Najabat Khan (not to be confused with Najaf Khan) was a Pathan warrior of the 18th century, and founder of a line of chiefs of Kunjpura[1] which he was granted by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1739 and the titlehood "Nawab". Nawab Najabat Khan was killed during the Battle of Kunjpura at his fort on 17 October 1760. It was this event which led to the Third Battle of Panipat, which Ahmed Shah Abdali avenged for the death of his comrades and kin at Kunjpura.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Najabat Khan was born in Ghourghushti, Mohalla Ishaq Zai in a house near the pond, on top of which now stands a girls school. As a young man, Najabat Khan left this village and his poor family to search for work in larger cities of India. Much of his early life is described by village elders in folklore. It was storied that he left as a young man towards “Hindustan” to seek work. On his travels, he assisted merchants by carrying their loads in exchange for food. On one occasion, he lightened the stock of oats by consuming from the sack on his back (this was agreed to compensate Najabat Khan for his assistance), to the owners shock he had found that almost a third of the contents had been consumed. According to folklore, he possessed amazing qualities such as strength, honesty and fortune.

Kunjpura chiefdomEdit

In 1748 he obtained a sanad from the Afghan conqueror Ahmed Shah Abdali, also called Durani, who was then in the height of his power in Northern India, granting him a "hereditary jagir" of 149 villages. The villages were declared to be inam, or revenue-free, and he was to enjoy thenceforth the revenue payable to the Imperial[which?] Government, subject to the obligation of maintaining order in his ilaqa or possessions. These villages were in Karnal district, and it was from this base that he fought more battles against Hill Rajas. In the 1729 he founded Kujnpura and built a fort there. The fort was renowned for its strength and strategic position. He became a nawab after winning the respect of the Imperial leadership in Delhi.[citation needed]

In early 18th century Maratha Empire became the became the primary power in the Indian Subcontinent. Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded north and northwestern India. Small regional powers asked for help from Abdali against the armies of Marathas, who occupied Mughal areas following the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Nawab Najabat Khan joined the army of Ahmad Shah Abdali and was killed before the Battle of Panipat in the Battle of Kunjpura, in which the Marathas defeated the Afghans.[3] His direct descendants had embroiled in very costly legal disputes over inheritance issues - these were ultimately settled by British judiciary who were occupying India at the time. After the partition of India, the last Nawab of Kunjpura, Nawab Ibrahim Ali Khan, migrated to Lahore in Pakistan, and died in 1953.

The Sarkhel tribe claim to be descended from Nawab Najabat Khan through his elder brother Zabita Khan. It is stated in Tareekh Kunjpura he was of Zakka Khel clan of Yusufzai tribe. There is no other reference to a tribe or clan called Zakka Khel, therefore it is assumed that the Nawab's Indian descendants may be mistaken as to the origins of the clan. Nawab Najabat Khan's elder brother Zabita Khan returned to Ghorghushti without claim to any of endowment from the land in Kunjpura. Zabita Khan's descendants now live in the town of Ghourghushti. The ancestral home in Mohalla Ishaq Zai is still owned by the descendants of Nawab Najabat Khan's brother, which has attracted well-wishers from Kunjpura, Lahore, Karachi.[4]

There is a mention of Nawab Najabat Khan in the Imperial Gazetteer of India V.16 that he was Ghorghusht Pathan [5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Imperial gazetteer of India: provincial series. Supt. of Govt. Print. 1908. pp. 314–. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ Third Battle of Panipat by Abhas Verma ISBN 9788180903397 Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
  4. ^ "Tazkira Nawab Najabat Khan" by Akbar Khan (himself a Salar Khel), {{https://openlibrary.org/works/OL13683182W/Taz%CC%B2kirah-i_Nav%C4%81b_Naj%C4%81bat_K%CC%B2h%CC%B2%C4%81n_G%CC%B2h%CC%B2aurg%CC%B2h%CC%B2asht%C4%AB}}
  5. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 16, p. 27. [1]