Mir Chakar Rind : separating fiction from history

Mir Chakar Rind is referred to as “King of Baluchistan” and epithet of “the great” is attached to his name in some of the modern writings. However, a careful study of history shows that Chakar Rind was no king, and legends and fictions are being masqueraded as history. Even going by the Baloch legends and folklore, Chakar Rind appears to be merely a tribal chieftain and he was no more powerful than the chief of Lashari tribe whom he could not defeat in a tribal war which spanned 30 years.[1]

If Baloch legends and folklore are to be believed and taken seriously, Chakar Rind joined Humayun with 40 thousand Rinds and won the Delhi throne for the Mughal king [2]. This is not supported by any historical evidence. Gulbadan Begum, Bayazid Bayat and Jauhar Aftabchi, all of whom accompanied Humayun and have written eye-witness accounts, have not mentioned Chakar Rind at all. It shows that Chakar Rind was a person of no importance to Humayun.

According to Baloch ballads recorded by Longworth Dames, Mir Chakar and his men fought Turks at Delhi [3]. We find, however, from authentic history, that Humayun wrested Delhi from Afghans in 1555. In another Baloch ballad recorded by Longworth Dames, Chakar Rind is shown to be rather at war with Mughal king emperor Humayun [4]. These legends are not corroborated by Mughal sources.

Who was the historical Chakar Rind? According to Tabaqat-i-Akbari by Khawaj Nizamuddin Ahmad (complied in 1593-94), Mir Chakar Rind came to Multan from the neighborhood of Siwi (Sibi) with his two sons Mir Allahdad and Mir Shahdad in the early years of 16th century. Chakar Rind tried to enter the service of the Sultan Mahmud Langah of Multan but failed as Malik Sohrab Dodai, a favourite noble of the Langah Sultan, opposed him. Chakar Rind left Multan and sought the protection of Jam Bayazid Sammah of Shortkot (in modern Jhang district of Punjab), a former wazir of the Langah Sultans who had sworn fealty to Sultan Sikandar Lodi. Jam Bayazid bestowed a jagir on him (which was most probably Satgarah). The relevant passage in Tabaqat-i-Akbari reads as follows:

“About this time Mir Jakar Zand (read “Mir Chakar Rind”) came to Multan from the direction of Sewi with his two sons Mir Allahdad and Mir Shahdad. Mir Shahdad was the first man who promulgated the Shia religion in Multan. As Malik Suhrab Dudai was held in great honour by the Lankahs (read “Langahs”), Mir Chakar Rind could not remain there; and sought an asylum with Jam Bayazid. As he was the head of a clan, Jam Bayazid received him with much honour, and bestowed on him and his sons a part of the territory which was in the Khalsa or crown land.” [5]

Thus, we come to know that Mir Chakar Rind was merely a jagirdar in the service of Jam Bayazid during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Lodi. The author of Tabaqat-i-Akbari describes him as the head of a clan rather than former king of a kingdom.

Mir Chakar Rind is also mentioned in “Tuhfa-i-Akbarshahi”, a biography of Sher Shah Sur compiled in circa 1580 AD by Abbas Khan Sarwani at the orders of Mughal emperor Akbar. That source informs us that Chakar Rind was merely an administrator of the town and pargana of Satgarha (located in modern Okara district of Punjab) in 1540s on behalf of Sher Shah Sur. Haibat Khan Niazi, the Sher Shah’s governor of the Punjab, once paid a visit to Chakar Rind. The latter became nervous due to lack of preparation time. The relevant passage in Tuhfa-i-Akbarshahi reads as follows:

“When Sher Shah had laid siege to the fort of Raisin, he received a letter from Khawas Khan saying that he and Niazi had developed some differences between themselves. “The letter contained a request that Sher Shah should, therefore, summon one of the two. Having gone through the letters of Khawas , Sher Shah summoned Khawas Khan, Isa Khan Niazi and Habib khan. Then he conferred the country of Punjab on Haibat Khan Niazi and ordered him to rescue and rehabilitate Multan which had been usurped by the Balochs. He was also to chastise Fateh Khan Jat of Qabula, who had been, during the Mughal period, laying waste to the country up to Panipat. As soon as Haibat Khan received these orders, he summoned the representative of Chakar Rind – The hakim (حاکم) of Satgarah. The representative was told to go and inform Chakar Rind that Haibat khan Niazi was going to tour those areas. Chakar should be prepared to present his contingent for review. One who related the story that he had heard it from Wakil Fateh Khan Kanbo that when he went to Chakar Rind and disclosed to him what Haibat Khan Niazi has said, the former was thrown in panic, he had no time either to a reception or to put together the ‘lashkar’ as demanded. At this time Haibat Khan Niazi was merely two day’s distance away. Next morning the news came that Haibat Khan Niazi had already arrived. Hearing this, Chakar became nervous, although he did manage to get on his horse and to go out to receive the dignity.” [6]

The above passage from Tuhfa-i-Akbarshahi reveals that Chakar Rind was far from being an independent and mighty king of a vast kingdom. He was an ordinary subordinate of the governor of Punjab and his jagir comprised of the pargana of Satgarha. We also find that he was far from being a national hero in those years and he was operating against other Balochs on behalf of Afghans. After that Chakar Rind disappear from the scene; but he continued to hold his jagir at Satghara and there died and was buried.


1- “Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal”, Vol-49, Part 1, p-140
2- “Popular Poetry of the Baloches” (1907), by M.Longworth Dames, Vol-1, p-32
3- Ibid, p-33
4- “Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal” (1880), Vol-49, Part 1, p-142
5- Tabaqat-i-Akbari”, translated into English by Brajendranath De, Volume III, pp.804-804.
6- “Afghans of the Frontier Passes: A Study in the Historical Geography of Sibi and Dhader in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan” (1992), by A.Aziz Luni, Vol-1, p-86

Maueloum of Chakar Rind at Satgarha



Leave a comment