Hattar, Lak, Nagyana and Tatri tribes

In this post, I shall look at three clans that are found in uplands of the Chenab and Jhelum Doaba (land in between). All four clans, namely the Hattar, Lak, Nagyana and Tatri were once semi-nomadic pastoralists, that inhabited the Kirana Bar or at least the Jech Doab, the land between Jhelum and Chenab river. Kirana Bar is a portion of the Chej Doáb, it takes its name from the Kirana Hills found here. This region is now divided between the Sargodha and Jhang districts. Bar stands for an area of jungle as it was before colonisation by the British Government. This area starts from the northwest of Hissár country near the bank of river Chenab with an abrupt high ridge and this high bank of bar dies away a little distance east of the boundary of between the Chiniot and Jhang tehsils, opposite the village of Kot Mohla. The lands of the Kirana Bár to the east and south of the hills are of superb quality. After slight showers of rain, the whole country is carpeted with grass. This meant that pastoralism was the best form of lifestyles. The Lak and Nagyana had huge herds of cattle. Like the Thal tribes discussed in earlier posts, the Kirana nomads were practically independent until the coming of the Sikhs. Other then the Baloch of Sahiwal (in Sargodha), the region did not know any princely authority. Real change came with the British, who began last scale colonization, bringing in settlers from central Punjab. The Tatri were the first two be settled, followed by the Lak and Nagyana. The Nagyana difers from the other Bar Jats in that they have always been seen as sacred, with many pirs coming from the tribe.


I shall start of by looking at the Hattar, a tribe found through out north-west Punjab. Before I start, as far as I know the Hattar have no connection with the Khattar tribe. According to their owntraditions, the tribe claims descent from a Bhatti Rajput nobleman named Rana Rajwadhan. The Rana lived in Ghazni, in what is now Afghanistan and then moved to Delhi in India. After sometime, he moved to Bhatner (now known as Hanumangarh) in what is now northern Rajasthan. In the 13th Century, the Rana and his family are said to have moved to Chanb Kalyar, in what is now the Lodhran District, in Punjab. The ruler of the area was a Raja Bhutta. The Raja wanted to marry the daughter of Rajwadhan, who refused. As a result a battle took place, and the Raja was slain. The tract was then divided between Rajwadhan, and his five sons, Kalyar, Utera, Kanju, Noon and Hattar. All these are names of fairly well known tribes of south Punjab, and have much in common with tribes referred to my first post, such as the Aheer, being largely nomadic and pastoral.

Coming now back to the Hattars, the descendents of Hattar are said to have converted to Islam and left the Multan region, and moved to northwest Punjab, where they are a now found as a Rajput tribe. Therefore, they are a clan of Bhatti Rajputs, although some Hattar groups in Sargodha refer to themselves as Jats. The Hattar are now found in the districts of Sargodha, Khushab, Jhelum, Gujrat, Chakwal, and Attock. Starting off with Attock, the Hattar are found in a single village by the name of Hattar., while in neighbouring Chakwal, their villages include Hattar, Dhudial, Fim Kasar, Jhallay, Jethal and Assami Hattar, while in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, their main villages are Dhok Hattar and Hattar. And finally in Gujrat District, Hattar is their main village. It is however Sargodha District and in particular in Bhalwal Tehsil, that the bulk of the Hattars are found. Important villages iin that tehsil include Chak numbers 15 and 16NB, Jalpana and Pindi Hattar, while in Shahpur Tehsil of Sargodha, their villages are Deowal, Ghurtala, Kakewala, Khurshid and Rawal. Across the Jhelum in Khushab, they are found in Pillow Waince.

The Lak claim descent from the Parmara (Panwar) Rajputs, and were originally found alongs the banks of the Chenab river, but were ousted by the Sikhs in the 18th Century from this region. Their ancestor was Lak, who like most Panwar Rajputs is said to have left Malwa in central India, arrived in Punjab, and converted to Islam. They are now found mainly in Sargodha District, with few communities in Faisalabad, Mandi Bahauddin Sahiwal and Multan Districts. Most Lak villages are located between Malakwal and Sargodha, with Burj Ghulam Rasool, Mari Lak, Sakesar and Mitha Lak being the most important. In neighbouring Mandi Bahauddin district, they are found in the villages of Bosaal Masoor, Lak, Thakkar Kalan, and Pind Makko. In neighbouring Jhelum District, they are found in the village of Pir Khara, while in Khushab District they are found in Khaliqabad.


Lastly, I look at the Nagyana, who are closely affiliated with the Lak, which I have looked at in an another post. Although they claim Arab descent from a Nag, hence Nag aana, the sons of Nag, this name does suggest that they may be of Hindu descent. Interestingly, in the Pothohar region, the Nagyal are also literally the children of Nag, but these Nag descendants claim to be Minhas Rajputs. The tribe is extremely localized, found in villages, such as Dharema and Masar,  near the town of Shahpur in Sargodha District. Historically they had a sacred status among their neighbours the Harrals and Laks, providing many pirs or holymen.


The Tatri are Jats, which customs similar to the tribes already described. They claim descent from Tatri, who is said to be a Bhatti Rajput. As with the traditions of many other Jat clans in Sargodha region, by marrying into the Jat community, they too became Jat. In Bhalwal, the Tatri occupied seven villages, maintaining their independence until the arrival of the Sikh. In Bhalwal, they are still found mainly in Lariala, Nothain, Jahanewala, Dhakwan, and Tatrian. Outside Bhalwal, a few Tatri are also found in Mandi Bahauddin District such in village Sanda.


Khanzada Caste – The Ahbans

This is my second post looking at some important Muslim communities in India. All the communities looked are members of the Khanzada community. The Khanzada or Khan Zadeh are a community of Muslim Rajputs found in the Awadh region of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

The Khanzada comprise a large numbered of dispersed intermarrying clans. These exogamous groups are made up of myriad landholding patrilineages of varying genealogical depth, ritual, and social status called biradaries or brotherhoods scattered in the various districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The biradari, or lineage is one of the principal point of reference for the Khanzadas, and all biradaris claim descent from a common ancestor. Often biradaris inhabit a cluster of villages called chaurasis (84 villages), chatisis (36 villages) and chabisis (26 villages). Important biradaris include the Bachgoti, Bais, Bhale Sultan, Bisen, Bhatti, Chauhan, Chandel, Gautam, Sombansi and Panwar.

The sense of belonging to the Rajput community remains strong, with the Khanzada still strongly identifying themselves with the wider Rajput community of Awadh, and often refer to themselves as simply Rajput. This is shown by the persistence in their marriages of Rajput customs, like bursting of fire crackers and sending specially made laddoos to biradati members. Many members of the community continue to serve in the armed forces of India, an activity traditionally associated with the Rajputs. However, like other Indian Muslims, there is growing movement towards orthodoxy, with many of their villages containing madrasas.

I also wish to add a quick word about the term Taluqdar, which appears quite a bit in this post. Taluqdar in Persian literally means a holder of a Taluq, and were often appointed during the period of Mughal rule in India. A Taluq was district usually comprising over 84 villages and a central town. The Talukdar was required to collect taxes, maintain law and order, and provide military supplies/manpower to the provincial government (similar to the role of feudal lords in Europe). In most cases the Talukdars were entitled to keep one tenth of the collected revenue. However, some privileged Talukdars were entitled to one quarter and hence were called Chaudhry, which literally means owner of the fourth part. As Mughal authority weakened, the taluqdar became independent rulers, only paying lip service to the Nawabs or rulers of Awadh. The khanzada families made a large part of the taluqdari class in Awadh. This semi-independent status ended when Awadh was annexed by the British in 1856.



The Ahbans Khanzada are Muslim converts from the Ahbans clan of Rajputs, who are found mainly in the Awadh region. According to William Crooke, the word Ahbans probably comes the Sanskrit ahi, meaning dragon,” which may have been the tribal totem, and bans meaning clan. The Khanzada or Muslim branch of the tribe are found mainly in Lakhimpur Kheri and Hardoi districts of Uttar Pradesh. The Ahbans provided the taluqdar families of Kotwara, Jalalpur and Raipur, and the zamindars of Bhurwara, Ghursi, and Amethi.


According to their tribal traditions, they are descended from two brothers, Gopi and Sopi, who are said to have been members of Chavda Rajput community of Gujarat. The Chávaḍás are connected with the Chápas of Bhinmal and Chápa of Wadhwan, medieval dynasties that ruled in western India, and maybe of Gurjara origin. Some scholar believe they originated from Indo-Scythian community, who were also based in western India. Their origin is also placed in Saurashtra where their capital was at Deobandar near Somnath. Dharanivaraha of Vardhamana’s grant mentions the etymology origin the word Chapa or bow of Shiva. The Chavda dynasty ruled region of modern-day northern Gujarat, from c. 690 to 942. Variants of the name for the dynasty include Chapa, Chahuda, Chávoṭakas and Chāpoṭkata.


The two brothers, Gopi and Sopi, are said to have come into Awadh shortly after the overthrow of Chavda rule in Gujarat. They were said to have been living in Anhalwarra Patan, the capital of the Chavda Dynasty. The brothers then went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Gaya around, around the tenth century AD. On their return, the brothers settled in Gopamau and Bhurwara in Lakhimpur Kheri District. Gopi established his control over Pargana Gopamau, in Hardoi, and a descendant of the latter took possession of Pataunja, near Misrikh, in that Pargana. They became effective rulers of Kheri during the period of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, a position maintained until the arrival of the British in the 19th Century.


Groups of Ahbans started to convert to Islam during the rule of Bahlol Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi, who appointed his nephew Mohammed Farman Ali, also known as Kalapahar, as governor of Bahraich. This Kalapahar is said to have induced the conversion of the Ahbans ranas of Lakhimpur Kheri to Islam. The Ahbans Khanzada provided the taluqdar families of Kotwara, Agar Buzurg, Chauratia, Kukra, Jalalpur, Raipur and Gola. The author of the colonial Gazetteer of Lakhimpur Kheri writes as follows about them:


The Ahbans number over 3,000 souls, of whom the majority are Muslims; their dominions were once very extensive, covering about 4,000 square miles in Kheri, Hardoi and Sitapur and including in thie district the belt of land between the Jamwari and the Kathna and stretching northwards to the Chauka; at present, owing to the force of circumstance~, their property is greatly reduced, but this tract is still full of members of this famous clan.

Of the Muslims, the converted Ahbans hold 82 villages.

The Ahbans of Lakhimpur Kheri, were the effective rulers of the region, till the arrival of the British in 1856. Many of their vast estates once owned by members of this clan, both Hindu and Muslim, were lost, although several families remained as taluqdars..

The first Ahbans to have converted to Islam was said to be a Rajah Mal Sah, who is said to have gone to Delhi, the capital of the Mughal Empire, during the reign of Shah Jahan. Included in his descendants were two brothers, Baz Khan and Fateh Khan, and during their time all Bhurwara was seized by the Saiyids of Barwar. Both brothers left numerous descendants, and after the overthrow of the Sayyids in the early 18th Century, the Ahbans recovered most of their lost possessions. Baz Khan had twelve sons, of whom eight left no issue, while from the two elder sons, Sangi Khan and Tarbiat Khan, descend the taluqdars of Kotwara, Jalalpur and Raipur, and the zamindars of Bhurwara, Ghursi, Amethi and elsewhere. Fateh Khan’s descendants moved north and settled around Kukra and Gola, acquiring between 1821 and 1832 a large tract of country. During the last ten years of Awadh rule, the .Ahbans suffered very heavily at the hands of their Hindu kinsmen of Mitauli and the taluqdars of Oel and Mahewa. Lone Singh seized Kukra and Mailani; the Raja of Oel swallowed up Bhurwara, Chaurathia, and Siathu; and the Thakur of Mahewa took Bansi and Saunkhia Sunsarpnr. They thus were deprived of 72 villages, all mortgaged or sold for very inadequate sums and under great pressure; the owner of Siathu being subjected to torture and threatened with death. The Khanzadas only recovered half of these by redemption of the mortgage, and in 1860 there were several large estates owned by the Ahbans. In addition to the three large taluqas there were the Muslim properties of Chaurathia, Gola and Kukra and the Hindu estates of Bansi and Saunkhia Sansarpur, as well as many smaller properties in Aliganj, Haidarabad and Paila, although located in Lakhimpur Kheri district.


Jalalpur Estate

Tarbiat Khan had three sons, the eldest being Muhammad Hasan Khan, who held Jalalpur in the early 18th Century, when he owned twelve nankar villages in addition to his share in the family estate. He was succeed by lbadullah Khan, with whom the British authority’s, after their takeover of Awadh, granted 13 villages in Aliganj under the name of Agar Buzurg. During his lifetime he made over the property to his son, Niamatullah Khan, who died in 1868 and was succeeded by his widow. At her death in 1884 a relative, named Muhammad Lutfullah Khan, obtained the estate by purchase. The Kotwara estate consisted of the Mirzapur taluqa of eleven villages and one mahal in pargana Bhur, and two villages, known as the Jalalpur estate, in Paila.


Kotwara Estate

From the second son of Tarbiat Khan come the zamindars of Bhurwara and Cbaurathia, and from a third came Qadar Bakhsh, who in 1801 eastablished control over a large area, with the aid of Awadh revenue officials. He held it till the British annexation, with whom he sought confirmation of his estate. He died in 1859 and the property, then comprising 24 villages in Karanpur and Haidarabad, assessed, passed to his widow, Chand Bibi, who held it for her infant son, Azmatullah Khan. The latter died, and the widow continued in possession till her death in1886. She was succeeded by-her daughter’s son, Saiyid Raza Husain, whom she had adopted. The estate eventually consisted of 14 whole villages and two mahals in pargana Haidarabad, and the Rampur Gokul estate of eleven villages and two mahals in Paila. The Kotwara taluqdars also owned a small estate of Pachhim Bilaon in Bara Banki. The present Raja is Syed Muzaffar Ali, who is a Sayyid, and not a Khanzada.

Raipur Estate

The taluqdar of the Raipur Estate were descended from Bahadur Khan, the younger son of Baz Khan. His descendants settled in the Sikandarabad pargana, and by degrees amassed a considerable estate. Over the 19th Century, taking advantage of week control by the Awadh authorities, acquired an estate at comprising 14 villages and one mahal in Haidarbadand the village of Pipra and one mahal of Kondri in Puila. The current Raja is Muhammad Sher Khan.

Sectarian Affiliation

While the taluqdar families are Ithna Ashri Shia, most farming families belong to the Sunni sect.


Found mainly in Kheri, but a second cluster of settlements found in Bangarmau in Unnao.

In Kheri many are found in and around the town Bhira, Aliganj and Bijua.


Description of Major Muslim Communities in India – Abdal, Arab (Chavuse), Arain, Arghon, Atishbaz and Attarwala

In this blog, I will look at some of larger Muslim communities or castes found in India. I will keep the description brief and I have added a bibliography at the end for people interested in further reading. This is my first posting and hopefully several more will follow time permitting. What I wish to show is the extraordinary diversity of the of Indian Muslim community.


The Abdal are one of a number of Muslim semi-nomadic community, traditionally associated with begging at shrines of Sufi saints. They are likely to be a division of the Domba community. The word Abdal is the plural form of the Arabic word Abdul, which means slave or follower. According to the traditions of the Abdal, they acquired this name on account of the fact that they were followers of various Sufi saints. As such, the Abdal is not a single community, but refers to groups that are traditionally associated with begging at shrines. The Abdal of Bihar, who speak the Maithili language, and are found mainly in the district of Purnea, while other Abdal communities speak the language of the region they reside in.I n Gujarat, the Abdal are a community of beggars, who are also known as Dafalis and Nagarchis. Their traditional occupation was beating drums at Muslim shrines. The community is found mainly in Ahmedabad city.
In West Bengal, according to the traditions of the community, the community is known as Abdal, as they are true slaves of God, and the word Abdal means a servant of God. Little is known when the community emerged in West Bengal, but presently form a distinct Muslim community.

Sectarian Affaliation

The Abdal belief incorporate several folk traditions, and follow several Sufi orders such as the Qadriya and Sarwariya.


In terms of distribution, the Abdal are found mainly in Bihar, Gujarat and West Bengal.


Arabs in Gujarat, also known as Chavuse

The Arabs community found in Gujarat, also known as the Chavuse, are descendents of Arabs soldiers who were in the employment of various rulers of states in Gujarat, Kathiawar and Kutch. They are said to have arrived in India in the 17th, 18 and 19th Century. According Satish Chandra Mishra, they are divided in 169 clans, but generally divided into groups, the Hejazi, originating from Saudi Arabia, and the Hadhramis from Yemen. With the collapse of Mughal authority in Gujarat in early 18th Century, a number of local feudal chieftains, both Hindu and Muslim became independent. Most of their armies were made up of mercenaries, and Arabs became the main source of soldiers. This was especially the case in Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhavnagar. The Arabs who came were mainly men, very rarely bringing their families, and intermarriage with local Muslim as well as Koli women was common.

The present Arab community has kept a distinct identity, with many moving to the Gulf States, where they have acquired citizenship. They continue to speak a dialect of Gujarati with Arabic loanwords. The Arbs also continue to maintain distance from groups claiming Sayyid or Shaikh status. Arabs are subdivided into the following sub-groups, the Akvon, Acari, Ansari, Anuj, Kathiri, and Qureshi

Sectarian Affiliation
Sunni, many are now Salafi


Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Panchmahal and Surat. districts of Gujarat


The Arghons are a small community of descendants of immigrants from Yarkand (Xinjiang) and Kashmir that have intermingled with the local Ladakhi community. Most are said to have arrived in the 17th and 18th Century, although some Arghons descend from Kashmiri traders who arrived in the 19th Century. The distinction between the different lineages has disappeared; a new Arghon identity has come into being. Most Arghon are still concentrated in Leh city. The Arghon speak Ladakhi among themselves, but most understand Kashmiri and some also speak Urdu. They are essentially a community of traders and merchants.

Sectarian Affiliation

They are Sunni, and as such quite distinct from the Balti, another Tibetan speaking Muslim group, who are Shia.


In Leh District of Ladakh (in Jammu and Kashmir), mainly in Leh town.



The Arain in India are now two distinct communities, the Arain of Delhi, and those of Malerkotla. Historic, there were Arain communities in what is now Haryana and East Punjab, but most of these immigrated to Pakistan in 1947.

The Arain have a number of origin myths, including descent from Arabs soldiers that came to India with Mohammed bin Qasim. Among the Malerkotla Arains, the tradition of Arab descent is growing, although others still make reference to Raja Bhutta, ruler of Uchh in what is now Pakistan, who lost his kingdom and settled along the banks of the Sutlej. The Malerkotla Arain are Punjabi speaking, and remnants of much larger community in found in eastern Punjab that immigrated to Pakistan at partition.

Separate from the Punjab Arain are those of Delhi. They claim descent from Rai Jaj, grandson of Lara, the mythical founder of the city of Lahore. This Jaj was the ruler of Sirsa territory, and was thus called Rai, a title used by rulers in ancient Haryana. This was latter corrupted to Arain over time. They were converted to Islam during the rule of Mohammed Ghori. The Arain of Delhi are said to have emigrated from Sirsa, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A good many of the Delhi Arain emigrated to Pakistan, at the time of partition of India.

The community was traditionally involved in horticulture and the selling of vegetables. They had their gardens and agriculture lands in Kureni near Narela, Jharoda, Azadpur, Malikpur Chuni and Model Town localities. Malikpur Chuni was traditionally an Arain locality, getting its name from Malik, meaning chief, which is a common surname found among the Arain. From the 1960s onwards, the lands of the Arain have been taken over by the Delhi Development Authority. Many are involved in various trades and businesses.

Sectarian Affiliation

Entirely Sunni


Malerkotla in Punjab, and Delhi State


The Atishbaz are also known as Atishbaz Shaikh or sometimes just Shaikh.

The word atishbaz literally means a firework maker, from the Persian atish meaning fire, and baz meaning to play, and the community is said to have acquired the name on account of their traditional occupation, which was the manufacture of fireworks. According to the traditions of the community, they were originally brought over by the Mughals from Central Asia, as their ancestors were specialists in the manufacture of gunpowder. With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the community took to the manufacturing of fireworks.

Sectarian Affiliation
They are entirely Sunni.

In easternUttar Pradesh, in the districts of Mirzapur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Basti, Gonda and Varanasi. In Varanasi, they are found in the Kashipura, Aurangabad and Ram Nagar localities


The word attarwala simply means the manufacturer of perfumes. The Attarwala claim to be descended from a group of Hazara soldiers who were initially settled in Agra, during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. After the failure of 1857 uprising, the Attarwala moved to Gujarat. Once settled in Gujarat, the community took up the occupation of manufacturing of perfumes known locally as ittars.

The community is subdivided into biradari, literally meaning lineages, the larger ones being the Peer Baksh, Ammer Ali, Khorata, Mandusa, Hussainsa, Zahur Hussain, Mohammad Hussain, Khodar Baksh, Barkhan, Mashoob Khan and Ghulam Khan. They also differ from other Gujarati groups in that they still speak Urdu, although most also understand Gujarati.

Sectarian Affiliation
Ithna Ashri Shia

Mainly in Ahmadabad in Gujarat, a few also in Baroda


Bib, Karlal, and Sarrara tribes of Hazara

In this post, I shall look at four tribes, namely the Bib, Karlal, Sarrara and Turks that are found in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Hazara is located in the North-Eastern part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, east of the Indus River and comprises six districts: Abbottabad, Battagram, Haripur, Mansehra, Kohistan, and New District Torghar. The region is bounded on the north and east by the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. To the south are the Islamabad Capital Territory and the province of Punjab, whilst to the west lies the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The river Indus runs through the division in a north-south line, forming much of the western border of the division. The total area of Hazara is 18,013 km².

Hazara lies in a region which is a crossroads of cultures, where the plains of the Punjab meet the Central Asia. Its population consists of numerous tribes, many of whom claim and are of Pashtun ancestry. However the tribes looked at in this post make no such claim. It is likely that they are of Hindu ancestry, but other then the Turks, they now all claim Arab ancestry. Like most of the population of Hazara, all these tribes speak the Hindko language, which main be descended from the ancient language of the Gandhara civilization. The population are referred to as Hindkowan, meaning people who speak Hindko.


I start this post with one of the least known of the Hazara tribes, the Bib. The origin of the Bib is subject to some argument. According to their own traditions, the Bib are a branch of the Awan tribe, a claim generally not accepted by the Awans. They, like the Awans claim descent from the fourth Caliph of Islam, Ali. Their customs are similar to neighbouring Hindkowan communities, and they are entirely Sunni.
The are found in the Abbotabad District, occupying two villages between the Rash plains and Thandiani range. This region is extremely mountainous, located in the northeast of Abbottabad District in the foothills of the Himalayas. To the east beyond the Kunhar River lies the Pir Panjal mountain range of Kashmir. Cut from the other the Awans of the Haripur plain, the Bib have much in common with their neighbours the Karlal and Sarrara, rather then the Awans.


The Karlal, also known as Kard’al, Karaal, Karhral, or Kiraal, is a Hindko speaking tribe, found mainly in Abbottabad District, inhabiting the hilly area of the Galyat and the Nara tract. A minority are also settled in the Haripur District. A small number are also found in neighbouring Azad Kashmir, in Kotli District. Many Karlal now prefer the self-designation Sardar, meaning chief in Farsi.
The tribe trace their descent from a Sardar Kallar Shah son of Sujann Shah who is believed to have come from southern Afghanistan, and was a descendant of Alexander the Great. In Haripur and Abbottabad, they are known as Sardars, a name they acquired during the time of the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1296), when the tribal members were made rulers of the galliyat region of Hazara. There is also some argument as to the religion of the Karlal, as whether they were Hindu or not. As some of the oldest inhabitants of Hazara, a region that was largely Hindu till the early 13th Century, it is likely that they were either Hindus, or strongly influenced by Hinduism.

It does seem that throughout the middles ages, the Karlal maintained their independence. During Mughal era (1550-1730), when the Gakkars were trying to extend their authority in the entire lower Hazara from their base in Khanpur in what is now Haripur District, the leader of Karlal tribe Morcha Kulli Khan at that time was able to murder the Ghakkar chief and retained his tribes independence. Similarly the Turks, whose territory lay to the north, were also never able to extend their authority over this tribe although enjoying suzerainty over large portion of Pakhal Sarkar (an old name for Hazara). In the Durrani period (1740-1800), no attempt was made by Afghan rulers to subdue their territory. However, when the Sikhs captured lower Hazara they tried to gain control over entire lower Hazara including Karlal territory.

In 1822, Ranjit Singh sent a large force under famous General Amar Singh Majitta which was defeated by Karlals with great slaughter. Amar Singh was also murdered by the Karlal. Lepel Griffin, author of a colonial history of Hazara, writes in his book about this battle of Sumandar Khata. From 1822 to 1845 Karlal tribe fought many battles with Sikhs and were able to retain their independence. In 1844 once again Lahore Darbar sent a large force under Diwan Mulraj and Hari Singh to subdue Karlal country. Taking advantage of the difficult geographical terrain of their country, the Karlals were able to defeat Sikh army at place called Nah and killed more than 150 Sikh soldiers.

During the British period at the time of mutiny in 1857, the Karlal tried to revolt against the rule of East India Company, however, British were able to imprison Karlal chief Sardar Hassan Ali Khan and many mutineers of this tribe were hanged along with some Dhund tribesmen (Mutiny Reports 1857 of Hazara District). Subsequent to that, the Karlal remained fairly quite throughout the rest of the British period ending in 1947.

According to some sourdes, the Karlal make up 30% of the population of the district of Abbottabad, concentrated in the Galyat region bordering Murree and Azad Kashmir. The Karlal together with the Dhund, who are their neighbours to the south, speak a dialect of Hindko called Dhundi-Kariali, which is quite distinct from other Hindko dialects.


The next tribe I will look at are the Sarrara, who closely connect themselves to the Dhund, a tribe found mainly in the Murree hills. Some traditions make the Sarrara a branch of the Dhund, like the Dhund, the Sarrara claim to be Abbasi Arabs.

A strong tribal tradition, make their ancestor Sarrara one of twelve son of Akber Gai Khan, the ancestor of both Dhund and Sarrara tribe. Akber Gahee Khan was son of Zarab Khan who said to have come to Kashmir as general of the army under the command of Qutab Shah, the supposed ancestor of the Awan tribe. On signing a treaty with King of Kashmir and marrying his daughter he was on way back when he went to a saint in Kahuta, who asking him to pray for a child of him. The saint asked for promise of staying at the place as a reward for his prayer. The prayer of the saint led to the birth of a boy named as Akber Gahee Khan. This Akber Gahee Khan had twelve sons, namely:

Kahonder Khan ( forefather of Dhund)
Tanoli Khan (forefather of Tanolis in area of Tanawal and Amb Durband)
Chajjar Kanal
Agar Khan
Kool or Koor
Hakim Khan
Hans Khan
Molam Khan
Barra Hazaria

The legend seems to suggest a close connection with the Dhund, and the Sarrara customs and traditions are close to the Dhund. Like the Dhund, they are hill farmers, speak the Dhundi-Kariali dialect of Hindko.
However, another tradition refers to their ancestors having come some time ago from Pakpattan in the Punjab. The tribe is classed as Sahu and inter marry on equal terms with Dhund.
The Sarrara are only found in the Boi tract between the Thandiani range and Kunhar river in the Abbottabad District. They are found mainly in Pattan Kalan and other villages such Chamiali, Bandi Sarrara, Darer, Batangi, Sialkot, Kotlian, in Kukmang Union Council.