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The Gandapurs (Pashto: ګنډہ پور, Urdu: گنڈہ پور), also called Gandapore or Afghanpur (Pashto: افغانپور), are a Pashtun tribe inhabiting the environs of Dera Ismail Khan, located in the southern region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, near the frontier with South Waziristan. The Gandapurs reside principally in the small town of Kulachi on the bank of the Gomal River. Across the Durand line, a large part of the tribe lives in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan, particularly in Sur Kelay.
They trace their origin to Afghanistan, and a large part of them settled in the Dera Ismail Khan area in the 17th century AD after a bloody feud with Lavun tribe near Qamar Din Karez.
The Gandâpûr, like many other nomadic Afghan groups in the region, regularly moved between Afghanistan and the Dâmân plains stretching from the Indus to the eastern slopes of the Sulaiman Mountains. They combined pastoral nomadism with the transportation and peddling of goods between Central Asia and South Asia. The pattern of these nomadic movements and the transformations of their society fluctuated with the rhythms of trade and the nature of their contacts with the surrounding political economies throughout their history. During the 17th century, most of the Gandâpûr had settled in Dêra Ismâîl Khân, with large numbers engaged in the trade between India and Khorasan, which intensified in the next two centuries.
There are several contentious traditions about the origins of this tribe. It is, however, most commonly held that the original name of Gandapur was Tairi Khan, who was a Pashtun/Pukhtun living in Afghanistan. He had Four sons and one daughter. Their names are as follows:
- Yaqub Khan (His descendants are known as Yaqub Zai)
- Ibrahim Khan (His descendants are known as Ibrahim Zai)
- Hussain Khan (His descendants are known as Hussain Zai)
- Imran Khan (His descendants are known as Imran Zai)
- Khubai, the daughter of Gandapur. Her descendants are known as Khubezai.
The Khaddal Lavuñ episode
Lavuñ is a small Pashtun tribe residing in and around Qamardin Karez in the west of Zhob district in northwest Balochistan. Gandapurs used to pass through their area while going from their place in Ghazni to Dera Ismail Khan in a usual annual cycle of nomadic life.
Khaddal Lavuñ was chief of the Lavuñ tribe in the 16th century AD. He chose a narrow pass in the way of nomadic tribes going to Dera Ismail Khan and the rest of Indus plain passing through his area and laid there. He demanded that girls from various tribes should come and lift him in their shawls. That was very humiliating demand and none of the tribe could accede to that. When the Gandapurs arrived at the narrow pass, they found Khaddal Lavuñ lying in the pass. When lengthy negotiations bore no fruit, some of the Gandapur young men disguised themselves as girls wearing shawls of women and came to Khaddal. Apparently they had come to lift him in their shawls but they divided him into pieces.
The death of Khaddal Lavuñ brought them in confrontation with the Lavuñ tribe and their route from Ghazni to Dera Ismail Khan no longer remained safe. This led to the separation of the tribe into two parts. One part of the tribe settled in Damaan, Kulachi, Dera Ismail Khan and the other part remained in their original abode in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A distance of more than 450 kilometers between the two places and the enemy tribe inhabiting the route divided the tribe. Over a period of almost four centuries, the two parts of the Gandapur tribe have lost any contact between them.
Gandapur or Afghanpur
When the great Afghan King and warrior Ahmad Shah Abdali gathered all the Pashtun tribes and conquered a large part of the area presently comprising Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gandapurs were part of his army. As the tradition goes, soldiers speaking Persian used to pronounce the "d" in the word Gandapur as soft "d" (like "th" in the English word "the"). With the soft "d", the word "Ganda" would become a Hindustani language word "Ganda" (meaning "not clean" or "untidy"). When Ahmad Shah Abdali came to know that fact, he bestowed upon Gandapurs the title of "Afghanpur". Gandapurs were held in high esteem by Ahmad Shah Abdali.
Size of the tribe
Gandapurs living in Pakistan do not form a very large tribe. They have occupied northern part of Tehsil Kulachi. The area occupied by Gandapurs is roughly one-third of the area as occupied by the Marwat tribe. The population of Gandapurs may range from 70,000 to 90,000. But their influence is relatively large.
The Gandapurs living in Afghanistan may also range between 30,000 to 40,000, according to conservative estimates. They live in Ghazni district in Afghanistan, where they associate themselves with the Tarakai tribe.
There is no interaction between Gandapurs living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The tribe is further divided into the following sub-tribes; it has not been possible to trace how these sub-tribes are interrelated. These are the sub-tribes existing in Kulachi, Dera Ismail Khan region at present. It is also possible that some of these sub-tribes may not be part of the original lineage of Gandapur. They may have been living with Gandapurs and may have merged with them over a period.
- Ali Zai (not to be confused with the Alizai of Dera Ismail Khan)
- Allah Dad Khel
- Bahadar Khel
- Badi khel
- Bara Khel
- Dai Khel
- Hamid Khel
- Behlol Khel
- Bazeed Khel
- Hafiz Khel
- Hammarh (cousins of Gandapur)
- Hussain Zai
- Ibrahim Zai
- Kamal Khel
- Khadar Khel
- Akteyar Khel
- Marirh (cousins of Gandapur)
- Musa Zai
- Nasar Khel
- Shakhi (Cousins of Gandapur)
- Shehzad Khel
- Usman Khel
- Yakhel (or Yahya Khel)
- Yaqub Zai
- Zarni Khel
- zuhaq zai
- Natthu Zai
- Nakundar Zai
- Rana Zai
- Jafar Zai
- Nur Ahmad Khel
In Afghanistan, Gandapurs are considered as cousins or a part of the large Tarakai tribe.
Gandapur villages in Kulachi
Gandapurs reside in many villages other than the city of Kulachi. Important settlements or villages are as following;
- Abdullah Gara
- Aslam Abad
- Jahangir Abad
- Attal Sharif
- Guldad Gara
- Ibrahim Gara
- Isa Khan Gara
- Jahan khani
- Kirri Malang
- Kundo Kot (kot Zafar Bala Dasti)
- Madda Gara
- Qalandar (Daulatpur Gharbi)
- Sultan Kot
- Wali Kot
- Garah Audal
- Garah Mirbazi
- Garah Muhabat
- Garah Gurlangi
- Garah Nawabi
- Kot Zafar (Fero Dasti)
- Elphinstone, 373.
The most important sources regarding the history of Gandapurs are as follows:
- Tarikh-e-Pushtun (History of Pushtun) by Sher Muhammad Khan Ibrahim Zai Gandapur. It is originally a book written in Persian under the title "Khurshid e Jahan" (Sun of the World) for Begum of Bhopal. The Urdu translation of this book was published in the 80s by Alauddin Khan Gandapur, the great grandson of Sher Muhammad Khan in collaboration with the Urdu research writer Jamil Jalibi who arranged the book to be translated in Urdu by Siraj Uddin Alvi. The book was written in the later half of the 19th century.
- Tarikh-e-Ganadapur (History of the Gandapurs) by Qadir Dad Khan Gandapur. This book is mainly based on information drawn from Tarikh-e-Pushtun (History of Pashtun) by Sher Muhammad Khan. This book was written in the 1970s and also gives valuable information about Gandapurs and their town Kulachi in the mid-twentieth century.
- Tarikh-e-Sarzamin-e-Gomal (Urdu) (History of the Gomal Land) by Aminullah Khan Gnadapur, published by National Book Foundation, Islamabad, 2008. The book besides other tribes of D.I.Khan, Tank and Waziristan; comprehensively covers the details about this tribe from their origin and migration into this area right up to 1977. The only book on the subject having a detailed bibliography and further reading references.
- Gazetteer of District Dera Ismail Khan (1882–83) provides valuable information about the Gandapurs and their areas. This is one of the most authentic sources about the Gandapurs from the latter half of the 19th century. It provides various statistics regarding the Gandapur population and their area.
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