DAWLATḴĒL, tribal name common among the eastern Pashtun at various levels of tribal segmentation, not to be confused with Dawlatzī. There are minor sections of Dawlatḵēl within the Sadōzī Otmānzī (ʿOṯmānzī) Mandaṛ in the northeastern extremity of the Peshawar basin, the Otmānḵēl (ʿOṯmānḵēl) in the lower Swat valley, the pashtunized Mollāgorī on the northern side of the Khyber Pass, their Malekdīnḵēl and Zakkāḵēl Afrīdī neighbors, the Laškarzī Ōrakzī of the upper Ḵānkī valley, and the Aḥmadzī and Otmānzī (ʿOṯmānzī) Wazīr and the ʿAlīzī Masʿūd of Waziristan. Within the tribes of the Lōdī confederacy a Dawlatḵēl section is recorded among the Nīāzī, the Sūrī, and two subdivisions of the Lōḥāṇī: the Yasīnḵēl Mamāḵēl and the Sālār Marwat of Lakkī (Dictionary, pp. 53-54; Hart, p. 45; Ḥayāt Khan, pp. 91, 184-86, 189, 223; King, p. 220; Merk, p. 85; Neʿmat-Allāh, II, p. 50; Šēr Moḥammad Khan, pp. 191, 223-26, 229-30, 248). In fact, the name is so common as to be almost meaningless.

The Dawlatḵēl Mamāḵēl Lōḥāṇī appear to be the only tribal unit of importance that bears the name. Having outnumbered and eventually absorbed all other Mamāḵēl clans, it became the leading tribe among the Lōḥāṇī, a genealogically and economically related group of nomadic tribes. Centuries ago the Dawlatḵēl used to migrate and trade between the highlands of eastern Afghanistan (Kaṭawāz) and the Indus lowlands (Dērajāt). Having lost Kaṭawāz to the Solaymānḵēl in the Timurid period, they found new summer quarters in the Solaymān mountains (Ḥayāt Khan, p. 189). The tribe gradually shifted from a pastoral life to cultivation in their winter quarters, where they replaced the Lōdī tribes that had moved into Hindustan in the 15th-16th centuries (Gazetteer, p. 26; Tucker, p. 42). Bitter intertribal conflicts over cultivable land ensued, in the course of which the Dawlatḵēl won control of the upper Dērajāt around Ṭānk by the beginning of the 17th century. Until the late 18th century they seem to have remained mainly nomadic, carrying on trading expeditions as far as Kabul and Qandahār (Raverty, V, p. 488).

At that time massive sedentarization reportedly occurred as part of an agricultural-development scheme undertaken by the chief of the Dawlatḵel around Ṭānk. It included construction of “an enormous dam” across the Gōmal river, so that early in the 19th century the area was described as well cultivated and irrigated (Edwardes, I, pp. 350, 358; Elphinstone, p. 368). By the mid-19th century the Dawlatḵēl were completely sedentarized, the first of the Lōḥānī tribes to give up nomadism and long-distance trading (Lumsden, pp. 91-92). During the same period internal feuds and a long-standing guerrilla war against the Sikhs greatly weakened the tribe (Edwardes, I, pp. 359 ff.; Šēr Moḥammad Khan, p. 226), which dropped in size from 8,000-9,000 families in the late 18th century, a figure including several vassal tribes and many allogenous tenants (hamsāya) of various origins, to only 1,387 individuals according to the Indian census of 1881. At that time it was the weakest of all Lōḥāṇī tribes (Elphinstone, p. 375; Ḥayāt Khan, p. 190; Ibbetson, p. 72; Raverty, IV p. 325, V, p. 487). This decline is clearly reflected in the numerous encroachments by the Bēṭanī on Dawlatḵēl lands in the second half of the 19th century. In 1910 R. T. I. Ridgeway (p. 106) described the Dawlatḵēl as “a very small and feeble tribe,” and they have apparently remained so until today.

Genealogical details of Dawlatḵēl tribal organization have been provided by Moḥammad Ḥayāt Khan (p. 185) and Šēr Moḥammad Khan (p. 223). The most important section is the Kaṭīḵēl, from which originated the headman of both the tribe and all the formerly united Lōḥāṇī tribes (Ḥayāt Khan, p. 189).



A Dictionary of the Pathan Tribes on the North-West Frontier of India, Calcutta, 1899.

H. B. Edwardes, A Year on the Punjab Frontier in 1848-49, London, 1851; repaginated repr. Gurgaon, India, 1989.

M. Elphinstone, An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, London, 1815; repr. Graz, 1969.

Gazetteer of the Dera Ismail Khan District 1883-84, Lahore, 1884. D. M. Hart, Guardians of the Khaibar Pass, Lahore, 1985.

M. Ḥayāt Khan, Ḥayāt-e Afḡān, Lahore, 1867; tr. H. Priestley as Afghanistan and Its Inhabitants, Lahore, 1874; repr. Lahore, 1981.

D. Ibbetson, Panjab Castes, Lahore, 1916; repr. New Delhi, 1981; repr. Lahore, 1982.

L. W. King, The Orakzai Country and Clans, Lahore, 1900; 2nd ed., Lahore, 1984.

H. B. Lumsden, The Mission to Kandahar, Calcutta, 1860.

W. R. H. Merk, Report on the Mohmands, Lahore, 1898; repr. as The Mohmands, Lahore, 1984.

Ḵᵛāja Neʿmat-Allāh, Maḵzan-e afḡānī, tr. B. Dorn as History of the Afghans, 2 vols., London, 1829-36; repr. London, 1965; repr. Karachi, 1976.

H. G. Raverty, Notes on Afghānistān and Part of Balūchistan, London, 1881-88; repr. Lahore, 1976.

R. T. I. Ridgway, Pathans, Calcutta, 1910; repr. Peshawar, 1983.

Šēr Moḥammad Khan, Tawārīḵ-e ḵoršīd-e jahān, Lahore, 1311/1894.

H. S. Tucker, Report of the Land Revenue Settlement of the Dera Ismail Khan District of the Punjab 1872-79, Lahore, 1879.

(Daniel Balland)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, pp. 146-147