Darya Khan Daudzai

Darya Khan Daudzai was a horse trader from a village near Peshawar who later joined Mughal service and became a high ranking Mughal mansabdar. In 1630 he joined the rebellion of Khan Jahan Lodi for the restoration of Pashtun rule in India. Their efforts did not meet with success and they suffered defeats at the hands of Mughals. After failures, a large number of Pashtuns deserted Khan Jahan Lodi and the latter was left with a small army. Darya Khan Daudzai did not desert Khan Jahan Lodi. On the advice of Darya Khan Daudzai and some other Pashtun nobles, Khan Jahan Lodi decided to move to Punjab to obtain the help of the Pashtuns of Pakhtunkhwa. All roads to Punjab through Malwa were blocked by Mughal forces so Khan Jahan Lodi decided to push on to Kalpi through Bundela territory. 

While passing through Bundela territory (located in modern Uttar Pradesh), the rear of the Khan Jahan Lodi’s army was suddenly attacked by the army of Bikramajit Bundela on behalf of Mughals. Darya Khan Daudzai who was commanding the rear of Khan Jahan Lodi’s army with only 400 soldiers, decided to fight the attackers and buy time for Khan Jahan Lodi’s escape. Darya Khan was shot in the head by a musket-ball, and all of the 400 Pashtun soldiers, including one of his sons, died heroically in the battle. Bikramajit cut off the head of Darya Khan and also of his son and sent it to the Mughal court. Khan Jahan Lodi managed to escape on this occasion, thanks to the sacrifices of Darya Khan Daudzai and his men, but after a month he and his entire family also perished in the battlefield.

The following painting is attributed to Balchand who was one of the many Hindu painters working under the Mughals during the reigns of both Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

References: (1) Padshahnama by Abdul Hamid Lahori (2) Maathir-ul-Umara by Shah Nawaz Khan (3) Zakhirat al-Khawanin by Shaikh Farid Bukhari.

Daudzai tribe
A detail from Mughal painting of circa 1631 depicts Darya Khan Daudzai having his head cut off by Bundela Rajputs.
‘Bikramajit’s Victory over Darya Khan in 1631’. The painting depicts the rear of Khan Jahan Lodi’s army (commanded by Darya Khan Daudzai) getting ambushed by Bikramajit Bundela on behalf of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Pashtun army, sporting full beards, is depicted towards the left side of the picture. The David collection.
Daudzai Pakhtuns
Detail of Pashtun soldiers
Detail of Pashtun soldiers

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