Khawajgan

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Khawajgan (خواجڴان;) is a Pashtun community in northern Pakistan. It is located in Mansehra District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, about 45 kilometers east of the Indus River and 156 kilometers from Islamabad, in the lower Pakhal Valley. It is the de facto headquarters of the Swati tribe and the second most populous village in the Pakhal Valley.

Khawajgan is bordered on the east by the village of Sherpur; on the west by Janglat, the Meadows of Ajmer, and Chorgali; on the north by Muradpur (Najjha), the Jageer area, Tatar, and Gidarpur; and on the south by the city of Mansehra.

The main language is Pashto, with pockets of Hindko. Small minorities speak Urdu and English.

History[edit]

Khawajgan was built as a small Pashtun village approximately 500 years ago. The area may once have been inhabited by Hindus and Turks, before the Swati tribe invaded. The date of the invasion is not known.

The people of Khawajgan are members of the Swati tribe, from the Sarkhailee, Mamyati, and Matrawi clans. The tribe first settled in Tajikistan. From there, they migrated to Afghanistan, then to the Swat Valley, and then to the Pakhal Valley. The Swatis who invaded were descendants of Batu Khail Balghandar Khan, a descendant of Ali Sher Khan, son of Sultan Mitra Khan-Matrawi. Later, Inayat Ullah Khan rebuilt Khawajgan at its current location, at a high altitude with an abundance of water from a nearby stream for drinking and farming.

Khawajgan is a federation of a number of small taluqas, or villages, including Landai, Bhatain, Shanai, Skandara, Dagai, Golroo Maira, Baila, and Bandi Sheikhan.

Education[edit]

Since independence, Khawajgan has seen a significant improvement in education and educational facilities, although the standards are fairly low in government-funded schools compared with those in the rest of the country. The literacy rate among residents 10 or older is just under 50 percent; it has increased by 34 percent since 1981. The male literacy rate is higher, at 60.5 percent.

There are separate educational institutes for girls and boys, as well as co-educational institutes. However, most families with children move to Mansehra or Abbottabad for schooling. Some of the educational institutes in Khawajgan are:

  • Government Primary School for Boys
  • Government Middle School for Girls
  • Muslim Public High School
  • National Model Public School

Economy[edit]

Khawajgan is largely an agricultural area. The major crops are wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, maize, rice, rapeseed, mustard, and various vegetables, including both kharif and rabi crops. Important fruits are oranges, plums, peaches, apricots, pears, and apples. The past 10 years have seen major improvements in education, health, and infrastructure. Large-scale poultry farming and manufacturing based on agricultural material have grown, as has the financial sector. National banks have opened branches in the village center, and the population is growing rapidly.

Climate[edit]

The summer season in Khawajgan is hot: Temperatures rise steeply from May to June, reaching a peak of 41.5 °C on average, and remain high through July, August, and September. During May and June, dust storms are frequent. Starting in October, temperatures fall rapidly. The coldest months are December and January, with a mean minimum temperature of 2.1 °C in January.

Most rainfall occurs in July, August, December and January. The maximum rainfall is 125.85 mm in August. Toward the end of the cold-weather season, there are occasional thunderstorms and hail storms. The relative humidity is high throughout the year, reaching a maximum of 73.33% in December.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Common trees in Khawajgan are mesquite, ber, acacia, eucalyptus, safeda, pine, and cedar. The village has a variety of fauna, including the jackal, goat, and pheasant. Russian doves migrate through the area and are a target of hunters, as locals like their meat.

Food[edit]

Popular foods in the village include rice, beef cooked as chapli kebab, seekh kebab, tikka, and kahwa (green tea). Tandoor ovens for baking bread are present in many homes.

Dwellings[edit]

The village is divided into kandis based on the pattern of agricultural lands. The houses generally consist of two or three rooms, a courtyard, and outdoor accommodations for cattle and poultry.

Each kandi has its own mosque and a meeting place called a hujra, commonly used for business and to settle public disputes. In most cases, hujras are the property of the kandi's elders, who are expected to feed and give shelter to visitors. The best-known hujra in Khawajgan, open to travelers 365 days a year, is Naberdar saib Hujra.

Many houses in Khawajgan lack compound walls because they are immediately adjacent to one another, separated by gates.

References[edit]

Notables[edit]