It’s often said that truth is stranger than fiction. And this stands absolutely true in case of this poor tree in Pakistan. You must have listened to the stories about humans being chained for breaking laws or committing crimes but let us tell you a story about a tree that is “Under Arrest” from last 100 years and can you imagine the reason?
Hard to believe, but yes that’s the unfaked biography of this Banyan tree for past 100 years. The baffling weird story belongs to Landi Kotal army cantonment in Khyber Agency, Pakistan. The Banyan tree is holding captive with “I am under arrest” board.
The story goes like this: The tree was put under arrest in 1898, when a British army officer, James Squid, in a drunk state, thought that the tree was moving towards him. Threatened by the tree’s movement, the officer decided to teach a lesson to the offender and issued arrest warrants of the tree.
And much to your surprise, not only warrants were issued, but the multi-limbed banyan tree was physically arrested with chains.
And, as if this humiliation wasn’t enough, a slate was put around the bark with a warning, “I am under arrest. Do Not Try To Touch.”
Even today, the tree has been tied in chains and no one has bothered to take off the shackled and free the Banyan tree.
The hidden story behind such unbelievable act
To scare the tribal residents, this act was done purposely. According to Amran Shinwani, the resident of the cantonment, the episode was performed consciously to threaten the tribesmen and never try to act against the British Raj or else even they would be imprisoned in a similar way.
In literary words, the chained Banyan Tree stands for the Frontier Crimes Regulations. It’s a draconian colonial law which was made public by the Britishers in 1901 in response to Pashtun opposition to them. The law granted the government to punish the locals without any warrant for not following the rules.
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