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- Jan 7th, 2012, 10:33 AM #1
Mir Chakar Khan Rind, the heroic Baloch leader of the 16th century, is among my favourite stars. For the Baloch he is a demigod, almost to be worshipped. If it were within my province, I would follow him from his exploits upon arriving in Makran, across the vast and wonderful land of Balochistan, to his final resting place in Satghara near Okara.
But that cannot be done, at least not in the current setting with the Baloch out for the blood of any Punjabi. My Baloch friends tell me that the man behind the gun that kills me will not be bothered that I am struggling to glorify that great ancestor they all worship. (Paradoxically, some of my pieces on Baloch heroism are preserved on websites banned in Pakistan).
In 1994, I got to travel to a place called Tadri Tal in the outback of Kohlu district. It is a place so beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes: The hills, low, broken, folded and contorted without any vegetation to speak of, are coloured as if from the palette of a master. They come in dark chocolate browns, mauves, pastel pinks and creamy yellows; they seem little like barren rocks, more like huge dollops of icing from a giants cake.
Here the rivers, mere cracks in the arid rocky ground, sometimes flowed in tiny streams. Mostly they were simply dry channels waiting for the rare fall of rain to slake them. The sky was blue and the air was frequently broken by the call of the three or four species of hawks and eagles we saw either quartering the ground from high above, or roosting on the crags.
The month was June, that year when I travelled with friends to visit Mir Hazaar Khan Mari (not the politician of the same name). Of middling stature, fair of skin with a snow-white beard and deep, penetrating brown eyes, Mir sahib was a very good-looking man. He wore a dress as white as his whiskers and the traditional Baloch turban to match. From the hilltop village with its couple of dozen huts and tents, he ruled over his little world.
Over one of the several meals we ate under his roof, I asked if it was possible to reach Sibi from his village by camel. It was, he said, and it would take three days en route. I was tempted. Though he had a camel for my disposal, my kindly host did not permit me to undertake the journey. In the tortured, broken contours of the Bambor Ghar hills, where water was hard to come by, the heat of June could be a killer, especially for a city boy, he said.
Then Mir Hazaar Khan told us the legend. On this ancient byway, there is a tangi, a narrow gorge with a shallow stream at the bottom, named after the Chakar-e-Azam, the great Rind. In the narrow, twisting confines of Chakar Tangi there is somewhere a shelf some ways above the floor of the gorge and difficult to reach. Upon it, unseen by anyone since his time, rest the armour and weapons that Mir Chakar Khan used in battle.
The Baloch and it must be a Baloch who finds that gear, said Mir Hazaar Khan, and uses it will be magically endowed with the strength and prowess of the legendary Baloch hero. Such a man will then lead the Baloch nation to the glory they have long since forfeited and so yearn for.
If the simple journey had tempted me, I was now completely sold. But Mir sahib would have none of that. He would not permit me to travel in the heat of June. Now, I am no Baloch, nor indeed do I have any desire or even the faculties of a leader, my interest was purely academic.
I was and still am attracted to this story because of its similarity with that episode in the life of Alexander the Macedonian. He acquired the armour of Achilles from the ruins of Troy, and it is believed that it was this that saved his life after he received an arrow wound in Multan. If that armour was enchanted, could the one belonging to Mir Chakar Khan, the great Rind chieftain, have similar powers?
I was introduced to this Baloch Hero through PTV serial in 90's on Chakar e Azam. The drama contains the complete account of the life of the hero and his concern and struggle for identity of Balochistan.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 10:51 AM #2
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- Feb 13, 2009
- On the move
Brilliant and informative article.Everyone knows "Jaws" was Chuck Norris's Goldfish, but not many folk know that "Godzilla" was Faris Udeen's pet Iguana.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 11:04 AM #3
Its strange that Baloch Hero Chakar Khan's tomb is situated at Satgarha, Sahiwaal Punjab.
Okay. I found this explanation in the description of the video:
Chakar-e-Azam (1468-1565AD) doubtlessly, is the most famous legendary figure in Baloch folklore.At the age of 18 he became head of his Rind tribe but his kingdom didn't last long as it was consumed by the the famous 30 years fratricidal war between his tribe and the Lasharis.Forced to flee to the Punjab, he was granted large land holdings there by the Mughal Emperor Humayun for the assistance Chakar provided him in regaining his lost throne.He died at Satghara, Sahiwal (Punjab) were his majestic tomb still stands.
- Jan 7th, 2012, 01:07 PM #4
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- Feb 13, 2009
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Yes he assisted the Emperor Humayun get back into India and sadly he too like that other loyal warrior of Hemayun's the noble Bairam Khan did not get as much recognition in history.... in fact Chakar Khan is hardly even mentioned outside of Pakistan whereas at least others like Bairam do get mentioned a lot in later histories.Everyone knows "Jaws" was Chuck Norris's Goldfish, but not many folk know that "Godzilla" was Faris Udeen's pet Iguana.
- Jan 8th, 2012, 01:39 AM #5
Satghara: The Heritage Village
An old, sleepy and tranquil village Satghara lies about 80 kilometres from Lahore (20 minutes drive away from Okara) in the quiet backwaters of the Punjab. On the southern bank of the Ravi, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Though off the beaten track, it has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious travellers from all over the world, Baloch leaders and contemporary historians visit the hamlet. Reasons: it is a “Tukia Nawab Chakar Ki” – last resting-place of Mir Chakar Rind. Part of our history is buried here.
The coins found at Satghara prove that the place was inhabited at the time of the Kushan dynasty. The rule of Kushans was one of the most decisive periods in the history of the Subcontinent.
As per one account Mir Chakar Rind came to this village with seven families, hence the name (Sat ghara: 7 houses/ families). Another legend has it that the village was named Satghara because it was destroyed seven times by floods. Shah Abul Mo’ali, descendant of sixteenth century saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Bandgi in his book ‘Maqamat-e-Daudi’ maintains that Satghara was known by the same name even before the arrival of Mir Chakar Rind.
Baloch Migration during 16th century
In Baloch history, the sixteenth century was a very eventful period. Baloch fought series of wars amongst themselves. The result of these tribal conflicts not only caused large-scale bloodshed but also resulted in their mass migrations to the Punjab, Sindh and Gujrat ( India). Almost half of the population in rural Sindh consists of Baloch tribes (Jamali, Mangi, Magsi, Jatoi, Chandio, Lashari, Rind, Khushk, Leghari etc who migrated in 16th century and mixed with the locals and adapted their language. I personally know many ppl from these tribes who can speak clear Sindhi although they speak Barachi (a dialect of Balochi) in their homes.
Mir Chakar Rind
One such immigrant, centre of Balochi love lore and war ballad, Mir Chakar Rind is regarded as one of the great Baloch heroes. Born in 1468, Mir Chakar Rind lived in Sevi (modern time Sibbi) in hills of Balochistan and became the head of Rind tribe after his father Shiahak died. A natural leader and warrior, Mir Chakar Rind was a man with resolute determination. In 1496, Mir Chakar travelled to Hirat ( Afghanistan) to muster support from Sultan Shah Hussain. To prove his personal valour, he was made to fight a mad elephant and ride a tough horse in Hirat. He succeeded in all these tests though could not get the support. A class of Balochs even regards him having been invested with saintly virtues and mystic powers.
Over a trifling mater – a Lashari youth butchered and roasted the kid-kamels – Mir Chakar and Gwaharam, head of the Lashari tribe went to war. Thousands of Rinds and Lasharis were killed in this war, and ballads that still echo in hills of Balochistan and are part of Baloch oral literature, commemorate the personal gallantry of the two heroes. After ‘the thirty year war’ against Lasharis, he left Balochistan and came to live in the Punjab in 1518.”
Chakar Khan at Sat ghara
Why Chakar-e-Azam, as he was commonly known, preferred to settle in the central Punjab , far away from Sibbi is not known. Once at Satghara, he constructed a fortification wall around the village and burj (watchtowers) in 15 squares Kilometres area encircling the fort for early warning against impending dangers. In case of any threat, the guard on the watchtower would light up fire, which will be spotted by the other guards and the news would be communicated all around without delay. From one crumbling watchtower, I could see miles of waving cops in all directions.
Settled in Satghara, Mir Chakar Rind became a regional force to recon with. He was respected (and feared) in the area. Afghan King Sher Shah Suri approached Mir Chakar Rind to join hands with him and help him consolidate his gains. Mir Chakar Rind appreciated the situation and not only wisely refused to help Sher Shah Suri but also managed to elude Afghan armies. Instead, his forces under the able command of his son Mir Shahdad joined Humayun when after a long exile in Persia Mughal emperor came back, recaptured Delhi and ousted Afghan Suris in 1556. Emperor Humayun as a reward conferred a vast Jagir (including horses and slaves) upon him. Mir Chakar ruled this chieftaincy till he died at the ripe age in 1565.
Tomb of Chakar Khan
It is the tomb and fort of Mir Chakar Rind – or whatever is left of them – that curiously conscious and those interested in history come to see at Satghara. The fort is large. Actually the wall once encircled the entire village. Two gateways with flat bands and pointed arches still survive though badly damaged due to ravages of time. The wooden door panels have disappeared. With growth in population, the village has grown and spilled out of encircling wall long ago. Standing at a vantage point one can still feel antiquity permeating from the cluster of mud and brick houses inside the fortification wall. In some houses, one can see mythological and thematic murals of the Hindu period. On the periphery, the classical mud houses look nice.
Constructed of narrow red bricks, used in upright courses to ensure additional strength, the wall is 25 feet high and three feet thick. Some of its salient portions exist between the tomb and the first gateway. Despite the salinity and cracks creeping up the wall, the architectural feast seems to re-echo to the past memories.
Beside one of the doorways, a sign has been posted announcing that the Archeology Department protects the site. How seriously the ‘warning sign’ has been taken by the villagers can be seen all over the village. Red thin bricks excavated from the centuries old monument are found used in many spanking new houses in the village. At places the villagers have utilized the fortification wall as part of their houses. Major portion of the wall and what would have been the living quarters of the family of Mir Chakar Rind have been lost. The courtyard of the tomb has shrunk due to encroachments and presently it is being used as Shamlat deh (community centre) for keeping the animals and elders to sit under the shadow of big pipal tree during lazy summer afternoons.
The followers who had accompanied Mir Chakar Rind to Satghara built the tomb after death of the hero. Today there is not a single Baloch living in the village. The neglected tomb is dilapidated and the surviving history is falling fast into decay. Reminds me situation with tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar at Rangoon far away from Delhi.
The main chamber of the once majestic and imposing tomb is octagonal in plan. The roof, decorative work and plaster have vanished. Cracks have snaked in all direction on the walls. The rainy water gathers in the roofless main chamber and stays there till sun dries it. The water is destroying the foundations of the crumbling edifice, which is gradually sinking in ground. There are seven rough mud graves inside the chamber. A small tablet distinguishes the central grave. It reads: Akhari Aaramgah, Mir Chakar (Khan) Rind, Satghara, Okara, Munjanib Yong Baloch Welfare Society, Ravi Road, Lahore. Even the name of the great hero on the tablet is not written correctly – having word Khan inserted quite unnecessarily. Similarly, the large plaque placed by the Archeology Department needs improvement.
Destruction by Ranjit Singh
The tomb was desecrated and its roof demolished by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who, on his way to Multan to fight against Nawab Muzafar, had stayed in Satghara about 150 years ago. It has never been repaired ever since. Governments, Archeology Departments, visitors from all walks of life, police (there is a police station in the village), district administration, locals or Balochs, no body seems to be concerned about the state of this important monument.
Neglect by Archhoelogy department (Nothing new)
If one wants to absorb the sense of history, Satghara is a place to visit. One has to possess a sensibility shaped in granite not to be moved by the relics of past age, the monument of departed greatness belonging to a celebrated hero who now rests helpless and neglected in this silent place, far removed from the noisy haunts of men. The first impact that this monument gives is an emotional one, for it is a sign of identity and a part of our history. It also has architectural, documentary, spiritual and symbolic values. In the vicinity, a few van (salvadora) trees may be as old as the relics, stand witness to the bygone era. Swooping and cooing wild fowls and running squirrels also testify to the continuity of the human habitation in the area.
Though not mentioned in the touristy literature, yet travellers who come to see the ruins in Harrappa (about 40 kilometres from Satghara) make to this monument village: to study the history, architecture and culture of the time when the monuments were built. The remains of the monument have to be preserved and saved from ruination, a danger they are facing at present.
Presently, in Pakistan the Antiquities Act 1975 and Punjab special (Preservation) ordinance 1985 are only two pieces of legislation for the protection of our built heritage. So far there is no concept or legislation for “Area protection”. In this case, the entire village should be given protected status. Federal and Punjab Archeology Departments, Auqaf, Okara District management and the Balochs should work together in order to preserve this important part of our built heritage that seems hiding thousands of the secrets of the past.
Can the plight of the priceless site be brought to the echelons of power? Can some national or international agency be moved to act and save the place for coming.
- Jan 10th, 2012, 02:37 PM #6
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- Sep 30, 2004
So what do you like about him?Mera SohNa Des Punjab
- Jan 10th, 2012, 11:43 PM #7
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- Oct 8, 2006
- kingdom of heavens
Let me read and share my thoughts."The point is Allah. And everything besides Allah, is besides the point."
- Jan 11th, 2012, 05:42 AM #8
I never knew about his existence even, Indeed a great person
- Jan 11th, 2012, 12:11 PM #9
There are two reasons for opening this thread:
(1) First reason why Chakar Khan remained in my memories just due to watching a drama in childhood is the scene in drama, where Chakar Khan and his sardars give a qol ( a binding statement) to fulfill it any cost.
(Watch from 6:50)
(2) Chakar Khan is also an important charcter in Baloch Lok Dastaan 'Hani Shah Mureed'. I'll shortly open a thread on this in CL&L.
- Jan 11th, 2012, 12:29 PM #10
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- Oct 20, 2011
plz try to post youtube link about baluch turban i would like to tie a turban like that
- Jan 11th, 2012, 12:41 PM #11
- Jan 11th, 2012, 11:25 PM #12
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- Nov 17, 2010
Very informative. So what language to Baloach folks speak?
- Jan 12th, 2012, 12:50 AM #13
- Jan 12th, 2012, 12:54 AM #14
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- Oct 20, 2011
on ary digital after 2005 earthquake there were few songs played.....
those songs were very moving can u find them.......
as i remeber one of those was sung by tanveer afridi
- Jan 12th, 2012, 12:59 AM #15
- Sep 12th, 2012, 10:03 AM #16
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- Jan 16, 2006
- Home Sweet Home
interesting, one of my previous class mates was a baloch from Jehlum (settled there for 3-4 generations) and he didnt know Balochi now. According to him if all Baloch are accounted for they could make the biggest ethnicity in Pakistan.
- Sep 12th, 2012, 10:49 AM #17
- Sep 12th, 2012, 10:52 AM #18
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- Jan 16, 2006
- Home Sweet Home
I am not sure how many of the Baloch tribes are in Punjab now, as I believe most of them consider themselves Punjabi or Seraiki now. Liaqat Baloch of JI stands in elections from my constituency in Lahore.
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