Jalap, Jethal, Khoti, Lila, and Phaphra tribes

Moving on from my previous post on the tribes of the Chibhal, I now shall now look some tribes settled in Jhelum and Chakwal districts, which are situated directly to the south of Chibhal, that have generally fallen under the rubric of Jat, although many also claim a Middle Eastern or Central Asian ancestry. As this region lies between Rajput dominated Pothohar, and central districts of Sialkot and Gujrat, where the Jat dominate, it perhaps more than most areas of the Punjab where the term Jat is used loosely. It can be applied any cultivator who does not claim foreign ancestry or Rajput ancestry, and does not belong to one of the larger tribes of the region such as the Gakhar or Janjua. However it may include groups that may have historically belonged to one of the larger tribes, but over time intermarried and merged into the general cultivating class. The tribes I shall look at all have traditions of a Central Asian or Middle Eastern, but as far as local traditions are concerned are of for the use of a better word of Jat status. Perhaps the largest of these tribes are the Gondal (whom I will look at in a latter blog), who are found all along the Jhelum river valley, with some sections in one village claiming to be Jats, and those in the following village claiming to be Rajputs. Below are a list of tribes, starting with largest tribe in terms of population, which were and probably still are the Gondal, that were enumerated as Jat by population in the 1911 Census of India:

Tribe Population
Gondal 6,549
Dhamial 4,730
Bhatti 3,146
Kalyal 3,039
Kanyal 2,603
Bhakral 2,147
Bangial 1,869
Nagyal 1,830
Raya 1,790
Jhammat 1,471
Thathaal 1,230
Bhans 1,188
Khatarmal 1,184
Matyal 1,147
Khinger 1,146
Sial 1,125
Gungal 1,049
Gujjral 788
Tarar 744
Khanda 734
Jatal 710
Ghogha 710
Phaphra 663
Khoti 646
Bhutta 632
Jandral 618
Tama 617
Chadhar 196
Hariar 579
Jangal 572
Serwal 572
Dhudhi 526
Haral 500
Minhas 457
Bains 309

As the table shows, the eastern parts of the Jhelum-Chakwal region is home to fair number of number of tribes that have a large presence further east and south of Punjab such as the Chadhar, Gondal, Haral, Mekan, Tarar, Ranjha and Sial, while as one moves north and west, we find tribes such as the Bhakral, Gungal, Kalyal, Kanyal Khinger and Nagyal, which are essentially Chibhali, with roots in the Mirpur-Jammu region. In terms of the fluidity of identity between Jat and Rajput, it is interesting to note that the Sial, who in Jhang and Multan are perceived as Rajput, are consider themselves as Jats in the Jhelum region, while some groups of Minhas have recorded themselves as Jat and other as Rajput. In this blog, I shall look into some details at the following tribes, the Jalap, Jethal, Khoti, Lilla, Paphra and Tama. In the 1911 Census, the Jalap and Jethal were assigned Rajput status, while the other tribes were recorded as Jat. Most of these tribes are found along and near the banks of the river Jhelum. Readers can make reference to my earlier postings that look at the origins of the Bangial, Dhamial, Kalyal, Kanyal, Khinger, Jatal and Jhammat clans, all of whom have significant presence in the Jhelum, Chakwal and Pind Dadan Khan region. Time permitting; I hope to dedicate future postings on the Chadhar, Dhudhi and Mekan, all of whom are large tribes of the Jhelum and Chenab valleys. Below are a list of tribes that were tabulated as Rajput by the 1911 Census of India:

 

Tribe Population
Mair-Minhas 15,075
Janjua 10,572
Bhatti 6,586
Chauhan 4,394
Minhas 1,329
Chauhan Taubl
Jalap 1,172
Ranjha 866
Khokhar 770
Sohlan 606
Panwar 518
Bhakral 465
Gondal 7

Jalap

The Jalap, sometimes spelt Jalip, are the predominant tribe in the Jalap Illaqa, the rich well tract situated between the Jhelum River and the Salt Range. According to the 1931 Census of India, the last that counted caste, they numbered 400. The Jalap are generally recognised as Rajputs by their neighbours, although they do intermarry with the Gondals, who are their neighbours, and considered as Jat. Most of the tribe is found the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of the Jhelum district, there are also a few small villages in the Bhalwal tehsil of Sargodha District.

According to one of their origin myths, at the time of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, they were settled along the banks of the Chenab river. Jalap was the chief of the tribe, and the Emperor asked him to give his daughter in marriage, as other Rajputs had done. Jalap agreed, but the rest of the clan disapproved, and when he came home, they set upon him and killed him. Shah Jahan then sent an army to punish them, and being driven from their home they crossed the Jhelum, and after many fights with the Janjua established themselves where they are found.

Most Jalaps however prefer another tradition, that their ancestor was named Jalap, a holy man, and is buried in Sargodha. Jalap is said to be buried at Ramdiani in Sargodha District. Sidharan, who was several generations in descent from Jalap led the tribe to its present location. The Pind Dadan Khan plain was at that time held by the Janjua Rajputs, whom the Jalap ousted. Both traditions make reference to the fact that Jalap was a Khokhar Rajput, and the well known Khokhar Rajput family of Ahmedabad in Pind Dadan Khan acknowledge the connection with the Jalap. Closely connected with the Jalaps are two liitle known clans, the Bharat and Khiwa clans, that also reside in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil.

The best known families reside at Chak Shadi, Chak Jani and Pinnanwal in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. Other Jalap settlements include Addowal, Chak Ali Shah, Chak Danial, Dhudhi Thal, Dharyala Jalap, Khotian Jalap, Kot Shumali, Kotli Piran, Mirzabad and Nawanloke, all of which are also in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. A smattering of Jalap are also found across the Jhelum River in the Bhalwal Tehsil of Sargodha District, in particularly in the villages of Chak 4 NB Phullarwan, Chani Mohammad Qazi, Jalap, Lakseen, Salaam and Verowal. Smaller numbers are found in Chakwal District at Lehr SultanpurMandi Bahaudin District at Jayya and Sanda, Gujrat District, at Jalapwala and Sialkot District at Jalap Wali.

Jethal

Like the Jalap, the Jethal are Rajput clan, who claim Bhatti Rajput descent, but their pedigree is traced to a Bhutta, who some 12 or 14 generations ago, married the sister of a Ghori Sultan. The king, however, drove Bhutta with his 21 sons in the Kirana Bar. Bhutta eventually crossed the Jhelum River, and settled at Ratta Pind, now a mound near the town of Kandwal. According to other traditions, they are in fact Bhutta Jat by origin, a tribe found mainly in the Multan Bahawalpur region. Interestingly, Jethal legends refer to the tribe being settled at Ucch Shah Jalal, the modern town of Uch in Bahawalpur, an area with a fairly large Bhutta population.

The Jethal are found mainly in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District, where they hold five villages, of which Pind Saidpur is the largest, and are also found in neighbouring Dhudi Thal, Jethal, Chak Musiana, and Kahana villages. In addition, they are found in the villages of Jethal, Munday and Thoha Bahadar in Chakwal District. They are also found in the village of Chak 21 S.B. in Sargodha District and these Jethals are immigrants from the four Jethal villages in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil.

Khoti

Moving now on to the Khoti or sometimes written as Khothi, are a tribe found almost entirely in Chakwal District. Like most of the tribes in the region, they have multiple traditions as to their origin. One such tradition makes the Khoti descendents a Raja Kang of Ludhiana. Sohi, the grandson of the Raja, moved from Ludhiana and settled in Sialkot, and from him descend the Sohi tribe of the Jats. One of his descendents, Khoti, left Sialkot and settled in Pind Dadan Khan, founding the village of Chak Hamid, which is the centre of the tribe, and where the bulk of the tribe is still found. However, a second tradition makes the Khoti are a muhi, or clan of the larger Awan tribe. As the bulk of the Khoti live in a region dominated by the Awans, it makes some sense of the Khoti to claim descent from Qutub Shah. However, their neighbours such as the Mair-Minhas and Kahut consider the Khoti to be Jats, and intermarry with other Jat tribes of the area such as the Jhammat, Khinger and Serwal. The Khoti are sub-divided into a number of lineages, the largest being the Arbal, Babka, Jewal, Malkal and Nawabal.

The Khoti occupy several villages, Azampur, Baghanwala, Chak Hamid , Chak Mujahid Shumali, Daulatpur, Dhingwal, Karimpur, Khotian Jalap and Nawanloke being the main ones, in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, at a distant from Jhelum river. They are also the main Jat clan of Chakwal District, with the villages of Dheedwal, Munday and Khotian, near Chakwal and Khotian near Choa Syedan Shah are centres of the tribe. The village of Khotian, in Chakwal is incidentally also home to the famous Sahgal family, who have remained it Saigalabad.

Lilla

The Lilla tribe is a small tribe of Jat status, which claims Quraishi descent. According to their traditions, the tribe was originally settled in Arabia, being relations of the Prophet Mohammad, on his mother’s side. Their ancestor Haras or Haris, arrived in India with Mahmud of Ghazna ( circa 10th Century). The tribe originally settled in Masnad in India. After seven generations, their forefathers moved to Multan, where a well known Pir chose one Ghaus Shah to be their spiritual Pir.

 

Accompanied by Ghaus Shah, the tribe settled in Shahidiwalian, near present day Gujranwala. The local governor was ordered to expel them and succeeded in dividing the tribe into two factions, which fought a pitched battle. The defeated party dispersed and its descendants are now found near the Chenab, while the others, weakened by the struggle, migrated to the Pind Dadan Khan plain, led by Lilla Buzurg, whose is considered the ancestor by all the present Lillas. When Lilla arrived at their present location, the tract was then occupied a tribe of Hal Jats. As I have already mentioned in the section on the Hal, the Lillas proceeded exterminated this tribe, barring one pregnant woman, who had managed to escape. Despite the claim to Qureshi ancestry, the Lilla are considered as Jats by their neighbours and intermarry with other tribes of Jat status such as the Phaphra and Wariaches.

The tribe holds about 40 square miles of territory between Pind Dadan Khan town and the Salt Range in the Jhelum District, and form the majority in the villages of Chak Hameed, Jalalpur Sharif, Lilla Handwana, Lilla Goj, Lilla Bhera and Rawal in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. There also a second cluster of Lilla villages on the banks of the Jhelum River in Khushab District, such as Kotla Jagir, Mohibpur and Waheer. While in Mandi Bahauddin District, they are found in Bohat, and further south in Sargodha District, they are found in Bhikhi Khurd.

Phaphra

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

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

The Phaphra are now divided into two rival clans, the Dhudhial, from the village of Dhudhi Paphra and Sadowalia from those who belong to the village of Sadowal. Despite claims to a Barlas origin, the Paphra are perceived to be Jats, and intermarry with neighbouring tribes such as the Lilla and Gondal, who are considered as Jat.

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

 

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