The role of Panni Pashtuns in Indian history

A great number of the Pashtuns belonging to Panni tribe from present-day Baluchistan [1] migrated at an early period to India, where from time to time, they have made themselves conspicuous under various dynasties and rulers. Farid-ud-Din Ahmad furnishes more information on the Pannis in “Risalat-ul-Ansab Afghaniah”, wherein he writes;

“This is the account of Ghurghushtis. Of them, the Panni nation do not inhabit their own country, on account of some fault, they were expelled from their country upon which they moved to the mountains of Jaipur, Ahir, Jodhpur; others, whom they call Dhondhar, settled here. At present, which is the year 1217 of the hijra (1803 AD), they inhabit a hundred large villages, each containing from 1,000 to 5,000 men. They mostly occupy themselves with traffic and many of them are rich: they carry merchandise to Deccan: others subsist on various employments. They all dwell in Dhondhar.”

A big number of them migrated to India during the reign of Sultan Bahlol Lodi. The Pannis of Marwar, under the leadership of Mian Buthan Panni helped Haji Khan when he was attacked and surrounded by Rana Odae Singh and defeated him.[2]

During the Mughal rule, they followed the footprints of the Mianas, and moved southwards to seek their fortunes in the service of the independent sovereigns of Deccan. [4]

In the time of Sultan Sher Shah Sur, the fortress of Rohtas in Bihar, one of the strongest places probably in India, and where Sher Shah kept his treasures, was held by garrison of 10,000 matchlock men or troops armed with firearms, and the command over them was entrusted to Ikhtiyar Khan Panni, one of his Amirs.[5]

Pannis in Bengal

Kalika Ranjan Qanungo in his book ”Sher Shah and his times” writes that Afghan settlers in Bengal in the time of Sher Shah were drawn from the tribes of Kakars, Panni, Bettani, Ustarni (an allied tribe of Sherani), Tarin, Mahmud Khail kinsmen of Musakhail Panins and Kakars). [6]

Jahan Khan Panni and Jamal Khan Panni were the two generals of Sultan Daud Karrani known to us. [7] 

According to an inscription, the Atia Mosque was built in 1609 by Sayyid Khan Panni, son of Bayazid Khan Panni, in honour of Pir Ali Shahanshah Baba Kashmiri. [8]

Atia mosque built by Sayyid Khan Panni

Wajid Ali Khan Panni also known as ‘Atiyar Chand’, ‘Chand Mian’ and ‘Bengal’s second Muhsin’, was descendant of Sayyid Khan Panni. He was an educationist, philanthropist, and social activist, who belonged to the national elite. He was a zamindar (landlord) who was credited with establishing a number of educational institutions, small hospitals and dispensaries, and with building roads and canals. Among educational institutions is Karotia college in Tangail district. He participated in non-cooperation movement against British rule and was jailed for 15 months. His sons Khurram Khan Panni and Humayun Khan Panni were legislators and ambassadors.; [9][10]

Panni nobility under Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb

Panni Mansabdars who held or reached the rank of 1,000 zat and above, during the period, 1658 to 1707.

1- Ranmast Khan Panni, 5000 zats
2- Daud Khan Panni, 4000 zats, 4000 sawars
3- Sar Andaaz Khan panni, 2000 zats, 1000 sawars
4- Shabbir panni, 1500 zats, 900 sawars
5- Malik Jewan Panni , titled Bakhtiar Khan, 1000 zats, 400 sawars  [11]

Daud Khan Panni

Daud Khan Panni held the highest rank of 7000 zat of the Mughal nobility at the time of his death in 1715. He served as Nawab of the Carnatic and later Viceroy of Deccan. According to Raverty, he belonged to Barozai branch of Pannis  In 1703, Daud Khan was appointed as the Nawab of the Carnatic. Before he was made Nawab, the Emperor Aurangazeb appointed him as a leading commander of the Mughal Army in 1701. According to The History of India by J. Murray 1841, , Volume 2, p-573), Daud Khan Panni was renowned throughout India for his reckless courage and whose memory still survives in the tales and proverbs of Deccan.

The Panni rulers of Kurnool

The Panni officers of Mughal established an independent principality at Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh, South India) after decline of Mughal empire.  [12]

Panni Nawabs of Kurool ;

1- Khizr Khan Panni (…..1674)
2- Daud Khan Panni (1674-1712)
3- Ali Khan Panni   (1712-1717)
4- Ibrahim Khan Panni (1717-1731)
5- Alif Khan Panni (1731-1744)
6- Bahadur Khan Panni or Himmat Bahadur (1744-1751)
7- Munawar Khan Panni (1751-1792)
8- Alif Khan (1792..)
9- Munawar Khan (….1816)
10- Ghulam Rasool Khan (1823-1838)   [13][14]

Delhi Gate at Arcot Fort (Tamil Nadu, India), built by Daud Khan Panni .

Notes and References
1. Pannis are Ghurghusti Pashtuns

2. Haroon Rashid,”History of the Pathans”, VOL.III, p-92

3- H.G.Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan, p-640

4. Haroon Rashid, “History of the Pathans”, VOL.III, p-92

5- H.G.Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and part of Baluchistan, p-640

6. Kalika Ranjan Qanungo, “Sher Shah and his times”, p-320

7. Baharistan-i-Ghaibi, I, p-147,Bengal-Arakan relations, 1430-1666 A.D

8. The Islamic heritage of Bengal – Page 49 – Page 40

9. Historical Dictionary of Bangladesh By Syedur Rahman, page-229

10. The Muslim Heritage of Bengal: By Muhammad Mojlum Khan, page-321

11.  The Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb: M. Athar Ali

12- H.G.Raverty. Notes on Afghanistan and part of baluchistan, p-647

13- Select letters of Tippoo Sultan to various public functionaries: including …


Leave a comment