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The Badeshi People in Bishigram and Tirat valley,Swat
Surveyors: Shamshi Khan and Muhammad Zaman Sagar

The purpose of this mission was to visit the Badeshi people in Bishigram valley and record a word list and some history and genealogy etc.

On 29th of February, 2004, I went to Madyan and stayed there. Next morning on 1st of March I took Shamshi Khan with me and we went towards the Bishigram valley in a jeep. After one hour we reached to the point where the road ends. From there we started upwards by foot. In one hour or so we reached Kas, where the Ushoji people live.

After some rest we went upwards this was a cold morning and also a lot of snow was there on the ground. On the way I met a boy aged 15 or 16. I asked him about his tribe, he told me that he belongs to the Badeshi tribe. Then my next question was about his mother tongue or the first language which he speaks. I asked some words which he gave in the Chail dialect of Torwali. I said that this is not your language but it is Torwali. He told us that this is their own language and nobody in this area is speaking some other language.

Anyhow we went there and we reached the last village of the valley called Mughal Mar. There we were told by some people to meet Mr. Asar age 85 yrs. We went to his house and sit on their roof in sun. He offered us some tea and then we started own mission. Some other men like Qadar Mand 55 yrs, Nosher 60 yrs, and Muhammad Zeb 35 yrs, were present there too.

We asked Asar Malik to go through the word list which I brought with me and tell the meaning in Badeshi language. But instead of Badeshi he started to speak the Torwali language. In my last year’s visit to Ushoji tribe there I was told by some people that Mr. Asar can speak his language. But this man took oath that he even did not know a single word of his language. He told us that nobody can speak that language in this area, because his father was also speaking Torwali not Badeshi. Maybe his grandfather was speaking this language.

Then I decided to record their history and some genealogy records. He and Mr. Nosher told me that their ancestors came from Badakhshan to Alai in Mansehra. They lived there and from there they migrated to Swat. In Bishigram valley their total community is around 35-40 house holds. The total population maybe something likes 160-200 maximum. They have very little land and they have no pastures there. These people seem to be considered the most inferior people of this area. They told us that their ancestor called Gheb Baba came here. They showed us his shrine too.

They said that he was a holy man and the people of this area were respecting him a lot. Still people use to come to his shrine to seek his blessings. I also noticed that this people believe too much in shrines and Peers.

They said that one of their tribes lives in Tirat valley and one tribe is settled in Pooran Chakesar. But most of them are still settled in Alai, Mansehra. From eight generations they live in this area. They are mostly herders and have very less land. In winter most of the people migrate to the plains of NWFP and Punjab.

They speak Torwali, Pashto and Ushoji languages in their houses. But maybe they have many relations with Torwalis or the Torwalis are dominating in the area that is why they speak Torwali as their first language.

We came back to Madyan for the night and at night time we decided to visit the Badeshis in Tirat valley, because I was thinking that maybe those people still speak some Badeshi language.

Next day on 2nd of March we went to Tirat valley. We walked up to Matte and Janai villages in the valley. The night before my friend Shamshi Khan had contacted a man on the phone whom he know and told him to bring the Badeshis to his Hujra. At 11 o’clock in the morning. We reached there at 11 AM. We found that many Badeshi elders and young came to our friend’s Hujra. Something like 10 to 15 men came there. But we interviewed only two people. Mr. Chari Gul age 110 approx. and Mr. Habib Jan 60 yrs.

They told that they speak Pashto for many generations. And they do not remember that anybody was speaking the Badeshi language in the past. From six or seven generations ago they are residing here. They are total 40 to 45 households and the populations are maybe 400-500 maximum.

They also told us that their ancestors came from Badakhshan in Afghanistan to Alai in Mansehra. From their three brothers came to Swat. One settled in Pooran Chakesar, one in Bishigram and one in Tirat valley. They have only contacts with the Bishigram people not the others in Pooran Chakesar and Alai.

In Alai their people live in Paashto or Pakhli. They think that maybe those people still speak that language.

In Tirat valley these people are again considered inferior. They have very little land and mostly they are cultivating the land of other Pathans. Because of the dominance of Pathan people in the area they left their language and started to speak Pashto. I recorded their history and genealogy.

 

Conclusion: Badeshi people of Bishigram and Tirat valleys are totaling around 600-700 in numbers. But we have not the figures of Pooran Chakesar and Alai, Mansehra. They left their language completely, some generations ago. In Bishigram valley they only speak Torwali and in Tirat valley they speak Pashto. Their economical conditions are not stable at all. Because of marriage interchanges or the dominance of Pashto and Torwali these people start speaking that language.

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