Hazaras, and Divide and Rule in the British Empire

Some random thoughts from Major Amin about the Hazaras of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the (exemplary and successful) use of divide and rule by the British..


Hazara Pioneers were employed by Brigadier General Dyer of Jallianwalla Bagh notoriety in Sarhad District of Iranian Baluchistan in First World War. To my mind and based on family anecdotes of my grandfather’s elder brother Agha Abdul Rauf in British Police since 1914 or so (died 1982-God bless his great soul) Hazaras showed political defiance against the  British when some Hazara soldiers of 124th Baluchistan Infantry deployed in Iran defected to the Persian side. This much unknown incident as per Agha Abdul Rauf played crucial role in British decision to discontinue Hazara recruitment in Infantry units of   British Indian Army after 1921-22.

In his book Raiders of Sarhad Brigadier General Dyer writes words to the effect that Hazara Pioneers were panting to kill the Reki and other Baloch of Sarhad district who being Sunni the Pioneers regarded as infidels and that this would guarantee them a place in paradise. Words to this effect. I read the book in 1977 or 1978. The British cannot be blamed for practicing “Divide et Impera” as they had their own national interests! But Pakistani state of post 1947 cannot be excused for any sectarian or ethnic bias which historians need to research! I will try to find it and would quote Dyers exact remarks.

It is a sad history of how the Britishers divided India and this region and used one tribe against another! The Punjabis against Hindustanis, Gurkhas against Pashtuns, Turi Shias against non-Shia Pashtuns, Hazara Pioneers against Baloch, a Punjabi Police force in Quetta to control Quetta, Hindustanis against Santhals, Hindustanis against Mysore and so on. The history of so called Muslims of Indo Pak is chequered, questionable and frequently highly dubious! Such as the fact that Pathan or Punjabi or Baluchi Muslims had no hesitation in killing Muslims in North India as part of British company’s army in 1857 ! Cureton’s 15th Lancers Pathans were burning and raping Ranghar Muslim villages as part of Cortland’s force in 1857-58 in Jamalpur and many other parts of Hissar but refused to fight against Turks! Similarly Pathans of 124th Baluchistan Infantry were damn comfortable with killing Persian Muslims in South Persia in WW 1 but had issues fighting Sunni Muslims in Mesopotamia, the reason why 124th Baluchistan Infantry was diverted from Mesopotamia to Persia and 2/124th Baluchistan Infantry raised in Persia in WW 1.

The sectarian bug is in Muslims of all parts of the world and the British cannot be blamed at all for using it!

Personally I have many Hazara friends having studied with them at Quetta in 1968-77. They were the most adventurous and sports loving people. Whenever I climbed the Murdar Garh Mountain near my house in Quetta I would see Hazara men on their morning walk climbing Murdar Garh. My Afghan American NGO boss a Pashtun always employed Hazara staff at house and told me once that he liked them because they were far cleaner in personal hygiene and harder working than Pashtuns or Tajiks! Note that this gentleman himself was a Pashtun! Taking his tip I also employed a Hazara maid and she turned my house at Kabul into heavens on earth. Indeed I would say that 70 % of maid servants in Kabul were Hazaras. The assertion of Husseini in Kite Runner about masters of the house fathering sons from Hazara maid servants is a hard fact of Afghan history. What I liked about Ismaili Hazaras was their liberal attitude towards religion. My girlfriend never distinguished between Ramzan and other months of the year. Hazara women , were more painstaking and worked hard in performing their feminine duties while non-Hazara women of all ethnicities , as this scribe personally experienced don’t move a limb at all and regard sex as the sole hard labour job of their male partner.  In Afghanistan again on my morning walks to Tapa i Bibi Mahru I saw Hazaras exercising and jogging. I hardly ever saw any other ethnicity doing it. My Khalqi friend a senior leftist regime member loved Hazara women as he said they were hairless unlike many non Hazara women. Note that this officer had been friends with women of Naghmas stature in beauty and fame ! Was instrumental in creating the female cultural troupe in Afghan Ministry of Interior in 1980s early and was
famous for having some good company under his massive office table while holding the fort in ministry of Interior! Contact with USSR/Russia certainly improved the love making capacity on both sides of Hindu Kush mountains.  Afghans loved going to courses in USSR and my ministry of Interior guards remembered with nostalgia the Russian blondes they met at the Police Training Academy in Riga or the Assassination School near Tashkent !

To sum up the Hazaras are a great people and it is sad that they have been tageted becase of ethnicity and sect. It is right that Hazaras were persecuted in Afghanistan. However the leftists altgough Pashtun dominated finished this discrimination and Sultan Ali Kishtmand was given prime ministers position twice by the Khaliqis and Parchamis. The true liberators of Hazaras were the leftists as well as the USSR who gave them respect and political acceptance.
The Pakistan sponsored Afghan Taliban are die hard enemies of Hazaras. In Quetta starting from 1990s Hazaras have been systematically attacked by Afghan Taliban and the Hazaras are now migrating to Karachi and Punjab.
Parachinar also has some Hazaras from the Fauladi clan. Jughuri in Ghazni Province Afghanistan has one of the highest literacy rates in Afghanistan.

Published by

Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

7 thoughts on “Hazaras, and Divide and Rule in the British Empire”

  1. There is a worldwide known book written by famous Serbian writer Milorad Pavic – Dictionary of the Khazars. It is written in a form of dictionary. It is about Khazars’ conversion. Their ruler had a dream and invited sages from three major religion, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, to interpret his dream. The best interpreted dream will cause Khazars’ collective conversion to this religion. The book is easy to read, it has three parts – red, green and yellow, which present three views on these happenings. The book can be read out of order, just as any disctionary.

    It could be interested to pundits to read. I tried to find the free download in English. You may try with searching and downloading the pdf book from:

    ‘Dictionary of the Khazars: a lexicon novel in 100,000 words/Milorad Pavic; … adding new ones to his handwritten manual of saber techniques, he personally. ‘

    The beginning of the book is:

    “The event discussed in this lexicon occurred sometime in the 8th or 9th century A.D. (or there were several similar events), and this subject is commonly referred to by scholars as “the Khazar polemic.” The Khazars were an autonomous and powerful tribe, a warlike and nomadic people who appeared from the East at an unknown date, driven by a scorching silence, and who, from the 7th to the 10th century, settled in the land between two seas, the Caspian and the Black. 1 It is known that the winds that brought them were masculine winds, which never bring rain — winds with a yoke of grass, which they trail through the sky like a beard. One Late Slavic mythological source mentions the Kozije Sea, which could be taken to mean that there was a sea called the “Khazar Sea,” since the Slavs called the Khazars “Kozars.” It is also known that the Khazars established a powerful empire between the two seas, preaching a to-us-unknown faith. When their husbands were killed in battle, Khazar women would be given a pillow to hold the tears they would weep for the warriors. The Kazars entered the annals of history when they went to war against the Arabs and concluded an alliance with the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 627 A.D., but their origins remain unknown and all traces of them have vanished, leaving nothing to show by what name or people one should look for them today. They left in their wake a graveyard by the Danube, although it is not sure it is really Khazar, and a pile of keys surmounted by silver or gold triangular coins, which Daubmannus believed had been minted by the Khazars. The Khazars, and the Khazar state, vanished from the stage of history as a result of the event that is the main concern of this book — their conversion from their original faith, unknown to us today, to one (again, it is not known which) of three known religions of the past and present — Judaism, Islam, or Christianity….”

  2. \The true liberators of Hazaras were the leftists \ Very true. Leftists did much else like education for all and legal equality for all
    That period ended in 1995 due to international machinations and interference

  3. Leftists regime in Afghanistan was it’s best bet for for many generations. Looks like Pakistan and US have different bets on afghanistan

  4. No, the Taliban are a nationalist force fighting the foreign invaders. The only support they have gotten from Pakistan post Soviet era was from their ethnic Pashtun kin in Peshwar. The western backed Ghani government is only in power because of the US. In regard to Hazaras, the reason for Taliban’s enmity towards them is because many of them supported the Atheist soviet Government.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits