Arwal, Babbar, Manjotha and Meo tribes

In this post, I shall look at four tribes, namely the Arwal, Babbar, Manjotha and Meo, which are found in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts, located in the south and west of Punjab, bordering Baluchistan. This region is dominated by the Baloch tribes such as the Leghari and Mazari, and the status of the Jat is very marginal. Often a Jat tribe is affiliated with a Baloch tribe, and are often referred to as Jat of the Mazari, or Jat of the Leghari. In fact, the word Jat has now being replaced with the word Jamote, which was originally a word used as self-description by the rulers of Las Bela, who belonged to the Samma tribe. This word is now been appropriated by the Jats of Balochistan and Dera Ghazi Khan region. Just a point about the Meo tribe. Most of the Meo are associated with Mewat region, which covers parts of Haryana and Rajasthan in India. However, the Meo of Dera Ghazi Khan are distinct from the Meo of Mewat, as they left the Mewat region some four centuries ago, and settled among the Leghari Baloch, with him they are closely associated. They now refer to themselves as Jamote, and intermarry with tribes of similar status. All these tribes speak the Seraiki language.

 

Bellow is a list of Jat tribes enumerated from 1911 Census of India for Dera Ghazi Khan District:

 

Tribe Population
Bhatti         9,128
Bab 5,257
Manjotha         4,348
Babbar 4,294
Sial 3,915
Khokhar 3,465
Bhutta 2,876
Soomra 2,508
Sambar 2,030
Barra 1,927
Chachar 1,898
Kachela   1,848
Joiya         1,617
Langah 1,558
Jajalani 1,571
Thaheem 1,499
Bohar 1,445
Malana 1,358
Dakhna 1,303
Buttar 1,292
Lakaul 1,157
Parhar 1,144
Makwal 1,091
Sandhila 1,082
Aishiani 1,058
Chauhan 1,026
Daha 1,016
Sahotra         994
Shahkhani 961
Dhandla 949
Chhajra 913
Batwani 895
Samdana 895
Phor 867
Panwar 866
Changar 861
Domra 822
Darakhe 785
Maitla 776
Hanbi 769
Hujjan 733
Khaloti 720
Otrai 718
Chhina 706
Mahra 702
Mohana 663
Lak 658
Mangil 656
Mahesar 648
Dhol 638
Ghani 628
Khati 612
Chani 572
Khaira 567
Kajla 558
Khak 556
Kabru 554
Virk         548
Malhan 529
Meo 524
Barar 501
Heer 387
Naich 286
Kanera 208
Kang 100

As the list show, the Bhatti, Sial, Khokhar and Bhutta are larger of the Jat clans of the Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur. Incidentally, these clans predominate through out southern Punjab. The four clans I am looking at, two, namely the Arwal and Manjotha have traditions of migration from the Makran. They claim to be Jadgal by origin. The question then arises who exactly are these Jadgal. The terms Jadgal and al Zadjali is used interchangeably by early Arab historians of Makran region of southern Balochistan. Their settlement in the Makran region is referred to in Arab histories to the first centuries of the Muslim era (circa 7th century). They are described as sons of kings who were holding the country between Kirman and *Mansura in Sindh,but whether they originated from the west or the east is not stated. The word Jadgal was also used interchangeably with the word Jat. It seems that Makran may have been the originally homeland of the Jat.

 

Arwal

The Arwal are closely connected with the Manjotha, and may even be considered as clan of that clan. In 1911 Census, they were not separately enumerated. According to their tribal traditions, when the Mirani Baloch arrived in the Dera Ghazi Khan, the Arwal left Makran and settled in the region. The Arwal follow Baloch customs in all matters connected with marriage, etc., thus differing from nearly all the other Jat tribes of that region. This has including raring camels, and Arwal were semi-nomadic. They speak Balochi, although most also speak Seraiki as well.

 

Babbar

The next tribe I intend to look at are the Babbars. In numbers, they were the fourth largest tribe in the region. There tradition makes their ancestor as Raja Karan, who appears in the Mahabharat. In Bahawalpur, where they give the following genealogy : —

Raja Karan.
Kamdo.
Pargo.
Janjuban.
Khakh.

Babbar. + Gabbar. + Rabbar. + Jhaggar.

All these four are well known tribes found in Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. The Babbar are Suryavanshi Rajputs, and said to be converted to Islam at the hands of Makhdum Jahanian of Uch Sharif. Their ancestors are said to have left the region near Delhi and settled along the banks of the Indus. In Rajanpur District, the Babbar are found in Tatar Wala and Chah Sherwala villages.

 

Manjotha

Like the Arwal, who some consider to be a clan of the Manjotha, they claim to have come originally from Makran in Baluchistan. A small number of Manjotha also claim an Arab origin.They are Jadgal, and those of Dera Ghazi Khan still speak Balochi. However, according to another tradition, the Manjotha are by origin Barlas Mughals. Manjotha are not unique in having said to have come from Makran, and it does seem some five centuries ago, a large number of Jadgal are said to have migrated into southern Punjab.

The Manjotha are found in the districts of Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, and Multan.

 

Meo

The last community I intend to look at in this post are the Meo. Like the previous communities discussed, the Meo consider themselves as Jamote, but have a distinct and fascinating history. For the Meo are a well known ethnic group found in the Mewat region that lies south of Delhi, and covers the Bharatpur and Alwar regions of Rajasthan. The Dera Ghazi Khan Meo are said to have settled in the region during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, in the 16th century. This community is now Saraiki speaking, having been settled in the region for five Centuries, and has no connection with Meo of Mewat. Their main settlements are Wah Mayo and Mayo, as well as five smaller villages, near the town of Jampur. A second cluster of Meo villages are found in Rajanpur District, in particular Qasba Mayo. Unlike the Mewaty Meo, the Dera Ghazi Khan claim an Arab origin, having to said to have migrated from Iraq. This claim is contrary to what the Mewat Meo claim, which is a Rajput origin. Having settled in a region where Rajput ancestry is of little consequence, the Meo have now begun claiming Arab descent.

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Dab, Nissowana, Rehan and Sipra/Sapra tribes

In this post I shall look at four tribes that are found mainly along the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Three of these tribes, namely the Dab, Nissowana and Rehan are actually all clans of the Khokhars. At present, I will not delve into the origins of the Khokhar, other to confirm the consensus that they are a tribe of Rajput origin, but are also connected with the Awans. The Jhelum valley north of the city of Jhang almost to the outskirts of Khushab is home numerous small clans, most of whom claim to be by origin Khokhars. Among these include the three tribes subject to this post. The last tribe that I will look in this post is the Sapra, sometimes pronounced as Sipra, who are by origin Gill Jats. Unlike their neighbours, Sipra culturally have much more in common with the Jats of central Punjab, then the other tribes in this post. However, all these tribes are of Jat status.

Dab

I shall off this post by looking at the tribe of Jats known as Dabs. According to most traditions, the Dab are a clan of Khokhar Rajputs. However, another tradition gives the Dabs a Suryavanshi Rajput, and their ancestor Dab is said to have come to Punjab around 1469 AD. Generally, the Dab are now seen as of Jat status, and intermarry with tribes of similar status.

The Dabs are found mainly in Shorkot Tehsil of Jhang District, with their main villages being Jalala Dab and Dab Kalan. The village of Kotli Sultan Dab in Khanewal District, is also centre of this clan.

Nissowana

We now look at the Nissoana, sometimes written as Nissowana or even Naswana, who territory lies east and north of the Gilotar and Chadhar. As mentioned in my introduction, the suffix aana in the Kirana Bar is a patronymic, therefore the Nissowana are the descendants of Nisso. So the question is, who was this Nisso, from whom the tribe is descended. Like most tribes of the Bar, and indeed the whole of western Punjab, there are a number of traditions. Many Nissowanas claim to be Bhattis, indeed Nissowana territory located on the borders of Chiniot and Sargodha districts is referred to as Bhatiore, or the region of the Bhattis.

 

However, there are other traditions which connect the Nissowana with the Awan tribe. This is more recent claim, as early British colonial writers make no reference this, which in itself does not mean this claim to Awan origin is incorrect. Please refer to my post on the Budhal tribe, which gives some background to the Awan tribe. Suffice is say is that the Awan claim Arab descent from a Qutab Shah who arrived in India with the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni. A more common tradition is that Nisso was a Khokhar Rajput, and son of Rihan, the ancestor of the Rehan Jats, who are also found in Jhang. In popular opinion in the region of Punjab they inhabit, the Nissowana are perceived as Jats, and intermarry with the Rehans, and other Jat tribes of their neighbourhood.

The Nissowana are found about thirty villages in the northeast corner of Chiniot and neighbouring Sargodha. There main village is Kandiwal, where the chief or Malik resided, however, they no longer exert any influence on the tribe. There remaining villages include Chak Jodh, Lakseen, Kot Naja, Luqman, Balianwala, Nawah Lo, Bahiwaal, Bhabhrana, Dinga, Bhukhi, Loley Hayatpur, Mundrana, Wassuana, Kiradiwal, Yaarewala, Raajewal, Bhoukn, Chak 54 SB, Bhuttran Chak, Chak Khana and Icharwal.

 

Rehan

The last tribe that I will look in this post are the Rehan. They are neighbours of the Akera, and at one time were rulers of the Kalowal illaqa. They are surrounded by Khokhar tribes, and it is possible that the Rehan are of Khokhar origin themselves. According to a tribal tradition found among the Nissowana, is that Nisso was a Khokhar Rajput, and son of Rihan, the ancestor of the Rehan Jats. However, they were pastoralists a lot longer then their Khokhar neighbours, but were effectively settled by the British, who ended the independence of the Rehans. This distinction with their Khokhar neighbours has meant that the tribe has kept it distance from its Khokhar neighbours. Their most important village in Jhang District is still Kalowal, although they are several villages across the district boundary in Sargodha.

Sipra

The last tribe I shall look are the Sipra, sometimes pronounced as Sapra. They are a branch of the Gill Jats, a well-known tribe found in central Punjab. The tribe gets its name from Sipra, who was the first to convert to Islam, sometimes in the 16th Century. Sipra and his clansmen settled in Shorkot, and were found mainly in Sial dominated villages. It is interesting to note that in 1911 Census of India, many Sipra put down Gill as their clan.

Most Sipra are found in Jhang District, and important Sipra villages include Kharal Sipra, Mal Sipra and Waryamwala. In Chakwal District, the Sipra claim descent from Jewa Sipra, who left Qadirabad in Mandi Bahauddin District in the 18th Century and settled in Bal Kasar. Presently, in addition to Bal Kassar, they are also found in the villages of Narang Syedan and Sikriala.