Victory of the Afghans in the Battle of Maiwand p3
When the British learned of Ayub Khan’s advance, an army was sent from Kandahar to confront them. Compared to twenty-five thousand Afghans and their more than thirty cannons, this force consisted of only two and a half thousand men with only a few cannons. The reason for sending such a small number of troops was probably the lack of intelligence information. The British did not know that Ayub Khan’s army was much bigger than theirs. They did not know what the meaning was.
They learned the actual number of Afghans when the two armies met near Maywand on July 27, 1888. Maiwand is a small village about eighty kilometers northwest of Kandahar city. This battle was named the Battle of Maiwand after this village. When the fighting began, the difference in strength between the two armies was soon apparent. Since the Afghans had more cannons, they bombarded the British ships with heavy bombardment. The Afghan soldiers, being outnumbered, soon surrounded the British army.
Then the Afghans made a full attack and the British army fled. About a hundred British were surrounded by Afghans in a building trying to escape. The Afghans stormed the building but the British resisted. Bullets started raining from both sides. The British also had a dog named Bobby. This dog was also injured in this fight. But in the end, eleven, eleven soldiers managed to break the Afghans’ encirclement and escape with the dog. Apart from them, all the British were killed by the Afghans.
The battle of Maiwand was over in just three hours. In this battle, the British army suffered a loss of eleven hundred and nine British and Indian soldiers. Among them, the casualties were nine hundred and sixty-nine, while the rest of the soldiers were injured. Britain claims that more than 3,000 Afghans were killed in the fighting. That is, the British say that despite the defeat, they inflicted more than three times more casualties on the enemy. Bobby was later sent to Britain where the Queen of Great Britain presented him with a medal.
The dog’s body was also preserved and is still in the Regimental Museum in Salisbury, England. He is wearing the same medal given to him by Queen Victoria around his neck. The ex-soldiers who took part in the battle of Mayvind continued to visit the dog for periods of time and take pictures with it. A commemorative coin bearing Babi’s name was also issued. Mayvind’s defeat became so famous in Britain that its reflection is also seen in English literature. Dr. Watson, a friend of the famous British detective character Sherlock Holmes, was also linked to the battle of Mayvand.
In the Sherlock Holmes novel “A Study in Scarlet”, Dr. Watson introduces himself as having been shot in the shoulder during the Mayvand battle. Ayub Khan won the battle of Dostu Maywand and that is why Afghans started calling him Ghazi Ayub Khan. But the person who immortalized Mayvind’s battle in history was a poor girl. Her name was Malalai or Malala. The same girl after whom many Pashtuns still name their daughters Malala. Like Mingora’s Gali Makai, Malala Yousafzai, who has also received the greatest peace prize, the Nobel Prize.
According to Afghan history, Malala was a teenage Afghan girl whose father was a shepherd. Malala lived in a village near Mayvind. Malala’s wedding was on the same day as Maywand’s fight. But the marriage did not take place because Malala’s father and fiance were killed by the Afghans in the battle. Malala also participated in the war along with hundreds of Afghan women who were giving water to wounded Afghan soldiers. But there came a point in the war when it seemed that the tide of war was beginning to turn in favor of the British.