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Derajat

Derajat

Derajat is a cultural region of central Pakistan, located in the region where the provinces of Balochistan, North-West Frontier and Punjab meet. Derajat is bound by the Indus River to the east and the mountains to the west. The region consists of three districts, Dera Ghazi Khan (western Punjab), founded by Ghazi Khan Nawab, and Dera Ismail Khan (southern NWFP), founded by Ismail Khan Mirani as well as a smaller district, Rajanpur, which has recently been separated from Dera Ghazi Khan.

Topography

The Derajat is a level plain between the Indus and the Sulaiman range, lying between 29°30′ and 34°15′ N. and 69°15′ and 72′ E., the name derives its name from, the three Deras : Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Fateh Khan, and Dera Ghazi Khan. It extends north to the Sheikh Budin range, which divides it from the Marwat plain, and south to the town of Jampur, having a length of 325 miles and breadth of 50 miles.

History

The Derajaat owes its existence as an historical area to the Baloch immigration in the fifteenth century. Sultan Husain, the Langah sovereign of Multan, being unable to hold his trans-Indus possessions, called in Baloch mercenaries, and assigned these territories to Malik Sohrab Dodai in jagir. Sohrab's sons, Ismail and Fateh Khan, founded the two Deras or `settlements' named after them ; while Haji Khan, the head of the old Mirani tribe of the Balochs, who had also entered the service of the Langahs, assumed independence in the reign of Mahmud, Sultan Husain's grandson, and founded Dera Ghazi Khan, naming it after his son and successor. When Haji Khan died in 1494, the tract was a deserted waste but contained a few isolated towns. The Miranis soon came into conflict with the Nahars, who ruled the country on the Indus to the south, the boundary between the rival powers lying north of Rajanpur ; but the Miranis also held some territory east of the Indus in Muzaffargarh District.

Mughal era

On Babar's conquest of Northern India in 1526 the Miranis submitted to him, and at his death the Derajat became a dependency of his son Kamran Mirza, the ruler of Kabul. Under Humayun the Baloch immigration increased, and they gradually pushed the Nahars farther south. All the Baloch tribes acknowledged the overlordship of the Mirani Nawabs, who ruled for about fifteen generations at Dera Ghazi Khan, taking alternately the style of ' Haji' and ` Ghazi Khan.' At Dera Ismail Khan ruled the Hot Baloch chiefs, who bore the title of Ismail Khan from father to son and also held Darya Khan and Bhakkar, east of the Indus. Early in the eighteenth century the Miranis lost their supremacy, being overwhelmed by the Kalhoras of Sind.

Post Mughal era

In 1739 after Nadir Shah had defeated the Mughals and acquired all the territory west of the Indus, he made the Mirani Wazir, Mahmud Khan Gujar, governor in Dera Ghazi Khan under the Kalhora chief, who also became his vassal. Under Ahmad Shah Durrani the Kalhoras and the Miranis, now in a state of decadence, contended for possession of Dera Ghazi Khan, but Mahmud Khan Gujar appears to have been its real governor. He was succeeded by his nephew, who was killed in 1779, and the Durranis then appointed governors direct for a period of thirty-two years. Meanwhile the last of the Hot chiefs of Dera Ismail Khan had been deposed in 1770, and his territories also were administered from Kabul. In 1794 Humayun Shah attempted to deprive Zaman Shah Durrani of his kingdom, but he was defeated and fell into the hands of Muhammad Khan Sadozai, governor of the Sind-Sagar Doab.

Sikh era

As a reward for this capture, Zaman Shah bestowed the province of Dera Ismail Khan on Nawab Muhammad Khan, who governed it from Mankera by deputy. His son-in-law, Hafiz Ahmad Khan, surrendered at Mankera to Ranjit Singh in 1821, and at the same time tribute was imposed by the Sikhs on the chiefs of Tank (Sarwar Khan) and Sagar. Dera Fateh Khan was also occupied; but Dera Ismail Khan, to which Hafiz Ahmad Khan was permitted to retire on the fall of Mankera, remained independent till 7836, when Nao Nihal Singh deposed Muhammad Khan, the son of Hafiz Ahmad Khan, and appointed Diwan Lakhi Mal to be Kardar. Diwan Lakhi Mal held this post till his death in 1843, and was succeeded by his son Diwan Daulat Rai, who enjoyed the support of the Multani Pathan Sardars. He was bitterly opposed by Malik Fateh Khan Tiwana, who had also procured a nomination as Kardar from the Sikh Durbar.

British era

These rivals contended for supremacy with varying success until 1847, when the Diwan then in possession was deposed on the recommendation of Herbert Edwardes, who appointed General Van Cortlandt to be Kardar. The Derajat passed to the British in 1849, and is now divided between the Districts of Dera Ghazi Khan in the Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan in the North-West Frontier Province.

Partition

After the partition of India, some of the region's Hindu residents settled in Derawal Nagar colony of Delhi, India, while others were dispersed around in the states of Haryana, Punjab, and uttar Pardesh..

Languages

The main language of Derajat is Derawali (also known as Siraiki), but Balochi and Urdu are also spoken there.

References

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