Samma Dynasty

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Coordinates: 24°44′46.02″N 67°55′27.61″E / 24.7461167°N 67.9243361°E / 24.7461167; 67.9243361

The Samma dynasty
سما راڄ
1335–1520
Samma Kingdom at its greatest extent
Capital Thatta
Lakhiyarveera
Bhuj
Jamnagar
Gondal
Rajkot
Morbi
Dhrol and lots towns and villages.
Languages Arabic
Sindhi
Kutchi
Gujarati in Halar/Saurashtra(native language of the ruling family)
Government Monarchy
Shah, Rao Shreein Kutch and Jham Saheb in Saurashtra Jam Unar (first)
Jam Ferozudin (last in Thatta only)
History
 -  Samma dynasty begins 1335
 -  Samma dynasty ends 1520

The Samma Dynasty (Sindhi: سمن جو راڄ, Urdu: سلسله سماں‎) ruled in Sindh and parts of Punjab and Balochistan from 1335–1520 AD, with their capital at Thatta in modern Pakistan before being replaced by the Arghun Dynasty. The Samma dynasty has left its mark in Sindh with magnificent structures including the necropolis of kings and royalties in Thatta.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Tomb at Uch Sharif

The Sindh is a fertile valley with a sub-tropical climate watered by the Indus river, the location of some of the oldest civilizations in the world, with settlements dating back to 7000 BCE. Always a prize possession, it has been controlled by many different empires, alternating with periods of independence. Before the Samma dynasty took control, the Sindh was ruled by the Soomra, first as nominal vassals of the Fatimid Caliphate of Cairo, later as vassals of the Delhi Sultanate, which reached its greatest extent under Muhammad bin Tughluq (c.1300–1351).

The Sammas, a Rajput tribe, gained control of Thatta in the southern Sindh from the Sumras around 1335, and expanded their territory northward to Bhakkar and beyond. In 1361-62, Firuz Shah Tughlaq of Delhi Sultanate, invaded Sindh and again brought Sammas under his suzerainty.[3] Throughout the period of the Samma dynasty, Turkic groups were pushing down from the northwest, including those led by Timur (Tamerlane) who sacked Delhi in 1398. Sindh remained under control of Khizr Khan, founder of Sayyid dynasty, who was an who was an appointed governor of Sindh and Multan provinces by Timur on his behalf. Sammas remained under Sayyid dynasty till 1451.[4] Later Sammas were finally defeated by the Arghun Dynasty, who had been displaced from Kandahar in Afghanistan by Babur, in 1519–1520 AD.

Beginnings[edit]

Information about the early years of the Samma dynasty is very sketchy. We know from Ibn Battuta that in 1333 AD the Sammas were in rebellion, led by the Rajput founder of the dynasty, Unar. The Sammas overthrew the Soomras soon after 1335 AD and the last Soomra ruler took shelter with the governor of Gujarat, under the protection of Muhammad bin Tughluq, the sultan of Delhi. Mohammad bin Tughlaq made an expedition against Sindh in 1351 AD and died at Sondha, possibly in an attempt to restore the Soomras. With this, the Sammas became independent. The next sultan, Firuz Shah Tughlaq attacked Sindh in 1365 and 1367, unsuccessfully, but with reinforcements from Delhi he later obtained Banbhiniyo's surrender. The Samma dynasty overtook the Sumra dynasty and ruled Sindh during 1365–1521. Around that time, the Sindhi Swarankar community returned from Kutch to their home towns in Sindh, and some settled empty land on the banks of Sindhu River near Dadu, Sindh. By the end of year 1500 AD, nearly the entire Sindhi Swarankar community had returned to Sindh. This period marks the beginning of Sufistic thought and teachings in Sindh.

For a period the Sammas were therefore subject to Delhi again. Later as the Sultanate of Delhi collapsed they became fully independent.[5] During most of period of Samma rule, the Sindh was politically and economically tied to the Gujarat Sultanate, with occasional periods of friction. Coins struck by the Samma dynasty show the titles "Sultan" and "Shah" as well as "Jam", the Jadeja rulers of western Gujrat also part of Samma tribe and directly descended from Jam Unar, the first Samma sultan of Sindh, Even the Chudasama Rajputs of Gujarat are also part of samma tribe,who are still Hindu, and distributed in Junagadh District and Bhal Region of Gujarat. [6]

Rulers[edit]

Family Tree of Samma Kings

The Samma dynasty took the title "Jam", the equivalent of "King" or "Sultan", because they claimed to be descended from Jamshid. This is almost certainly fictitious.[7]

The main sources of information on the Samma Dynasty are Nizammud-din, Abu-'l-Fazl, Firishta and Mir Ma'sum, all lacking in detail, and with conflicting information. A plausible reconstruction of the chronology is given in the History of Delhi Sultanate by M.H. Syed:[7]

Rule (CE) Jam aka Descent
1335-1339   'Unar Founder of dynasty
1339–1352 Junan Junan Brother of 'Unar
1352–1367 Banhbina Babinho Sadr al-Din Son of 'Unar
1367–1379 Tamachi Tamachi Rukn al-Din
1379–1389 Salah-ud-din Saláhuddín Son of Tamachi (usurper)
1389–1391 Nizam-ud-din Nizámuddín Son of Salah-ud-din
1391–1398 Ali Sher Son of Tamachi
1398 Karn Karan
1398–1414 Fath Khan Fateh Khán bin Sikandar Nephew of Karn
1414–1442 Tughluq Taghlak bin Sikandar Brother of Fath Khan
1442 Mubarak (usurper)
1442–1444 Sikandar Son of Tughluq
1444–1453 Raidhan
1453–1461 Sanjar Sanjar (Radhan) Sadr al-Din
1461–1508 Nanda Nizámuddín
1508–1527 Firuz Son of Nanda

Jam Unar[edit]

Main article: Jam Unar

Jam Unar was the founder of Samma Dynasty mentioned by Ibn Battuta, the famous traveller from North Africa (Ibn Battuta visited Sindh in 1333 AD, and saw Samma’s rebellion against Delhi government[5]). Jam Unar, the Samma chief, taking advantage of the strained relation between the Soomra and the Sultanate of Delhi, defeated the last Sumra ruler, son of Dodo, and established Sammatt rule.Chronology of Jham Lakhodhurado

Jam Salahuddin[edit]

Jám Saláhuddìn bin Jám Tamáchí was the successor of his father Jám Tamáchí. He put down revolts in some parts of the country, by sending forces in those directions and punished the ringleaders. Some of these unruly bands fled to Kachh, to which place Jám Saláhuddín pursued them, and in every engagement that took place he defeated them and ultimately subjugated them. After a reign of 11 years and some months, he departed from this world.

Jam Ali Sher[edit]

Jám Alí Sher bin Jám Tamáchí was a wise man and a brave soldier. He ruled the country very discreetly and in his time the people were all at ease in their minds. This prince is said to have been very fond of going about on moonlight nights. Tamáchí’s other sons Sikandar and Karn, and Fateh Khán son of Sikandar, who had brought ruin on the last Jám, were now conspiring against Jám Alísher. They were therefore looking for an opportunity to fall upon him while he was out enjoying the moonlight as usual. They spent their time in the forests in the vicinity of the town. One Friday night, on the 13th of the lunar month, they took a band of cut-throats with them, and with naked swords attacked Jám Alísher who had come out in a boat to enjoy the moonlight on the quiet surface of the river and was returning home. They killed him, and red-handed they ran to the city, where the people had no help for it but to place one of them, Karan, on the vacant throne. The reign of Jám Alí Sher lasted for 7 year.

Jam Fateh Khan bin Jam Sikandar[edit]

Jám Karan was succeeded by his nephew Jám Fateh Khán bin Sikandar. He ruled quietly for some time and gave satisfaction to the people in general.

About this time, Mirza Pir Muhammad one of Amir Timur’s grandsons came to Multan and conquered that town and Uch. As he made a long stay there, most of the horses with him died of a disease and his horsemen were obliged to move about as foot-soldiers. When Amir Timur heard of this, he sent 30,000 horses from his own stables to his grandson to enable him to extend his conquests. Pir Muhammad, being thus equipped, attacked those of the zamindars who had threatened to do him harm and destroyed their household property. He then sent a messenger to Bakhar calling the chief men of the place to come and pay respects to him. But these men fearing his vengeance left the place in a body and went to Jesalmer. Only one solitary person, Sayyed Abulghais, one of the pious Sayyeds of the place, went to visit the Mirzá. He interceded for his town-people in the name of his great grandfather, the Prophet, and the Mirzá accepted his intercession.

Mirzá Pír Muhammad soon went to Delhi, which place he took and where he was crowned as king. Multan remained in the hands of Langáhs, and Sind in those of the Sammah rulers as before.

Jam Taghlak[edit]

Jám Taghlak was fond of hunting and left his brothers to administer the affairs of state at Sehwán and Bakhar. In his reign some Balóch raised the standard of revolt in the outskirts of Bakhar, but Jám Taghlak marched in the direction and punished their ring-leaders and appointed an outpost in each parganah to prevent any future rebellion of the kind. He died after a reign of 28 years.

Jam Sikandar[edit]

Jám Sikandar bin Jám Taghlak was a minor when he succeeded his father to the throne. The governors of Sehwán and Bakhar shook off their yoke, and prepared to take offensive steps. Jám Sikandar was obliged to march out from Tattá to Bakhar. When he came as far as Nasarpúr, a man by name Mubárak, who during the last Jám’s reign had made himself celebrated for acts of bravery, proclaimed himself king under the name of Jám Mubárak. But as the people were not in league with him, he was driven away within 3 days and information sent to Jám Sikandar, who made peace with his opponents and hastened to Tattá. After a year and a half, he died.

Jam Nizamuddin I[edit]

After Jam Salahuddin’s death, the nobles of the state put his son Jám Nizámuddín I bin Jám Saláhuddín on the throne. Jam Nizamuddin ruled for only a few months. His first act of kindness was the release of his cousins Sikandar, Karn and Baháuddín and Ámar, who had been placed in captivity by the advice of the ministers. He appointed every one of them as an officer to discharge administrative duties in different places, while he himself remained in the capital, superintending the work done by them and other officials in different quarters of the country.

Before long, however, his cousins, very ungratefully made a conspiracy among themselves and stealthily coming to the capital attempted to seize him. But Jám Saláhuddín learning their intention in time, left the place at the dead of night with a handful of men and made his escape to Gujrat. In the morning, men were sent after him, but before any information could be brought about him, the people summoned Alísher, son of Jám Tamáchí, who was living in obscurity, and raised him to the throne. Meanwhile Jám Nizámuddín also died in his flight and his cousins too being disappointed in every thing, lived roving lives.

Jam Sanjar[edit]

On Ráinah’s death, Sanjar (Radhan) Sadr al-Din became the Jám of Sind. He is said to have been a very handsome person, and on that account was constantly attended by a large number of persons, who took pleasure in remaining in his company. It is believed that before his coming to the throne, a pious fakír had been very fond of him; that one day Sanjar informed him that he had a very strong desire to become the king of Tattá though it should be for not more than 8 days; and that the fakír had given him his blessings, telling him that he would be the king of the place for 8 years.

Jám Sanjar ruled the country very wisely. Under no ruler before this had the people of Sind enjoyed such ease of mind. He was very fond of the company of the learned and the pious. Every Friday he used to distribute charities and had fixed periodical allowances for those who deserved the same. He increased the pay of responsible officers. One Kází Maarúf, who had been appointed by the late rulers to be the Kází of Bakhar, was in the habit of receiving bribes from the plaintiffs as well as from the defendants. When this fact came to the notice of Jám Sanjar, he sent for the Kází and asked him about it. The Kází admitted the whole thing. “Yes” said he “I do demand something from the plaintiffs as well as the defendants, and I am anxious to get something from the witnesses too, but before the case closes, they go away and I am disappointed in that.” Jám Sanjar could not help laughing at this. The Kází continued “I work in the court for the whole day and my wife and children die of hunger at home, because I get very little pay.” Jám Sanjar increased his pay and issued general orders for the increase of every government post of importance.

Jam Nizamuddin II[edit]

Main article: Jam Nizamuddin II

Jám Nizámuddín II (866–914AH, 1461–1508AD) was the most famous Sultan of the Samma or Jamot dynasty,[8] which ruled in Sindh and parts of Punjab and Balochistan (region) from 1351-1551 CE. He was known by the nickname of Jám Nindó. His capital was at Thatta in modern Pakistan. The Samma Sultanate reached the height of its power during the reign of Jam Nizamuddin II, who is still recalled as a hero, and his rule as a golden age.

Shortly after his accession, he went with a large force to Bhakkar, where he spent about a year, during which time he extirpated the freebooters and robbers who annoyed the people in that part of the country. After that, for a period of forty-eight years he reigned at Tatta with absolute power.

In the last part of Jám Nindó’s reign, after 1490 CE, a Mughul army under Shah Beg Arghun came from Kandahar and fell upon many villages of Chundooha and Sideejuh, invading the town of Ágrí, Ohándukah, Sibi Sindichah and Kót Máchián. Jám Nindó sent a large army under his Vazier Darya Khan[1], which, arriving at the village known by the name of Duruh-i-Kureeb, also known as Joolow Geer or Halúkhar near Sibi, defeated the Mughuls in a pitched battle. Sháh Beg Arghun’s brother Abú Muhammad Mirzá was killed in the battle, and the Mughuls fled back to Kandahár, never to return during the reign of Jám Nizámuddín[2].

Jam Nizamuddin's death was followed by a war of succession between the cousins Jam Feroz and Jam Salahuddin.

Jam Feruzudin[edit]

Main article: Jám Feróz
Coin during the rule of Jam Feraz

Jam Feruz bin Jam Nizam was the last ruler of the Samma dynasty of Sindh. Jám Feróz succeeded his father Jám Nizámuddín at a minor age. Jám Feróz was a young man, and as from the commencement the management of the state affairs was in the hands of his guardian he spent his time in his harem and seldom went out. But he was fearful of his ministers.

As a precautionary measure he enlisted in his service Kíbak Arghún and a large number of men belonging to the tribes of Mughuls, who had during his reign, left Sháhbeg Arghún and came to Tattá. Jám Feróz gave them the quarter of the town, called Mughal-Wárah to live in. He secretly flattered himself for his policy in securing the services of intrepid men to check Daryá Khán, but he never for a minute imagined what ruin these very men were destined to bring on him. For, it was through some of these men that Sháhbeg Arghún was induced to invade and conquer Sind in 926 AH (1519 AD) at the Battle of Fatehpur (1519), which resulted in the displacement of the Sammah dynasty of rulers by that of Arghún.

Legacy[edit]

Tombs at Makli

The rise of Thatta as an important commercial and cultural centre was directly related to Jam Ninda's patronage and policies. At the time the Portuguese took control of the trading centre of Hormuz in 1514 CE,[9] trade from the Sindh accounted for nearly 10% of their customs revenue, and they described Thatta as one of the richest cities in the world. Thatta's prosperity was based partly on its own high-quality cotton and silk textile industry, partly on export of goods from further inland in the Punjab and northern India. However, the trade declined when the Mughals took over. Later, due to silting of the main Indus channel, Thatta no longer functioned as a port.[10]

The Samma civilization contributed significantly to the evolution of the "Sindhi-Islamic" architectural style. Thatta is famous for its necropolis, which covers 10 square km on the Makli Hill. It assumed its quasi-sacred character during Jam Ninda's rule. Every year thousands perform pilgrimage to this site to commemorate the saints buried here. The graves testify to a long period when Thatta was a thriving center of trade, religion and scholarly pursuits.[11]

Kalan Kot Fort[edit]

Samma Kingdom in Modern Pakistan.

Kalan Kot Fort (Urdu: كلاں كوٹ قلعه, Old name Tughlikabad: جام تغلق آباد) was built probably in 14th century along with Thatta. Sámúí deserves notice from the attempt which has been made to establish it as the celebrated Minnagara of the ancient geographers. It was the capital of the Jáms of the Samma Dynasty, and, according to the Tuhfatu-l Kirám, it was founded by Jám Pániya,* under the Makli Hill, about three miles north-west of Thatta.

Subsequently, the fort of Tughlikábád was built by Jám Taghúr or Tughlik, on the site of the older Kalá-kot, about two miles south of Thatta; but that, as well as its predecessor, was left unfinished by its founder (p. 272). By a strange vicissitude, the name of Tughlikábád is now comparatively forgotten, and that of Kalá-kot erroneously called Kalán-kot (the great fort), though for a time superseded, has restored the just claims of Rájá Kalá, and still attracts the attention of the traveller. Lt. Burton calls it Kallián-kot. I fear to differ from so good a local authority, but believe Kalá-kot to be more strictly correct.

The ruins of Sámúí, Samúiya, or Samma-nagar, “the city of the Sammas,” are to be traced near Thatta; and, under the wrong and deceptive spelling of Sa-minagar, have induced Col. Tod, Sir A. Burnes, and many who have too readily followed them—including even Ritter, who considers the question settled “incontestably,”— to recognise in that name the more ancient and more famous Minna-gara. The easy, but totally unwarrantable, elision of the first and only important syllable has led to this fanciful identification.

Later History[edit]

The State of Las Bela was founded in 1742 by Ali Khan I. His descendants ruled Las Bela until 1955 when the state became part of West Pakistan. For a period of three years between 3 October 1952 and 14 October 1955, Las Bela was part of the Baluchistan States Union but retained internal autonomy. In 1955, Las Bela was incorporated into the new province of West Pakistan and became part of Kalat division. In 1962, the area of Las Bela was detached from Kalat division and merged with the former Federal Capital Territory to form the division of Karachi-Bela. When the provincial system was changed in 1970, Las Bela became part of the new province of Balochistan.

After the demise of the Samma dynasty the Nawab migrated along with his brothers and tribal members leaving their once thriving land of Nagar-Samma to parts of India and settled in Gujarat. A vast village in Gujarat is now settled by the descendants of the 4 tribal leaders who were also blood brothers.

One of the brothers is recorded to have migrated back to Sindh and settled the lands on the outskirts of Thatta known as Sikhaat - famous for its rose farms. The village in Gujrat Known also Nagar-Samma consists of many thousand of acres of cultivatable and non cultivatable land an accurate size is not known.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • This article incorporates text from the work A History of Sind by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Islamic culture - Page 429, by Islamic Culture Board
  • A History of India Under the Two First Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, by William Erskine
  • The History and culture of the Indian people - Page 224, by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bhāratīya Itihāsa Samiti
  • The Ṭabaqāt-i-Akbarī of K̲h̲wājah Nizāmuddīn Ahmad: a history of India, by Niẓām al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Muqīm, Brajendranath De, Baini Prashad
  • Bibliotheca Indica - Page 778, by Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India)
  • Searchlights on Baloches and Balochistan, by Mir Khuda Bakhsh Marri
  • The Delhi Sultanate, by Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Asoke Kumar Majumdar, A. D. Pusalker
  • Babar, by Radhey Shyam
  • Indo-Arab relations: an English rendering of Arab oʾ Hind ke taʾllugat, by Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Sayyid Sulaimān Nadvī, M. Salahuddin
  • The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period, by Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson
  • Muslim Kingship in India, by Nagendra Kumar Singh
  • The Indus Delta country: a memoir, chiefly on its ancient geography and history, by Malcolm Robert Haig
  • The Samma kingdom of Sindh: historical studies, by G̲h̲ulāmu Muḥammadu Lākho, University of Sind. Institute of Sindology
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India, by William Wilson Hunter, James Sutherland Cotton, Sir Richard Burn, William Stevenson Meyer, Great Britain. India Office, John George Bartholomew
  • Presently Sama's are settled all over Sindh, including Thatta, Hyderabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Thar and Umerkot.