Malik Jiwan Panni – the Pashtun who betrayed Dara Shikoh to Aurangzeb

Junaid Khan alias Jiwan (‘Gion’ of Berniers) was son of Baru Khan Panni, chief of Dhadar (Bolan district). According to François Bernier (1620 – 1688), Gion Kan i.e Jiwan Khan Panni of Dhadar was sentenced to death on two occasions by Emperor Shah Jahan for rebellions against Mughals. On both occasions his life was saved by Prince Dara Shikoh. François Bernier mentions him as ‘ notoriously a robber and a rebel [against Mughals]’. Khafi Khan in his  Muntakhab-ul-Lubab also informs us that Malik Jiwan of Dhadar had long been bound to Dara Shikoh by acts of generosity.

On Emperor Shah Jahan’s illness, his sons got involved into a fierce and bloody struggle for succession. In 1658, Prince Dara Shikoh, after his defeat at Ajmer, retired to Gujarat and then to Sindh and Sibi. In a state of perplexity and indecision, he thought of Malik Jiwan Khan, whose life he had saved. He took refuge with him with a hope that he would help him in reaching Mohabat Khan, the governor of Kabul who espouse his cause.

Initially Malik Junaid Khan received the Prince with apparent respect and cordiality, ordering his men to look after the needs of the Prince’s entourage. Later vicious temptation seized Junaid Khan. He seized the Prince at night, robbed him of his gold and jewels of family members and killed the persons who attempted to defend the Prince. Junaid Khan tried to seize Sipihr Shikoh, the second son of Dara Shikoh. The latter resisted with courage , killed three men with his arrows, but was soon overpowered and taken a captive. With his hands tied behind his back, he was brought in front of Dara Shikoh. The shocked father could not restrain himself and shouted at Junaid Khan:-

“Finish, finish, ungrateful and infamous wretch that thou art, finish that which thou hast commenced; we are the victims of evil fortune and the unjust passion of Aurangzeb, but remember that i do not merit death except for having saved thy life and remember that a prince of royal blood never had his hands tied behind his back”

Junaid Khan, moved by these words, untied the prince’s hands and placed guards over father and son. Nevertheless, later he tried Dara on the back of an elephant, his son at his side. His escort was ordered to kill the Prince the moment he or his followers resisted. Junaid Khan went to Bakkar (Sukkur, Sindh) and met Mir Baba, the Mughal commander at Bakkar, who provided escort for his onward journey to Delhi. Emperor Aurangzeb, before executing Dara humiliated him by parading him on the streets of Delhi, tied on a feeble elephant, with his son seated on his side and the executioner sitting behind him. Junaid Khan rode beside him. Bernier observed that some Fakirs and several poor people threw stones at the ‘ infamous Patan’.

According to Khafi Khan, Emperor Aurangzeb conferred a mansab of 1,000 with 200 horse on Malik Jiwan Panni for his seizure of Dara Shikoh and Sipihr Shikoh. He was dismissed to return to his country. According to Niccolao Manucci, Jiwan Khan was waylaid and assassinated in a forest within a few miles of Sirhind. But according to manuscript of Mullah Fazil, Jiwan Khan returned from Delhi and commenced ruling his country in a regular manner and with an added pomp and authority. From then onwards he came to be called Nawab Bakhtiar Khan.

It is related in Mullah Fazil’s history that after above-mentioned events, he used to hold his court daily at Dadhar. Once in his court at Dadhar, a Hindu complained against a son of Shah Baig Mandwani , who was alleged to have waylaid his son and torn off his golden earrings. Shah Baig admitted the guilt of his son and promised to punish him, however, he did nothing. Next day Junaid Khan raided Shah Baig Mandwani’s village and in fight the latter’s son, along with few others, was killed. The head of the son of Shah Baig Mandwani was severed and brought to Dhadar. Shah Baig, unaware of the Junaid Khan’s intention, had stayed in Dhadar and didn know about the fate of his son. Next day, the head of the son of Shah Baig was shown to the people present in the court and told that it would be the fate of any person who committed robbery in Junaid Khan’s domains.

Jiwan Khan died in his country and was buried there. His grave is still to be seen by the side of his renowned son Mirza Khan, to the north of the town of Dhadar.




Town of Dhadar, 1839. Dadur’, 1839. Coloured lithograph by W L Walton



Portrait of Dara Shikoh ,  c1650 , From the Collection of Archibald Swinton 
Young Dara Shikoh, 1615
Nadira Banu Begum, 1632


Entrance to the Bolan Pass from Dadur’
Lithograph from bound volume ‘Sketches in Afghanistan’ by James Atkinson, 1842



Bernier, “Travels in the Mughal empire”

“Afghans of the Frontier Passes”, Volume I by A.Aziz Luni
Khafi Khan’s Muntakhab al-lubab
Niccolao Manucci: Storia do Mogor
“History of the Pathans” Volume III, by Haroon Rashid


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