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The Gandapur (Pashto: ګنډہ پور, Urdu: گنڈہ پور) also called Gandapore, are one of two Pashtun tribes (the other being the Bakhtîâr/Pakhtîâr) who originated in southwestern Pakistan. During the early 20th century, the tribe numbered about 8,000 and principally resided in the small town Kulachi in the Dera Ismail Khan District, the Northwest Frontier Province, and a large part of them settled in the Dera Ismail Khan area in the 17th century AD after a bloody feud with Lohani tribe near Qamar Din Karez.


The Gandapur, like many other nomadic Pashtun groups in the region, regularly moved between the Daman plains stretching from the Indus to the eastern slopes of the Sulaiman mountains. They combined pastoral nomadism with the transportation and peddling of goods between central Asia and south Asia. The pattern of these nomadic movements and the transformations of their society fluctuated with the rhythms of trade and the nature of their contacts with the surrounding political economies throughout their history. During the 17th century, most of the Gandapur had settled in Dera Ismail Khan, with large numbers engaged in the trade between India and Khorasan, which intensified in the next two centuries.

Origin Legend[edit]

There are different legends about the origin of the Gandapur tribe. But the widely accepted version is that their ancestor Stori Khan was born to a Syed saint, Muhammad Hussain known as Gaisu Daraz and a Sherani mother. Stori's son Tairi Khan, alias Gandapur. AS Gaisu Daraz soon left on his preaching mission, never to return his son was brought up by the mother's tribe they have been a part of that in the Pashtoon genealogical tables. who was a Pashtun/Pukhtun living in Afghanistan. He had four sons and one daughter. But the descendants of all including that of the daughter came to be known by this name. Later some other fugitive families also joined them and got absorbed in the tribe as sub tribes.[1]The claim of the tribe having genealogical link with Tarakai tribe in Afghanistan, is not correct and supported by authentic genealogical tables. [2]

Lawoonṇ is a small Pashtun tribe residing in and around Qamardin Karez in the west of Zhob district in northwest Balochistan. Gənḍapūrs used to pass through this area while going from their place in Ghazni to Dera Ismail Khan in a usual annual cycle of nomadic life.

Khadal Lawoon was chief of the Lawoon tribe in the 16th century AD. In a bid to stop the passage of nomadic tribes from their area, he blocked a narrow pass on the route of nomadic tribes going to Dera Ismail Khan and the rest of Indus plain passing through his area. When groups came upon him, he demanded that girls from the various tribes should lift him in their shawls. This was an extremely humiliating demand which none of the tribes could accept and stopped using the route. When the Gənḍapūrs arrived at the pass, they found Khadal Lawoon lying there. After lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations, some of the Gənḍapūr young men disguised themselves as girls by wearing women's shawls and approached Khadal. He assumed they intended to follow his request, but they soon killed him.

The murder of Khadal Lawoon made the Lawoon tribe furious with the Gənḍapūrs, and the route from Ghazni to Dera Ismail Khan no longer remained safe for them. This led to the separation of the Gənḍapūr tribe into two parts. Those who had crossed over to Daman of Dera Ismail Khan, settled in Rori area, which had been lately evacuated by the Suri tribe, One Hassan Khan and his son Farid Khan were amongst those who shifted to central India from this village. Farid Khan later ascended the throne of Delhi as arguably the ablest ruler of India. [3]

The history of the tribe is riddled with clashes and armed conflicts with all the neighbors around them. Katikhels on the North West, Miankhels in the south and Hot Baluch in the east. They lost a long belt along their western boundary to Hot Baluchs in their long drawn conflict, starting with the marriage dispute of Sindo Miankhela to Baluch Sardar of Dera. The battles spread over 9 years; they lost Jander, Kali Wanda, Yarik, Budh, Pota, hander etc. Which they could never regain despite repeated efforts.[4]

Gənḍapūr or Afghānpūr[edit]

When the great Afghan King and warrior Ahmad Shah Abdali gathered all the Pashtun tribes and conquered a large part of the area in present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Gənḍapūrs tribal Lashkar accompanied him to Central India and fought by hiss side at the Third Battle of Panipat. As the tradition goes, soldiers speaking Persian used to pronounce the "d" in the word Gənḍapūr as a soft "d" (Voiced dental stopIPA [d̪], like "th" in the English word "the") instead of the actual hard "d" or "ḍ" (Voiced retroflex stop, IPA [ɖ], as in English word "made"). With the soft "d", the word "Ganda" would become a Hindustani language word "Ganda" (meaning "not clean" or "untidy"). When Ahmad Shah Abdali came to know that fact, he ordered that Gənḍapūrs be written as Aghānpūr" in the official Persian documents. But Gandapurs somehow preferred their original name and the new name did not become common.[5]

British Raj and Independence Struggle[edit]

When the British came, in 1847 Gandapur Chief Ali Khan had been forced to take refuge in the mountains of the Tribal area (now FR Sherani) by the sikhs and replaced by his nephew Guldad Khan. The first British officer who came to the area was Lt. Herbert Edwards, wrote his famous book 'A Year on the Punjab Frontier' in two volumes. (available on the net) Later as Lt.Col Herbert Edwards he founded Edwrads Mission School in Peshawar, the forerunner of present Edwards College. He has devoted a full chapter to the Gandapuri area and their role in the second Sikh war of 1848, which resulted in annexation of Punjab. He ends the chapter about Gandapurs and their town Kulachi, on a rather interesting note. He writes,"Let me remind my readers that they need not go to Kulachi, unless they are in search of two things; very sweet melons and very brave soldiers."[6]

In 1931 a young Gandapur lawyer Sardar Aurangzeb Khan was a member of the two men Frontier delegation, led by Sahibzada Abdul Qayoom Khan, to attend the Second Round Table Conference at London He later became a member of the First Frontier Legislative Council and was again returned to 1936 Assembly. Where he founded the first All India Muslim League Parliamentary Party. in 1937. He was nominated as member of the Central Executive Committee of AIML by Quaid i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was a seconder of the Pakistan Resolution that was presented on 23rd March 1940 at Lahore. He was one of the five speakers who addressed that historic session. Finally he formed the first Muslim League Ministry in this otherwise Hindu Congress dominated province in 1943. Unfortunately he and his role has been completely ignored by the writers and politicians alike. After a vote of 'no-confidence' was passed against him by the big wigs of Congress that included Maolana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Rajinder Parshad and the Devbandi scholar Maolana Hussain Ahmad Madni, with the money provided by Congress carpetbaggers. The betrayal of his own Muslim League colleagues disheartened him from politics but he continued in the struggle for independence. But after independence, he quietly retired to his ancestral lands in a small village of Faisal Abad and even got buried there, away from his ancestral graveyard of Kulachi. [7]

Another interesting and important event of the independence struggle was Nehru's visits to Tribal area in the end of 1946, arranged by the Congress government in Frontier; as a last bid to thwart Pakistan movement, but was a great disappointment and Nehru was abused and even attacked by these tribes in Malakand, Miran Shah and Razmak. Nehru later in his letter to the Viceroy Lord Wavell blamed the Gandapur Assistant Political Agent in Waziristan, Muhammad Aslam Khan for the debacle and attack on him in Razmak during the Mahsud Jirga.[8] Later during the referendum in 1947, wherein D.I.Khan overwhelmingly voted for Pakistan, the role and work of four Gandapur lawyers, Muhammad Ramzan Khan, Abdul Qayoom Khan, Muhammad Nawaz Khan and Rustam Khan has been acknowledged and praised in the Muslim League record.[9]

Economy and Developmental Potential[edit]

The tribe lived in an a fertile agricultural belt with a lot of potential. It was traditionally being irrigated by the flash floods of the hill torrents when managed well during the British Raj days used to yield good crops but the later mismanagement of administration and undue political pressure badly damaged the system and the area generally sunk into poverty. But in 2000 when Aminullah Khan Gandapur joined the Cabinet as Minister, he got the Gomal Zam Dam Project revived that had been lying in the cold storage for over 70 years. He got President Pervez Musharraf perform the earth breaking ceremony of the Dam in August 2001 and the Dam has since been constructed by a Chinese Firm and despite the fact that the distribution canal work is yet to be completed yet an agricultural revolution can be witnessed. The barren vast lands have started growing pumper crops and wheat harvesting machines were seen busy all around during the harvesting season of 2017. [10]

Small Tribe with Big Names[edit]

Gənḍapūrs is a rather small but talented tribe occupying about 1,200 km2 of Dera Ismail Khan district (Kulachi Tehsil). It has so far produced two Chief Ministers and three ministers of the province at different times.(They are Sardar Aurangzeb Khan, Inayatullah Khan as C.Ms. and Aminullah Khan, Ali Amin Khan, Israrullah Khan and Ikramullah Khan, as ministers)[11] Besides politics it has contributed some great names in the field of bureaucracy, judiciary, medicine and literature. The first Session judge of Frontier in British days in the early 20th Century (Sarfraz Khan, followed by another a few year later Zafar Khan; both from Takwara. A High Court Judge (Javed Nawaz) a Sword of Honor winner from PMA Kakul (Khurram Nawaz) Two national hockey team captains; Captain of the first Olympic Gold medal winning team in 1960 (Abdul Hamid Khan affectionately called Hamidi) and Abdur Rashid Khan. who was declared "the player of the Tournament" in the First ever World Cup, in 1972 that was won by Pakistan.[12] As early as 1922; a Gandapur Sardar Muhammad Gul Khan suggested partition of India.[13]A Gandapur poet Attaullah Khan Atta, who wrote poetry in Persian has been given a "chair" in Tehran University [14]


  1. ^ Gandapur, Aminullah Khan. Tareekh-i-Sarzamin-i-Gomal. National Book Foundation Islamabad. p. 72. ISBN 978-969-37-0270-5. 
  2. ^ Khurshid i Jehan by SherMuhammad Khan
  3. ^ Gandpaur, Aminullah KhanPages 40 & 41
  4. ^ Tarikh i Pashtun; P-644-47 and Qadirdad; Tarikh i Gandapur-98
  5. ^ Tarikh-i-Pashtun, a translation of 19th century Persian Book Khurshid i Jehan by Sher Muhammad Khan Gandapur, P-626
  6. ^ Herbert Edwards; 'A Year on the Punjab Frontier' Vol-I, P-331-357
  7. ^ Unsung Pushtoons, by Aminullah Khan Gandapur, Nabeel Traders, Peshawar
  8. ^ Transfer of Power Documents (published by he British government) volume -VIII; Document no.520; Enclosure; P820)
  9. ^ Jinnah Papers, compiled officially by Zaidi, (Official Muslim League Record, National Library, Lahore.
  10. ^ Daily Nation Lahore, 28 August 2001
  11. ^ Assembly Record and printed Debates of NWFP Assembly; 1943, 1973, 2013-17
  12. ^ Unsung Pushtoons; P-125)
  13. ^ Volume I of NWFP Enquiry Report of 1922; P-744-98 and the Dissenting Note, P-122
  14. ^ Tareekh i Sarzamin i Gomal, P-310-11


Pakistan News

Further reading[edit]

The most important sources regarding the history of Gandapurs are as follows:

  • Tarikh-e-Pushtun (History of Pushtun) by Sher Muhammad Khan Ibrahim Zai Gandapur. Originally written in Persian with title Khurshid e Jahan (Sun of the World) for Begum of Bhopal
  • Tarikh-e-Ganadapur (History of the Gandapurs) by Qadir Dad Khan Gandapur
  • Tarikh-e-Sarzamin-e-Gomal (Urdu) (History of the Gomal Land) by Aminullah Khan Gnadapur, published by National Book Foundation, Islamabad, 2008
  • Gazetteer of District Dera Ismail Khan (1882–83)
  • "Musalman Races in Sind, Baluchistan and Afghanistan" (1904)
  • Unsung Pushtoons; by Aminullah Khan Gandapur; Book-I. Part-I

External links[edit]