The Last Wali of Swat

Barth, Fredrik: The Last Wali of Swat. An Autobiography as told to Fredrik Barth.

History has moved very swiftly in some parts of Asia, and the personal recollections of Miangul Jahanzeb, the Wali of the Swat, span a breathtaking series of transformations of which he himself was partly architect, partly prominent participant or privileged spectator. When he was born in 1908 the Swat valley formed a complex but stateless society of several hundred thousand members, linked to the archaic cosmopolitanism of Inner Asia but hardly touched by centuries of external influence and British presence in neighbouring India. Indeed, the Swat valley had never even been seen by an Englishman until 13 years before Swali’s birth. During his childhood, his father emerged as the creator and ruler of a new state in this tribal territory, a state which thereupon became progressively more closely linked, economically and politically, to British India and subsequently to Pakistan. For twenty years, from 1949 to 1969, Wali Sahib himself ruled this state, until it was merged into the regular administration of Pakistan through a peaceful transfer of authority. (From the preface)

Fredrik Barth, to whom the Swali told his story, has done extensive anthropological fieldwork in Swat since 1954. This book gives a fascinating picture of tribal and princely politics, state formation, and the social history of the region, of interest to anthropologists, political scientists and historians as well as to the general public interested in British India and modern Pakistan.

1: A time of transition
2: Family origins: 1800-1895
3: The emergence of Badshah Sahib and the foundation of Swat State: 1895-1917
4: My early life: 1908 –t 1926
5: The consolidation of the State of Swat: 1917-1926
6: Apprenticeship and trust: 1926-1935
7: Downfall: 1935
8: Years of waiting: 1935-1940
9: The road to kingship: 1940-1949
10: Rule: 1949-1969
11: Merger and its aftermath: 1969-1979
12: Reflections

First published: 1985, Universitetsforlaget

Translations: Japanese (Keiso Shobo Ltd., Tokyo), Pakistani edition reprinted in Pakistan, US edition reprinted by Waveland Press

Fredrik Barth: Biography and bibliography

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