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Kurram

KURRAM, a river and district on the Kohat border of the North-West Frontier province of India. The Kurram river drains the southern flanks of the Safed Koh, enters the plains a few miles above Bannu, and joins the Indus near Isa-Khel after a course of more than 200 miles. The district has an area of 1278 sq. m.; pop. (1901), 54,257. It lies between the Miranzai Valley and the Afghan border, and is inhabited by the Turis, a tribe of Turki origin who are supposed to have subjugated the Bangash Pathans five hundred years ago. It is highly irrigated, well peopled, and crowded with small fortified villages, orchards and groves, to which a fine background is afforded by the dark pine forests and alpine snows of the Safed Koh. The beauty and climate of the valley attracted some of the Mogul emperors of Delhi, and the remains exist of a garden planted by Shah Jahan. Formerly the Kurram valley was under the government of Kabul, and every five or six years a military expedition was sent to collect the revenue, the soldiers living meanwhile at free quarters on the people. It was not until about 1848 that the Turis were brought directly under the control of Kabul, when a governor was appointed, who established himself in Kurram. The Turis, being Shiah Mahommedans, never liked the Afghan rule. During the second Afghan War, when Sir Frederick Roberts advanced by way of the Kurram valley and the Peiwar Kotal to Kabul, the Turis lent him every assistance in their power, and in consequence their independence was granted them in 1880. The administration of the Kurram valley was finally undertaken by the British government, at the request of the Turis themselves, in 1890. Technically it ranks, not as a British district, but as an agency or administered area. Two expeditions in the Kurram valley also require mention: (i) The Kurram expedition of 1836 under Brigadier Chamberlain. The Turis on the first annexation of the Kohat district by the British had given much trouble. They had repeatedly leagued with other tribes to harry the Miranzai valley, harbouring fugitives, encouraging resistance, and frequently attacking Bangash and Khattak villages in the Kohat district. Accordingly in 1856 a British force of 4896 troops traversed their country, and the tribe entered into engagements for future good conduct. (2) The Kohat-Kurram expedition of 1897 under Colonel W. HilL During the frontier risings of 1897 the inhabitants of the Kurram valley, chiefly the Massozai section of the Orakzais, were infected by the general excitement, and attacked the British camp at Sadda and other posts. A force of 14,23 British troops traversed the country, and the tribesmen were severely punished. In Lord Curzon's reorganization of the frontier in 1900-1901, the British troops were withdrawn from the forts in the Kurram valley, and were replaced by the Kurram militia, reorganized in two battalions, and chiefly drawn from the Turi tribe.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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