Monday 22 November 2021

Shia Qizilbashs of Kabul corroborated with British invaders during First Anglo-Afghan war (1839-1842)

1- Kanhaiya Lal in his "Tarikh-i-Lahore" (completed in 1882) gives description of six wealthiest families among Muslims of Lahore city. On the top of the list, is a Shia Qizilbash by name of Nawab Ali Raza Khan "Kabuli" who corroborated with British invaders during First Anglo-Afghan war (1839-43). 

Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash fully supported General Polluck's army (which was sent to avenge the earlier defeat of British in Afghanistan). He persuaded Qizilbash chiefs to betray Muhammad Akbar Khan and join British side. He accompanied the returning British army with his sixty sawars and settled in India. 

Ali Raza Khan Qizilbash, his brothers and his sixty sawars fought for British in the Anglo-Sikh wars. In the 1857 war of independence, he sent his contingent to help British on his own expenses. For his services in 1857's war in support of British, he received the title of Nawab and a large estate in Awadh (comprising of 147 villages). He died in 1865 and his body was sent to Karbala (in Iraq) for burial. 1

2-Muhammad Naib Sharif, a Qizilbash chief of Kabul, fully supported the British invaders during the First Anglo-Afghan (1839-42). James Rattray (maker of this painting) writes : 
"Among their chiefs is Mahommed Naib Shurreef, who has always stood the firm friend of the British from 1831, when Sir Alexander Burnes, whom he then conducted from Peshawur to Caubul, made his journey to Bokhara, up to the date of our final evacuation of Afghaunistaun in 1842. He compromised himself so much with us, during our palmy days at Caubul, again during the massacre, and also when we regained the country in the last campaign, that he was constantly threatened with death. Indeed, one devoted act of his alone would have ensured his destruction. He rescued the dishonoured corpse of his poor friend, Sir Alexander Burnes, from the hands of the infuriated fanatics, and carrying it away in the dead of night, bestowed on it a decent burial. Leaving his adopted country with our armies, he is now in the enjoyment of a handsome stipend for his services, as a pensioner of the Indian Government. "


Muhammad Naib Sharif Qizilbash (sitting on left), 1840 (c). Painting by James Rattrey


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