Budhal, Dulal / Dolal, Khatril, and Jasgam/Jaskham tribes

This is my third installment, looking at some of the lesser known tribes of the Pothohar region. In this post, I shall look at the Budhal, Dulal, Khatril, and Jasgam tribes. None of these tribes claim either a Jat or Rajput ancestry, but connect themselves either with the the Abbasi (Khatril and Jaskham) or Qureshi (Dulal and Budhal) Arabs, with traditions of settling in the Pothohar Region between 13th and 15th Century. However, reflecting the fluidity of identity, the Khatril in popular estimations are seen as Jat, while Budhal in some areas are considered as Rajput. All these tribes are extremely localized, found only in Rawalpindi District, with the exception of a few Khatril villages in Jhelum District. They all speak Pothwari, and are  largely Sunni.

Budhal

Starting off with the Budhal, they are a small tribe which is supposed to be allied to the Bhakral, both tribes having said to have come across from Jhelum River from the Chibhal territory in Jammu and Kashmir sometime in the 17th Century. According to their traditions, they are a branch of the Awan tribe, and now occupy a block of villages near the town of Daultala in Gujar Khan Tehsil. Very little is known about this tribe, and their customs are very similar to the Bhakral, with whom they intermarry. As Awans, they trace their descent from Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet, and the forth Caliph of Islam. The history of the Awan tribe is well known, and I will not spend a lot of time on it. Suffice is to say that the Budhal, like other Awans claim descent from an individual named Qutb Shah, a descendent of Ali, who originally resided in Herat in Afghanistan, and served in the army of Mahmud of Ghazni. The Awans all claim descent from the six sons of Qutab Shah, namely Gauhar Shah or Gorrara, settled near Sakesar, Kalan Shah or Kalgan, settled in Kalabagh, Muzammil Shah colonized the hills close to the Indus, Mohammad Shah (the elder son of Qutab Shah) or Khokhar, settled by the Chenab, and Turi Shah ‏and Jhajh Shah settled in Tirah the descendants of Turi or Tori and Jhajh are also known as Syeds of Tirah. These six clans are further divided sub-clans called muhins, the Budhal claim to be a sub-group of the Khokhar Awans, descended from the great grandson of Mohammad Shah nicknamed Khokhar called Budh Khan. Their customs are similar to other tribes in the vicinity, speaking the Pothohari language and following Sunni Islam.

In terms of distribution, in Guja Khan Tehsil, they are found in Barki Badhal, Bhair Ratial, Bokra, Chak Bagwal, Dhoke Budhal, Dora Budhal, Garmala (near Kountrila), Karnali and Punjgran Khurd, while in Kallar Kahar Tehsil they are found Basanta, Chakrali Budhal and Sahote Budhal . Other villages include Alipur Farash and Barki Badhal, located in the Islamabad Capital Territory. A separate group of Budhal villages are found near Chountra, on the Attock Rawalpindi borders, such as Bajnial in Rawalpindi Tehsil. Other villages include Bishandour (Tehsil Sohawa, Jhelum District) and Khabbal (on GT Road, Tehsil Sohawa).

Dulal or Dulaal

I shall next look at the Dulal, sometimes spelt Dolal or even Dolaal, who are extremely localized tribe, confined entirely Gujarkhan tehsil. They claim to be Qureshi Arabs, the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike other Qureshi groups found in the Pothohar region, the Dolal have no tradition of claiming descent from a Sufi saint. Their ancestor, according to tribal traditions, was Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali (ca. 603 – 688), a close companion of Ali ibn Abi Talib and a grammarian, who is said to be the first to place consonant-pointing and vowel-pointing (markings) on Arabic letters to clearly identify them. Abu Aswad is said to have had a son, who accompanied Mohammad Bin Qasin in his conquest of Sindh. The tribe settled initially in Sindh, but when Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the Punjab in the 10th Century, the Ad-Duali settled in what became the Gujar Khan region. Over time Ad-Duali was corrupted to Dolaal or Dulal. The tribe also intermarried with Rajput groups in the Gujar Khan region, and has now much in common with those tribes such as the Bhakral and Kanyal.

The Dolal are now farmers and soldiers , and therefore have much in common with Abbasi groups such as the Jasgam and Khatril, who I will look at latter in this blog. They now occupy a number of villages near the town of Mandrah, the main ones being Hachari Dulal, Karnali (especially in village Mohra Manjia), Mohra Dhamial, Nathu Dulal, Noor Dulal (Dhoke Qureshian / Lamian), Pharwal Dulal, Narali, Bhattian and Kuri Dolal. The Dolal should not be confused, by the Dulal branch of the Janjua, who are entirely distinct

Khatril

We now look at the Khatril, sometime spelt Khatreel, they are a tribe found almost exclusively in Rawalpindi District, with a small number also found in Jhelum. The Khatrils claims descent from Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, a great-grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad and the progenitor of the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraish tribe in Mecca, and in particular his grandson Abbas ibn Abul Mutalib. A descendent of Al-Abass, Zarab Khan or Zurab Khan Al-Abbasi is said to have accompanied Mahmood of Ghazni to India, and settled initially in Kashmir, which would therefore be sometime in the late 10th Century. This Zarab Khan is also claimed to be an ancestor by many of the other tribes of the Pothohar plateau and Murree Hills, and is quite likely to be a mythical figure. The Khatril were initially settled in the Kahuta Hills, from where the Khatril were said to have been expelled by the Jasgam, and they ended up settling in Gujar Khan Tehsil, in villages near the town of Mandrah. In claiming an Arab ancestry, the Khatril are not unlike many other tribes in the Pothohar region, where claims to Arab ancestry have become increasingly frequent since the start of the last century. This change in identity is seen by the fact that they were classed as Jats in 1911 census of India, but were included with the Dhund in the 1921 census.

Gayal Khatril make up the bulk of the Khatril in Gujar Khan, who are descendants of Gai Khan.The Gaiyal, descendants of Gai Khan, whose tomb is near Duberan in the Kahuta tehsil. Currently, the Khatril are found mainly in Gujar Khan Tehsil, especially around the town of Mandrah, in the villages of Dhok Luss near Paleena, Dhok Maira near Paleena, Durab Jatal, Kahili Khinger, Sapiali KhingerMardial, Mohri Khatril, Dhok Khatril, Dulmi Khatril, Jatal Surkhru, Miana Moda, Rumat and Roungtay. Another cluster of Khatril villages are found near Saeela, such as Hathia Dhamial in Jhelum District.

Jasgam/Jaskham

Like the Khatril, with whom they share many customs and traditions, the Jasgam, sometimes spelt Jaskham,  also claim descent from Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, through his grandson Abbas ibn Abul Mutalib. Also like the Dhund and Khatril, the Jasgam claim descent from Zarab Khan, who is said to have arrived in the Pothohar region in the late 10th Century. According to the traditions of the Khatril, the Jasgam are said to have expelled them from the Kahuta Hills, so it is likely their settlement post-dated that of the Khatril. Their own tradition makes their ancestor Jasgam, leaving Murree after quarrelling with his Dhund kinsmen, and founding the town of Panjar in the Kahuta hills. According to another tradition, the Jasgam took possession of the tract they now occupy under Gakkhar rule, when one Hazrat Zubair,nicknamed Jaskamb, a Abbasi Arab came from Arabia and settled near Kahuta. He had four sons, Gulab Khan, Bachu Khan, Bero Khan and Sewo Khan.The Jasgam territory lay between the Janhals and the Gakhars, and by playing one against the other, the Jasgam maintained their independence until the arrival of the Sikhs in the late 18th Century.

 

In customs and traditions, they still have more in common with the Murree Hill tribes such as the Satti and Kethwal, and less with their neighbours such as the Janhal and Janjuas, including that the fact that still speak the Dhund-Karaili dialect of Pahari. In 1857, when the British faced a rebellion in the Murree Hills, the Jasgam maintained their neutrality, and as such were left largely untouched by the colonial administration. A Jasgam family in the village of Salitta traditionally held the office of chief, but they no longer hold this position.

The Jasgam are mainly found in thirteen villages in Kahuta Tehsil, including Panjar, Bara, Saroha, Duberan, Khowain, Manyand, Phagwari Gala, Salabar, Sartha, Salitha, Sarai Kharbuza and Rajrot, A small number are also found in the town of Mandrah and villages of Soura Khatril and Qazian in the Gujar Khan Tehsil and Chakiala and Mohra Hiran in Kallar Syedan tehsil. Outside Punjab, there are two Jaskam villages in Sudhnoti District of Azad Kashmir, namely Gulkot and Chaloi.

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Bangial, Baghial, Bhakral, and Hon tribes

This is my second posting on the lesser known tribes of the Potohar region of Pakistan. I shall look at the Baghial, Bangial, Bhakral, and Hon. All of these tribes claim ancestry from the Panwar tribe, however with regards to the Bhakral, or sometimes pronounced Pakhral there various other theories as to their origin. Let me start off with a brief note of the Panwar, or sometimes pronounced as Parmar or Puar . The Panwar were dynasty that in early medieval India ruled over the Malwa region in central India. Like the Chauhans, the Panwar are from the fire born or Agnivansh branch of the Rajputs. Quite a number of tribes in Pothohar and neighbouring Chibhal region claim descent from the Panwars, all having some tradition of migration from central India, followed by conversion to Islam at the hands of a particular Sufi saint. Many of these tribes also have traditions of initially settling in the region known as Chibhal. The key figure that appears in the origin story of Chibhali Panwar is Raja Jagdev Panwar, who has an almost semi-mythical. According to tribal myths of, he became the ruler of Malwa after death of his Udayaditya, but he handed over the throne to his brother owing to family-dispute and settled at Jarg, somewhere in present day Okara District. He is said to have slain a demon who used to eat a human-being daily in a fort near Dipalpur, also in Okara. The local king Raja Kankhar bestowed upon him half his kingdom and gave his daughter in marriage. He is said to have struck off his own head on the demand of a witch-wife of the court-bard of Raja Jai Chand of Lambargaon but this was miraculously restored. Jagdev then migrated to the Chibhal territory, where he founded Akhnoor State, ruled by Panwar Dynasty of his descendants for over six centuries. Many of the local Dogra clans claim descent from the Raja such as the Ambarai.

Akhnoor lies in the heart of Chibhal located on the banks of the Chenab River. The territory of Chibhal lies between Tawi River and Jhelum rivers, with the Pir Panjal Mountains forming its northern boundary and gets its name from the Chib tribe (to whom I intend to return in latter blogs). Presently, Chibhal is divided by the line of control, with Mirpur and Bhimber districts within Pakistani Kashmir, and districts of Rajauri, Reasi, and parts of Jammu (including Akhnur) west of the Tawi in Indian Kashmir. The four tribes in this blog all have traditions of leaving the region and settling in plains territory of northern Punjab in Gujarkhan, Jhelum, Chakwal and Kharian. However, the Bhakral (sometimes pronounced as Pakhral) still have a presence in the Chibhal, with villages in Mirpur, Kotli and Rajouri, in the foothills of the Pir Panjaal.

Bangial

 

So who are the Bangial, sometimes written as Bangyal, and we have go back to my first post on the Pothohar tribes. The word al means son of in number of dialects that fall within Lahnda. According to the Bangials themselves, they are descended from a Rajah Bangash Khan, a Panwar Rajput, who arrived in the Pothohar region from central India, hence the name Bangash al, shortened to Bangyal. This Bangash Khan is also seen as ancestor by the closely related Baghial tribe. Like many of their neighbours such as the Kalyal, some groups of Bangial consider themselves as Jats, while other see themselves as Rajputs. In Gujranwala, Gujrat and Jhelum districts of Punjab, and Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, the Bangial strongly identify themselves as Jat, and intermarry with tribes of Jat status, such as the Warriach and Tarar. But as we move towards Dina and neighbouring Gujar Khan tehsils, almost all the Bangial claim Rajput ancestry, so briefly we can summarize, that the Jhelum River divides these two groups. Looking at major Bangial villages in Rawalpindi District by tehsil:

Gujarkhan Tehsil

1) Changa Bangial (now actually a fair sized town)

2) Chehari Bangial

3) Dhok Bangial

4) Dhok Chaudrian

5) Khalabat 

6) Pharwal Bangial

7) Sandal Bangial

8) Sangni

9) Wasla Bangial

 

Rawalpindi Tehsil:

1) Bajnial

2) Bura Bangial

3) Darihala Bangial

4) Kala Bangial

5) Marri Bangial

6) Pind Dara

Kahuta Tehsil

1) Maira Khurd

2) Suhot Bangial

Kallar Syedan Tehsil

1) Choa Khalsa

2) Dhok Bangial

3) Nala Musalmanan,

4) Pehr Hali,

5) Sahib Dhamial

6) Sahote Bangyal

Outside Rawalpindi

In the neighbouring Islamabad Capital territory, they have two villages, namely Jhanga Bangial and Bora Bangial. Outside this core area, Bangial are found in Mirpur District in Azad Kashmir, several villages near the town of Sohawa in Jhelum District, the village of Nambal near Kallar Kahar, Gora Bangial in Attock District, and Bangial in Gujrat District. A small cluster of Bangial villages, such Bangialabad are found near the town of Darya Khan in Bhakkar District.

 

Baghial

 

Closely related to the Bangial, the Baghial a tribe found entirely in Rawalpindi District, where they occupy five villages in Gujar Khan Tehsil. They are often confused with the Bughial, who are clan of the Gakhar tribe, but with whom they have no relations. The common ancestor of both tribes is Bangash Khan, the Baghial being descended from his eldest son Bugha Khan, which would therefore make them also of Panwar ancestry. Another difference relates to the fact that while Bangial are found throughout northern Punjab, the Baghial are concentrated in Rawalpindi, and only claim to be of Rajput status. Important Baghial villages include Dhamali (in Kallar Syedan Tehsil), Loona, Dhok Sumbhal, Kanoha, Pind Dara, Supiyali Baghial and Maira Mohra, all in Rawalpindi District.

Bhakral

The next tribe I am going to look at are the Bhakral, sometimes pronounced as Pakhral and even Pakhreel. Geographically, they are found in Gujarkhan, Chakwal, Jhelum and Gujrat districts of Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir, they were found in historic Mirpur District of the state, particularly near the town of Naushera, which is the only area of historic Mirpur that is in Indian administered Kashmir. Like many other Chibhali and Pothohari tribes, they can be both of Rajput and Jat status. According to the 1931 Census of India, the last that counted caste, there total population 6,600, which made the largest of the tribes classified as Jat or Rajput. Like the other tribes already referred too, many Bhakral claim to be Panwar Rajputs. However, there are also a number of other traditions as to their origin.

I will explore each of the origin myths of the tribe. They all involve an ancestor by the name of Bhakari, and the Bhakrals are the aal or family of Bhakari. Dispute is to the origin of this Bhakari. Among the Gujarkhan and Chakwal Bhakrals, almost all of whom consider themselves as Rajputs, Bhakari there ancestor was a descendent of Jagdev Panwar of Akhnoor. He is said to have converted to Islam, and left Akhnoor for Nowshera, now located in Rajouri Distrit. Here they founded two villages, Bunnah and Compla Mohra. Groups of Bhakral, accompanied by the Budhal left the Chibhal region and crossed the Jhelum river and settled in what is now Chakwal District. There original settlement was Sabah Mohra, from where they spread to Gujarkhan, Jhelum and Gujrat. Sabah Mohra family were traditionally considered chiefs of the tribe, but with the arrival of the Sikhs in the late 18th Century, the family lost its influence. The Bakhral are clearly of Chibhali origin, having left that hilly region between the Tawi and Jhelum, sometime in the 15th Century, accompanied by the Budhal (looked at in latter post).

However, some groups of Bhakral have a tradition that they are a sub clan of the Minhas, which also suggests Jammu / Chibhali background. Like Jagdev Panwar, Jambu Lochan ancestor of the Jamwal/Minhas also appears in the origin story of many of the tribes. . This tradition refers to a Bhakral migration from Jammu, after the treaty of Amritsar in 1846, which handed over the Chibhal territory to the Dogra ruler Gulab Singh Jamwal. It is said that they were in fact four brothers who moved from the Chibhal to the Pothohar and Hazara territory, and from whom descends the entire tribe. However, there is no recorded evidence of recent migration from Chibhal region to Pothohar, thereby it is more likely that any migration took place sometime ago. In Gujrat, the Bhakral who are of Jat status have a completely different origin myth. According to the Gujrat story, there ancestor was a Ghalla, who had three sons, Bhakari, their ancestor, Natha (ancestor of the Nathial) and Kunjah (ancestor of the Kunjial). Ghalla belonged to the Janjua tribe. In light of these multiple origin myth, the best that can be said is that Bhakral began as a group in foothills of the Pir Panjaal. Groups migrated at different periods, settling in various regions of north western Punjab.

Bhakral in Punjab

In terms of distribution, the Bhakral are found mainly in Jhelum, Chakwal, Gujar Khan and Mirpur regions. In Rawalpindi District, Bhakral villages are found in every tehsil, barring the mountainous tehsils of Murree and Kotli Sattian. In Rawalpindi Tehsil include Aujariala, Chak Bhakral, Dhala, Karkan Sohawa, Kartal Bhakral, Ghari Kalan, Larri Malana, Loona, Mohri Rajgan, Sihala, Thatha, Sohawa, Sagri Khurd, Kirpa and Meda Halim, in Kahuta Tehsil, their villages include Chak Begwal, Jocha Mamdot, and Nathot and in Kallar Syedan Tehsil they are found in Bhakral and Tirkhi. Coming to Gujar Khan, important Bhakral villages include Bhatta (in the hamlet of Dhok Bhakral), Dera Muslim, Dhoke Rajgan, Dhoong, Hoshang, Jairo Ratial, Kahali Bhakral, Kamtrilla, Mohra Bhakral near Darkali Mamori, Mandhar, Mastala, Partali Kalan and Partali Khurd While in Chakwal, the village of Sabah Mohra is said to be the first settlement of the Bhakrals in Pothohar, and remains an important centre of the tribe. Other villages include Chomar, Chontrian, Dhok Mehdi, Dheri Rajgan, Dhoda, Ghazial, Khokhar Rajgan, Jandala Pakhral, Mauza Pagh, Nachindi, Ratta Mohra, Panjdhera and Potha. Many of the Bhakral in Chakwal classify themselves as Jats. In addition, their are also number of Bhakral settlements including and around the village of Bhakral, such as Darkali Sher in Kallar Kahar Tehsil. In Jhelum District, they are found Langar Pakhral, Munde Bhakral and Pail Bannay Khan. In the Islamabad Capital Territory, they are found in the villages of Kartal Bhakral, Sihala, Panwal Bhakar, Dhoke Baba Hust, Kirpa Tamare and Banigala. In Gujrat District, the Bhakral are found in the village of Amra Kalan (tehsil Kharian).

Outside Punjab

Outside Punjab, there are smattering of Bhakral found in Hazara and Azad Kashmir. As the area around Naushera, once part of Mirpur District was the site of the worst fighting in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1948, most of the Musllm population moved to Azad Kashmir. The villages of Bunnah and Compla Mohra were abandoned. In Mirpur District, the Bhakral are still found in the villages of Chandral, Mohar and Sorakhi. In neighbouring Kotli District, they are in the village of Suiyan Sharif near the town of Sehnsa in Kotli

In Hazara, the villages of Chumb Rajput, Chattar and Channam found in District of Abbottabad.

Hon

I shall finally look at the Hon or Hun or sometimes also pronounced as Hoon. Like the first three tribes looked at, the Hon claim to be Panwar Rajputs, claiming descent from a Raja Judgeo. There migration is said to have occurred in the latter Middle Ages, and they intermarry with other tribes that claim Panwar ancestry. However, the name Hoon sounds unmistakable like the way Hun is pronounced in Indian languages, and it possible the Hon may be descended from the Huns, who invaded and settled in the Pothohar region in the 5th Century.

The Hon are closely connected through marriage with other Panwar tribes of the Rawalpindi District, such as the Baghial and Bhakral. They are found in Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts of the Punjab. In addition, a few are also found in the old Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Important Hoon villages are Hoon Dhamial, in Rawat Union Council, Islamabad Capital Territory, Katheel Hoon and Shahpur in Kahuta Tehsil, of Rawalpindi District, and Hoon Bhattian in Kotli Sattian Tehsil of Rawalpindi District. In Jhelum District, Hon Kalyal and Hon are important villages. The village of Hon in Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District is also an important centre of the tribe, in that district.

Gungal / Gangal, Kalyal, Kanyal and Khingar tribes

I thought I would keep with the theme of tribal groupings found in the Punjab province of Pakistan, and my sthird post will look at some tribes found in the Pothohar region. The Potohar plateau, or sometimes pronounced Pothohar Plateau, is a large region of plateau situated in northern Punjab, Pakistan, separated from the Thal desert region which is located south of the plateau, and looked at in my first post by the magnificent Salt Range mountains. It is bounded on the east by the Jhelum River, on the west by the Indus River, and on the north by the Kala Chitta Range and the Margalla Hills. Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan is located in this region. Most of the population speak the Pothohari dialect of Punjabi, which shows strong influences of Lahnda.

The population is clearly sub-divided into tribes, who refer to themselves as quoms or rarely zats, having a common name and generally supposed to be descended from a traditional common ancestor by agnatic descent, i.e. through males only. Another interesting thing about the various tribes in the 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. For example, very few tribes in the region are simply known as Bhatti, Chauhan or Panwar, but often as Bhatti Gungal, Chauhan Kanyal or Panwar Bangial. As the region borders the Indus, the traditional dividing line between South Asia and Central Asia, it has seen a good deal of migration from the west, and two of the major tribes of the region, the Awan and Gakhar both have traditions of arriving from the west of the Indus.

The tribes that I shall be looking at fall within the either the category of Jat or Rajput, often simply identifying themselves as zamindar, meaning landowner or cultivator. These tribes also tend to be endogamous, meaning strictly marrying within tribe, with a marked preference of marrying first cousins. Marriage is also a marker of status, for example those branches of a tribe that claim Rajput status will only marry others who are also of Rajput status, and vice versa. The use of the title Rajah, meaning ruler prefixed to the given name signifies that the individual is a Rajput, while the use of the title Chaudhary often signifies that the individual is Jat. All these tribes have practiced Islam since at least the later Middle Ages, and the circumstances of their conversion are shrouded in mystery. Below is a list of tribes, starting with the highest population, that were registered as Rajput, for 1911 Census of India, :

Tribe Population
Bhatti 19,488
Dhanyal 7,909
Baghial 6,715
Dhamial 5,973
Bhakral 5,279
Janjua 4,285
Chauhan 4,011
Minhas 3,270
Kalyal 3,198
Kanyal 2,317
Mangral 2,309
Nagral 2,220
Gaharwal 2,069
Nagyal 2,038
Thathaal 1,618
Matyal 1,347
Jatal 1,310
Nagrawal 1,143
Ramal 1,120
Ghangar 1,002
Kural 961
Mial 817
Hon 808
Adrah 792
Sarral 698
Kethwal 642
Ratial 549
Mughal 617
Bains 548
Chatha 420

Similarly, the following were registered as , Jat, by the same census:

Tribe Population
Khatril 2,004
Dhamial 1,502
Bangial 1,204
Gondal 816
Aura 610
Hindan 541
Dhamtal 520
Sial 420
Sudhan 175
Kanyal 149
Kalyal 129
Baghial 96
Magial 69
Boria 46
Mial 25
Chhina 13

My point about the fact that there is no strong distinction between Rajputs and Jat in this region in shown by the existence of tribes such as the Kanyal and Kalyal in both the Jat and Rajput category. Similarly, many tribes such as the Kethwal and Dhanyal, both Murree Hill tribes registered themselves on their own, while some members declared themselves as Rajput. The above list is long, and includes some tribes such the Adrah, Nagral, Nagrawal and Ramal, where quite frankly there is very little information, while also ignoring the Cheemas of Sui Cheemian. and the Sandhus of Mohra Sandhu in Gujar Khan, who are important Jat tribes of this region. If someone has any information on the Adrah for example, then please post in the comments section. The converse is true of the Bhatti, Chauhan, Janjua and Minhas, where quite a bit has been written. In this post, I shall restrict myself by looking at some of the lesser known tribes of the region, namely the Gungal, Kalyal, Kanyal, and Khinger. In latter posts, time permitting, I will look at the Bangial, Baghial, Bhakral, Hon and Jatal.

Gangal

 

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 and Jhelum claim that they are a section of the Bhatti Rajputs, therefore Gang or Ganga must have 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. 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 and Sood Gungal (now actually in Islamabad), in Rawalpindi Tehsil, Faryal, Gungal and Sui Cheemian in Gujar Khan Tehsil, Chakyal near Hardogher, and Dhamnoha 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 .

 

Kalyal

The Kalyal, or sometimes spelt Kalial, are one of the largest Jat clans of the Pothohar region. They claim descent from Kal, a Chandravanshi Rajput, who settled in the Potohar region in the 15th Century. Other tradition makes Kal to be a Bhatti Rajput, which would make the Kalyal a clan of the Bhatti tribe. Therefore, the Kal aal are the descendents of Kals. The Kalyal are essentially a tribe of the Chibhal, a region between the Tawi and Jhelum rivers, now divided by the line of control, forming the districts of Mirpur and Bhimber in Azad Kashmir, and Rajouri, Reasi and parts of Jammu district west of the river Tawi in Indian administered Kashmir. From Chibhal, groups of Kalyal began immigrating to the Punjab plains, initially settling in around Dina, and Sahowa and then spreading to Gujar Khan, which is home to the greatest concentrations of Kalyal. Other groups moved south east, settling in Gujrat District, where they are still an important Jat clan.

Villages

Gujarkhan Tehsil

Most Kalyal are still found in Gujarkhan, and following are there villages in the tehsil:

1) Alamabad,

2) Bewal

3) Bher Kalial,

4) Chak Bagwal

5) Dang Dav Syedan

6) Daryala Kalyal

7) Dhok Dheri near Paleena,

8) Dhok Kalial,

9) Guda Kalyal,

10) Kolian Hameed,

11) Harchiari Kalyal,

12) Manjotha

13) Mankiala Muslim

14) Teriala Kalyal

15) Sohawa

16) Notheh Kalial.

Rawalpindi Tehsil:

1) Kalial,

2) Mohra Kalyal

3) Top Kalyal

Kallar Syedan Tehsil:

1) Balimah

2) Choha Khalsa

3) Dhok Luss

4) Dhok Maira near Paleena

5) Khandot

6) Mohra Bakhtan

Kahuta Tehsil

Kalyal

Jhelum, Chakwal and Khushab

In Jhelum District, the Kalyal villages are still found near the towns of Dina and Sahowa, and important ones include Boharian,  Boura Pindi, Dalyal, Dandi, Dhok Rajju, Dhok Kalyal, Domeli, Hon Kalyal, Janjil, Johda, Kalyal, Mal, Mohra Kalyal (near Sohawa),  and Sidh Tajpur Alia. In neighbouring Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, there main village is Kahana. While in Chakwal District they are found in Chak Kharak, Dhok Qutab Din, Dhoke Wadhan, Kalyal and Kotla Kalyal. The village of Katha Saghral (largely Janjua) in Khushab District is also home to several Kalyal families.

Azad Kashmir

In Azad Kashmir, important Kalyal villages include Kalyal, Kotla Sehnsa, Sehnsa and Chhatrahn Sehnsa in Kotli District, while in Mirpur District, Kalyal villages include Kas Kalyal also known as Kalyal Sherou and Plak, while in Poonch, there main settlememt is Sehra in Tehsil Hajira.

Kanyal

Kanyal or sometimes spelt Kanial, are tribe of both Jats and Rajputs status. According to their tradition, the Kanyal originate from the town of Jammu and trace their descent to Jambu Loachon, the founder of the city of Jammu. He had a son named Raja Puran Karan, from whom the tribe claims descent. They are thus descended from the Manhas Rajput tribe. Other traditions however make the Kanyal a clan of Chauhan Rajputs.

There are various stories about the emergence of the Kanyal or Kanial tribes, in the Rawalpindi District and they have always been considered as a high ranking clan of the Rajput tribe. Like the Kalyal, the Kanyal started off as a tribe settled in the Chibhal region, making there way to the Pothohar plateu sometime in the Middle Ages. Groups of Kanyal have immigrated as far south as Darya Khan in the heart of the Thal desert, which makes them far more geographically widespread then the other tribes discussed.

Generally in Rawalpindi, the tribe is considered Rajput, while in the other districts they are considered Jats, and have historically intermarried with neighbouring tribes such as the Thathaal and Bangial.They are found mainly in Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi Districts of Punjab, basically through out the eastern half of the Pothohar region.

Perhaps there densest settlement are in the Gujar Khan Tehsil, with important villages including Arazi Hasnal, Arif Kanial, Atit Kanial, Chak Bagwal, Dhera Kanial (especially Mohra Malkan), Dhok Kanyal, Dhaia Kanial, Dhok Manna, Ghik Budhal, Habib Kanial, Kanial, Mohra Kanial (near Bewal), Mohri Rajgan, Narali Mirzian, Ramial, Sahot Kanyal, Sui Chemian and Wasla Bangyal are all part of a cluster of Kanial villages. In neighbouring Rawalpindi Tehsil their villages include Dhera Kanial and Mohra Kanial, while in Kallar Syedan Tehsil they are found in the villages of Jocha Mamdot, Khambli Sadiq, Khoi Las, Par, Chakyal Hardo and Tirkhi. In Jhelum District, they are found in Dhok Kania, Mohra Kanial and Rohtas and in Chakwal in Nachindi. Finally, in Attock District they are found in Kanial village.

There are still large communities of Kanyal in neighbouring Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir. Their villages in that district include Mohra Kanyal, Mohra Nangyal, Mohra Malkan, Mohra Sher Shah. Mohar, Nakota, and Onah Rajgan.

Khingar

Looking now at the Khingar, sometime spelt Khinger, like many of the other tribes already discussed, in certain localities, the Khingar claim to be Rajput, while in others they are classified as Jats. The Khingar are found mainly in Jhelum District, and Gujar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi District, with the Jhelum branch tending generally calls itself Jat, while in Gujar Khan, some members claim to be Rajput, while other Jat. There are also several Khingar villages in the Thal portion of Mianwali District. The tribe claims descent from Khingar, who was said to be a Bhatti Rajput. Acccording to tribal traditions, Khingar was descended from the warlords, Rai Sandal Khan Bhatti and in particular his grandson, Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti, also popularly known as Dulla Bhatti, considered a folk hero by many in the Punjab. Khingar is said to have migrated with his kinsmen from the town of Pindi Bhattian, near Lahore, and settled in Gujar Khan. Interestingly, Khingar is a common first name among Rajputs from Kathiawar, but the Khingar Bhattis themselves have no tradition of a Kathiawar ancestry.

In terms of distribution, the Khinger are found in Chakwal, Jhelum and Rawalpindi districts. There are now about seventeen villages of the Khingar Bhattis in Gujar Khan Tehsil, the most important being Cheer Bala, Dhoke Sawar, Sandal Khingar, Supiyal Khingar, Sihal Khinger, Kahali Khinger, Mamdal Khinger, Bhangali Khinger and Paimal. In Rawalpindi Tehsil, their villages include Maira Khinger, Maira Khurd, Khinger Khurd and Khinger, while in Kahuta Tehsil they are found in Maira Khurd. The village of Niral Khurd in Islamabad has now been acquired by the Islamabad administration, but once was as important settlement of the tribe. There are also several villages of Khingar in Chakwal District and Tehsil, such as Chabber, Dhoda, Dhorian, Dhoke Bangwalian, Ghanwal, Langah, Kaal near Panjdhera, Kalyal near Panjdhera, Khinger near Panjdhera, Shahpur Syedan, Tatral, and Trimni,  being the most important, all of whom consider themselves to be Jats.