In this blog, I revert back to the Chibhal region, and this time look at four tribes, namely the Narma, Tezyal, Thakial and Sakhial, three which are only found in Azad Kashmir, while the Narma also have a presence in northern Punjab. Readers are asked to look at my posts on the Bhao and Sohlan, which gives some background to the general history of the Chibhal region. Almost all these tribes are of Dogra stock, and are essentially people of the foothills, and claim and are accepted as Rajput or Sahu.
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.
The Narmas in Gujrat say that they have nine clans which are as follows:
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.
Our next tribe are the Sakhial, sometimes spelt, Sakhal, who are found entirely in Mirpur District. According to their tribal traditions, they descended from Malik Saikah Khan, a member of the Gakhar tribe. In this post I will not go into the various theories as to the origin of the Gakhars. Most Gakhars now claim descent from the mythical Kayani dynasty of Iran, and are as such have pre-Islamic Iranian ancestry. The Gakhars then are subdivided into a number of clans, known as muhis, such as the Admal, Iskrandral and Bugial. Some clans, however, like the Paharial, Jodhial, Mangral, Kainswal, Farmsial, Sunal, Kul Chandral, Tulial, Sakhal, and Sagial are not recognised as true Gakkhars by the others. Historically, Gakhars clans of the higher status did not marry those of lower status. This is no longer the case now. The Sakhial of Mirpur however deny that they are anything other then Gakhars, and their status as Sahu in accepted in the region they occupy. Malik Saikah Khan is said to have founded the village of Kathar Dilawar near the town of Dadyal. Other Sakhial villages include Siakh, Namb, and Panyam, all in Mirpur District.
Looking at now at Tezyal, sometimes spelt Tezal, who are also fairly localized, found almost entirely in villages along the right banks of the Mahl river in the Bagh District of Azad Kashmir. According to their tribal traditions, the Tezyal are a branch of the Janjua clan of Rajputs, found in the Pothohar region of Punjab. They are in fact a sub-division of the Khakhe Rajputs, who are located mainly in Muzafarabad District, in villages along the Jhelum River, quite close to the Line of Control. Janjua origin myths make reference to a Raja Khakha being the youngest son of Raja Mal Khan, the founder of the Janjua tribe. His elder brothers included Raja Jodh Khan of Makhiala (Jhelum), Raja Bhir Khan of Malot (Chakwal), Raja Kala Khan of Kahuta and Raja Tanoli of Amb (Hazara). The Khakhe are referred to in the 15th Century as occupying the Jhelum River beyond the town of Muzaffarabad, thereby controlling the access to Kashmir valley. In effect, the Khakha were independent until the region was conquered by the Sikhs in the 18th Century. The Tezyal branch split from the main body of the Khakhe and settled in what is now Bagh District. Important Tezyal villages include Bees Bagla, Dharray, Mallot and Nazarpur.
We now move on to the Thakyal, sometimes written as Thakial, who are a tribe of Rajput status found mainly in Bagh and Kotli districts. According to tribal traditions, they are of Suryavanshi lineage said to be descended from Rama the mythical king of Ayodhya. Thakial tradition links them to Jamwal and Raja Agnigarba who came to Ayodhya and founded a small state on the banks of River Tawi. The tribe claims descent from Raja Jothar Singh Thakial who established the Bhimber state in the northern Punjab at the foothills of the Himalayas. It remained an independent state for thousands of years under the Thakial rule until the fourteenth century, until the last Thakial ruler Siripat was toppled. Siripat Thakial had no sons but had a daughter, who he married to the oldest son of Partab Chand, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand. On the death of Maharaja Siripat, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand became the Maharaja of Bhimber. From this union, of the Thakial princess(rani) and Raj Kumar Chib Chand, the Chib Rajput clan emerged. The region where the Thakyal are found is still called Chibhal, after the Chib tribe.
After Chib Chand became the ruler of the state, some Thakials are said to have conspired to overthrow Chib Chand which resulted in Chib Chand executing some leaders and driving others out of the state. These refugees settled in the area north of Bhimber, currently known as Fatehpur Thakiala, which was then ruled by the Jayrah clan.
Among the Thakials, there was a man of great stature and resolve named Rusmi Dev. Rusmi Dev lived in a place called Thakar Dhooli in the village Dhuruti in Fatehpur Thakiala. There are many stories about Rusmi Dev; among them being the one where he fought and killed an evil jinn. It is said that he was travelling across the Pir Panjal mountains when he met an old holy man who told him to return to his home for he would one day will become a ruler and also told him that he will convert to Islam.
The relationships between the Thakials and the Jayrah deteriorated and war broke out between the two clans, which led to the Jayrah’s being defeated. Rusmi Dev, the Thakyal leader became the ruler. It was at this time that Islam was spreading in the Himalyas, and Rusmi Dev and his clansmen converted to Islam, and Rusmi Dev adopted the name Rustam Khan. Rustam Khan had four sons and their decedents are the modern day Thakials. His oldest son was called Sangi Khan, whose decedents live in Muzafarabad and Bagh in Azad Kashmir, and Abbotabad in Hazara, and Gujarkhan, Muree and Rawalpindi in Punjab. The descendents of other three sons, Bagh Khan, Kangi Khan and Kaloo Khan live in the Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir. Bagh Khan’s descendents are known as the Baghal.