Mahra, Naich and Waiha tribes of South Punjab

In this post I shall look at three tribes, namely the Mahra, Naich and Waiha or Vehas, that are found mainly in South Punjab. They all have traditions of migration from Rajasthan, leaving the desert of the Thar and settling in the valley of the Indus or Sutlej. The Jats and Rajputs of this region are said to have came from Rajputana and Jaisalmer and converted to Islam in the reign of Feroz Shah Tughlak (ruler 1351 to 1388). According to tribal traditions, as the Bhati rulers of Jaiselmer extended their control, they extinguished the independence of the various Jat of the what was then known as the Jangal Desh. As the tribes moved west towards the valley of the Sutlej, they encountered a Sufi saint who converted them to Islam. One of the Sufi often referred to in the conversion story was Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari (1199–1291), which conflicts with the migration story under Tughlak. In Punjab, a claim of conversion at the hands of Sufi often adds prestige, therefore it is possible the migration occured latter under Tughlak, but the Sufi story was added later. One more point I wish to make that in Southern Punjab, the word Jat refers to any tribe that does not claim to be Saiyads, Baloch, Pathan and Qureshis and is somehow connected with agriculture. Therefore, according this definition, all these tribes are Jat.

Mahra

I start off by looking at the Mahra. According to tribal traditions, the Mahra were descended from a group of Chaghtai Mughals who were orignally settled in Delhi. However misfortune struck these group of Chaghtais, and in a feud, the entire tribe was slain, save a young boy. As he was found lying among the corpses, he was named Mars or Mehra, literally the dead one in Sindhi. He and his descendants migrated to the banks of the Indus. Here they contracted marriages with locally settled Jat tribes, and became Jat. However, despite this claim of Mughal origin, its worth mentioning that there are still several communities of Hindu Mahra Jats in Nagaur district such as Silanwad suggesting that the Mahra like the Naich and Waiha are also immigrants from the Jangal Desh.

They are still found along the banks of the Indus in Rajanpur District on the west bank and also in larger numbers in Alipur tehsil of Muzaffargarh District.Their main villages include Kot Mahra in Multan District, Bahadur Mahra, Mahra Faraz and Mahra Sharqi in Muzaffargarh District, Hazrat Wala in Rajanpur District, and Shaidani Sharif in Rahim Yar Khan District. A small number of Mahra are also found in northern Sindh.

Naich

The next tribe I will look at are the Naich, eastern neighbours of the Mahra. They are found largely in the valley of the Sultlej. The Naich claim to be Suryavanshi Rajputs, descended from Rajah Karan of the Mahabharata. Ninth in descent from Karan was a prince called Wadhol, Raja of Nainwal, who is said to have five sons – Langah, Naich, Shajra, Dahir and Bhutta. Naich is said to have a married a Jat, and his descendents became Jat. It is interesting to note the the other four names are all well known Jat tribes of South Punjab. According to their tribal traditions, they were converted to Islam by Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari, the famous saint of Uch Sharif at the same time as their hereditary foes the Bohar. However, despite both groups converting to Islam, their feud continued. The region around Uch Sharif became extremely dangerous as a result of this feud. The Sayyid had enough and arranged that they should intermarry. The Bohars obeyed, but when it came to their turn to give a daughter to the Bohar they not only refused to do so but killed their Bohar son-in-law. As a result of the feud, the Bohar moved to the Cholistan, and the Naich became effective rulers of the territory which is now known as Rahim Yar Khan, until the arrival of the Daudpotras in the 18th Century.

Their clans are :

Dandra.
Nawal.
Tarapa.
Ladhrini
Malhni.
Murani
Budhani
Hajani

Villages

Bahawalpur District

Ahmad Naich

Amin Naich

Basti Fazal Ilahi Naich

Basti Muhammad Naich

Channi Goth

Hamad Naich

Jhok Naich

Kotla Naichan

Mauza Laalo Naich

Mauza Mahand Naich

Naichan Wala

Tahir Wali

Qadra Naich

Rahim Yar Khan District

Allahabad

Ali Haider Naich

Azizpur

Basti Atta Muhammad Naich

Basti Gul Muhammad Naich

Basti Huzoor Bakhsh Naich

Basti Imam Bakhsh Naich

Basti Laala Naich

Basti Malik Ahmad Bakhsh Naich

Basti Malik Bakht Ali Naich

Basti Malik Ghulam Rasool Naich

Basti Muhammad Panah Naich

Basti Muhammad Hussain Naich

Basti Noor Ahmad Naich

Basti Wasaya Naich

Chak No. 15/A

Changni Chowk

Dandli Naich

Dub Naich

Hazary Wala

Janpur Naichan

Kachi Muhammad Khan

Kanjaki Wala

Khan Bela

Naich Wala

Naich

Noorpur

Pakka Laran

Pakka Naich

Patti Naich

Unra Shareef

Wahi Wala

Muzaffargarh_District

Basti Islamabad

Basti Naich

Bhambhoo Sandeela

Jalasar Wala

Khakwani Wala

Khathar Wala

Sabu Wala

Khanewal District

Arry Wala

Basti Allah Yar Naich

Bohar Wala

Chak No. 8/9R Qasba

Dhory Wala

Dilawar Wala

Dinga Naich

Goh Wala

Jallah Naich

Vehari District

Bair Wala

Chah Baqar Khan Naich

Chah Kor Wala

Chak No. 65/KB

Chak No. 200 EB/33

Dingi Pul

Gehli Chak No. 37/WB

Ghara Mor

Karampur Qasba

Kassi Wala

Mauza Khahi Peer

Mauza Mustafa Abad

Bhakkar District

Basti Naich

Bhamban Wala

Dera Naich

Mohallah Naichan Wala Kallar Kot

Mohallah Naichan Wala Kohawar Kalan

Mohallah Naichan Wala Kotla Jam

Layyah District

Jhok Naich

Naich Nagar

Naich Wala

Toba Tek_Singh_District

Baggi Saidpur

Basti Faram

Chak No. 690/32 GB

Rajanpur District

Basti Malik Amanullah Naich

Naich Wala

Lodhran District

Chah Naichan Wala

Dhanot

Jangal Naich

Dera Ghazi Khan District

Chah Qutab Wala

Naich Wala

Multan District

Basti Naich

Naich

Wahi Naich

Other Villages

Chak No. 19 NB (Punjab, Sargodha), Chak No. 99/12L (Chichawatni, Sahiwal), Goth Fateh Muhammad Naich (Pind Dadan Khan, Jehlum), Kassowal (Chichawatni, Sahiwal), Katana (Punjab, Noor Pur Thal, Khushab), Chak No. 52 AMB (Sargodha), Manda Khel (Isa Khel, Mianwali), Naich Naich (Pind Dadan Khan, Jehlum) and Nizamabad Naich (Thathi Muzamil, Shahpur, Sargodha).

Waiha / Veha

The last tribe I will look at this in this post are the Waiha or sometimes written as Veha.

They trace their origin to Jaisalmer and according to tribal traditions that in the 4th century of the Hijra (913 CE – 1009 CE) the Raja of that State gave Rurar, the modern Tajgarh, in dower to his daughter Huran, and that the place was named after her. This region is now part of the arid region of Cholistan, a region that was part of the Bhati state of Jaisalmer until the arrival of the Daudpotras from Sindh in the 18th Century. At the close of the 10th CE, the Sufi saint Sayyid Ahmad Billauri settled in the this part of Cholistan in a place now called Amingarh close to Rurar which is now found in the modern Rahim Yar Khan District. The Sayyid began to preach Islam among the tribes of this desert region. This region was then ruled by Raja Bhunak Bhati who became a convert to Islam. Therefore, by ancestry the Waiha are Bhati Rajputs.

There are a number of traditions as to why these the Raja and his family acquired the name Waiha. One of the tradition point to a change in their name on conversion, for one derives Veha from vih, the Seraiki word for twenty, as it was that leading members of the tribe having been converted with Raja Bhunak. Another derives the name from wahi cultivation, because the Raja of Jaisalmer, Bhunak’s overlord as well as kinsman, confiscated their lands on their conversion, and the Sayyid told them to take to cultivation. A third fanciful etymology derives Veha from wah, because their conversion was applauded by the Sayyid’s followers. The Waiha were largely pastoralist, but most of their homeland now has a network of canals, and they are now settled farmers.

Most Waiha villages are located near the town of Allahabad, in Liaqatpur Tehsil of Rahim Yar Khan District. Two other clusters are found in Tulamba near Multan and in Dera Ismail Khan District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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Population of Jat clans of Faisalabad, Multan and South Punjab according 1901 Census of India

The British province of Punjab comprised five administrative divisions — Delhi, Jullunder, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi — and a number of princely states. This post gives a breakdown of the Jat clans enumerated as part of the 1901 Census of India. In 1901, the Multan Division comprised the following districts:

 

Multan District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 137,718, out of a total of 140,315, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Athangal  308
Atwal  386
Aulakh  205
Autrah  2,979
Bachh  175
Bains 2,097
Bajwa  266
Bhangu  134
Bhullar  141
Bhutta  4,872
Buttar  141
Chaj  123
Chadhar 3,734
Channar 1,696
Cheema  311
Chhajra  168
Daha  472
Dhillon  82
Dhudhi  254
Gaun  349
Ghallu 2,761
Gill  536
Hanjra  190
Heer 370
Jakhar  1,822
Kachela 1,010
Kalyar  1,123
Kalru  1,362
Kanju 626
Khaira 467
Khaki  1,465
Lak  303
Lang  1,883
Langah  2,927
Langrial  3,171
Maan  122
Mahe  953
Mahota  271
Maitla  1,751
Naich  108
Nain  21
Nonari  617
Panuhan  268
Pandah 165
Phor 2,019
Raad  616
Rak  432
Rawn  1,813
Randhawa  113
Sahi  127
Sahota / Sahotra  379
Sahu  3,413
Sanda  286
Sandhel  2,118
Sandhu  606
Shajra  539
Sipra  749
Soomra  1,458
Tarar  140
Thaheem  4,540
Warraich  390
Wasir  1,586
Virk  1,571

Chenab Colony

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 150,602 (65%)  out of a total of 230,529. Unlike the other parts of the erstwhile Multan Division, the Chenab Colony was a site a British Imperial colonization scheme, that brought large number of settlers from central Punjab. Among these settlers, the Jat were encouraged to come, and the Chenab Colony latter Lyalpur District had a large presence of Hindu and Sikh Jats. The Muslim Jat population included both long settled Jats such as the Bhutta, Khichi, Wagha and Wasir, and settlers from East Punjab such as the Bal, Dhariwal and Sandhu.

Tribe Total
Atwal  1,361
Aulakh  635
Bains  2,599
Bajwa  4,229
Bal  189
Balani  167
Bar  628
Bhangu  330
Bhatti 4,594
Bhullar 80
Bhutta 351
Buttar 247
Butta 563
Chahal 355
Chadhar 8,678
Chatha 692
Cheema 4,755
Chhina 1,054
Deo or Dev 492
Dhariwal 479
Dhillon 1,159
Gawanis 262
Ghumman 1,372
Gill 3,430
Gondal 768
Goraya 2,132
Hanjra 1,505
Harral 2,671
Heer 266
Jaj  382
Jakhar  248
Kahlon  594
Kahu  1,331
Kajla  364
Khake  120
Kang  308
Kathia  199
Khichi  120
Lak  609
Lali  207
Langah  214
Lidhar  132
Maan  190
Mahe  332
Mahil  97
Mangat  139
Naul  438
Noon  172
Pannu  352
Pawania  113
Rajoka  667
Randhawa  1,999
Sahi  699
Sahmal  778
Sandhu  2,467
Sarai  467
Sidhu  499
Sian  131
Sipra  3,385
Siroha  144
Sohal  67
Tatla  117
Tarar 1,154
Thaheem  158
Virk  1,683
Wagha  616
Wahla  756
Warraich  3,708
Wasir  1,112
Wattu  411

Jhang District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 50,596, out of a total of 50,769, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Aura  437
Bains  257
Bar 271
Batth  145
Bhangu  179
Bhutta  477
Chadhar  6,345
Dab  805
Gil 539
Gilotar 1,393
Hanjra 370
Harral 3,491
Hasnana  104
Hidan  426
Jappa  706
Kalasan  252
Kasra  204
Kathia  119
Kudhan  216
Lak  394
Lali  1,932
Langah  112
Mahe  97
Maitla  238
Mangon  204
Matmal  149
Murali  526
Naul  616
Noon  181
Sahmal  641
Sipra  1,945
Suddle  221
Tarar  158
Targar  150
Thaheem  469
Virk  234
Wagha  200
Waiha  314

Muzzafargarh District

In 1901 the entire Jat population of was Muslim and numbered 117,362.

Tribe Total
Aulakh  122
Autrah  843
Babbar  2,363
Bhullar  116
Bhutta  2,803
Chadhar 525
Chan  479
Chatha  544
Daha 1,454
Dhal 368
Dhotar  138
Dona  205
Ghallu 1,327
Hanjra  402
Hans 395
Heer 395
Jakhar  104
Janjua 778
Jatal  144
Kalasra  1,281
Kalru  1,488
Kang 629
Khaira 2,085
Khaki  1,822
Lakaul  1,518
Langah  700
Lar  778
Mallana  1,797
Naul  118
Nonari  1,454
Panuhan  455
Parhar  2,610
Sahota / Sahotra  630
Sahu  870
Sandhel  2,477
Sipra  123
Soomra  611
Thaheem  1,748

Dera Ghazi Khan District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 118,701, out of a total of 118,843, therefore almost all of the Jat were Muslim.

 

Tribe Total
Atra  493
Babbar  4,294
Bains /Waince
123
Barra  1,597
Batwani  895
Bhatti  700
Bhutta  1,835
Buttar  1,292
Chachar  1,156
Chadhar 181
Channar 263
Chhajra  913
Chhina  545
Dahya  436
Dhandla  643
Dumra  778
Hanbi 871
Heer 372
Jakhar  273
Janjua 3,861
Jehlan 1,584
Jhar 402
Kahlon  416
Kajla 558
Kalru  106
Kanera  765
Kang 978
Khaira 200
Khati  612
Kohawer  467
Lakaul  1,157
Lak  547
Langah  1,967
Mahar  773
Mahesar  648
Maitla  776
Mallana  1,358
Mohana  3,591
Panwar  189
Parhar  579
Phor  719
Sahota / Sahotra  994
Sandhel 916
Sangi  1,244
Sial  231
Soomra  2,508
Thaheem  1,234
Virk  548
Wagha  456

Bahawalpur State

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 175,370, out of a total of 192,146, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Atwal  351
Bains / Waince
177
Bhaya  923
Bhutt  475
Bhullar  43
Buttar 447
Bipar  508
Bohar  3,833
Burara  498
Chachar  8,923
Chadhar 334
Chaudhary 1,162
Chhlar 7,529
Chhina  159
Dahar / Dahiri  1,307
Daha  148
Dahya  1,508
Dala  1,364
Dakah  823
Dasa 459
Dhandu  643
Duran 977
Gabora 352
Ganja  1,047
Hamshira – Chauhan 233
Jaam  448
Jhak  246
Jhullan 1,285
Kahka 1,453
Kalhora 745
Kalwar 1,584
Khaki  514
Khalne  412
Kheri  219
Khal  512
Khombra  637
Kohadar  493
Kolar  661
Kont  288
Langah  2,474
Lodhra  446
Makwal  473
Malak  3,264
Manela  628
Markhand  155
Marral  880
Masson 563
Mohal  373
Naich  3,786
Nanwai 1,833
Nehon  184
Parhar  7,960
Panwar /Puar  7,702
Samma  3,084
Sangah  123
Sangi  1,094
Sanda  139
Shajra  259
Sipra  611
Soomra  4,393
Sutera  468
Thaheem  1,653
Tonwar / Tomar  1,038
Unnar  327
Uttera  1,817
Waraich 287

Census of Delhi Province 1931

The population breakdown by religion, caste and community of the Province of Delhi in British India, now the National Capital Territory of Delhi, in the 1931 Census of India.

 

Religion-wise

 

Religion Population Percentage
Hindu 399,863 63%
Muslim 206,960 33%
Sikh 6,437  1%
Jain 5,345 0.8%
Christian 16,989 3%
Others 652
Total 636,246 100%

 

 

Caste-wise

 

 

Religion Caste or tribe Population
Hindus 399,863
Aggarwal 25,383
Ahir 13,039
Bawaria 32
Brahmin 65,434
Chamar 65,738
Chirimar 270
Chura (Bhangi) 17,905
Dagi and Koli 6,928
Dhanak 1,321
Dhobi 3,172
Faqir 43
Gaderia 2,413
Gujar 14,291
Jat 50,609
Jhinwar 12,654
Julaha 8,616
Kayastha 10,569
Khatik 3,522
Khatri 13,780
Kumhar 9,259
Kurmi 556
Lodha 1,207
Lohar 1,599
Mali 12,886
Nai 4,433
Rahgar 7,175
Rajput 30,664
Sansiya 227
Taga 1,043
Tarkhan 4,046
Teli 1,457
Tank Kshatriya 107
Dhiman Brahmin 5
Not Declared 1,096
Muslims 206,960
Arain 3,330
Brahmin 48
Chamar 11
Chura 345
Dhobi 1,022
Faqir 2.870
Gujar 331
Jat Muslim 1,245
Jhinwar 24
Julaha 800
Khatik 5
Khatri 5
Kumhar 92
Lodha 8
Lohar 711
Mali 15
Meo 5,253
Mughal 6,420
Nai 807
Pathan 26,387
Rajput Muslim 5,736
Sayyid 18,257
Shaikh 118,079
Taga Muslim 3,402
Tarkhan 319
Teli 1,852
Others  9,586
Sikh 6,437
Brahmin 36
Chura (Bhangi) 35
Jat Sikh 1,517
Jhinwar 37
Khatik 64
Khatri 497
Lohar 13
Rajput 186
Tarkhan 1,123
Tank Kshatriya 188
Others  2,815
Jain 5,345
Aggrawal 3,052
Brahmin 15
Others  2,278
Christian 16,989
Chamar 2,744
Chura (Bhangi) 2,863
Others  11,382
Others 652
Total 636,246

 

 

Source

Census of India 1931 Delhi Volume XVI Imperial tables, XVII

Basra, Goraya and Nagra tribes

In this post, I intend to look at three tribes, namely the Basra, Goraya and Nagra, who are found mainly in the northern half of the Ravi Chenab (Rechna Doab) Doab, mainly now the districts of Hafizabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala and Narowal. Historically, these tribes also had a presence in Gurdaspur, but like other Punjabi Muslims they had to migrate to Pakistan at the time of partition. All these tribes are Jat clans, and this region of Pakistan perhaps has the clearest boundary between Rajput and Jat. Jats are found all over this region and form the backbone of the agricultural community. They are divided into numerous clans and historically belonged to different religions. It was not uncommon to find in a village a few Jat families practicing Sikhism while others Islam. Along the border with the Jammu and Kashmir state, many Jats had remained Hindu, and many Hindu Nagra Jats are still found in the Jammu Jammu Region. Therefore, we find among the Basra, Goraya and Nagra groups following Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. The Gazetteer of the Sialkot District (1920, Part A) gave the following description:

profess different religions, but a strong family likeness pervades the whole tribe. The Muhammadan is sometimes said to be less energetic than his Hindu or Sikh brother, but it is very doubtful whether any such distinction exists. The Sikh sometimes indulges a taste for liquor and a certain amount of illicit distilling occurs in the district. All are patient, hardworking cultivators without much enterprise but tenacious of their rights and proud of their position as zamindars or landowners, even if their holding be but an acre or two.

Another interesting factor is that both the Basra and Goraya claim descent from the Saroha Rajputs, a tribe of which little is known. The quote makes reference to the word zamindar, literally landowner, and almost Jats in this region interchangeably describe themselves as zamindar and Jat.

Basra

I start of by looking at the Basra, a clan found mainly in the northern part of the Rechna Doab. Like many of other Jat tribes in the Sialkot region, they claim descent from the mysterious Saroha tribe. There are currently very Saroha Rajputs, but most claim to be Chandravanshi Rajputs. Many Basra also connect themselves with the mythical Rajah Salvahan, who is said to founded the city of Sialkot. According to this tradition, Raja Salvahan has two sons named as Basra and Sarra. From Basra descend the Basra tribe of Jats and from Sarra the Sarai, another well known Jat tribe. Basra is said to have migrated to Phagwara, now located in the Kapurthala district of Indian Punjab. There original settlement was the village of Mehli, located near the town of Phagawara. Incidentally, almost all Basra of the Sialkot / Narowal region claim Mehli to be their village of origin. Melhi is also still home to Basra Jat families who follow the Sikh faith. Some five centuries ago, a famine drove the Basra from Phagwara, and they established their first settlement at the village of Gharial Kalan, south of the town of Pasrur. They then founded the village of Gharial Khurd , due to the unavailability of land in Gharial Kalan. It is unclear when the Basra began converting to Islam, but the majority were Muslim at the time of the arrival of the British in the Punjab 1849. Most Basra are now found mainly near the city of Daska.

In terms of distribution, most Basra are still found in Raya Tehsil of Narowal District, and Daska Tehsil of Sialkot District. There are a second cluster of Basra villages in the Kali Subha region of north eastern Gujranwala. In the district Sheikhupura, they are found in the villagers of Bule Chak, Akbarian-Bhagian, Hamidpur and Gundowal. Outside their historic area, the Basra Jats have settled in the Canal Colony districts of Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh, where there are now several Basra villages.

Goraya

The next tribe I will look at are the Goraya. There are several origins myths for the Goraya, which is not uncommon among Punjabi tribes. But most agree that sometime in the past they were once pastoral. Like the Basra, the Goraya are said to be descended from the Saroha Rajputs, and to have come to Gujranwala as a nomadic and pastoral. tribe from Sirsa, in what is now Haryana. According to another tradition,t he tribe is descended from a Sombansi Rajput called Goraya whose grandson Mai came from the Lakki Thal, in what is now Bhakkar District. A third tradition is that Rana their founder, came from the Jammu hills during the period of Mughal rule over Punjab (circa 15 -17 AD). Interestingly, the word goraya is also used for the nilgai, a type of a large antelope. Therefore, it is possible that Goraya could have been a nickname for their ancestor. Finally, it is sometimes said that they are a clan of the Dhillon tribe, descended from Budh who had
twenty sons, one of whom was Goraya.

They are now found in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Gurdraspur. They own 31 villages in Gujranwala. In Sialkot, there villages are located ibn the north-east of the Pasrur Tehsil.

Nagra

The last tribe I will look at are the Nagra. According to tribal traditions, the clan claim descent from Nagra, who is said to be a Chauhan Rajput, and the tribe also claim a common origin with the Cheema. They are said to have left Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji (rule 1296 to 1316), and settled initially in Jalandhar, and them moved to Pasrur, near Sialkot. The Sikh Nagra consider the Sikh Cheema to be their collaterals, and as such these two clans do not intermarry. After the partition of India in 1947, the Sikh Nagra of Sialkot District moved to India, while the Muslim Nagra undertook a similar migration from Gurdaspur District

Nagra tribal territory stretched from Pasrur in the west to Gurdaspur in the east. Like many Jat clans in this region, they are partly Muslim and partly Sikh. Many Nagras, like other Jat clans were settled in the Canal Colonies of Lyalpur and Montgomery in the 19th and early 20th Century. One such Nagra village in the canal colonies is Chak 351 GB Nagra in Toba Tek Singh District.