In this posting, I return to the theme of the lesser known tribes of the Pothohar region of Pakistan, and I shall look at the Dhamial, Gaharwal, Jatal, and Ranial tribes. All of these tribes are in fact branches of the well known Janjua tribe. Let me start off with a brief note of the Janjua Rajputs. According to their traditions, the Janjua claim descent from the Pandava dynasty through Arjun, the cousin of Krishna. Although there is no definitive source to confirm the ancestry of the ancient King Porus of Punjab, the Janjua Rajputs claim that their ancestor, Rai Por is the Porus who fought Alexander in Punjab in 326BC, although this might be conjecture. The Janjua tribal history begins with Raja Ajmal Dev Janjua, who embraced Islam in the 12th century due to his love for Sufi art, poetry and teachings. Rai/Raja Mal followed the Islamic tradition of change of name after conversion and was then known as Raja Mal Khan. Mal Khan is said to have four sons, Bhir, Jodh, Kala and Khakha. From the last descend the Khakha of Kashmir, whose branch the Tezyal I have already looked at in an earlier post. From Jodh descends the Dhamial, from Bhir the Ranial, from Kala, the Gaharwal, and their branch the Jatal. In Chakwal and Jhelum, many Jatal and Dhamial now consider themselves to be Jats.
Dhamial (also written as Dhamyal) Like the other tribes looked, some sections of the Dhamial claim Jat status, while other stress the fact that they are Rajput. The Dhamial are chiefly found in the Rawalpindi District but also in Gujrat District, Jhelum District and Attock District of the Punjab and Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir. In Azad Kashmir, the Dhamial are the second largest Rajput-Jat tribe in the state. With regards to their origins, the Dhamial have a number of traditions as to there origin. Most however agree that they are descended from a Raja Dhami Khan, hence the name Dhami al, or sons of Dhami. They also point to the town of Dhamiak in Jhelum District as to where the tribe originated from. According to one of the traditions, Raja Dhami Khan came from Ghazni in Afghanistan, built a fort in Dhamiak, the ruins of which are still in existence, and defeted the Gakhar rulers of the region to establish control. The fort is still known in the local vernacular as dhami kot (fort of dhami in Punjabi), and the town of Dhamiak is simply said to be a corruption of the word dhami kot. Most traditions however claim that Dhami Khan was a Janjua Rajput, and they are infact a clan of the Janjua tribe. In the early thirteenth century, the Janjua chieftain, Raja Mal Khan rose to prominence. He increased his dominion over Hazara (later renamed Amb) through his son Raja Tanoli, Jhelum through his son Raja Jodh, parts of Kashmir through Raja Khakha, Rajghar (later renamed Malot) in Chakwal through his eldest Raja Bhir and what is today forms the area of Kahuta tehsil through Raja Kala Khan. Tarikh-e-Alfi of the Ghorids makes a mention of the rise to power of Raja Mal. According to Lepel H. Griffin, in Chiefs and Families of note in the Punjab (Lahore, 1910, ii, p254)
””On the death of their father, they determined to divide the country called, from Raja Mal, the Maloki Dhan between them. Jodh took the Salt Range near about the Makrach, and captured the town of Makshala from a colony of Brahmins (Mohyals)…He changed its name to Makhiala and built a fort there and two tanks for rain water….. Wir Khan (also spelt Bhir), took the possession of Khura (also spelt Khewra) near modern Pind Dadan Khan.””
The descendants of Raja Jodh continued to rule this region through various interruptions until the time of the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. Raja Bhir meanwhile took over the Malot (Rajghar) state from his father. It was in this tradition that Raja Bhir’s later descendant, Raja Malu Khan, allying his cousin Raja Mubarak Khan who was the descendant of Raja Jodh Khan, gained control of the region of Dhamial and Ranial. Latter in the post I shall look at the Ranial branch.
Villages in Jhelum and Chakwal
Presently, the Dhamial, both Jat and Rajput are found in Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Mirpur districts. Dhamial villages in Jhelum District include Kotla Faqir, Mamuri Dhamial, Mohra Lal, Hathia Dhamial, Dheri Dhamial and Rakha Dhamial. The town of Dhamiak remains the centre of the tribe in the district. In neighbouring Chakwal District, important Dhamial villages include Dohrian, Dhoke Bangwalian, Dhok Qutab Din, Dhok Alfo near Mangwal, Ghanwal, Chak Jharray, Chak Kharak, Sohawa, and Kot Raja.
Villages in Rawalpindi District
Looking at each individual tehsil of Rawalpindi District starting with Gujar Khan Tehsil:
2) Chak Dolat
3) Chak Rajgan
4) Chechi Bahadur
6) Dhok Baba Waris
7) Dhok Kund
8) Dolmi Dhamial
12) Miani Borgi
13) Mohra Hafyal
14) Mohra Salyal,
15) Mohra Dhamial
16) Mohra Jundi
17) Natta Mohra
3) Khail Dhamyal
5) Sher Dhamial,
Kallar Syedan Tehsil,
1) Bhai Mehr Ali
3) Dhok Attari, near Bhalakhar
4) Dhok Pakka Khoo,
5) Dhok Baba Mehru near Khanpur,
6) Mawa Dhamyal
7) Mohra Phadyal
8) Pari Nakkah near Bhalakhar,
9) Phagwari Gala
10) Sahib Dhamial
and in Kahuta Tehsil: Aliot.
Moving to Azad Kashmir, they are found in the villages of Kandoor, Samlota, Chakswari, Daggar, Dehri Dhamial and Nakkah Dhamial.
We now look at the Gaharwal or sometimes pronounced Kaharwal, who are a Rajput clan. According to the 1931 Census of India, they numbered approximately 1,600.
The Gaharwal claim descent from Pir Kala, a son of Raja Mal Dev Janjua, who married Kaho Rani when he came to the Kahuta hills, and named the ilaqua Kahru after her. Hence the descendants are called Kahrwal. The Dulal is a sub-division of the tribe. This branch should not be confused with the Dolal Qureshis of Gujar Khan Tehsil. To sum up, the Gaharwal, like the Dhamyal and Jatal, referred in my earlier post, are a branch of the Janjua Rajputs.
The Kahrwal Janjua’s are found in the Kahuta and Kallar Saidan Tehsils of the Rawalpindi District. Important Gaharwal villages include Matore, Bagla, Darkali, Mamyaam, Guff Sanghal ,Mehra Sanghal , Pind-Bansoo and Blong. In Kallar Syedan they are found in Sehi Rajgan.
The Jatal are a tribe of both Jat and Rajput status, who claim descent from Jatto Khan, a Janjua Rajput, who belonged the Gaharwal branch. So they are in fact sub-group of the Gaharwal. They are extremely localized, found in only in the districts of Rawalpindi and Jhelum. Like other Rajputs tribes of the region, they have a long and distinguished history of military service. Important Jatal villages include Aheer, Lakho, Mohraian, Jatal Sukhroo and Repa in Gujar Khan Tehsil, Jatal and Jatal Durab in Rawalpindi Tehsil and Nandna Jatal and Tirkhi in Kallar Syedan Tehsil . While in Jhelum District, they are found mainly in Jhelum and Dina tehsils. In the Islamabad Capital Territory, Jatal are foind in Gagri village.
I shall finally look at the Ranial branch of the Janjuas. Like the other branches, the Ranial trace their descent from Raja Mal Khan, the traditional ancestor of the Janjua tribe. As I have already discussed in my account of the Dhamial, the Ranial branch of the Janjua descend from Raja Bhir, who was the erstwhile ruler of Malot (Rajghar) state in Chakwal, and from him descended, Raja Malu Khan, who was the direct ancestor of the Ranials. Raja Malu Khan was allied with Mubarak Khan, the Dhamial. According to the Tehreek-e-Janjua (Sahiwal Press, v1, p224), these two Rajas employed a sudden military onslaught to conquer the areas of Ranial and Dhamial. Through the repute of their military success, they were able to win the neighbouring gentry over to their own side and established good relations with them. Raja Malu took the area of Hayal Ranial whilst Raja Mubarak took the Dhamial plain. Interestingly, Raja Malu’s offspring were known as the Rajas of Ranial and Raja Mubarak’s offspring likewise, were known as the Rajas of Dhamial. This later culminated in the recognition of these two branches as simply Ranial Rajas and Dhamial Rajas. Being neighbours, they taxed their subjects separately, but followed common policies on other matters such as the supply of soldiers to the Mughal emperors, cultivation and trade.
The Ranial Rajputs are linked ancestrally to the Janjuas through Raja Malu Khan, who was a descendant of Raja Bhir as illustrated below:
Raja Mal Khan, the Janjua king | Raja Bhir, the elder son of Raja Mal Khan | Raja Acharpal (later converted to Islam and was renamed Raja Ahmed Khan) | Raja Sunpal | Raja Islam-ud-din | Raja Noor-ud-din | Raja Daulat Khan | Raja Hans Khan | Raja Malu Khan (during Jehangir’s reign [1605-28])
Some of Raja Malu Khan’s descendants settled in Nambal in Kallar Syedan Tehsil of Rawalpindi, immigrating from Malot, in Chakwal District(the ancestral kingdom of Raja Bhir who inherited it from his father, Raja Mal Khan). Raja Malu Khan was one of five brothers. The other brothers were: Raja Sadu Khan: whose descendants are settled in the area of Sehel Tehsil and Pindi Gheb, Raja Nadyam Khan: whose descendants are in Harajpur Pind and Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, Raja Babul (who was the Minister of Maral Garh): whose descendants are settled in the Murali district in Chakwal and Raja Jangu Khan: whose descendants are settled in Dana, Khanpur and Dadan Chey.