Mir Wais Hotak
|Mirwais Khan Hotaki
میرویس خان ہوتکی
|Emir of Greater Kandahar|
Sketch work of Mirwais Khan Hotak
|Reign||Hotaki Empire: 1709–1715|
|Full name||Hajji Mirwais Khan Hotaki|
|Titles||Khan, Shah, Mir, Sultan|
|Place of death||Kandahar, Afghanistan|
|Buried||Kokaran, Kandahar, Afghanistan|
|Successor||Abdul Aziz Hotaki|
|Religious beliefs||Sunni Islam|
Mirwais Khan Hotak (میرویس خان ہوتکی), also known as Mir Vais Ghilzai (1673 – November 1715), was an influential tribal chief of the Ghilzai Pashtuns from Kandahar, Afghanistan, who founded the Hotaki dynasty that ruled a wide area in Persia and Afghanistan from 1709 to 1738. After revolting and killing Gurgin Khan in April 1709, he then twice defeated the powerful Safavid Persian armies in southern Afghanistan. He is widely known as Mirwais Neeka ("Mirwais the grandfather" in the Pashto language).
Mirwais Hotak was born in a well-known, rich and political family in the Kandahar area. His family had long been involved in social and community services. He was the son of Alem Khan and Nazo Tokhi (also known as "Nazo Anaa"), grandson of Karum Khan, and great-grandson of Ismail Khan, a descendant of Malikyar, the ancient head of Hottaki or Hotaks. The Hottaki is a strong branch of Ghilzai, one of the main tribes among the Pashtun people. Hajji Amanullah Hottak reports in his book that the Ghilzai tribe is the original residents of Ghor or Gherj. This tribe migrated later to obtain lands in southeastern Afghanistan and multiplied in these areas. Mirwais was married to Khanzada Sadozai, who belonged to the rival Abdali tribe of Pashtuns.
Rise to power
In 1707, Kandahar was in a state of chaos, fought over by the Shi'a Persian Safavids and the Sunni Moghuls of India. Mirwais Khan, a Sunni tribal chief whose influence with his fellow-countrymen made him an object of suspicion, was held as a political prisoner by Gurgin Khan and sent to the Safavid court at Isfahan. He was later freed and even allowed to meet with the Shah, Sultan Husayn, on a regular basis. Having ingratiated himself with the Persian Court, Mirwais sought and obtained permission to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca in Ottoman empire (after which he was known as Hajji). He has studied carefully all the military weaknesses of the Safavids while he spent time there in their court.
While in Mecca, he sought from the leading authorities a fatwa against the Shia foreign rulers who were persecuting his people in his homeland. The Pashtun tribes rankled under the ruling Safavids because of their continued attempts to forcefully convert them from Sunni to Shia Islam. The fatwa was granted and he carried it with him to Iṣfahan and subsequently to Kandahar, with permission to return and strong recommendations to Gurgin Khan. In 1709 he began organizing his countrymen for a major uprising, and in April 1709, when a large part of the Persian garrison was on an expedition outside the city, he and his followers fell on the remainder and killed the greater number of them, including Gurgin Khan. After Gurgin Khan and his escort were killed, the Hotaki soldiers took control of the city and then the province. Mirwais entered Kandahar and made an important speech to its dwellers.
"If there are any amongst you, who have not the courage to enjoy this precious gift of liberty now dropped down to you from Heaven, let him declare himself; no harm shall be done to him: he shall be permitted to go in search of some new tyrant beyond the frontier of this happy state."—Mirwais Hotak, April 1709
Mirwais and his forces then defeated a large Persian army that was sent to regain control over the area.
Several half-hearted attempts to subdue the rebellious city having failed, the Persian Government despatched Khusraw Khán, nephew of the late Gurgín Khán, with an army of 30,000 men to effect its subjugation, but in spite of an initial success, which led the Afgháns to offer to surrender on terms, his uncompromising attitude impelled them to make a fresh desperate effort, resulting in the complete defeat of the Persian army (of whom only some 700 escaped) and the death of their general. Two years later, in A.D. 1713, another Persian army commanded by Rustam Khán was also defeated by the rebels, who thus secured possession of the whole province of Qandahár.—Edward G. Browne, 1924
Mirwais Khan became the Governor of the Greater Kandahar region, which covered most of present-day southwestern Afghanistan and part of Balochistan, Pakistan. To the northwest was the Abdali Pashtuns and to the east began the Moghul Empire. Refusing the title of a king, Mirwais was referred to as "Prince of Qandahár and General of the national troops" by his Afghan countrymen.
Death and legacy
Mirwais remained in power until his death in November 1715 and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz, who was later killed by Mirwais' son Mahmud, allegedly for planning to give Kandahar's sovereignty back to Persia. In 1717, Mahmud took advantage of the political weakness of the Persian Shah (Sultan Husayn) and conquered Persia.
Mirwais is buried at his mausoleum in the Kokaran section of Kandahar, which is in the western end of the city. He is regarded as one of Afghanistan's greatest national heroes and admired by many Afghans, especially the Pashtuns. Steven Otfinoski referred to him as Afghanistan's George Washington in his 2004 book Afghanistan.
There is a neighborhood called Mirwais Mina as well as a hospital called Mirwais Hospital, a high school and a business center named after him in Kandahar. Not only in Kandahar but there are also schools and other institutions or places across Afghanistan built to honor him. A few direct descendants of Mirwais are living today among the Hotak tribe.
- Malleson, George Bruce (1878). History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878. London: Elibron.com. p. 227. ISBN 1402172788. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- Ewans, Martin; Sir Martin Ewans (2002). Afghanistan: a short history of its people and politics. New York: Perennial. p. 30. ISBN 0060505087. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- Axworthy, Michael (2006). Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from tribal warrior to conquering tyrant. New York: I.B. Tauris. p. 186. ISBN 1850437068. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF PERSIA DURING THE LAST TWO CENTURIES (A.D. 1722–1922)". Edward Granville Browne. London: Packard Humanities Institute. p. 29. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Otfinoski, Steven (2004). Afghanistan. Infobase Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0816050562. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- Malleson, George Bruce (1878). History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878. London: Elibron.com. p. 459. ISBN 1402172788. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- Malleson, George Bruce (1878). History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878. London: Elibron.com. p. 234. ISBN 1402172788. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- "AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF PERSIA DURING THE LAST TWO CENTURIES (A.D. 1722–1922)". Edward Granville Browne. London: Packard Humanities Institute. p. 29. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- "Mir Wais Hotak (1709–1715)". Nancy Hatch Dupree. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mirwais Hotak.|
|Emir of Afghanistan
April 1709 – November 1715
Abdul Aziz Hotak