Rawal of Pakistani Punjab

In this post, I will look at a little known Punjabi Muslim community called the Rawals. Like the Khatiks referred to in my earlier post, the Rawals as a community form an important part of the Punjabi Muslim diaspora, with many migrating to Malaysia and Hong King in the early 20th Century.

Like most other Punjabi groups, the Rawal have a complex origin. According to tribal traditions, they are of Arab origin. The ancestor of their tribe was an individual named Ryal, after who they are said to get their name, was in the service of the Prophet. Once when alms were being given by the Prophet, no one came forward to receive them, whereupon Ryal accepted them. Over time, Ryal was corrupted to Rawal, after their settlement in India. By the beginning of the 20th, the Rawal were found mainly in what now Indian Punjab were engaged in petty trade. They had much in common with groups such the Bhatra and Ramaiya, who were also engaged in petty trade.

Rose, the early 20th Century British ethnologist argued the Rawal were really a group of Jogi who had converted to Islam. He argued that the term Rawal was generally used as a synonym for the Jogi, though, strictly speaking, it only denoted Muslim Jogi, who was generally also known as a Jogi-Rawal. The question then is who or what is a Jogi. Jogi, or more correctly Yogi is someone, in tantra traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, is someone who is a practitioner of the tantra (a tantrika). In Classical Sanskrit, the word yogi is derived from yogin, which refers to a practitioner of yoga. Yogi is technically male, and yoginī is the term used for female practitioners. The two terms are still used with those meanings today, but the word yogi is also used generically to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and related meditative practices belonging to any religion or spiritual method. The yogi, or by the middle ages the Jogi had become a religious order, living a wondering life as mendicants. In Punjab, the Jogi like in many other parts of India had evolved into a sectarian caste, as distinct from a holy order. Conversion to Islam, which, if we accept Rose, did not stop the Muslim groups to continue to practice as Jogi.

Etymologically, Rawal is a title, the Sanskritised version being Rajakula, meaning lord and used by many feudal families in North India. It could be that Rawal is not a distortion of Ryal, but a title adopted by a group of Jogis, to distinguish themselves from other Jogi groups. Whether they were of Arab origin as their traditions claim, or Jogi converts to Islam, what is clear is that they had close relationship with Hindu Jogi groups in Punjab.

In the early 20th Century, the Rawals had continued the practice of acquiring knowledge from the Hindu Jogis, and many continued to live a nomadic existence. They were a classic community who practised syncretism, combining aspects of Hinduism and Islam. Many left their villages and spent part of their as wondering holy men. By the early 20th Century, many Rawals had taken up the profession of hakims (physicians), practitioners of the unani medicine. The Rawals were also employed in rural Punjab to carry out surgery and eye operations, leaving there villages at the beginning of winter to visit a well-established client network.

The Rawal like the Barwala and Khatik referred to in earlier posts were not granted agricultural status under the Punjab Land Alienation Act. The impact of this decision was that they were unable to own or purchase land. Many Rawal therefore began to migrate to British ruled Malaysia and Singapore. They now form important communities within the Punjabi Muslim diaspora communities in those two countries. The Partition of Punjab in 1947 affected the Rawal even more badly then the Khatik, with the majority found in territory that is now Indian Punjab. The effect of partition has been that almost all the syncretic traditions have been abandoned. Many of the refugee Rawal are now settled in Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sialkot. Like the Khatik, they are now considered to be a sub-group of Shaikhs.

Distribution of Rawal in Punjab by District According to 1911 Census of India

 

District Population
Gurdaspur 4,079
Sialkot 3,687
Hoshiarpur 3,265
Amritsar 3,119
Jalandhar 2,554
Gujranwala 1,746
Kangra 1,164
Gujrat 997
Lahore 933
Jhelum 693
Kapurthala State 668
Ludhiana 400
Other districts 1,637
Total Population 24,942

 

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Khatik of Pakistani Punjab

In this post I will look at the Khatik, sometimes written as Khateek caste of Punjab, specifically those Khatiks who converted to Islam. According to the 1901 Census of Punjab, out of a total population of 23,648 about 11,362, almost half the population had converted Islam. They are one of the lesser known of the Punjabi Muslim communities. Outside Punjab, Muslims Khatiks were also found in the Jammu region and western Uttar Pradesh. But my article will focus on the Muslim Khatik of Punjab. Most Khatiks now describe themselves as sub-caste of the Punjabi Shaikhs. What makes the Khatiks interesting is that they have been pioneers in setting up the tannery business in Pakistan, which now is a major exporter of leather goods. Major clusters of the industry now exist in Sialkot and Gujranwala, initiated by long established Khatiks communities, while those in Kasur and Karachi are largely immigrants from what’s Punjab and Haryana in India.

Like many communities, there are various traditions as to the origins of the Khatiks. Traditionally, the Hindu Khatik were tanners and dyers of goats’ skins, while upon conversion to Islam, many Muslim Khatik took on the additional occupation of butchering, and selling goat meat. The Muslim Khatik in the Jalandhar/Ludhiana and Patiala region had two clans, the Rajputs and Ghori Pathan, these being the castes of the individuals at whose hand they had converted to Islam. This conversion had occurred sometime in the later Mughal period, perhaps in the 17th Century, and traditionally, these two groups did not intermarry. The origin of the Khatik community is disputed, but according to William Crooke, they were of Pasi origin, a well-known caste from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who had migrated westwards into the Punjab. This migration is likely to have led to a significant numbers to convert to Islam, as migrated into regions with large Muslim populations, which by the beginning of the 20th Century meant, that almost half of the Khatik caste had become Muslim. It is however worth pointing out that most Khatik claim to be of Khatri origin, who were commanded to take up dyeing. According to the British ethnologist Rose, the Hindu Khatik of eastern Punjab had the following origin myth:

“Brahma, they say, assigned to them a goat’s skin, the bark of trees and lac — so they graze cattle, dye the skins of goats and deer, and tan hides with bark and lac”

This linkage with the Khatri is also stressed by Muslim Khatiks, who argue that like most Punjabi Shaikhs, they have Khatri ancestors. It is also possible, that a group of Khatri to take up tanning as occupation, and become outcasted. At present, however, the Hindu Khatik and Khatri are distinct castes.

There are different traditions as to the etymology of the word of Kathik. According to Rose the word Khatik has been derived from the Hindi word khat, which means an immediate killing. They relate this to early days when they used to supply mutton to the various local kings and feudal lords. While other sources claim that the word khatik is said to have originated from the Sanskrit word kathika, which means to butcher or hunt. The Khatik of Punjab used salt and juice of the maddar tree (Calotropis procera) to tan and dye goat and sheep skin. This occupation was entirely in their hands until the arrival of the larger tanneries in the 20th Century.

 

Distribution of Muslim Khatik in Punjab by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Population
Sialkot 3,287
Gurdaspur 1,162
Hissar 993
Jalandhar 894
Patiala State 807
Gujranwala 677
Hoshiarpur 578
Firuzpur 544
Lahore 458
Ludhiana 372
Amritsar 333
Gujrat 283
Kangra 194
Karnal District 141
Malerkotla State 100
Ambala District 99
Other districts 370
Total Population 11,362

 

Most of the Khatik population was found in three clusters, around the slopes of the Himalayas, in an area extending from Hoshiarpur in the east to Gujrat in the west. The smaller Khatik population found in Jammu were part of this cluster. A second group were found in an area extending from Jalandhar to Patiala, roughly in what is now the Indian state of Punjab. A final group was concentrated in along the banks of the Yamuna, and were connected to the Khatik of Uttar Pradesh. About 60% of the Khatiks were found in the present states of Punjab and Haryan in India, and like other Punjabi Muslims they had to migrate to Pakistan as a consequence of the Partion of India.

Khatik and the Tannery Business in Pakistan

The Khatik from Indian states of Haryana and Punjab are now found mainly in Kasur and Faisalabad districts of Punjab. A small number of this group are also found in the cities of Karachi and Quetta. Building on their traditional occupation, the Khateek community is regarded as the pioneers of tannery work in Kasur. The Khateeks, who think of themselves as a kinship group, or biraderi, trace their origins to Jalandhar and other cities of eastern Punjab in India. Their self-designation is now Shaikh or Punjabi Shaikh, although both Khateek and Shaikh are used inter-changeably. The name Khateek is now used as clan designation of the Punjabi Shaikh caste. It is possible, in principle, for there to be Khateeks who are not Shaikh and vice versa. In practice, however, the two terms are used interchangeably by the people in question, not only in Kasur, but also in other sites such as Korangi where tanning work is established. The Khateek of Jalandhar arrived in Pakistan at the time of the partition of India in 1947. Various groups of families attempted to set up their traditional industry in various towns and cities, including Kasur, Karachi, and Quetta.

The Khateeks who settled in Kasur initially established cottage industries where all family members, including women, participated in the work. The first proper tannery was established by the Khateeks in Kasur in the 1960s. From then on, the tendency has been towards industrialization, with cottage industries being replaced by factories with bigger productive capacities and with the extensive use of non-family labour. The Khateeks themselves have withdrawn their labour and focus on managing their businesses.
The older established Khatiks of Gujranwala and Sialkot have been joined by many refugee families from Gurdaspur and Jammu, who have also used their traditional skills to establish these cities as important centres of tanning in Pakistan. In fact Sialkot is now the more important centre of tanning then Kasur. Pakistan now is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of leather products, thanks to the skills and enterprise of the Khatiks. Like those from East Punjab, the Khatik now refer to themselves as Shaikh, with Khatik being referred to simply as a lineage group.

Like other Pakistanis, many Khatiks have emigrated to the United Kingdom, and form a significant part of the community of British Pakistanis, particularly in the city of Glasgow. Most of these Khatiks have roots in Faisalabad, and they in turn are refugees from Jalandhar and Patiala.

Bharai Caste

In this post I shall look at the Bharain, also known as Shaikh Sarwari, an interesting community found mainly in the Punjab. Bharain started off as followers of Syed Ahmad Sultan, popularly known as Sakhi Sarwar. He was a 12th-century Sufi saint of the Punjab region, and is also known by various other appellations such as Sultan (king), Lakhdata (bestower of millions), Lalanvala (master of rubies), Nigahia Pir (the saint of Nigaha) and Rohianvala (lord of the forests). Sakhi Sarwar is said to have migrated from Baghdad, Iraq, and settled in Shahkot near Multan in 1120 AD. He settled in Dera Ghazi Khan, where he was killed on 1181 AD and buried at the place now known as Sakhi Sarwar. Strictly speaking the Bharais do not form a caste, but are an occupational group or spiritual brotherhood. The Bharain are a therefore what are referred to as a sectarian caste, where membership is based on a devotion of to a saint, and not by birth. Horace Rose, the early 20th Century ethnologist of the Punjab made reference to several castes such as the Dogar, Habri, Rawat, Dom, Rajput, Mochi, Gujar, Tarkhan and last, but not least, Jat joining the Bharai brotherhood. However, after a few generations, most sectarian castes start to take on the characteristics of a regular caste. After a generation or two, marriages only occur within the caste. And this is exactly what has happened to the Bharai.

The Bharai were traditionally priests of the Sultani sect, a syncretic sect with combined elements of Hinduism and Islam, with Sakhi Sarwar traditionally said to have founded the sect. Most Sultanis were members of the Hindu Jat community, but the Bharai were always Muslim, and belonged largely to the Muslim Jat or Muslim Rajput castes. The term Bharai itself is said to be derived from the Punjabi words chauhi bharnā, literally to keep a vigil in the memory of Sakhi Sarwar. The Jat Bharai in central Punjab claim descent from one Garba Jat, a Hindu attendant at Sakhi Sarwar’s shrine, who was in a dream was asked by the saint to embrace Islam. On his conversion he was called Shaikh Garba. The Jat Bharais have several gots: — Dhillon, Deo, Rewal Garewal, Man, Randhawa, Jham, Karhi and Badecha, all very well-known Jat tribes. However, by the beginning of the 20th Century, the Sultani sect saw a severe decline. As a result, many Bharai have been reduced to poverty. The decline of Sultani is very much connected with the sharpening religious tensions in the Punjab, which eventually led to partition of the region. Most Bharai are now day labourers, and heavily stigmatised. There remains a presence of Bharai in Indian Punjab, which is unique for a Muslim community.

There are various theories as to the origin of the word Bharai. Horace Rose, refers to the following legend:

One Bukan Jat was a devotee of Sakhi Sarwar who one day said to him tujhe piri di, ‘the saint’s mouth has fallen on thee’, whence the name Pirhai. Another account says that after leaving Dhaunkal, Sakhi Sayyid Ahmad went to Multan and rested for a while at Parahin, a place south of Shahkot, which was the home of his mother’s ancestors, Rihan Jats by caste. At Multan an Afghan chief had a daughter to whose hand many of the Shahkot youths aspired, but none were deemed worthy. One day, however, the Afghan invited Sayyid Ahmad to a feast and begged him to accept his daughter in marriage. This offer the saint accepted, and the sihra below, which was composed on this occasion, is still sung with great reverence. The mirasi, however, neglected to attend the wedding punctually, and when he did appear, rejected the saint’s present of a piece of blue cloth, 1-1/4 yards in length, at the instigation of the Jats and Pathans, saying it was of no use to him. Hearing this the Sayyid gave it to Shaikh Buddha, a Jat who had been brought up with him, saying: “This is a bindi (badge), tie it round your head, and beat a drum. We need no mirasi, and when yon are in any difficulty remember me in these words: — Daimji Rabdia sawāria, bohar Kali Kakki-wādlia — Help me in time of trouble, thou owner of Kali Kakki ! You and your descendants have come under our protection, panāh, and you shall be called pāndhi.” This term became corrupted into Parahin in time”.

In addition to the story narrated here, there are also several other traditions as to the origin of the Bharai. According of these stories, Sayyid Ahmed incurred the enmity of the Jats and Pathans of Shahkot and left that place for Afghanistan, accompanied by Bibi Bai, Rānā Mian, and his younger brother. Twenty-five miles from Dera Ghazi Khan as they had run out of water. The Sayyid mounted his mare Kali Kakki and at every step she took water came up. His pursuers, however, were close at hand, and when they overtook him the Sakhi was slain, and buried where he fell. The spot is known as Nigaha and a site of a spring in what is otherwise an arid region.

Years later Isa, a merchant of Bukhara, and a devotee of Sakhi Sarwar, was voyaging in the Indian Ocean when a storm arose. Isa asked for the saint’s aid and the ship was saved. On his arrival in India, Isa journeyed to Multan, where he learnt that the saint had been killed. On reaching Nigaha he found no traces of his tomb, but no fire could be kindled on the spot, and in the morning as they loaded the camels their legs broke. Sakhi Sarwar descended from the hill on his mare, holding a spear in his hand, and warned the merchant that he had desecrated his tomb and must rebuild it at a cost of 1-1/4 lakhs Rupees. He was then to bring a blind man, a leper, and a eunuch from Bukhara and entrust its supervision to them. One day when the blind man stumbled near the tomb he saved himself by clutching at some kahi grass where-upon his sight was restored and his descendants are still known as the Kahi. The eunuch was also cured and his descendants are called Shaikh. The leper too recovered, and his descendants, the Kalang, are still found in Nigaha. To commemorate their cures all three beat a drum, and Sakhi Sarwar appeared to them, saying; “He who is my follower will ever beat the drum and remain barahi (sound) nor will he ever lack anything.” Hence the pilgrims to Nigaha became known as Bharais.

Recent scholarship in rural Punjab, for example by Nicolas Martin has shown how marginal the present position of the Bharai is. Most are now in an extremely poor position, and suffer from discrimination.

Badhan / Wadhan, Kanjial and Rachyal tribes

In this post, I will look at three tribes, namely the Badhan, Kunjial and Rachyal, who are found mainly in the southern region of Azad Kashmir, and neighbouring districts of Punjab namely Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat and Sialkot. In Indian administered Kashmir, there are concentration in Rajouri and the Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch. I will use this post to give a brief description of the Jat population within the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Most of the Jat population was found either in the Duggar Region, about 15% or in the Chibhal Region the remaining 85%. Although the Chibhal region, took its name from the Chib clan of the Rajputs who were the traditional rulers of this area, the Jat population was almost twice that of the Rajputs. The Chibs converted to Islam in mid-17th Century, and other Rajput sub-castes followed suit. It is very likely that most of the Jat also converted at that time. However it is worth pointing out that the Jat and Rajput tribes tended to have a common origin, with CLAIMS TO Rajputhood based mostly on whether a clan had achieved political power or not. Outside Mirpur and Bhimber tehsils, there were several Jat communities in Rajouri (then part of Reasi) and Poonch. Separate from these, were the Jats of the Jammu and Kathua (Duggar) region, who were Punjabi speaking, belonging mainly to the Badhan, Bajwa, Kahlown, Nagra and Randhawa clans, and were really an overspill of the Jats of Sialkot and Gurdaspur. Most of the Muslim Jat villages were located in Ranbir Singh Pura and Bishnah tehsils of Jammu and Samba districts. Below is a breakdown of the total Jat population according to the 1931 Census:

District

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Jammu

9,258

7,014

506 16,778

Kathua

175

1,549

47

 1,771

Udhampur

100

152

   252

Reeasi

2,443

27

12

 2,482

Mirpur

103,095

14,460

4,951

122,506

Poonch Jagir

4,808

65

   4,873

Other Districts

204

131

103

438

Total

120,083

23,371

5,619

149,073

As the 1931 census shows, most of the Jat population numbering about 122,506, of whatever religion were found in the old Mirpur District, where the Jats formed more than a third of the total population of 344,747. Most of these areas now forms part of Azad Kashmir, except the area around Nawshera, traditionally part of Bhimber Tehsil, which is now under Indian administration. Most of the Hindu and Sikh Jat population was found in the Deva-Batala area, now part of the modern day district of Bhimber. The division of the Chibhal region in 1948 led to the migration of the Hindu and Sikh population, while the Muslim Jats left the area around Nowshera that came under Indian control. Similarly, the Muslim Jats of Jammu and Kathua also immigrated to Pakistan. There is still a small Muslim Jat population in Rajouri and Mendhar in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir.

The Jat of Jammu and Kashmir are further sub-divided into numerous clans called gots or gotras. Technically members of a Jat got are supposed to be descended from a traditional common ancestor by agnatic descent, i.e. through male line only. Another interesting thing about the various Jat tribes in Chibhal 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, so the Kanjial are a branch of the Janjua, who have now evolved into a separate tribe. Unlike the Jats of the Punjab plains, where one large clan often has several villages, in the Chibhal we have numerous clans often occupying the same village. In my other posts, I have looked at and posted about Jat tribes that have a presence in the Chibhal, such as the Bangyal, Gujjral, Hayal, Kanyal, Kalyal, Bhakral (or Pakhreel), Matyal, Nagyal and Thathaal.

Badhan

I start off this post by looking at the Badhan, sometimes pronounced as Wadhan, also known as Pakhai, who are generally considered as a Jat tribe, but have also claimed to be Rajput. Like many Punjabi tribes, there are several traditions as to the origin of the tribe. There are in fact two origin stories, one connected with eastern Badhan, those found in Gujrat, Sialkot/Narowal, and historically in Jammu and Gurdaspur, and the western group found in Sudhnoti, Kotli, Jhelum and Rawalpindi (mainly Kahuta). Under the various censuses carried by the British in the early 20th Century, the Badhan of central Punjab generally registered them themselves as Jats, and this included those of Jammu, while in Pothohar and Mirpur/Poonch, most Badhan registered themselves as Rajputs.
I shall off by looking at the traditions of the eastern Badhan first. Among many Sialkot Badhans, Jats, that they were a branch of the mythical Saroa Rajputs and descended from Kala, a resident of Jammu. However, a more common traditions was that the Badhan, there ancestor was descended from of Gillpal (Gilpal), son of a Rajput King, Pirthipal, Raja of Garh Mithila and a Waria (Baryah) Rajput by a Bhular Jat wife. This would make the Badhan a branch of the Gill tribe, and indeed the Sikh Badhan Jatts of Gurdaspur and Jammu do not marry the Gills, as they consider themselves to be a branch of the Gills. Judge or Juj was the second son of Gillpal, was the ancestor of Badhan Gills. The tribe gets its name from Badhan, the great grandson of Juj.

 
The western Badhan have an entirely different tradition. According to them, there ancestor Badhan was a Janjua Rajput of Kahuta, who settled among the Sudhans. In fact, in the Sudhnoti region of Poonch, the Badhan are often confused with the Sudhans, and a few Badhans actually claim themselves to be a branch of the Sudhans. In Sudhnoti, the occupy several villages near the Jhelum river. A smaller section also claims to be Qutabshahi Awans. What is clear is that in this western region, the Badhan occupy a quasi-Jat status, while among the eastern group, a claim to be Jat is generally accepted.

 

In Rawalpindi, there are several Badhan villages such as Parhali (in Tehsil Kahuta) and Rawat. In Sudhnuti, important Badhan villages include Basari, Rakar, Neeryan, Sahr Kakota, Noursa, Hamrata, and Kohala.

Distribution of Badhan in Jammu and Kashmir by District According to 1911 Census of India

The bulk of the Badhan population was found in the Poonch Jagir. However, the figures for Mirpur are slightly misleading, as many of Badhan in Mirpur registered themselves as Jats.

District Population
Reeasi 79
Mirpur 1,393
Poonch Jagir 4,607
Muzafarabad 505
Total Population 6,596

 

Distribution of Badhan who declared themselves as Jat in Punjab by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Population
Rawalpindi 246
Jhelum 248
Total Population 494

 

Kanjial

The Kanjial are found mainly in Gujrat, Bhimber, Mirpur and Jhelum districts. According to tribal traditions, there ancestor was a Ghalla, a Janjua Rajput, who had three sons, Bhakari, their ancestor, Natha (ancestor of the Nathial) and Kunjah (ancestor of the Kunjial). However, some traditions make Rai Kunjah to be a Bhatti.
In Mirpur, Kanjial villages include Andrah Kalan, Khandora and other villages in the Islamgarh Tehsil of Mirpur.

Rachyal

Finally, I will look at the Rachyal, sometimes spelt Richyal, who are a Jat tribe, found mainly in the Kotli and Mirpur districts of Azad Kashmir. Like the Kahlotra already mentioned, the Rachyal are a clan of Dogras, whose roots like in the Chamba region of what is now Himachal Pradesh. There ancestor was a Ranchan Dev, a Hindu Rajput of the Kashyap gotra, who said to have converted to Islam in the 16th Century. Generally, among the Rajputs of the Himachal region, each clan was connected with a Hindu rishi, who was traditional spiritual ancestor. Looking at Kashyapa, he is one of Saptarishi, the seven famed rishis and considered to be author of many hymns and verses of the Rigveda (1500-1200 BCE). It is likely that the Rachyal are branch of the Katoch Rajputs, as they belonged to the Kashyap gotra.

According to tribal folklore, once the Rachyals converted to Islam they were forced out of Chamba and its surroundings and we see them migrating to Sialkot, Sheikhupura, and Jhang areas of Punjab in Pakistan. The tribe then re-entered the Jammu state via Dhuki village through Sarai-Alamgir (near Kharian, Punjab, Pakistan) which lies in district of Mirpur around three hundred years ago. They then moved to Mangla and eventually to a place called Ladna near now Chakswari. From here the Rachyals spread farther west and the estate of Panyam came into existence. Most of the Rachyal are still found either in Chakswari or Panyam, where several of their villages are found such as Pothi,and Chamba. Some Rachyals villages are found further north near Naar, Rajdhani, Poonch and Rajouri.

Tribes and Castes of Mirpur District, Azad Kashmir

In this post, I will give the breakdown of the population of the old Mirpur District of the princely state Jammu and Kashmir, roughly covering the current districts of Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, as well as a portion of Bhimber Tehsil which now forms part of the Nowshera Tehsil of Rajouri in Indian administered Kashmir. The results are from the Census of 1931. Ethnologically, Mirpur region has much in common with neighbouring Pothohar, in particular the Gujar Khan Region, with Jat cultivators, a smaller Rajput aristocracy and a group of castes connected with particular occupation often derogatorily refereed to as Kammi. Traditionally, landownership was associated with particular groups, such as the Jat, while the kammi were largely landless. Almost all the population, including the large ethnic Kashmiri population spoke Mirpur Punjabi, aalso referred to as Pahari or Pothwari. This language is extremely close to the Pothwari spoken in Gujarkhan.

The old district formed the heart of the Chibhal region, with the Tawi forming the eastern portion and Jhelum the west, Punjab in the south and Poonch and the Pir Panjaal in the north. This region formed the easiest route into the Kashmir valley along the Bhimber, Rajouri and Shopian route, also known as the Mughal Road. Over 80% of the population was Muslim, and most of the population spoke Pahari. After the first Indo-Pak War of 1948, the district was divided by the armistice line that later became known as Line of Control. There was also an exchange of population, with Nawshera now about 90% Hindu and Sikh, while the Mirpur Division is now entirely Muslim. About one third of the district was Jat, who belonged to all three religions. Most of the larger clans such as the Kalial, Nagyal and Thathaal had sections which belonged to all three religion.

Brief Description of the Muslim Groups

Jats

As I have said more then 80% of the population in the district was Muslim, of whom the Jat formed almost 40% of the districts Muslim population. In Mirpur, Jats still reside in their traditional heartlands of Chakswari, Dadyal, the city of Mirpur and the countryside surrounding Mirpur, which is overwhelmingly Jat. The main Jat villages near Mirpur are Ban Khurma, Chitterpury, Balah-Gala, Kas Kalyal, Khambal, Khroota, Purkhan, Sangot and Dheri Thothal as well as many villages around the Khari Sharif area.The Jat population was in term divided into numerous clans, all claiming descent from a common ancestor. Among the larger clans were Aasar, Bangial, Badhan, Dhamial, Kalyal, Kanjial, Kanyal, Karyal, Khabal, Manjaal, Matyal, Nagyal, Nathyal, Rachyal, Ranyal, Rupyal, Thathaal, Pakhreel and Punyal.

Rajputs

The second largest group were the Rajputs, almost 13% of the total Muslim population. The Chibs were the dominant clan in Bhimber, while the Gakhars (including Sakhaal sub-clan)  and the Mangral in Kotli. Along the Punjab border, there were several communities of Bhao and Sohlan. Included within the Rajputs were the Bains, who were heavily concentrated in the Mirpur tehsil, most of which now forms part the Mirpur Distric

Gujars

The Gujjars came third, making up almost 10% of the population. Most of these Gujjars were connected with those of northern Punjab, speaking Pothwari and not Gojri, the language spoken by the Gujjars of the rest of the state, including the Kashmir valley. Among the larger Gujjar clans we find the Banya,Bagri, Bajar, Bhumbla, Bjarh, Chandpuri, Chauhan, Chechi, Gorsi, Hans, Kallas, Kasana, Khatana, Khepar Poswal and Meelu.

Bafinda

The next community, the Bafinda, whose traditional activity was weaving, differ from the previous three. They were village artisans, practising there traditional occupation of weaving. There was not a single village that did not contain a few houses.

Other Agriculturists

The other large groups associated with agriculture were the Awan, Arain, Maliks and Sudhans, the last two groups were found only in Kotli.

Kashmiri Muslims

By the early 20th Century, the district was home to a substantial community of Kashmiri Muslims. Most of them had switched to speaking Pahari, as this was the language of the dominant Rajputs. By 1931 they numbered 8,554, and in the Mirpur region now formed a distinct caste, in status slightly above the artisan groups, but below the landowning community.

Artisan Castes

About 20% of the district population was made up of castes that were associated with certain occupations such as Tarkhan (carpenters), Jogi (labourers), Lohar (smiths), Nai (barbers), Jheer (water carriers), Darzi (taylors), Khatik (butchers), and Machi (bakers). Slightly seperate from these kammi groups were the Mussali (2,068) and Mirasi (1,235), who like the Chamars and Meghs among the Hindus, were communities of outcastes.

One point on the Badhan and Bhatti, most of both groups registered themselves as either Jat in the case of the Badhan and Rajput in the case of the Bhatti. The Bazigar, were an interesting tribe of peripatetic nomads provided entertainment to settled village communities. They were probably undercounted on account of there nomadic lifestyles.

Major Hindu Communities

Among the Hindus of Mirpur, the Jat, formed a significant elements, with the larger clans being the Aasar, Aassle, Bhatti, Bhangre, Chahal, Gill, Dhoor, Jhal, Kjaal, Nagyals, Nathyal, Ranyal, Pajhaal, Smotra, Thathaal, and Tohre. The Rajputs, mainly Bhao, Charak, Chib and Minhas formed an important element in Bhimber. Three interesting communities that were only found in the region were the Basith, Mahajan and Muhial. The Basith claimed a Rajput status, were generally cultivators and outside Mirpur were only found in Poonch. After the 1948 War, the Basith community was made refugees. The Mahajan or Pahari Mahajan were found in the all the towns such as Koti, Mirpur and Nawshera, and were largely traders. The Mahajan of Mirpur town were a particularly wealthy community. The Muhial Brahmans were the landowners and soldiers of the Pothohar region, and a substantial section found in the Mirpur region. In addition, the district was home to two large Dalit communities, the Megh (weavers) and Chamars.

Major Sikh Communities

Mirpur was the western most region that was inhabited by Jatt Sikhs. The Sikh population of Mirpur differed considerably from those of Poonch and the Kashmir valley, who are largely Brahman. In Mirpur, the Sikhs were divided almost evenly between the Jatts and the Khatri/Arora castes, who were traditionally associated with trade.

 

Religion-wise

 

Religion Population Percentage
Muslim 277,631 80.5%
Hindu 57,594 16.7%
Sikh 9,432 3%
Christian 82
Jain 8
Total 344,747 100%

 

Caste-wise

 

 

Awan6,507

Religion Caste or tribe Population
Muslims
Jat 103,096
Rajput 35,534
Gujjar 26,414
Bafinda 9,958
Kashmiri 8,554
Malik 7,512
Mughal 6,467
Tarkhan 6,340
Arain 5,776
Sayyid 5,074
Lohar 4,675
Machhi 4,551
Kumhar (Ghumiar) 4,493
Teli 3,988
Hajjam (Nai) 3,783
Sudhan 2,521
Shaikh 2,106
Mussali (Muslim Shaikh) 2,068
Darzi 1,889
Bhatti 1,664
Jhinwar (Jheer) 1,635
Jogi 1,328
Pathan 1,239
Mirasi 1,235
Dhobi 589
Badhan 532
Rangrez 514
Bazigar 345
Sonar 127
Domaal 97
Khatik 94
Khoja 81
Bharai 61
Dervesh 45
Mochi 45
Qalandar 33
Bakarwal 29
Safiada 9
Turk 7
Banjara 3
Other Muslims 6,928
Hindus
Jat 14,460
Brahman 11,685
Rajput 7,475
Chamar 6,014
Khatri 3,641
Mahajan 3,365
Basith (Vashith Rajput) 2,817
Megh 1,573
Brahman Muhial 1,565
Barwala 695
Sonar (Soni) 629
Jhinwar (Jheer) 483
Tarkhan 446
Lohar 291
Kumhar (Ghumiar) 239
Gorkha 234
Sadhu 157
Dom 151
Jogi 143
Arora 129
Labana 127
Nai 106
Chhimba 91
Gardi 51
Chuhra 40
Others 931
Sikh
Jat 4,951
Arora 1,168
Khatri 1,045
Sonar (Soni) 145
Rajput 93
Brahman 68
Kumhar (Ghumiar) 41
Tarkhan 23
Mahajan 16
Jhinwar (Jheer) 11
Megh 10
Christians 82
Jains 8
Total 344,747

 

Major Clans of the Rajout caste in Mirpur District

The 1931 Census of India was the last one that collected information on the various clans of the Rajput community. Below is a list of clans belonging to the Muslim Rajputs:

Tribe Population
Chib 7,376
Mangral 6,827
Ghakkar 5,085
Jaral 3,470
Narma 2,048
Manhas 1,161
Khokhar 1,009
Sao / Sahoo 834
Bains 678
Bhao 569
Chauhan 279
Janjua 218
Salehria/Sulehri 45
Bomba 7
Other Clans 836

 

Baddun and Barwala Castes of Punjab

In this post, I will look at two little known communities found mainly in north eastern Punjab province, roughly the area stretching from Lahore to the Himalayan foothills of Sialkot and Narowal districts, between the Ravi and the Chenab rivers. Unlike earlier groups looked at, neither the Baddun nor the Barwala have played a major roles in the history of this region. However, they form an important element of the population of the upper Rechna Doab. On account of their lifestyles, they also suffered persecution at the hands of the British colonial regimes, particularly the Punjab Land Alienation Act, which restricted land ownership to certain communities. Its effect on both the Baddun and Barwala was that they were deprived the right to own property, rendering them landless. This legacy still affects both groups, with many members still in poor economic circumstances.

 

Baddun

The Baddun or sometimes called Badu are a community of Punjabi Muslims. So how did this community of Punjabi Muslims get the name Baddun. According to their own traditions, the word Baddun is a Punjabi mispronunciation of the Arabic Bedu, or nomad, and until the arrival of the British in 1848, the Baddun were entirely nomadic. Their ancestors are said to have first settled in Sindh, having come from Iraq. They then moved into the Rachna Doab, sometime during the rule of the Mughals. Here in the Rechna, the Baddun became classic peripatetic nomads. In this kind of nomadism, those who move from place to place offering services in specific trades to the settled communities. The Baddun provided work in straw, made pipe- bowls, with their women peddling goods. In addition, they also captured and trained bears, taking them from the hill country of Jammu just north of Sialkot. Most of these bears were latter sold on to the Qalandar communities, which are associated with bear entertainment. However, with partition in 1947, they have discontinued this activity, as Jammu now lies within Indian territory.

 

The etymology of the word Baddun is most likely from in Arabic bidun, meaning without, or in some cases outside. As peripatetic nomads, the Baddun would be seen as outside the community of settled villagers, therefore bidun or outsiders. A further distinction from the settled villagers was that the Baddun were and are followers of Imam Al-Shafi‘i, as opposed to the settled population who are followers of Imam Abu Hanifa. As Shāfiʿī Sunnis, the Baddun did eat crocodiles, tortoises and frogs, although this is no longer the case, which caused some tensions with other Muslim groups. The Baddun are further divided into three clans, the Wahla, Dhara and Balara, although all three intermarry.

 

 

Barwala

The other community that I will look in this post are the Barwala tribe, historically found in Sialkot, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts. They are largely Muslim, with a Hindu minority. Both groups lived interspersed prior to partition in 1947. In addition to the Hindu Barwala, the Muslim Barwala are said to have close relations with the Hindu Batwal caste. According Arthur Horace Rose, the early 20th Century British administrator and ethnographers, both the Barwala and Batwal are the same community. However, geographically, Batwals were found largely in Jammu and the Himachal region, and were Hindu, while the Barwala were found in the plains stretching from Hoshiarpur to Sialkot, and were largely Muslim.

There are essentially two traditions as to the origin of the Barwala. The traditional occupation of the Barwala was the manufacture of mats and winnowing fans, and the name is probably derived from bara or baria, the kind of grass used as the main raw material. Another tradition is that in Barwala is the mispronunciation of the word. Batwal or batwar, which means a tax collector in the Pahari dialect of Kangra region of Himachal. When the Batwals, migrated from the Himalayan hills of the Kangra and Chamba region, their name was changed to Barwala. While in the hills, the Batwal are largely Hindu, there migration to the plains led to a significant portion also converting to Islam. In this region, other than the manufacture of mats, the Barwala were also the traditional village watchmen. In the plain country, according to Rose, other groups of lower castes who took to the occupation of manufacturing of mats and winnowing fans, were are all included under the generic term of Barwala, if they were involved. Perhaps the most outlandish origin story is that the name of Barwala is said to be a corruption of baharwala or “outsider,” because, like all outcasts, they live in the outskirts of the village.

 

But the beginning of the 20th Century, many Barwala in the Sialkot and Gurdaspur areas had begun to till land, largely as tenants and field labourers of the Rajputs, whose caste traditions prevented them from cultivating with their own hands. In the traditionally feudal setup of early 20th Century village Punjab, the Barwala were required to attend upon village guests, fill pipes, bear torches, and carry the bridegroom’s palanquin at weddings and the like, and receive fixed fees for doing so. The post of village chaukidar was also heredity within particular Barwala communities. The Barwala community is sub-divided into clans or gots, who traditionally did not intermarry. In Sialkot the Barwala gots are

Dhaggi

Jhanjotra

Kiath

Nandan

Lakhutra

Sangotra

Lahoria

Sargotra

Mohan

Sindhia

Bhagga

Kaith

 

Distribution of Muslim Barwala in Punjab by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Muslim
Amritsar 15,772
Sialkot 14,960
Gurdaspur 11,363
Gujranwala 6,089
Lahore 5,676
Chenab Colony 2,672
Hoshiarpur 2,344
Jalandhar 2,198
Kapurthala State 672
Gujrat 373
Other districts 350
Total Population 62,466

 

1901 Census of the Province of Punjab and adjacent princely States

In this post, I am setting out the results of the 1901 Census of Punjab, which included the present day Pakistani province and the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Delhi.

 

Religion-wise

 

Religion Population Percentage
Muslim 12,183,345  49%
Hindu 10,344,469  42%
Sikh 2,102,896  8.5%
Christian 66,591
Jain 49,983
Buddhist 6,940
Zoroastrians 477
Jews and Uspecified 36
Total 24,754,737 100%

 

 

Caste-wise

 

Religion Caste or tribe Population
Hindus 10,344,469
Jat 1,594,869
Chamar 1,181,873
Brahman 1,105,952
Chuhra 947,943
 Arora 587,128
 Rajput 432,341
Kanet 387,308>
 Khatri  381,576
 Jhinwar (Kashyap)  291,124
Tarkhan / Barhai  238,915
Ahir  202,385
Kumhar 193,278
Ghirath  169,667
Gujar  169,244
Dagi and Koli  129,403
Sunar/Soni (Tank Kshtriya)  154,739
Nai  143,257
Bania 126,285
Faqir 119,076
Lohar 113,100
Mali 111,822
Saini 106,011
Dhanuk 77,343
Chhimba 62,595
Domna 58,230
Julaha 57,472
Kamboh 56,297
Megh 49,449
Mahtam 48,586
Ror 44,771
Rathi 38,473
Jogi and Rawal 34,692
Labana 34,514
Bhat 34,509
Mahajan Pahari 30,575
Bawaria 27,854
Bazigar 27,852
Kori 26,146
Sansi 25,445
Mirasi 24,399
Noongar 23,007
Gadariya 22,386
Gaddi 21,512
Sood 20,420
Batwal
Hali 18,570
Odh 18,179
Dhobi 17,916
Kalal (Kalwar) 17,240
Bishnoi 17,114
Bhatia 16,949
Aheri 13,647
Kayastha 12,439
Khateek 12,286
Jaiswara 12,058
Thori (Nayak) 11,822
Chanal 11,744
Barwala 11,189
Brahman Muhial 10,180
Darzi 9,882
Saryara 9,216
Thakkar 8,750
Taga /Tyagi 8,376
Lodha / Lodhi 7,683
Bharbhunja 7,162
Purbiya 6,295
Chhang 6,209
Gurkha 5,956
Banjara 5,421
Mochi 5,310
Nat 4,099
Bohra 4,076
Nayak 4,037
Ghai 3,950
Rebari 3,889
Teli 3,882
Thathera 3,842
Marechha 3,537
Bahti 3,501
Agari 3,444
Maniar 3,356
Mallaah 3,031
Sirkiband 3,003
Barar 2,958
Dhaugri 2,935
Meena 2,850
Darain 2,785
Kacchi 2,775
Bhanjra 2,621
Reya 2,285
Beldar 2,732
Thavi 2,122
Karal 1,853
Sepi 1,830
Raj 1,701
Kanjar 1,563
Arain 1,596
Bhabhra 1,580
Rawat 1,531
Rehar 1,469
Bangali 1,362
Penja 1,360
Daoli 1,266
Dhusar – Bhargava 1,250
Sewak 1,233
Kanchan 1,208
Hesi 1,154
Bhatra 1,095
Bhojki 1,071
Pasi 1,041
Sehnai 930
Kurmi 913
Shorgir 783
Tamboli 716
Sapela 676
Makh 631
Gandhila 601
Dosali 492
Rangrez 489
Gagra 488
Ghosi 486
Barah 482
Garri / Gayri 480
Bhand 476
Machhi 451
Patwa 449
Hadi 441
Bott (Bhotia) 418
Sangtarash
Kashmiri 386
Bahrupia 382
Kapri 370
Satti 336
Niaria 317
Maratha 310
Saiqalgar 275
Dogra 230
Baghban 191
Dabgar 186
Attar 176
Marwari Bania 136
Chirimar 125
Perna 106
Kikan 100
Lilari 96
Pahari 81
Pujari 76
Pakhiwara 74
Bhil 61
Batera 58
Bari 51
Cheenighar 39
Sikhs 2,102,896
Jat 1,389,530
Tarkhan (Ramgarhia) 147,475
Chamar 76,229
Arora 65,307
Khatri 54,735
Kamboh 43,886
Lohar 30,935
Chhimba 28,856
Jhinwar 25,845
Nai 25,058
Labana 22,884
Chuhra 22,769
Saini 20,480
Sonar 19,235
Mahtam 19,183
Rajput 17,903
Kumhar 15,948
Faqir 10,699
Mazhabi 9,762
Kalal (Ahluwalia) 7,579
Julaha 6,511
Bhatia 6,356
Brahman 5,337
Karal 2,559
Bahrupia 2,377
Banjara 2,023
Bhat 1,948
Gujar 1,870
Mahajan Pahari 1,567
Bawaria 1,285
Bazigar 1,285
Kanet 1,036
Bania 917
Raj 916
Ghirath 895
Brahman Muhial 827
Mali 799
Dhobi 781
Darzi 666
Aheri 627
Saryara 528
Chhang 457
Bhatra 423
Bhabra 398
Thathera 381
Sood 326
Saiqalgar (Sikligar) 285
Ahir 217
Sangtarash 159
Sansi 159
Daoli 102
Nayak 81
Odh 78
Thori (Nayak) 73
Nat 69
Bhand 67
Dogra 64
Makh 55
Niaria 35
Teli 25
Muslims 12,183,345
Jat 1,962,252
Rajput 1,347,347
Arain 1,005,188
Julaha 592,786
Baloch 467,843
Gujar 460,410
Awan 421,112
Mochi 409,677
Kumhar 359,889
Shaikh 321,408
Teli 318,598
Tarkhan 294,096
Pathan 263,897
Faqir 255,864
Sayyad 244,227
Machhi 240,983
Mirasi 222,959
Chuhra 217,805
Nai 207,822
Lohar 206,371
Kashmiri 193,088
Meo 146,652
Jhinwar 142,208
Dhobi 128,487
Qassab (Qasai) 118,644
Khokhar 107,939
Khoja (Punjabi Shaikh) 99,238
Mughal 98,282
Maliar 81,093
Dogar 75,080
Kamboh 73,878
Mallaah 70,223
Bharai / Shaikh Sarwari 65,678
Barwala 62,466
Chhimba 60,051
Mussali / Muslim Shaikh 57,410
Qureshi 52,951
Kutana 49,982
Jogi and Rawal 41,030
Kharal 40,296
Changar 39,354
Ulema 34,099
Pacheda 31,117
Darzi 28,969
Sonar (Tank Rajput) 28,565
Ghakhar 26,259
Dhund (Abbasi) 23,591
Daudpotra (Abbasi) 20,384
Rangrez 20,160
Lilari 20,027
Penja 19,679
Rawat 17,374
Satti 17,094
Mahtam 15,076
Bhatiara 13,942
Jhabel 13,278
Khateek 11,362
Kahut 10,804
Kakkezai 10,793
Raj 10,486
Chamar 10,332
Kanchan 8,984
Odh 8,583
Janjua 8,361
Maniar 7,907
Kalal 7,563
Khattar 7,411
Kunjra 6,913
Nat 6,330
Kanera 5,893
Pakhiwara 5,590
Taga / Tyagi 5,214
Paracha 4,564
Khanzada (Jadaun) 3,971
Banjara 3,728
Harni 3,575
Labana 3,531
Ghosi 3,543
Gaddi 3,294
Bodla 3,184
Noongar 2,894
Ahir 2,816
Khakha 2,765
Sansi 2,536
Bhat 2,487
Aheri 2,449
Gagra 2,433
Ghullam 2,405
Sudhan 2,291
Niaria 2,162
Kathia 2,099
Baddun 1,896
Lilla 1,691
Baghban 1,602
Kehal 1,531
Batwal 1,477
Qalandar 1,449
Bharbhunja 1,385
Thathera 1,374
Perna 1,270
Bhand 1,162
Toba 1,140
Dabgar 1,127
Khumra 1,109
Arab 1,098
Barar 1,025
Kangar 915
Domna 902
Kanjar 889
Garri / Gayri 826
Kayastha 822
Kamangar 783
Kharasia 773
Darugar 728
Marath 689
Gadariya 661
Phapra 632
Turk 563
Bawaria 468
Dogra 448
Bisati 439
Mohipota / Mohipotra 431
Thori (Nayak) 392
Brahman 386
Patwa 363
Karal 350
Chirimar 341
Sirkiband 330
Tanoli 309
Sahnsar 305
Mali 294
Qizilbash 294
Saiqalgar 280
Lodha / Lodhi 268
Bazigar 254
Bangali 252
Attar 216
Pasi 215
Bhatia 213
Jhojha 202
Sattiar 198
Arora 189
Khushabi 185
Saini 180
Kanet 176
Khatri 161
Hijra 157
Bohra 150
Sapela 149
Gandhila 145
Chanal 139
Kamachi 137
Shorgir 124
Tamboli 123
Cheenigar 101
Kapri 99
Sangtarash 81
Tibetan Musalman 79
Nayak 79
Makh 68
Sehnai 68
Bhabhra 65
Qarol 61
Rababi
Bahrupia 37
Ladakhi 32
Rehar 29
Ghok 18
Hazara 12
Jains 49,983
Bania 35,807
Bhabhra 11,249
Faqir 107
Jain Miscellaneous 2,653
Buddhist 6,940
Jad 1,945
Kanet 1,342
Hasir 372
Joba / Jora 233
Chhazang 71
Tarkhan 31
Lanba 22
Chhimba 15
Lonpa 7
Oh 6
Long Changpa 3
Champa 3
Christian 66,591
Zoroastrians 477
Jews and Unspecified 36
Total 24,754,737

 

 

Source

Census of India 1901 [Vol 17A] Imperial tables, I-VIII, X-XV, XVII and XVIII for the Punjab, with the native states under the political control of the Punjab Government, and for the North-west Frontier Province Table XIII Part II A – The Castes and Tribes of the Punjab by Districts and States

Narma and Sohlan Rajput

In this post, I look at two related tribes, the Narma and Sohlan. Both are branches of the famous Parmar Rajputs, who ruled much of central India, from their capital at Ujjain. Once the Parmar state was destroyed, groups of Parmar migrated to different parts of India, including the foothills of the Pir Panjaal.

Narma

Starting off with the Narma, they are a clan of Paharia Rajputs, whose territory extends from Mirpur and Kotli in Azad Kashmir to Gujrat and Rawalpindi in Punjab. According to tribal traditions, they are Agnikula Rajputs descendant of Raja Karan. This Raja Karan was said to be from Ujjain or Kathiawar, although the Thathaal tradition is he was the ruler of Thanesar in Haryana. My post on the Nonari also explores this mysterious figure found among the traditions of many Punjab tribes. The Narma, therefore are Panwar Rajputs, who ruled Malwa and Ujjain, their famous kings names were Raja Bikramjeet and Raja Bahoj. During the invasions of Mahmood of Ghaznai the Narma were said to be living in the Haryana. Naru Khan 8th descent of Raja Karan accepted Islam and the tribe were named after him; Naru or Narma Rajputs. They were land owner of several villages within Haryana; the chief men of this tribe were known by the title Rai, and this title is still used by their descendants presently. Most Narma Rajputs have accepted Islam, although some remain Hindu. The Panwars are said to have thirty four branches, named after places, titles, language and person’s names like Omtawaar were known as the descendants of Omta, similarly the descendants of Naru became Naruma and then Narma.

 

Naru and Narma

There might be a common ancestory between Naru and Narma, they both claim their ancestor name was Naru, who accepted Islam and given new name Naru Khan during the invasion of Mahmood of Ghazna, and he lived in Haryana area. However, the Narma claim that they are of Panwar Rajput ancestry, while Naru origin stories make reference to Chandravanshi origin (Please see my article on the Pothohar tribes on Rajput sub-divisions). Coming back to the Narma, their origin myth refers to a Rai Pahre Khan, seven generations from Naru Khan who came from Kaithal in Haryana to what is now Jhelum district and founded two villages Fatehpur and Puran. A descendent of Pahre Khan, Rai Jalal Khan relocated to Senyah. As a tribe, the Narma are distributed over a large territory with Gujrat in the east, Rawalpindi in the west, and Mirpur and Poonch in the north, with Panjan in Azad Kashmir being a centre of the tribe.

Clans

The Narmas in Gujrat say that they have nine clans which are as follows:

1. Sadrya

2. Adryal

3. Sambrhyal

4. Haudali

5. Jalali

6. Alimyana

7. Joyal

8. Umrali

9. Hassanabdalia.

Narma Rajputs in Indian administered Kashmir

In India administered Kashmir, they are found mainly in villages near Naushehra in Rajauri District. There main villages include Jamola and Gurdal Paine.

Narma Rajput in Azad Kashmir

Important Narma villages in Azad Kashmir include Khoi Ratta, Narma, Panjan, Dhargutti, Palal Rajgan, Panjpir, Prayi, Charohi, Rasani, Sabazkot, Sanghal, Senyah, and Tain all in Kotli District.

In Bagh District, their villages include Sirawera, Dhoomkot. Kaffulgarh, Ghaniabad, Bees Bagla, Sarmundle, Mandri, Bhutti, Nikkikair, Awera, Dhundar, Cheran, Makhdomkot, Chattar, Adyala Paddar, Lober, and Patrata.

While in Bhimber District, they are found in the villages of Haripur (Samani Tehsil), Jhangar (Bhimber Tehsil), Makri Bohani (Bhimber Tehsil), Broh (Bhimber Tehsil), Khamba (Bhimber Tehsil), Thandar (Bhimber Tehsil), Siyala (Bhimber Tehsil), Garhone (Bhimber Tehsil), and Chadhroon (Bhimber Tehsil).

Narma Rajput in Punjab

In Punjab, they are found in the districts of Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. The villages of Puran and Fatehpur in Jhelum District are said to be their earliest settlements. In Rawalpindi, they are found in Jocha Mamdot ,Sood Badhana and Narmatokh Kangar villages.

Sohlan

Sohlan is said to have emigrated from Malwa in the middle ages, settling in the foothills of the Pir Panjal mountains, and converting to Islam. The Sohlan established a principality based on the town of the Khari Sharif and during the time of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals the reigning authorities never levied taxes in the Solhan ruled areas, in lieu of peaceful passage to Kabul. There are however other traditions which connect the Sohlan clan with the royal family from Kishtawar; with Raja Sohlan Singh quarrelling with his relations and settling in Khari, and expelling the Gujjar population. Legend also has it that Mangla Devi an ancestor of the tribe and after whom Mangla is named after was the first person from the tribe to convert to Islam. This site has now been inundated by the construction of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur District. After the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the Sohlan areas came under the rule of the Sikhs. This rule lasted until 1846 when Sohlan inhabited areas north of the Jhelum river were handed over to the Gulab Singh Dogra in an agreement with the British as part of the Treaty of Amritsar. As result of this treaty, Sohlan territory was effectively partitioned, with Sohlan south of the Jhelum coming under direct British areas, in what became the district of Jhelum and sub-district of Gujar Khan. Despite this separation, both the Chibhal territory of Jammu State and British Pothohar continued to share common cultural traditions, with minor dialectial differences between Pothwari and Pahari languages.

 

Presently, the Sohlan are found chiefly in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, with small numbers found in Jhelum, Gujar Khan, and Rawalpindi.

Starting with Mirpur District, their villages include Bani (Mirpur), Dalyala, Ghaseetpur Sohalian, Koonjarai Nawab, Mehmunpur, and Sahang. Sohlan villages in Mirpur are located mainly around the town of Khari Sharif which has historically been ruled by this clan. Since the development of the Mangla Dam, old Jabot Village, which was also an important Sohlan village was submerged underwater causing many families to move to Khari Sharif, and establishing the village of New Jabot. The Sohlan village in Jhelum District are located north of the city of Jhelum near the border with Mirpur, the principal settlement being Sohan. Other villages include Gatyali or Patan Gatalyan, Chak Khasa, Pakhwal Rajgan, Chitti Rajgan, Pind Ratwal Tahlianwala, Dhok Sohlnan, Piraghaib and Langerpur. They are closely connected to with both the Bhao and Chibs, who are their neighbours, and with whom they share good many customs and traditions. Outside this core area, Sohlan villages include Sahang and Dhok Sohlan in Tehsil Gujar Khan district, Morah Sohlan, Pehount in the Islamabad Capital Territory and Naar Mandho in Kotli District.

Description of Major Muslim Communities in India: Muslim Kamboh

In this post, I return to the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), and the Muslim communities that inhabit it. In particular, I will look at the Muslim Kambohs, a Muslim community that is part of the wider Kamboh ethnic group of South Asia. They are also known as Zubairi. The Muslim Kamboh are found mainly in the Rohilkhand and Doab region. They are largely Sunni, although Amroha is home to a smaller Shia population, and speak Urdu. They are fairly small community, but played a major role in the history of Western Uttar Pradesh. Like the Gujjar and Bhattis discussed in my earlier posts, they are likely to have been immigrants from the Punjab.

Origin

There are a number of different traditions as to the origin of the Kamboh. Some Kamboh claim Afghan origin, others claim Arab origin, while others simply claim to be Muslim converts from the Hindu Kamboh caste.

• Those who claim Indian ancestry claim descent from Raja Sodakhsh of Kamboja, an ancient Indian kingdom. The Rajah was a descendent of the god Chandra Verman, and the Kambojas are referred to in the Mahabharata. They are said to have inhabited Afghanistan, which was known as Kamboja desa, or land of the Kamboh.

• Those who claim Afghan origin, claim to belong to the famous Kayani dynasty of ancient Iran. The word Kamboh is said to be a compound of the word Kai Ambo, after an ancestor. The descendents of this king were known as the Kamboh, and Ghazni in Afghanistan was a centre of their power.

• Those who claim Arab ancestry claim descent from Zubayr ibn al-Awam, the first cousin of the Prophet Mohammad. According to this tradition, the original homeland of the Kamboh was Multan and not Afghanistan.

It seems clear is that most Uttar Pradesh Kamboh have strong traditions of migrating from Punjab. Some groups, such as those of Bareilly claim that they were part of the army of Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, a general in the army of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir. He was asked to pacify a rebellion in Assam, and said to have come from Jalandhar in Punjab. Many in his army were Punjabi Kamboh, who instead of returning to Punjab settled in various locations in western Uttar Pradesh.

The exact circumstances of the Kamboh migration to Uttar Pradesh are unclear. However, towards the end of the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526), we hear increasing references to the Kamboh as playing an important role in the politics. During the Lodhi and Moghul rule. Miyan Jumman Khan Kamboh was “Hajib-i-Khas” (Special Lord of Bed Chamber),Umar Khan Kamboh was Amir-i-Akhur (Minister of Cavalry department)[ and Miyan Ladan Khan Kamboh was an Imam and Royal Nadim of Sikandar Lodhi, Shaikh Itmad-ul-Malik Sambhal was Amir-i-Arz (Paymaster General) and then Prime Minister of Sher Shah Suri. Numerous other Kamboj are known to have occupied very key military and civil positions during Lodhi, Pashtun and the Moghul reign in India. Irfan Habib writes:

The Sayyids and the Kambohs among the Indian Muslims were specially favoured for high military and civil positions during Moghul rule”.
The Kambo, Indian Shaikhzadas and local Saiyid nobles rose to prominence during the period under review” (i.e. Lodi dynasty of Delhi).

According to the historian Muhammad Umar writes:

“The (Muslim) Kamboh distinguished themselves by their courage, generosity and high spirits. They were famous for their excellent manners and were particularly gifted with wisdom and nobility….In terms of social stratification, the Kambohs were counted among the Shaikhs…..Among the Indian Muslims, the Kambohs were regarded as the noblest of all. However, perhaps with a view to maintaining the purity of their descent, or because of pride of nobility, they confined their matrimonial relationships within their own groups and did not establish marriage connections with other Muslim groups including even the Saiyids and the Mughals. Some members of this clan like Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, Nawab Abu Muhammad Khan, Bahadur Khan and Nawab Khair Andesh Khan rose to high positions during the reign of Mughals”

Hindu origin

The tradition of a Hindu origin seems more prevalent among the Kamboh of Saharanpur District. According to tribal myths, they originally  lived about Mathura and were Kshatriyas. When Parasu Rama was slaughtering the Kshatriyas, he found their ancestor Bhup  Rae armed and ready resist. He, therefore, proposed  slaying him; and on Bhup Rae saying that he was not a Kshatriya,Parasu Ram is said to have replied that he was demenour was that of a  Kshatriyas. Bhup Rae at once objected that he was not qaim buu (of any fixed  odour) at all and was saved. He was afterwards was known as Qaimbn,
which gradually got changed into Kamboh. This legend was recorded in the late 19th Century by the ethnologist William Crooke, at the time most Hindu and Sikh Kamboh were making claims to Kshatriya.  What was clear was that both in Punjab, where the majority of Kambohs lived, and in western UP, they were seem by their neighbours as quasi-kshatriya.

 

Those who claim a Hindu origin, claim their conversion to Islam occurred during the early years of Islam in India, one of the groups of this clan embraced Islam at the instance of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya Suhrawardi (of Multan) and his son Shaikh Sadruddin. Their tradition refers to their migration from Multan to Saharanpur under during the rule of the Lodhi dynasty. It is interesting that Saharanpur District is also home to a large community of Hindu Kambohs. These Kamboh have largely remained affiliated with agriculture. In this district, they are believed to be one of sub caste of Jatts. This region may be the site of their earliest settlement in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Arab origin

The tradition of an Arab origin is more common among the Kamboh of Etah and Bareilly districts. They generally now prefer to be known as Zubairi. Zubairi literally means in Arabic a descendant of Zubair, and the Zubairi Kamboh claim descent Zubair ibn al-Awam. Zubair ibn al-Awam was the first cousin of the Prophet but was also one of his closest companions. He was known for his valor and bravery and is remembered as the conqueror of Egypt in 19 AH, and embraced martyrdom in 36 AH. Zubair was laid to rest in Basra, near the borders of Kuwait and Iraq. This town was named as Al-Zubair. Zubair had twelve sons and nine daughters. Three of his famous sons were Abdullah, Musab and Urwah. Abdullah was a Muslim caliph at Makkah, Musab was the governor of Kufa in 73 AH and Urwa was the first Muslim historian.

After almost fifty years of the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad Bin Qasim, Zuberis started migrating from Makkah and Medina towards Sindh. Most of them settled at place near modern Dadu. By the end of 4th century AH, Zuberis started migrating from Sindh to Multan. During 14th century AD, portion of Zuberi clan migrated to Delhi. Sheikh Samauddin Zuberi was a famous Sufi who led this migration. Afterwards Zuberi family flourished in Lahore, Panipat, Delhi and Sambhal. During the regime of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Zuberis also settled in Meerut.

Kamboh of Marehra, Etah District

The Kambohs of Marehra in Etah District claim to be Arab descent, and often call themselves Zubairi. There ancestor was Shaikh
Khwajah Imad-ud-din Muhammad , a native of Multan, who was a courtier of the first Mughal Emperor Babur (20 April 1526 – 26 December 1530). Babur appointed him amil (administrator) of Marehra around 1527.In 1542, during the reign of Sher Shah, the Khwaja’s two sons were appointed to the offices of chaudary and kanunjo of the pargana (lowest administrative unit), when theses post were created. These posts remained with the descendants of the original holders until the occupation of country by the British, when the office of was abolished.The Mughal Emperor Akbar conferred the proprietary rights on Marehra to Fateh Khan and Umar Khan, grandsons of the Khwaja. The town was divided into eleven muhallas or wards, the most noteworthy of which was the Kamboh muhalla.

Kamboh of Meerut District

The Muslim Kambohs of Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh have a tradition that they belonged to a distinguished Kamboh family of Ghazni which had come to India in early eleventh century in the invading army of Sulatn Mahmud of Ghazni (rule: 997 AD – 1030 AD). According to their own accounts the name “Kamboh” of the family is derived from that of their original home, Kamboja, the ancient name for Afghanistan. The Muslaman Kambohs of Meerut stated that that one of their ancestors, Hasan Mahmudi Kamboh was the Wazir (minister) of Sultan Mahmud Ghazni and came to India in first decade of eleventh century AD in the army of the Sultan. Their ancestors succeeded in capturing the city of Meerut from Raja Mai of Meerut Hassan Mahmudi Kamboh built the Jama Masjid in the city and around it stand buried the Kamboh heroes from Ghazni who fell in the attack on Meerut. The Masjid was later repaired in 16th century during the rule of Mughal Emperor Humayun. The early members of the Kamboh family built the Sangi Mahal which was later known as Permit House and another elegant palace known as Rangi Mahal– the remains of both these once-elegant palaces are still in existence.

Kamboh of Amroha and Moradabad

The Kambohs of Amroha all claim to come from Afghanistan. They traditionally resided in two mohallahs, the Saddu muhalla Kamboh who were Shia and those of Badshahi Chabutra wo were Sunni. The Saddu muhalla Kambohs claimed descent from from Hakim Imam-ud-din Khan, who arrived in Amroha the end of the eighteenth century from Meerut . The Sunni Kambohs claim descent from Muhtashim Khan, who came to Amroha at a somewhat earlier date. This family is related to the Sunni Kambohs of Moradabad, whose ancestor, Karim Bakhsh arrived in Moradabad from Dehli , during the rule of the Awadh Nawab Asaf-ud-daula. The Awadhi authorities appointed him chakladar . When Awadh rule was replaced by the British in the beginning of the 19th Century, he was made tehsildar. These Moradabad Kambohs were substantial landowners. In addition to the Muslim Kambohs, the old district of Moradabad (now Amroha, Moradabad and Sambhal) was also home to a large community of Hindu Kambohs.

Distribution of Muslim Kamboh in Uttar Pradesh by District According to 1891 Census of India

 

District Hindu Muslim
Saharanpur  3,271  689
Muzaffarnagar  920  8
Dehra Dun 290 5
Meerut 760 480
Bulandshahr  11
 Aligarh  38
 Agra  1
 Farrukhabad  67
 Mainpuri  2
 Etawah  2
Etah 437
 Bijnor  274  16
 Badaun  11
 Moradabad  308  294
Shahjahanpur  19
Kanpur  7
Fatehpur 62
Banda 17
Hamirpur 2
Allahabad  50
 Jhansi  24
 Jalaun  23
 Ghazipur  8
 Gorakhpur  6
 Basti  13
 Nainital  309
 Lucknow  9
 Sitapur  10
 Barabanki  2
 Bahraich  9
Total Population in UP 6,222 2,322

As the census showed, the bulk of the Muslim Kamboh population was found in four pockets, the agrarian community of Saharanpur, which shared much in common with the Muslim Jats and Rajput neighbours, the urban groups found in Meerut, Amroha and Marehra, who were very similar to the other Ashraf Muslims, found in western Uttar Pradesh.

Population of Muslim Rajput Clans of British Punjab According to the 1891 Census of India

In 1891 the total Rajput population was 1,983,299 of which Muslims were 1,559,977. I would also ask the reader to look at my other posts such as Muslim Rajput clans of British Punjab according to the 1901 Census of India.

 

Tribe

Population Distribution
Bhatti 297,343 throughout Punjab, but special concentrations in Bhatiana (Firuzpur/Hissar/Sirsa), Bhatiore (Jhang/Chiniot), Gujranwala and Rawalpindi
Khokhar 137,883 Jhang, Jhelum, Hoshiarpur, Sialkot, Hoshiarpur, Jallandhar and Gurdaspur
Chauhan 132,116 Modern Haryana (especially Karnal and Panipat), Ambala, and central Punjab – the Karnal, Rohtak and Rewari Chauhan are a Ranghar tribe, in central found mainly in Lahore, Amritsar and Jallandhar
Sial 106,146 Jhang, Multan and other parts of South Punjab
Gondal 62,071 Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Shahpur
Panwar 54,892 Rohtak, Karnal, Jind and Hissar (the eastern group); Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzaffargarh (the western group) – the eastern group are a Ranghar tribe; a smaller grouo also found in Jhelum
Kharal 51,586 Faisalabad and Sahiwal
Joiya 47,773 Along the banks of the Sutlej from Multan to Firuzpur extending to Hissar and Sirsa
Janjua 36,970 a western group in Rawalpindi and Jhelum and eastern group in Hoshiarpur
Ghorewaha 34,192 Present East Punjab, Jallandhar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana
Manj 26,983 Present East Punjab, Amritsar, Jallandhar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana
Wattu 24,150 Along the banks of the Sutlej from Bahawalpur to Firuzpur extending to Hissar and Sirsa
Sulehri / Sulehria 24,345 Sialkot and Gurdaspur
Naru 22,680 Present East Punjab, Amritsar, Jallandhar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana – by early 20th Century, several Naru were settled in Faisalabad and Sahiwal in the canal colonies
Tomar / Tonwar 21,691 Modern Haryana (especially Rohtak and Panipat), Ambala, and in the Bahawalpur Stater
Bariah also pronounced as Varya 19,463 Present East Punjab, Jallandhar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana
Ranjha 18,490 Jhelum / Chakwal
Taoni 17,730 Ambala – a Ranghar grouping
Manhas / Minhas 16,026 From Rawalpindi to Hoshiarpur – a Muslim Dogra grouping
Dhudhi 11,286 Sargodha, Jhang, Faisalabad and Sahiwal
Bhakral 11,207 Rawalpindi and Jhelum
Jatu 10,837 Modern Haryana (especially Hissar and Gurgaon), Ambala, and Rohtak. They are a Ranghar tribe
Satti 10,799 Rawalpindi
Dhanyal 8,524 Rawalpindi – Murree Tehsil
Khichi 7,845 Sargodha, Jhang and Sahiwal
Mekan 7,733 Sargodha (Shahpur District), Jhang and Rawalpindi
Chib 6,673 Gujrat, a Muslim Dogra clan
Mandahar 4,022 Modern Haryana (especially Karnal and Panipat), Ambala, and Hissar. They are a Ranghar tribe
Khanzada 3,471 Gurgaon – a branch of the Jadaun clan
Tiwana 3,120 a western group in Kushab and eastern group in Patiala
Raghubansi / Raghuvanshi 3,060 Ambala – a Ranghar clan
Kanial 2,725 Rawalpindi and Jhelum
Katil 2,461 Sialkot and Gurdaspur
Pundir 2,117 Ambala and Karnal – a Ranghar group with villages near the Yamuna river
Bargujar 2,046 Gurgaon – a Ranghar tribe found in Rewari
Kethwal 1,849 Rawalpindi – Murree Tehsil
Jadaun 1,353 Gurgaon and Karnal – a Ranghar tribe
Bagri 1,186 Hissar and Firuzpur, in areas bordering Bikaner. Rajasthani immigrants
Rathore 1,067 Hissar, Firuzpur and Bahawalpur, in areas bordering Bikaner. Rajasthani immigrants
Chandel 912 Present East Punjab, Jallandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana
Khoja 841 Multan and Bahawalpur State
Jaswal 558 Hoshiarpur
Gaurwa 546 Gurgaon – Ranghar group
Atiras 477 Patiala State
Pathial 470 Kangra and Hoshiarpur
Luddu 258 Hoshiarpur
Guleria 248 Hoshiarpur
Dhanwal 214 Sahiwal and Okara
Dadwal 147 Hoshiarpur
Pathania 138 Gurdaspur – a Muslim Dogra group
Katoch 101 Hoshiarpur
Miscellaneous clans 299,166 throughout Punjab