This is my second posting on the lesser known tribes of the Pothohar 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. This territory lies between Tawi and Jhelum rivers, with the Pir Panjal Mountains forming its northing 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 west of the Tawi in Indian Kashmir.
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:
1) Changa Bangial (now actually a fair sized town)
2) Chehari Bangial
3) Dhok Bangial
4) Dhok Chaudrian
6) Pharwal Bangial
7) Sandal Bangial
9) Wasla Bangial
2) Bura Bangial
3) Darihala Bangial
4) Kala Bangial
5) Marri Bangial
6) Pind Dara
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
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.
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.
Moving now on to the Bhakral, or sometimes pronounced as Pakhral, they are a tribe 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, the Bhakral claim to be Panwar Rajputs. The Bakhral are very probably 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. 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. Their customs and traditions are fairly similar to other neighbouring tribes of Panwar origin, such as such as the Baghial, Bangial and Hon, although their is little intermarriage with these tribes, and Bhakral are largely endogamous.
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.
Outside Punjab, there are smattering of Bhakral found in Hazara and Azad Kashmir. In Hazara, the villages of Chumb Rajput, Chattar and Channam found in District of Abbottabad, while in Azad Kashmir, they are settled in the village of Suiyan Sharif near the town of Sehnsa in Kotli District.
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.