In this post I will look at three Jats tribes, namely the Bhikh, Jhujh and Kadial, who are found north and south of the Jhelum river, in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District, Mandi Bahaudin District and Bhera Tehsil of Sargodha District.
Jats of the Upper Jhelum Valley
The valley of Jhelum River, which forms the boundary between the three districts of Jhelum, Sargodha and Mandi Bahaudin is home numerous Jat tribes. In my post on the Ghugh, Khoti and Khatarmal, I discussed some background to the history of the Jats in this region. From historic accounts, it does seem that the Jats have been in this region for atleast over five centuries, very likely earlier. Below is an account taken from Rose, who quoted the Mughal Emperor Babar (r. 1526–1530) , who passed through the region on his conquest of India:
In the country between Nilab and Bhera, ” wrote Babar, “but distinct from the tribes of Jud and Janjuhah, and adjacent to the Kashmir hills are the Jats, Gujars, and many others of similar tribes, who build villages, and settle on every hillock and in every valley. Their hakim was of the Gakkhar race, and their government resembled that of the Jud and Janjuhah
It is therefore clear the Jats wel established in the region some five hundred years ago. Babar makes further reference to the Jats of the region:
Map of Bhera Tehsil: Source Election Commision of Pakistan
Map of District Jhelum: Source Election Commision of Pakistan
W. S Talbott, the author of the Jhelum Gazatteer wrote to the following of the Jats of this region:
The Jats bulk largely in the census returns; but in this district there is no Jat tribe of common decent and with common traditions: the word is applied to any cultivator who does not claim foreign or Rajput origin, and does not belong to any of the other
great agricultural tribes of the tract. Probably the bulk of the people, so classed are the descendants of Hindu forefathers, and were amongst the earliest settlers here, though nothing definite is known about them; bul no doubt they include also many families from other tribes in the district; who in the course of generations have lost touch with their original connections, and have become merged in tne great body of the cultivators: indeed, according to one view very commonly accepted, this might be· said of the Jat tribe in general
It then further goes on to say:
The first time we hear anything definite about the Jats, about 400 years ago, they are cultivating their lands under subjection to the Janjuas or the Gakkhars; and this remained their condition: they therefore never took any prominent part in the stormy politics of the district
However, by the arrival of the British in the region in 1849, most Jats were independent landowners, they were titled , chaudhary, which means village headman. The region has exceedlingly large number of clans, and the British only recorded the histories of the large clans such as the Gondal, Lilla, and Phaphra. The focus of this post will some of the lesser know Jat clans of the region, where history is less well recorded.
I start of this post by looking the Bhikh, a tribe found mainly in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. The tribe claims descent from the Khokhar Rajputs . Their ancestor was Goria, the Khokhar Raja of Sharab, a state that said to have existed over a thousand years ago. Goria was succeeded by his two sons Badal and Bharth, from his Rajput wife, and 11 others who were sons of slavegirls.
When Rajah Goria died, his land was divided between two sons of from his Rajput wife. Badal was granted the lands that included the upland tracts of Chiniot and Kokrana (near modern Sargodha), while Bharth took those land located east of the Chenab. Bharth’s territory eventually extended as far as Gujrat, and he left eight sons of whom four had children. These were Sanda, Hassan, Hussain and Mahmud. Sanda built a city called Sandar, said to be located between the Ravi and the Dek streams, the ruins of which are still called Sandar-ke-tibba, the hill of Sandar in the Pindi Bhattian tehsil.
Rajah Sandar was said to have ruled justly his dominion, which is still called the Sandar or Sandal Bar. He left four sons, Mandar, Ratanpal, Bala, and Jal. From Ratan Pal sprang the Rehan, who are now found mainly in Jhang and Sargodha, with Kalowal the tribal headquarters. Rehan had two sons, one called Nisso from which decend the Nissowana tribe, the other being Bhikh. Bhikh is said to have settled in the Gondal Bar, the region between Chenab and Jhelum before the arrival of the Gondals. The arrival of the Gondals, said to have happened in the 11th Century, saw the Bhikh cross the Jhelum and settle in Pindi Bhikh in Pind Dadan Khan. Some Bhikh are now claiming descent from Qutub Shah, the ancestor of the Awan tribe, and therefore an Arab ancestry.
They now occupy several villages near the Pindi Bhikh, which is the most important centre of the tribe. The village Chaudharies have always been Bhikh.
The next tribe I will look at are the Jhujh. They are found south of the Jhelum river, but unlike the Bhikh, are much more widespread. Like many Punjabi tribes, there have a number of originstories.
Some Jhujh claim descent from the Chauhan Rajputs, while other claim Varya Rajput ancestry. In all these accounts, their ancestor was an individual by the name of Jhujh. He is said to have left Hindustan, not the country, but the region in North India, and accepted Islam at the hands of Baba Farid.
Like many tribes of this region, a claim to Arab ancestry is now being made. According to this tradition, the word jhujh ((جؔھجؔھ) chief. I could not find any record of this word in the online Arabic dictionary. The Arab origin theory makes a claim that the tribe descends from Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammad. Like many such accounts of a Arab claim, we find their ancestor in service of Sultan Masud of Ghazna. During the campaign of the Sultan in Punjab, twelve members of the Jhujh tribe were martyred and their graves are said to exist in Bhaiky Lal Chand (old name shaeedan wala), located in Depalpur tehsil of Okara District.
The original pronounciation of there name was Jajy, which in the Southern Punjab (Seraiki belt) was changed to Jhunjh , in Sindh Jaja and in North India to Jhojha. The tribe therefore were originally from the Banu Hashim tribe. This claim to Arab origin is recent, and with many Jat tribes in the Jhelum / Mandi Bahaudin / Sargodha region making such claims. This has replaced earlier claims to Rajput ancestry. All I can say there is very little documentary proof of Arab presence in the region. The Mughal Emperor Babar was keen observer of the regions he travelled through, and although he makes clear reference to the Jats, makes no mention of tribes of Arab descent.
The last clan I will look at in this post are the Kadial, also pronounced as Qadiyal. They are found mainly in the village of Tobah, in Jhelum District. Kadial is derived from Qadar Khan, there ancestor, who came in village Tobah during 1840s from the Malwa region of central India. According to some traditions, he was a Rajput.
The Punjab was experiencing conflict between the Sikhs and the East India Company, both fighting for supremacy. Tobah was a rural area centered between Salt Range and river Jhelum, thereby providing security and shelter to Qadar Khan. Qadar Khan and his kinsmen settled in the region, marrying into local Jat clans.