that his fellow tribesmen so admired: he was a strong leader, a warrior and aman of great honour as well as a consummate poet:
My sword I grit upon my thighTo guard our nation's ancient fame;It's champion in this age am I,The Khattak Khan, Khushal my name.
Khushal Khan was the conscience of his people. During one campaign, when theYusufzai Pashtoons refused to help the Khattaks and their other allies, he wrote:
The Afghans are far superior to the Mughals at the sword,Were but the Afghans, in intellect, a little discreet,If the different tribes would but support each other,Kings would have to bow down in prostration before them.But whether it be concord or strife, or folly or wisdom,The affairs of every one are in the hands of the Almighty.Let us see what the Afridis, Mohmands, and Shinwaris will do;For the Mughals are now lying encamped at Nangrahar.I alone, amongst the Afghans, grieve for our honour andrenown;Whilst the Yusufzais at their ease are tilling their fields.They who now act so dishonourably, and so shamelessly,Will, hereafter, the upshot of their own acts perceive.In my poor judgement, death is more preferable than life,But the memory of Khushal will long, long endure!
Khushal Khan was descended from a long line of warrior chiefs. His father waskilled in a battle against the Yusufzais, which no doubt contributed to KhushalKhan's jaundiced view of them. By the seventeenth century Khattaks were aformidable force whose allegiance was of great importance to the Mughals. Likehis father before him Khushal Khan at first accepted Mughal wealth in return for protecting and controlling the main road between Attock and Peshawar, whichmeant collecting the tolls from those wishing to cross the river Indus. His tribeflourished and benefited from this allegiance and Khushal Khan continued toaccept Mughal hegemony. He even took a Khattak force to fight for the Mughal