Bayazid Ansari & His Raushiniya Movement in the Af-Pak regions [16th-17th century].
By Naveed Tajammal
One fails to understand, the logic why the present Kabul government and the Pakhtun, literary circles in general are bent upon projecting Bayazid as a ‘saint’ and a ethnic Pakhtun, and the region of his, later abode [in present Waziristan] a old Pakhtun region.
And that he was the founding father of Pakhtun Renaissance.
Abdul Qadir bin Maluk, better known in the literary circles as ‘Badaoni’ writes of Bayazid, in his book, ‘Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh’ translated in English by W.H. Lowe and printed by Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta 1884 volume ll p-360/361.
”If the egg of a black-natured Crow,
you put under a pea-hen of paradise,
If at all time of sitting on that egg,
You give it, its millet from the figs of paradise,
If you give it, its water from the fountain of salsabil,
If Gabriel, breathe his breath over that egg,
In the end the young of a crow is a crow.
And the pea-hen will spend her trouble in vain.”
Bayazid Ansari, was born in Jalandhar in around 1525 AD, he hailed from a old hereditary Qazi family, his father was Qazi. Abdullah and his father, Qazi. Shaikh Mohammad and line went to Qazi. Siraj ud Din, the first of the Qazi, entrusted with the region in remote past. In the childhood of Bayazid had shifted to the Barrak region [later called Karni-garan, or the stone-town],
Bar’rak the old town as then called, was till that time still on a major trade route, known historically as ‘the Rah e Sangh e Surakh’, it was the passage between Indus, and across through ‘Dar’ban’ a big staging area of Camel Caravans, on the west of present Dera ismail khan[at that time Dera ismail as such did not exist], This Barrak route[sang e surakh] was longer one, compared to the Gomal route, for onward move to Farmul and Ghuzz’nih’.[importance of Kabul had yet to emerge],The Gomal route had a problem, it was alright in dry seasons, but, come the rains, which came often, Gomal, had to be criss-crossed, for laden camels it was a serious issue on account of losses, sustained when waters were rapid.
This region was totally inhabited by people, who were non-Pakhtun, and the Language like-wise, was ‘Bargista’ or Barraki’. A book was compiled later in 1881,by Ghulam Mohammad khan, ”Qawaid e Bargista’, which is a book on the structure and Grammar of the Language, it were the later new-comers, who called the locals, as ‘Ormuri’ and they in return called them ‘Kash’. Lieut. R. Leech [J.A.S.B. vii 1838] gives a short ormuri-English vocabulary and quotes a few phrases of the language. According to Leech, and the tradition gleaned, as to how this lot [barraki] got settled on this old route, That, it was Sultan Mahmud of Ghuzz’nih who as a re compensation for the services rendered by this tribe in the extraction and safely bringing the Gates of Somnath, and their installation in Ghuzz’nih, that they were awarded this region in a perpetual grant.
However as per Major H.G. Raverty they were of Tajik origin [J.A.S.B,xxxiii.1864],but the fact remains their past is like a fly in amber.
As far as the Language was concerned it was admitted in the 19th century, that, Barraki or Ormuri had indeed borrowed by then freely from pushto yet, it was a borrowing only, and nothing ‘More’.
The fact remains it is strongly influenced by the old Dardic of the Indus region, which is also the base of our Lhandha, as termed by western linguists. The print of Barraki was seen till old Tirah valley and the Logar valley in present Afghanistan at one time.
Even in the Ayeen e Akbar era, it was still the Toman of Daur and Not as yet termed, as Waziristan as it presently is so-called.
And it would be out of context here to go in details of standard list of words and sentences of Barraki, at the moment in time.
Qazi Abdullah, sent his son first to the Khanqah of Shaikh Baha ud din Zakria in Multan, later Bayazid became a horse-trader, a profession which enabled him to travel far and wide, it was in ‘Kalinjar’ in India that he came under the extra ordinary charm of a Ismailia preacher/missionary, a Mullah Ismail.[who were called ‘Da’i, amongst themselves]. These Da’i, as the custom amongst them would commonly adopt a profession, such as that of a merchant, physician, oculist etc, and when they arrived in a new place, would first try and establish, in the minds of their neighbors, their piety, and benevolence and so consequently be very generous, with alms, and prayed in the common Mosque, here they picked the new, ‘proselytes’, as their reputation grew of a devout living and a crowd / circle of admirers increased, they picked the most apt, to whom they propounded cautiously, the doctrine, of their creed, in the first stage the curiosity of the hearer was aroused, and a spirit of inquiry as well, and so was impressed by the wisdom and knowledge of the Da’i, but it was a guarded affair, if any sign of restiveness were seen, or suspicion suspected on the face of the hearer the Da’i withdrew, but in the case it was seen that the hearer wanted more, the Da’i, proceeded into the hidden science of the religion, and the symbolic characters of its prescription, and if hpw the hearer was seen hooked, the Da’i ,would go to the stage of hinting the outward, observation of prayer, the fast, the pilgrimage and the alms-giving, stating that they were of No consequence, unless, their spiritual significance was Not understood, now the new novice, was seen eager to learn more, The Da’i would start his preamble but, break it in between, hinting that such divine mysteries maybe only discussed or disclosed to one who had taken the oath of allegiance to the imam of the age, the chosen representative of Allah, on the ‘ruh e zamin’ .[the face of earth],and thus the sole repository ,of this hidden science, which can only be confided to those who prove themselves worthy to receive it.
The primary aim of the Da’i was to secure from the ‘Proselyte’ his allegiance, ratified by a binding oath, and expressed by the periodical payment which then, was followed in the initiation in the nine degree’s.
It was this Ismailia-Doctrine, which deeply impregnated the mind of Bayazid, the Ismailia emphasis on interiorization of religious rites and their secretive methods of work, fascinated Bayazid, and we find Bayazid a deeply introspective and seclusion loving later in life.
And so we find him travel ling to Qandhar in his quest, as a seeker, Earlier in the same Qandhar had come another ‘Mahdi’, and had established for a short period his ‘Mahdavia tenets, the man, Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri [1443-1502] had declared himself as the imam Mahdi of the time, and sent letters all over, inviting them to come and testify his claim, and accept him as the promised Mahdi.
He traveled all over India and came to Thatta [Sindh] in 907 Hijri and in 908 Hijri moved to Qandhar and later died in 1502 AD in Farah, and, was so buried there. The mahdavi thought laid great emphasis on ‘Zikir’ which we see, equally emphasized by Bayazid, and his followers.
Bayazid short of claiming prophet-hood, for himself had picked from the mahdavi and Ismailia traditions all such elements which could augment his religious prestige and establish his superiority, over the public at large.
Ismailia dogma preached the divinity of the ‘living imam’, and the Mahdavi the concept of the Mahdi or The Deliverer’, who would set the things right.
These two elements as are seen, became the focal point of the teachings of Bayazid, and his heresy. which were, to establish his spiritual superiority, and control over the Pakhtun people, who hailed such concepts, as long as they did Not, directly or indirectly, affect their tribal traditions.
The maximum, criticism was from two major personalities of the time, Syed. Ali of Tirmiz [1501-1584] and his khalifa, Akhund Darwaza [1533-1615] it was the pir-baba [syed ali] who had dubbed Bayazid pir e Ta’rik [the pir of darkness].
The Mughal power played the ‘Wait & Watch, as it suited them to see, the internecine conflict of various pashtun tribes, as a result of this Raushaniya movement on the frontiers of their Empire, which was slowly weakening the tribes. And so thought it unwise to jump in the fray till the whole situation crystallized. And as soon as it did, and posed a threat to the empire, the war was unleashed.
One of other major reason of Mughal intervention was the claim of Bayazid of being the Mahdi of his age, a person who, sets, right, all that has gone wrong in the religious and the political matters. Akbar the emperor with all his free-thinking, could never allow a new Mahdi to emerge, especially as this one had ambitions to conqueror his newly established Empire.
The British had followed the concepts of Akbar in relation to their so called scientific frontier of the forward policies, one finds almost a similar pattern, and, the region as well.
Abdullah khan Uzbek was a constant thorn, outwardly he maintained good relations. with Mughals, yet, inwardly as is seen helped to aid this movement, Akbar to pre-empt, this had created, a large extended Qandhar suba [province] and in between various Tomans, and sarkars, The successors of Bayazid [died in 1574] played havoc from the foot mountains of Kashkar [Chitral] down to Qandhar, and the trans-Indus regions. final credit to crush this movement goes to the Generals of the Mughal Army who as is seen, constantly waged a War against this movement it was only in 1626 AD, that the last of Mahdi ‘Ahdad’ was killed by a sniper shot fired from a musket, after Ahdad had moved to Qandhar, But even then his in-line successor, Abdul Qadir continued the war, and defeated the Mughal army under Zaffar khan, in 1627 AD, however in another encounter Zaffar Khan turned the tables and forced Abdul Qadir to surrender, which he did, and was later inducted in the mughal army as the commander of 1000 men, Thus died the Raushiniya movement, and slowly people reverted to their old faith.
It would not be out of context to tell the tale of the rise of this family in the Mughal empire, another cousin much earlier by the name of Illahdad, had joined the Mughals, and taken service with Jahangir, emperor, who had bestowed the name of Rashid Khan upon him, this Rashid khan Ansari arose to the rank later of 4000 zat and 3000 sawar, and died in 1648 AD, his sons continued the service within the Empire, later we find one Asadullah Ansari, who had sided with Aurangzeb in his war of succession, and later arose to be the Governor of Orissa.