Yusufzai (Pashtun tribe)
The Yūsufzai (Pashto: يوسفزی Yūsufzay, plur. يوسفزي Yūsufzī; Urdu/Persian: یوسف زئی), also called Yousafzai, Esapzay or Yūsufī, is one of the major Pashtun tribes. They are found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) of Pakistan, and in some eastern parts of Afghanistan. Some Yusufzai lineages are settled in India,In Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad city and in many of whom form a part of the larger Rohilla community.
According to Akhund Darweza, the Yusufzai originated in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In their migration eastward, they arrived in the Kabul area when it was ruled by the Turkic governor Ulugh Beg, who had succeeded his father Shahrukh Mirza in 1446.
When the Yusufzai spread into the area as far as Swat, their relationship with the local Dilazaks deteriorated and a long war ensued. After 20 years, under their leader Malik Ahmed Khan, the Yusufzai and allied clans were able to push the Dilazaks eastwards towards the Hazara mountains east of the Indus River, at the battle of Katlang.
The tribe is mentioned as "Isapzais" by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. They are later mentioned by Babur in the 16th century. It is claimed that by the 1580s the Yusufzai numbered about 100,000 households. In general, they were uncooperative with the rule of Akbar who sent military forces under Zain Khan Koka and Raja Bir Bar to subdue them. In 1585 Raja Bir Bar was killed in fighting with the Yusufzai. It was not until about 1690 that they were fully brought within the realm of the Mughal Empire.
In 1849, the Yusufzai established an Islamic state of Swat under the leadership of Akhund Abdul Ghaffur who appointed Sayyid Akbar Shah, a descendant of Pir Baba, as the first emir. After Akbar Shah's death in 1857, Akhund Ghaffur assumed control of the state himself. The state lasted until 1969 under its religious leaders known as Akhunds of Swat, and encompassed the present day Swat, Buner and Shangla.
The Yusufzai are the predominant population in the districts of Swat, Buner, Shangla, Mardan, Malakand, Tor Ghar, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Swabi in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They are also living in Battagram and the Maloga village of the Oghi Tehsil of Mansehra.
In Afghanistan, they inhabit parts of the Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. In Balochistan, there is also a Yusufzai clan of the Dehwar tribe in the Mastung District which speak Brahui, and Persian with some mixture of Brahui words.
Some Yusufzai lineages are settled in India, especially in the Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad city and in Rohilkhand region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh, in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, in Andhra Pradesh's capital city of Hyderabad,in Gaya and near by bihar, in Karnataka capital city Bangalore,Channapatna INDIA etc
The yusufzai tribe has the highest literacy rate among the pushtun tribes.Their language is the language of pushto poetry and literature. Their language is the most simple and is mainly understood by all other pushtun tribes as it forms the core of pushto language with words that are commonly used in literature and poetry.They are very brave.
- Khyber.ORG. Yusufzai. Retrieved on February 9, 2013.
- Ahmed, Khaled. "Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- John F. Richards, The New Cambridge History of India: The Mughal Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993) p. 50
- Haroon, Sana (2011). Frontier of Faith: Islam, in the Indo-Afghan Borderland. Hurst Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 1849041830. Retrieved 16 February 2013.