The British practice of burning the dead bodies of Pashtun Ghazis

Burning the body of a Ghazi assassin outside the Peshawar Gate, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Second Anglo-Afghan War, illustration from the magazine The Graphic , volume XIX, no 480, February 8, 1879

1890: Zhob expedition ;

“This morning punishment by hanging was meted out to a Ghazi at Apozai. It appears that, having said his prayers, he got ready to murder the first man of any importance that passed, who in this case chanced to be Lieutenant Godfrey, the Assistant Political Agent, on his way to Europe on sick leave under cavalry escort. The fanatic fired at two sowars successively, each time missing, and then, when the Kahars who were carrying the doolie in which lay the officer dropped it and bolted, he first shot at and then dashed with his sword at Godfrey, but was fortunately shot in the hip and disabled in time. When captured, he said he had been oppressed by the malik of his village, and he looked very ill and broken down. Before the drop fell, he shouted to the Pathan onlookers to pray for him. I may mention, also, that the native who shot the coolie within five hundred yards of the Bengal Cavalry lines on the 9th was also a Ghazi. He, too, was duly captured, and hanged almost on the spot of the murder, a little before 9 o’clock on October 21, in presence of three or four hundred people. In both cases the bodies were burned.”  [With the Zhob Field Force, 1890 – Page 112]

From The Graphic 1897,

“The corpses of the enemy are always burnt as an additional terror to the living. At Malakand one of their most important chieftains was found dead within three yards of our trenches, and some twenty others not far from him who had been shot in attempt to recover his body out of the hands of the infidel. He was dragged by the feet by a common sweeper, and burnt in full view of the enemy in heights, which had a most depressing effect on them”. [The Graphic, November 20, Vol-56, p-667]

Check the twitter thread by Dr.Nafees Ur Rehman on the same topic  


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