Report on the Rawalpindi Settlement 1865 by Major Crocroft – Part Two
Summarized by Dr. Abdus Salam|[email protected]
The principal stream of the Rawalpindi district is the Soan سواں. It springs at the base of the Murree hill. It is first swelled by the Khad Nala. The Sohan skirts the plain of Charah چراہ, and passes through a narrow gorge near Phurwala Fort ہھروالہ. Ling Nala joins Swan near Sihala. In the vicinity of Rawalpindi, it is joined by the Korang and the Leh لئی streams.
The Korang starts near Ghora Gali, گھوڑا گلی and skirts Barakao on the Murree Road. It fertilizes villages of Sohan, Tarlai & Khanna-Dak. The Leh rises at the base of the mountains due north of Rawalpindi. It has deep banks so its water is unproductive, except for Jhallars جھلار(wells fed by the stream). These Jhallars are an important means of irrigation. The Leh skirts the city and Cantonments of Rawalpindi. It falls into the Swan, where Lieutenant Colonel Taylor of the Royal Engineers, is erecting a Bridge, 4 miles south of Rawalpindi.
Then Swan then enters a fertile tract, containing the villages of Gorakhpur, Adyala (Urdu: اڈیالہ) & Dhalla (Urdu: ڈھـلہ). Further down it enters the Swan valley, the seat of the Alpials. In former days they furnished the Sikh Government with many of its best horses and
Goorchurras گھوڑ چڑھا(cavalry). This plain is one of the most productive in the district. The Swan is here joined by the Upper Seel. Thence forward the Swan forms the Southern boundary of the district. It widens into a broad sandy bed, and receives the Wadala وڑالہ . Swan then flows through a maze of ravines and soft sand stone banks. It receives the Lower Seel & then joins Indus.
The Haro has two branches. One branch is called the Dhund Haro. It begins in the country of the Dhunds, at the Northern base of the Murree Mountain. The other flows from the Mukeshpuri Mountain in Hazara and passes through the Karral tract. It is called the Karrâl- Haro. Traversing the Gakhars Elaqa (Area) of Khanpur the united stream enters this District near Osman Khattar. It irrigates the Elaqa of Haro. It is joined by the Chiblat and the Sagar which fertilize the valleys of Hasan Abdal and Burhan. It then passes through deep ravines often the scenes of violent crimes. Receiving the Nandna the Haro flows into the Indus near Bagh Nilab.
Indus River from its source to Attock, the Indus is estimated to have run 900 miles. From Attock to the Sea, it is 900 miles. Total length is 1800 miles. It falls 20 feet per mile above Attock, and 20 inches from Attock to Kala-Bagh, thence to Mithankot (Urdu: مِٹھّن کوٹ) 8 inches, and onwards to the Sea, 6 inches.
Indus enters the District near Ghazi in Hazara, where it flows between Rocky Mountains. It suddenly emerges into the open between fertile plains of Chhuchh and Yusufzai. Here it expands into a perfect Sea, upwards of a mile in breadth, forming many islands.
Receiving at Attock, the swift waters of the Kabul River, Indus suddenly contracts into a narrow bed and flies past Attock. It becomes a deep blue lake as at Bagh Nilab. This is the spot where Tamerlane crossed the Indus. It is a point on the route from Peshawar via Fateh Jang and Chakwal, to the Salt Range. Bridge of boats at Attock is under management of the Peshawar authorities
The river there enters narrow gorges until it reaches the southern part of the district near the plain of Jundal. Here lives a race of hardy Khattar. In former years they gave much trouble in league with the Bori and Janakhor Afridies. At Ghoramar گھوڑا مار a whole sale trade of cattle-lifting and kidnapping of Khatries کھتری or was carried out. The Afridies, who are afraid of water, never come across the river. The Jundalies took the bullocks, horses or Khatries to the river. Then they crossed them on inflated skins called Shurnaees سنائی . Once on the other bank, the prey was seized by the Afridies.Then it was not restored without a ransom. In the case of a khatri, the ransom is called bhonga. Torture was often used as a means of extorting it, such as amputation of fingers and toes, sent as reminders to the relatives of the prisoner. These crimes are now things of the past.
Beyond this the river passes by Makhad (Urdu: مکھڈ ). This place is now becoming important as the terminus of the Indus stream flotilla. A short distance below Makhad at the confluence of the Sohan, the Indus passes beyond this District
The Indus does not afford this District any advantages for irrigation. But were a canal cut from Ghazi through Chhuchh, it is believed that a considerable area might be watered. It would be worthwhile to examine the country scientifically with that object in view. (Note by Abdu Salam –Ghazi Barotha (Urdu: غازى بروتھا) canal was materialized about 150 years after the writing of this book)
GOLD WASHING-The River Indus, Swan & Seel yield gold in small quantities. Gold is obtained by washing sand. The sand is placed in a shallow wooden tray called “Dhroon,” Water is poured upon it with a scuttle shaped instrument called “Huthlee.” A sieve made of sirkee (a reed), is used to prevent pebbles from mixing with the sand in the tray. All the particles of sand are gradually washed out, and a deposit is left of a deep blue color. This is placed in a small saucer shaped vessel, and is again carefully washed until nothing is left but minute grains of gold. Quicksilver is added to attract the particles of gold. The mass is then put on the fire to detach the quicksilver. A small nodule of gold remaining as the final result of the operation. The total income per year is Rs. 373/-. The system of collection is by licenses on “dhroons,” Rupees 5 per annum. The gold-washers are believed to earn 4 Rupees per month. This equals to the hire of a common day laborer.