A Persian manuscript of Durr-i-Maqāl: A versified account of the British Military Expeditions in the former North-West Frontier Province (1858 to 1863)
Keywords:Durr-i-Maqāl, versified account, British expeditions, Ambela war
A Persian manuscript entitled Durr-i-Maqāl, a poetical work of Mirza Abdul Haq Arvi has recently surfaced in the Swat valley. It is a voluminous and versified account of the military expeditions of the British Indian Empire carried out against the Hindustan Mujahidin (the so-called Hindustani fanatics) stationed at Panjtar, Sitana, Mangal Thana, and Malka between 1858 and 1863. The manuscript is substantially devoted to the Ambela war of 1863, in which various tribes of Buner, Swat, Dir, Bajur, Chitral and upper Indus valley participated against the British forces. Unlike the British military and Intelligence reports, wherein the bravery of Colonial officers is exaggerated, Durr-i- Maqāl, on the contrary, impartially records the casualties of the English army and Mujahidin. Moreover, this is perhaps the only recorded document of the bribery of thirteen thousand rupees received by the local chiefs of Buner from the British
government in lieu of the destruction of Malka. An attempt is made here to present a summary of this important MS and to find out the facts so for shrouded in mystery.