The district derives its name from “Chagai” a village on
the western border of the Lora Hamun. The legend attributes the origin of the
name to the numerous wells (Chahas) which are said to have formerly existed in
Very little is known
about the ancient history of Chagai. The earliest monuments are the ruins of
terraced embankments. These are found at the foot of the Ras-Koh hills; they are
ascribed to the fire-worshippers, who are said to have been the inhabitants of
this area more than two thousand years ago. The next traces of ancient history
are the square shaped tombs in the western areas of the district, which are
attributed by the local traditions to the Kianian dynasty of Iran.
The remains of the
ruined forts and karezes found in different parts of the district are assigned
to the Arabs. These are also sometimes attributed to the Mughals and in any case
indicate the presence of a richer civilisation than is now found among the
Baloch and Brahvi inhabitants of the district.
The Baloch are perhaps
the oldest inhabitants of the district, who according to themselves migrated
from Aleppo. The Brahvis, about whose origin there are different theories,
must have moved towards the north from their original home in Kalat District and
settled down in pockets with a major concentration in the Nushki area. Both the
Brahvi and Baloch appear to have been firmly established in the beginning of
the 16th century, as is seen from a narrative of the flight of the Mughal
Emperor Hamayun along the valley of the Hilman to Seistan in 1543. From the
middle to the end of the 16th century, the district remained under the rule of
the Safavid dynasty. Later it appears in history as part of the Mughal Empire
and with the downfall of the Mughal power, the northern portion of the Nushki
was annexed to the territories of Khan of Kalat, Mir Abdullah Khan (1716 -
1730). In 1733 Sher Khan the Baloch, Chief of Nushki, submitted to Mir Hassan,
the second son of Mir Wais and the founder of the Ghilzai dynasty. Mir Hassan
ruled the adjacent Pathan area now forming Quetta and Pishin districts, and
compelled the Baloch and Brahvi tribes to tender their allegiance to.
A few years later,
Nadir Shah sent an expedition against Nushki under Muhammad Ali Beg, who
inflicted a severe defeat on the Baloch near Shorawak. In 1740 Nadir Shah
conferred Nushki as a fief upon the chief of Kharan. Later it was retaken by Mir
Nasir Khan, the great Brahvi ruler (1750-1793) and Nushki became a Niabat of the
then Kalat State and remained so for about a century.
The advent of the
British in this area commenced with the British agreement of 1878 with the Khan
of Kalat. Subsequently as a result of the partial survey and definitions of the
western boundary with Iran from Kuhak to Koh-i-Malik Siah and demarcation of
the Afghan Baloch boundary in 1896, the western Sanjrani (present Dalbandin
sub-division and Nokkundi Tehsil) became part of Kalat State. In November, 1896
the first British Political Agent of Chagai was appointed. Nushki continued to
be Niabat to Kalat State. Three years later, however the Niabat of Nushki was
leased by the British from the Khan on an annual rent of Rs. 9,000. The
management of the Niabat was handed over on the 1st July, 1899 to the British
Government. This was done with giving all the rights and privileges, as well as
full and exclusive revenue, civil and criminal jurisdiction, including all
rights to levy dues and tolls. From July, 1899 to the 13th August, 1947 the
district remained under the British Government. After independence in 1947 and
after the declaration of Balochistan as a province in 1970, Chagai became a
district within Quetta Division
The only features of
in the district are the remains of ancient forts, karezes, dams and cupolas.
Their history is not known and they are ascribed by the inhabitants
indiscriminately to either the Arabs or the Mughals. In Dalbandin Tehsil there
are ruins of several cupolas in the neighbourhood of Padag and Zarala.
There are several well known shrines in the district. The
most important of these are the shrines of Sayyad Bala Nosh near Chagai and that
of Sher Jan Agha near Keshingi. The other shrines are of Pir Sultan, Sheikh
Hussain, Sayyad Khawaja Ahmad, etc.
The Ziarat Ghaibi, Zinda Pir and Chil Ghazi situated in the Nushki Tehsil are
also quite famous.
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