ORAKZAI, a Pathan tribe on the Kohat border of the NorthWest Frontier Province of India. The Orakzais inhabit the mountains to the north-west of Kohat district, bounded on the N. and E. by the Afridis, on the S. by the Miranzai valley and on the W. by the Zaimukht country and the Safed Koh mountains. Their name means " lost tribes," and their origin is buried in obscurity; though they resemble the Afghans in language, features and many of their customs, they are rejected by them as brethren. One branch, the Ali Khel, has been traced to 1 Swat, whence they were expelled by the other inhabitants, 2 Farnell, Cults, vol. iv. p. 300, Hihbert Lectures, pp. 139-152.
' Aelian, Var. Hist. iii. 44: Anth. Pal. xiv. 71 and 74.
and it is not improbable that the whole tribe consists of refugee dans of the surrounding races. They are very wiry-looking mountaineers, but they arc not as fine men or as brave fighters as their neighbours the Afridis. They cultivate a good deal of the Khanki and Kurmana valleys in the winter, but in the hot months retire to the heights of Tirah, of which they occujjy the southern half called the Mastura valley. They have been estimated at 28,000 fighting men, but this estimate must be largely exaggerated, as the country could not possibly support the consequent population of over 100,000. They have been the object of various British military expeditions, notably in 1855, 1868, 1869, 1891, and the Tirah campaign of 1897.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)