Babi tribe of Pashtuns

Babaey was the third son of Ghurghust. He had four sons, Jabrael, Mikael, Israfiel, and Izrael, named after the four principal angels, however, these names were later changed to Mirzi, Sud, Israel and Katozai respectively.

According to Khulasat ul-Ansab of Hafiz Rahmat Khan (1708–1774);

“Babi, Ghurghushti’s son, had four sons: 1. Mir, whence the Mirzyes; 2. Kato, whence the Katozyes; 3. Pir, whence the Pirzies; 4. Azrail, of whose descendants nothing is known here. They all reside about Kandahar.”

Babi Pashtuns numbered only about 3000 men in 1860s according to Hayat-i-Afghani. Hayat Muhammad Khan says, “Babis enjoys a consideration , to which the remarkable spirit of enterprise and courage, displayed by its members in their trading tours in the parts of Kandahar and Kalat-Nasir, justly entitles it. In dress, food, and general habits, the Babis are like high class Durrani. There was formerly enmity between Babi and Abdali on account of a woman (Muradu by name), who was carried off by a Khan of Babi, and who is said to have brought about defeat of her own people by secretly throwing many quivers of arrows into a well. In these days, however, no traces of ill-will remains”. [1]

Babo Jan Babi 

Babo Jan, a Babi Pashtun, was governor of Lar in Persia under Mahmud Hotak and Ashraf Hotak. On the downfall of the latter, he made his way to Kandahar and joined Shah Hussain Hotak. [2]

Babis in Kalat

The early nineteenth-century English traveler, Henry Pottinger describes members of the Babi tribe whom he met in Kalat in 1810 ;

“I have in a preceding place inserted a few desultory observations on the Babees, whom I conceive to form a third class of the permanent inhabitants of Kelat, but as they are not natives of Beloochistan, and moreover are a tribe of no note whatever among their countrymen, little further need be said of them ; they are an industrious pastoral set of people, the majority of whom dwell in the dominions of the king of Kabool, and in the Douranee country, where they pasture their flocks and reside in tents; some of them are also great merchants, and to follow their commercial avocations they quit their native wilds and settled in cities or towns. [3]

Charles Masson in 1842 mentions two outlying settlements of Babi Afghans in exile;

“Kalat has two suburbs one to the south, inhabited solely by the Babi tribe of Afghans, who fled, or were expelled from the seats of their ancestors, near Kandahar, in the time of Ahmed Shah, the first Durrani king. The other is to the north-west, inhabited also by Afghan families, but of various tribes, and generally recent emigrations from Kandahar. These two suburbs may contain together three hundred houses. West of the town stretch ravines, and low barren hills, for a considerable distance.” [4]


1790’s painting depicting Safdar Khan Babi


Immigration of Babis to India

Omar Khan Babi, one of the descendants of Babaey son of Ghurghust had joined Humayun’s army in Hind. Bahadur Khan son of Osman Khan Babi, remained in the royal service of Emperor Akbar during the latter part of his rule and rose to prominence during the rule of Emperor Shah Jahan and received two villages in Gujarat state as jagir.  One of the sons of Bahadur Khan named Sher Khan was a favorite of Emperor Aurangzeb for his services in suppressing the uprisings in Gujarat and adjoining territory. In 1672, Kutbuddin, the Faujdar of Surat, invaded Jamnagar. Against stiff resistance Sher Khan captured the fort of Jamnagar. Kutbuddin appointed him the Faujdar of Gujarat and Baroda, in addition he was given the town of Piran Pattan in jagir. He died in Sidhpur and was buried in Ahmadabad.

Sher Khan Babi founded the Babi dyansty of the Ghurghast Afghans in Junagadh, in Gujarat state. The Ghurghast Afghan Nawabs till the partition of the subcontinent, ruled the Jungadh state. At the time of partition, the Nawab of the Junagarh opted that his state should be included in Pakistan. However, the predominantly Hindu population forced Nawab to leave his state instead.[3]

Nawabs of Babi dynasty of Junagarh 

1- Nawab Sher Khan ( r. 1748–1758)

2- Nawab Mahabat Khan (1758–1774)

3- Nawab Hamid Khan (1774–1811)

4- Nawab Bahadur Khan (1811–1840)

5- Nawab Hamid Khan II (1840–1852)

6- Nawab Sir Mahabat Khan II ( 1851–1882)

7- Nawab Sir Muhammad Bahadur Khan-III (1882–1892)

8- Nawab Sir Muhammad Rasul Khan (1882–1911)

9- British administration (1911–1920)

10- Nawab Sir Mahabat Khan III (1920–1947)


A maqbara of Babi dynasty



1- Muhammad Hayat Khan , “Afghanistan and its inhabitants”, p-152
2-  The Kingdom of Afghanistan: A Historical Sketch by G.P Tate, p-59
3-  Travels In Beloochistan And Sinde: By Henry Pottinger, p-79
4- “Narrative Of Various Journeys In Balochistan Afghanistan The Panjab And Kalat” , by Charles Masson, 1842, pp.96-97
3-  Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans”, pp-190-191

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