In the realm of a shah (or a more lofty derived ruler style), a prince of the blood was logically called shahzada as the term is derived from shah using the Persian patronymic suffix -zāde or -zāda, “son, descendant”. It was used by some of the Iranian empire. The word derives from the full title of the Achaemenid rulers (First Persian Empire). It has been also used in Badakshan as called ‘Shahan-e Badakhshan’ for their rulers, and the Shah Rais dynasty also descendants of that line and probably the titles of Shah and Shahzada they brought to Chitral from Badakhshan, hence the rulers of Shah Raisa dynasty called themselves as Shah (for example Shah Babur, Shah Rais, Shah Nasir, Shah Mehmud and Shah Abdul Qadir). The political structure as captured from Rais by latter rulers, inherited the titles of Shah and Shahzada. However the precise full styles can differ in the court traditions of Former State of Chitral. We have some sources in pre-British period if we study Shahnama of Siyar, written by Siyar a historian and poet in early nineteenth century A.D. identified few sons of the Mehtar called them as Shahzadas. At the end of page of Shahnama certain Muhammad Sadiq Khoja of village Shogram, used the title of ‘Shahzada’ for Aman-ul-Mulk (later on he became Mehtar) But most of the documents bear the titles of Mehtar and Mehtarjou to be used for the Katur rulers and their off springs. Now we shall discuss different primary and secondary sources one by one.
1. There was another royal title ’Mehtarbak’ prevalent in pre-British times For example if we study the famous The Gilgit Mission written by W.S.A Lackhart, K.C.B (later became commander in chief of British forces in India) and R.G Woodthrope jointly both of them visited Chitral in 1885, stayed in Chitral for about six months and signed a treaty with Mehtar Aman-ul-Mulk. This report famously known as ‘Lockhart report’.
In this report, they says “……….brother of present Mehtar and his sons styled as Mehtarbak, his daughter styled as Mirzazhuri; his brother styled Lal thus the Mehtar brother Bahadur Khan was Mehtar bak in his father’s reign styled Bahadur Khan Mehtar bak, when Aman-ul-Mulk succeeded he became Bahadur Khan Lal. However all the Mehtar’s sons and his brothers as Mehtarjou except in the case of heir-apparent, who styled Sardar and his brother Afzal-ul-Mulk who has had bestowed them by their father” (Lockhart & Woodthorpe 1889:264).
2. A royal order issued by Mehtar Shuja-ul-Mulk latter incorporated in government of India’s report ‘Who is Who in Dir, Swat and Chitral agency in 1937.
Report says “
“Only sons of the Mehtar can enjoy the title of Shahzada” (Government of India 1937:48).
3. In 1895, a Khowar Dictionary and Grammar written by Captain D.J.T OBRIEN later on it has been revised by Shahzada Muhammad Muzafar-ul-Mulk in 1935. He says “The present Mehtar is Shuja-ul-Mulk. He has three half-brothers alive and they, and sons of previous Mehtars, are called Mehtarjous. His own sons are called Shahzadas: They are fifteen of these and the four eldest and governors of four principle provinces” (Muzafar-ul-Mulk 1935:3).
4. If we further discuss Shahzada Hussam-ul-Mulk, Samsam-ul-Mulk and Gul Nawaz Khaki, all these three are icon of local history and Khowar language. Shahzada Hussam-ul-Mulk was first president of Khowar literary association’ Anjuman-e-Chitral founded in 1957, was authority of local ethnography as recognized by some international scholars. (Karl Jettmar, John Staley and J.Pott etc) and a dozen book on Chitral’s culture and civilization.
5. Dasturul Amal of State Judicial council also confirms the above narration of Shahzada Muzafar-ul-Mulk (later on became Mehtar)
6. “Only sons of sitting Mehtars since Shuja-ul-Mulk can enjoy the title of Shahzada and their sons can become Lal (Lord)”.(Hussam-ul-Mulk 1964; Samsam-ul-Mulk 2009; Khaki 1973)
7. Dasturul Amal of State Judicial council also confirms the above narration of Shahzada Muzafar-ul-Mulk (later on became Mehtar)
The above sources are self-explanatory and ascribe the title of ‘Shahzada’ only to the sitting rulers since Shuja-ul-Mulk (1895-1936), entitled to be called as ‘Shahzada’ and all others who use it with their names, either because of their kinship with the Mehtar or otherwise may use the title at their own discretion but the sources and traditions do not allow it all the relatives of Shahzada call themselves ‘Shahzadas’.
As for as the title ‘Shahzada’, used for the Sayeds of Chitral is concerned the documents prove that very few Sayed who happened to be the off springs of ex-ruler of Zebak were as known as ‘Shahzadas’( Shahzada Lais of Arkari and Shahzada Abdul Nawaz of Mastuj) they were leading Pirs. The areas inhabited by the Islamili were roughly divided among a number of Pirs who were treated by the disciples with extra-ordinary respect. The office was hereditary, and Ismaili families transfer their spiritual obedience from father to son, regardless of changes of residence, For example Shah Abdur Rahim of Zibak, who was honored and respected as being next in rank of Imam, had disciples in Sirikul, Kanjut, Yasin and Badakshan, but other pirs also had disciples to those places (Barrow 1887). The respect paid to the Pirs by their disciples was unbounded nothing was refused to them. One of them said to John Biddulp “if I ordered a father to kill his own son he dares not to refuse”. In above sentences I have discussed the importance and role of Pirs in Imaili community in pre-AKDN period, but the common practice in the pre- AKDN period was that out of respect Sayed were called Shah and their son had again choice to use Shahzada as a self-applied title with their names.
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