Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tank, or Tonk, is a town in Pakistan, North-West Frontier Province; pop. (1901), 4402. It was the residence of a Nawab, who formerly exercised semi-independent powers. Here Sir Henry Durand , lieutenant-governor of the Punjab, was killed in 1870 when passing on an elephant under a gateway. Dubbed as the Little England, this town is a staging point for most of the tribes of the region.
Tank District is an administrative district of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, formerly part of Dera Ismail Khan district. Tank District is bounded by the districts of Lakki Marwat to the northeast, Dera Ismail Khan to the east and southeast, and South Waziristan to the southwest, west, and northwest.
"...unknown, unloved, and lost to the world in the wastes edging Waziristan... not one in a hundred Pakistanis beyond the River Indus has heard of this strategic little town"
- A quote from the book Tank: Crossroads to the Frontier Tribes by Molly Pont, an English Missionary surgeon who came to Tank in 1983
Situated to the north-west of the Indus River and close to the Takht-i-Sulaiman Range , Tank is hot and humid in summers. At a distance of 200 miles from Peshawar and about 40 miles from Dera Ismail Khan, Tank hasn't learnt much from its neighbours. Where Peshawar and Dera evolve into beautiful cities, Tank remains to be a small unplanned town. It's a minor yet thriving city at the west bank of the Indus river.
To the far western side of the city lies the Federally Administered Tribal Areas abbreviated to FATA making Tank the a gateway to the no-mans land as the FATA is commonly perceived. The mainly Pashtun tribes that inhabit the areas are fiercely independent, but until recently the tribes had very friendly relations with Pakistan.
History of Tank
The northern territory between the Indus river and the mountains of Afghanistan was deemed impossible to tread in the days before the creation of Pakistan. Many a kings and great warriors tried to conquer the land by might but the fierce natives would flee them away. With successive by empires from the north like Alexander the Great, the great and Genghis Khan and Moghuls from the east and the south, the natives were centered into a limited and desolate land, yet not defeated completely.
The Macedonian Flee
At the Battle of the Hydaspes (now the Beas river), fought between the Alexandarian army and the Indian king Purushotthama (better known as Porus), the Macedonian army denied to go any further. It is said that while Alexander was busy conquering the far east, the army of his was being thrashed to pieces from the north by the barbarian tribes. The army was forced southwards.
The Sikh and British Invasions
Finally, the Sikhs from the south over-ran the local tribes. They annexed the land in 1838. Somewhere in the midst of this turmoil, the British were assembling against the Afghans and the First British-Afghan War commenced. Soon the British they took over in 1848; . The British regiments weren't able to occupy the entire territory and remained in camps at the foothills of the mountains. The harsh and dangerous upland terrain remained unexplored.
- "...even the shadows of the hills were hazardous."
- Taken from the book Tank: Crossroad to the Frontier Tribes
The British Colonial Rule
The eastern border of the Kingdom of Kabul (Afghanistan) was undefined until 1893 when the Durand Line was demarcated. Done in haste, the Durand Line demarcation is still rallied against (see Intersting References section for more on that). At that moment, the line was used to intentionally separate the fierce Pushtun tribes from the tame. Under the same agreement, the tribes of Waziristan were clearly designated as being under the British rule.
Tank seen as a center for negotiation
The British negotiated with the tribes through their agents in the border towns and Tank was a center of negotiation with the Mahsud tribe - the Nawab of Tank having married a Mahsud wife. For the Britishers the Mahsud tribe was the most difficult to control, and in 1860 when the Mahsuds attacked the British with a 3000 strong Lashkar the British were forced to penetrate into the territory of Tank to control them.
The birth of a province
In January 1899, Lord Curzon was appointed Viceroy of India. Reaching India shortly after the suppression of the frontier risings of 1897-98, he paid special attention to the independent tribes of the north-west frontier and inaugurated a new province called the North West Frontier Province, and pursued a policy of forceful control mingled with conciliation. The only major armed outbreak on this frontier during the period of his administration was the Mahsud Waziri campaign of 1901.
Culture and Society
The native villagers are mainly the farmers and field workers, who depend upon the flood waters to water their lands. Their water rights are stolen by the tribespeople living upstream. Almost all of the village people are Hindko speakers (an unwritten mixture of Punjabi, Urdu and Persian) although some coming from mixed villages can speak Pushtu.
The northern settlers are Pushtu speaking people who make their livelihood by farming, land ownership, gun running, smuggling, falcon catching, migration for employment to the Arabian Gulf, or by ownership of shops and businesses in Tank.
Jirga by definition means Council. These are the religious circles and a group of people that decide the fate of the dwellers and rule the people by their sets of laws and principles.
People in the region speak native languages like Pushtu and other non-Pushtu languages such as:
The natives are ruled and distributed into various Pukhtun tribes including the Bhittanis and the Mahsuds . Both these tribes are at constant quarrel with each other over the territory of Tank as being theirs.
The climate in Tank reaches 110-120 °F, however in the cold, harsh winters of the mountains, people come to Tank to enjoy a pleasant stay and then resort back when it's summers.
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas
- The Indus River
- The Beas River
- North West Frontier Province
- The Pushtun people
- Lord Curzon
- Alexander the Great
- Genghis Khan
- Districts of Pakistan
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details