The valley of Jhelum River, which is divided between Sargodha and Khushab districts, is home to a number of comparatively small clans, some of which classify themselves as Bhatti, while other Khokhar. In this post I shall look at five such clans, two of which the Bandial and Ghanjera consider themselves to be Khokhars, while the other three the Noon, Traggar and Uttra are Bhattis. In terms of distribution, the Bandial are located just south of the Salt Range, mainly in and near the town of Bandial, while Ghanjera are found in the territory between Pakka Ghanjera and Bandial, west of the Bandial. The three Bhatti clans are found deeper in the Thal desert, with Traggar round the village of Khatwan, and the Uttra in Uttra near Noorpur Thal, while the Noon are found mainly in Sargodha. Just a note about the Traggar and Noon, they have much larger distribution, with large numbers found in Multan District. The tribes all speak the Thalochi dialect of Punjabi, which reflecting a pastoral past, has a rich vocabulary associated with animal husbandery.
The Bandial are Khokhars, and their name ending with the suffix ial suggest a possible origin in the Pothohar region. So who exactly are the Bandial. According to their traditions, their ancestor was a Allah Banda Khan, who arrived from Jaura (near the banks of the Jhelum), about four centuries ago, expelled the Awans, and established his rule over the region where the Salt Range meets the Thal desert. His descendants are the Bandial, literally the sons of Banda, and established the town of Bandial. Like most minor chieftanship, their independence was ended by the Ranjeet Singh, the Sikh ruler in the early 19th Century.
Moving on to the Ghanjera, who are said to be the earliest settlers in the region located between Wan Bachran and Bandial. Like the Bhachars and Bandial, the Ghanjera are Khokhars. Also like the Bhachar and Bandial, they are said to have arrived from the Chaj (Chenab Jhelum) Doab, in their case from the town of Shahpur in Sargodha District. Incidently, there is a large Ghanjera village near Shahpur called Tankiwala. They originally settled in Wan Bhachran, but when the town was occupied by the Bhachars, and the Ghanjera re-located to the village of Pakka Ghanjera. They are now found in nine villages, such Shikhali, Muzzafarpur, Pakka Ghanjera and Watto, which surround the town of Wan Bhachran. In neighbouring Khushab District, there most important village is Thathi Ghanjera. The tribe has also produced the famous Sufi saint Khawaj Noor Muhammad Ghanjera.
Perhaps Ghanjera are really known for the legend of Aali Ghanjera, which is perhaps to the Thal what the legend of Heer Ranjha is to Bar. Aali was a cowherd from the village of Vijhara, along the banks of the Jhelum. Salman Rashid’s blog gives a really good account of the legend. It also harks back to the time when the population was entirely pastoral in Thal Desert.
The Noon are a tribe of Jat and Rajput status, found in mainly in Shujabad Tehsil of Multan District. According to their traditions, they are descended Noon, a Bhatti Rajput, who said to have left Delhi. According to other traditions, Kalyar was a son of Rana Raj Wadhan, who had four other sons, (1) Utterā, (2) Nun, (3) Kanjun, (4) Hatar. The tradition is that the ancestors of Raj Wadhan lived in ancient times near Ghajni (which is said to have existed near Rawalpindi), from where they migrated to Delhi, which after a time they left for Bhatner (now known as Hanumangarh). In the 7th century of the Hijra Raj Wadhan together with his tribe left Bhatner and settled near Chhanb Kulyar (now in the Lodhran District), which in those days lay on the southern bank of the Sutlej and formed part of the dominions of Rai Bhutta, the ruler of a city, the greater part of which was destroyed by the Sutlej flowing over it; but parts of its ruins are still to be seen on the right bank of the Ghāra (in Lodhran District). Rana, Raj Wadhan had a beautiful daughter whom Rai Bhutta, desired to marry. The request was refused by Kalyar, the eldest son of Raj Wadhan ; and the result was that a sanguinary battle took place in which Rai Bhutta, was slain. The tract of the country thus conquered by the Kalyars became known as Chhanb Kalyar, which name it still retains. At this time Sher Shah Sayyid Jalal was living in Uch, where Rana Raj Wadhan and his sons went to see him and embraced Islam. Raj Wadhan remained at Uch, Uttera, occupied the ‘ Viah ‘ (Bias), Nun began to live on the Ravi, (and that tribe is now dominant in Shujabad tahsil), Kanjun at the Donari Mari (?), and Kalyar made Chhanb Kulyar his residence. Hatar was deprived of his share of the inheritance. Although, as my post on the Hattars show, they are now a substantial tribe in Sargodha District.
However, the Noon of Sargodha District generally connect themselves with Tiwana tribe of Khushab, and claims Panwar ancestry.
The Traggar, sometimes spelt Targar are a tribe of Jat status, found mainly in South Punjab, with a sizeable presence in the Thal. According to their tribal traditions, the Traggar are by origin Bhatti Rajputs, who get their name from the town of Traggar in Bikaner District of Rajasthan. They left Bikaner some five centuries ago, and settled in Jhang. On their settlement in Punjab, the tribe converted to Islam. The Traggars were forced to leave Jhang when the fell out with the Sial, who were the local rulers. A branch moved west and settled in Bhakkar District. Another group moved south, and settled along the banks of the Chenab River, in what is now Muzaffargarh and Multan districts. A further migration took place in the 18th Century, when some members of the tribe moved into Sindh, where quite a few are found. The Traggars speak Seraiki, in both Sindh and Punjab. There customs are similar to neighbouring tribes such as the Bosan and Thaheem, and they are mainly landowners and cultivators.
In terms of villages, a large number are found in Dera Atta Muhamadwala in Mianwali District and Khatwan in Bhakkar District.
Uttra, sometimes spelt Utra, are a Jat clan, found mainly in villages near the towns of Quidabad and Noorpur Thal. They are sometimes confused with the Uttera, but the two tribes are distinct. Little is known about the origin of the tribe, other then the fact they are said to be the earliest inhabitants of the portion of the Thal near the town of Kallur Kot, and the word uttra means a northerner. However, some traditions do make them out to be a clan of the Bhatti tribe. There are also few Uttra villages in Bhakkar, Khushab and Mianwali districts. Important Uttra villages in Mianwali include Rustamwala, Uttra kalan and Uttra khurd. While in Bhakkar, Basti Dhudianwala and Chak 43/ML (near Kallurkot) are important villages. In Dera Ghazi Khan District they are found in the villages of Haji Kamand and Jhok Uttra. And finally in Khushab District, they are found in Utra and Mitha Kooh. Like other Thal tribes, they were formerly pastoral, but are now entirely settled