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Swat, generally known as the Switzerland of Asia, is one of the most beautiful valleys in the World. 
Mr. Abdul Qayum Balala has attempted to embrace many elements pertaining to its geography, history, and culture in his book titled  “THE CHARMING SWAT”. 
The Author is an intellectual belonging to the area, and his natural love for Swat reflects from each and every sentence. He knows Swat, its geography, history, politics, culture, and its 
entire national behavior, not only with the virtue of his qualification, but also with the dent of his experience. He holds Master Degree in Geography- the mother of Sciences, and is fully equipped with the profound knowledge on the subject.

The charming Swat, a peaceful and fascinating tract in the lap of vegetative sky-high mountains, with eternal snow on their lofty crests, is an everlasting source of attraction for the visitors. Its beauty attracts tourists from all over the world to enjoy the soothing and serene sceneries, and the friendly behavior of its inhabitants. A visitor entered in Pakistan would never be contented without roaming about Swat. 

The area of Swat is 4000 sq. miles with a population of about 1250000. Its height is not similar but varies from 2500 ft. to 7500 ft. above sea level.

Due to its fertile soil and favorable climatic conditions, Swat has been the abode of various nations and subjected to historical events from time to time. Though this valley has an ancient history, but in the light of historical documents, its recorded history begins with Alexander The Great, who conquered Swat in 326 BC.

Alexander defeated Persia, thenceforth, he entered Swat via Kunar in 326 BC. Buddhism was in full bloom here. The Buddhist ruler fought the Greek invader, but was defeated. Having conquered Swat Alexander proceeded on along the Right Bank of Swat River. Reached Bandai in Nekpikheil, he crossed the river and camped near Manglor. He continued journey through the mountainous passes of Onra, and crossed Indus.

The well-known general of Alexander, Salukis, gave Swat to Chandragupta back in 304 BC. Another Buddhist king, Kanishka, shifted his capital from Peshawar to Swat so that he may be peaceful enough to worship his deities with full satisfaction. Then Raja Ram Batti and many other great personalities ruled Swat, and worshipped their gods with full peace and meditation in cloisters. Raja Gira was the last Buddhist ruler of Swat, who was defeated by Mahmood of Ghazni.

The Arrival of Afghans

In eleventh century, Khwaja Ayyaz went on the Right Bank of Swat River and conquered the areas of Adenzee, Shamozee, Nekpikheil and so on. Mahmood went on the Left Bank of the river, when he reached Hudigram, there was the fort of Raja Gira, strongly built on a high peak. Mahmood commanded the conquest of this fort to an adroit general, Peer Khushal. The conquest of the fort was much more risky, but the order of the supreme commander was complied with.

Taking charge, the creative minded general besieged the fort for three days and cut off the underground connection of water link. On the forth day, he attacked the fort. The attack was a serious one and many soldiers were martyred, including Peer Khushal himself, but the fort was captured and since then Mahmood proceeded on and captured the whole Swat.

After conquering Swat, Mahmood settled two tribes of Afghan here, i.e. Swati and Dalazak, and went back. Both these tribes were living a happy life till they were driven away by the Yousafzai tribe of Pathans. 

The Entrance of Yousafzai
King of Kabul, Raja Alagh Baig, who was dethroned by his own tribe, called the help of Yousafzai to gain the imperial power of Afghanistan once again. All the chiefs, 
and Sardars of the Yousafzai came and supported him strongly. They fought a battle against Tajack, and Alagh Baig became the King of Kabul again.

Since then, Yousafzai got an authoritative position in Kabul court and army. The Yousafzai tribe was settled there permanently. But as the king was a Tajack, his wife was Tajack, his friends, and his relatives, shortly all of the concerned people were Tajacks, so the men of his tribe confided him. They told the king that he would be afflicted by Yousafzai one day, because Yousafzai were not from his own race and all the key-posts were in their hands, therefore, they should be removed.

Since then Alagh Baig schemed that the Yousafzai should be attacked at night while they are in sound sleep. His army did so, but the force of the king was defeated badly.

When the elders of Yousafzai protested, the king cunningly expressed deep sorrows and assured them that some robbers might have taken the action.

Alagh Baig now made another plan. He invited all the chiefs of Yousafzai and attacked them while they set to eat. All of the heads were killed, but only two of them, Sardar Malak Ahmed and Sheikh Malee, escaped. Both of the leaders migrated to Peshawar valley along with their tribe-men.

Having been there for a period of time, they visited their Afghan Brothers, Swati and Dalazak, in Swat, to win their sympathy. But they, the Yousafzai, were soon attracted by the natural properties of this area. It should be mentioned here that the Yousafzai learned the art of betrayal from Tajack. So they compelled the originally settled Swati and Dalazak to quit Swat, who crossed Indus and took refuge in western Hazara district (Even now, some of the remnants of Swati and Dalazak tribes are found in the remote corners of Swat).

Sheikh Mali distributed all the land among the male members of families of his tribe. According to this scheme, these families would change their villages after each decade, and the land of the new village would be distributed among the male family members.

(Finally, the land was allotted permanently under the auspices of Bacha Sahib within a period of five years i.e. from 1924 to 1929, and the nomadic life of the residence of this area came to an end.).

Sheikh Malee introduced the units of land also. The smallest unit of land was Damray, while the largest unit was Rupee.

Having no ruling authority, Swat was subjected to lawlessness and disorder. Internecine feuds were the common feature of this tract. When they were tired of mutual bloodshed, they wanted to choose an impartial man to solve their problems and disputes. For this purpose they called Syed Akbar Shah, but after ruling for five years he died. The next personality convened was Syed Abdul Jabbar Shah. He was a good scholar, and statesman with majestic port. But a well reputed learned man, Sandakay Mullah soon blamed him as Qadyani (a person having belief in the prophet-hood of Mirza Ghulam Amad Qadyani), and so Abdul Jabbar left Swat.

In this connection, the other man was Miangul Abdul Wadood, the grandson of Mian Abdul Ghafoor (Sahib-e-Swat). The people entrusted Miangul Abdul Wadood with power in 1915 (But he was formally crowned in 1916 by the council (JARGA) of the chiefs of Swat in the grassy ground of Kabal). (He was the man of vigor and high determination. Formerly, he was the ruler of Swat valley only, but slowly and gradually, he expanded the border of Swat up to Gilgit. Later on he retired and his elder son, Miangul Abdul Haq Jehanzeb was crowned as the “Wali of Swat”. Ruling time of Jehanzeb is considered as the golden period in the history of Swat. All of his reforms i.e. schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, and other communication system were matchless. There was a complete peace and order in Swat. But having the foresight of the future politics and the reaction of the nation, he gave up the ruling power in 1969.

t is painful to recount the events of the recent past. The fascinating valley of swat, during the Ex-Wali regime, presented a  picture of the worldly paradise. The Wali of Swat, with 
unique sense of possession left no stone unturned in beautifying and developing each and every sector of Swat. He did his best, and had very lofty plans for the future. It had no match, and the visitors from all over the world had emotional attachment with the state. 

After the Wali regime, the officers/officials with no sense of possession, did not bother about the development of Swat with the required zeal and fervor. It not only halted the march to wards prosperity, but also took us to a very dismal state of affairs. 

The schools, roads, hospitals and the colleges of Swat were fully equipped with the latest trends. The Wali of Swat had plans to establish a university and professional colleges but the dreams remained unfulfilled due to the sudden turn of the table. His plans that soar high to the skies fell to the earth. The roads are no more useable. The schools and the hospitals have no proper system. The institutions have been destroyed, and every one devoid of high sense of national interest, is confined to the personal outlook and personal interests. This sad state of affairs if prolonged will further deteriorate the present infrastructure. 

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The Charming Swat



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