Talpur

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Talpur (Balochi: بلوچ ) is a Sindhi Speaking Baloch tribe of Hooth Baloch Branch [1][2] settled in Sindh Punjab and Balochistan. They are descendants of Mir Tala Khan Baloch They were invited by Kalhora to help them organize unruly Baloch tribes living in Sindh during the time of Nader Shah. Talpurs, who spoke the Sindhi language, settled in northern Sindh.Very soon their descendants and allies formed a confederacy against the Kalhora Dynasty.The Talpurs soon gained power and overthrew the Kalhora after the Battle of Halani.Peace between the two warring tribes was soon established after the Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah II issued a Firman in the year 1783, which designated Mir Fateh Ali Khan Talpur as the new Nawab of Sindh. This brought an end to the ferocious fighting and the defeat of the ruling Kalhora by the Talpur tribes.[3] Talpur dynasty ruled Sindh, in present-day Pakistan, from 1783 to 1843. They were then overthrown by the British East India Company led by General Charles James Napier.

Tombs of the Talpur Mirs (Kubbas), now in Hirabad in Hyderabad, Sindh. These shrines are now in a desolate state.

Qizilbash[edit]

With the defeat of the Kalhora forces by the Talpurs in the Battle of Halani in 1783 under the command of Mir Fateh Ali Khan, Sindh came under the sway of Talpurs. Abdul Nabi Kalhoro, did not sit idle but went to the Court of Kabul to secure the support of Taimur Shah who was most interested in procuring a tribute from Sindh. He ordered that Sindh be divided into two parts: one ruled by Mir Fateh Ali Talpur and the other by Abdul Nabi Kalhoro. He sent a huge force to implement this scheme of power sharing; but the Baluch, under Mir Fateh Ali, came out to resist the dismemberment at all costs and assembled at Rohri. When the forces of Kabul's Shah heard of the Mir’s determination, he decided to back off. The Shah then accepted Mir Fateh Ali Khan as the ruler of Sindh. The Kabul rulers had felt the blades of Baluch swords and were not anxious to feel them again. Abdul Nabi continued his subversive activities until his death in the Derajat. Mir Fateh Ali, in spite of the heavy odds, was able to consolidate Talpur rule in Sindh. Talpur rule in Sindh was unique, because Mir Fateh Ali Khan and his three brothers ruled at Hyderabad. This was known as "The Chauyari," the rule of four friends. Fateh Ali was the Principal Amir and held the most important position. The other brothers also had responsibilities:

Mir Thara Khan ruled at Mirpur Khas and Mir Sohrab ruled at Khairpur. The critics consider this a contentious issue and malign the Talpurs. They fail to see that this was better than putting the pretenders to the sword and starting costly internecine wars. Abdul Majeed Jokhia, an eminent historian of that period, says that Sindh was divided into seven districts: three were under Mir Fateh Ali and his brothers, (sons of Mir Sobdar), two were under Mir Sohrab, one under Mir Thara of Mirpur and one under Mir Mahmood (their uncle) and sons of Mir Abdullah. Talpurs, who pardoned even their most inveterate enemies, couldn't be expected to wield swords against their brethren. In cases where they had to, they were ruled by reason and showed great restraint. It was Mir Fateh Ali who made Hyderabad the seat of rule.

The First Chauyari[edit]

Mir Fateh Ali Khan continued to rule until his death in 1801. The role of Principal Amir was passed on to his brother Mir Ghulam Ali Khan who followed his brother's way of governance but unfortunately a dispute arose between Mir Ghulam and Mir Thara Khan of Mirpur. Matters came to a head when the former rallied his supporters to fight it out. This was a delicate situation and needed to be dealt with carefully as an internal war could lead to disintegration. Mir Ghulam Ali asked his uncle, Mir Mahmood Khan, to lead the forces against Mir Thara Khan. Mir Mahmood Khan was the only surviving son of Mir Bahram Khan. The Kalhoras had assassinated both of his elder brothers, Mir Bijar Khan and Mir Sobdar Khan. He had been very young at the time of the assassinations. Mirsahib led the forces and proved himself to be a brilliant military strategist. When he heard that Mir Thara Khan’s forces were entrenched near Wangi, he ordered his men to split into two sections, each attacking from a different side. This forced Mir Thara to come out into the open. In the fierce battle that followed 414 Baluchs were killed on both sides. Azeemudeen, Thatvi, and Abdul Majeed Jokhia have covered the subject in detail in their books. Mir Thara Khan was injured, but Mir Mahmood Khan made sure that he came to no further harm. He had him taken to his own tent and from there on to Hyderabad with all the respect due a relative and fellow ruler. Mir Sahib handled a potentially explosive situation with the wisdom that is required in such situations. Mir Thara Khan was nursed back to health and sent back to Mirpur to rule as he did before the battle. He could have been eliminated had that been the purpose. This event occurred in 1803.AD. Another reason he was not touched was that his, Mir Thara's, sister was wife of Mir Ghulam Ali and both were close relatives. In fact, it was a conspiracy to sow seeds of disunity among Talpur Amirs of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas.

Mir Ghulam Ali died in 1811AD. His rule too was as glorious as Mir Fateh Ali's. They are both buried at Khudabad (the city was earlier founded by Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar, on empty land, around 1351 A.D.) near Hala. Mir Karam Ali Khan now assumed the role of Principal Amir. The British were now eyeing Sindh for its wealth and strategic position and were making inroads with new agreements aimed at increasing their influence. It should be remembered that most of India by this time was solidly under British rule, and 'The Great Game' was in full play. They had signed treaties with Mir Ghulam Ali.

When Mir Murad Ali the youngest of all brothers fell gravely ill, Mir Karam Ali requested the Governor in Bombay to send an able doctor. Dr.James Burnes came and cured him of the disease. Dr Burnes book "A Visit to the Court of Sinde" tells a lot about the state of the Court in 1827. The book dispels a lot of misconceptions regarding the Talpurs and their rule. He talks about the splendor of their Court and the decorum that was maintained. He says that Mir Mahmood Khan was a very handsome and a well-dressed person. Mir Karam Ali Khan was a poet of some repute and his 'Diwan e Karam' is accepted (even by Iranians!) as being of high quality. He died in 1828 AD. Mir Murad Ali was the last ruler of the first "Chauyari." He ruled with the advice of his sons and nephews. In 1832, a new agreement was signed with the British. They were slowly gaining a foothold. Mir Sahib, also a poet, ruled judiciously until his death in 1833 ended the first Chauyari.

Second Chauyari[edit]

The mantle now passed on to his eldest son Mir Noor Mohammad Khan who, following the path of his illustrious uncles and father, continued with the Chauyari form of rule, including his brother Mir Mohammad Naseer and cousins Mir Sobdar Khan and Mir Muhammad Khan in the ruling Council. Mir Noor Mohammad continued to rule judiciously. The British were slowly and gradually gaining influence by fanning discontent within the ranks of the Talpurs and were coming up with a succession of new treaties which were to their advantage alone. There have been attempts by various historians to present the Talpur era as one riddled with differences and consequent incompetence and malfeasance. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there were differences within the ranks they weren't allowed to fester. Attempts were made to resolve and accommodate the just demands. This is apparent from the fact that no Talpur or other Baluch was put to the sword for dissent during the two Chauyaris. There is a website on which some sections of Talpurs and some personalities have been praised to the detriment of others. This is not the right attitude as it is neither accurate nor does it reflect the tolerance practiced by the persons mentioned. The purpose of this site not to gloss over the differences and the drawbacks that were present then but to present them in the proper historical perspective, to see events in light of the times in which they events occurred, not to judge history by today's standards. The British, despite all assurances kept working for their own interests. In 1838 a new agreement was signed which was not at all in the interest of Sindh. Mir Noor Mohammad died in 1841. The rule now passed to Mir Mohammad Naseer Khan. In the same year Sir Charles Napier was sent to Sindh to achieve the ultimate goal of annexation of Sindh to the British Empire. Differences between the Talpurs began to crop up anew and the old grievances came to fore. There were differences between the sons of Mir Noor Mohammad. Mir Sobdar Khan in Hyderabad and Mir Ali Murad in Khairpur failed to realize that the English would eventually not be their friends either. The British presented new terms for a treaty and Mir Naseer Khan was an unwilling signatory as there were many unjust demands. The British wanted Karachi, Thatta and Bakhaar permanently. They wanted the Mint to be closed and no taxation for their traders. They wanted to replace Mir Rustam Khan Talpur with his brother Mir Ali Murad and kept making unjust demands on him. Eastwick says that at one point Mir Rustam was so fed up with their demands that he said he couldn't accept them. After all, he was a Baluch. "A Glance at Sindh Before Napier " by Eastwick presents the true picture of those times. Napier forced Mir Rustam to go to Hyderabad. Mirsahib was old and ailing at that time. The Talpurs and other Baluchs were infuriated at this. To make the matters worse, Napier started his incursion towards Hyderabad to provoke the Baluchs. He confiscated Mir Rutam's possessions on flimsy pretexts in December 1842. Napier continued his provocations by words and deeds. The Baluchs knew for certain that Napier would use the logic of the wolf that is bent upon devouring the sheep and not relent even if all his demands were met. They decided to meet force with force. On 5 February Major Outram's post near Kotri was attacked but he embarked on the steamer and escaped. Napier had camped near Miani and the Baluchs assembled there to fight it out.

The Battle of Miani[edit]

Mir Nasir Khan Talpur prior the Battle of Miani

On 17 February the opposing forces met. The Baluch surpassed all in valour and bravery. Mir Jan Mohammad Talpur charged into the English camp and attacked Major Outram who narrowly escaped his charge by jumping off his horse. Mir Jan Mohammad's grave is in Miani. One Baluch, bayoneted by a British soldier and unable to reach the opponent with his sword, pushed the bayonet and the rifle through his own body and killed the opponent. The British say their casualties were 62 killed and 194 wounded. The casualties on the Baluch side are estimated to be six times higher. The Baluchs were defeated and had to retreat. Valor alone has never been and can never on its own be the determining factor in the outcome of any battle. Discipline and planning played a much more important role and on February !7th 1843, won the day for the British. Had the outcome of the Battle at Miani been different it would have changed the history of the sub-continent. It could have been different if only the Talpurs had realized that the British would never abide by the agreements they were making. The next day Mir Naseer Khan surrendered to Charles Napier. He and others were then arrested and sent in exile to Calcutta and other places in India. The houses were looted even the ladies were not spared. Finally, the English had gotten Sindh.

Battle of Dabbo[edit]

Mir Sher Mohammad Talpur of Mirpur tried to rally his forces. He fought against the English at Dabbo near Hyderabad on 24 March 1843 to liberate Sindh but his forces too were defeated and no change could be brought to the state of things.

The British had wormed their way into Sindh through deceit and intrigues but conquered it through force of arms and that was the only recourse for them in sustaining their illegal rule here. They sowed dissension among the people here and ensured their rule. They exiled all those who could have acted as a symbol for resistance. To clarify one point, some over- enthusiastic Talpurs regardless of their own contribution to the fight against the British, conveniently accuse the Mahmoodanis of not having fought. While, Mahmoodanis may not have fought the British due to the differences within the Talpur family at that time, at no stage did they collaborate with England or any enemy of Sindh. Moreover the descendants of Mir Mahmood quite made up for their battlefield absence by resisting British Imperialism tooth and nail, when it was even a crime to utter a word against them, while their accusers enjoyed English patronage. It is no less than a miracle that the Talpurs have been able to preserve the books and artifacts that they still have in their possession. Mir Naseer Khan died in exile as did some others. His son and that of Mir Noor Mohammad among others later returned to Sindh. The English always felt threatened by the Talpurs. They did restore the possessions of the Talpurs but under strict conditions. Contrary to common belief the Talpurs were never given Jagirs (estates)by England. The only concession was that their original holdings were restored to them as is apparent from the Sanads still in possession of Talpur family. These lands were not taken away from anyone by the Talpurs but these were virgin lands which they had brought under cultivation by having new canals and waterways dug.

Talpur Family in Post British Rule Period[edit]

With the loss of rule to the British, the Talpur family's situation changed overnight. The former rulers were now the persecuted. Charles Napier went about his job with vindictiveness and spite. He incarcerated all the male members of the ruling family, leaving the ladies to fend for themselves. The households were looted and stripped of valuables. The arrested Mirs were sent to Calcutta and other places in India where many of them died, including Mir Sobdar, Mir Fateh Ali Khan and Mir Mohamad Naseer the last ruler of Sindh. This was a period of trials and tribulations for the entire Talpur Family. They passed it with fortitude and dignity, which added to their stature immensely. The basic reason for their survival was that their roots within the people of Sindh, whom they had served well. The influence of this family survived in spite of efforts of British to undermine it. Though it was no longer possible for the family to have a collective influence as it had enjoyed previously, different sections of the family retained influence in their respective regions. Their social influence over the people did not recede and they continued to play a very important role in keeping the people united. They still symbolised all the better things the people expected. This forced the English to restore the Jagirs (Estates) to the families they had belonged to in the first place. Even in their decline, The Talpurs continued their patronage of arts and literature as before.

Adversity did not diminish the family's brilliance and strength of character. Those who were incarcerated lived a very hard life in conditions they were not used to. They bore these hardships with great dignity. Mir Mohammad Naseer Khan's Son Mir Abbas Ali Khan married an English lady. Their son became one of the greatest poets of Sindh, Mir Abdul Hussain Khan Sangi, whose personal hand-written "Deewan" is still available with Talpur family. Mir Mohammad Hassan Ali was also a poet of stature. The works of these two poets are still included in the textbooks of educational institutions in Sindh. Mir Sobdar Khan, the son of Mir Fateh Ali Khan (the first ruler of Sindh) was also a poet. His works included "Judai Nama", "Odes of Separation." Pages from these can also be seen at one of the sites maintained by Talpur family. He died during exile in 1263 A.H. The Talpur family not only maintained its status but also extended its influence through involvement the in social and political affairs of the region. At no time did they abjectly accede to the demands of the British. This raised their stature in the eyes of the masses and was one of the reasons for their political ascendancy after loss of their rule.

The four main branches of Talpurs[edit]

The British considered four branches of the Talpur clan to be of major importance, the Shahwani, Sohrabani Khanani,and Mankani. The Shahdadani branch includes the Ruling Family, the Mahmoodanis, and the Bijaranis, all living in Hyderabad. The Khananis reside in and around Tando Jam, the Mankanis in the Mirpurkhas region, and The Shahwanis make their home in the district of Tando Mohammad Khan. They all were Jagirdars and the British regranted their estates. The Talpurs of Tando Bago and Tando Ghulam Ali were also Jagirdars. It should be noted that the ruling family were given grants and some agricultural land but not the Jagirs. The British probably hoped to limit their influence. The heads of the four major branches were formally invited to the Darbars and other special events held by The British Raj. It should be pointed out that the British had wilfully tried to deter the Talpur family from indulging in anti-colonial political movements by adding a clause in the re-grants of Jagirs in 1861 proscribing such involvement.

The Mankani Talpurs[edit]

Mir Thara Khan (Mir Tharo) founded his state in South East with capital at Keti Mir Tharo. Later the capital was shifted to Mirpurkhas, by his, Mir Ali Murad Khan, who founded this city in 1806A.D. Next ruler of the State of Mirpurkhas was Mir Thara's younger son, Mir Ali Murad Khan. Mir Ali Murad Khan became the ruler with consent of his elder brother, Mir Ghulam Haider Khan. Mir Ali Murad was famous for his justice and fair-play. He was followed by Mir Sher Muhammad Khan, popularly known as "Sher-e-Sindh" (The Lion of Sindh). After the fall of Hyderabad at the hands of Charles Napier at the Battle of Miani, Mir Sher Muhammad tried to liberate Sindh and fought the battle of liberation at Dubbo. However, again, treachery and deception by Charles Napier's forces succeeded in suppressing Talpur forces led by Mir Sher Muhammad Khan.

Sohrabani Talpurs[edit]

Mir Sohrab Khan had founded his state in the north of Sindh soon after the fall of kalhoras. Mir Rustum Khan was the next Amir of Sohrabani State. After the takeover of Hyderabad by forces of British East India Company, Mir Ali Murad Sohrabai was able to establish and continue as head of the princely state of Khairpur under tutelage of the forces of the British East India Company.

Talpur dynasty[edit]

The Talpur dynasty (Urdu: سلسله تالپور‎) (Balochi: ٽالپور خاندان) was a dynasty of the Talpur Baloch tribe that conquered and ruled Sindh, and other parts of present-day Pakistan, from 1783 to 1843.The Talpur dynasty was defeated by the British invaders in 1843 at the Battle of Miani.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ www.talpur.com/
  2. ^ The Baloch race. A historical and ethnological sketch. M. Longworth Dames. The Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1902. [1]
  3. ^ Qammaruddin Bohra, City of Hyderabad Sindh 712–1947 (2000).
  4. ^ "Khairpur". The Royal Ark. Buyers, Christopher. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 

External links[edit]