Akazai

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Akazai is a Pakhtoon (or Pashtoon; Pathan) tribe of northern Pakistan. It is a division of the Isazai clan within the Yousafzai tribe, which is regarded as one of the most powerful, famous, and respected tribes of Pashtoons. Military historian Colonel Harold Carmichael Wylly provided a personal perspective of the large Yousafzai tribe, stating, "The Yousafzai is an agriculturist, generally a fine, well-limbed man of a good physique and appearance with great deal of race-pride, well dressed and cheery, while his hospitality is proverbial".[1]

Origin[edit]

The Akazais are considered to be a tribe among the Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes, a division of the Isazai clan of the Yousafzai tribe.[2] They are the descendants of Aka, the son of Isa (Isazai), and the grandson of Yusaf/Yousaf/(Yousafzai).[3] The Akazais are further divided into four sections with each section having two or more sub-sections.[4]

Sections and sub-sections[edit]

Sub Clan Section Sub-section (Khel)  
Akazai Painda Khel Awal Khel, Jogi Khel and Lal Khel
  Barat Khel Biba Khel, Khan Khel and Shahi Khel
  Tasan Khel Ghazi Khan and Mamuzai
  Aziz Khel Darja Khel, Sain Khel and Kala Khel

Demographics[edit]

The majority of the Azakai tribe (approximately 35,000) occupies the western slopes of a mountainous region known as Tor Ghar (meaning "Black Mountain"). Akazais also inhabit a portion of the crest of Tor Ghar on the northern side of Hassanzais. On their eastern side is part of Agror, to the north are Chagharzais (Nasrat Khel and Basi Khel) while to the west is the famous Indus River. The southern face of Machai Sar ("Peak"), which is the highest peak of Tor Ghar, belongs to the Akazais. The main Akazai villages are Kand (Upper and Lower), Bimbal and Bilianrey. Other villages are Darbanrey, Kanar, Bakrey, Laid, Lashora, Bakianra, Moraata, Torum, and Larey. During the period of Sikh rule and up to 1868, Akazais held the village of Shahtut in Agror valley (Oghi Tehsil).[5] For better prospects of life, Akazais migrated to adjoining area and cities within Pakistan. People who migrated from Tor Ghar now live in Tehsil Oghi of the Mansehra District (adjoining Tor Ghar), Malikpura - Abbottabad, Khalabat Township, Haripur, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Burhan in District Attock.

Fighting against the British[edit]

During the British Rule 1858 to 1947, Tor Ghar had never been under its administration. The Akazais, along with the Hassanzais, were very active in fighting against the British.[6]
The fighting character and bravery of the tribe was described by Sir William Wilson Hunter as follows:[7]

The Indian-British government sent four major expeditions to Tor Ghar to suppress The Black Mountain (Tor Ghar) Tribes at different times:[5]

  • Expedition against Hassanzais - 1852-1853 This force consisted of 3,800 troops commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mackeson, C.B. In this expedition, five soldiers were killed and 10 wounded.[8]
  • Expedition against Black Mountain Tribes - 1868 This force consisted of 12,544 troops commanded by Major General Wilde. In this expedition, 55 soldiers were killed and 29 wounded.[8]
  • Expedition against Black Mountain Tribes - 1888 This force consisted of 9,416 troops commanded by Major General J. McQueen. In this expedition, 25 soldiers were killed and 57 wounded.[8]
  • Expedition against Black Mountain Tribes - 1891 This force consisted of 7,289 troops commanded by Major General W.K. Elles. In this expedition, 9 soldiers were killed and 39 wounded.[8]
  • The Akazais provided 1,000 fighting men for the famous Ambela Operation in December 1863.[9]

After the creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, Tor Ghar was given the status of Tribal Area under the administration of the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (North West Frontier Province).

Culture and Traditions[edit]

Like all other Pashtuns, Akazais have maintained their cultural identity. They strickly follow the code of ethics of Pashtunwali, which comprises manliness, goodness, gallantry, loyalty and modesty. Akazais have also maintained the Pashtoon customs of Jirga (consultative assembly), Nanawati (delegation pleading guilty), Hujhra (large drawing room) and Melmasteya (hospitality).[10]

Language[edit]

Pushto is the basic language of Akazais. Having less interaction with other people/languages due rugged nature terrain and less roads; the Akazais of Tor Ghar speak the purest form of Pushto. Akazais who migrated to other areas have adopted local languages like Hindko and Urdu.

Recent Developments[edit]

On 28 January 2011, Tor Ghar became the 25th District of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.[11] Judba is the capital of this newly created district with following tehsils:

  • Judba
  • Kandar Hassanzai
  • Mada Khel

Most of the Akazai areas come under the Kandar Hassanzai tehsil. [1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ H.C. Wylly (1912). "From the Black Mountain to Waziristan". London, Macmillan. p. 56. 
  2. ^ Compiled by H. A. Rose. Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and N.W.F.Province. p.10.https://archive.org/details/glossaryoftribes03rose
  3. ^ H. D. Watson. Gazetteer of Hazara District, 1907. p. 166-184.https://books.google.com/books?ei=LqhXTY6QJI_RrQfV--GHBw&ct=book-thumbnail&id=V1NuAAAAMAAJ&dq=gazetteer+of+hazara+district&q=Akazais
  4. ^ J. Wolfe Murray. A Dictionary of the Pathan Tribes on the North-west Frontier of India.https://archive.org/details/adictionarypath00brangoog
  5. ^ a b Wylly H.C. From the Black Mountain to Waziristan, Chapter - II pges (24 -53).https://archive.org/details/fromblackmountai00wyll
  6. ^ objectid=DS405.1.I34_V08_257.gif Black Mountain - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 8, p. 251
  7. ^ Sir Willium Wilson Hunter.The Indian Musalmans (1872) page 30 (https://archive.org/details/indianmusalmans03huntgoog
  8. ^ a b c d Stephen Herold.Expeditions against the Tribes of NWF Province from 1847 to 1908. http://www.antiquesatoz.com/stephenherold/nwfrontc.htm
  9. ^ Sir Willium Wilson Hunter.The Indian Musalmans (1872)page 30 (Foot Note 1) (https://archive.org/details/indianmusalmans03huntgoog
  10. ^ Surinder Singh and Ishwar Dayal Gaur. Popular Literature and Pre-Modern Societies in South Asia. p. 336.https://books.google.com/books?id=QVA0JAzQJkYC&pg=PA336&dq=pushtoonwali
  11. ^ Tor Ghar: Kala Dhaka becomes 25th K-P district The Express Tribune. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.