SHRI BADAT- The Great king


Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Satuarday, August 2—–August 2008
Blossoming the mystified silhouette of the Trojan ruler of Gilgit
Efforts for resurfacing and building upon the ancient impeccable history of Gilgit-Baltistan (Bolor) is very important for the futuristic paradigm, so as to galvanize political activism. For this a deep insight is required into numerous available written accounts mentioned in old chronicles of Sanskrit Puranas, Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, Persian Tarikhs, Chinese Records, Sikh-Dogra sponsored historical written accounts, British era Gazetteers, Travelogues and modern day research works. The picked and sifted material is to be collated, matched against geographical realities and weighed in the perspective of changing socio-religious trends and values.The prevalent oral tales in the society of Gilgit, adore and at the same time bemoan this ancient most remembered Raa (Ruler) of Gilgit. Many legends and myths about him are cropping up even at present juncture of time, as in 2002, some adventurous youth of Gilgit climbed up the steep Southern mountains of Gilgit City Valley and dugged up the masonry abode of this authoritarian and dreaded ruler and found old manuscripts, which they sold very cheaply to Pathan antique smugglers. There can be no denying the fact that Raja Shri or Sri Badat or Bhagat was an aborigine of Dardic race, who ruled Gilgit proper and the adjoining empire in a bewildering manner, before the advent of Islam. There is definitely a link and a relationship between him and the aborigine Su Malik benign dynasty of Tarakhan lineage, who ruled Chitral and Gilgit simultaneously at a similar point of time, immediately before the advent of Islam.In the written records, especially of Mirza Ghufran’s Tarikh-e-Chitral, both Su Malik rulers of Gilgit and Chitral belonged to TaraKhan clan. The name of Azur appears in the regime of both these Emperors i.e. Sri Baghat and Su Malik; perhaps they were the same or from the same aborigine non-Muslim ruling dynasty. It is worth mentioning that the terminology of TaraKhan is used with both the Su Malik rulers of Gilgit and Chitral. On the immediate Northern Karakoram ridge of Gilgit City Valley, towards the western end, there is a huge rock portion giving shape of a trouser with a belt on top i.e. Shalwar and azarband in Urdu.This is attributed to be of Shri Badat. Similarly, on the Southern Hinduraj Mountain ridge of Gilgit, a plateu on quite height is said to be having Polo field of this imposing ruler. All legends and tales point towards one fact that the abode, living habitat of Raa Shri Badat (in present Shina form) was in the Southern mountain Range of Gilgit. The exact boundaries of the famous Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalaya Ranges are a paradox of geographers, but there is no denying the fact that the Southern Mountain Ranges of Gilgit Valley is known as “HINDURAJ” Range; a sharp contrast to “HINDUKUSH”. This authentic name is gradually being given up by Pakistani surveyors. In order to solve the parallax of Sri Bhagat in a willy nilly manner, let us explore “HINDURAJ RANGE” from Gazetteer of Kashmir and Ladak, printed in Calcutta in 1890, under the heading HINDU RAJ, on page 364, it is written, “A name which may conveniently be applied to the great watershed separating Gilgit, Yasin and Chitral on the North, from Kohistan and Shinaka to the South.This range runs from the very bank of the Indus, opposite Bunji, right away to the Kunar Valley. Broadly speaking also, this range may be regarded as the dividing line between Sunnis and Shias, the people to the North being almost entirely Shia. The name Hindu Raj is not one generally known, and may not be altogether correct, but it supplies a want (Tanner-Aylmer)’. It is clearly mentioned on almost all map sheets of the region. Sir Walter Lawrence Bart, G.C.I.E Imperial Gazetteer of India, Kashmir and Jammu 1909. Pages 106, 107, 108. “The ancient name of the site under its Hindu Raas was Sargin. Later it was known as Gilgit, which the Sikhs and Dogras corrupted into Gilgit. The remains of ancient stone buildings and Buddhist carvings suggest that Gilgit was once the seat of a Buddhist or Hindu dynasty, while traces of abandoned cultivation point to the fact that the population in early times was far larger that it is at present. Tradition relates that the last of the Hindu Raas, Sri Badat, known as Adam Khor, the ‘man-eater’, was killed by a Muhammadan adventurer. Sri Badat’s rule is said to have extended to Chitral”. On page 328 of the aforementioned Gazetteer, under heading Gilgit is written, “Its identity with the Gahalats of ancient Sanskrit literature has been suggested. A few remains still exist of ancient stone buildings, apparently of the same description as the Martund and Pandrathan temples in Kashmir. Their presence indicate that a considerable amount of wealth and scientific skill must once have existed in this remote valley, of which not even the tradition has survived. The former rulers had the title of Ra, and there is a reason to suppose that they were at one time Hindus. The names of the Hindu Ras have been lost, with the exception of the last of their number, Shiri Badutt. Tradition relates that he was killed by a Muhammadan adventurer, who married his daughter (Noor Bakht) and founded a new dynasty, since called Trakhane named after a Hindu ruler of 14th century. According to traditions, Sihri Badutt’s rule extended over Chitral, Yasin, Tangir, Darel, Chilas, Gor, Astor, Hunza, Nagar and Haramosh, all of which were probably held by tributary princess of the same family.” In order to draw a comparison between the Hindu and Budhist ancient rulers of Gilgit, let us examine the famous book by Prof E.M.Hassnain, “ Gilgit- The Northern Gate of India”. On page 15, under heading ‘Religion’, it is written, “Gilgit is now largely inhabited by the followers of Islam but during ancient times, they followed their ancient faiths. In fact, after its extinction in Kashmir, Buddhism found a refuge in Dardistan.This region was ruled over by the Sahi Princess, who founded many Buddhist stupas in and around Gilgit in the 6th Century. Among the important Sahi rulers of Gilgit, may be mentioned, Deve Sahi, Lalleya Sahi, Bhima Sahi, who patronized Budhism”. Let us now examine some disjointed notes on Shri Badat mentioned in Captain.H.Godfrey’s Report on the Gilgit Agency (1896-97), Revised by major B.E.M. Gurdon, Political Agent in Gilgit. Published at Simla in 1907. “The history of Gilgit can at the furthest be traced back only for some three and a half centuries.The ancient rock carvings in and near this locality prove that Budhism was at one time the predominant religion of the country through which the upper waters of Indus flow down from Skardu to Chilas, even as it is now of Ladakh and Tibet. Little reliance can indeed be placed upon these old World tales handed down orally from generation to generation. A few scattered yet apparently authentic facts may be gleaned concerning the Hindu Ra s of Sargin. The earliest stories lead back to the sixteenth century when Agmtham was the Buddhist King of Gilgit. He was driven out by Abudagmu of Chalam Kuir, near Rondu, who reigned in his stead. The latter was succeeded by his son Shri Bagartham who was the father of the last Buddhist King of Gilgit, Shri Badat. Shri Badat is said to have been so harsh and despotic in his rule that his cruelties gained for him the name of Adam-Khor, the man-eater. And when the country was invaded by Shamsher and his two brothers Khishrau and Jamshaid, the people rose against him and Shri Badat was forced to fly. He took refuge in Ishkuman where, according to local myths, he still lives among snow and glaciers of the mountains”. Few authenticated facts can also be collected and ascertained from Biddulph’s book on “Tribes of Hindukush” i.e. Shri Bhagat was the real living and existing authenticated ruler of Gilgit with his subrulers from Chitral to Hunza and from Haramosh to Astore and Tangir. Raa dynasty was there and shri was the title of Hindu rulers. Su Malik ruler of Gilgit was son of one Tarakhan. So, it can be safely assumed from this and aforementioned citations that Tarakhan was a Pre Islamic title. The famous Mirza Khan ruler of Gilgit was the grandson of Su Malik, whose sister was famous Queen ruler of Gilgit i.e Grandma Jawahiri. Furthermore, in this book it is also mentioned that in the end of Sixteenth Century or start of Seventeenth Century, before the advent of Islam; a Raa dynasty was ruling Chitral, about whom it was said that they belonged to the same clan, who are the ruling Raa dynasty of Gilgit. Now, let us turn towards the subject of Gilgit as given out by the official historian of Dogra regime, Alhaj Moulvi Hashmat Allah Khan Lakhnavi in Tareekh-e-Jammu.He describes Shri Badat as a Buddhist ruler of Gilgit from 1080 to 1120 A.D, who was from the lineage of Shri Bagortham. Shri Badat constructed the Monument of Lord Budha in Kargah Nullah, in the suburbs of Gilgit. It is said that he constructed such monuments in Punial and Yasin also. Shri Badat’s marvelous palace was situated in the base of Southern mountains of Gilgit, the remains of which can still be found. From the remains of this palace, a Dogra officer named Jawahir Singh, took away a pillar of about two to two and a half yards length and inscribed on it name of Dogra Raja Ranbir Singh and placed it on a highway of Gilgit. He further writes that Shri Badat was so much dreaded by the people of Gilgit that his death was not believed by them and it was rumoured that he has fled to Yasin, where he is alive under the glacier of KatorKhan. Thus, a tradition started that on a given day in a year, fire use to be lit in the whole area so that the soul of Shri Badat should not dare coming to Gilgit.For the last some time this tradition has died down. Lastly, let us examine as to what is mentioned in this regard by the great son of the soil Mirza Mohammad Ghafran in his masterpiece book Tareekh-e-Chitral, in Persian and translated by his son Lt Mirza Ghulam Murtaza in urdu in 1962. He writes that Su Malik One was from the clan of Tara Khan and his great ancestor was a man named Azur. He ruled from Gilgit to Chitral. He was the first and the last ruler of the aborigine Kahoo nation, who ruled the upper Chitral probably in 1610 and 607 A.D. his empire extended from Gilgit to KariMuqam. His rule can be termed as the most blissful rule in the entire history of Kohistan ; a terminology derived from Kahoo. After Su Malik One, his descendants ruled from Chitral to Gilgit, Hunza, Nagir, Chilas, Darel and Tangir. SuMalik Sani was a very famous ruler of this dynasty, whose three sons Hun Rai, was the ruler of Hunza ; Ron Rai was the ruler of Gilgit and Zon Rai was the ruler of Northern Chitral.His descendants are still present in Hunza, Gilgit and Chitral. Five hundred people from the family of Rono are settled in Tangir and two hundred are settled in Bashqar. The ancestors and descendants of SuMalik were all rulers and this was the first and last ruling dynasty of Kahoo Clan, because the Kahoo nation is the oldest original aborigine people of Chitral. The other ruling dynasties of Chitral i.e Raisa and Taimori etc were also old people but they were not originally son of the soil. SuMalik dynasty ruled from Gilgit to Chitral during pre Islamic period in a most comfy and benign manner. The SuMalik dynasty during this period was also ruling Gilgit and adjoining region . SuMalik, Raa of Gilgit, who was the son of TaraKhan, reconquered Varshigum area from Raisa ruling clan. Mr Inayat ullah Faizi of Chitral has confirmed the aforementioned extracts about Su Malik on page 16 and 17 of his book on Chitral published in urdu. The above mentioned facts are also narrated, analyzed and confirmed by the great son of the soil of Gilgit, Late Mr Faqir Mohammad Khan in his book, “The Story Of Gilgit, Baltistan and Chitral”. This is a basic work to piece together various important aspects of the windswept ancient history of the Bolor Country ( Gilgit-Baltistan ). More and more work is required to adjudge, whether mispronounced and inflectioned Sri Bhagat was a beloved or an abhorred ruler of Gilgit? One thing is very certain that he has left indelible marks on the psyche of Gilgitis. Beside him, another non Muslim Ruler of Gilgit, SuMalik is also an acknowledge and acclaimed mighty Ruler of Gilgit.Sri Bhagat’s relationship with Bhudism of Rondhu-Baltistan or perhaps Hinduism of Chitral is yet to be ascertained. Hinduism is an older religion than Bhudism. The efforts in this regard will surely strengthen the much wanted identity of Bolor Country. (www.balawaristan.net)
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