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The Awans of Naushera

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Naushera is a village and one of the 51 Union Councils of Pakistan|Union Councils (administrative subdivisions) of Khushab District in the Punjab (Pakistan)|Punjab Province of Pakistan.[1]. Naushera is the main town of Soon Valley.[1] Situated in the heart of Soon Valley, Naushera is surrounded by high hills, beautiful lakes, jungles, natural pools and ponds. Naushera is also blessed with ancient civilization , natural resources, and fertile farms. The major settlement of the valley 'Nausehra' lies almost in the geographical centre of the valley and is located at 72" II' 29" north latitude and 32" 34' 58" west longitude. The general height of surrounding hills is around 2500 feet above sea level, with several peaks reaching over 3000 feet.

HistoryEdit

In the Soon Valley|Soon valley of Salt Range, Naushera, the main town of the valley, and its surroundings villages are always notable as the centre and home of the leading Awan (Pakistan)|Awan tribe.[2] Sir Lepel Henry Griffin also states that “In Shahpur District, the Awans held the hilly country to the north west, Jalar, Naoshera (Naushera) and Sukesar, where the head of the tribe still resides.”[3]

At some time between the era of Mahmud of Ghazni and Sultan Shahab ud din Ghori Arabs marauders captured the mountainous region of Salt range and settled in the mountains after they defeated the Janjuas, Gakhars, and other Rajput tribes until they permanently settled for at least six hundred years.[4]

The author of "Advanced history of medieval India" states that "strategically, the region of the Salt Range has always been too important to miss the eye of any master of war since the time of the Greeks and the Yucchis, the Ghanavides and the Ghoris down to those of babur and Sher Shah.The reason is that an invader from the North West can appear suddenly in the very heart of the Punjab by stealing a march through this region."[5]

During the period of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal period, the government at Lahore maintained only a nominal control over such remote western hilly areas as Soon valley. In the absence of a stable political structure, local Awans were forced to fight to maintain the lands of their ancestors which they had inherited. This practice of fighting later on made their descendants the Martial race during the period of British Raj.

It is stated in the Imperial Gazetteer of India that “They are essentially a tribe of the Salt Range, where they once held independent possessions of very considerable extent, and in the western and central portions of which they are still the dominant race.”[6] While writing about the Chiefs of Punjab, Sir Lepel Henry Griffin states in his book entitled, “The Panjab Chiefs: the most authentic book on the subject that;

“All branches of the tribe (Awans) are unanimous in stating that they originally came from neighourhood of Ghazni to India, and all trace their genealogy to Hasrat Ali the son-in-law of the Prophet. Kutab Shah, who came from Ghazni with Sultan Mahmud, was the common ancestor of the Awans"[7]

Qutb Shah, a later descendant of Alwis, became a symbol of Arabian magnanimity and of their adventurous spirit.[8] [9] His heroic deeds and military expeditions in the company of the Ghaznavids are accounted in fabulous tales linking him to the Awans.[10]

Qutb Shah’s sons are said to have settled in the mountains in the centre of what is now Soon Valley and Sakesar. Later on some of them withdrew to neighbourhood of Salt Range. They occupied more prosperous plains and open plateaux. Some of them withdrew to west of Salt Range and setteled at Kalabh.[11] Some of them withdrew to North and settled and founded a town Talagang. According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India,[12] it was founded by an Awan chieftain, about the year 1625. It has ever since remained the seat of local administration under the Awans, the Sikh, and the British. One branch of the tribe withdrew to the east of Salt Range near Jehlum.[13] Other branch withdrew to the south of the range and settled at the north of Shahpur. With the passage of time and the force of economic pressure, they then spread from that region into Mianwali, Chakwal, Camelpur now Attock, Mianwali, Jehlum, Sargodha, Rawalpindi, lahore Gujrat and all parts of Punjab.

Ibbetson, D states in his book Punjab Castes, that the Awans of Jalandhar claimed that their ancestors served in the armies of the Slave Dynasty and the Khilji dynasty during the Delhi Sultanate period, who brought them from the Salt-range.[14]

But the main noble branch of Awan tribe maintained their dominian in these mountainous regions.[15] These are undoubtedly the leading tribes among the Awan people. As a whole this is they who have kept alight the lantern of the race. They regards themselves and indeed are regarded as the truest and finest exponents of the Awan tribe in bravery, in dignity, in counsel and many would admit their claim.

Mughal Period Edit

In the sixteenth century the head of this tribe was Muhammad Akbar Khan’s, a descendant of Ali ibn Abi Talib [16], his name also is associated in the local legend with Aku Khan. In “History of Awan,”[17] his descendants are listed separately. His elder son Muhammad Sarwar had two sons, Muhammad Bilal Ali Khan (in some record Bilawal Khan) the fore father of Awan of Naushera, and Muhammad Media Khan, whose descendants are Great Maliks of Kund. During the period of British Raj in the early twentieth century Malik Muhammad Khan Zaildar was head of this tribal branch of Kund.. British people|British government delineated zails comprising five to forty villages in most of the Punjab, Pakistan|Punjab, drawing them to reflect the tribal distribution of the population.[18] In every Zail the government appointed a zaildar, who was intended to be “ the leading [man] of a particular tribe or section of the country. These Zaildars were ideally the leaders of the local tribes. [19] The family tree of Muhammad Akbar Khan, follows:


 
 
 
 
Muhammad Akbar Khan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Sultan Sarwar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Malik Muhammad Usman
from whom have descended the Awans of Sikandar Pur
 
Muhammad Bilal Ali Khan
from whom have descended the Awans of Naushera
 
 
Muhammad Media Khan
from whom have descended the Awans of Kund
 
 
 









In the seventeenth century, the Tiwanas defeated a weak branch of Awans at Hadali, a Village 5 miles north from MMitha Tiwana|itha Tiwanas[20] and south of Soon Valley. The newly converted Muslims Rajput Tiwanas were so fascinated by the honorific title of Malik of Arabs marauders, that after defeating Awan tribe they adopted the title “Malik.”[21] After this victory the Tiwanas Rajputs advanced northward towards Soon Valley, but Muhammad Sarwar Khan collected his levies, defeated Tiwanas army[22] at south of the Soon valley hills having taken the city of Kund.[23] After this defeat the road was block for Tiwanas to march north ward in the future. Muhammad Sarwar’s younger son Muhammad Media Khan descendants permanently settled at this more prosperous plain and open plateau south of the Soon Valley and during the period of British Raj became great Maliks and Zaildar of this area.[24]

While other branches of the tribe moved down to more prosperous plain and open plateaux outside Soon Valley, the main branch always settled in the mountainous regions. The Awan historians maintain[25] that in the early seventeenth century appears Muhammad Himayat Ali, the elder son of Muhammad Bilal Ali, the head of the tribe of the Salt Range and a descendant of Ali ibn Talib, through the line of Al-Abbas ibn Ali in 29 number of the line, His name also is associated in the local legend with Aali Himat (in some record Himat Khan). He maintained his dominian in these mountainous region. In his time he was settled at Karora near present day city of Naushera.

Himayat Ali’s elder son Hashim Derya had two sons, Muhammad Saeed, the fore father of qazis of Naushera, and Muhammad Shahbaz, whose descendants are Muhammad Latif and Muhammad Meher. Hashim Derya descendants founded the village Naushera at the end of 16th century in the present day place (Naushera means New City in Arabic). The family tree of Muhammad Bilal Ali Khan goes like this:

 
 
 
 
Muhammad Bilal Ali Khan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Himayat Ali
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Hashim Derya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Saeed
from whom have descended
the Qazis of Naushera
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Shahbaz
from whom have descended
the Maliks of Naushera
 
 
 













Afghan Period Edit

According the Imperial Gazetteer of India[26] “During the anarchic period which succeeded the disruption of the Mughal Empire, even this remote region became the scene of Sikh Empire|Sikh and Afghanistan|Afghan incursions. In the year 1757, a force under Niir-ud-din Bamizai, despatched by Ahmad Shah Durani, to assist his son Timur in repelling the Marhatta|Marathas, crossed the Jehlam at Khushab, marched up the left bank of the river, and laid waste the three largest towns of the District.”

Khair Muhammad and his son Muhammad Khushal maintained their dominions under Abbas Khan, a Khattak, who held Pind Dadan Khan and the Salt Range for Ahmad Shah Abdali, while surrounding country towards south was managed by Malik Sarkharou Khan, likewise Sodhi, Khabeki, Kufri, Ochala were also included among the dominions of their respective Malik Awans chieftains. The family tree of Muhammad Saeed, follows:

 
 
 
 
Muhammad Saeed
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Khair Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Khushal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad Arif
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hafiz Mian Muhammad
 
Hafiz Fateh Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Kalim Allah
 
Hafiz Noor Mustafa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Ghulam Muhammad
 
Sherfen Bibi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





















The most illustrious Awan family is Qazi and Sufi family[27] of Naushera, descended from Khair Muhammad the leading chief of Awan tribe in his time. The eldest of Khair Muhammad's sons was Muhammad Khushal. He again had a son Muhammad Arif. From the death of Khair Muhammad, Naushera domestic history is a record of anarchy, warfare with other tribes and, division of land among the descendants of Muhammad Himayat Ali.

Sikh reign Edit

In the meantime, after the final success of the Sikhs against Ahmad Shah in 1763, Ranjit Singh overran the whole Salt Range,[28] because Awans Chiefs had favoured and assisted the Kabul army which was investing Attock.[29]. In the beginning, the Sikhs were was repulsed with loss, and compelled to a retreat, but at last they subjugated Awans. The Awans on this occasion displayed gallantry, later on they offered allegiance, and secured their area between mountainous region of Salt Range.[30] but "the local Awan families gradually lost their landed estates,....... The feudal powder declined and slowly died out."[31] Their descendants are still respected as a native aristocracy.

It so happened that while other branches of the tribe established themselves as Zamindar like their ancestors, the descendants of Muhammad Khushal became religious scholars, qazis and Sufis. They had forgotten the tough life of Zamindars and warfare of their ancestors, and learned the refinements of Sufism and fiqh, thus became “intermediaries between the Faithful and their God,”[32] Muhammad Khushal had a son Muhammad Arif (died 1748). He was a pious and religious man. He had two sons Mian Muhammad (died 1788) and Fateh Muhammad.

In the early nineteenth century, there arose two religious leaders in Naushera, the one strictly orthodox in the straight Hanafi Sunni way, and the other Sufi and Majzoob. The first was Qazi Kalim Allah, son of Mian Muhammad, and the second was Hafiz Noor Mustafa, the son of Fateh Muhammad.. Both were grandsons of same person, Muhammad Arif. It is stated in the “History of Awan”[33] that there were eight great pious men in this branch of tribe famous with the name of Qazi. All these eight have left a fame that was still remembered by the people.

Qazi Kalim Allah[34] (died 1852), was a great scholar of Quran, Hadith and Fiqh, and Muslim jurisprudence. The other Hafiz Noor Mustafa was a majzoob.[35] Since the Majzoob is someone who has reached the pinnacle of Sufism, the Sufis ascribe all sorts of powers to them, from helping others miraculously to knowing matters of the Unseen. Many miracles are attributed to him. He still figures in folk-lore as a saint. He had only one daughter Sherfan Bibi married to Qazi Ghulam Muhammad the son of Qazi Kalim Allah. They had only one son whom they named Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad|Mian Muhammad Amjad who became the head of his tribe. He was a man of modest and retiring mode. Quiet and humble, he got both qualities of his grandfather and maternal grandfather. From his grandfather he got scholarship of Qur'an, Hadith, and the Hanafi school of Islamic law[36] and from his maternal grandfather he learned mystic trances and pinnacle of Sufism. He also figures in folk-lore as a saint.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Kalim Allah
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Ghulam Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Mazhar Qayyum
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Zafar Hussain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qazi Manzoor Haq
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Altaf Hussain
 
Safdar Hussain
 
Fayaz Hussain
 
 
Mazafur Haq
 
Zahur Haq



Many of the direct descendants of Qazi Kalim Allah and Qazi Mian Muhammad have wielded great influence among the Awans and other tribes in Salt Range[37] The family is universally recognized as a line of true Alavi (surname)|Alwis[38] Awan (Pakistan)|Awans.[39] One century later, in the person of Qazi Mazhar Qayyum, we shall see a great name in the history of Naushera.

British Raj Edit

After Sikh Rule in Lahore|Sikh rule, this valley passed under direct British Raj, with the rest of the Punjab, at the close of the second Sikh war, at the close of the second Sikh war.[40]. In 1893, during the British Raj, the district of Shahpur was created and this town was included in this District. The Mutiny of 1857 had little influence upon Shahpur. The District remained tranquil; and though the villages of the bar gave cause for alarm, no outbreak of sepoys tookplace, and the wild tribes of the upland did not revolt.[41]

In this period, the successor of the original saint, and the elder son, Qazi Mazhar Qayyum, [42] who appeared to be a man of world, a legendary personality acquired fame as a great hero of Salt Range. He has left a fame that was still remembered by the people fifty years ago.

Rais|Raees Azam Naushera[43] , as he was known to his people, he struck the imagination of his hillmen at the time. He kept open house for every one alike and entertained and received many guests over the years at his place, including politically prominent Great Maliks of Salt range, literary persons, and ordinary hillmen with equal treatment.

Hearing his fame, the Hakeems of Delhi, offered him to come to Delhi, and worked with them, he refused by saying that he would preferred the sunlight of his ancestral village to the wealth of Delhi. Unlike his father he wrote nothing but attracted crowds everywhere he went. When wandered through the streets of Naushera and hills of Soon valley, he was always followed by Awans. While walking in the streets, he used to sit on any ordinary place, on a rock, in a shop, unlike his Qazi Zafar Hussain|arrogant brother, he loved to mingle with people, so perfect his reception and manner that he could charm the ordinary Hillman into the proud belief that he spoke man to man, as to an equal.

During British period, a middle school was established which was later on given the status of High School. After the independence,in 1976, a Government College was established, now enjoying the status of Government Degree College Naushera.[44] In the early twentieth century A police station was also established.

After the creation of Pakistan,in 1960 when Sargodha was given the status of an Independent District with Shahpur as one of its Tehsil, this town was included in this District. When Khushab District|Khushab became the district, consists of 3 tehsils: Khushab Tehsil|Khushab, Nurpur, and Quaidabad, Naushera was given the status of sub-tehsil.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Local Government Elections - Government of Pakistan
  2. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  3. “The Panjab Chiefs: Historical and Biographical Notices of the Principal Families in the Territories Under the Panjab Government”
  4. District Gazetteer of Mianwali 1915, http://www.mianwalionline.com/History-gazateer.shtml
  5. Advanced history of medieval India, S. R. (Shiri Ram) Bakshi, p.142
  6. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 7, p. 170
  7. “The Panjab Chiefs: Historical and Biographical Notices of the Principal Families in the Territories Under the Panjab Government”
  8. Malik Sher Muhammad Khan Awan, Tarikh-ul-Awan, Lahore,n,d p. 29
  9. Sikandar Hayat Khan (1892-1942)- a political biography - Iftikhar Haider Malik p.08
  10. Sikandar Hayat Khan (1892-1942)- a political biography - Iftikhar Haider Malik p.08
  11. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 14, P290
  12. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 08, P162
  13. The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 07, P170
  14. “The Jalandhar Awans state that they came into that district as followers of one of the early Emperors of Delhi who brought them with him from the Salt-range; and it is not impossible that they may have accompanied the forces of Babur. Many of them were in former times in the imperial service at Delhi, keeping up at the same time their connection with their Jalandhar homes.” Ibbetson, D., 2001, Punjab Castes, Sang-e-Meel Publications p.170.
  15. 1. "The home of the Awan in the Pan jab is the Salt Range", The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province and Kashmir - James Douie Page 105.
    2. "The best of the Musalman tribes comes from thje Salt range".The Armies of India By A. C. Lovett, Major, Gf Macmunn, Page 141
    3. "Salt Range was the main habitat of Awans". History of the Sikh gurus: a comprehensive study by Surjit Singh Gandhi p.2.
    4. "They settled about 1035, AD in the Peshawar district, and eventually became possessed of the Salt Range country." A short history of the Sikhs by Charles Herbert Payne - 1970, p.234
  16. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  17. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  18. David Gilmartin, Empire and Islam, Punjab and the Making of Pakistan, p.20
  19. David Gilmartin, Empire and Islam, Punjab and the Making of Pakistan, p.21.
    See also The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab,pp xxv, By Rajit K. Mazumder, Permanent Black)
  20. Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the partition of India, by Ian Talbot. p.18
    See also Politics of Pharaohs by Wakil Anjum Ferozsons Ltd. Lahore 1992, p326
  21. Politics of Pharaohs by Wakil Anjum Ferozsons Ltd. Lahore 1992, p326
  22. F. Yeats-Brown writes in his book “ 'Martial India' “ (1945) p.38 that “The handsome , long-haired Tiwanas, who used to serve only in the cavalry, claim to be descendants of the horsemen of Alexander the Great; while the big-boned Awans, from the Salt Range, trace their ancestry to the marauders who came with Sultan Mahmoud of Ghazni. What they have in common are Islam, land-hunger, and stubborn courage.
  23. "In the thal country the dominanat tribe are the tiwanas, north of whom along the Salt range and within its valleys almosr the whole area is owned by the Awans, a very compact tribe." Gazetteer of the Shahpur District, James Wilson p.94
    It is further stated that "North of the thal come the very compact tribe of the Awans, who held practically the whole of that part of the Salt Range which is included in the shahpur district, and the greater portion of the plain lying at its foot. They own all but one of the Khushab salt range villages, and fourth-fifth of the cultivated area of that circle." Gazetteer of the Shahpur District, James Wilson p.103
  24. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  25. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  26. Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 12 P361
  27. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  28. Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 12 p.362
  29. Maharaja Ranjit Singh: politics, society, and economy, by Fauja Singh, A. C. Arora, p.139
  30. 'Wadi Soon Sakesar' The Soon Valley, by Sufi Sarwar, published by Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore A joint venture of Lok Virsa, Islamabad and AL-Faisal Nashran, Lahore, copy right Lok Virsa, Islamabad 2002
  31. Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol 7 p.169
  32. These words have been used by David Gilmartin while discussing the religious leadership of Punjab. See;Religious leadership and the Pakistan movement in the Punjab, Modern Asian studies 13, 3(1979).
  33. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan,l 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  34. Munaqib-i-Sultani,a biography of Sultan Bahu, by Sultan Hamid. The book was written in Persian language. The writer Sultan Hamid belonged to the sixth or seventh generation of Sultan Bahu's lineage. Almost all biographers of Sulatn Bahu have derived their facts from Manaqib-i-Sultani. The writer of this book mentions the name of Qazi Kalim Allah as a great ‘Alim’ (scholar) of his time.
  35. The term "Majzoob" is derived from "jazb" which means to be "absorbed" or "attracted'. The majzoob becomes "absorbed" in the dhikr of ALLAH, and through the rapturous condition that is created in his heart by virtue of the dhikr, he loses consciousness of himself. When the nur of the dhikr begins to engulf the person and overwhelms him, then like a cup that overflows, the physical mind and body are "attracted" to the spiritual world, and thus the majzoob is absorbed into the spiritual world, while physically living in the earthly dimension. http://www.badsha.peer.org.za/MAJZOOB/MAJZOOB.htm
  36. Anwar Shamsia, a biography of Hazrat Khawaja Shams-ud-din Sialvi by Maulvi Ameer Baksh, Edition 1916
  37. .Sufi Sarwar, 'Wadi Soon Sakesar' The Soon Valley Al- Faisal Nashran, 2002
  38. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  39. History of Awan, by Muhammad Sarwar Khan Awan, 2009 by the Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore.
  40. Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 12 p.363
  41. Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 12 p.363
  42. Sufi Sarwar, 'Wadi Soon Sakesar' The Soon Valley. published by Al- Faisal Nashran, Lahore A joint venture of Lok Virsa, Islamabad and AL-Faisal Nashran, Lahore, copy right Lok Virsa, Islamabad 2002
  43. Sufi Sarwar, 'Wadi Soon Sakesar' The Soon Valley Al- Faisal Nashran, 2002
  44. Government Degree College, Naushera

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