Mashwani tribe of Pashtuns

Members of the Mashwani tribe are said to be descendants of Sayyid Muhammad-i-Gisu Daraz by a Kakar woman. According to Makhzan-i-Afghani they were originally Sayyids but being brought up in the tribe of their mother, they were called Afghans. The author of Makhzan-i-Afghani (circa 1610) says that they and other descendants of Gisu Daraz are numbered among Pashtuns and they never style themselves Sayyids. They unanimously declared, ““It would be highly improper and unreasonable, if we should style ourselves Sayyids, after having left their order, and joined the nation of the Afghans; so that among them are our affinity and relations, as well as our commerce. Our ancestors also have declared, whoever of our descendants shall assume the title of Sayyid, is not descended from us.” [B.Dorn’s translation, p-56]

Mashwani had nine sons, Tukuz, Lodin, Matakati, Suleiman, Roghani, Kazbuli, Ghareb, Kharbari, and Diaz.

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

“Mashwani was born of the Kaker lady, and is a nephew of Kaker: his descendants, named Mashwanis, reside in Masharahrud, between Shorawak and Baluchistan. Lodin belongs also to the Mashwanis; and the Mandozais reckon themselves, likewise, to be sprung from Mashwani; but some assert, that they are not descended from Mashwani, but from an adopted son of his.” [B.Dorn’s translation]

Shaikh Isa Mashwani

The first Pashtun poet, the historicity of whose person and work, we cannot reasonably doubt, is Shaikh Isa Mashwani. He was contemporary of Sher Shah Sur. Shaikh Isa seems to have settled in India. Naimatullah Haravi in his ‘Makhzan-i-Afghani’, mentions Shaikh Isa among the Afghan saints, and attributes to him the authorship of a “Risalah” (book or treatise) written on the unity of the divine being in three languages i.e Pashto, Persian and Hindavi viz Hindi or Hindustani, and produces a few specimens of his verses in these languages.

It was reported to Sher Shah that Shaikh Isa was addicted to wine and did not deserve to be treated as a pious man. Sher Shah got angry and deputed a spy to investigate the fact. Fortunately, the Shaikh succeeded in impressing the state spy by his saintliness and the latter in his turn changed his royal master’s adverse opinion about the saint.

Mashwani tribe
A group of Mashwanis, taken amid the ruins of Sirikot fort (Haripur), c.1907.

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