These Kators boast still of their Grecian lineage, and their claim to this honour is by no means, as many have supposed, of modern origin, attributable to our own enquiries after the descendants of the followers of the Macedonian conqueror.*
We find at the period of Timur's invasion of India, the Katorians making themselves conspicuous for their opposition to that monarch. After leaving Inderáb he entered their difficult country by way of Kháwah, and after an expedition of eighteen days reduced them to submission. As we thus have proof that this country and people were called by the name of Kator at so early a period, it seems probable that the Kators whom we read of in Abú-l Fazl Baihakí are no other than the descendants of the dynasty we have been considering, and that the Ghaznivide sovereigns organized them among their troops, as we know from the Táríkh-i Yamíní that Mahmúd was in the practice of doing with conquered nations, as exemplified in his treatment of the Khiljís, Afgháns, and Indians. It is evident from the extracts given in this work from the Tabakát-i Akbarí and the Táríkh-i Mas'údí, that a body of Kator troops was kept in pay, and that the Tilak mentioned therein was the commander of these foreign troops, which were rated as Indian, he being in one passage spoken of as commander of the Indians, in another of the Kator troops. It opens a very interesting subject of investigation to enquire if these Kators have no memorials of themselves in India. The identity of name and the period of the establishment of the Kators in Kumáún appear to render it probable that we have in them the descendants of those Kators who fought under the banners of the first Muhammadan conquerors.
A curious coincidence of names seems worth noticing in this place. It will be observed that Al Birúní makes the Turk kings of Kábul come from the mountains of Tibet, and Grecian and Chinese authors concur in saying that in the first years of the Christian era the valley of the Indus and some of the neighbouring countries were occupied by a race from Tartary. Ptolemy, Dionysius, and the author of the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, give to the country watered by the Lower Indus the name of Indo-Scythia, and Ptolemy applies the same name to a country at the bottom of the Gulf of Cambay. The Chinese writers inform us that a people of Tatar race named Yue-chi or Yue-tchi crossed the Hindú-kush, and established themselves in Afghánistán. Fa-Hian speaks of these barbarians having occupied, long before his visit to India, the province of Pesháwar.
De Guignes has informed us, after Chinese authors, that the nomade race of Yue-tchi, being driven about the year 160 before Christ from its original seat in the western provinces of China, by another race called Hioung-non, established themselves in Transoxiana, and spread over the countries in that neighbourhood. Abel-Rémusat and Klaproth have also furnished us with further particulars from the same sources. We learn that the Yue-tchi took part in the struggle which took place between the Greek princes of Bactria and the Arsacidan monarchs of Persia, and that they contributed to the downfall of the former. A few years before Christ, the Yue-tchi chief, named Khieou-tsieou-hy, after subjugating the other independent rulers of his own tribe, proclaimed himself king, and conquered the countries situated between the Oxus, Hindú-kush and Little Tibet. His successor, Yan-kao-tchin, penetrated as far as India.
Some time after, the monarch of the Yue-tchi, whom the Chinese call Ki-to-lo, which Klaproth has converted into Ghidor, descended to the south of the Hindú-kush “in following the valley of the Indus” (?), and invaded India on the north. Among other regions he reduced the province of Pesháwar; but being himself compelled to return westward, left the government of the conquered country to his son.* M. Reinaud is of opinion* that it is to this Ki-to-lo that Fa-Hian alludes, when he says, “Formerly the king of the Yue-tchi, levied a powerful army, and came to attack the country he was anxious to obtain.”
The conquerors, who remained in the valley of Kábul, received the name of the “Little Yue-tchi,” while the mass of the nation was designated the “Great Yue-tchi.” In these Little Yue-tchi we have the ancestors of our modern Játs, a subject which I may, perhaps, discuss at further length hereafter.
It is impossible not to be struck here with the coincidence of the name of Ki-to-lo with Kitor or Kator, the l and the r being as usual convertible. Here we seem to have the origin of the name Kitor, the establishment of a prince of that name between Kábul and the Hindú-kush, on the very site of the modern Káfiristán, or land of Siyáh-poshes and the country of Kitor, according to the authorities given above. It is probable that we are to look to one of his descendants for the Katormán, who was the last of the Turkish dynasty; and these united considerations have combined to induce me to adopt the readings to which I have given the preference above.
It is to be observed that Al Birúní asserts the Turkish dynasty of Kábul to have lasted for sixty generations; but we are not to suppose that the crown continued in the same family or tribe, but that they were members of the great Turkish stem of nations, which conveys no more definite notion than the Scythians of the ancients, or the Tartars of the moderns. There may have been Turks of other tribes who ruled in the kingdom, who, whether Sakas, Turushkas, Durárís, Yue-tchis, or Kators, would still be classed under the generic designation of Turks, as the last of the Turks appears to have reigned about A.D. 850. If we allow fourteen years as the average duration of their reigns, we shall find the period of the conquest occurring about the first year of the era of Our Saviour; and if we allow sixteen years as the average duration, we shall exactly bring it to the period of the downfall of the Greco-Bactrian Empire in 125 before Christ.
Here, then, there is reason to suppose that the first monarch of the Turkish dynasty must have been the subverter of the Grecian Empire in the East. He is called by Al Birúní “Barhtigín;” tigín being a common Turkish affix, signifying “the brave,” as Alp-tigín, Subuk-tigín. M. Reinaud conjectures that Barh or Barha answers, probably, to the word pharahatassa, which Lassen and Wilson have read on certain Greco-Barbarian coins, and to be the same name which the Greeks have converted into Phraates and Phraoites.* Al Bírúní informs us that the names of these princes were recorded on a piece of silk, which was found in the fort of Nagarkot, when it was taken by the Muhammadans; but that circumstances prevented his fulfilling his anxious desire to examine it.
Al Bírúní mentions that Kanak was of the number of these kings, and that he founded the Vihár, or Buddhist monastery at Pesháwar, called after his name even in Al Bírúní's time, and which, probably, occupied the site of the present conspicuous building, called the Gor-khattrí, at the eastern entrance of that town. The romantic anecdote which he relates of him, and which, probably, has little foundation in truth, will be found among the extracts translated from the Táríkhu-l Hind, in this volume.
M. Reinaud considers this Kanak to have reigned a little prior to
the commencement of our era, and to be the same as the Kanika or
Nika of Fa-Hian; the Kanishka of Hiuen-thsang and the Rájá-
According to Hiuen-thsang, Kanika or Kanishka reigned over the whole valley of Kábul, the province of Pesháwar, the Panjáb, and Kashmír. He crossed the Hindú-kush and Himalaya, and subjected Tukháristán and Little Tibet. He received the title of the Lord of Jambu-dwípa, which is equivalent to “The Paramount of all India.” He was a long time a stranger to the dogmas of Buddhism, and despised the law; until, by chance, he was converted to that faith, and became one of its most zealous disciples and promoters.