Showing posts with label Satti tribe in Pakistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Satti tribe in Pakistan. Show all posts

Tuesday 5 December 2017


The Satti are a tribe in the region of North Punjab (Pir Panjal Range), Pakistan. Satti tribe mainly inhabits Kotli Sattian, Kahuta and Murree Hills of Rawalpindi district in north Punjab, Islamabad district, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Kohistan areas of KPK, and some scattered families also live in Afghanistan and across river Jhelum in the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 


The founding father of the Satti tribe, Satti Khan was born at Thoon in Kotli Sattian and from there his offspring spread to the neighbouring settlements.

The Satti tribe has two traditions regarding its origin. One tradition links Baba Satti to Anushirvan, A Sassanian king of Persia, while the other suggests that he was a descendant of a military commander known as Takht Khan, who accompanied Timur during the invasion of Delhi.

However, a huge number of Sattis are believed to have descended from Anushirvan, The Emperor of Sassanian Empire. When Arabs invaded and conquered Persia, the ancestors of this tribe were driven out, they took refuge in the neighbouring states of central Asia. Later on they joined the early Muslim Armies in their invasion of subcontinent and settled in the Pothohar region of Punjab, Pakistan in the train of invaders.


The people of this tribe have great love and respect for knowledge. This Satti tribe has produced excellent army officers with the highest achievements, good doctors and scientists, better administrators and reputed students with incredible educational achievements. There are huge number of Sattis, who have earned Ph.D. degrees from local and foreign universities.

The Martial Race

Sattis are inborn soldiers, they possess a distinctive place and role in the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Every graveyard of Satti region is the resting place of Martyrs and War heroes. 

The high walls of mountains of the Satti region on the northeast side, protects the Federal Capital Islamabad as a fortress. As the homeland of most of the in-service and retired forces personnel, it stands surety to the well-being of the motherland.

People inhibiting harsh mountain terrains naturally grow tough and endure a great deal of physical hardship. Mountain tribes in Murree, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian, like people in the entire mountain regions, were averse to slavery. They lived fiercely independent lives since day one. It was known as Aap Raji or self-rule. However, different governments tried to subjugate these tribes from time to time with little success. The turning point arrived during Sikh rule which saw unprecedented atrocities carried out by Sikh armies against mountain tribes. Sattis were confined to higher reaches which were almost outside the approach of Sikh armies. However it forced Sattis to develop a complete self-sufficient lifestyle. They developed their own agriculture, hand mills, water mills, ploughs, etc. But they were deprived of any access to education, health or other civil amenities.

When British and Sikh fought each other Sattis naturally sided with British and Sikhs were finally defeated with the combined efforts of Sattis and British Indian army soldiers. The papers of Sikh surrender were signed at Rawalpindi. Sikhs also meted out similar punishments to other tribes who gallantly fought back them in the entire mountain ranges. The British declared Sattis as martial race and would happily recruit them in their army. The rivalries with Sikhs and subsequent alliance with Brits brought Sattis into regular military profession.

When an armed struggle was launched in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947-48. Ali Ghor Satti’s home in Malot Sattian served as a transit point for arms and men across river Jehlum. Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim of Sadozai tribe managed to acquire 500 Lee Enfield rifles and 45000 bullets which were stored safely in Ali Ghor Satti’s home. On the other side of the river was his son-in-law, Shukar Muhammad Satti, who coordinated the operation to safely transport arms and ammunition across river Jehlum.

Young Satti and Sadozai men swam across freezing river Jehlum and successfully managed to supply weapons to warriors and participated in the fight. The first attack was carried out against Dogra army unit stationed at Thorar. The warriors successfully climbed the rear vertical cliff of the army posts by using ropes and vines made of local shrubs. The enemy was ambushed from behind which left him bewildered with significant casualties. The rest were captured and kept as prisoners of war.

This was the starting point of Jammu and Kashmir liberation movement. The region of Poonch would not have been liberated without Sattis participation. The main reason to join the Poonch uprising was the harsh treatment meted out to Kashmiris by their rulers. Since Sattis and Sadozai have been related through different bonds, it was natural to respond to such calls. See the Striking Symmetry, When the Government of Pakistan joined in, the liberation command was assumed by Brigadier Saddiq Satti who went all the way to Poonch city. Later the Pakistan army headquarters recalled him and eventually the city fell to Indians.

Five war memorials in the Satti region were built to commemorate the gallantry during WWI. Nowhere on this earth such a small population had so many gallantry monuments built in such a number.

It is not true that Sattis showed their bravery only in regular army. Captain Riaz Satti was the right hand man to famous Indian nationalist leader Subash Chandra Bose and worked in the capacity of his secretary. Most of the WWII prisoners from Satti tribe joined Indian National Army of Bose.

The Murree Revolt

Prof. Karam Haideri has elaborated the story of Murree in his book, Dastan-e-Murree. It will be unfair to ignore the revolt that took place in nineteenth century in Murree. There are many version of this event. The local tribes in Murree planned to attack British residency at Kuldana and it was decided that Dhunds, Satti, Kethwal and Danial would participate in it. The plan was put together in a home where an old woman, named Sunnu, was also present and heard the plot. Her brother was working as a chef with the British resident commander. Ms. Sunnu was worried about the safety of her brother during this forthcoming attack. She immediately contacted her brother and asked him to take leave for few days as the resident would come under attack. Her brother asked for leave from job and he told his boss about the 'planned attack' as the reason for leave. The chef was arrested and put under military security. The British troops immediately called reinforcements from nearby cantonments such as Barrian. British established ambushes all along the gullies or passes. It is said that the warriors from the Dhund tribe launched the attacked before the set date. Some claim that Dhunds thought that Satti and other tribal participation would dilute the booty. Others claim it was not the greed for loot but sensing that British had already knew the plan it was tactically moved earlier to maintain the element of surprise. Whatever the case the revolt was crushed with an iron hand. It is told that when Satti warriors arrived under the command of Mr. Borra Khan the British forces were everywhere. When confronted by British commander, Mr. Borra Khan flipped the story and told that he came to help the British as a payback of their help against Sikhs. This saved him and his warriors from decimation. Some consider this as a cowardly act while other consider it as a great diplomatic move. Mr. Baz Khan, a Dhund chief, was hanged along with his sons and other fellows. The quest to liberate Murree was doomed forever. Tactically the revolt was defeated. Morally it succeeded as it showed the rebellious nature of mountain inhabitants against slavery.










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