Tanis are descendants of Tanaey son of Shitak by his second wife. The Jadrans, their neighbors, consider them as the descendants of Kagh, a servant of Shaikh Beitan. Nevertheless, they are accounted amongst the Karlanris. They are spirited and brave and have a sense of Afghan honour.
It is said that Tanaey had two sons, Ari from whom are descended the Aryuzai ; and from the second son, Mari, descended the Mari Khels. Mari had adopted also an infant child named Sinkaey whose descendants are accordingly called Sinkaey. This clan is chiefly located at the bases of the hills in the southwest corner of Khost. Dargai is their chief village in the plain. Their other settlements are Hasarak, Gokha, Narkhai and Uthman, all in Afghanistan.
Some of the Tanis had accompanied the Pannis and Naghars to Hind. Subsequently, the Naghars and Pannis made themselves conspicuous in joining the mercenary armies of the local rajas and carved out petty khanates for themselves, however, the Tanis remained obscure. They used to do petty chores for Naghar ‘khans’ and remained attached to them. They were referred to by the name of ‘ Beit ‘, probably in allusion to their descent from Shaikh Beitan, however, this supposition cannot stand the commonly accepted version of their Karlanri descent.
Being an inconspicuous tribe and living away from the border the clan as a whole did not appear in the history of the area. [“History of the Pathans” by Haroon Rashid, Vol-5, pp.434-435]
In 1867, Muhammad Hayat Khan gives following description of the Tani tribe;
“Tani clan is sedentary and lives in regularly constructed houses……The men are of tall and of a warm, fresh complexion. Their food mostly consists of wheat, barley and millet, with the flour of which is commonly ground up a kind of dried chestnut called Shah balut or, in Pashto “pargai“. In dress they mostly resemble Dawari, though some wear a long woolen garment and twisted pyjamas of stripped cotton, and like them, are excessively filthy and disgusting in their persons. They are, indeed, no less licentious, but have more sense of Afghan honour than the Dawari. The land, the cultivation of which furnishes the occupation of most of them, is mainly dependent upon the rain. Some few trade in brass to Bannu, but like the Dawari, the men of this clan are little given to straying from home. Those in hills have large flocks of goats, and in the plains of sheep, while cattle are also numerous amongst them. This clan belongs to the White faction of Khost, and have bitter enmity with the Ismailkhel and other clans of Black faction, against whom their courage more than supplies any deficiency of arms. Probably not more than one-fourth of their men have firearms, the rest having sword and shield only. Though fairly at accord among themselves, they are not quite free from internal discords. The whole clan is divided into two factions, to one of which the Sinaki and Aryuzai belong, to the other and more numerous, the Marikhel, of which the most numerous section is Utikhel. The Marikhel is also split into two hostile factions, called the Darinama and the Khaibikhel. At present, the first named section has for maliks, Gul Khan and Gul Haibat, the latter Ismail and Aldagal. Other maliks of the Marikhel are Khan Fakir. Sher Ahmed, Dalwaz etc. As they are partly located in the plain, the Tani are claimed to be subject to the governor of Khost, and are nominally charged with a tribute of Rs.1,000 a year. Of this, however, Rs.200 is returned to the maliks, while the remainder is chiefly taken out in horseshoes and other articles of iron, largely manufactured in the country, and specially in Gokha. Notwithstanding the consideration thus shown them, the Tani occasionally become restive and refuse to acknowledge the authority of the governor. ” [Hayat-i-Afghani]
|Add captionMalak Kattay Tani of Khost. Picture taken by Alan E. Farstrup on 15.11.66 at Mir Ali. From Archives of Senator Faridullah Khan Shaheed.|