Daha Rajput

In this post, I wll look at the Daha Rajput tribe, now found mainly in Khanewal District of Punjab. The Daha were rulers of an independent principality in the Neeli Bar and are an extremely influential tribe in Khanewal District. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Kathiato give more information on the Bar nomad tribes.

The Daha are a branch of the Panwar Rajputs (also pronounced as Parmar), who ancestor was Mahrajah Shri Khand, ruler of the state of Dharanagri in Malwa region of Central India. The ancient Paramar kings of Dharanagri claimed to be members of the Agnikula or Agnivansha (“fire clan”). The Agnikula myth of origin, which appears in several of their inscriptions and literary works, goes like this: The sage Vishvamitra forcibly took a wish-granting cow from another sage Vashistha on the Arbuda mountain (Mount Abu). Vashistha then conjured a hero from a sacrificial fire pit (agni-kunda), who defeated Vashistha’s enemies and brought back the cow. Vashistha then gave the hero the title Paramara (“enemy killer”). The earliest known source to mention this story is the Nava-sahasanka-charita of Padmagupta Parimala, who was a court-poet of the Paramara king Sindhuraja (ca. 997-1010). The Parmar ruled an important state in Malwa until their decline in the 13th Century.

Coming back now to the the Daha, 20th in descent of Shrikhand was an individual by the name of Dohaj. Dohaj was a prince of Dharanagri, and it was his son Daha, from which the Daha Rajputs get their name. Twentieth in descent from Daha, was an individual who converted to Islam and took the name Taqi Khan. A descentdant of Taqi Khan by name of Singhaar Khan left Malwa and settled in the Neeli Bar, near where Khanewal is located. This migration is set to have occurred in the 13th Century. The Daha were pastoralist at this point, although they built a fort near present day Khanewal. Both the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire maintained a very light control over the Bar nomads.

According to another tribal tradition, Daha, who was said to be a Muslim holy man, was married the daughter of Parihar Rajput, who were said to be the rulers of Multan. They claim kinship with the Bohar and Parhar Jats, who are also of Parihar Rajput ancestry. While another tribal tradition claims the tribe originated in Dharwar in central India, from where they migrated to Pakpattan. The tribe then spread to Khanewal and Multan. There original name was dharawal, or in English people of the town of Dharwar, which was shortened to Daha. During the period which saw the break up of the Mughal Empire (circa 18th Century), the Daha became effective rulers of the portion of the Neeli Bar that forms the modern Khanewal District. The town of Khanewal is name after Khan Daha, the founder.

With the collapse of Mughal authority in the 18th Century, the Daha chief Hasan Khan carved out an independent principality. The principality included Tulamba, Luddan and Tibbi Sultanpur. However, like many of these petty Muslim Rajput principalities, the Daha also saw the arrival of the Sikhs. During the rule of Ziarat Khan, the Daha chiefs acknowledged Sikh overlordship (around 1790). The Daha chiefs were granted lands in Bahawalpur such as Khairpur Tamiwali, to which they paid tribute to the Daudputra rulers of that state. When the region came under British rule in 1849, the Daha chief was Khan Mohammad Khan, who was made a zamindar by the new authorities. Like other Bar chiefs, Khan Mohammad lost his indipendence. When Khanewal was founded by the British, and the area opened up to canal colonization, the Daha were granted extensive estates by the colonial authorities. The current member of national assembly from Khanewal is Muhammad Khan Daha .

In terms of distribution, they are found mainly in Vehari, Khanewal, D G Khan, D I Khan,Faisalabad, Multan and Rajanpur districts. Important Daha villages starting with Khanewal District include Dera Nishat Khan Daha, Rajanpur District Kotla Esan and Kotla Daha, and in Muzaffargarh District, their main villages are Head Bakaini, Mahiwal Daha, Sardar Mohammed Daha, Mohammed Daha, Chak Ali Daha and Ali Daha. 

Noon / Nun Rajput

In this post, I will look at the Noon, sometimes spelt Nun, tribe of Rajputs. Two of their branches, those of Shujabad near Multan and Hamooka near Khushab achieved political power, although Noons are  also found in Bhakkar, Jhang and Faisalabad.  The Noons of Khushab are closely connected with  the Tiwana, and I would ask the reader to look at my post on that tribe.

Origin Myth
The Noon are a tribe of Jat and Rajput status, found in mainly in Shujabad Tehsil of Multan District. According to one of 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, also known as Nano began to live on the banks of 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. Rajah Nanoo had sevens sons. One was said to have settled in Mitha Tiwana, another at Kahror Pacca in Lodhran District, one was settled in Shikarpur in Sindh and four were settled in Shujabad in Multan after accepting Islam on the hands of Makhdoom Jalaluddin Jahanian Jahangasht of Uch. All Noons except of those Sargodha write Rana as their title, except those of Mitha Tiwana, who use the title Malik.

Noon of Shujabad

There is however another tradition among the Noon of Shujabad, who claims descent from a Rajah Ganj, a Chandravanshi Rajput. The Rajah was prince of Thana Bhawan, which is a town in Uttar Pradesh, located  near the city of Delhi. A descendent of Rajah by the name of Nano converted to Islam at the hands of Makhdum Jahanian (b 1308- d 1384). The tribe, according to this tradition, gets its name Noon from Nano, and after their conversion to Islam they settled near Multan. They remained a pastoralist tribe living near the banks of the Chenab until the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 1556 to 1605). He granted the title of rana, which is a historical title meaning lord, and used by Rajput groups in South Asia, to their chiefs. The various Noon of Shujabad claim descent from six brothers, Ranjha, Janah, Ali Sher, Langa, Umar and Walan. These six brothers are said to have fled from near Multan, and founded the town of Bangala. From this original settlement, they founded further villages such as Basirpur, Mohanpur, Kachotha, Sat Burji and Jalalabad. A number of further settlements were established during the rule of the  governor of Multan, Nawab Muzaffar Khan. Two of the most important villages were those of Basti Mithu, Mari Noon and Dadu, while their other villages include Garwezpur, Basti Dad and Panoi. During the later Mughal period (18th Century), the Noon of Shujabad were independent, their most important chief being Rana Mithu. Rana Mithu’s son, Rana Gamah acknowledge Sikh sovereignity, and was an important courtier in Ranjit Singh’s court. When Sikh rule ended in 1848, his nephew, Rana Ahmed Yar Khan  was appointed zaildar. The Noon’s of Shujabad are still active in politics, with Rana Ijaz Ahmad Noon , serving as a Member of the Punjab Assembly.

In addition to the Shujabad Noons, another branch of the family is settled in Kahror Pacca in Lodhran District.

Noon of Kahror Pakka

Another branch of the Noon are found in the town of Kahror Pakka, in Lodhran District. According to some traditions, the Noon are a branch of the Kanju tribe. Rana Alhaj Rabnawaz Noon, a Kahror Pakka who authored the Tareekh Noon Rajput (Moeenabad, 1986), wrote the following about the Kehror Pakka branch:

 

The Noon clan resides mostly in Sargodha district and Multan district of Punjab.The Noon clan migrated from Dehli and settled in the Bhalwal and the Shujabad areas. Great legater of Noon cast was Rana Fateh Mohammad who with his family came from District Shahpur (Sargodha) and settled in Mouzas Sangu and Chori Noon Tehsil Shorkot District Jhang. After settlement of a half century here, they populated in Khanqah Shah Hussain near Shatabgarh in Tehsil Mailsi. During this settlement Rana Fateh Mohammad came with his family to Noqabilwah of Kahror Pacca which was known as chak Bangar Shirqi and permanently settled here

According to the Kehror Pakka. they arrived in the region from Sargodha and Jhang almost 250 years ago. Alhaj Rabnawaz writes further:

In Sikhs regime, a senior member of Joiya family constructed a rivulet from Qabilwah to Mari Bhagowah. That part of rivulet which was constructed in the area of Bhago Khan was known as Mari Bhagowah and remaining part of rivulet which was constructed in Bangar Shirqi was given the name of Noqabilwah. That is why the old name was converted into new name Noqabilwah and majority of Noon family of Kahror Pacca is resided in Noqabilwah.

The Noon’s were subject to the Pathan Nawabs of Multan, but were semi-independent, until Multan fell to the armies of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1817. The Noon then sack to the position of zamindars under Sikh and then from 1848, British rule/

Noon of Khushab / Sargodha

This branch of the Noon tribe also traces its descent from Rajah Ganj. Rajah Nano here did not settle in Shujabad, but arrived with his kinsmen in the Thal.  Here they established close relationship with their neighbours, the Tiwanas, with whom they have long inter-married. While the arrival of the Sikh reduced the power of the Shujabad Noons, the Sikh power strengthened the Khushab Noons. Their chiefs, Malik Bakhsh Khan and his son Malik Jahan Khan served in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and held some villages in jagir, which were then lost in the last period of Sikh rule. Malik Fateh Khan, the Noon chief at time of the annexation of Punjab by the British in 1848, helped the British put down a Sikh uprising in 1849. The Malik was giving an estate by the British as a reward. From this branch of the Noon family came the Pakistani prime minister Feroze Khan Noon.

The Noon established fifteen villages in Sargodha District in the late 19th Century, after a grant of the large jagir. The most important of which are Alipur Noon, Nurpur Noon, Sardarpur Noon and Sultanpur Noon.

Distribution of Noon Rajputs According to the 1901 Census of India

District / State
Population
Multan 3,653
Shahpur 1,213
Total Population 4,866

Population of Noon Jats According to the 1901 Census

District / State
Population
Chenab Colony 172
Other Districts 205
Total Population 377

Barya/ Varyah and Taoni Rajput tribes of Punjab

This post will look at two Rajput tribes, who were found in what is now the Punjab state in India, namely the Varya (also spelt Braah, Brah, Baria, Warya, Waria, Warah) and Taoni. The Varya were much more widespread than the Taoni, but both tribes were centred mainly in what were the Phulkian States (Patiala and Nabha). These two tribes had much in common, both were largely Muslim by the beginning of the 20th Century, used the title Rana, and had seen their political power weakened by the rise of the Sikhs. Unlike some of tribes of Rajput status that I have looked earlier, in particular in the Pothohar region, the distinction between Rajput and Jat was very clear in the region inhabited by these two tribes.

The historical homeland of the tribes was the Puadh, (sometimes anglicized as Poadh or Powadh) region. This is a historic region in north India that comprises parts of present-day Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the U.T. of Chandigarh, India. It has the Sutlej river in its north and covers the regions immediately south of the Ghaggar river. In Haryana, the region includes Pinjore, Panchkula, Naraingarh, Kalka, Ambala and Yamunanagar districts. Other areas include Jagadhri, Kalesar, Pehowa, Gulha tehsil of Kaithal district and Fatehabad district. The people of the area are known as Puadhi and speak the Puadhi dialectof Punjabi. Among the Rajput tribes, the Varya and Taoni were pre-eminent in the Puadh region.

The Puadh region consists of the eastern districts of Punjab, the north-western portions of Haryana and the southernmost strip of Himachal Pradesh.

Map of the Puadh Region Source Wikepedia

Chhat and Makan

The Rajputs of the Puadh had an interesting institution, that of the Chhat and Makan. The author of the Hoshiarpur Gazetteer describes it as such:

The word chhat is explained as an abbreviation of chhatar makan, equivalent to taj or “ crown.” It may possibly be translated canopy. The canopy used to be one of the insignia of sovereign power. A chhat makan is a village which enjoys a pre-eminence over, or is held in special veneration by, the other villages of the brotherhood (biradari). It is generally called simply chhat. A makan is a village of lower grade than a chhat. The title of makan is earned for a village by some person’s performing a meritorious deed at a wedding or a funeral, and it is then said of it that ‘village so and so ia a makan, koi lallu panju gaon nahin — “it is not an ordinary village, but a famous place.” Tika is the title of the heir-apparent to a reigning prince. Hence it is applied to villages which are the seats of a prince’s rule It would appear that a chhat makan was originally a tika, a tika being a village which is the seat of a house still actually ruling or exercising authority in some way.

Baria / Varya

The Varya or Baria had a number of origin myths . They generally placed themselves within theSuryanvanshi division of the Rajputs. It seems that there original settlement was in Patiala. The name Baria / Varya is very likely  derived from Sanskritic: Varaha which means boar, which was very likely their totem. Another form of the name appears to be Warah, which is used by those of Jalandhar.

There is general agreement that the ancestor of the tribe was Binepal of Bhatinda, and had emigrated at a very distant past from Udaipur. The Varya are descendants of Warah, whose grandson Rājā Banni Pāl, is said to have founded Bhatinda, after conquering Bhatner and marrying the daughter of its Rajā. Banni Pāl’s son Udasi was defeated by a king of Delhi but received a jagir. His son Sundar had seven sons, of whom the eldest founded Badhar in Nabha. (Cf. Barian). Rai Kalu of Kakra near Bhawanigarhwas said to be the first Varya chief to have embraced Islam in the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (October 1542[a]– 27 October 1605). Different groups of Varya them began to convert, but there still many Varya who are Hindu such as those of Bakhtri in what is now Sangrur District. In the Patiala State, the Varya, both Hindu and Muslim owned nearly 30 villages in the tehsils of Sunam, Bhawanigarh and Amargarh. At the beginning of the 20th Century, they were organized along chhats or villages of the first rank and makans or villages of the second rank, other villages being inferior to these in social status. The author of the Patiala Gazetteer wrote the following:

Barahs have 12 chhats and 24 makans, the chhats in this State being Samana, Talwandi, Kakra, Bhumsi, Jhal, Jhondan, in Nabha Baena, Badbar, Baragraon, in Jind Bazidpur, and in British territory Budlida and Moranda

According to another tradition, the tribe is descended from a Warah, whose grandson Rajah Banni Pal, who is said to have founded Bhatinda, after conquering Bhatner and marrying the daughter of the Raja. Banni Pal’s son Udasi was defeated by a Sultan of Delhi but latter received a jagir. His son Sundal had seven sons, of whom the eldest found Badhar in Nabha. Malwa Ithaas states that Raja Vineypal Variah, who was a descendant of Vikramaditya, built the fort of Bhim Garh, that evolved into the town of Bathinda on the banks of the Sutlej in 655 CE and established his rule. This rule contained property from Bhatner,Lahore, Sarhind, Mandlik, Licchabadi, Thanesar, Bhadhaur, Dango, Peshawar, and most of Punjab. This kingdom had two capitals, one at Batthinda and one at Lahore. It also states that Variah was a son of Varga, 26th generations down from Bikarmaditya. Variah’s descendants were Taskmas, Ajaypal, Abhaiypal, Vineypal, Lakhanpal, Rattanpal, Naiyapal, Nainpal, Vijaypal, , Jashpal, Satpal, Gunpal, and finally Gillpal whose descendants are the various Gill Clans in Punjab. According to Malwa Ithass the last Raja of this clan was Jayapal whose grandson was killed by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1008 CE .During the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, most of the tribe converted to Islam.

In Jallandhar, the Varya had a tradition their ancestor Mal, a descendent of Raja Karan of the Mahabharat, came from Jal Kahra in Patiala in around 1500. While those of Sialkot, where they are found in small numbers and rank as Jats, not Rajputs, say they are of Chandravanshi descent. However, most Varya Rajputs consider themselves to be Rajputs of the Suryanvashi lineage. The Varya may be connected with the Barhaiya Rajputs in the Azamgarh and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, who also connect themselves with Udaipur.

After the partition of Punjab in 1947, the Muslim Varya migrated to western Punjab, where they are found in districts such as Faisalabad and Sahiwal.

Population of Baria Rajputs According to the 1901 Census of India

District / States Muslim Hindu Total
Patiala State 11,168 306 11,474
Nabha State 4,498 33 4,531
Hissar 1,451 1,451
Ludhiana 1,433 1,433
Jalandhar 647 19 666
Malerkotla State 528 528
Ambala 389 49 438
Hoshiarpur 288 41 329
Firuzpur 286   286
Rohtak 265 265
Karnal 220 220
Lahore 141   141
Other Districts
366 19 285
Total Population 21,986  467 22,453

Taoni

The Taonis claim Chandravanshi descent from the legendary king of Punjab Uggar Sain, who is said to have migrated from Agroha in 6th Bikrami and settled  in Ambala. One of the descendent, Rai Amba, is said to have founded the city of Ambala. While the Patiala Taonis claim descent from Raja Gopal (7th in descent from Uggar Sain). Over time, two distinct Taonis principalities arose, one based in Ambala, the other in Banur.

There conversion to Islam is said to have occurred during the rule  Shahab-ud-din of Ghor (1149 – March 15, 1206). After the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan at Tarain, Dhirpal, embraced Islam and took the name  Nawab Abdul-Karim. His tomb is said to be at Banur; which became an import Taoni centre. Prior to partition the Muslim Taonis were numerous in that tehsil and in  Patiala, Rajpura and Ghanaur all located within the Patiala State. While the Hindu Taonis held Bular (in tehsil Patiala), Lilru, Nagla and Khelan in Bathinda. The Toani are divided into twelve clans, said to be named after the sons· of Raja Gopal; vis., Dhirpali, Ambpali, Bhitiian, Motian, Rai Ghazi, Jaisi, Sarohd, Ajemal, Jhagal and Lagal, the last six holding the title of rai.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, they occupied the low hills and sub-montane in the north of Ambala district including the Kalsia State, and some of the adjoining Patiala territory. Prior to partition the Muslim Taonis in Patiala territory were numerous in that tehsil and in  Patiala, Rajpura and Ghanaur. While the Hindu Taonis held Bular (in tehsil Patiala), Lilru, Nagla and Khelan in tehsil Bathinda, and Dhakansu, Tepla, Banwari, Pabra and Dhamoli in  Rajpura. About their Chhats and makans, the author of the Phulkian States gazetteer wrote the following:

Socially they have 14 chhats and 24 makans, the chhats in this State – being Banur, Shamdo, Kauli,, Ghanaur, Patton, Khera Gujju, Suhron, Ajrawar, Chamaru, Manakpur and Jausla, and in British territory Kharar, Khanpur and Morinda,

The Bacchal clan of Jats, which occupies the same region like Taoni, are descended from Taoni Rajput from a Jat wife.

After partition in 1947, the Muslim Taonis moved to Pakistan. They are now found mainly in Sialkot and Okara districts, a few are also found in Mandi Bahauddin District. In Sialkot, they are found in Gondal (Radial) and also in Daburji Mallian villages. Some of the Taoni families are settled in Gujranwala (Buddha Goraya & Bhakhranwali) and Khanewal as well in Tehsil Samundri Chack no 47 GB.

Population of Taoni Rajputs according to the 1901 Census

District / States Muslim Hindu Total
Ambala 8,531 1,255 9,786
Patiala State 8,516 899 9,415
Karnal 752 76 828
Kalsia State 325 325
Ludhiana 209 10 219
Other Districts
 51 97 148
Total Population 18,384 2,337 20,711

 

Lilari / Neelgar (Leelgar) Caste of Pakistani Punjab

This post will look at the Lilari caste in Punjab, sometimes pronounced as Nilari, a sub-group with the Shaikh biradari of that province. They are also known as nilgar (neelgar) or leelgar from lil or nil, an Urdu/Hindi term for indigo and gar, meaning the makers of indigo. Historically, the Lilari were found mainly in eastern Punjab and Haryana, and considered themselves as members of the Shaikh community, and refer to themselves as Multani Shaikh.

The Lilari are sub-group within the Rangrez caste. Both the Rangrez and Lilari were dyers and both were artisans and not menials, being chiefly found in the towns and are really branches of the Chhimba caste. The distinction with the Rangrez is that the Lilari would only dye, as the name implies, indigo; while the Rangrez dyed in all country colours except indigo. Indeed in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, the Rangrez are said to have three subdivision, the Lalgar, Nilgar and Chhipi, and not seen as distinct caste. The basis of these social divisions is occupation. In this social hierarchy, the Chhipi are placed in the lowest position, because they dyed and printed clothes, whereas the Lalgarh and Nilgarh generally prepare colour from indigo. The Lilari in Punjab however had become quite distinct from the Rangrez, although both groups were Muslims.

The Lilari is an occupational term, used for those who were stampers or dyers, but by the beginning of the 20th Century, they had also turned their hand to tailoring or washing. They are a classic functional caste, based on their traditional occupation, which is dyeing. Although most members have now abandoned their traditional occupation, the caste name persists. The British ethnographer Rose made reference to the several territorial divisions among the Chimba groups, include the Lilari, e. g., in Patiala there were three:

the Sirhindis (endogamous), the Deswals and Multanis, who intermarry, as is also tho case in Jind. In Gurgaon the Desi Chhimbas are said to be converts from the Tank and Rohilla.

This showed who the Lilari are of very mixed background. However, the Lilaris themselves claim to be originally Arabs of Multan, who made their way along the Sutlej, settling in Narnaul and Mahendragarh tehsils of Patiala State and the neighbouring Jind state. From there spread to what is now Haryana, where about a third were found at the beginning of the 20th Century. Most of Lilari in Haryana referred to themselves as Sirhindi, from the ancient city of Sirhind that was the centre of Muslim power in eastern Punjab and Haryana during the middle ages. The Lilari were followers of Hakeem Luqman, who is said to thought there ancestor the art of dyeing.

In Punjab (including Haryana), the Lilari groups were organized in guilds and overtime these guilds formed themselves into castes. The Lilari were further divided by language, those in Haryana spoke Haryanvi, while those in central districts of old Punjab spoke Punjabi.

The partition of India had a profound impact of the Lilari, with many becoming refugees. Most Lilari are now found in southern Punjab, in Multan and Muzaffargarh, and Ghotki in Sindh. Furthermore, industrialization has seen the end of traditional dyeing practices. Increasingly, the term Lilari is falling out to use, replaced with the term Shaikh. I would ask the reader to look at the Youtube channel of Mohammad Alamgir, who has interviewed members of the Lilari community now settled in Pakistan.

Lilari Population According to the 1921 Census of India

 

District / State
Population
Hissar 3,415
Rohtak 2,271
Gujrat 2,152
Karnal 2,101
Patiala 1,899
Sialkot 1,895
Gujranwala 1,768
Lahore 1,560
Amritsar 1,508
Gurgaon 1,412
Rawalpindi 1,182
Jind State
1,077
Jhelum 1,008
Firuzpur 1,008
Hoshiarpur 828
Ambala 792
Gurdaspur 629
Sheikhupura 626
Jalandhar 470
Nabha 347
Ludhiana 330
Kangra 280
Other Districts 1,840
Total Population 30,051

Turk biradari of Uttar Pradesh

In this post I will look at the Turk biradari, community found mainly in the Rohilkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Udham Sing Nagar district of Uttarakhand. The term Turk here does not imply any connections with Turkey, as the Turks of Rohilkhand claim descent from individuals of the Turk ethnicity from Central Asia. The first known mention of the term Turk applied to a Turkic group was in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century, who were based in modern Mongolia. Overtime the term has devolved onto the Turks of modern day Turkey, but historically was also used to describe Central Asian Turkic groups. The Turk biradari claim their descent from the latter group.

Origins

Like most communities, the Turks of Rohilkhand and the Terai, they have a number of origin myths. One such tradition claims that the Turks came to India as soldiers who accompanied the 11th century warrior-saint Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud or Ghazi Miyan (circa 1014 – 1034 CE). However, it likely the Turk settlement took place at a latter date. Indeed some Turks groups, particularly those in Rampur, say that are originally emigrants from Central Asia, and came in the army of Shahubbin Ghori. These Turks had come from Turkistan region in what is now Central Asia, especially the modern Uzbekistan.

However, most Turk claim that their ancestors came to India during the period of the Slave Dynasty (1206 to 1290), with two periods of settlement. During the rule of second sultan Illtutmish (1211-1236), who conquered Badaun and Aonla (Katehr) in Rohilkhand, that their first settlement took place near Aonla. During the rule of Ghiyasuddin Balban (1266-86), who made Badaun an important centre of his empire, was when the second settlement of Turks occurred.  After ascending the throne, Balban broke up the Amir-i-Chahalgani group of up to the forty most important nobles in the court which was by Iltutmish. As a result, these nobles fled to different villages in Rohilkhand and settled down in the region. The Turks claim descent from these nobles.

Some of these claim to be descended from a certain well-known and pious Abdullah Turk who originally settled in the village of Ronda in the Moradabad district, where his tomb still exists. His descendants do not intermarry with other clans, and anyone who infringes this rule is cast out from the brotherhood. The author of the Rampur State gazetteer took the view the Turks are really a branch of the Muslim Banjaras.

Turks numbered 32,938 persons, a surprisingly large figure five times as great as the These Turks are apparently Banjaras, Turkia being the name of one of the chief Banjara sub-divisions. The Turkia Banjaras state that they came from Multan and that their first settlement in Rampur was at Tanda Badridan. It is a well-known fact that the northern portion of Eampur and the Tarai parganas of Naini Tal swarm with Banjaras and the supposition that these people prefer the name Turk is strengthened by the appearance of only 8,102 Banjaras in the state according to the 1901 census report. General tradition indicates that all Banjaras were originally Hindus.

However, the author conceded that Rampuri Turks had a contrary origin myth:

On enquiry from some of those who called themselves Turks it appeared that they were originally Sheikhs, who belonged to the Siddiqi and Faruqi elans and came from Bokhara. A party of Sheikhs is said to have first settled in Herat, whence they came to the Punjab and settled in the Jalandhar district and afterwards made their way into the districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. In these latter districts they are known under the name of Garha, while in Bijnor and Moradabad they are called Jhojhas, and in Bareilly, Rampur and Budaun as Turks.

The differing traditions as to their probably reflect that there were several migrations. Indeed the Turks are divided into three sub-tribes Jhoja Turk, Khoja Turk and Bobna Turk. The Rohilkhand region is also home to a large community of Muslim Turkia Banjaras, and it is possible the Turks are somehow connected with the Banjaras.

Present Circumstances

The Turk are an endogamous community, and prefer marrying close kin. They are essential small and medium sized farmers, and their villages tend to be uni-caste. The Turk cultivate wheat, paddy, maize, sorghum and sugar cane. Those in north Rohilkhand have benefited from the effects of the Green Revolution. Their customs are similar to other neighbouring Muslim communities such as the Rayeen and Rohilla. They have fairly active caste council, which deals with community welfare as well as an instrument of social control. The Turk are entirely Sunni Muslims, like other Muslim communities in western Rohilkhand, they have seen a growth in madrasas in their villages. Notable people from the Turk caste include the cricketer Mohammed Shami and Dr.Shafiqurrahman Barq – former Member of Parliament from Sambhal.

Distribution

In terms of their distribution, most Turks are found in Rampur District, which home to around 50 village. Their remaining settlements are in the districts of Amroha, Sambhal and Bareilly. In Bareilly, the Turks are concentrated in Baheri. They are spread across the towns of Sambhal, Moradabad, Rampur, Amroha and Nagina in India’s largest province of Uttar Pradesh (UP). There are large number of Turk villages in the Terai region of Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand state. The city of Sambhal, popularly called ‘little Turkey’, is known for its artisans who make decorative pieces from animal horns and also the cultivation and export of mentha oil. The Turk population in the city accounts for 350,000 to 400,000.

Turk population according to the 1901 Census of India

District Population
Rampur State 32,938
Nainital 4,163
Moradabad 1,714
Bareilly 672
Other districts 20
Total Population 39,507

The 1901 Census confirms where the greatest concentrations of Turks was then the Rampur State. This remains the case now.

Chadhar

This post will look at the Chadhar, a tribe found among both Rajputs and Jats. Interestingly, in different parts of Punjab, the way to pronounce the word Chadhar differs. For example it is commonly pronounced Chadhar but in some areas of the Punjab, like the cities of Jhang and other adjoining districts, it is pronounced as Chadhrar, while in the Majha, Doaba and Malwa areas it is pronounced as Chandhar.
Chadhars claim descent from Chandarh, the son of Raja Ravilan of the lineage of king Pandu of the Mahabharata. They belong to the Chandra Vanshi branch of the Rajputs, and it is widely believed that they are a branch of the Tomar Rajputs, with the branch of the tribe of in Jhang saying that they are the descendants of Raja Toor and that they migrated into the Punjab fromRajputana.

Origin

Found along the whole length of the Chenab and Ravi valleys, but far most numerous in Jhang, where they for the most part regard themselves as Rajputs, the Chadhars claim to be descended from Rajah Tur, Tunwar.  According to their traditions, in 1193 AD, when Mohammad Shahabuddin Ghauri invaded India, the clan moved from Rajasthan to the Punjab. Some went to Bahawalpur, where they were converted to Islam by Pir Shershah (Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari) of Uchch Sharif. If this tradition iss correct, they have been Muslims now for over 8 centuries. However, its worth mentioning, there are still Chadhars in the Doaba who are Sikh by faith.

From Bahawalpur, they migrated north, along the course of the rivers Ravi River and River Chenab. They clashed with those tribes already settled in the region such as the Kharal, Harals and Sial tribes over the possession of essential water resources. They are generally recognized by their neighbours as a branch of the Tomar Rajputs. The northern most Chadhar are found in villages in Pind Dadan Khan tehsil of Jhelum, as such the tribe is very widely spread.

Interestingly, the Chandarhs were the villains in the famous Punjabi romance story of Mirza Sahiban. It is said that Mirza Kharal, the hero of the story, was slain by Chadhars as Sahiban, the heroine was betrothed to Zahir Khan, the son of Jham Khan, a Chandarh Jatts. Because of this murder, it is said that there were many battles between Chandarh and Kharals.
Chadhar sub clans.

 According Chadhar genealogists, they are divided into several sub-clans, most of which are found in Jhang. These include:
1. Aasi
2. Wejhwe
3. Wijhalke
4. Warbhu
5. Kulle
6. Kaloke
7. Jappa
8. Lune or Loone
9. Sajanke
10. Nalere (sometimes pronounced Lalere)
11. Kangar
12. Rajoke
13. Kamoke
14. Harya
15. Paroke
16. Jatoke
17. Deoke
18. Moona
19. Majoka
20. Paajike
21. Chookhia
22. Wallara
23. Thabal,
24. Sajankey,

Many Chadar villages are named after these sub-tribes like Wijhalke and Kaloke and Chak Sajanke and Chak Loone and Mauza Wllara on the right and left banks of the Chenab in the Chiniot District. Well known villages of Chandarhs in other areas of Punjab include Chandarh, Rajeana, Dhaaban, Awan and Rampur.

About their clans, the British colonial ethnographer E. D. Maclagan wrote the following:

The Chaddrars are Tunwars. Their chief tribes in the Sandal Bar are the Rajokes, Kamokes, Jappas, Luns, Pajikes, Deokes, Ballankes, Saiokes, etc. The Chadhars of the Bar are said to have expanded from Dhaban, a small rahna or encampment south-west of Khurianwala. The Luns of Awanwala in the Bar say they have been there for seven generations. At Bajla rahna there is a separate class of Luns or Lunas called Bala Luns, who celebrate marriages, wash the dead and so forth, and act more or less as mullas

Rajputs or Jats?


Jhang Chadhars claim that they are Rajputs, while Chadhras of some areas of Punjab claim to be Jats, in particular those found in the Manjha and Sialkot-Gujrat sub-mountain region. According to the Census of 1881, 26404 Chandars recorded themselves as Jats and 177,746 recorded themselves as Rajputs. Furthermore, the gazetteer of Jhang District (1881 – 1884), Chandarhs are considered to be good farmers and rarely indulged in cattle rustling or theft unlike their neighbours, the Sials, Kharals and others. The distinction in the valley of the Jhelum is not quite that clear, however, with regards to the Chadhars, their neighbours generally if sometimes grudgingly accept their status as Rajput

Distribution

Chadhars occupy a large area of land on the left bank of the Chenab, in the Jhang District, starting from Khiwa (along the boundaries of the Sials) to the adjoining areas of Sayyids of Rajoea Sadaat. Their main village is Tahli Mangeeni which is said to be their throne or Takht. Other villages include Chak 20 Gagh and Thatha Jhamb.

The Chadhars are found in districts of Jhang, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Sheikhupura, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Lahore, Khanewal, Multan, Bhakkar, Bahawalpur, Okara and also in some parts of Sindh. There is also a village named Chadhrar near Tank, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some of the Chadhars settled in the Firozpur District in Indian Punjab and founded the village of Chandarh near Mudki. Others settled in Nakodar near Jalandhar. As Muslim Jats, most of the Chadhar Jats shifted from Ferozepur to Amritsar, and Gurdaspur after partition. Most of these Chadhars are now found in Faisalabad.

Chadhars of Chakwal, Jhelum, Khushab and Mianwali:

In Chakwal District, where the northern most Chadhar settlements are found, important villages include Dhok Chadhar, Dhok Miyal, Punjain and Chak Baqar Shah. In Jhelum District, they are found in the village of Abdullahpur and in Lilla town. While accross the Jhelum river in Mandi Bahauddin, they are found in the villages of Beerpindi Jharana, Bosaal, Bukkan, Gohri and Mangat, Mian da Lok. In Mianwali District, they are found in Sultanwala.

Distribution of Chadhar Jats According to the 1901 Census of India

District Population
Chenab Colony 8,691
Jhang 6,345
Multan 3,734
Shahpur 3,303
Montgomery 2,495
Amritsar 1,733
Mianwali 1,226
Montgomery 525
Other Districts 1,128
Total Population 29,180