Tribal politics, Mughal mansab and the sons of Khushal Khan Khattak (1667-1674)


  • Himayat Ullah Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Shahbaz Khan Khattak Pakistan Study Centre, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan.



Tribe, Yusufzai, Khattak tribe, Mughal, Afzal Khan, Behram Khan, Zia-ud-Din, Pakhtun borderland, Power struggle, Tribal chief, Mansabdar, Tribal uprising


Khushal Khattak, the 17th-century poet, warrior and tribal chief, was a Mughal mansabdar from 1641 to 1664. Like his forefathers, he served the Mughals with loyalty. His fortune changed after his arrest by Aurangzeb (1658-1707), and his perception transformed vis-à-vis the Mughals. At the time of his release in 1668, a tribal uprising engulfed the Pakhtun borderland areas. The Yusufzais’ uprising in the plain and hilly terrain of the Malakand region, coupled with Aimal Khan and Darya Khan’s forays, had blocked the route of Khyber, which halted swift transportation for the Mughals. Although Khushal himself did not accept any Mughal slot after his release, his two sons, Afzal Khan and Behram Khan, fought against each other to get the mansab from the Mughals. This phase of Khushal’s life was full of miseries. What role did Khushal play during this period? Why has his once dominating role and influence been diminished? Why did he fail to control or bring reconciliation between his sons? These questions are explored to grasp his position in that intra-family and inter-tribal power struggle. An attempt has been made to find out the role and position of other tribes during the second half of the 17th century.


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How to Cite

Ullah, H., & Khattak, S. K. (2024). Tribal politics, Mughal mansab and the sons of Khushal Khan Khattak (1667-1674). Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 8(1), 117–131.



Research Articles | Original Research