Tahir Khel

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The Tahir Kheli (also Tar Kheli) are a tribe who mainly dwell in the Hazara region of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Most Tahirkhelis have adopted the language of Hindko, which is the native language of the people of Haripur. However, there is still a substantial number of Tahirkhelis that speak Pashto in areas such as Topi, Swabi, Ghazi, and Qazipur. They are ethnically Pashtun and are of the Yousafzai Pathan tribe. They are descendents of Saraban son of Qais Abdur Rashid.

Their history can be traced back to Kandahar, Afghanistan and Eastern Iran.[1]

History and origin[edit]

As far as the family tree they are part of the Yousafzai tribe. Tahirkhelis get their name from "Tahir Baba", a commander under Ahmed Shah Abdali. After fighting for Abdali, and leading his men to a sweeping victory in the entire Haripur region, Tahir Baba was gifted all the land in that area by Abdali as a commemoration for his regiments bravery. Tahir Baba's son, Bulland Khan was seen as the first "Tahirkheli" or "son of Tahir". By the early 1900s Tahirkheli's had become the politically powerful family of the region and adapted to the Hindkowan people around them. Some Tahirkhelis also adopted their language of Hindko.

Once revered throughout Hazara and Haripur as fierce warriors, Tahirkhelis are now seen as a politically powerful and land owning tribe.

After their migration to Hazara, which occurred in the late-18th century, most Tahirkhelis settled in that area. The earliest written accounts of British encounters with the Tahirkhelis is by Watson's Gazeteer of the early-20th century, during an evaluation of ancient art from the area of the Hazara.[2]

Distribution[edit]

In recent generations, Tahirkhelis have inhabited the eastern Indus River banks near the villages of Khalo, Essa, phai and Salam Khand as well as Khairbara, Ghazi and other various parts of the Haripur of the North West Frontier Province and Punjab.

There are large Tahirkheli communities residing outside of Pakistan as well, such as in London, Birmingham and Bradford in England, Cardiff in Wales, Northern California and North Carolina

References[edit]

  1. ^ Olaf Caroe The Pathans 1984
  2. ^ J. W. Frembgen, "Religious Folk Art as an Expression of Identity: Muslim Tombstones in the Hazara Mountains of Pakistan" Vol. 1, 1998