Barechs are Sarabani Pashtuns. Their progenitor Barech was the fourth son of Sharkhabun son of Saraban according to the traditional Pashtun genealogy. Barech had two sons, Daud and Hussain. Large number of Bareches migrated to Hind along with other Pashtun tribes at the time of Sultan Bahlol Lodi. The remnants in Afghanistan are settled in and around Shorawak in the south-east of Kandahar. The Barech territory comprises about sixty square miles of arid tract in Afghanistan. They are bound on the north by Durranis, on the south by Brahuis, on the east is Khwaja Imran mountain, and on the west is desolate desert. Lohra Nullah is their lifeline that waters their lands. However, it is a seasonal channel and remains almost dry. About three thousand Barceh families were settled in Shorawak in 1865.
Bareches of Kila Bust
Earlier some of their families had moved over to Palalak area and Kila Bust on the banks of Helmand River. Fateh Khan, son of Aslam Khan Barech, a local khan of Bist Bareches , is mentioned in the ballads for his bravery and chivalry. Reportedly during the reign of Emperor Jehangir, Fateh Khan developed some differences with his father and left his home. He went over to Sialkot area and organized a band of dacoits. He became popular with the general masses as he used to share his booty with them. Soon he was chased and killed by the royal forces sent by Emperor Jehangir. He fought the royal forces bravely and earned praises from his friends and foes alike. After his death, ballads narrating in Pashto his brave deeds, used to be sung in the Pashtun hujra by the bards.
After Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Bust Bareches have been overshadowed by the Durranis and they had lost their identity. During mid-nineteenth century, Arbab Aurang used to be their leader.
Badalzai is a section of the Barechis of Shorawak , occupying the northern portion of the plain. They have three divisions, Brahimzai, Shekh, and Panjpai. The Badalzais are said to have been the most powerful of the four Barechi sections. According to their own account, at the time when Nadir Shah Afshar (the Shah of Persia) was overrunning the country, all the other Barechis retired to the hills on hearing of the approach of his army. The Eid or some other great festival, was then in process of celebration, and the Badalzais resolved to stand their ground. Nadir Shah’s troops arrived and attacked them: they fought desperately in defence of their families and property and were almost annihilated.The Badalzais, like the other Barechis, are cultivators, and possess plenty of rich land. They are a quiet, industrious people. (Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan, pp-70-71)
Barech notables in history
Shaikh Iliyas Barech and Shaikh Manki Shahbaz Barech were famous Afghan saints of medieval times, they are mentioned in Makhzan-i-Afghani. An important figure of their history is Fateh Khan Barech, whose legend is told in Pashto ballads.
Dilawer Khan Barech, was an officer in the Mughal army, holding the rank of 4000 with 4000 horse in 1632 AD according to Badshahnama. He remained one of the intimate companions of Prince Shahjahan. His son Pira received the title of Purdil Khan and rank of 3000 with 3000 horse. He served as ‘Thanadar’ of the lower Bangash for seven years. In 1648, Purdil Khan Barech was appointed as governor of Qila Bust (Helmand, Afghanistan). Another prominent Barech mansabdar was Babu Khan Barceh holding the rank of 3000 in 1624 AD.
An Afghan saint Shaikh Shahab-ud-din Barech from the Badalzai sub-tribe of from the village Pushim of Shorawak district of Kandahar, settled in the village of Toru Shahamatpur (Mardan) in early 17th century. Daud Khan, the founder of Rohilkhand state, was slave of his grandson Shah Alam before migration to India. Shah Alam Barech’s son, Hafiz Rahmat Khan became an important leader of Rohillas and was appointed as regent of Rohilkhand by Ali Muhammad Khan Rohilla in 1748. He wrote a book by name of “Khulasat ul-Ansab” on history and geneology of Pashtuns. Another famous leader of Rohillas belonging to the Barceh tribe was Dunde Khan who was cousin of Hafiz Rahmat Khan. Mohabbat Khan Barech, son of Hafiz Rahmat Khan, wrote a first book on Pashto grammar and dictionary by name of “Riyaz al–mohabbat” in 1806 AD.
A notable Barech of 18th century was Mustafa Khan Barech, the famous general of Alivardi Khan (Nawab of bengal) who led deadly Afghan insurrection against Nawab in 1746. Descendants of Mustafa Khan Barechs established a state by name of Jhajjar in Hariyana , which functioned as princely state within British India.
1- Hayat-i-Afghani, ‘Afghanistan and its inhabitants’
2- Makhzan-i-Afghani, ‘History of Afghans’ bu B.Dorn vol-II
3- ‘Afghan nobility and the Mughals’ by Rita Joshi
4- Mathir-ul-umara, Vol-II
5- History of the Pathans’, Vol-I, Haroon Rashid
6- Journal of Asian History – Volumes 35-36
7- Alivardi and His Times by Kalikinkar Datta