafi (Sangale
group) were also installed in Lotkuh (Khuzar) and Ovir/Drasan by
Katur rulers but were later on sacked by Muhtaram Shah-2.
Perusal of records show that almost 99% of local rulers of Yasin
subdivision, it is to says, had been enjoying rulerships only with
pleasure, approval and interferences of the Katur rulers of
‘Chetrar’ such as Shah Muhammad Shafi, Shah Afzal 1, Shah Nawaz,
Muhtaram Shah 2 ,Shah Afzal 2 and Aman-ul-Mulk (Faiz Bukhsh
1870/1883:21-22; Ghufran 1921:85,113-14,131-47,160-197,208-9 ;
Ghulam Murtarza 1962:52-53,74,85,110,115 and 126).
Mention of Chitral Kashmir Treaty of 1876 is of great importance
and can be taken as a valid document in support of our topic.
Maharaja Ranbir Sing of Kashmir acknowledges the authority of Shah
Aman-ul-Mulk as the sovereign ruler of the State of
Chitral(‘Chetrar’) up to the boundaries of Gilgit including trans-Shandur
tract of land, when he interacts with him (Aman-ul-Mulk) as the
authority for the said treaty between Chitral and Kashmir States (Ghufran
1921:200-01;Ghulam Murtarza 1962:128 and Dani 1989:259-60).
Similarly Chitral-English government of India Treaty of 1885 was
also signed between Colonel Lockhart and Aman-ul-Mulk Katur ruler
of Chitral (Ghufran 1921:219 and Ghulam Murtaza 1962:135-36).
English Resident in Kashmir, Lt:Col. G.D OGILVIE, C.I.E. in his
letter no 3355-C/30 dated 18-12-1930 to the address of his Indian
government elucidates the dominant position of (Katur rule) of
Chitral in these words:
“up till 1895 the tract of country which now includes, Yasen,
Koh, Ghizer and Askhkuman formed apart of the State of Chitral and
was generally ruled by a separate Mehtar subordinate to the ruler
of Chitral itself”.
Regarding the installation of local rulers in trans-Shandur tract
of land on “Deputyship” of Katur rulers, there are sufficient
evidences based on the writings of Katur’s court writers as well as
those of outsiders and native independent writers .But here in this
part only those references are being quoted which are based on the
independent sources; while those of court writers will be quoted in
the ‘CONCLUSION’ of this article.
John Bidulph (1880/2001:158) who was a political administrator in
Gilgit, had visited the areas of Yasin and Chitral both, writes:-
“…Khush Wakht was established in Mastooch as a semi-independent
ruler and became the founder of the Khosh Wakhte branch”.
An English government servant Munshi Aziz-ud-Din posted in Chitral
during 1893 has shown the whole area from Asmar to Punial as one
State/Country with one capital at Chitral (the present Chitral
town) throughout the history till 1895 when Khoshwaqt country was
severed from Chitral. He has never shown Yasin part of the country
as a separate State or its rulers as sovereign rulers (Aziz-ud-Din
1991:3, 8, 9, 12-13, 17, 19 and 35). Yes, he has certainly shown
Shah Alam, Fararmurd and Khairullah as independent rulers of whole
Chitral State during the period when they usurped central power of
‘Chetrar’ State (ibid 59-60 and 70).
Another independent local writer in his book “HINDU KUSH SERIES”
Volume Two, giving detail of the administrative division of State
of ‘Chetrar’ by Katur ruler Muhtaram Shah-1, writes:-
“ He (Muhtaram Shah 1) apportioned different parts of the State
to his brothers and sent them to the territories as his
lieutenants. Khoshwaqt was given Vershigum (present Yasin)
adjoining areas (Beg 1997:7).
know that some of our readers may make us recall the events when
some rulers of Khoshwaqt line of trans-Shandur part of the State
had succeeded in usurping the Katur rule in the centre for some
time in different occasions. We will, therefore, try here as
promised in part-1 of the article to recall some such events when
during Katur rule, some of the rulers of Yasin subdivision (Khoshwaqt
line), either by intrigues or by dint of power, brought revolt
against their central Katur rulers in the past which can be called
‘upsets’. These upsets only happened when any state of chaos ever
prevailed in the ‘headquarters’ of ‘Chetrar’ itself or any
Khoshwaqt-descent ruler happened to become so powerful as to
capture all three/four principalities of Yasin subdivision such as
Mastuj, Yasin, Ghizer and Punial simultaneously. Circumstances of
this nature could be enough in those days to make some local
rulers/deputies ‘headstrong’. The vacuumes in either case used to
be filled in shape of such usurpation/upsets.
The Katur rulers,
it is to be mentioned, never acknowledged or tolerated such acts
however. They rather reacted violently. Here are examples of such
upsets/usurpations which are now part of history with severe
Shah Alam son of Khoshwaqt, when he seized powers here in ‘Chetrar’
after assassinating sitting Katur ruler Muhammad Ghulam son
Muhtaram Shah 1, was within a very short period of time killed on
the orders of Shah Afzal and Shah Fazil, brothers of Muhammad
Ghulam (Ghufran 1921:81; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:54).
Faramurd son of Khoshwaqt ruler of Yasin (3/4 principalities), had
come to ‘Chetrar’ for condolence on the death of Katur ruler
Muhammad Shafi. He, immediately seized power seeing the occasion
in his favour. But after few years Faramurd was killed on the
orders of his brothers-in-law-Shah Afzal and Shah Fazil, and the
rein of power was thus back in the Katur line i.e. Shah Afzal-1 son
of Muhraram Shah 1 (ibid:84; 57).
Khairullah ruler of Yasin had also become strong seizing powers of
all principalities of Yasin subdivision and sending his relatives
on exile to Darel/Tangir. So he started intrigues to usurp power of
Katur rulers of Chetrer as well, to become an independent sovereign
ruler of the whole State. He accordingly succeeded to capture the
power however and started to rule the country by installing his
deputies in ‘Chetrar’. The Katur rulers/princes i.e. Shah Nawaz
Khan and Muhtaram Shah-2 had to go on exile to Dir for a
considerable period of time.
In Short Shah Nawaz Khan and Muhtaram Shah-2 with the help of
rulers/ Khan of Dir and Bajour at last succeeded to take revenge
from Khairullah by killing him and recapturing the power of whole
the country after a great struggle (ibid :111; 66-72).
Suliman Shah of Khoshwaqt line who himself was installed as local
ruler in Ghizer by Muhtaram Shah 2 some years ago (Ghulam Murtarza
1962:85), later gained power by capturing all principalities of
Yasin subdivision, attacked Mulikoh and Torikoh areas. It is also
said that this attack was made by Suliman Shah on the instigation
of the people of those areas. Muhtaram Shah-2 lost his son in the
fight and for the time being, therefore, managed to patch up the
matter detaching himself from the district of Torikoh (Ghufran
1921:134; Ghulam Murtarza 1962:86). He but never forgave Suliman
Shah for the act he had committed and later on not only regained
Torikoh area but also put Suliman Shah to brutal death through Azad
Khan Burusha of Punial (Faiz Bukhsh 1870/1883:18-19-21).
was the first ruler of Yasin, Suliman Shah of the Khoshwaqt line
who in 1800 A.D becoming stronger started meddling in the affairs
of Gilgit-a separate State since long. He killed its ruler Gorithum.
Later on Gorithum’s two sons Muhammad Khan and Abbas Khan were also
assassinated by Suliman Shah and the power of Gilgit seized by him,
but he himself was killed in 1829 by Azad Khan Burusha (Leitner
1889:70; Khan 1939:687-89).
The state of affairs moved towards further deterioration when Gohar
Aman another strong ruler of Yasin attacked and seized power of
Gilgit in 1841. This was turning point in the history of ‘Chetrar’
and Gilgit itself when Sikandar Khan the deposed ruler of Gilgit
had had to go to Kashmir and seek help from the Sikhs rulers
against Yasin authorities-Gohar Aman (Leitner 1889:71). Such rulers
though gained personal fame for the time being expanding the size
of their rulership but it was the result, it is to say, of these
Yasini attacks/inroads on Gilgit which provided chance to Sikh
administration of Kashmir for the first time to enter and play role
in the affairs of the State of Gilgit; which they did with one
thousand Kashmiri troops under Nathe Shah by entering Gilgit and
releasing it from the hold of Gohar Aman (Gorman) in 1842.
Advances and retreats continued between Gohar Aman and Gilgit/Sikh
forces till 1846 when Dogra (Hindu) rule under Gulab Singh started
in Kashmir. Kashmiri Dogra forces subsequently also became part of
the Yasin/Gilgit issue till 1860, the death of Gohar Aman. After
his death Kashmiri forces released Gilgit again from Yasin hold
helping sons of Raja Karim Khan ex-ruler of Gilgit (ibid: 73). They
not only released Gigit from Yasinese but series of an incessant
attacks till deep into Yasin part of Chitral’s territory by Kashmir
forces began which ended, in short, in massacre on large scale in
Madori Fort of Yasin (Ghufran 1921:179-80; Khan 1939:703-4).
Aman-ul-Mulk of Chitral, therefore sacked the Khoshwaqt rulers and
brought the area under direct Katur rule in about 1878 (Ghulam
Murtaza 1962: 147). Political and geographical impacts of these
developments were later in shape of severance of trans-Shandur part
of land from Chitral in 1895 by English authorities; also with a
shadow of claim by Maharaj Kashmir on these territories. Western
part of Yasin subdivision (from Boroghul to Reshun) was, however,
restored to Chitral by English authorities in 1914.
The story regarding emergence of the Sate/Country of ‘Chetrar’
(Chitral), its political and administrative structure during the
period of all historical dynasties as well as of last Katur dynasty
in some detail, all have been elucidated in foregoing parts of this
article. Most part of the account has been substantiated by
historical references/events which, it is hoped, are enough to
prove the points put to debate on in early part of the article.
should in fact be honest in acknowledging the concept and principle
of one State, one dynasty and one sovereign ruler at one time;
especially in the contexts of old dynastical practices everywhere
in the world. ‘Chetrar’ was ruled also by dynasties one after the
‘Chetrar’ as told earlier was never partitioned.
There were of course two big administrative units of ‘Chetrar’ and
Yasin within ‘Chetrar’ State not only during Katur period but the
system was existing since very long during pre-Katur dynasties as
an administrative division and not as political division. One will
not find any where in the past history that Yasin was ever called,
written or acknowledged as a separate State. It has constantly been
written as ‘Yasin tract of land’ (of the State of ‘Chetrar’). It
has been dealt with as part of ‘Chetrar’ State being named as
Kashqar-i-Bala and Payen or Chitral-i-Bala and Payen thorough out
known history. Mentioning of the words of ‘Katur Country’ and
‘Khoshwaqt Country’ was an invention of English officers of the
later period of 19th century for their convenience in
giving references to the region and is thus not on historical and
becomes a matter of serious consideration, therefore, that whenever
there is no State there will be no Central government and likewise
no Central Sovereign Ruler/Dynast. Similarly there can’t be
expected two rulers/dynasts both sovereign in the single State at a
respectable writers (mentioned in the beginning), it seems, have
not been careful in choosing proper words suited technically to,
while narrating the process of filling up the administrative units
by the first Katur ruler, which were left vacant by outgoing Raisa
rulers. Where readers find a slight indication of ‘partition’ of
State in such writings on one page of their books, there in the
subsequent pages such writers have themselves clearly shown the
local rulers of Yasin as deputies/lieutenants of central government
of ‘Chetrar’ (Ghulam Murtaza 1962:147 ; Beg 1997:7), which itself
negates the act of ‘partition’ of State altogether. Whenever such
local rulers brought revolt or usurped the central government of ‘Chetrar’,
they did it at the cost of their lives.
profound regards and respect for all members of that great
family-the Khoshwaqtia-, the history but can’t be denied. Some of
its local rulers such as Shah Alam, Fararmurt and Khairullah,
though killed by Katur rulers no doubt held the honour of being
sovereign rulers, of whole the State of ‘Chetrar’ and stand
included in the list of Shahan-i-Chetrar.(Sovereign
rulers of ‘Chetrar’ State used to hold the designation as “Shah”
but it fell into disuse in later days. This is a separate subject
to be dealt with anytime later).Yet others such as Suliman Shah,
Gohar Aman and Azad Khan (Burusha) gained fame to be called ‘Raja’
by capturing power in Gilgit State from time to time. It is
likewise also part of the history that whole State of ‘Chetrar’ was
captured by Katur dynasty from Raisa rulers and Muhtaram Shah-1 was
it’s first Sovereign Central Ruler with the title of Shah-i Katur.
He seems to be the planner, the usurper and the giver and taker as
regard the political affairs and dominative roles played by him are
concerned. All subsequent Katur rulers- good or bad- also enjoyed
the same status of rulership maintaining therewith the dominative
role of ‘Chetrar’ as a State, through out the history. The local
rulers of Yasin subdivision with all their capabilities and
personal qualities were, however, dependent on the Central
Government of ‘Chetrar’ as deputies as a rule, as this part of the
land has remained an integral part of the State of ‘Chetrar’
thorough out the history till 1895 when it was severed from
‘Chetrar’ (Chitral) by English authorities of Indian Government;
breaking all the promise made with Aman-ul-Mulk the ruler of
‘Chetrar’ in the Treaty of 1885, under which the English had
guaranteed the whole country then held, to remain in the custody of
Aman-ul-Mulk and after him his descendants in the years to come.
above conclusion is the result of a personal study of the writer
based on the political and administrative history of old dynasties
of ‘Chetrar’ as well as that of Katur period. There is yet another
stance of similar nature. This comes of historiographers of the
Katur Court and can, therefore, also be taken as an official
stance/claim of Katur regime itself. The stance/claim is
incorporated here (in the end) for the readers and also to exploit
it in further substantiating the major points of view of the
Muhammad Ghufran the first historiographer of the Katur Court in
his Persian Tarikh-i Chetrar (1921:71) giving detail of internal
distribution of the State functionaries, especially that of
Khoshwaqt writes :-
Translation:- “Khoshwaqt in fact was there (in Yasin/Mastuj) as
deputy of his elder brother (Muhtaram Shah-1)”.
yet another quotation in stronger words :-
Translation: - “
The honourable king (Aman-ul-Mulk 1856-1892), used to say that
after the event of regaining the power by my grandfather Shah
Katur-2 when he killed Khairullah (the usurper of Khoshwaqt line),
the affairs of Khoshwaqt country had come under the direct control
of my family. Those from the Khoshwaqt line after then maintained
the respect/obedience for my family, (Katur) have found rulerships
while those who did not, were never successful”. (ibid: 72).
the political status of Khoshwaqt’s sons at the time when Sangin
Ali-2 regained rein of power from Shah Mahmud Raisa, Mirza Muhammad
Translation :- “
…and Khoshwaqt’s sons were ruling in Khoshwaqt country in the
capacity of ‘deputies’”.(ibid :79).
Complaining about the behavior of English government in going
against 1885 treaty separating trans-Shandur territories from
Chitral in 1895, Mirza Muhammad Ghufran argues:
“The sole master of the country from Chaghan Sarai to the frontiers
of Gilgit was Shah Kaur-1 and from him his younger brother
Khoshwaqt has got deputyship of north-west part of the
Likewise he is not going to accept the word of ‘Katur country’ and
‘Khoshwaqt country’ and says:
…and when the word ‘Katur land’ and ‘Khoshwaqt land’ is used it has
no ground ; whole the county is Katur country”.(ibid).
principle of deputyship of rulers of Khoshwaqt line is confirmed
also by ‘Ghulam Murtaza’ another court writer, when he writes;-
The sub administrative unit of Mastuj which was lying scattered
from Barenis to Shandur and Boroghul passes was previously under
the Khoshwaqtia rulers of Vershigum (Yasin) who were ruling there
as ‘deputies’ of Katuria kings (of Chitral)”(1962:147).
the 4th article being written and published by this
humble writer. His book based on his 14 years of
research/study, likely to be somewhat very different in its many
parts from what so far been published on the history of Chitral, is
under edit and composition process.
of this article is allowed to be used by anyone without giving
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