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, :
Similarly, the following were registered as , Jat, by the same census:
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.
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 .
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.
Most Kalyal are still found in Gujarkhan, and following are there villages in the tehsil:
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,
13) Mankiala Muslim
14) Teriala Kalyal
16) Notheh Kalial.
2) Mohra Kalyal
3) Top Kalyal
Kallar Syedan Tehsil:
2) Choha Khalsa
3) Dhok Luss
4) Dhok Maira near Paleena
6) Mohra Bakhtan
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.
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 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.
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.