Swat (princely state)

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State of Swat
Pashto: رياست سوات
Flag of Swat
CapitalSaidu Sharif
GovernmentPrincely state in alliance with British India (1918–1947)
Princely state of Pakistan (1947–1969)
Wāli of Swat 
• Established
28 July 1969
CurrencyRupee, Pakistan Rupee (after 1947)
Today part ofPakistan
 · Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

State of Swat (Urdu: رياست سوات) was a state established in 1849 by the Muslim saint Saidu Baba, also known as Akhund of Swat,[1][2] and was ruled by Walis of Swat. It was recognized as a princely state in alliance with the British Raj between 1918 and 1947, after which the Akhwand acceded to the newly independent state of Pakistan. Swat continued to exist as an autonomous region until it was dissolved in 1969,[3] and incorporated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly North-West Frontier Province). The area it covered is now divided among the present-day districts of Swat, Buner and Shangla.


The Swat state was established by a religious leader, Saidu Baba, who was born in a non-Pashtun Gujjar family[4][5][6][7][8] of the upper Swat Valley in 1794.[9] He began his life as a shepherd and then left the village at the age of 18 to settled in the village of Mian Brangola, where he got his early education and learnt the fundamentals of Islam.[9]

Saidu Baba ultimately settled in 1849 at Saidu Sharif, gradually turning Swat into an independent state.[10]: 40  However, after his death in 1877, Swat fell into abeyance till 1915, when Abdul Jabbar, a descendant of Pir Baba was elected as leader. In 1918, the grandson of Saidu Baba, Miangul Abdul Wadud became the Wali of Swat. Soon Swat was recognized by the British government as a princely state. In 1947, Miangul Abdul Wadud acceded his state to Pakistan.


The rulers of Swat held the title Amir-e Shariyat and from 1918 were known as Badshah; the title changed to Wali in 1926 when it became a Princely State of the British Raj. Since 1969 the former princely state has been under a civil administration as part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[3]

Tenure Rulers of Swat
1849–1857 Akbar Shah
1857–1878 Saidu Baba
1878–1916 state in abeyance
1916–1918 Abdul Jabbar Shah
1918–1949 Miangul Abdul Wadud
1949–1969 Miangul Jahan Zeb

See also[edit]


  1. ^ S.G. Page 398 and 399, T and C of N.W.F.P by Ibbetson page 11 etc
  2. ^ Fredrik Barth, Features of Person and Society in Swat: Collected Essays on Pathans, illustrated edition, Routledge, 1981
  3. ^ a b Claus, Peter J.; Diamond, Sarah; Ann Mills, Margaret (2003). South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Taylor & Francis. p. 447. ISBN 9780415939195.
  4. ^ Roy, Olivier (1990). Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan. Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-521-39700-1.
  5. ^ Ziad, Waleed (16 November 2021). Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints Beyond the Oxus and Indus. Harvard University Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-674-24881-6. ...Akhund of Swat... was arguably the region's most beloved personality of the nineteenth century. Originally from a poor family of Gujjar pastoralists, at age eighteen he devoted himself to religious studies.
  6. ^ Edwards, David B. (2 October 1996). Heroes of the Age: Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier. University of California Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-520-20063-0.
  7. ^ Beattie, Dr Hugh; Beattie, Hugh (16 December 2013). Imperial Frontier: Tribe and State in Waziristan. Routledge. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-136-83957-3.
  8. ^ McMahon, A. H.; Ramsay, A. D. G. (1981). Report on the Tribes of Dir, Swat, and Bajour Together with the Utman-khel and Sam Ranizai. Saeed Book Bank. p. 22.
  9. ^ a b Inam-ur-Rahim; Viaro, Alain M. (2002). Swat: An Afghan Society in Pakistan : Urbanisation and Change in Tribal Environment. City Press. pp. 77–79. ISBN 978-969-8380-55-7.
  10. ^ Haroon, Sana (2011). Frontier of Faith: Islam, in the Indo-Afghan Borderland. Hurst Publishers. ISBN 978-1849041836.

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