Kala Dhaka

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Map showing the administrative subdivisions of Mansehra District. Kala Dhaka is located in the west of the district.

Kala Dhaka which also used to known as the Black Mountain of Hazara is a mountain range and a former tribal area of Mansehra District, Hazara Division, of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Since 2011 it is a new district of the Hazara division.

Land[change | change source]

Kala Dhaka lies next to the Agror valley of Oghi area to the east and by Tanawal to the south. The range has a length of 25 to 30 miles from north to south and a height of 8,000 feet above sea-level. The river Indus goes through the most northern but and then moves to the south. Between the river and the top of the range the western areas are occupied by some sections of the Yusufzai tribe. The rest of the range is held by another indigenous aboriginal tribe, the Swatis. The Black Mountain has long narrow ridges with higher peaks every now and again. It also has valleys in which there are villages where the tribes live. The upper parts of the ridge are covered with thick forests of pine, oak, sycamore, horse-chestnut, and wild cherry; but the slopes are stony and barren[1].

History[change | change source]

The British sent armies more than four times to try and control the Black Mountain Tribes from 1852 to 1892, because some leaders of the tribes opposed the British Government.

In 1851 two officers of the British Customs department in a place called Tanawal were killed. The British believed they were killed by the Hasanzai sept of the Yusufzai tribe, so the British then sent an army led by Colonel Mackeson, which destroyed a number of tribal strongholds. In 1868 the Yusufzai helped by the Khan of Agror, who was upset that the British had set up a police post at Oghi in the Agror valley, attacked that post with many men. But he was forced to move back.

The Khan of Tanawal (who later became the Nawab of Amb (princely state)) who remained loyal to the British, faced attacks by tribes who didn't like the British. Then a large number of the tribes began marching against the British, the British managed to stop them and force them back - however during the fighting twenty-one British villages had been burnt. The British then organised an army under General Wilde - he and his men managed to take over all of the Black Mountain and forced the tribes to accept British rule.

In 1888 the British blocked the area due to the raids by the Hasanzai and Akazai tribes who were being helped by the Madda Khel tribe into the Agror valley. While the British were planning tougher attacks - Major Battye and Captain Urmston and some soldiers of the 5th Gurkhas were surprised and killed by the Gujar tribe (who were allies of the Akazai section of the Yusufzai tribe).

Hashim Khan, who was the chief of the Hasanzai and Akazai, was blamed for starting the attack. The British then sent an armies against the tribes in the same year (1881), the tribes had to pay a lot money to the British and also had to agree that Hashim Ali was not allowed to live there any more. The British then made Ibrahim Khan, a relative and enemy of Hashim Khan, ruler. Investigations also revealed that the Khan of Agror had been behind Hashim, and the tribes, inciting them to rebellion to fulfil his own designs[2]. As a result the Agror Khan was arrested and imprisoned in Hasan Abdal, Punjab and his estates permanently forfeited in 1889, a limited jagir allowance given in lieu, since[3].

In 1890 the tribe stopped the march of British troops along the crest of the Black Mountain, and so an army was sent against them in the spring of 1891. As soon as the troops left, some local Hindustanis and Madda Khel broke their agreement with the British Government by letting Hashim Khan return. In 1892 the British sent their armies again to fight the tribes - this ultimately ended with the tribes being defeated by British[1].

Earthquake 2005[change | change source]

Kala Dhaka was badly affected by the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, according to a report in Time magazine:

Entire villages were devastated; in an instant, stone houses turned into burial mounds. The Indus river, flowing at the bottom of the valleys, recalls one tribal elder, Mohammed Said, "looked like water boiling inside a tea kettle.[4]"

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Black Mountain - Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 8, p. 251
  2. Special Report on the Agroor and Black Mountain Disturbances, 1888, by Col RS Whistler and Maj Drummond, for the Government of the Punjab, Lahore, pub 1889, pp.34-37
  3. Special Report, p.75
  4. After the Earthquake - Time.com