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Sayed Momin Kandaharai

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After professor Habibi published a book (Pata Khazana) or (Hidden treasure), which contained veiled poems of old Pashto poets, few literates and critics challenged the authenticity and truthfulness of the book. They pointed out many complications and hitches in the book, but most of them got reasonable answers with great illumination and elaboration in the light of authentic historic references, ground realities and linguistic foundations.

As far as I came through this controversy and dispute I did not get the satisfactory answer to the question regarding the word Attock. According to critics the term was firstly utilized by the third Mughal emperor Jalaludin Akbar, while he decided to build a fort by the name of Attock Banaras. How could this term be used for Indus in the poetry of Khkarandoi Ghori, which had been brought by Pata Khazana, approximately four to five centuries before the construction of Attock fort by Jalaludin Akbar?

This question mark compelled me to go for the history of Attock and its geographical and historical location after and before Islam. As I started the research paper over the Attock I found the allegation of critics excessively comical, since the name of the Attock was mentioned several times in Hindu scriptures before Islam, how could they not bother to search for it before the unsubstantiated claim that the name Attock never existed before Akbar’s reign.

In this research paper, I will bring the poetry of Shkarandoi Ghori, the Allegations and criticism over the word Attock, a brief look on Attock Fort’s history, Attock mentioned in Hindu scriptures, its meaning and its root homogenizer words, and its importance in Hindu culture, history, and religion.


God’s mercy be on him

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Hidden Treasure (Pata Khazana)
An Anthology of Pas’hto Poetry by Mohammad Hotak
An anthology of Pas’hto poetry, The Hidden Treasure (Pata Khazana) was written in 1728-29 by Mohammad under the patronage of emperor Shah Hussain Hotak. The author of the book was an outstanding literary figure of his time in Qandahar and sanctified this work to Pas’hto poets. The book is written in three parts: The first is dedicated to poets of the past from the eighth to the seventeenth century. The second deals with contemporary poets of Mohammad Hotak’s time and the third refers to known poetesses of the Pas’hto language. At the end of the book the author talks about his life and literary prowess.
It was translated into Persian by Professor Abdul Hay Habibi in 1944. He also provided detailed annotations of literary works and historical events, and a list of over 200 words which are out of use in the language now or are rarely used. In presenting the importance of the book Professor Habibi provides notes on its prose and poetry by examining the history of Pas’hto prose.

Let this be known he was from Ghor: In his book, Larghoni Pashtana, Shaikh Kata Mathizay, God’s mercy be on him, citing  Tarekh-e Suri writes that Skarandoi was a native of Ghor and sometimes lived in Bost and Ghazni. His father’s name was Ahmad, who was the commissioner of Feroz Koh54 in Ghor. Skarandoi was a courtier of Sultan Mohammad Saam Shansabani,55 Shahab-al-Dunya wa din (star of the world and

(The Hidden Treasure,72: 1997)

religion), where he was well respected. When the Sultan attacked India Skarandoi accompanied his troops. It is said that Skarandoi wrote poetry, known as bolêla,56 eulogizing Sultan Mohammad Saam and Sultan Ghiasuddin Ghori. Mohammad Ibn Ali says that he saw a thick volume of his odes in Bost. This encomium in praise of Mohammad Saam is taken from that book.


Spring with flowers has bedecked the land

Red tulips are scattered on the mountains grand,

The hills and slopes with green pastures are adorned

And emerald mantles have the mountains downed.

Today he crossed the Indus, launching a raid

, From his might the lion is afraid.

The rivers to him capitulate outright Carrying Ghorid boatmen forthright

. The Attock greets him every year Spreading soft sand on its rocky tier.

When the youth of Pashtoonkhwa to India go

Pretty maidens joyously dance in a row.

See the mountains in their green attire And the desert shining like a sapphire.

As the sun rises from the east at dawn,

Toward the western horizon, it moves on and on,

Whether it is morning, noon or afternoon

At sunset, it vanishes behind the same dune.

Shahab’s armies will continue their quest,

And these youth will keep marching abreast.

A lion faces its enemy with pride until it has driven it astride.

In India, they will raise their victorious flag

Or their lives will be taken if they drag,

As they forge ahead, many idols they will smash

Shedding blood in their path, when they clash.

O Shahabuddin keeps the glory alive,

Let the banners fly on the mosques as you strive;

So that your sword may illuminate that land

And nullify idol-worshipping on a scale grand.

May God Almighty be your guide!

We will always help you as you stride

(The Hidden Treasure, 74-76: 1997)

After reading this Encomium, now we will have a look at the criticism on the term Attock utilized for a place or river in the poetry.


وانمود میشود، واژه “اتک” 1207 تا 1174 در دو شعر منسوب به شکارندوی که معاصر سلطان شهابالدین غوری ( )1605 تا 1555 “پته خزانه”) خداوندا! اتک از سوی جلالالدین اکبر  به معنای اباسین کار رفتهاست. (برگ نامگذاری شد. آیا چهارصد سال پیش از پیدایش نام اتک به معنای اباسین، شاعری آن را چنین ستوده و سروده بود!؟

پایان  بخش اول  2017کانادا، چهاردهم فبروری، نگاهی به “پټه خزانه” از چند روزنه


Seemingly in two poems of Shkarandoi Ghori, who was contemporary of Sultan Shahbudin Ghori, the term (Attock) has been utilized. Oh My lord!  He was Jalaudin who first utilized the word Attock for Abaseen and was nominated by him. How is this conceivable that a poet mentioned Attock intended for Abaseen four hundred years before!?

(پایان  بخش اول  2017کانادا، چهاردهم فبروری، نگاهی به “پټه خزانه” از چند روزنه)

Brief look on Attock forts History:

Attock Fort was built by Akbar the Mughal (in 1583) at the North-Western Tip of his kingdom. The fort was a bulwark against further invasions from the West by impoverished Afghans.

Attock Fort

important measure of  Akbar to  keep open the Khyber  Pass  was  the  payment  of  allowance  to its  inhabiting tribes especially to the Afridis. In sixteenth century the Afridiscollected Rs.125000 a year from the Mughal Empire in addition to  individual  levies  on  each  traveler’s  per  laden  camel,  per horseman and per-unladen camel or pedestrian. To ensure safe passage  of  caravans  and  Mughal  armies  between  Delhi  and Kabul, Akbar  constructed a  fort at  Attock and  a road through Khyber  Pass  by  giving  its  responsibility  of  protection  to  its inhabiting  tribal  chiefs. The  fort  of  Attock  also  helped  the Mughals to deal effectively with the Pukhtun tribes. The duty of protection of the route from Attock to Peshawar was assigned to Malik Akor, chief  of the  Khattak tribe,  in lieu  of a  Jagir.

Bridge Across the Indus at Attock
This photograph of a pontoon bridge across the Indus River is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Pontoon bridges such as this one, formed from boats lashed together by various materials, were easily assembled and disassembled. This pontoon bridge was built near the town of Attock in Punjab Province, in present-day Pakistan, and likely was used by the British Army to ferry supplies and troops across the Indus. Laborers, fishermen, travelers, soldiers, and pack animals are seen in the foreground. Attock itself is visible on the plateau in the background at the far right. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak, which permitted the Afghans to maintain internal sovereignty but forced them to cede control over their foreign policy to the British. Fighting resumed in September 1879, after an anti-British uprising in Kabul, and finally concluded in September 1880 with the decisive Battle of Kandahar. The album includes portraits of British and Afghan leaders and military personnel, portraits of ordinary Afghan people, and depictions of British military camps and activities, structures, landscapes, and cities and towns. The sites shown are all located within the borders of present-day Afghanistan or Pakistan (a part of British India at the time). About a third of the photographs were taken by John Burke (circa 1843–1900), another third by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), and the remainder by several other photographers. Some of the photographs are unattributed. The album possibly was compiled by a member of the British Indian government, but this has not been confirmed.

About  Khyber  Pass,  Abul  Fazal says  “the  Khyber route was exceedingly difficult but by the  Akbar’s command, it was so improved by Qasim Khan who had the superintendence of the work that the road which before that time was so difficult to even  for horses and camels wheeled carriages could pass over with ease and the Toranis and Hindis generally use it”.

There is nowhere mentioned that the place around the Indus river has been nominated (Attock) by Jalaudin Akbar. Yes, in Tarikh Akbari it is mentioned that the fort is named (Attock Banaras), but it doesn’t mean that this term had not been used for this region before him.

Attock in Hindu scriptures:

Let me extinguish the illusion and misapprehension that there was not a region called Attock before Akbar.

The term Attock is mentioned in many old scriptures for the same region of Indus, in old Sanskrit scriptures, the term Attock has been mention (Hataka) for the same region.

Hataka (हाटक) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.25.3),(II.25.5),

([Vijayendra Kumar Mathur|विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर]]<ref>[[Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur]], p.267-268</ref> ने लेख किया है …”’2. [[Gandharvadesha|गंधर्वदेश]]”’ ([[AS]], p.268):  [[महाभारत]] काल में मानसरोवर या कैलास पर्वत का प्रदेश तिब्बत भी जिसे [[Hataka|हाटक]] कहा गया है, [[Gandharvadesha|गंधर्वदेश]] के नाम से प्रसिद्ध था. सभा पर्व 28,5 में अर्जुन की दिग्विजय के संदर्भ में गंधर्वों का उनके द्वारा पराजित होना वर्णित है– सरॊ मानसम आसाद्य हाटकान अभितः प्रभुः, गन्धर्वरक्षितं देशमजयत पाण्डवस्ततः’ प्राचीन संस्कृत साहित्य में गंधर्वों का विमानों द्वारा यात्रा करते हुए वर्णन है. गंधर्वों की जल-क्रीड़ा के वर्णन भी अनेक स्थलों पर हैं. [[Chitraratha|चित्ररथ]] गंधर्व को [[Arjuna|अर्जुन]] ने हराकर उसके द्वारा कैद किए दुर्योधन को छुड़ाया था.  गंधर्व देश के नीचे, [[Kimpurusha|किंपुरुष]] या [[Kinnara Desha|किन्नर देश]] —  संभवत:वर्तमान [[Himachal Pradesh|हिमाचल प्रदेश]] और [[Tibet|तिब्बत]] की सीमा के निकटवर्ती इलाके की स्थिति थी.)

When the hero had crossed over white mountains, O Bharata, he came to the country that is inhabited by Kimpurusas and ruled by Dramaputra. In a mighty melee in which many barons found their death the best of pandavas conquered it and extracted tribute. After taking the country called Hataka. Governed Guyakhas, Arjuna single-mindedly occupied it with his army. Having won them over with diplomacy, he set eyes on the superb lake Manasa and all rivulets of the seers. Upon the reaching Lake Manasa, the Lord Pandava won the country adjacent to Hataka, which is ruled by the Gandharvas. (Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 25)

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 25 mentions that Arjuna arrives to conquer Harivarsha. Hataka (हाटक) country is mentioned in Mahabharata verse (II.25.3)[4] and (II.25.5)[5] ….Arjuna crossing the White mountains, subjugated the country of the Kimpurushas ruled by Darunaputra, after a collision involving a great slaughter of Kshatriyas, and brought the region under his complete sway. Having reduced that country, the son of Indra (Arjuna) with a collected mind marched at the head of his troops to the country called Hataka, ruled by the Guhyakas. Subjugating them by a policy of conciliation, the Kuru prince beheld (in that region) that excellent of lakes called Manasa and various other lakes and tanks sacred to the Rishis. And the exalted prince having arrived at the lake Manasa conquered the regions ruled by the Gandharvas that lay around the Hataka territories.

Attock has been mentioned as a country near the White Mountains Which is called ( Spin Ghar)in modern-day. They both convey the same meaning. These mountains are located in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan which is today’s Attock city. In the opinion of Mr. C. V. Law Hataka is the current attack (West Pakistan).

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Hataka in Purana glossary Source:

Hāṭaka (हाटक).—A region to the north of the Himālayas, where the Guhyakas lived. Arjuna, during his triumphal tour in the north made the guhyakas his allies. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 28, Verse 3).

Hāṭaka (हाटक).—A liquid by administering which a person feels rejuvenated; used in Atala.

Hāṭakī (हाटकी):—[from hāṭaka] f. Name of a river in the lower world, [Bhāgavata-purāṇa]

Hataka’s or Attock’s meaning in Sanskrit languages:

haṭaka (हटक).—f Calling. Hence (quasi calling to one on his way) stopping or detaining or hindering. v lāva & lāga.

Hāṭaka (हाटक).—mfn.

(-kaḥ-kā or -kī-kaṃ) Golden, of gold, (as a weight or coin.) n.

(-kaṃ) Gold. E. haṭ to shine, ṇvul aff

These all are documents that negate the theory of many critics that spread the bogus belief in the academic world regarding the term (Attock) and authenticity Pata Khazana.


 In this short research paper, I have provided some historical documents that deny the false notion of Attock being named by Akbar. This region and Indus both had been called Attock a thousand years before Mughals and Shkarandoi Ghori. The word Attock is derived from Sanskrit which means to halt or stop. It gives the same connotation Urdu and Hindi. The core reason behind this name was for the Indus river amid India and Gandhara, since it was problematic for any armies marching from India to Gandhara to get through this tempestuous and stormy river they named it Hataka or Attock which indicates the halting nature of the river.

I hope those who went through this short paper tries to search further for this issue and find more resources that can assure the validity of Pata Khazana and bring about the precious and uncovered history of Attock city in its prominence thorough out the history of the region.  

  • Sandhya Jain: Adi Deo Arya Devata – A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa & Co, 7/16, Ansari Road Daryaganj, New Delhi, 2004,p.146, S.No.261.
  • Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.267-268
  • Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.1018
  • Khan, The Durand Line, p.
  • Spain, The  Pathan  Borderland,
  • (Karachi: Nafees Academy, 1985), pp. 209-211.
  • Nadiem, Peshawar, p. 82.
  • Raverty, Notes, p. 32.
  • Sabir, Tarikh-i-Subah Sarhad, p. 298.
  • Raverty, Notes, p. 39.
  • Khan, Mutakhab-ul-Lubab, pp. 266-67.
  • پایان بخش اول  2017کانادا، چهاردهم فبروری، نگاهی به “پټه خزانه” از چند روزنه)
  • (The Hidden Treasure, 74-76: 1997)
  • Hataka in Purana glossary
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