LocatedBannu (Bana) is located in the KPK province, approximately 120 kilometers South-West of Kohat City and 140 kilometers North of Dera Ismail Khan City. Bannu District covers an area of approximately 1227 sq.km. and has a population of nearly 7 Lakh people, most of whom are Pakhtoons (Pashteen) although there is a very small population of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians present there. Pashto (Pashtay) is the main language spoken in the city and villages with a tiny mix of the Hindco, Marwati, and Waziri dialects in some places like the main city bazar (Bazore). The Kurram River (Koorma) flows through Bannu providing a rich source for the agricultural area.
Founding of Bannu
Post IndependenceIn 1990, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that Bannu will be upgraded as a Divisional Headquarters. The Bannu District was divided in two, with the Lakki Marwat District separating and becoming its own district.The main language of the district was Pashto but the then Hindu people were in practice to speak in Banisee (Bannuwali). The language spoken by the Hindus was also known as Karakkri by the Ethnic Pashtoons. Hopefully as the Hindus were called Kiraarhs by the Pashtoons so may be the language spoken by them was considered as Karakkri. The population consisted of native-born called Banisee.
FestivalEid (Akhtaar) is the biggest festival celebrated in Bannu. It brings the people together in a way that is unparalleled anywhere else in Pakistan. On the eve of Eid, the all the men gather in the village centers (Chaaok) around huge bonfires and dance and celebrate with music and fireworks and aerial firing while the women gather in the houses with their own bonfires. On Eid-ul-FItr, every household cooks rice, either plain white with ‘Desi Ghee’ (Sheecha Ghwaree) or the Palao.
People of BannuA majority of the people of Bannu (Banisai or Banisee) live in the villages surrounding the city. There is a strong tribe system prevalent in the region. The major tribes are Banisee, Niazi, Wazirs, Marwats , Abbasies, Bhittaan, Syeds and Awan with many more sub-tribal groups and factions within each larger tribe.
Famous MarketChowk Bazar is the most famous market in the entire region. Every day, after Asar prayer (Mozdigar) the people gather and celebrate festivities, dancing to the traditional dhol rhythm and eating and sharing sweetries. Some say that Eid is celebrated every day at Chowk Bazar.
Insignificant BannuWithin historical times, Bannu has never been a theatre for great events, nor have its inhabitants ever played a conspicuous part in Indian history. The secret of its insignificance was that. It lies off all the great caravan routes between Hindustan and Kabul. True, the valley has been occasionally traversed by conquering armies from the west; and Masson, and others, have written of it as being a "highway" between India and Kabul. But in point of fact such armies first debouched upon what is now British territory either by the Khaibar or the Kuram route, which latter commences at the head of the Miranzai Valley in the Kohat district. Thus Timur Lang (Tamerlane) when in 1398 he marched via Bannu and Dang Kot on the Indus into the Panjab, most probably came by this Kuram "route," and a century later (1505) when Babar ravaged Bannu, his army had advanced by the Khaibar Pass to Kohat and thence to Bannu. It therefore seems erroneous to write of Bannu as being a "highway" between India and Kabul. Of the five trans-Indus districts, it is really the only one from which no great route leads westwards. These routes are the Khaibar, the Kuram, the Gomal, (Gwalari) and the Bolan, and they respectively appertain to Peshawar, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan and Sindh. The Dera Ghazi Khan district, besides being indirectly connected with the Bolan, has two important passes of its own, the Sakhi Sarwar and the Chachar, one or both of which promise soon to become valuable trade routes. Under the circumstances it appears only reasonable to attribute the historical unimportance of Bannu to its secludedness. If so, research into its past can have nothing more than a local interest, and it can only be profitable to inquire when and how the allocation of the tribes now settled in the district was effected. Mahmud of Ghazni is said to have ravaged the district, expelling its Hindu inhabitants, and reducing the country to a desert. Thus there was no one to oppose the settlement of immigrant tribes from across the border.
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