Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hijacking Foreign Heroes

With the ongoing Karzai-Musharraf tiff, it is amusing to note that a fortnight ago an official complaint was sent by the Afghan Information Minister to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry about stealing the names of Afghan heroes for our strategic defence purposes.

According to the Daily Times
Makhdom Raheen, the Afghan information minister… [said] “We asked them not to use the names of great elders of Afghanistan on weapons of mass destruction or other war equipment”.
The Afghan minister was referring to the fact that in recent years the Pakistan military has named its three ballistic missiles after prominent Muslim rulers who invaded the Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan between the 11th and 18th centuries-
Ghaznavi, Ghauri and Abdali.

The next day Tasneem Aslam, Pakistan's foreign office spokeswoman told the
BBC that ‘the two countries shared heroes as part of their common history and culture’ and ‘naming missiles after them was not controversial’.

So, I reckon it’s time to look at these ‘shared heroes’.

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi (998 – 1030)
Son of a Turkish slave is widely known for two events

  • His 17 invasions of India
    With the exception of Punjab, which Mahmud needed as his "forward operating base" for his Indian expeditions, he made no attempt to rule any of his conquests. His intent was economic and political.
A large number of Hindus lived in Ghazni, and they enjoyed religious freedom. Not only did he have many Hindu soldiers and officers in his army, one of his leading commanders was Tilak, a Hindu.

  • His obsessive love for a male slave
    Mahmud placed his beloved slave
    Ayaz upon the throne of Lahore, but their mutual passion gained them a place among the pantheon of great lovers in Persian literature (including the celebrated poet Sa'di).

Sultan Mahmud was born and died in Ghazni, which still exists as a city in modern Afghanistan.

Muhammad Ghauri- (1162 - 1206)

He was the brother of the Sultan of Ghor who appointed him as the governor of Ghazni from 1173 to 1206.

Muhammad attacked the north-western regions of the Indian subcontinent many times. In the First Battle of Taraori in 1191 Prithvi Raj Chauhan captured Muhammad, who sued for his life. Prithviraj allowed him to go despite opposition from his generals. The following year Muhammad returned and defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan at the Second Battle of Taraori.

Within a few years Muhammad controlled northern Rajasthan and most of what is now called Uttar Pradesh. He was killed by members of the Khokar tribe near Jhelum River in 1206.

Ahmad Shah Abdali (1773–1724)
Born in Herat, Ahmad Shah was the son of the hereditary chief of the Abdali tribe. In 1747 Ahmad Shah changed his own name to Ahmad Shah Durrani (or 'Durr-i-Durran' means the 'pearl of pearls' in Persian) when he became the king of Afghanistan and founded the Durrani Empire.

Ahmad Shah and his sons were the first Pashtun rulers of Afghanistan, from the Sadozai line of the Abdali or Durrani group of clans. It was under the leadership of Ahmad Shah that the nation of Afghanistan began to take shape following centuries of fragmentation and exploitation.

Between 1747-67 Abdali invaded India 8 times. In 1756 he stripped and looted every corner of Delhi and took the treasures of the Mughul Empire. In 1757, he attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar once again and filled its sarovar (pond) with the blood of slaughtered cows which prompted the Maratha chiefs to declare holy waragainst him. In 1758 the Marathas wrested Punjab, but in 1761 they were routed by Abdali at Panipat. However the Sikhs rose again, and drove Abdali out of Punjab. He died at Murghah, in Afghanistan in 1773, leaving to his son Timur the new kingdom of Afghanistan.

Ahmad Shah and his sons were the first Pashtun rulers of Afghanistan, from the Sadozai line of the Abdali or Durrani group of clans. It was under the leadership of Ahmad Shah that the nation of Afghanistan began to take shape following centuries of fragmentation and exploitation.


The one thing that becomes most apparent is that all three of them - Ghaznavi, Ghauri and Abdali - were not only born in modern geographical Afghanistan, but all three of them were buried there. The 'claimed exception' is said to be Ghauri – this Afghan was killed by native Punjabis (Khokars) who wanted to get rid of the foreign invader from Afghanistan.

Pakistan foreign office’s Tasneem Aslam rather glibly had this to say:

“The grave of one of the conquerors, Ghauri, was in Pakistan's Punjab province and so to say they were solely Afghan heroes was not correct”.

What a load of bunkum. Someone should tell this woman to get her historical facts right.

While it has been argued by these ‘patriotic’ quarters that the tomb near the village of Sonara in Jehlum contains the remains of Muhammad Ghauri, this claim is of dubious authenticity. Historically slain kings and other rulers are never buried near the site where they met their deaths; their remains are always laid to rest in their native burial grounds. If there is any connection between Ghauri and the tomb at Sonara, then it is probable that the site is likely to contain his viscera, which would have been removed from his body to retard purification for its final journey home to Ghor, Afghanistan, where his tomb is said to exist.

So what is the connection between these Afghan invaders and geographical Pakistan? Zilch, really! Unless the Mahmud Ghaznavi-appointed homosexual slave ruler of Punjab or the killing of Muhammad Ghauri by Punjabi Khokars can be called legitimate historical linkages.

Modern geographical Pakistan contained Pathans, Punjabis, Sindhis and Baloch. Ghaznavi and Ghauri were of Turkic blood who were settled in geographical Afghanistan. Abdali, an Afghan Pakhtun, is the acknowledged founder of Afghanistan.


Commenting on the absurdity of it all the UK Telegraph noted:

the [Afghan] request is likely to fall on deaf ears as Pakistan, a young country where heroes are scarce, has made [these] Islamic warriors …its own.

Hang on we do have our own heroes, don’t we? After much research I have prepared a list.

According one source Punjab does have a list of warrior heroes who fought against foreign invaders to their land, they include:

  • Poros – who fought heroically against Alexander
  • Shaikha Ghakkar – who fought bravely against Taimur
  • Dulla Bhatti of Pindi Bhattian – who valiantly held out against Akbar for ten years.
  • Dhilloo and Saidoo Gondal - who fought bravely against the invader Nadir Shah
  • Mirza Qalandar (Gujrat) – who fought bravely against the invader Nadir Shah
  • Khoja Yaqub (Rav) – who fought bravely against the invader Nadir Shah
  • Maharajah Ranjit Singh of Lahore – who kept the British Raj out of Punjab

Sindh also has its share of warrior heroes who fought against foreign invasions of Sindh, they include:

  • Raja Dehar – who bravely resisted the Arab invasion under Muhammad bin Qasim
  • Jam Dodo Soomro – died fighting against the 14th Century invasion from Delhi by Allauddin Khilji
  • Jam Darya Khan - died fighting against the 16th Century invasion by the Turkic Arghuns
  • Mir Sher Muhammad Talpur – who died defending Sindh against the British.
  • Hoshu Muhammad (Shaheed) – who died defending Sindh against the British.

And the Pukhtun heroes of the NWFP:

  • Pir Bayazid Rokhan – A 16th Century Waziri who revolted against the Mughal invaders
  • Khushhal Khan – The poet warrior who rose against Aurangzeb
  • Abdul Ghaffar Khan – 20th Century nationalist, the only one from geographical Pakistan who led a bitter struggle against the British Raj

Lastly the unusual Heroes of the Baloch

  • Mir Chakar Rind – who fought Goharam’s Lashari Baloch for 30 years
  • Mir Goharam Lashari – who fought Chakar’s Rind Baloch for 30 years
  • Nawab Nauroz Khan Zehri – the 80 year-old who defied Ayub Khan’s One Unit
  • …and now perhaps Akbar Bugti – yet another 80 year-old Baloch currently defying Musharraf’s diktat.

As the names Ghaznavi, Ghauri and Abdali clearly belong to Afghanistan, your Blogger has prepared an idiosyncratic - after all that is what this Blog is all about – list of heroes from geographical Pakistan.

As the Baloch heroes will probably not suit the establishment's tastes, I have picked replacement names from the remaining three provinces:

  • The brave King Porus from the Punjab
  • The indomitable Raja Dehar from Sindh
  • The courageous Pir Rokhan from the NWFP

And if the establishment regards these names as not full of Islamic symbolism, then, as we are prone to borrowing other countries heroes, we might as well get some solid Muslim ones. So here is my idiosyncratic list number two:

  • Salahuddin Ayubi – the Kurd warrior who defeated the crusaders and taught them chivalry
  • Tipu Sultan – one of the very few sub-continental Muslims leaders who fought the British invaders to the death.
  • Muhammad Ali – the legendary black pugilist who defied US injustice and became the greatest sporting ‘warrior’ of the 20th Century.


hafeez jamali said...

This is a very timely and laudable effort to bring our indigenous heroes to the fore. The guardians of official 'conquestador' culture have tried their best in the last 50 odd years to erase them from our individual and collective memories. I will only add, however, that your list of indigenous heroes in Blaochistan is incomplete. Here are some additions and corrections:

i) Palay Khan, a Pashtun tribesman from Zhob, Balochistan, led the Pashtun resistance against the Britsh and terrorized the Raj with his daredevil raids. He is celeberated all over Balochistan.

ii) Rahm Ali Marri, poet and warrior from Marri tribe, took part in the Marri tribe's resistance against the British and composed poems to encourage his fellow tribesmen.

iii) Chakar Khan is considered a hero not for fighting Gohram but for establishing the first Baloch tribal Confederacy in the present day Balochistan. However, both Chakar and Gohram are considered tribal heroes by their respective tribes.

Anonymous said...

Here is my list of local heroes for the ballistic missiles to be named after:

‘Fateh Kashmir’ Ayub Khan
‘Fateh Dacca’ Yahya Khan
‘Fateh Kabul’ Zia-ul-Haq
‘Fateh Kargill’ Pervez Musharraf

Guys, with heroes like these we have nothing to fear but fear itself (and lots of it)!

Gedroshian said...

May i add a few more Baloch heroes;

Mir Beebagr & Mir Kambar
Baloch warrior poets, folkheroes

Mir Mehrab Khan
Khan of Kalat, fought British Army (1839), Killed in front of his castle, sword in hand.

Mir Baloch Khan
80 years old, killed by British Army (1898) in the battle of Gokprosh

Hameed Baloch
hanged by Pak (11th june 1981), for treason and being anti-state.

Dr.Allah Nizar

ps. anonymous, you missed out 'Fateh Jalalabad', Hameed Gul.

Vinod_Sharma said...

I was pleasantly surprised to read this post. I had all along thought that Pakistan was happy to play 'second best' to foreign invaders and ignore and deny its sub continental identity, affinity and roots,by basing everything on religion.

Fatah_Hind said...

Well, this blog and the writers are seem to be some looser hindus that hide behind their words, you peoples are posing yourself as Pakistanis but I never believe that any Pakistani can have these sort of idiotic views and proud on the damn hindu tyrants like Raja Daher who married his own sister :

Just convert to Islam, the only true relegion.

Anonymous said...

when the british ruled the sub-continent they saw a need to re-write, fabricate and manipulate the history of the people of sub-continent. it seems that some people still are strongly injected by this kind of fabricated history. Shahab-ud din Ghauri attacked Prithvi Chauhan ( who was married to his own sister) because of the violation of muslim minority in the area. Ahmed shah Abdali fought the sikhs who was violating the muslims and so on. Some guys here should really read the history. Such cover identity articles are so poor written that even an average student of history can see whos face is behind the writings. Makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

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