Mir Jehandad Khan

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Mir Jehandad Khan (died 1868) was a tribal chief of the Hazara region of the North-West Frontier of British India and Nawab of Amb.

Life[edit]

Jehandad Khan was the son of Mir Painda Khan, a fighter against the Sikh Empire. He became the ruler of Amb on the death of his father in 1844.

It was said, "Of all the tribal chiefs of Hazara, the most powerful [was] said to be Jehandad Khan of the Tanoli."[1] His territories lay on both banks of the Indus, and Jehandad Khan was highly respected among his peoples as the son of Painda Khan.[1] The British needed to show respect to Jehandad Khan's authority over his lands, and in the words of Major J. Abbott

"His (Jehandad's) territory interposes between Hazara and the strongest and most troublesome of the independent tribes. He can send 50 or 60 matchlocks to retaliate a fray which might cost us an army of 8000 men. Jehandad Khan is naturally of a gentle and sincere temperament, and has fewer vicious propensities than most Asiatics."[2]

When Sikh power was on the decline in 1845, Jehandad Khan blockaded the garrisons of no less than 22 Sikh posts in Upper Tanawal; and when they surrendered, he spared their lives, as the servants of a fallen Empire. Colonel H. B. Edwards later commented on this "The act, however, stood him afterwards in good stead; for, when Hazara was assigned to Maharaja Golab Singh, that politic ruler rewarded Jehandad Khan's humanity with the jagir of Koolge and Badnuck in Lower Tannowul."[3]

As far as Jehandad Khan's hereditary domain of Upper Tanawal is concerned, with its capital at Amb, the term jagir has never been applicable to it. The British Government considered "Upper Tannowul" as a chiefship held under the British Government, but as a rule they did not possess internal jurisdiction within it. The Chief managed his own people in his own way, without regard to the laws, rules or systems of British India. This tenure resembled that of the Chiefs of Patiala, Jhind, Nabha, Kapurthala, and others.[4]

In 1852, Jehandad Khan was visited by the president of the Board of Administration, who travelled to Hazara to see him about the murder of two British officers, Messrs. Carne and Tapp of the Salt Department, who had been killed in the country of Jehandad Khan in 1851. When the President attempted to order the Khan to give up the murderers or else suffer the consequences, which might be the burning down of villages and his region being given to another ruler, the Khan is reported to have replied "We should consider your presence in our kingdom an honour, but our country is a rather difficult one for your army." This response was the talk of the day and is remembered in Hazara even to this day as a heroic answer."[5]

When he died, the Khan left a nine year old son, Muhammad Akram Khan, who succeeded him.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allen 2001, p. 139.
  2. ^ In a letter dated "Hazara, 7 August 1851", from Major. J. Abbott, Deputy Comm and Supdt, Hazara, to the Secretary to the Board of Administration for the Affairs of the Punjab.
  3. ^ In a letter dated "Peshawar, 10 December 1858", from Lt. Col. H. B. Edwards, Commissioner and Supdt, Peshawar Division, to the Financial Commissioner of the Punjab, quoted in A Collection of Papers relating to the History, Status and Powers of The Nawab of Amb, (Punjab Secretariat, 1874), p. 83
  4. ^ Letter dated 21 March 1863 from Thomas Douglas Forsyth, Officiating Secretary to the Government of Punjab, to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, quoted in A Collection of Papers relating to the History, Status and Powers of The Nawab of Amb, (Punjab Secretariat, 1874), p. 58
  5. ^ Allen 2001, pp. 203–204.
  6. ^ Hubert Digby Watson (1992). Sarhad Urdu Academy, ed. Gazetteer of the Hazara District, 1907. p. 20,170,193.