Mazari tribe

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Mazari tribe
Languages
Balochi, Saraiki, Sindhi, English, Urdu
Religion
Islam, Sunni, Shia
Related ethnic groups
Baloch tribes

Mazari (Urdu: مزاری‎) is a Baloch tribe in Pakistan. Mazari is derived from the Balochi word mazar, which means "Tiger" in the Balochi language. Rojhan-Mazari, a town in the Rajanpur District of the Punjab near the inter-provincial borders of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, is the stronghold of the Mazari tribe.

History[edit]

Sir Nawab Imam Buksh Khan Mazari(K.C.I.E) with Richard I.Bruce(C.I.E) Commissioner of The Derajat in April 1896, Dera Ghazi Khan

The Mazari tribe is one of the oldest tribes of the Baloch.[1] The area the Mazaris conquered is still known as Tuman Mazari. It encompassed an area that included most of Kashmore District in Sindh, Tehsil Sadiqabad, Chatha Baksha Mazari District, Jhang and all of Tehsil Rojhan in Punjab. The arrival of the British saw the golden era for the Mazari tribe. The Chief ruled an area from the town of Bhong all the way to the Sulaiman mountain range and from Kashmore to Giamul. This is estimated to be an area of at least 8,000 km sq. The Mazaris continuously defeated, overwhelmed and annihilated the Nahars, Machis, Bugtis and Chandios and fought many battles against the Sikhs of Punjab who were the dominant power before the arrival of the British.

Wars with the Sikh Empire[edit]

A portrait of Sardar Mir Bahram Khan Mazari

In 1836, Mithankot, by then a strong Sikh garrison fortress, was attacked by the Mazari Baloch tribal forces under the command of Sardar Karam Khan, the younger brother of the Mazari Chief, Sardar Mir Bahram Khan. The attack came as result of the constant threats of Maharaja Kharak Singh to Rojhan Mazari. The garrison was burnt to the ground. Any prisoners captured were skinned alive. Ranjit Singh retaliated by sending Diwan Sawan Mal, his governor of Multan to attack Rojhan. Rojhan was burnt. Despite this, casualties on the Mazari side were minimal as the Sikh army lost the element of surprise and the Mazaris were able to evacuate their city in time. They, then took refuge in the Suleiman mountains and continued to harass the Sikhs from there. This resulted in constant skirmishes between both the parties. According to book 'Tehreek e Mujahideen', after hearing about the bravery of Mazari's, Syed Ahmad Barelvi of Tehreek-e-Mujahidin, approached Sardar Karam Khan, at Kin and offered to fight jointly against Sikhs but he refused to accept the offer, after having consultation with his elder brother, Mir Fasih Khan. Afterwards, Diwan Sawan Mal invited Karam Khan to Multan where they entered to a mutual agreement which was to be ratified at Lahore.

Finally, in 1838 Mir Bahram Khan visited Lahore with 12,000 Mazari tribesmen and officials on the invitation of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Mazaris were well received by the Maharaja at the Lahore Fort and given a royal welcome. The Maharaja had the Mughal-era Naulakha Pavilion (Saman Burj) inside the Lahore Fort specially renovated for the month-long stay of Sardar Mir Bahram Khan Mazari. This meeting between the two leaders officially brought an end to the long war between the Mazari Baloch and the Sikh Empire that started with the attack on Mithankot. This picture of Mir Bahram Khan Mazari is in the Sikh War Gallery in Amritsar, India, and was painted by the personal French artist of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh's court when Mir Bahram Khan Mazari visited Lahore.[2]

Geography[edit]

The area held by the tribe can be categorized as arid and as well as fertile. To the west of Rojhan-Mazari lie the Sulaiman Range and to the east flows the River Indus. Rainfall is scarce but heavy showers do occur 3-4 times every year which lead to hill torrents from the west. The climate is excellent for crops like cotton, wheat, rice, sugar cane etc. to grow.

Language[edit]

The language which the Mazari tribe speaks is known as Sulimanki Balochi which is widely spoken in Rojhan Mazari, Kashmor and in other parts of Balochistan as well. Saraiki language is also widely understood in the Rojhan Mazari. Mazaris in Sindh speak Sindhi as well.

Sir Nawab Imam Buksh Khan Mazari[edit]

His Noble Majesty, Sir Nawab Mir Imam Buksh Khan Mazari was the second son of Mir Bahram Khan Mazari. Mir Dost Ali Khan, his elder brother, was the initial chieftain of the tribe but as he fell to dissipated habits, his younger more energetic brother, Imam Buksh Khan took charge of the tribe.

The Panjab Chiefs[edit]

Lepel Griffin's book mentions Sir Nawab Imam Buksh Khan Mazari and his son Nawab Mir Bahram khan Mazari:

He (Imam Buksh Khan) speedily recognised the advantages of the new regime of law and order, and threw himself heart and soul into the work of making good subjects of the Mazaries. He never allowed self-interest or partnership stand in the way of justice; and the general recognition of his integrity gave him enormous influence, not only with Baluches generally, but among all classes of the population, Musalman and Hindu. His active and intelligent loyalty was conspicuous on various occasions. In the Mutiny he was made Risaldar of a corps raised for service during the absence of the regular cavalry regiment from Asni. He was appointed an Honorary Magistrate in 1859, and he of disposed all the criminal work arising in the Mazari State. Crime was severely dealt with, and good order enforced; his word being law to his people, who had entire faith to justice. An excellent feeling of loyalty prevailed in his territories. His services were conspicuous in deeling with the Maris and Bugtis, with whom he had considerable influence. He was of the greatest assistance to Sir Robert Sandemen when, he had to bring these troublesome and barbaric tribes under control, and prevent their raids on the British territory. In negotiations with the Khan of Kalat, extending from 1874 to 1877, his services were of value in bringing matters to successful issue. He received the title of Nawab in the latter year for distinguished services generally. He was made a Companian of the Indian Empire in 1884, and four years later was raised to the rank of Knighthood in the same order. He was also a provincial Darbari and for a time a member of the Punjab Legislative Council. The Nawab was unquestionably the best of many excellent chiefs whose aid has been so valuable in watching our western border and keeping it free from the ravages of the semi- civilized races living beyond our jurisdiction. His character was singularly admirable one. His energy remained unimpaired to the last, although he was quite blind during his latter years. He died in 1903 and his eldest son, Nawab Bahram Khan, who inherited the whole of his jagir, succeeded him as a chief of the Mazari Tribe. Bahram Khan has won a prestige in his Tuman and in the neighbouring districts in no degree inferior to that which his father enjoyed. His services are sought outside his Tuman and in other districts in the settlement of tribal and inter tribal disputes: the Jacobabad authorities regularly invite him to attend their Jirgas twice a year. He keeps well in touch with the worlds affairs and never spares himself in the work of the Tuman which he has completely in hand. He was granted the title of Nawab in 1904 and was a Companion of the Indian Empire in 1907. In December 1907 he was appointed President of the Punjab Chief's association and was made a member of the Punjab Legislative Council on 1 January 1910. He is a Provincial Darbari and has been given the powers of an Assistant Collector. Of his brothers, Sardar Ghulam Haider Khan is an Extra Assistant Commissioner and Sardar Ata Muhammad Khan a Deputy Superintendent of Police. Of his other relations, his cousin Sardar Ali Akbar Khan is a Divisional Darbari, his cousin Sardar Taj Muhammad Khan is Subedar-Major of the Baloch Levy and his nephew Sardar Ghaus Bakhsh Khan a Jamadar of the B.M. Police and an Honorary Magistrate and Munsiff.

Khan Bahadur Sardar Rahim Yar Khan Mazari[edit]

Khan Bahadur, Sardar Rahimyar Khan Mazari (second from left) with a British official and other Baloch sardars

Rahim Yar Khan was the eldest son of Sardar Ali Akbar Khan Mazari and the grandson of Mir Bahram Khan. The British gave him the title of Khan Bahadur because of his tireless efforts in the service of the Empire. He was made the interim Tumandar/Chief of the tribe when Mir Murad Bukhsh Khan died and his son, Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, was still a minor.

Mention in Northern India's Who's Who[edit]

The book describes him in the following words;

Rahim Yar Khan, Mazari, Sardar, Khan Bahadur, Magistrate First Class, Sub-Judge, Provincial Durbari, Rojhan, District Dera Ghazi Khan. Born 1898. As Musahib Khas to the Honorable Sir Nawab Behram Khan Sahib K.C.I.E, Mazari Chief, gained considerable reputation for having satisfactorily performed a lot of intricate duties. In 1932, on the death of Sardar Mir Murad Bakhsh Khan Sahib the need was felt of appointing a guardian to his minor son, Sardar Mir Balakh Sher Khan. At the Durbar held for the purpose in April 1933, by the Chief Political Agent several Sardars offered themselves for the duty. After due consideration the Chief Political Agent in August 1933, appointed Sardar Rahim Yar Khan as guardian, although Sardar Rahim Yar Khan had not applied for it. He performed this responsible task to universal satisfaction. His high abilities were amply recognized by Government. He was made Provincial Durbari, Punjab and Sind; member, Shahi Jirga, Dera Ghazi Khan; and member, Shahi Jirga, Sind. He was also granted criminal powers 3rd Class and granted an allowance of Rs. 1,250 a year by Government. In 1935 he was invested with criminal powers 2nd class, in 1937 Civil powers 4th Class, and in 1939 criminal powers 1st Class together with some political powers.

In recognition of meritorious services to the Government he was conferred on the Title of Khan Bahadur in 1939.

During the last Great War Khan Bahadur contributed one lakh of rupees to the War Loan and collected several thousands for War Fund. Khan Bahadur is held in universal esteem for being god-fearing, good tempered, hospitable, merciful and as a friend of the poor. His name and legacy will go down in the pages of history.

Mir Balakh Sher Mazari[edit]

Mir Balakh Sher Mazari is the Chieftain (Tumandar) and the Paramount Sardar of the Mazari tribe. As the Chief of Mazaris he holds the title of Mir and also goes by the styles of Tumandar and Sardar. Mir Balakh Sher Mazari is the twenty-second Sardar and the seventh Mir of Mazaris. The eldest of three brothers, he has one surviving brother Sherbaz Khan Mazari who has played a prominent role in Pakistan politics. He himself is a former caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan and has been elected to the National Assembly numerous times. He was born on 8 July 1928 to Mir Murad Buksh Khan Mazari, the twenty-first Sardar and the Sixth Mir of Mazaris. Initially Khan Bahadur Sardar Rahimyar Khan Mazari was made the care taker chieftain of the tribe as Mir Sahib, as he respectfully known as, was still a minor. Upon reaching age though, Mir Balakh Sher was formally acknowledged as the Chief, by the British government and tribal elders as well. His father, Mir Murad Buksh Khan Mazari had earlier succeeded his elder brother Mir Dost Muhammad Khan Mazari as the Chief. They were the sons of Mir Sher Muhammad Khan Mazari, the Nineteenth Sardar and Fourth Mir of Mazaris. Balakh Sher Mazari, after the completion of his education from Aitchison College in 1945 went on to live in Rojhan-Mazari, from where he joined active politics in 1951. He went on to enjoy a fruitful career in politics, which spanned over five decades, before eventually retiring and passing on his political legacy to his grandsons, Dost Muhammad Mazari and Sher Muhammad Mazari. He is still active in his tribal responsibilities and enjoys immense support from the entire Mazari tribe to this day.

Sardar Sherbaz Khan[edit]

Sherbaz Khan Mazari is the youngest son of Mir Murad Baksh Khan. He was born in Rojhan in 1930 and was educated in the Royal Indian Military College in Dehra doon and in Aitchison College Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari entered politics by supporting Fatima Jinnah, sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, against Ayub Khan in the Presidential elections of 1964. In 1970, he was elected to the National Assembly as an independent candidate . He was a signatory to the 1973 Constitution, as head of the independent group in the Assembly. After the Bhutto-led army action in Balochistan and the subsequent banning of the National Awami Party, he formed the National Democratic Party. This was part of an effort to oppose Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's autocratic rule as well as to bring about peace in Balochistan. He served as the leader of the NDP from 1975 to 1985 and the leader of the Opposition in Parliament from 1975-1977. A former friend of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, he became one of his main political opponents in the Pakistan National Alliance. The 1977 elections led to a civil agitation movement which ultimately ousted Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's government and brought in Martial Law under General Zia.

During General Zia's regime he again played a key role in opposing the military regime. He helped establish Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), an alliance of opposition parties which included the Pakistan Peoples Party. He spearheaded a movement against the military government as the Chairman of MRD's "Pakistan Bachao "(Save Pakistan )Committee. The resulting agitation caused widespread commercial disruption in Sindh and parts of Punjab and but was brutally suppressed by the army at a cost of many lives. It was only after Zia's death did democracy finally return to Pakistan. A strong believer of democracy Sardar Mazari was incarcerated on numerous occasions during both Zulfikar ali Bhutto and General Zia's rule. He was one of the few West Pakistani politicians to have opposed the army action in what was then East Pakistan against the Bengali's and the only opponent of Zulfikar Bhutto to have condemned his judicial murder. He was offered key political positions by Zulfikar Bhutto, Zia Ul Haq and later Benazir Bhutto but declined each one of them He has been an outspoken critic of the treatment meted out to Balochi separatists by the Central Government

He was defeated in the 1988 general elections due to differences within the Mazari tribe apparently engineered by "the Establishment" and retired from politics greatly disillusioned. In 1999, he wrote his memoir, A Journey to Disillusionment.

Main clans[edit]

The Mazari tribe consists of 4 large sub-clans and 60 small sub-tribes. The Mazari Chief family belongs to the Balachani clan. Other clans include Sargani, Gahlani, Gandi, Lolai, Esiani, Pyomaar, Rustamani, Sodvani, Lathani, Gulrani, Sillachi, Harwani etc.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mazari 1999, p. xii
  2. ^ Northern India's Whose Who, Penguin Publishers
  • Popular Poetry of the Balochis by Mansel Longworth Dames
  • Mazari, Sherbaz Khan (1999). A Journey to Disillusionment. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-579076-4. 
  • 34 Baloch regiment Col. Sardar Allah Yar Khan Mazari
  • The Punjab Chiefs Vol-i : by Griffin Sir Lepel H.