Babar (Pashtun tribe)
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The Babar diaspora is spread across Pakistan, Afghanistan and India today. However, the most prominent communities remain the same, the most notable of which is in Pirpiai. Chaudhwan still has a large number of Babars living there. Other communities include, Zhob, Quetta, Multan, Kandahar, Shikarpur and Sindh [Dadu].
In the First World War 78 people of the Babar tribe from Pirpiai went to the war as Indian Army men and four were killed. Hence, Pirpiai is one of the very few villages which has an official plaque commemorating its First World War contribution.
Babar, the ancestor of the Babar tribe was born at Takht-e-Sulaiman in 1175; six generations after Qais Abdur Rashid. It is interesting to note that the Babars were initially the same tribe as the Shiranis, also settled in and around the same region as the Babars. As far as the pedigrees show, Shirani was the father of Babar. The Shiranis have three sub-tribes, namely:
Maranis still refer to themselves as 'Shirani' as they are the main sub-tribe, but Babars and Mianis identify themselves as completely separate tribes. The Babars are treated by some genealogists as a section of the Shirani Tribe. They are, in fact, the latter's neighbours in the Zhob District of Pakistan, but so distinct that neither has any sense of common tribal solidarity; the Babars even collaborated with a British punitive expedition against the Sherani in 1853. Hence showing, they never speak of such a kinship.
In the 12th Century there was an initial settlement of a few Babar families in Chaudhwan, in the modern day district of Dera Ismail Khan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. By the 14th Century, they had moved entirely from the Sulaiman Mountains. In the early 16th Century the tribe had moved to Chaudhwan and some to Zhob. In c.1534, some migrated on to Kandahar in present-day Afghanistan from Zhob. Meanwhile, in Chaudhwan, the Babars fought a battle against a local tribe and emerged victorious. In 1628, they fought another battle against the Gandapur tribe. Soon after, in 1647, the Babars fought off the Marwat tribe in order to gain full command of Chaudhwan by the mid-17th Century. Around the year 1700 or so, some Babars migrated up north to Pirpiai, which they established and held control of. In the reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani many moved east to Multan as well from Chaudhwan. By 1783, others had moved south to Shikarpur in Sindh.
This is why the Babar diaspora is spread across Pakistan and Afghanistan today. However, the most prominent communities remain the same, the most notable of which is in Pirpiai. Chaudhwan still has a large number of Babars living there. Other communities include, Zhob, Quetta, Multan, Kandahar, Shikarpur and Karachi.
Structural Division of the Babar Tribe
The further subdivision of the Babar Tribe has been debated frequently in many genealogical books but the ground reality is very clear.
The tribe is divided into sub-tribes based on the offsprings of four sons:
- Maswad Khel
- Gora Khel
- Ibrahim Khel
- Marwat Khel (Later modified as Mara Khel)
Maswad Khel is further divided into the following sub-sections:
- Ahmed Khel
These Maswad Khel reside in Chaudhwan, Qila Saifullah (Pakistan) and Sheberghan (Afghanistan). The Ahmed Khel, however, mainly reside in Shikarpur (Pakistan)
Gora Khel is further divided into the following sub-sections:
Gora Khel reside in Chaudhwan, Qila Saifullah (Pakistan), Kandahar and Sheberghan (Afghanistan). The Yasinzai primarily live in Khangarh (Pakistan).
The Ibrahim Khel are known to be the most prevalent sub-tribe of the Babars. They primarily reside in Pirpiai,Mardan,toru, Chaudhwan, Multan, Ibrahim Khel Kot, Zhob, Chaman, Quetta, Qila Saifullah,Qilla Abdullah, Dera Ghazi Khan and Karachi in Pakistan. In Afghanistan, they have communities in Kandahar and Sheberghan, Paghman-kabul, .
Marwat Khel / Mara Khel
Mara Khel is further divided into the following sub-sections:
They reside in
- Garda Babar
- shadezai babar.Zhob
- sub section Mirzai babar are living in Shadezai
Note: All sub-tribes of Babars except Mara Khel are present at Chaudhwan, that is why this town is labelled by English historians as a center of command and authority of Babar tribe.
Migration of Babars
Amanullah Khan Babar (Also known by his nickname 'Manu Khan') is the forefather of all the Pirpiai Babars. He was the first well known personality from the Babar tribe. Amanullah Khan belonged to the Ibrahim Khel sub-tribe and, hence, all Babars from Pirpiai belong the same sub-tribe.
Khan Bahadar Rub Nawaz Khan Babar was a famous Babar Pathan in Multan. He was appointed as a political agent by the British government, during their rule in the South Asia, in Chitral. Khan Bahadar Rub Nawaz Khan was a brave man. He fought a battle in Chitral for which the British government gave him the title of Khan Bahadar. When Rub Nawaz Khan came back to Multan he was appointed the honorary magistrate. And Ghulam Qadir Khan Babar was also a famous Babar in Multan. By profession, Ghulam Qadir Khan Babar was a great businessman, leading the Babar Khadi starting from Multan, Dera Ismail Khan, Calcutta and Bombay (India).
Khangarh is a town/tehsil of Muzzafargarh District. In this district, there are two settlements of Babars.
1. Khangan village, Tehsil Muzzafargarh:
Descendants of Abdul Karim Khan Babar reside here.
The Babars here belong to the Yasinzai sub-section of Ghora Khel sub-tribe of Babars. Initially from Chaudhwan, the family of Naik Qadam Khan Babar moved to Ghazni and settled there. The tomb of Naik Qadam Khan Babar can still be found there.
From Ghazni, they moved to Bannu and then back to Chaudhwan.
From Chaudhwan, their family head, Muhammad Hussain, moved to Multan. His son, Abdul Samad Khan settled in Multan.
Allah Dad Khan, son of Abdul Samad Khan, moved on request of Khan Bibi (sister of Nawab Shuja Khan) to Khangarh as the administrator of Khangarh. His mango plantations of the time were famous. Saifullah Khan, son of Allah Dad Khan, was awarded the title of “Nawab” and Honorary Majistrate during the British era.
Nawab Saifullah Khan has six sons, among them Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan is a big name in Pakistani politics.
Before the reign of Sardar Daud, four thousand families of Babars were living in Sheberghan. During his time, upon the arrival of the Soviet Army, the Babar tribe supported Mujahideen. As a consequence, the lives of Babars there became miserable and their killing and looting started.
In 1953, 2000 Babar families moved further up to the mountainous areas while the remaining 2000 families moved to Balochistan (Pakistan). Pakistan arranged a camp for them in Loralai (Pakistan).
A few years back, Loralai camp was abolished. One thousand Babars families moved back to Sheberghan, 400 families are scattered throughout Balochistan and 600 families or so, live as a community in Qila Saifullah. Babars from all four sub-tribes are found here.
There is a rough estimate of 70,000 Babars living in Afghanistan presently, in very scattered places.
The major settlements of Babars in Afghanistan includes:
Sheberghan (capital of Jowzjan province) - 9000 families
Kandahar (capital of Kandahar province) - 2000 families
Minor settlements include:
Maymana (capital of Faryab province) - 1500 families
Other settlements can be found throughout Afghanistan including, Kunar province, Herat province, Kundus province, Lugar province and Baghlan province,Parwan province and town of Pule Khumri.Babar communities can also be found in the cities of Kabul and Ghazni.
In the 16th century, a lot of Babar families migrated to Afghanistan from Chaudhwan and Zhob. They were tired of the high death toll resulting from bloody fights with neighbouring tribes for the sake of survival, water and lands. They were mainly rich people due to trading involvement. A majority of them settled in Kandahar, because Kandahar was a major economic and political center at that time in the region.
Gul Mohammad Khan was the chief of the tribe here and he was a member of the Loya Jirga during Mirwais Hotak's reign. He was also appointed as the Finance Minister during the era of Ahmad Shah Durrani.
In the 18th century, Nur Mohammad Khan, son of Gul Muhammad Khan was the Finance Minister during the era of Timur Shah Durrani and Zaman Shah Durrani. He did a lot for the Babar community in this whole region.
This policy stimulated another big migration of Babars from Kandahar to Northern Afghanistan, mainly to Sheberghan.
Nowadays, the main trade in Sheberghan belongs to Babar tribe.
Tor Abbas Khan is chief of the Babar tribe at Sheberghan. The District Governor of Faizabad, Gohar Khan is also from the Babar community. The elders of these Babars still remember Chaudhwan as their native village.
Mehboob Ali Babar belongs to grand grand Son of Haji Gul Babar, gul babar is a Zamindar of his village
Dera Ghazi Khan
Babars here descendants of two families:
1. Madu Khan
He belonged to the Maswad Khel Babar sub-tribe and resided in Chaudhwan. He murdered his tribesman in the village. The Jirga decided to provide 200 animals and 2 women for marriage to the affected family in compensation. Madu Khan decided to leave the village. He travelled on the right bank of the Indus River and reached Dera Ghazi Khan, where he settled. His grandson, Abdul Karim, joined the British Police.
Today, the majority of this family serves in the Police Department.
2. Charsham Khan
He belonged to the Ibrahim Khel Babar sub-tribe and also resided in Chaudhwan. Charsham Khan Babar was a follower of Pir Khwaja Sulaiman. He moved to Druk, District Musa Khel, Balochistan to live with Pir Sahib. When Pir Sahib shifted to Taunsa in Punjab, this Babar family also accompanied him. From Taunsa Sharif, this family, later on shifted to Dera Ghazi Khan.
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