His ancestors have been migrated from Chilas and settled Laspur Chitral during the time of Rais and belonged to Shin(Bozhuky) caste (Godfrey 1897). According to Haji Zarqubad of Kanandur “that the ancestors of Muhammad Rafi had been enjoyed the position of Hakim since seven generations”(Zarqubad 2006: Kennion 1906: Khawar 2006).. Khanti was the name of of Muhammad Rafi’s father. Who was also Hakim of same region (Khawar 2006). Mehtar Mir Wali was fostered in the family of Muhammad Rafi. Mir Wali was a literate man, educated in Mardan, written History of Chitral and composed a dewan in Persian language. Upon the death of his father Muhammad Rafi became Hakim of Laspur in early period of Mehtar Aman ul Mulk (1856-1892). His administrative position started from Aun Shot to Langar. Hakim Muhammad Rafi had married a daughter of Maimun Beg of Torkho (as alluded by Willaim Lackhart in 1885).
Early life and Military trainings
Time when he was born there were only twelve literates peoples to read or speak Persian, living in whole district (Younghusband 1893) hence it only means of substance was depend on state services. As with most of what we know about Hakim Muhammad Rafi there are only a few hints about how he was trained, and they come mostly from from secondary sources. Given that, here are the best guesses. In Chitral there were arrangements for the military by the person’s parents themselves instead of State. Chitralis used muskets and guns in large number whereas Gilgitis and others had a slight disliking towards such modern arms and ammunition. Their favorite weapon was spear or ‘Niza’ and Swords (Kohnger).
He probably trained daily, and his army was also continually in training. He hunted as often as possible, which is a kind of training for warfare.
Political and Military Life
Muhammad Rafi was a Chitrali warrior and commander in the service of the Mehtar Gohar Aman, Mehtar Mir Wali and Mehtar Aman ul Mulk etc who played a leading role in the wars against Dogras in 1850-1866 and conquests of Gilgit and surrounding areas. A horseman of the Bozhuky tribe’s aristocratic Bapy clan, which ardently opposed Kator Mehtars played the instrumental role defeating the Britishers in the Battle of 1895 for a while. Following his father’s death, he was made a Hakim and commander by Mehtar Gohar Aman, who bestowed on him the title Kohngerdayk. He was a staunch supporter of Mehtar Mir Wali and Shahzada Sher Afzal. On one occasion Mehtar Mir Wali and Shahzada Sher Afzal made an attempt to kill Mehtar Aman ul Mulk via Muhammad Rafi but this plan has been unsuccessful and Sher Afzal was forced to exile in Afghanistan. He was a warrior as like to Muhammad Isa, Daniyal Beg and Delawar Shah etc. Rafi was part of every war of Gohar Aman in different campaign against Dogras in Gilgit hence famous scholar Abdul Hamid Khawar given him into the list of warriors of Gohar Aman. He did well the Mehtar Aman ul Mulk’s invasion of Gilgit in 1863/64 (Khawar 2009).
During the reign of Mehtar Mir Wali, he was appointed chief advisor and participated all the wars and political matters. Muhammad Rafi, one of the three ruffians who actually seized and murdered poor Hayward in 1870. In 1876, his foster brother and master Mehtar Mir Wali was killed, this was a crucial time but Mehtar Aman ul Mulk had arranged a marriage of Muhammad Rafi, one of his foster relatives in Torkho valley, hence his relations with the Mehtar of Lower Chitral has been strengthened. During Aman ul Mulk reign he remained his position in Laspur valley. Upon the death of Mehtar Aman ul Mulk, Afzal ul Mulk ascended the throne and Muhammad Rafi was forcefully exiled by the orders of Afzal ul Mulk. In 1892, Shahzada Sher Afzal ascended the throne for a while, he restored the position of Muhammad Rafi again. In 1893, British Agent Sir Goerge Robertson visited Chitral and mentioned Muhammad Rafi in his report in following words
“We passed the Shandur without the least difficulty. There was very little snow comparatively speaking, and the rear guard reached Sarlaspur before 4 o’clock. Our reception has been most satisfactory. Bahadur before 4 o’clock. Our reception has been must satisfactory. Bahadur Khan and that scoundrel Muhammad Rafi met me on the top of the pass. The Sikhs managed the journey very fairly well.
The pleasing news has just been brought that the doubtful Laspur people, headed by their shifty Hakim Muhammad Rafi, have all sworn allegiance to Nizam-ul-Mulk on the Koran. This ceremony was gone through in the presence of Mehtar Joo Bahadar Khan and Wazir Inayat Khan, without any member of the Mission being in any way associated with it.
Muhammad Wali presence at Gilgit is undoubtedly causing us some trouble. That reseals Muhammad Rafi lately sent a secret messenger to him. The man was stopped on the road and turned back wounded. It is said that Muhammad Wali’s adherents amongst the Ghizr men have sent him a message to the effect that, if he is given Yasin, well and good but if this is not done, they advise his running away by the Kargah to Yaghistan where they propose to join him.
During the turbulent period of 1895, B.E.M Gurdon says “On the third day after leaving Gupis I crossed the Shandur pass (12,400 feet), and I can remember to this day how bitterly cold was the wind. On the Chitral side of the pass I was met by Mohamed Rafi, the Hakim or Governor of the Laspur district; he struck me as not being too friendly, and I was not surprised to learn later from our news-writer in Chitral that he was not likely to be a trustworthy supporter of Nizam-ul-Mulk, as he was the foster-father of Mohamed Wali, son of the late Mir Wali, Hayward’s murderer.1 Mohamed Rafi was indeed himself present at the murder and doubtless felt none too comfortable when meeting British officers.
The estimate I then formed of Mohamed Rafi’s attitude was fully borne out in the subsequent disturbances in which he took a prominent part against us. He had much influence with the Laspuris and a few weeks later Mr. Robertson offered to confirm him in the position of Hakim of Laspur with an allowance from the Kashmir State. Notwithstanding this he could not resist the temptation of joining Sher Afzal, and he persuaded his foster-son, Mohamed Wali, to do likewise. The foster-tie is very strong in the Hindukush region, and Mohamed Rafi hoped that his foster-son might become ruler of Yasin, Ghizr, and Laspur, and possibly of Mastuj also; he himself, in accordance with custom, would then become, next to the ruler, the most important person in that part of the country.(Gurdon 1933)
In a letter Gurdon says
“I wrote again that evening to Mr. Robertson describing the meeting with Amir-ul-Mulk. I expressed the opinion that Amir-ul-Mulk was a mere puppet in the hands of Sher Afzal’s party, who would not hesitate to kill him should it be necessary in Sher Afzal’s interests to do so. I also stated that Sher Afzal’s adherents had sent urgent messengers to Kabul to beg him to come at once to Chitral. I added that although the men who had most influence at the moment were distinctly adverse to us, it was of some comfort to me to be able to report that so far no men of importance from the Mastuj district with the exception of Mohamed Rafi, the Hakim of Laspur, had come in to join Amir-ul-Mulk. I also wrote that I was doing my best to collect supplies and that I hoped to be able to procure about eighty maunds of wheat.”
Rafi subsequently moved against the largely British forces and the contingent of Lapur in Kuh valley of Mastuj, stationed in Darband e Nasrgol. His army was defeated by colonel Kelly’s army in mid April 1895. Upon the arrival of British Relief force he was removed the position of Hakim and this position given to his rival Maherban Shah of Laspur. Later on he spent most of his life in Daril and Tangir with Muhammad Wali and Raja Pukhtun Wali. His son Sikandar Khan was a famous polo player and Subedar in Bodyquard . His descendants are live in Parwak village of Mastuj.