BOOK NAME: Memoranda on the India Estates — 1934
AUTHOR: Published by Authority
PUBLISHER: Manager of Publications, Delhi
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1934
The following excerpt has been taken from Pages: 150 — 153
“Amb and surrounding areas have a long history which can be traced to the time of the invasion of the region by Alexander the Great. Arrian, Alexander’s historian, did not indicate the exact location of Embolina, but since it is known that Aoronos was on the right bank of the River Indus, the town chosen to serve as Alexander’s base of supplies may with good reason be also looked for there. The mention in Ptolemy’s Geography of Embolina as a town of Indo-Scythia situated on the Indus supports this theory.
“In 1854 General James Abbott, the British frontier officer from whom Abbottabad, administrative centre of Hazara, takes its name, discussed the location of Aornos on the Mahaban range south of Buner. He proposed, as M. Court, one of Ranjit Singh’s French generals had done before him in 1839, to recognize Embolina in the village of Amb situated on the right bank of the Indus. This is the place from which the Nawabs of Amb took their title.
“Amb State was once known as Mulk e Tanawal (Country/area of Tanawal). The word ‘Tanawal’ is derived from Taniwal, with Amb as its capital, and was the tribal homeland of the Tanoli people. The early history of the region goes back to the centuries before the Mughal Empire, when in the early fourteenth century the Tanoli tribe under its chieftains arrived here from Central Asia, via Afghanistan, and conquered it and settled here on the banks of the river Indus and a wide area around it, which thus came to be known as Tanawal.
“From early on, the Tanawal area by and large managed to remain free from the influence of the Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and British; and beyond paying occasional simple taxes to central authorities, the people of Tanawal had little or no contact with the outside world for long. At most times, they would resist such authority, preferring to be ruled by their own chiefs at a local level. Initially, uptil the late-18th or early-19th centuries, Tanawal itself was not one consolidated state but an area where several important Tanoli chiefs each exerted his powers within a zone of influence, although the Hindwal section chiefs remained comparatively stronger and one of them, Mir Painda Khan, was finally able to bring the whole area under his sway.
“Amb State comprises the following territories:
“The trans-Indus territory, which lies for a few miles on the right bank of the Indus River, opposite north-west corner of the Badhkak tract in the Haripur Tahsil of the Hazara District, and comprises a few villages only, of which Amb is the chief. The major portion of the tract known as Feudal Tanawal which lies on the left bank of Indus and occupies the centre of the western half of the Hazara District. (The State of Phulera comprises the minor portion of Feudal Tanawal).
“The Chief of Amb occupies an unique position, for he is at once an independent ruler as regards his trans-Indus territory, a feudal chief as regards Feudal Tanawal and a British subject on account of his tenure of a large jagir and certain lands in Haripur Tahsil.
“The status of Feudal Tanawal with reference to the British Government is one of considerable interest. It is governed by Regulation II of 1900, which enacts that except as regards offences punishable under sections 121-130 of the Indian Penal Code (rebellion and sedition) or under section 301 to 303 (murder and culpable homicide), or any other offence specified by the written order of the local Government, the administration of criminal justice should, in the Amb portion of Feudal Tanawal, vest in the Chief of Amb. The administration of civil justice and the collection of revenue within these tracts are vested in the Chief, and the jurisdiction of ordinary tribunals is excluded. The Amb Portion of the Feudal Tanawal is about 174 square miles in area, and contains a population of 31,299 (census 1931).
“The present Chief of Amb, Major Nawab Sir Khan-i-Zaman Khan, K.C.I.E., is head of the Hindual division of the Tanawali tribe. He was born in 1877 and succeeded his father on the latter’s death in 1907. At the time of his succession, some difficulty arose as to the provision to be made for his brothers. Eventually a settlement was effected whereby the Parhana tract situated between the Mansehra tehsil and the village of Shergarh was assigned to Abdul Latif Khan and his full brothers for their maintenance, and certain villages in the Dhani tract were given to Muhammad Umar Khan, an eleventh legitimate son of the late Nawab by a third wife. The right to realize fines and forfeitures and to levy grazing dues was reserved to the Chief, and his brothers have no power to alienate the villages assigned to them unless they first offer them on reasonable terms to the Chief himself. Further, in the event of trouble arising in trans-Indus Tanawal of the British government calling on the Chief for service, the Guzarakhors, as they are called, are bound to render the latter all the assistance necessary on pain of forfeiting their Guzaras.
“The Nawab has the following sons:
“* Muhammad Farid Khan-born on the 16th June 1893, from a Tanawali wife.
* Aurengzeb Khan-born on the 19th April 1907, from a Pathan wife.
* Haider Zaman Khan-born on the 12th May 1917 from Bajhal Tanawali wife.
“In January 1919, the hereditary title of Nawab was granted to the Chief f Amb together with an annual allowance. In June 1921, the present Nawab received the title of K.C.I.E., in recognition of his loyal services in connection with the Black Mountain disturbances of 1920 when he placed his influence across the border to bring the tribesmen to terms.
“The Nawab maintains an Arm’s factory at Amb where breach loading Mountain guns (screw pattern), riffles and ammunition are made by hand. The guns project a 7-lb. solid shell (locally turned) about 3,000 yards with fair precision. A large quantity of Martini Henry and Snider rifles ammunition is turned out.
“The State of Phulera which comprises some 98 small villages with a population of 6,644 (census of 1931), is situated in Feudal Tanawal on the western border of the Mansehra Tahsil and its boundaries are defined in Regulation No.II of 1900. The administration of this small State in exactly similar to that of the chief of Amb with respect to his territory in Feudal Tanawal.
“The present Chief, Khan Bahadur Atta Muhammad Khan, was born in 1879. He has the following sons, all from a Tanawali wife:
“1) Abdul Latif - born 12th December 1907
2) Abdul Hamid - born 20th July 1909
3) Abdul Ghafur - born 5th October 1914
4) Abdul Sattar - born 18th August 1916
5) Mohammad Ahmed - born 15th July 1923
“His uncles, Muhammad Umar Khan, and Ghulam Haider Khan, the sons of Abdullah Khan, and other male relatives, hold Guzaras in villages within the estate and gradually have become independent of the Chief.
“The Khan of Phulera’s income is very small compared with that of his neighbor, the Nawab of Amb. Much of the estate is in the hands of the Guzara Khors. The Guzara Khors are not paying any rent at present to the Khan as in 1912. According to a compromise the Khan consented to take some villages from Guzara Khors in lieu of the revenue. This not only increased his income but also strengthened his almost extinct authority over his tenants.
“Historically Phulera was a dependency of Amb State but this subordination has been purely nominal since Painda Khan of Amb delegated all his powers over its lands to Madat Khan, the first grantee. For all practical purposes, it may be regarded as independent of its bigger neighbor. The relations of the two chiefs are not defined specifically in the Regulation, though in the schedule defining the boundaries, the estates of the Khan of Phulera are stated to be held by that Chief from and under the chief of Amb.
AMB AT THE TIME
OF PARTITION & BEYOND
“Amb was a princely state of the former British Indian Empire. In 1947, by the Indian Independence Act 1947, the British abandoned their supremacy, and following the Partition of India Amb’s Nawab decided to give up his state’s independence by acceding to the new country of Pakistan. However, Amb continued as a distinct state within Pakistan until 1969, when it was incorporated into the North West Frontier Province. In 1972, the royal status of the Nawab was abolished by the Government of Pakistan.