Atmaram, Prime Minister of the Chief of Koondooz - Naib Mahomed Shureef - Gholam Mahomed Barukzye - Jan Fishan Khan, Pergamee - The Plan of Begram, Reg Ruwan and the Part of the Kohistan

DR JAMES ATKINSON (1780-1852) Biography

Atmaram, Prime Minister of the Chief of Koondooz - Naib Mahomed Shureef - Gholam Mahomed Barukzye - Jan Fishan Khan, Pergamee - The Plan of Begram, Reg Ruwan and the Part of the Kohistan (Afghanistan, 1843)

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Atmaram, a Hindoo, and native of Peshawur, is the Dewan Begee, or Prime Minister of Meer Moorad Beg, the celebrated Chief of Koodooz in Toorkistan, so justly styled by travellers the first hussar in Asia. To his sinister counsels, much of the ill treatment experienced by Mr. Moorcroft, at the hands of this Chieftain, is ascribed; it being well known how largely he profited by the sums of money extorted from that unfortunate gentleman. He was in power when Sir Alex. Burnes visited Koondooy in 1832; and after the surrender of Dost Mahomed in 1840, was sent by his master on a mission to the British authorities in Kabul. He has risen form the meanest origin to his present high estate; and although Hindoos are generally despised by the Uzbeks, nor even permitted to wear turbans, he has not only secured that privilege for himself and his servants, but numbers no less than four hundred slavs in his household. Sir A. Burnes, in his travels, speaks in warm terms of his merits, for to him the merchant is indebted for the protection of his property from plunder, and his person form bondage. The peculiarly folded turban is the only part of his dress which marks him as an idolater, the rest of his costume being that of an Uzbek Chieftains.

NAIB MAHOMED SHUREEF.-This well-known individual was first brought to the notice of the British public by the favourable report made of him by Sir A. Burnes, who he accompanied from Peshawur to Kabul, as conductor, in 1832. During the occupation of Afghanistan by the English army, he resided at the capital, and gained the esteem o fall ranks by his hospitality and bonhomie. Fond of good living, and in appearance a very Falstaff, he delighted in giving fetes champetre at his country seat, and nothing could exceed the agreeable manner in which he entertained his guests on these occasions. At the outbreak of the insurrections, his most praiseworthy conduct in committing to the earth the remains of his lamented patron, Sir A. Burnes, and his brother Lieutenant Burnes, is deserving of honourable mention. When the successes of the Shah’s opponents rendered Kabul an unsafe residence for friends of the British, he retired to his estate at Kurgha, but latterly returned to the city to endeavour to raise a party in our favour among his own tribe, the Kuzzilhashes. In the struggle for ascendancy, after the murder of the King, he does not appear to have borne a very conspicuous part; but his known good feeling toward Europeans, inducing him to doubt the treatment he might experience from the Afghans, should he remain in the country after its evacuation by the mary, he has accompanied General Sir George Pollock’s force on its return to India, and thrown himself on the liberality of the British Government for his future support.

GHOLAM MAHOMED BARUKZYE.-Gholam Mahomed was one of the insurgent Chieftains of this great subdivision of the Dooranee tribe, which, when the late Wuzeer Futteh Kahn was at its head, made a more conspicuous figure than any other among the Afghans. Their numbers are estimated at not less than thirty thousand families. He joined the notorious Atta Khan on his approach to Candahar as the avowed champion of Islam. After the flight of Prince Sufter Jung from that city, the Barukzyes made common cause with the Dooranees, in the belief that Shah Shoojau connived at the rebellion to free himself from the control of the British authorities. But the repeated defeats of their united forces by the troops under General Sir William Nott, and the secession of the Prince from their ranks, so dispirited their followers, that they dispersed to their homes, and the Chiefs were necessitated to seek refuge in the mountains.

JAN FISHAN KHAN, PERGAMEE.-Syud Mahomed Khan was one of the few Afghans of note who steadfastly adhered to the cause of Shah Shoojau throughout his eventful career. When restored to his throne by the British, the King rewarded the many services of this faithful follower, by creating him a noble, under the title of Jan Fishan Khan. To the officers in Kabul he was familiarly known as the “Laird of Pergamee,” (the name of his estate,) and was much esteemed by them for his upright and open conduct. He accompanied Sir Robert Sale’s Force on its march from Kabul to Jellalabad, and was honorably mentioned in the despatches of both that General and Colonel Dennie, in their reports of the forcing of the Teezeen Pass, for the assistance he rendered in carrying the heights with his matchlock men. He is one of the few Chiefs who have shown a sincere devotion to the British interests, during the late insurrection. When Ukbar Khan returned to Kabul, after his defeat by Sir R. Sale, Jan Fishan Khan quitted the Kohistan, and repaired with his followers to the capital in aid of the Kuzzilbashes, but the Sirdar having gained the ascendancy, and forced that party to tender their unwilling submission, he was obliged to fly for his life: his two sons having been slain in the fight. This view of the plain of Begram, the Reg Ruwan, and part of the Kohistan, was taken from the fort of Lughmanee, two miles to the south of Cahrikar, (the station of the Goorkaha regiment,)and the coup d’oeil presented from that spot is truly magnificent. The winding courses of the rivers, the picturesque appearance of the forts and gardens, the verdure of the pastures, of the bold and varied aspect of the surrounding hills, crowned buy the snowy summits of the Hinsoo Kosh, form a landscape of surpassing beauty. In the low range of hills in the distance is situated that curious phenomenon, the “Reg Ruwan,” or the moving sand. Two ridges detached form the rest, round in and meet each other. At the point of junction and where the slope of the hillsis at an angle of about forty-five degrees, and the height nearly four hundred feet, a sheet of sand as pure as that on the sea shore, is spread from top to bottom, to a breadth of about one hundred yards. When this sand is set in motion by a body of people sliding down it, a sound is emitted. The plain extending for miles, and covered with tumuli, is the site of the ancient city of Begram, supposed to be the “Alexandria ad Calcem Caucasi,” where, during many successive years, that indefatigable traveller, Mr. Masson, disinterred thousands of coins and gems. The situation is well suited for a capital: dry, flat, and elevated, in a rich country and near the foot of the passes, which lead to and from Tartary.