Kata people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Katir also (Kati, Kator, Kata) are a Nuristani tribe in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Etymology[edit]

The Katir/Katir or Kata Kafir group was numerically the most dominant group of the Siah-Posh (Persian "Black Wearer/Clothed") tribes. They owned approximately forty villages in the Bashgul valley and numbered about 40,000 (1890).

The upper part of the Bashgul Valley of Nuristan (Afghanistan) is known as Katirgul. It is called Lutdeh in Chitrali and Kantozi in Pashto.

According to George Scott Robertson, the Katir Siah-Posh clan settled in Katirgul valley was called Kamtoz (or Camtoz) in Pashto and Lutdehhchis in Chitrali (The Kafirs of the Hindukush, p 71). But American investigator Richard Strand's website suggests that the name Kamtoz/Kamtozi may apply to all Katirs of the former Siah-Posh group, including the Ramguli and Kulam Katirs [1].

Alternative names for Kamtoz are Camtozi, Kantozi. Despite their fiercely independent nature, the Katis, together with the Kom tribe, were tributary to the Mehtar of Chitral. The nature of this tributary relationship was inconsistent because the Katis and Koms would often raid Chitrali territory for livestock and head-hunting. In retaliation the Mehtars would invade the Bashgul Valley and enslave entire villages. During the reign of Mehtar Aman-ul-Mulk the relationship was formalized and the Kafirs would pay an annual tribute of slaves.

Numerous scholars have connected the names Katir/Kator/Kata and Kam/Kom with ancient Kambojas and identified the Kafirs, especially the Siah-Posh Kafirs, as having descended from ancient Kambojas.[1]

History[edit]

Kafiristan is a mountainous region of the Hindu Kush that was isolated and politically independent until the conquest by Afghan conquest of 1896. The region became a refuge of an old group of Indo-European people probably mixed with an older substratum, as well as a refuge of a distinct Kafiri group of Indo-Iranian languages, forming part of the wider Dardic languages. The inhabitants were known as "kafirs" due to their enduring paganism while other regions around them became Muslim. However, the influence from district names in Kafiristan of Katwar or Kator and the ethnic name Kati has also been suggested. The Kafirs were divided into Siyah-Posh, comprising five sub-tribes who spoke Lato language while the others were called Safed-Posh comprising Prasungeli, Wangeli, Wamais and Ashhkun.[2]

The Nuristani/Kafir people practiced an form of ancient Hinduism, infused with accretions developed locally.[3] Kafirs represent non-Rig Vedic Aryans, identical with the Dasas. That their ancestors were pre-Rigvedic Aryans can be inferred from lingusitic, ethnological and theological evidence. The Kafiri/Nuristani languages contain certain Indo-Aryan phoenetic features not found in Indo-Iranian languages. Their chief deity is Imra ie., Yamaraja which was brought there by the Dasas who worshipped Asuras especially Yama and Varuna. Another of their goddess Dhisana is identical to the marginalized Yama in the Rig Veda. They also worshipped Indra or Inthra.[4]

Invasion of Timur (1398)[edit]

On his way to India, Timur attacked the Siyah-Posh in 1398 A.D. after receiving complaints from the trading city of Andarab by raids from Kafirs. He penetrated it from Khawak pass and restored an old fortress there.[5] Timur personally proceeded against the Kator and sent a detachment of 10,000 soldiers against Siyah-Poshas under Burhan Aglan and had the fort of Kator deserted by Kafirs destroyed while the houses of the city were burnt.[6]

The Kafirs took refuge on top of a hill and many were killed in the ensuing clash. Some held out for three days but agreed to convert after Timur offered them the choice between death and Islam. They however soon apostatised and ambushed Muslim soldiers in the night. They were however repelled and a number of the Kafirs were killed, with 150 taken prisoner and later executed. Timur ordered his men "to kill all the men, to make prisoners of women and children, and to plunder and lay waste all their property." His soldiers carried out the order and he directed them to build a tower of skulls of the dead Kafirs. Timur had his expedition engraved on a neighboring hill in the month of Ramazan. His detachment sent against Siyah-Poshas however met with disaster with Aglan routed and fleeing. A small detachement of 400 men under Muhammad Azad was sent and defeated the Kafirs, retrieving the horses and armour Aglan lost. Timur captured a few places later, though nothing more is states, presumably he left the Siyah-poshas alone. He then proceeded to exterminate the rebellious Afghan tribes and crossed the Sindhu river in September 1398.[6]

Forced conversion to Islam (late 19th century)[edit]

The territory between Afghanistan and British India was demarcated between 1894 to 1896. Part of the frontier lying between Nawa Kotal in outskirts of Mohmand country and Bashgal Valley on outskirts of Kafiristan were demarcated by 1895 with an agreement reached on 9 April 1895.[7] Emir Abdur Rahman Khan invaded Kafiristan in the winter of 1895-1896 and captured it in 40 days according to his autobiography. Columns invaded it from the west through Panjshir to Kullum, the strongest fort of the region. The columns from the north came through Badakhshan and from the east through Asmar. A small column also came from south-west through Laghman. The Kafirs were forcibly converted to Islam and resettled in Laghman while the region was settled by veteran soldiers and other Afghans. Kafiristan was renamed as Nooristan.[8]

The former Kafiristan Kafiri were renamed Nuristani (The Enlightened Ones) from the proper noun Nuristan (Land of Light). Presently they are known by Nuristani Kata or simply Kata.[citation needed]

Georg Morgenstierne visited the Bashgul Valley in 1929 during his field work on Nuristani (Kafir) languages. He encountered the two last remaining unconverted "Kafir" priests of the region, called Bagashai and Kareik. Both men were dead by 1935.[9]

Around 1890, the Katir Kafir division was further sub-divided as under:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ H.H. Wilson, M. Elphinstone, Bombay Gazetteer, D. Wilber, M. C. Gillet, W. K. Fraser Tytler, R. L. Mitra, H. C. Raychaudhury, J.R.A.S. 1843, J.A.S.B. 1874 etc.
  2. ^ C. E. Bosworth; E. Van Donzel; Bernard Lewis; Charles Pellat (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Volume IV. Brill Publishers. p. 409.
  3. ^ Richard F. Strand (31 December 2005). "Richard Strand's Nuristân Site: Peoples and Languages of Nuristan". nuristan.info.
  4. ^ Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. 2003. pp. 109–110.
  5. ^ Vasily Bartold. An Historical Geography of Iran. Princeton University Press. p. 85.
  6. ^ a b R.C. Majumdar (1951). The History and Culture of the Indian People: The Delhi Sultanate. Allen & Unwin. p. 113.
  7. ^ Vasily Bartold. An Historical Geography of Iran. Princeton University Press. p. 85.
  8. ^ Percy Sykes. A History of Afghanistan: Volumes 1 and 2, Volume 1. Routledge. p. 195.
  9. ^ Enhet i mangfold? 100 år med religionshistorie i Norge 1898-1998. Wlodek Witek, With Camera to India, Iran and Afghanistan: Access to Multimedia Sources of the Explorer, Professor Dr. Morgenstierne (1892-1975), National Library of Norway, Oslo.
  • The Kafirs of Hindukush, 1896, George Scott Robertson
  • An Account of the Kingdom of Caubol, London, M Elphinstone
  • Tribes of Hindukush, Craz (Austria), 1971, J Biddulph
  • "The Kâta". Retrieved July 4, 2006, from Richard F. Strand: Nuristan, Hidden Land of the Hindu-Kush.