Dress and appearance of 16th-century Pashtuns during the reign of Sher Shah Suri

One of the few resources that provides some clue to the dress of Pashtuns in the 16th century is a set of illustrations called the Codex Casanatense, created by a Portuguese. Two of its illustrations depict Pashtun male and female archers. The inscription reads: “People called Pathans, very warlike, for their women also accompany them … Read more

Akhund Salak; a Pashtun who converted Kohsitanis (Dardic people) to Islam

In 1908, Stuart Hill Godfrey (the British Political agent for Dir, Swat and Chitral since 1902) toured Dir-Kohistan. The local Kohistanis (who are Dardic people) shared with him their oral traditions and legends. They informed him that eight generations ago their ancestors were converted to Islam by Akhund Salak,  whose descendants for many years took … Read more

Umra Khan of Jandul and fairies of the Kumrat valley

Umra Khan of Jandul and fairies of the Kumrat valley In the last quarter of 19th century, Umra Khan of Jandul, a Pashtun chieftain, garnered fame in the northern districts of Pakhtunkhwa, who had the ability and talent to found a sizable kingdom. He belonged to the Jandul area of present-day Lower Dir district of … Read more

Pashtun tribal flags

Pashtun tribal flags In the past, each section or a sub-tribe of a Pashtun tribe used to have its own unique flag or standard (‘bairagh’ بیرغ in Pashto). For example each of the eight sections of the Afridi tribe had their own particular flags representing them.  The Pashtun tribal flags were triangular in shape. They … Read more

Palay Shah Khosti (Palay Khan)

Palay Shah Palay Shah, popular as Palay Khan, fought against British and Zhob Militia in 1930s. The story of Palay Shah is shrouded in legends and is not documented well. His exploits against British are preserved in local folk poetry known as ‘Kakarai ghara’ (کاکړۍ غاړه). He and his men are said to have taken … Read more

Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?

Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?. According to Haider-nama (completed in 1784 and commissioned by Tipu Sultan himself), Haider Ali’s ancestors were “Navayats”. The term Navayat (نویات) referred to the descendants of Arab settlers in the coastal regions of South India. Thus Haider-nama alludes to the Arab origin of the family. The author of Haider-nama, a … Read more

Faqir Kala Khan Marri Baloch

In October 1896 a Marri Baloch by name of Haji Kala Khan declared Jihad against British. He was popularly known as ‘Mast Faqir’. On October 14, 1896, Kala Khan and five of his followers attacked Nari Bhag Railway station in Bolan and hacked to pieces all the fifteen men working there with their swords. One … Read more