Mali population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census of India

This is my fifth post that gives the distribution of caste gazetted as agricultural under the 1901 Census of Punjab, namely the Mali. The Mali are a caste of gardeners and vegetable-growers, with the word mali being derived from the Sanskrit mala, meaning garland. In my earlier posts, I have looked at castes who were largely Muslim, but the Mali were largely Hindu, and found mainly in the south east of Punjab, the present day of Haryana. In terms of geographical distribution, the Maliar whose occupation specialization was the same as the Mali, but were Muslim, were found in the North west of colonial Punjab, namely the Pothohar region. It is likely in the Muslim dominated north west, most Mali had converted to Islam, and formed the Maliar caste. While in the South East, namely Haryana, where the Hindu faith dominated, most Mali had remained Hindu.

































 Patiala State






 Jind State





 Kalsia State





Pataudi State


705     705
Nahan State


548  86 634
Nabha State


449 449


 201  19  220


 70  32  102

Other Districts















Baghban and Malyar/Maliar Population of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province According to the 1901 Census of India

In this fourth post on the distribution of communities, I will look at two related communities, the Baghban and Malyar, sometimes spelt Maliar. Both were found largely in the Pothohar plateau, and neighbouring areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, such as the Peshawar valley and the Hazara region. In terms of geographic distribution, they have much in common with the Awans, whose distribution I have looked at in a previous post. The term Baghban or sometimes pronounced Baghwan, is simply the Farsi equivalent of the Hindi word Mali meaning a ‘gardener,’ and commonly used as equivalent to Arain in the Western Punjab. According to Rose, the colonial British ethnologist:

Baghbans do not form a caste and the term is merely equivalent to Mali, Maliar, etc.

There is some confusion as to whether the Baghban and Maliar are distinct communities. In Peshawar, the Maliar and Baghban do seem to be distinct communities. But in other parts, the two terms are used interchangebly. It is also likely that Baghban of Patiala State were really members of the Arian caste. Time permitting, I will write a post on the Maliar caste.

Baghban Population of Punjab

District Muslim Hindu Total
Rawalpindi  502  141  643
Patiala State
 397  397

189    189
 Other Districts  257  50  307
Total Population  1,552 191 1,743


Baghban Population of North West Frontier Province


District Population
Peshawar  9,427
Bannu  2,155
Other Districts  289
Total Population  11,871



Malyar in Population Punjab


District Population
Rawalpindi  50,125
Jhelum  28,371
Shahpur  2,651
Total Population  81,093 

Malyar in NWFP


District Population
Peshawar  18,319
Hazara  7,770
Kohat  1,078
Total Population  27,167


Awan Population of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province according to the 1901 Census

This is my third post, looking at the population distribution according to the 1901 Census of Punjab. In this post, I look at the Awan caste, who unlike the castes looked in previous posts such as the Dogar and Kamboh, is entirely Muslim. I will ask to the reader to look at my posts on the Kamboh, to give some background as geographical spread of Colonial Punjab. In addition, for completeness’s sake, I would ask you to look at my posts on the 1931 Census of Hazara, as well my the post on the Budhal, who are sub-group of the Awans, to get some background information on the caste. This post will also look at their distributions according to the 1901 Census of the of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

Awan Groups

In terms of distribution, about two-thirds of the Awans lived in the Pothohar plateau, and the Salt Range mountains, which were located just below the plateau. The Awan population of the North West Frontier Province were culturally close to the Awan of the Pothohar. Both spoke related languages, the Hindko and Pothohari languages. The Awan of Mianwali spoke an intermediate dialect between Hindko and Seraiki. While the Awans of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, and the southern Punjab districts of Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan and the Bahawalpur State spoke Seraiki.

A third cluster of Awans was found in what is now Indian Punjab. The Awan of Sialkot, Gujranwala and Lahore were culturally similar to the East Punjab Awans. There were Awankari, or Awan inhabited territories in Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Kapurthala state, all teritories now located in Indian Punjab.

Awan Population of Punjab


District Population
Rawalpindi 140,835
Jhelum 99,542
Shahpur 55,387
Sialkot 24,459
Mianwali 23,449
Gujrat 14,864
Hoshiarpur 13,652
Jalandhar 12,350
Multan 6,600
Bahawalpur 4,815
Ludhiana 4,580
Lahore 3,887
Dera Ghazi Khan 3,442
Muzaffargarh 3,232
Chenab Colony 3,001
Jhang  2,900
Montgomery  1,737
Amritsar  1,683
 Gujranwala  1,018
Gurdaspur 1,008
Firuzpur 490
Kapurthala 483
Ambala 193
Total Population 421,112

Awans in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP)

In the NWFP, now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Awans were concentrated in the Peshawar valleyHazara Region and the southern Seraik areas of Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan.

District Population
Peshawer 111,339
Hazara 91,474
Kohat 22,358
Bannu 8,667
Dera Ismail Khan 6,396
Malakand, Dir, Swat, and Chitral Territories 512
 Other Districts
Total Population 241,006


Dogar Population of Punjab according to 1901 Census

In this second post looking at 1901 Census, I will look at the distribution of the Dogar population. Like the Kamboh in my first post, the Dogar were gazetted as an agriculture tribe. However, the Dogar were almost entirely Muslim, out of a total population of 75,080, only 95 were Hindu, 9 were Sikh and 4 were Jain. The Dogar were found largely in the valley of the Sutlej, in Firuzpur, Faridkot State and the territory of Montgomery (present day Sahiwal and Okara) and the grasslands located between the Ghaghar and the Sutlej rivers, in what then the princely states of Nabha and Patiala and the Hissar territory, presently western Haryana. A second cluster of Dogars were found along the Himalyas, stretching from Hoshiarpur to Sialkot. A final group was found in Karnal and Rohtak, and this group extended into the United Provinces, present day Uttar Pradesh. They differed from other Dogars in that they spoke Haryanwi, and not Punjabi. Almost 70% of their territory went to India in 1947, leading to the migration of the Dogars to Pakistan. I wish to add that the Dogars have nothing to do with the Dogras, who are found largely in the Jammu region.

District Population
Firuzpur 16,402
Patiala 11,243
Hissar 7,623
Lahore 7,503
Hoshiarpur 5,388
Jalandhar 4,409
Amritsar 4,128
Gurdaspur 2,615
Ludhiana 2,411
Sialkot 2,302
Karnal 2,064
 Montgomery 1,675
Gujranwala 1,048
Faridkot 946
Ambala 386
Jind 230
Rohtak 210
Other Districts 34
Total Population 75,080

Kamboh Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

This is the first of a number of blogs that will look at the results of 1901 Census of the Punjab, with reference to a particular caste. Its worth mentioning that in 1901, the Punjab included in Pakistan, the Punjab province and Islamabad, and in the India the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Delhi. I will start off by looking at the Kamboh community, which in total terms of the Punjab population in 1901, which was 24,754,737, numbered 174,061, which was not a large in population numbers. But as a gazetted agricultural tribe, under the  Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900 in every district they lived in, were an important landowning group. I will ask the reader to read my post on the Muslim Kamboh of UP, which looks at their origin myths. Like many Punjabi castes, the Kamboh were found in all three religions, namely Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, although Muslim Kambohs formed the largest sub-group. One interesting fact is that the Kamboh religious affaliation did not follow that of a majority of the population they lived. In what is now Sahiwal and Okara (old Montgomery District), the majority of the Kamboh were Hindu, in a region that was predominantly Muslim. While in Patiala and Nabha, the modern areas of the Punjab and Haryana borderlands, the Kamboh were Muslim, in a largely Sikh region. They Kamboh were also linguistically and culturaly divided. In what now Haryana, the Kamboh spoke dialects of Haryanwi, and were connected with large Kamboh population of Saharanpur in UP. While through the central region of Punjab, stretching from Montgomery to Nabha, the Kamboh population was Punjabi speaking. A third group of Kambohs were those of Multan and Bahawalpur, entirely Muslim, and largely urban.










 2,280  22,846











 201  22,034














Chenab Colony



 10,343  15,228



















Jalandhar  191  1,040  5,086  6,317
Malerkotla  5,519  5,519
Nabha  4,559  48  20  4,627
Multan  1,947  1,947
Sialkot  1,746  1,746
Ludhiana  1,302  133  15  1,450
Jind  1,277  16  1,293
Gujranwala  744  19  471  1,234
Shahpur  957  957
Gurdaspur  713  94  18  825
Hoshiarpur   303  102  167   572
Kalsia  247  266  513
Bahawalpur  208  208
Hissar  166  166

Other Districts










Description of Major Muslim Communities in India: The Rayeen

In this post, I will look at the Rayeen, sometimes pronounced  as Rai, another community that is found in the Doab and Rohilkhand regions of western Uttar Pradesh. Like other group such as the Bhatti and Kamboh, which I have looked in my other blogs, the Rayeen have roots in the Punjab. Early British ethnologists, such as William Crook took the position that the Rayeen were one and the same as the Arain community of Punjab. Briefly I will raise an issue of some sensitivity, the use of the term Rayeen by members of the Kunjra community. The Kunjra are a widespread group of Muslims, traditionally associated with vegetable growing and selling, who are found throughout North India. The Rayeen, who are found mainly in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Udhamsingh Nagar are much smaller group, and have rejected the claim of the Kunjra to be called Arain. According to the 1901 Census of Uttar Pradesh, there were 14,698, found in the regions I have just mentioned, and much larger group of Kunjra 85,738, with a much larger geographic distribution. It does seem from the records, that at least right up to the mid-20th Century, both groups maintained a distinct identity.

The Rayeen of Uttar Pradesh are clearly the same community as the Arain of Punjab. There circumstances of migration relate the Chalisa famine of the 1780s in Punjab. The effect of the Chalisa famines was to depopulate many regions of India, especially the semi-arid of the Ghaghar valley, the original homeland of the Rayeen community. The Ghaggar valley is now situated in what is Sirsa District of Haryana. One of among many of the tribal tradition of the Sirsa Rayeen was that they were originally Hindu Rajputs, expelled from Uchh, near Multan, by their enemies and escaped by abandoning their military rank and took to market gardening, the tribal occupation of their neighbours the true Arains. Therefore, the Sirsawal Arains are distinct from the Arains of the Sutlej, who were found largely in the central districts of Punjab, like Jallandhar, Amritsar and Lahore.

After leaving Ucch, they settled on the banks of the Ghaggar, where the tribe was remained for the next four hundred years. Then the famine of 1783 A.D occurred, at which according to early British sources they held the whole of the Ghaggar valley from Bhatner (present day Hanumangarh) up to Tohana in Fatehabad. The famine combined with the attacks of the marauding Bhatti Rajputs, weakened their hold on the land, and they finally broke before the Chalisa famine of 1783 A.D. and many of them emigrated to Bareilly, Pihbhit, and Rampur in what is now Uttar Pradesh.
William Crook, the colonial ethnographer claimed that they are by origin Kambohs:

Mr. Ibbetson says: The Satlaj Arains in Sirsa say that they are, like the Arains of Lahore and Montgomery, connected by origin with the Hindu Kambohs. Mr. Wilson thinks it probable that both classes are really Kambohs who have become Muslims, and that the Ghaggar Arains emigrated in a body from Multan, while the others moved gradually up the Sutlej into their present place.

Another British account, this time by Horace Arthur Rose also makes reference to the distinction between the Sultluj and Ghaghar Arains in Punjab.

In Sirsa the Sutlej Arains meet those of the Ghaggar. The two do not intermarry, but the Arains of the Ghaggar valley say they were Rajputs living on the Panjnad near Multan who were ejected some four centuries ago by Saiyad Jalal-ul-din of Uch. They claim some sort of connection with Jaisalmer. Till the great famines of 1759 and 1783 A. D. they are said to have held all the lower valleys of the Choya and Ghaggar, but after the latter date the Bhattis harassed the Sumnis, the country became disturbed, and many of the Arains emigrated across the Ganges and settled near Bareli and Rampur. They marry only with the Ghaggar and Bareli Arains.

It is interesting to note, that Rose mentions that Ghaghar Arain had still maintained intermarage with those of Pilibhit and Bareilly. While Crook’s point that Arain and Kamboh have a common origin is hard to prove, but it is worth mentioning that the settlement area of both the Rayeen and Kamboh overlaps to some degree, with a substantial presence in Rohilkhand and the Doab. But what mitigates against the theory of common origin is the fact the two communities, despite a close proximity, consider themselves as quite distinct.

Among the Pilibhit Rayeen, there is a traditions that they Arabs, and get their name from the Rayee mountains, located somewhere in Arabia. This probably picks of the tradition among the Punjab Arain, that there name is distortion of Araheeai, which means a resident of Ariha, better known as the city of Jericho in the West Bank. According to this tradition, a group of Arabs soldiers from Jericho accompanied Mohammad Bin Qassim in his conquest of Sindh. From here, they then spread to Ucch. Its interesting there are references to the city of Ucch in almost all the accounts of the Rayeen community. It is very likely, a group of cultivators left the Sutlej valley and settled in the Ghaggar. From the tribal myths, we have some fairly consistent information, the Chalisa famine and attacks by the Bhattis forcing them leave Haryana and move across to Uttar Pradesh. In the 19th Century, the Rayeen were the early colonist in the Nainital Terai region, where they cleared the jungles and built their villages. The majority of the community are still found in the Terai region.


Distribution of Rayeen in the United Provinces by District According to 1901 Census of India


District Population
Pilibhit 4,807
Nainital 3,927
Bareilly 2,908
Saharanpur 1,258
Muzaffarnagar 528
Rampur 459
Moradabad 392
Bijnor 214
Dehra Dun 90
Meerut 44
Other districts 161
Total Population 14,698

Looking at the Census returns, it is clear that majority of the Rayeen population were found in the Rohilkhand region, with a second cluster found in Saharanpur and Muzzafarnagar in the Doab.
The Rayeen are still largely found in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Udham Singh Nagar (carved out of Nainital), Nainital, Rampur and Saharanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Villages in Pilibhit District

Starting with Pilibhit District, they are found in the villages of Amariya, Barhepura, Bhainsaha, Dheram, Dang, Dhundhari, Gaibojh, Harraypur, Karghaina, Madhopur,  Nurpur, Patti, Turkania, Sardarnagar, Sirsi,  Sukatia, and Udaipur. There are also several villages located north of the town of Bisalpur including Khameria, and near Jahanabad.

Villages in Bareilly District

In Bareilly District,they occupied several villages near the town of Baheri like Arsiabojh, Dayyabojh, Dhakia, Ekgrah, Fardi Rayeen, Gunah Jawahar, GuleriaMundia Nabibakhsh, Mundia Nasir, Mundia Jageer, Pipra, Paiga, and Suketia.

Villages in Udham Singh Nagar (formerly part of Nainital District)

In Udham Singh Nagar District they are settled in the towns of Kichha , Rudrapur and Sitarganj, and in the villages of Bandia, Baroda, Kachhi Khamaria, Lalpur, Malpura, Naugwan, Sisai, Pipelia and Sirauoli.

Villages in Bijnor District

In Bijnor District they are settled in the town of Najibabad (Mohalla Rampura), Kiratpur, Jalalabad, and Sahanpur Estate specially in the village of Alipura, Chukhapur, Chandanpur, Chilkiya, Ghawaryi(Khadar), Mojampur Tulsi, Puranpur, Rammanwala, Rasulpur and Taharpur.

Rampur District

In Rampur they are present in Mandanpur and Bhaisodi.

Languages, Religion, Tribes and Castes of the Hazara Region

In this post, I will examine the 1931 Census of what was then the Hazara District of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which is now the Hazara Division. Ethnologically this region is interesting, in that forms a transition zone between the Pashtun dominated areas in the west, the very diverse regions of Kohistan and Gilgit to the north, and the Lahnda speaking areas of Pakistani Kashmir and Punjab to the south and east. I would also ask the reader to look at my post on the 1931 Census of Mirpur District, a region that shares many culture similarities with Hazara.


Hazara is bounded on the north and east by the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. To the south are the Islamabad Capital Territory and the province of Punjab, whilst to the west lies the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The river Indus runs through the division in a north-south line, forming much of the western border of the division. The total area of Hazara is 18,013 km². The region is a classic in-between place, which is influenced by both the tribal Pashtun society as well the more settled village based structure of the Punjab and mountainous culture of the Chibhal. Indeed, Hazara has probably the closest linkages with Chibhal, the Hindko language almost merges into Chibhali. Certain castes such as the Dhund and Gakhar are found in equal numbers in both regions. In this post, I analyse the results of the 1931 Census of India. At that time the region had not seen substantial migration of Pashtuns from other regions of the KPK. Most of the population spoke Hindko, which in 1931 was included in the Lahnda category. I have split the post into three categories, the first bit will give an overview of the languages spoken, the second on religion and finally on caste identity.




Language Population Percentage
Lahnda 625,268 93%
Pashto 29,375  4%
Punjabi 5,436  0.8
Nepali 4,993
Hindi/Hindustani/Urdu 4,113
Gojri 287
Kashmiri 96
Kohistani 79
Others 464
Total 670,117 100%

As these results show, the majority of the population spoke a language called Lahnda in 1931 Census. Its worth mentioning Lahnda itself is an exonyms and even in 1931 was not used by the speakers themselves.The emerging languages of this dialect area are Saraiki, Hindko and Pothohari. Lahnda means “western” in Punjabi, and was a term coined by William St. Clair Tisdall (in the form Lahindā) probably around 1890 and later adopted by a number of linguists — notably George Abraham Grierson — for a dialect group that had no general local name. Locally, the term to describe the language, at least from the late 19th Century is Hindko, and its speakers are known as Hindkowan, literally in Farsi those who speak the Hindko language. Hindko almost merges seamlessly into Chibhali, the two languages acquiring their own unique identity, largely because each was spoken in distinct political units. In the case of Chibhali, it was spoken in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and came under the influence of Punjabi and Kashmiri. Dhundi-Kairali, spoken by the Dhund and Karlal tribes of eastern Hazara and western Poonch is an intermediate dialect between Chibhali and Hindko. This dialect is now spoken largely in Abbottabad District, and the adjoining Murree Hills and Galyat areas.

The other two languages that are indigenous to the region are Pashto and Gojri. Briefly about Pashto, it was largely spoken in the  Kala Dhaka region,  home to five major tribes, Bassi khel, Mada khel, Akazai, Hassanzai, and Nasrat khel, all of whom were clans of the Yousafzai. Some Swati clans also continued to speak Pashto. It is worth pointing out most of the Pathans belonging to the larger tribes such as the Jadoon, Tareen and Dilazak were Hindko speaking. In Hazara tribal and linguistic identity often did not match. The other indigenous language was Gojri, which had 287 speakers. As the language of the Gujjar caste, who numbered 98,599, the figure of 987 is extremely small. It is very likely, that the number of Gojri speakers have been undercounted, as many were Gujars at that time were nomadic, this was especially the case in the Kaghan Valley.



Religion Population Percentage
Muslim 636,794  95%
Hindu 24,543 4%
Sikh 7,630
Christian 432
Others 718
Total 670,117 100%

In terms of religion, the Hazara region was largely Islamized by the 1931 census. The region was home to a Hindu minority, many of whom belonged Khatri, Arora and Brahman castes. The region was uniquely home to the Muhial community, traditionally landowning Brahmans.

Tribes and Castes


Religion Caste or Tribe Sub-Caste Population
Awan 106,931
Gujjar 98,599
Pathan 54,544
 Jadoon 19,070
   Tareen 935
   Dilazak 906
   Utman Khel 585
   Yousafzai 321
   Bangash 199
   Khattak 140
 Durrani 81
   Afridi 57
   Mohmand 31
   Other Tribes 32,216
Swati 44,511
Dhund 38,983
Sayyad 27,629
Karral (Sardar) 27,117
Julaha (Bafinda)  


Kashmir 13,218
Mughal 11,843
Tarkhan 10,201
Sarrara 9,984
Lohar 9,593
Mochi 9,082
Nai 7,173
Qureshi 6,415
Gakhar 6,017
Mishwani 5,361
Malyar 5,204
Kumhar 5,041
Rajput 5,016
Turk 4,486
Teli 2,811
Shaikh 2,455
Dhobi 2,387
Mirasi 1,799
Mussali  1,142
Khoja (Punjabi Sheikh) 934
Darzi 846
Jhinwar (Jheer) 758
Sonar 383
Qassab 284
Mallaah 250
Paracha 185
Baluch 166
Arain 132
Chamar 120
Jat 58
Penja 49
Rangrez 30
Baghban 25
Bhatiara 18
Other Muslims 18,038
Khatri 8,890
Gurkha 4,173
Brahman 3,306
Arora 2,036
Rajput 689
Bhatia  193
Sonar 44
Chuhra 40
Dhobi 31
Gakhar 28
Jat 13
Kumhar 13
Jhinwar 10
Lohar 7
Mochi 4
Nai 3
Tarkhan 2
Other Hindus 5,779
Brahman 1,693
Khatri 486
Arora 336
Jat 282
Rajput 177
Bhatia 69
Sonar 31
Kumhar 6
Other Sikhs 4,542
Others  1,150
Total Population 670,117

With regards to caste grouping, the British Administration had divided the population by the Land Alienation Act into those who could own land, and those who were ineligible.The tribes of the District, that were notified as agricultural under the Punjab Alienation Act, were the Awans, Bambas, Bibs, Dhunds, Dilazaks, Gakhars, Gujars, Karrals, Malliars, Mishwanis, Mughals, Pathans, Qureshis, Rajputs, Sararas, Swathis, Sayeds, Tareens, Tanaolis, and Turks. The large non-agriculturalist groups included Julaha (Bafinda), Tarkhan, Lohar, Mochi and Nai groups, who were often referred to by the derogatory term kami. The number of kami castes had fallen over the period, as many of families were absorbed into agricultural castes.

Major Muslim Groups

The Awans

The Awans made up one-sixth of the total population in Hazara, and were found almost everywhere other then the Kala-Dhaka. I will not go into too much detail as to there origin, other then to say they claim descent from Qutab Shah, an Arab, and a descendent of Ali, who arrived in the region with Mahmud of Ghazni. The Awans were are entirely Hindko speaking group, and connected with the Awans of the Pothohar region of neighbouring Punjab. Closely connected to the Awans are the Bib who are small  tribe found Abbotabad District, occupying two villages between the Rash plains and Thandiani range. They claim a common origin with the Awans, and in 1931 were not counted separately but included within the Awans.

The Gujjars

The Gujars are among the oldest inhabitants of the region, and make up the second largest ethnic group in Hazara. They were in occupation of the  Hazara plain before the Dilazaks, Utmanzais, and Tareens  migrated there. In Mansehra, the Kathana Gujars of Kot Najibullah and in Haripur the Jagal Gujars are most prominent families. The Kaghan Valley right up to the Babusar pass is entirely inhabited by the Gujjars. The Kaghan Gujjars are largely Gojri speaking, while those in the southern part of Hazara are now largely Hindko speaking.

The Pathans and Mashwani

In Hazara, as in most cis-Indus regions, the Pashtun tribes describe themselves as Pathan, with the exception of those from the Kala Dhaka, speaking the Yousafzai dialect, call themselves Pakhtoon. In 1931, the total Pathan population, including the Kala Dhaka tribes was 54,544, about 8% of the total population. After Independence in 1947, the Pathan population has increased considerable, as migrants from other parts of KPK have settled there.


Lilla and Phaphra

In this post, I will look at two tribes, namely the Phaphra and Lilla, who live in close proximity to each other in the Pind Dadan Khan region of Jhelum. Both of them have been called Jat, and here I wish to make a point. Both these tribes claim to an extra sub-continental descent, the Phaphra claim to be Mughal, while the Lilla Qureshi. Yet, the definition of Jat is elastic enough in this region for both these tribes to be included in the Jat category. What makes someone a Jat here is whether other tribes of Jat status will intermarry with them. I would also ask the reader to look at my article on the Jalap, which gives some background on the Jats of the Jhelum region.


Phaphra is small tribe of Mughal status, also found in Pind Dadan Khan plains located north of the river Jhelum.

The tribe claims to be Barlas Mughals, and get its name from an ancestor named Phaphra, who settled in the district in the 15th Century. So who exactly are the Barlas, and I shall briefly look at this group of medieval Mongols. According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan [r. 1229-1241], the Barlas shared ancestry with the Borjigin, the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors, and other Mongol clans. The leading clan of the Barlas traced its origin to Qarchar Barlas, head of one of Chagatai’s regiments. Qarchar Barlas was a descendant of the legendary Mongol warlord Bodonchir (Bodon Achir; Bodon’ar Mungqaq), who was also considered a direct ancestor of Genghis Khan. Due to extensive contacts with the native population of Central Asia, the tribe had adopted the religion of Islam, and the Chagatai language, a Turkic language of the Qarluq branch, which was heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian. Timur, the ancestor of the Mughal dynasty belonged to the Barlas clan, and therefore that would connect the Paphra with the Mughals.

As their little historic evidence to connect the Phaphra with the Mughals, there is some scepticism as to their claim of Mughal ancestry. British settlement documents from the late 19th and early 20th Century refer refer to them as a “semi-Jat tribe”. As I have already mentioned, the word Jat in the Jhelum region often means a cultivator. The fact that the Phaphra often intermarry with neighbouring tribes such as the Lilla and Gondal, who are considered as Jat often reinforces the perception that the Phaphra are Jat.

According to Phaphra traditions, they came to this district from the direction of Faridkot, in what is now in East Punjab India. They settled in India around 15th Century, slightly earlier then the Mughal takeover of the Punjab. The Phaphra settled here as agriculturists, getting their name from their leader at that time Phaphra. However some other traditions claim he was called Nittharan. According to a family tree kept by Chaudharies of Gharibwal, the largest landowners among the tribe, gives their genealogy as follows:
Harbans or Shah Ibrahim (a descendent of Timur), Tilochar, Shah, Mal, Phaphra, Pheru, Vatra, Jatri, Harsh or Arif, Tulla, Nado, Hardev, Mahpal, and finally Nittharan.

Nittharan is said to have five sons namely; Gharib, (descendants in Gharibwal), Samman (Sammanwal), Ichhcin (son’s name Sau, descendants in Sauwal), Rao (Rawal), and Dhudhi (Dhudhi, and Qadarpur). Some of the earlier names are clearly Hindu, although this does not itself preclude their claim to Barlas ancestry. But there position in Jhelum society was more akin that of the Jats then the Mughals. Their headmen use the title Chaudhary, and their customs are very similar to the Gondals, the largest Jat tribe in their vicinity. The Phaphra are now divided into two rival clans, the Dhudhial, from the village of Dhudhi Paphra and Sadowalia from those who belong to the village of Sadowal.

The Paphra occupy a compact area of about 25 square miles at the foot of the Salt Range, east of Pind Dadan Khan in Jhelum District .The main Mughals Phaphra villages are Chak Danial, Chak Shadi, Chakri Karam Khan, Dewanpur, Dhudi Paphra, Ghareebwal, Jutana, Karimpur, Kaslian, Kot Phaphra, Kot Shumali, Rawal, Sidhandi, Sammanwal, Sadowal, Saowall, Shah Kamir, Qadirpur, Thil, Warnali, and Warra Phaphra, all in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. In Chakwal District they are found in Dhok Virk and Jotana. Mohra Phaphra is a lone Phaphra village in Rawalpindi District. Across the Jhelum, in Mandi Bahauddin District the Paphra are also found in villages of Phaphra, Chak No 29 and Nurpur Piran.


The next tribe I will look are the Lila, who are also found above the Jhelum in Pind Dadan Khan District.

According to their tribal traditions, they originally located in Arabia, being relations of the Prophet on his mother’s side. This would make the Lila’s Qureshi by origin. They then left Arabia under the leadership of an individual named Haris, who migrated to India, with a band of 160 men and settled at a place called Masnad in Hindustan, which they say still exists as a small town or village, though its exact situation is not known. This happened in the time of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. However, the Lilla did not stay long in Masnad, and moved to Multan. There they became disciples of the pir Ghaus Shah. The Pir warned them that they would prosper as long as they remained united, but that any disagreements within the tribe would lead to their ruin.

Accompanied by Ghaus Shah, the tribe settled in Shahidiwalian, near present day Gujranwala. After they had been settled there for some time the locals of the place began to get tired of the trouble they caused, and made complaint to the Emperor at: Delhi, who ordered that they should be moved on.

The local governor was ordered to expel them and succeeded in dividing the tribe into two factions, which fought a pitched battle. The defeated party dispersed and its descendants are now found near the Chenab, mainly in what’s now Mandi Bahaudin District, while the others, weakened by the struggle, migrated to the Pind Dadan Khan plain, led by Lilla Buzurg, whose is considered the ancestor by all the present Lillas. When Lilla arrived at their present location, the tract was then occupied a tribe of Hal Jats. As I have already mentioned in the section on the Hal, the Lillas proceeded exterminated this tribe, barring one pregnant woman, who had managed to escape. According to the tribal traditions of the Awan, who villages border those of the Lilla, they were first settle the area by the Jhelum, which was a swamp.Despite the claim to Qureshi ancestry, the Lilla are considered as Jats by their neighbours and intermarry with other tribes of Jat status such as the Gondal, Jethal, Phaphra and Wariaches.

The four ancestral villages of the tribe are Lilla Bhera (also known as Mainowana), Lilla Bharwana, Lilla Hindwana, and Lilla Guj, which are said to be named after their founders, Maino, Bharo, Hindo, and Guj. Each of these villages are named after their founders, Maino, Bharo, Hindo, and Guj. The tribe holds about 40 square miles of territory between Pind Dadan Khan town and the Salt Range in the Jhelum District, and form the majority in the villages of Chak Hameed, Jalalpur Sharif, Lilla Handwana, Lilla Goj, Lilla Bhera (also known as Mainowana) and Rawal in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. There also a second cluster of Lilla villages on the banks of the Jhelum River in Khushab District, such as Kotla Jagir, Mohibpur and Waheer. While in Mandi Bahauddin District, they are found in Bohat, and further south in Sargodha District, they are found in Bhikhi Khurd, descendants of the second group of Lillas who dispersed to the Chenab.

Gungal/ Gangal, Miyal/Mial and Ratial tribes

In this post, I will focus on two little known tribes found in the Pothohar region, namely the Gangal and Ratial. I will ask the region to look at my post on the Budhal and Kanyal tribes, which give some background to the tribal history of this region. An interesting thing about the various tribes in this region is that there name often ends in al, which is patronymic, for example, the sons of Kals, are the Kalyal and so on, very similar to the Arabic Bin or Slavic ovich or ov. The aals started off as clans of a larger tribe, such as Kanyal being an aal of the Chauhan tribe, which overtime grew in numbers, leading separation from the parent stock. Both tribes have very similar customs, being historically farmers and speaking the Pothwari language.


I shall start off with the little known tribe known as the Gungal, sometimes spelt Gangal, found throughout this region. As mentioned in my introduction, the tribes in the region have names ending in al, meaning son of or descendent of a named individual. In the case of the Gungal, that would be mean that they are descendent of Gang, or possible Ganga, a common first name among Hindus of all castes. Like most Punjab tribes, there are a number of different traditions as to the origin of this tribe. The Gangal of Gujar Khan, Chakwal and Jhelum claim that they are a section of the Bhatti Rajputs, therefore Gang or Ganga belonged to the Bhatti tribe, a well-known tribe of Rajputs found throughout Punjab. In this region, being Rajput is a matter of status, which can be both gained or lost. If an ancestor took up cultivation, then his descendants would be classified as Jat, or vice versa, if they rose in prominence, they would acquire the status of Rajput. In the latter case, they would restrict marriage with other tribes of Rajput status. Often, a branch of the tribe would call itself Rajput in one village, and in a neighbouring villages, they would be simple cultivators, and be known as Jat. With regards to the Gungal, most of those found in Rawalpindi District call themselves Rajputs, while in Jhelum are Jat, and intermarry with tribes of Jat status.

However, the Gangal of Rawalpindi Tehsil, have a completely different origin myth. Gang according to them was not a Bhatti, but an Awan, therefore according to the Rawalpindi Gangals, they are clan of the Awan tribe. The Rawalpindi Gangal trace their descent from Qutab Shah’s son Muzamal Ali, nicknamed Kalgan. Briefly, according to Awan tribal traditions, their ancestor was a Qutb Shah, who is said to have accompanied and assisted Mahmud of Ghazna in his early eleventh century conquests of what today forms parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India. It is claimed that in recognition of their services and valour, Mahmud bestowed upon Qutb Shah and his sons (who, according to tribal traditions, settled primarily in the Salt Range) the title of Awan, meaning “helper”. Coming back to the Gangal, a descendent of Muzamal Ali named Gohar Shah was their ancestor. This Gohar Shah was nicknamed Ganga, and the Ganga are the aal or descendants of this Ganga. It is interesting to note the Gangal villages in Rawalpindi tehsil are surrounded by the Awan villages, therefore it is possible that they have affiliated themselves with the dominant group, while in Gujarkhan, they maintain links with the Rajput clans, which in turn dominate that region.

With regards to their distribution, in Rawalpindi District, their villages include Gungal, Mujahid Gungal in Rawalpindi Tehsil, Sood Gungal located within the Islamabad Capital Territory. In Gujar Khan tehsil, they are found in number of villages such as Faryal, Gungal, Narali Jabbar and Sui Cheemian. Other Gungal villages in Rawalpindi District include Chakyal near Hardogher, Dhamnoha and Samote in Kallar Syedan Tehsil, and Bimma Gungal in Kahuta Tehsil. In neighbouring Jhelum District, their main village is Gungal, while in Chakwal District their villages include Dhok Vazira, Mak and Mohra Gungal near Kallar Syden. In Attock District, they are found in the village of Gangal in Fateh Jang Tehsil.


Miyal, or sometimes written as Mial, are tribe found mainly in Rawalpindi and Chakwal districts. They are descendants of a Mian, which in there case may not refer to a single common ancestor, but is a term which is often used to describe any holyman or Sufi saint. These is also shown by the fact that different Mial groups have different origin myths. According to 1911 Census of India, about 807 Mial declared themselves as Rajput, while 25 declared themselves as Jats. Some Mial groups also say that they are Qureshi Arabs, while others claim to be Mughals.There main villages include Malluwala in Pindigheb Teshsil and Mial in the Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District, the village of Mial in Rawalpindi District, and the villages of Budhial, Mureed, Mial and Warwal in Chakwal District. In addition, Mial settlements are also found in the Gujar Khan Tehsil, such as Sapiali Khinger.


The Ratial are Rajput tribe, found mainly in Rawalpindi District. There customs are similar to neighbouring tribes such as the Bangial and Kanyal. Like other tribes in the region, they have several traditions as to their origin. According to one such tradition, the tribe are descended from Khattar Khan, the ancestor of the Khattar tribe. Khattar Khan had six sons, Jand Khan,Isa Khan, Sarwar Khan, Firoz Khan, Sehra Khan and Pehru Khan. About three generations after his death, the tribe lost Nilab but they took possession of the open country between Rawalpindi and the Indus which became known by the name of Khattar. The descendants of Jand Khan took possession of the district called after them Jandal between Khushhalghar and Nara. From Feroz Khan the Drek family has descended. His great- grandson was Ratnah from whom have descended the clan known as Ratial. The Khattar tribe, like the Awans claim descent from Qutub Shah, which would make the Ratial Alvi Arabs.

However, another tradition makes Ratnah out to be a Manhas Rajput, who left Kangra in the 15th Century and settled in Potohar region, and converted to Islam. His descendants are known the Ratial. A few generations from Ratnah were two brothers Jairo Khan and Bhairo Khan. Jairo is said to have founded the village Jairo Ratial, and his brother Bhairo founded the neighbouring village Bhair Ratial. Almost all the other Ratial’s trace there descent from these two villages. Claims to Minhas ancestry are more widely accepted, certainly by the Ratial’s of Gujarkhan.

The Ratial Minhas rose to some significance as rulers of the large part of the present Rawalpindi District known as Ratala, centred around the village of Ratala in Gujar Khan Tehsil. They were displaced from Ratala by a Janjua chief named Raja Abdullah Khan in the 18th Century, who had himself been displaced by the upheaval of the Sikh conquest of Garjaak and Darapur in Jhelum, and as a result took his remaining army and conquered the region of Ratyal from a Ratial chief who was loyal to the Sikh empire. He defeated the Ratial Chief and although the region remained known Ratala. With this, the Ratial ceased to play any important political role in the region. The Ratial thereafter sunk to the status of farmers, and according to 1911 Census of Punjab, they numbered 549.
Their principle villages are Ratial (near Dina) and Darapur in Jhelum District, and Ratial, Bher Ratial, Jairo Ratial and Puraney Ratial, in the Gujar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi District. They also found in Banoti Niar and Chak Beli Khan villages south of Rawalpindi. There are also number of Ratial villages in Attock District.

Description of Major Muslim Communities in India: The Khokhar

In this post I return to the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), and look at one of the lesser known communities, that of the Khokhar. There are in fact two distinct communities of Khokhars in UP, those of Sambhal and Kot. While the Khokhar of Punjab are well known, very little has been written about the Khokhars of UP, and this post will try to provide some information. These two settlements are quite distant from each other, the distance between Sambhal and Kot being almost 500 kilometres. Each group of Khokhars have their own origin stories and I will treat them separate. The Sambhal Khokhar are really a sub-group within Ranghar community of western Uttar Pradesh. Just a brief note about the Khokhars, they are a well known tribe from the Punjab, whose homeland is the the Salt Range

As in common among Punjabi tribal groupings, the Khokhar have a number of origin stories. According to one of tradition, the Khokhars are connected with the Awans, making Khokhar one of Qutub Shah’s sons, the semi-mythical ancestor of the Awn tribe. Many Khokhar groups in the Salt Range now call themselves Khokhar Qutb Shahis, literally descendants of Qutub Shah. Another Khokhar tradition makes them descended from Zahhak , a mythical figure from ancient Iran, who’s descendent Rustam Raja arrived in Punjab sometime in the beginning of the Common Era and was nicknamed Khokhar. What is clear is by the arrival of Mohammad Ghori, the Khokhars were in possession of the Salt Range, and when Ghori tried to conquer the region he was murdered by them. The Khokhars remained rebellious throughout the Delhi Sultanate period, and it is very likely both the colonies of Khokhar now present in UP are result of deportations from the Punjab. I will first look at the Khokhar of Sambhal, who accept a Punjabi origin.

Denzil Ibbetson, the 19th Century colonial scholar of Punjab, commenting on the returns of 1881 Census of Punjab, noted the following in connection with the Khokhars:

Under the head Khokhar only represent a fraction of the Khokhars in the Panjab. The Khokhars are ordinarily considered a Rajput tribe, and most of the Khokhars of the districts have so returned themselves. Many of the Khokhars of western districts again, and all those of the frontier, have been re turned as Jats; while only in the Rawalpindi and Multan divisions are separate figures shown for the Khokhar caste. How far this inclusion is due to Khokhars having actually returned themselves as Rajput or Jat by caste and Khokhar by tribe, and how far to the action of the divisional offices, I cannot say exactly till the detailed clan tables are ready.

Its clear that the Khokhar of Punjab are a quasi-Rajput tribe, their historic homeland is located between the valleys of the Chenab and Jhelum, home such tribes as the Bandial, Ghanjera and Rehan, all of whom are clans of the Khokhar, and I have looked at elsewhere. The most important Khokhar family is that of the Rajahs of Ahmedabad, located in Jhelum District. It is this family that produced the famous Muslim League leader Rajah Ghazanfar Ali Khan.

The use of the tem Pathan in the Fatehpur region where Kot is located often also covers Rajput and quasi-Rajput groups. So the use of the term by the Khokhars of Kot must seen in that way.

Khokhar of Sambhal

The city of Sambhal, now a district headquarters is long associated with the Khokhar tribe, who were substantial landowners throughout the late Mughal and Rohila rule of the region. According to tribal traditions, the Khokhars of Sambhal are said to who have come from the Bulandshahr District and to have settled near Sambhal in the days of the Mughal emperor Babar. The Khokhars first arrived in Bulandshahr, at the invitation of Sikander Lodhi, who was the Sultan of Delhi between 1489 and 1517 It said that these Khokhars came from Koh-Jud, a name used for the Salt Range in medieval Muslim writing in India. Interestingly, Sambhal was one of the capitals of Sikander Lodhi. With overthrow of the Lodhi, there ancestor was given the jagir of Sambhal by the Mughal Emperor Babur. This came with the title of Chadhary, which was hereditary in the family till end of British rule in India in 1947. The Khokhars of Sambhal have always had close relations with the Lalkhani Rajputs of Bulandshar and Aligarh. They are said to have been guest of the Lalkhanis in Bulandshar during their stay there before moving to Sambhal.

Khokhar of Kot

The Khokhars of Kot, a town in Fatehpur District have a very different origin myth. First of all the Khokhars of Kot have been in UP for much longer, according to their traditions, the tribe settled in Kot during the rule of Allaudin Khilji ( r . 1296–1316). They are said to be descended from four brothers, of whom the eldest was Malik Bhil or Babar, who were granted the estate of Kot, which at that time was held by a Bhar Raja. In this eastern region, the Bhar, a local ethnic group were the local rulers. The Khokhars were sent by Ala.-ud-din to supress the Bhars, which they did. The dispute is to the origin of these Khokhars. Unlike the Sambhal branch, the Khokhars of Kot have no tradition of a Punjabi origin. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Khokhars made strong claims of a Pashtun origin. However, more recently, a small number of Khokhar are claiming an Uzbek origin. What’s interesting is the author of the Gazetteer of Fatehpur makes reference to an inscription making reference to the Khokhar conquest to 590 Hijra (1203/1204 CE). This would be mean that the Khokhars arrived in the region around the reign of Shahabuddin Mohammad Ghori. If we accept either of the traditions, the Khokhars of Kot have long been settled in the Fatehpur region. They were effectively the local rulers, but by the arrival of the British, they landholdings were extremely small. The Khokhars of Kot call themselves Pathans, which in eastern Uttar Pradesh does not donate a ethnicity, rather a status. What is interesting is that over the almost millennia in India, they have maintained the name Khokhar, which is clearly associated with the Salt Range region of Punjab. It is very likely, they are Punjabi Muslim tribe, who served in either in the army of Shahabuddin Mohammad Ghori or Allaudin Khilji. Once settled in eastern UP, as they became large landowners, they acquired the status of being Pathans.
Outside Kot, they are found in the villages of Arhaiya, Urha, Shahnagar, Rahmatpur, Sheopuri, Kali, Ghazipur and Parwezpur.