In the early 1870s, the British colonial government in India paid the Jowaki Afridi a tribute payment to guard the Kohat Pass. The Jowaki Afridi were the most powerful Pathan tribe in the mountainous borderland northwest frontier province between present-day Pakistan and Peshawar. In 1875, a road was proposed to run through the pass, which was objected to by the local tribes. To further complicate the situation, the amount of the tribute payment was reduced in 1877, igniting conflict. The Jowaki cut the British telegraph lines and raided across the border. A force of 1500 troops of the Punjab Frontier Force were dispatched under Colonel Frederic David Mocatta in retaliation, joined shortly afterwards by a larger force under Brigadier General Charles Patton Keyes.
The present album was produced by Lt. Oswald Radford, an officer in the 3rd Sikh Infantry who served on the expedition. Leaving Kohat on 9 November, Radford's column advanced to the Paiya Valley, meeting little resistance. After several skirmishes, the force moved to the Shindai Valley, pushing back a Jowaki force assembled there. By the first of December, the British force had taken the Jowaki stronghold of Jummu and chased their enemy though the Naru Khula gorge before returning to Jummu in January of 1878. At the end of January 1878, fifty head men of the Jowaki tribe met with the British commanders in the Paiah Valley (several are depicted in the final watercolour in this album), though the British conditions for peace were refused. Although the British force was able to push back the Jowaki and inflicted considerable damage on their villages and crops, the Jowaki were not resoundingly defeated and continued guerrilla assaults, though the building of the disputed road continued.
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