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Mumtaz Hussain

Sangin Ali, the progenitor of the first local family which established a centralized rule in Chitral, had four sons. The man had gained some influence in the Raees court which was of Badakhshi origin. His two elder sons Muhammad Riza and Muhammad Beig followed in his footsteps and held important positions in the court. Sometimes towards the end of the seventeenth century, friction developed between the families of Muhammad Riza and Muhammad Beig, ending in the annihilation of the former save a boy who fled to Badakhshan. The triumphant sons of Muhammad Beig moved towards the capital and seized it, ousting the Raees ruler.

The other two sons of Sangin Ali seem to have little or no role in this struggle for power. One of them named Muhammad Rahim (nickname Rom) however, was a man of some importance. He had accumulated considerable property and devoted his time to cultural pursuits. Rome built beautiful houses and a mosque in the village of Reshun where he lived. Rome’s son Muhammad Tahir was issueless therefore his property was inherited by the family of Khushamad, a son of Muhammad Beig, and whose descendants now own the property now.

Of all those buildings, only a large room of the Chitrali type (called Baipash) still stand there. This is a typical Chitrali Baipash but of very large proportions. All the woodwork including the ceiling panels are decorated with fine carvings. The house has become a well known historical building in the area and is named as Musatah Khatan.

The other building which was built by Rome was his own tomb, which is in complete ruin now. Whatever remains of the tomb tells a beautiful Mughal style building. But the interesting thing is that the body was not interred in a Muslim style grave but was placed on a bed in the basement room. The practice was of a Central Asian origin, probably reminiscent of Zoroastrian influences.

Both the house and the tomb are in acute danger of extinction. Apart from preservation of both, the tomb needs to be excavated by archeologists.

The House

The Tomb

A Website on the Culture, History and Languages of Chitral.