Sartor Faqir

Sartōr Faqīr (Pashto: سرتور فقير‎; died 1917), also known as "Mullah Mastan or Mullah Mastana"[1][2] Lewanai Faqir or Saidullah in Pashto[3] and by the British as "The Great Fakir" or "Mad Faqir",[4] "Mad Faqir of Swat"[5] or the "Mad Mullah",[6] was a Pashtun tribal leader and freedom fighter. His name Mullah Mastan translates to "God-intoxicated" as a reference to his religious convictions and his belief that he was capable of miraculous powers.[3]

Sartor Faqir was born as Saidullah Khan in the village of Rega Buner in the Buner Valley and was a member of a branch of the Yousafzai tribe. In order to further his religious education, he lived and travelled throughout India and Central Asia, before setting in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan for a period of ten years. In 1895, he returned to Buner.[7]

In response to the British occupation of the North West Frontier Province of modern-day Pakistan, and the division of Pashtun lands by the Durand Line,[8] the Faqir declared a jihad against the occupying British Empire, unsuccessfully in 1895,[9] then successfully in 1897. In late July, he led from 10,000 to 100,000[2][10][11] Pashtun tribesmen in an uprising that culminated in the siege of Malakand, which ended with the British being relieved on August 2.

Although the Faqir continued to lead further attacks against the British, the siege of Malakand marked the height of his power and influence, which declined as the British made agreements with other local tribes and rulers to counter him.[12] The Faqir eventually made his own agreements with the British, with the revelation of an exchange of presents and correspondence with the British political officer of Malakand leading to accusations of the Faqir being in the pay of the British. This and the Faqir's advancing years led to a further decline of his movement, which broke up upon his death in 1917.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Spain p. 177
  2. ^ a b Easwaran p. 49
  3. ^ a b Beattie p. 171
  4. ^ Hobday p. 13
  5. ^ Edwards p. 177
  6. ^ Elliott-Lockhart p. 28
  7. ^ Sultan-I-Rome p. 2
  8. ^ Lamb p. 93
  9. ^ Sultan-I-Rome p. 2
  10. ^ Wilkinson-Latham p. 20
  11. ^ Gore p. 405
  12. ^ Sultan-I-Rome p. 5
  13. ^ Sultan-I-Rome, pp. 6-7


  • Beattie, Hugh (2002). Imperial Frontier: Tribe and State in Waziristan. Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-1309-3.
  • Easwaran, Eknath (1999). Nonviolent Soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, a Man to Match His Mountains. Nilgiri Press. ISBN 1-888314-00-1. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Elliott-Lockhart, Percy C.; Dunmore, Alexander Edward Murray. Earl of (1898). A Frontier Campaign: A Narrative of the Operations of the Malakand and Buner Field Forces, 1897-1898. London: Methuen.
  • Edwards, David B. (1996). Heroes of the age: Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20064-0.
  • Gore, Albert A. (November 1898). "A medico-statistical sketch of the north-west frontier disturbances, India, June 19th, 1897, to April 6th, 1898" (PDF). The Dublin Journal of Medical Science. 106 (5): 401–418. doi:10.1007/BF02964790.
  • Hobday, Edmund A. P. (1898). Sketches on Service During the Indian Frontier Campaigns of 1897. London: James Bowden.
  • Sultan-I-Rome (January 1994). "The Sartor Faqir: Life and Struggle Against British Imperialism" (PDF). Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. Karachi. 42 (1).
  • Spain, James William (1963). The Pathan Borderland. The Hague: Mouton. ASIN B0000CR0HH. OCLC 3208317.
  • Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (1977). North-west Frontier 1837-1947. London: Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-275-9.