William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) online

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open areas, originally provided with wells and fountains. These
were judicious improvements on the plan in vogue throughout Persia,
where the covered bazars, extending in some of the larger cities
for above 2 miles, not only exclude the rays of the sun, but com-
pletely prevent the free circulation of air, producing thereby close
and oppressive and, it may be presumed, unhealthy atmospheres.

The shops of the Char Chata are now tenanted by retail vendors of
manufactured goods, whether of wool, cotton, or silk. Before the
shops are what may be called counters, on which sit, with their wares
displayed, silk-mercers, makers of caps, shoes, etc., and money-changers,
with their heaps of copper money before them. Beneath the counters
are stalls ; and as they exactly resemble the cobblers' stalls of London
in situation and appearance, so are they generally occupied by the
same class of craftsmen. In Kabul, as in other places, all traffic is
transacted through the medium of the broker. Besides the shop-
keepers, or fixed tradesmen, a vast number of itinerant traders parade
the bazars ; it is probable that the cries of Kabul equal in variety those
of London. Inclusive of the Bala Hissar, the number of houses in
Kabul is about 9000, of which nearly one-half are occupied by Shia
families. The population may therefore be computed at something
between fifty and sixty thousand. In the summer season, from the
influx of merchants and people from all parts of the country, the city
is very densely inhabited ; and this pressure of strangers explains the
crowds and bustle to be witnessed in the bazars, with the great propor-



2 70 KABUL CITY.

tion of itinerant traders in cooked provisions and the necessaries of
life, who may be said to infest the streets. ':

The appearance of Kabul as a city has little to recommend it '
beyond the interest conferred by the surrounding scenery. It is best
approached, and, indeed, can only be seen, from the east. In that
direction the traveller catches his first view of the low country from '
the crest of the Pass of Lataband. Formerly a canopied apartment of ;
the palace of Kabul was cased in copper gilt, which, besides being very ;
ornamental, had a conspicuous effect in the obscure and indistinct mass '
presented by the city from the Kotal, or crest of the pass.

Across the river which flows through Kabul, so far as the city is
concerned, there can be said to be only one bridge, viz. the Piil-i-Kishti
(brick bridge). This is a substantial structure, however ill kept in repair,
of mixed brickwork, and masonry. It leads directly into the busy parts
of the city, where the custom-house, corn market, the covered arcades, li
and the principal bazars are found. At a little distance east of it is the
so-called Piil Nawa, or the canoe bridge, composed of the hollowed ■
trunks of trees joined to each other. It affords a tremulous passage to
pedestrians who choose to venture over it, and connects the quarters
Bagh All IMardan Khcin and Morad Khani. To the west, at the gorge
between the two hills through which the river enters upon the city, is ;
the fortifled bridge of Sirdar Jahan Khan. This is sometimes called i
the bridge of Nasir Khan, and is probably due to the governor so
named who flourished at the epoch of Nadir Shah's invasion. It is
believed that he was one of the dignitaries who connected with this
bridge the lines of fortifications over the hills ; and that he built the
parapet wall which fringes the western or exterior face of the bridge. '
Between this structure and the Piil-i-Kishti was anciently a bridge
connecting Chandol, on the southern side of the stream, with the
Indarabi quarter on the opposite side. i

Beyond the Pill Nawa, and altogether without the city, is another
once substantial bridge thrown across the stream, said to owe its
origin to Babar. It became injured through age and neglect; but
being on the road from the palace of the Bala Hissdr to the
royal gardens, it was necessary to repair it ; and at length, in the
reign of Zaman Shah, it was restored by the governor of the city,
Sirdar Jahan Nasi'r Khan, whose name it yet bears. It has, however,
again become dilapidated. The river has yet another bridge travers-
ing it west of the fortified bridge at the gorge of the two hills,
and parallel to the tomb of the celebrated Babar. It is a substantial
erection, and its date is probably that of the tomb and its appendages,
of which it may be considered one. The river has, therefore, in Kabub
and the immediate vicinity four permanent bridges crossing it. The
canoe bridge is not entitled to be included, being little more important'



KABUL CITY. 271

I than a plank placed across a rivulet. Besides these bridges, the river
has no other, either to the east or west of them, in the upper part of its
course being easily fordable, and soon terminating its lower section by
joining with the river of Logar.

Kabul was first made the capital of Afghanistan by Timiir Shah, and
it continued to be the capital throughout the period of the Saduzai
dynasty. On the fall of the Saduzais, Kabul came into the hands
of Dost Muhammad, who became Amir, and retained it for his
capital.

Iiihabita?its, etc. — The Emperor Babar boasts of the commercial
importance of Kabul, and the consequent resort to it of the merchants
of all countries, and the display in its markets of the fabrics and
produce of all climes. The eminent advantage possessed by Kabul
is that of locality. This is conferred by nature ; and so long as the
present conformation of hill and plain endures, the city will preserve
and enjoy it. There has always been a commercial communication
between India and the regions of Turkistan. Kabul, happily situated
at the gorge of the nearest and most practicable passes connecting the
two countries, will always profit by the intercourse between them.
The presence of the court, and of a comparatively large military force,
not a litde contributes to the bustle and activity to be observed in the
I city. It also imparts life and vigour to many professions and crafts
engaged in the preparation of warlike instruments and necessaries. As
a class, the artisans, while not inexpert and perfectly competent to
meet the wants of their customers, do not excel. There is not an
article made or wrought in Kabul which is not surpassed by specimens
from other countries. It is probable that many of the trades did not
exist before the foundation of the monarchy, and they should, perhaps,
be even now considered in a state of progression, a remark perhaps
applicable to the whole country. With respect to the trade of Kabul,
it may be observed that there are six points within Afghanistan where
duties on merchandise are levied, viz. Kabul, Ghazni, Bamian,
Charikar, Logar, and Jalalabad.

Kabul is abundantly supplied with water, which is generally of good
i quality. The river, on its entrance from the plain of Char Deh, is
jbeautifully transparent ; but after a course of a few* hundred yards, its
Iwaters are little used by the inhabitants of the city as a beverage, from
a belief that their quality is impaired by the large quantities of clothes
cleansed in the river preparatory to bleaching upon its banks. Parallel
to the river, in the first part of its course, is the canal called Jiii Sharin,
whose water is esteemed excellent. The southern parts of the city are
supphed with water from a canal called Bala Jiii, which is brought from
the river at its entrance into the plain of Char Deh, and being carried
on the western face of the hill, Koh Takht Shah, passes the sepulchre



2 72 KABUL CITY.

of Babar, and thence winds around the same hill until it reaches
the Bala Hissar. Without the Bala Hissar, to the east, flows a canal,
the Jiii Piil Mastan, whose water is held in high repute. It is derived
from the river of Logar as it enters the plain of Shevaki, and has a
course of about five miles, a length little inferior to that of the Bala
Jul

There are many wells throughout the various quarters of the city,
and in the Bala Hissar. The waters of these are more or less
esteemed, but are generally considered heavy, and decidedly inferior
to river water undefiled. The monarchs were accustomed to have the
water drunk by them brought from Shakar Dara, a distance of nine miles ;
and experiments are narrated, testing its superiority over that of the
neighbouring valleys of Ferzah, etc. The existence of the marshy
ground to the north is by no means beneficial to the health of the city ;
for it cannot fail to be remarked, that in those years when the accumu-
lation of water is large, dangerous autumnal fevers prevail, and that
the contrary happens under converse conditions. In cases of excessive
rainfall, the ordinary causes of diminution, absorption, and evaporation
are not sufficient to carry off or dissipate the mass, and the superfluity
stagnates towards the close of autumn. The effluvia arising from this
putrid collection are borne full upon the city by the prevaifing winds,
particularly by the northerly winds of Parwan, which incessantly rage at
that time of the year, and sweep over the more noxious chamafi of
Wazirabad and Bemarii. Still Kabul may not be considered an
unhealthy city. Its disadvantages, besides those just noted, are — its
situation, wedged in, as it were, between two hills, its confined streets
and buildings, with the evils consequent upon them. In compensation,
it has the benefits of a fine atmosphere, excellent water and provisions,
with delightful environs. The range of thermometer at Kabul from
the 6th to the end of August in 1839 was from 46° to 74° F. at 4 a.m.,
and at 3 p.m. from 72° to 96° ; in September at 4 a.m. 50° to 64°, and
at 3 P.M. 70° to 90°; from ist to 14th October at 4 a.m. 30° to 56°,
at 3 P.M. 64° to 92°. From 4th to the end of July 1880 the thermometer
ranged from 42^ to 103° at 9 a.m., and from 56° to 105° at 3 p.m.

The defences of Kabul have been carefully described in Colonel
Macgregor's Report, but need not be detailed here. The city played
an important part in the first Afghan war. On the 7th August 1839,
Shah Shujd entered Kabul as Amir, escorted by a British army.
Throughout that year and the next, the British troops remained without
hindrance. On the 2nd November 1841, the citizens and Afghan
soldiery broke out in rebellion against the Amir Shah Shuja, and
murdered him. On the 21st December, the English Resident, Sir
William MacNaghten, was treacherously shot by Akbar Khan, at an
interview for arranging the terms for the British troops withdrawing



KABUL CITY. 273

from the city. On the 6th January, the British forces marched out
under solemn guarantee of protection, — 4500 fighting men, with 12,000
followers. Their fate is well known ; of all that number only one man,
Dr. Brydon, reached Jalalabad, and 95 prisoners were subsequently
recovered from the Afghans. On the 15th vSeptember 1842, General
Pollock, with his army of retribution, arrived at Kabul, took possession
of the citadel (Bala Hissar) without opposition, and the British forces
remained there till 12th October, when the city was evacuated. Previous
to the departure of the army, the great bdzdr^ the Char Chata, was
destroyed by gunpowder as a retribution for the murder of Sir William
MacNaghten, and the indignities offered to his remains on this spot.

By the treaty of Gandamak, in May 1879, ^ British Resident was to
be stationed at Kabul. (See Afghanistan, vol. i. p. 52.) Accord-
ingly, Major (afterwards Sir Louis) Cavagnari was appointed to this
post, and was welcomed to the city with great apparent cordiality by the
Amir Yakub Khan. Owing to intrigues which will probably never be
unravelled, the fanatical party was allow-ed to gain head ; and on the
3rd September 1879, the British Residency was attacked by a rabble of
towns-people and troops, and Sir Louis Cavagnari and his escort were
murdered, after a gallant defence.

Orders w^ere immediately given for the despatch of an avenging force
from the Kuram valley under Sir Frederick Roberts. The first move
towards the Shutar-gardan Pass was made on the 8th of September ;
the pass was occupied on the 13th; and by the 26th of the month
about 6000 men w^re concentrated at Khushi ready for an advance
upon Kabul. The advance, which then immediately began, was not
seriously checked until General Roberts arrived on the 5th October
at Char-asia, 11 miles from Kabul. Further progress next morning
through the Sang-i-Nawishta defile was opposed by a considerable
force. The enemy showed in regular formation along the ridge
extending from both sides of the Sang-i-Nawishta defile to the heights
above the Chardeh valley. Observing that they were concentrating
upon the left, in anticipation of the main attack in that direction. Sir
F. Roberts resolved upon holding them in check by a feint attack in
the direction of the defile, while an outflanking movement was under-
taken upon the enemy's right. These tactics proved completely suc-
cessful, but the resistance offered by the Afghans was exceedingly
stubborn. Before evening the peaks overlooking the Sang-i-Nawishta
defile were in our hands, and a small force w^as pushed through into
the plain beyond. On the 8th October, General Roberts occupied the
Sherpur Cantonments north of Kabul, capturing 76 guns and howitzers
of different calibres ; and on the following day the city itself fell into
his hands after a feeble show of resistance.

The Bala Hissar, including the fort and palace, was partially dis-

VOL. VII. s



2 74 KABUL CITY.

mantled; the Amir Yakub Khan abdicated; and the guilty city
remained under British occupation for nearly a year. A provisional
government was instituted, road communication was opened between
Kabul and Peshawar by the Khaibar Pass, and the telegraph was
completed between these places. Supplies were at first abundantly
procurable, and when the troops prepared to go into winter quarters
at Sherpur, there was every appearance of local opposition having been
broken down, or having melted away.

Early in December, however, it became apparent that disaffection

among the tribes was increasing. They had probably looked for the

speedy withdrawal of the British troops after exacting retribution for

the murder of the Envoy, and the prolonged occupation of the capital

had inflamed the national antipathy. It was considered necessary,

therefore, before settling finally into winter quarters, to take decided

steps for the pacification of the neighbouring Districts. After a general

parade of British troops in the plain north of Kabul, two small brigades

under Generals Macpherson and Baker were sent to break up some

hostile gatherings to the westward. It then appeared that the rising

was far more widespread than had been supposed, and after five days'

incessant fighting round Kabul, during which the enemy lost very

heavily, their numbers had been so largely increased by the arrival of

fresh levies, that General Roberts found it impossible any longer to

make head against them. By the evening of the 14th December

the British forces were all collected within the walls of the Sherpur

cantonments, the Afghans being permitted to take possession of the

city, the Bala Hissar, and the surrounding heights. In Sherpur the

force remained more or less closely invested, until the crowning effort

of the enemy was made and repulsed upon the morning of the 23rd

of December. On that day General Roberts was attacked by fully

50,000 men ; but they were beaten off without difficulty, and on the

following day an additional brigade under General Charles Gough

having joined General Roberts' force, the city of Kabul was again in our

hands. The enemy's levies disappeared as rapidly as they had assembled.

After three months of comparative quiet, during which General Sir

Donald Stewart marched up from Kandahar to Kabul and assumed

command, negotiations were opened with Sardar Abdur Rahman

Khan, who had then crossed the Afghan border from Bokhara. In

the month of July 1880, Abdur Rahman was recognised by the British

Government as Amir of Kabul. Next month, about 10,000 men under

General Roberts marched to Kandahar to relieve the British garrison,

which had been besieged there by Sardcir Ayub Khan after the disaster

of Maiwand. Meanwhile arrangements for the withdrawal of the rest

of the British forces by the Khaibar route had been concluded, and

three days after General Roberts' departure, i.e. on the nth August,



KABUL RIVER. 275

Sir Donald Stewart left Kabul for India. The Bala Hissar and the
other positions which had been held by the British troops were
handed over to the Amir's officials. The withdrawal of all troops
from tlie Khaibar line was completed without difficulty by the 8th
September 1880.

Since then the Amir Abdur Rahman has remained in power at
Kabul, and has gradually established and strengthened his hold upon
the rest of Afghanistan. In June 1881, his supremacy was threatened
by the advance of Sardar Ayub Khan from Herat to Kandahar, but the
Amir marched in person against the invader, and eventually defeated
him. Ayub Khan fled to Herat, and from thence to Persia. In
October and November of the same year, during Abdur Rahman's
absence from Kabul, the Wardaks and Kohistanis attempted a rebellion,
which, however, was crushed by the Amir's governor. Abdur Rahman
himself returned to Kabul in December, and he has not since been
forced to enter upon any military operations of serious importance.

In 1884, the Russians having occupied Merv and reached the border
of Afghanistan, a British Commission composed of 20 political and
military officers, with 400 troops and a number of followers, under the
command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ridgeway, marched through Afghani-
stan to the neighbourhood of Herat with the view of delimiting the
North-Western boundary in concert with the Russians. The march
was very successfully conducted, and a new route was opened up via
Quetta and Nushki. On arrival at the Persian border, the command
of the party was taken over by General Sir P. Lumsden, who had
been sent out from England. Meanwhile the Amir, who had shown
an inclination to visit India, was invited in February 1885 by Lord
Dufferin to attend a Darbar at Raw^al Pindi. The Amir accepted the
invitation, and reached India at the end of March. He was received
with considerable display, and a force of all arras was assembled to
do honour to the occasion. The Amir was much gratified at the
reception accorded to him, and returned to Afghanistan after a fort-
nigh^'s stay in British territory.

Kabul. — River of Afghanistan. The Kabul river is believed to rise
from a copious spring at Sar-i-Chasmah, lat. 34° 21' n., long. 68° 20' e.,
and elevation 8400 feet ; but there is said to be another source about 12
miles farther west, on the eastern declivity of the Unai ridge. In its
course the main stream is joined by many small tributaries from the south
slopes of the Laghman range. It is at first an inconsiderable stream,
everywhere fordable for 60 miles as far as Kabul, at a short distance
beyond which place it receives the river of Logar from the south, and
thenceforward is a rapid river with a great volume of water. About 40
miles below Kabul, it receives from the north the Panjsher river; 15
miles farther, the Tagao ; 20 miles below, the united streams of Alingar



276 KABUL RIVER.

and Alishang ; and 20 miles farther, at Balabagh, the Siirkh-ab from
the south. About 2 miles below Jalalabad it is joined by a large river,
the Kiinar. After all these accessions, the Kabul river becomes a
large stream and unfordable. Flowing with great force, it hugs the
north side of the Jalalabad valley until it enters the Mohmand Hills,
when it presses towards the north base of the Khaibar range, and is
confined between hills till it emerges into the Peshawar valley at Michni.
Here it divides into two branches, called the Adiizai and the Nagiiman.
The Aduzai, or north branch, receives in three branches the waters of
the Swat river. The Nagiiman, or south branch, separates again into
several smaller branches at Miiki to rejoin again at Zakhi, where also
it receives the Bara river from the south, and then the two branches
reunite at Diiobandi. Thence the Kabul river flows 40 miles east-
south-east, and falls into the Indus at Attock (Atak), after a course of
300 miles, in lat. 33° 55' N., and long. 72° 16' e.

From Sar-i-Chasmah to Jalalabad, this river is of no value except
for irrigation ; but from Jalalabad to Diiobandi, it affords safe and
generally rapid descent by means of rafts of inflated skins. This mode
of travelling is a good deal resorted to, especially when the Khaibar
Pass is disturbed. It saves a distance of 10 marches, which may be
traversed in 12 hours during the floods. From Diiobandi to Attock,
the Kabul is navigable for boats of 40 or 50 tons.

From its source at Sar-i-Chasmah to Kabul city the river is every-
where fordable. From Kabul city to Jalalabad it is fordable at a short
distance above Jalalabad on the road to Liighman in dry weather, and
there are ferries at the village of Kutz, on the right bank. The fords,
however, between Kabul and Jalalabad are of a more or less temporary
and precarious nature according to the season, and both at Sarobi
(opposite Naglii) and at Jalalabad there are alternative fords and ferries.
At the Jalalabad ford on 31st March 1879, one officer and 46 non-com-
missioned officers and men of the loth Hussars were swept away and
drowned while attempting a passage in the dark. Opposite Jalalabad
there is a difficult ford in April, and thence to Diiobandi the ferries are
at Goshta, Lalpiira, Abkhana, Dhaka, Prang (Adiizai branch), Khalil
Bandah (Nagiiman branch). Below Diiobandi are the following ferries :
— (i) Nisata to Khalil Bandah, from 2 to 6 boats. This is the principal
ferry between Peshawar and Yiisafzai through Hashtnagar. (2) Dehri
Zardad to Shah Alam, 2 boats. This ferry is little frequented. (3)
Khaishki to Pirpai and Zakhel, 2 boats. This ferry is little frequented.
(4) New Naoshahra to old Naoshahra. This is the largest ferry in
connection with Yiisafzai. In the hot weather it employs from 6 to 8
boats. In the cold weather, and sometimes throughout the year, there
is a bridge of boats below this ferry. (5) Pirsabak to Badrakai. This
ferry has been closed of late years. (6) Misribandah to Akora, 2 boats.



I I



KACHCHII—KACHHLA. 277

This is the favourite ferry between the east portion of the Yiisafzai plain
and the Khataks. (7) Jahangira to Shaidoh, 2 boats. In case of need,
8 or 12 boats can be procured from Attock. The only bridges over the
river are at the city of Kabul, and have been described in the article
on Kabul City. — See also Afghanistan.

Kachchh. — Native State, Bombay. — See Cutch.

Kachchh, Runn of.— ^^^ Cutch.

Kachhandau. — Farga?id in Bilgram tahsil, Hardoi District, Oudh ;
bounded on the north and east by Mallanwan />^r^^;/^' ; on the south
by Bangarmau pargaud of Unao District ; and on the west by the
District of Farukhabad in the North- Western Provinces, the Ganges
forming the boundary line. Originally in the possession of the Tha-
theras, who were expelled by some Chandel subjects of the King of
Kanauj. First constituted a pargand about 330 years ago by Sher
Shah, who, on his proselytizing march from Jaunpur to Agra, compelled
the inhabitants of several Chandel villages to apostatize. Their
descendants now intermarry with the families of Ahbans, Raikwars, and
Gohelwars, who were converted to Islam at the same time. The
pargand forms part of the kachh or moist low-lying country along the
bank of the Ganges, as opposed to the bdngar or dry upland tract
away from the river ; hence its name Kachhandau. Area, 47 square
miles, of which 28 are cultivated. Government land revenue, ^3378;
average incidence, 4s. iijd. per acre of cultivated area, or 2s. 3jd. per
acre of total area. Staple products — barley, wheat, millet, rice, bdjra,
gram, arhar, sugar-cane of an inferior quality. Of the 34 villages com-
prising \}i\^ pargand, 16 are owned by Hindu and 8 by Muhammadan
Chandels. Of the remaining 10, Brahmans hold 5 ; Kayasths, 2; and
Panwars, Ahi'rs, and Chamars, 1 each. The prevailing tenure is that
known as imperfect /^///^(zVz, which obtains in 18 villages; 15 are
zaminddri, and only i tdlukddri. Population (1881) 20,137, namely,
males 11,314, and females 8823; average density of population, 428
per square mile. This parga?td is intersected by two unmetalled roads,



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) → online text (page 33 of 57)