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 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) from lil or nil, an Urdu/Hindi term for 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

 

 

Maliar/Malyar caste of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa

In this post, I will look at the Maliar, sometimes written as Malyar, a community that is found mainly in the Pothohar region of Punjab and Hazara and Peshawar Valley regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Maliar are a large community, of which little has been written about. There has always been some confusion as to their connection with the Arain, as both groups have been associated with growing vegetables. My post on the distribution of the Maliar according to the 1901 Census also gives additional information about the tribe.

 

British colonial ethnographers, such as Denzil Ibbetson, argued that the term covered a large class of petty cultivators and market gardeners. Indeed Ibbetson author of the Punjab castes noted that:

Baghban, Mali, and Maliar are in Jhang and Rawalpindi a very mixed body of men, the names denoting occupation rather than caste

The author of the 1907 Attock District Gazetteer makes the same point:

Maliar appears to denote the occupation of the holder rather than the caste to which he belongs or the tribe from which he originally sprang. There can be no doubt that many of the present  day Maliars are descended from an ancestor of some other tribe  who took to market-gardening as an occupation

This was seen by the fact many Maliar of the Rawalpindi division returned their clans as Janjua, Qutbshahi (Awan), Khokhar, or Bhatti for 1891 Census of India, though some of them give what are apparently true Arain clans, such as Wahand. It does suggest that the Maliar are of a mixed background, which over time have formed into a distinct caste.

The origin of the word maliar has been uncertain, but is very likely connected with the term Mali, another caste of mixed origin, that practices market gardening. A point to note is that there were no Malis in the Pothohar and Hazara regions, while there no Maliar south and east of the Jhelum river. It is likely that like the term Maliar, like Mali comes from the Sanskrit Malakara, meaning the makers of garland, but according to other traditions its roots are from the Persian and Arabic word Mal which means wealth or land e.g. Malir Kotla in India or Malir an area in Karachi, the equivalent of Bagh in Urdu or garden in English.

Like most castes found among the Punjabi Muslims, the community has an origin myth that claims its origins outside South Asia. According to their traditions their ancestor Mahbub accompanied Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna to India. The Sultan assigned him gardening as a vocation, and as such the community became horticulturists. There is no consensus as to the ethnic identity of this Mahbub. If we accept this account, the community thus settled in India at the start of the 11th century. However, as I have already alluded too, some Maliar groups claimed to be connected to one of the larger groups in the Pothohar such as the Janjua and Awan.

 

The Maliar as caste were given agriculture tribal status, under the Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900, which meant that they were  allowed to own land. However, unlike other tribes found in the Potohar region, military recruitment was not open to them, because they were deemed not to be a martial race. These British discriminating policies sadly have had a lasting impact on the Maliar. After independence, an argument that has broken out within the Maliar community as to whether they are a distinct caste or simply Janjuas and Bhattis who practice market gardening. This was noted by Makhdum Tasadduq Ahmad in his book Systems of social stratification in India and Pakistan. However, the Maliar castes members intermarry with each other and not with families of Awan or Janjua status. Historically, the community was at a disadvantage, particularly in the Peshawar valley, where it suffered at the hands of Pashtun landlords. The Maliar like other Potohar communities, have started to emigrate to the west particularly the United Kingdom. They have also benefited from the loosening of social restrictions in Pakistan, and as successful horticulturists have entered into the wholesale fruit and vegetable business.

 

Distribution

 

According to the 1901 Census of India, there numbers in Jhelum District were 23,000, in Rawalpindi District, they numbered 17,000 and in Attock District they numbered 37,000. In that particular district, they are the fourth largest tribe. Shahpur District, the modern day Sargodha District was home to a further 4,000. They are found through the Potohar region, with especial concentrations in the Attock District. They also extend into the neighbouring Peshawar valley and into Haripur district of Hazara, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There are also settled in a few villages in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir.

Villages

 

They are found in just about every village in the Pothohar region, but there are a few villages which they occupy as the dominant tribe. In Jhelum District, Kazi Hussain and Rajjo Pindi are two important Maliar villages.

 

Batala, Chahal, Maniand are important Maliar villages within Kahuta Tehsil, in Gujar Khan Tehsil Bhatta Maliar, Kant Maliar and Bagh Sangra, Jabbar Derwaish,Kuri Malrian are important villages and in the Rawalpindi Tehsil, Dhalla, Dughal, Khasala Kalan, Gulidana Maliar, and Salargarh are important villages. In Attock District, Dhok Maliaran in Fateh Jang Tehsil is a major Maliar village. They are also found in the town of Mansar.

 

In Chakwal District, Mohra Maliaran, Marjan Maliran and Saloi in Choa Saidan Shah Tehsil are important villages.

 

in Jhelum District, the villages of Dheri Malliaran and Maliar in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil are important settlements.

 

In Gujrat District, the village of Dandi Maliar.

 

Language

 

They speak either the Potwari language, or the closely related Hindko language

 

Tribes of the Thal: The Muslim Aheer/Ahir of Punjab

In this post, I return the tribes that inhabit the Thal desert region, located in western Punjab, and look at the Aheer or sometimes written as Ahir. The Thal is a vast arid region which is located between the Jhelum and Sindh rivers near the Pothohar Plateau, with a total length from north to south 190 miles, and a maximum breadth of 70 miles (110 km) and minimum breadth 20 miles. The desert covers the districts of Bhakkar, Khushab, Mianwali, Layyah, Muzaffargarh as well as Jhang, from the left bank of the river Jhelum. It is the last remaining desert region in the Doabs of the Punjab, the others now have been arable through a vast networks of canals. As an arid region, the tribes that inhabit it are largely pastoral. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Bhachars, which gives some background on the ethnology of the Thal region.

 

 

The Aheer, are found throughout the western districts of the Punjab, In the Thal region, they are found mainly in Khushab District, concentrated in the headquarters in Khushab. The Khushab Aheer, are often in the news in Pakistan, due mainly to their active participatiojn in politics, having produced Malik Nasim Aheer, a former interior Minister under General Zia. This article will not concentrate on that family, but will be a general description of the tribe. Urdu sources, which often dismissed by those who either have no knowledge of the language, or pretend they don’t, will be the main basis of this summary. My main source shall be Aqvam-i Panjab by SultÌan Shahbaz Anjum.

 

So who are the Aheer, and the answer is not that simple, in fact with regards to tribal origins, it never is. The name Ahir, which is actually pronounced as Aheer, is used for a large caste cluster found throughout North India, many of whom prefer to call themselves Yadavs. An obvious conclusion would be therefore to conclude the Aheer of the Thal, and others parts of western Punjab, are one and the same as the Ahir. According to the author of the Tehreek Aqwam e Punjab, the Aheers claim descent from Qutab Shah, the ancestor of the Awan and Khokhar tribes, and deny any connection with the Ahir of North India. Denzil Ibbetson, the colonial ethnographer, in his account of the 1881 Census of Punjab, argued that Aheer and Heer was one in the same tribe. There is a single exception, the famous Malik family of Khushab connects itself with the Roas of Rewari. Those who spoke dialects of Lahanda, such as Seraiki or Thalochi tended to refer to themselves as Aheer, while those found in central Punjab refered to themselves as Heer. The Heer, a large Jat clan found throughout central Punjab, stretching from Gujrat to Patiala, together with the Bhullar and Maan clans, claim to be the nucleus of the Jat ethnic group, all other tribes were said to be latter incorporated into the Jat. There is a further division as the Heer can be either Muslim or Sikh, while the Aheer are always Muslim. The 1917 District Gazetteer of Shahpur District, which then occupied most of the Thal, simply refers to the Aheer as ordinary Musalman tribe like their neighbours.

 

I will briefly here go over the origin myths of the Ahir in Punjab. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Ahir population in British Punjab were found chiefly in the south-east namely in the districts of Dehli, Gurgaon, and Rohtak and the PEPSU States bordering upon these districts. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the distribution of the Ahirs in Punjab at the turn of the 20th Century. These Ahirs were entirely Hindu, and included among them were the family of the Roas of Rewari, which I will come to latter in this article. However, separated from these were communities of Aheer found in the Sindh Sagar Doad, the land between the Indus and the Jhelum-Chenab, who were entirely Muslim. Both groups of Ahir were pastoral caste, with their name said to be derived from the Abhira, an ancient community mentioned in the Mahabharat. In Punjab, most of the Hindu Ahir belong to the Yadubans sub-divisions, which claims to be descended from Krishna.

 

The Aheer of Khushab

 

The landowning Ahirs of Khushab and Sahiwal in present day Sargodha district claim descent from the Raos of Rewari, a Ahir principality in present day Haryana. Until the arrival of the British in the mid 19th Century, the Aheer were practical rulers of the region around the town of Khushab. However, as the power of the Tiwanas rose, the Aheer were reduced to simple zamindars. Thisfamily connects themselves with the Rewari state, based in present day Haryana. The state of Rewari was established by an Ahir  chieftain, Rao Nandram, during the reign of Farrukhsiyar, the Mughal emperor of Delhi. The emperor pleased with military support he received from Nandram, gave him a jagir of 360 villages around Rewari and legitimized Nandram‟s supremacy over the region by conferring upon him the title of chaudhari. He belonged to the Yaduvamsi sub-caste of the Ahirs and to the Abhiriya clan. According to Khushab traditions, they decend from a nephew of Nandram. The jagir was expandedby Rao Gujarmal who got mansab of  5,000 zat and sanad from the emperor Muhammad Shah. Rao Gujarmal built many forts and issued his own coin, but later the kingdom came under the control of Marathas for a brief spell  The last Rao, Tula Ram played an important role in the 1857 mutiny against the British. He proclaimed independence and assumed the title of Raja, and supported the rebels at Delhi and on 16 November 1857 he fought a losing battle against the British at Narvane. After his defeat, he went to Iran and Afghanistan to raise an Army, but died in Kabul on 2 September 1863. The British confiscated the estate of Rao Tula Ram and this marked the end of Ahir Kingdom.

 

So I started off this article by asking the question, who are the Aheer, and the only fact that be confirmed is that they were once a large pastoral tribe, occupying the northern portion of the Thal, whose chiefs or Maliks in the 19th Century confirmed ownership of their lands, which helped to transform them into large landowners in what became Khushab.

 

 

Villages in Thal

In Khushab District, there villages include Aheerpur, Rakh Baghoor, Aheer Jagir, Rahdari and Girote near Khushab city. Staying within the Thal, but outside Khushab, important Aheer villages include Aheeranwala, Aba Khel, Ahheranwala, Jandanwala and Wandhi Aheeranwali near Pai-Khel, all in Mianwali District, while across the Jhelum, in Sargodha District, there are several Aheer villages near the town of Sahiwal, such as Ahir Fateh Shah and Ahir Surkhru, and Lakseem near Kot Momin.  In Mandi Bahauddin District, Chak Nizam near the town of Malakwal is an important village. Finally in Bhakkar District, they are found in Aheeranwala and Wadhaywala.

Outside the Thal,

 

The Aheer are found in Rawalpindi, Lodhran, Khanewal, Sahiwal and Faisalabad districts In the canal colonies of central Punjab, Aheers from the Thal, like many others have settled in chaks, or settlements, with important ones being Chak 142J.B (Khai Aheeran), Chak 235JB (Haiboana), Langrana and Mouza Lodhran in Chiniot District, Chak 452 JB (Aheeranwala) in Jhang District, Chak 7 (Aheeranwala) in Mandi Bahauddin District, Chak 77/12-L in Sahiwal District. In southern Punjab, the Aheer are found in scattered settlements in Khanewal District in villages near the towns of Kabirwala and Qadirpur Raan, and in Lodhran District, their most important villages being Basti Aheer and Jhok Aheer.

Isolated from other Aheer settlements are the villages of Ahir and Bher Ahir in the Gujar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi. These Aheer claim Rajput status, and have customs similar to other groups Rajput groups.

 

Distribution of Muslim Ahir in Punjab by District According to 1911 Census of India

 

District Population
Shahpur (Sargodha & Khushab districts) 1,017
Mianwali 843
Chenab Colony (Faisalabad) 345
Multan 234
Jhang 167
Other districts 195
Total Population 2,801

 

Pachhada

In this post, I will look at a Muslim community called the Pachhada historically found in what is now the state of Haryana in India. Their ancestral homeland was the Ghagar River Valley and the semi-desert territory that now forms part of the Sirsa, Fatehabad, Hissar and Mahendragarh districts of Haryana, and the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. They were a nomadic and pastoral community and are closely related to the Rath community of Rajasthan. Most reared the local Rathi cattle breed and would migrate with flocks to the rivers Sutlej and Ravi, and as such were also known as Rathi. In neighbouring Rajasthan, Muslim pastoral nomads of Bikaner and Ganganagar are still known as Rath, which literally means a charioteer.

The  term  Pachhada  was historically  applied  collectively  to  miscellaneous  Muslim  tribes  that  inhabited  the  Ghaggar  valley  and  villages  adjacent thereto  in  what were the  Sirsa  and  Fatehabad  Tehsils of the erstwhile Hissar District.  The  word  is  derived from the Punjabi “pachham,”  meaning  west,  and  da meaning from, so literally westerners, and was used by the Jats and Ranghars to describe tribes which had settled in the region after the famous chalisa famine. The Chalisa famine of 1783–84 in the Indian subcontinent followed unusual El Niño events that began in 1780 and caused droughts throughout the region. Chalisa (literally, “of the fortieth” in Hindustani) refers to the Vikram Samvat calendar year 1840 (1783). This led to the depopulation of the Ghaghar valleys as pastoralists such as the Bhatti moved further west. As things settled, a number of clans moved from Sutlej valley, in what is modern day Pakistani Punjab and settled in the region. In terms of their dialect of Punjabi, it was very close to that to that spoken in the Neeli Bar region. The tribes never used the term Pachhada to describe themselves as the author of the Hissar District gazetteer notes:

Neither the name Pachhada, nor the name Rath is used by these people when speaking of themselves, unless, indeed, the  person who calls himself a Pachhada is a man  of low caste such as a  Mochi or a Lohar, in which case the  name Pachhada is used to conceal  the real caste. The majority of the persons called Pachhadas claim to be Rajputs,  and  when  asked  their  caste  usually  answer “Pachhada sadaunde,” they call us Pachhadas.

The tribes themselves have called themselves Rajputs, and had intermarried with long settled Rajputs of the Ghaghar such as the Bhatti and Chauhan. Groups that were sometimes included within the Pacchada category included the Wattu , Joiya and  Kharal, however the term was strictly used to refer to four tribes, namely:

Tribes Origin Stories
Sohu Traditionally, the Sohu claim to be Chauhan Rajputs, but the they have a number of traditions as to their origin. The Sohus of the village of Bhirrana, the head-quarters of the clan, stated that at the turn of the 20th Century that their  ancestor  came  some  eight  generations  ago  from Rawalpindi,  under  a  leader  named  Jatu, via Bhatner  and Rania, to Bhirrana: Jatu returned to Rawalpindi, while Lal, his  son,  remained  as  leader,  and  he  is  regarded  as the  founder of the present Sohu clan.

Another version is that the Sohus are Chauhans who came via Delhi from Jilopattan near Jaipur, and settled on the  Ravi, whence they again migrated to Sirsa.

 Sukheras They claim descent from the Tunwar  Rajputs  of  Bahuna.  Thirpal,  a  Tomar  of  that place, married a Jatni, and was in consequencv outcasted. Thirpal  is  said  to  have  settled  in  Basti  Bhiman  near Fatehabad,  and  his  descendants  subsequently  spread into Sirsa  and  as  far  as  Abohar.  They  were,  however,  driven backagain  and  settled  in  Begar;  it  and  Basi  Bhiman  was their chief  villages.  They  take  their  name  from  Sukha,  the son of Thirpal.
Hinjraon This clan  claimed  descent  from  the  Siroha Rajputs, and was said to have migrated from the banks of the  Ravi into this district. Their principal ·village was Hinjraon  in the Fatehabad  Tehsil of the then Hissar District. However, according to other traditions, they are infact Hanjra Jatts who arrived from the banks of the Ravi, in present day Okara.
Chotias or Bhanekas According to their tribal traditions, they  were originally Chauhan Rajputs,  but they appear in reality to be  Dandiwal  Jats,  who  were  converted  to  Islam  a  few generations ago. The Dandiwals themselves claim to have been originally  Chauhans,  and  state  that  they  emigrated  from Delhi via Jaisalmer to Sirsa

From the origin myths of these tribes, it is clear the Pachhada sat on the boundary between Jat and Rajputs, and at time intermarried with both groups.

 

The Pachhada were of among a number of Rajput pastoralist groups found the Ghaghar valley and north Rajasthan, and were often closely identified with the Ranghar and Bhatti communities, who have similar customs and traditions. With the establishment of British rule in the early 19th Century, the new authorities took the view that all pastoral nomads in the Ghaghar valley were a threat to their newly established control, and took stringent measures against all the nomad groups of the region such as the Ranghar, Johiya and Bhatti. Land was allocated to peasant settlers, and an attempt was made to forcibly settle the Pachhada. As a result of these policies, the Pacchada played an important role in the attack on Sirsa in the 1857 Indian War of Independence.

After the reestablishment of British colonial authority, the Pacchada were severely punished by British. There were considerable confiscations of land, and the Pachhada were forcibly settled. By the early 20thcCentury, the Pachhada were settled agriculturists, although animal husbandry remained an important subsidiary occupation. At the time of the partition of India in 1947, the Hissar District fell within the territory of India, and all the Pachhada immigrated to Pakistan.In their new homeland in Pakistani Punjab, mainly in Okara, Sahiwal, Muzaffargarh and Layyah districts, the Pacchada maintain their distinct identity. Many still speak the Haryanvi language. The Pacchada are entirely Sunni, and their customs are similar to other Haryana Muslims settled in Pakistan such as the Ranghar and Meo.

Pacchada Population According to the 1901 Census of India

District Population
Hissar 30,484
Other Districts 633
Total Population 31,117

The Pachhada were essentially a tribe of the Hissar region, the Pachhadas in other districts were either soldiers serving in the army or migrant labourers.

Khichi Chauhans of Punjab

In this post, I will look at the clan of the Khichi Chauhans, a tribe that was centred and still found in the Neeli Bar region. The Neeli Bar is a geographical region in Punjab, Pakistan. It consists of the uplands between the rivers Ravi and Satluj. “Bar” is the name given to areas in Punjab which were thick forests before the arrival of the modern canal irrigation system. Its soil is very fertile, as this plain is formed by the mud that has been collected by rivers flowing from the Himalayas. This region consists of the districts Sahiwal, Okara and Pakpattan . In my post on the Kathia, I give a bit more on the conditions and history of the tribal communities found in this region of Punjab. The Khichi family of Mailsi, are often referred to as the classic feudals of Punjab, having dominated local politics of Mailsi for the last seventy years since independence from the British. The current Member of the Punjab Assembly is for Mailsi is Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan Khichi. However, most present day Khichi are largely farmers.

Khichi, sometimes spelt Khichee, are a branch of the Chauhan clan of Agnivanshi Rajputs (please look at posting on Tribes of Potohar for a definition of Rajput). I shall start off by giving some brief information on the Chauhans. The Chauhan kingdom became the leading Rajput state in Northern India under Prithviraj III (1165–1192), also known as Prithviraj Chauhan or Rai Pithora . The Chauhan state collapsed after Prithviraj was defeated by Mohammed of Ghor in 1192 at the Second Battle of Tarain, but the Chauhans remained in Ajmer as feudatories of Mohammed of Ghor and the Sultans of Delhi until 1365, when Ajmer was captured by the rulers of Mewar, finally ending Chauhan rule. This also led to the dispersal of the Chauhans, with some migrating towards Punjab. The Chauhan kingdom collapsed after Prithviraj was defeated by Mohammed of Ghor in 1192 at the Second Battle of Tarain, but the Chauhans remained in Ajmer as feudatories of Mohammed of Ghor and the Sultans of Delhi until 1365, when Ajmer was captured by the rulers of Mewar. According to Khichi tribal traditions, the descend from Manak Rai, a semi-mythical Chauhan ruler of Ajmer. Manik Rai was said to be the brother of Dula Rai, the Chauhan king of Ajmer. In 684 CE, he fled from Ajmer after Dula Rai was killed by their enemies, and regained control managed of the area around Sambhar Lake with the blessings of the goddess Shakambh. The Khichi claim descent from Ajai Rao, the second son of Manik Rai, the legendry seventh century ruler of Sambhar in Rajasthan.

While the main Chauhan state was extinguished by 1365, cadet branches such as the Khichi, split up, some groups nmoving to the central Indian region of Malwa such as Asalgarh in Nimar. After being driven from Asalgarh, the Malwa Khichi founded the principality of Khilchipur, which lasted till the end of British rule in India and formed part of the Bhopal Agency under the administration of the Central India Agency. Another branch moved to Gagraun, in central Rajasthan, where they became tributaries of the Jhala Rajputs. The Khichi of Chota Udaipur state claim descent from this branch of the Khichis.

The Khichi of Punjab have slightly different origin story. According to their traditions, they claim descent from a Khichi ruler of Ajmer. Driven out of Delhi by one of the Sultan of Delhi, his descendants Sisan and Vidar migrated to Multan. The Khichis then fought with the Joiyas, then paramount in the region, expelling them from the Sutlej valley near the where the town of Mailsi is located. At sometime following their settlement in the Neeli Bar, the tribe converted to Islam. According to tribal traditions, they founded the villages of Shitab Garh, Sargana, Sheer Garh, Haleem Khichi, Aliwah, Tarki, Omar Khichi, Dhoda, and Fadda. One of their tradition refers to their conversion at the hands of the Sufi Bahaudin Zakaria of Multan. They then established a state based in the town of Mailsi, which finally conquered by the Sikhs in the 18th Century. Another branch established a state near the town of Gugera. Mailsi however remains the centre of the tribe. In addition to Punjab, branches of the Khichi tribe are still found in Rajasthan, especially in Jaisalmer, in India, who have remained Hindu, and have very similar origin stories as the Khichi of Punjab.

Groups of Khichi began migrating northwards, and the largest concentration of the Khichi are found in the Bhera Bar, a portion of the Kirana Bar located near the town of Bhera in Sargodha District. Khichi villages include Khichi Jagir, and Daulutpur Khichi in the Sahiwal Tehsil of Sargodha District, Khichi in the Talagang Tehsil and Khichi in Chakwal Tehsil of Chakwal District, and Khichi in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. According to the 1901 Census of India, the Khichi were distributed in the following districts.

Khichi Rajput Population According to the 1901 Census of India

District Population
Chenab Colony 1,870
Multan 1,563
Montgomery 1,342
Bahawalpur 921
Shahpur 838
Jhang 733
Firuzpur 717
Mianwali 514
Other Districts 1,632
Total Population 10,130

Most of the Khichi population is still concentrated in the regions where they were found in 1901. The Khichi of Multan District were found near the town of Mailsi, which is now in Vehari, while the bulk of the Mianwali Khichi were found in the Bhakkar Tehsil, which is now a separate district.
Major Khichi Villages By District

Bhakkar District

1) Basti Cheena,

2) Chah Khichi

3) Khichi Kalan,

4) Khichi Khurd

5) Jhok Khichi

6) Wadhay Wali

Layyah District

1) Chak 459 TDA

2) Chak 465 TDA

Chiniot District

Chani Khichi

Faisalabad District

Chak106JB Khichian,

Shakeel Ahmed Khichi,

Chak 275 Mudooana

Hafizabad District.

Dera Mian Ali Khichi

Khanewal District

Khichiwala

Mandi Bahauddin District

1) Chakori

2) Sanda

Sargodha District

Chak No. 132 NB (Silanwali Tehsil),

Chak No. 139 SB (Silanwali Tehsil)

Okara District

Dholi Khichi,

Jawaya Khich

Nota Khichi

Sialkot District

Rahimpur Khichian

Khichi of Mailsi Region

But the greatest number of Khichi villages are still found in Mailsi region of Vehari District and include Sargana, Aliwah, Fadah, Halim Khichi, Umar Khichi, Shergarh, Shatabgarh, Tarki, Kilanj, Dhamakki, Dhodan and Jiwan Khichi. The Khichi have dominated the local politics in Vehari District, providing many of the members of the National Assembly.

Khanzada Caste: The Bisen

In this I will look at a community of Khanzadeh found in historic Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh. I will ask the reader to look at my article on the Ahbans which gives a historic background to the very interesting Khanzadeh.

The Bisen Khanzadeh are the Muslim branch of the Bisen Thakur caste. According to tribal traditions of the Bisen Thakurs, there ancestor was an individual by the name of Mayura Bhatta. He was said to have been a descendant of Jamadagni Rishi of the race of Bhrigu. According to Hindu legends, Jamadagni (or Jamdagni, Sanskrit: जमदग्नि) is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the seventh, current Manvantara. He is the father of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu.

Tribal legends are vague as to the origin of Mayura Bhatta. Some say he came from Hastinapur and was the son of one Ashwathama; others that he was an emigrant from Maharashtra, He read Sanskrit for a while at Benares, and became a proficient in astrology. Quitting that city at last under a divine impulse he settled at Kakradih, a village located near Sikandarpur, of Azamgarh. The whole of that Pargana came gradually under his authority. His domestic arrangements illustrate a period when the bonds of caste, ae we know them, were unknown. He is said to have had three wives,- firsts a Brahman’ named Nagseni ; the second Surajprabha, a Surajbansi Rajput ;’ the third Heakumari, a Gautam Bhumihar. By his wife Surajprabha he had a son, Biswa or Bisen Sen, who was the ancestor of the Bisen Thakurs. Like most Awadh Thakurs, they have traditions that land was under the control of the Bhars, whom he expelled, and established Bisen control over what is now Barabanki and Faizabad regions of Awadh. After Biswa Sen established his kingdom, he went on a pilgrimage to the Himalaya, where he died. He was said to be followed by 79 kings who all bore the surname Sen. The two important Bisen Thakur states were that of Majhauli (currently in Deoria District of Uttar Pradesh) and Deorhi.

The history of the Bisen Khanzada starts with the taluqdar families of Usamanpur. I would once again ask the read to look at my article on the Ahbans, which gives some background as to the status of status of Taluqdars. The base of the family is the village of Usmanpur, located in the historic Sidhaur pargana, about a mile from the road that connects Bara Banki to Haidargarh. This Usmanpur estate was founded by one Koushal Singh (also known as Raja Khushhal Singh), who obtained an estate as a reward for military service against the Bhar tribe in the region under the Tughlaq Sultan in the 13th Century. Raja Koushal Singh was the younger brother of Bisen Raja of Manjhouli. The Rajah is said to have lacked an heir, and on a tour of his estate came across a Sufi by the name of Syed Ashraf Jahangir Samnani (his Shrine is located in Kichoucha Sharif, in Ambedkar Nagar District of UP.), who blessed him and told that you will have two sons but you have to give me the eldest of them. In this way Raja blessed with two sons Lakhan Singh and Bhikhan Singh. Keeping his promise Raja Koushal Singh gave his eldest son Lakhu Singh to the Syed, who converted him to Islam and gave him the name Lakhu Khan. Almost all the Bisen Khanzada trace their descent to Lakhu Khan. On his death, Raja Koushal Singh divided his kingdom into two equal parts and divided among his two sons.

An estate was confered upon Rajah Lakhu Khan by the Mughal Emperor Humayun (26 December 1530 to 17 May 1540 and 22 February 1555 to 27 January 1556). Raja Lakhu Khan then divided his estate into three Taluqas among his three sons, Lakhupur, Kothi and Usmanpur. Kothi going to Thakur Haibat Khan, Usmanpur to Thakur Ahmad Khan and Lakhupur to Thakur Dawood Khan.

The Usmanpur estates consisted of three villages located in three Mahals in Sidhaur and one mahal in Satrikh. The Rajahs of Usmanpur were considered the chiefs of the all the Bisen Khanzada. In addition to the Rajah of Usmanpur, prominent Bisen families are also found in Balrampur District, where the zamindars of Mahua and Burhapara were substantial landowners. Indeed the single largests number of Bisen Khanzada are found in that district, which was historically part of British Gonda.

The Bisen are found in the districts of Basti, Azamgarh, Sitapur, Faizabad, Barabanki, Sultanpur and Balrampur. They are generally Sunni, and speak Awadhi and Urdu.

Bisen Khanzada Population According to the 1901 Census of India

District Population
Gonda 2,463
Basti 2,084
Faizabad 1,765
Sitapur 1,292
Gorakphur 1,153
Bahraich 666
Barabanki 408
Azamgarh 346
Sultanpur 312
Rae Bareli 159
Unao 130
Other Districts 92
Total Population 10,870

 

Jat Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India

In this, my final on the distribution of castes in Punjab, according to the 1901 Census of India, will look at the distribution of the Jats. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Major Muslim Jat clans, which gives some more background on the caste in Punjab.

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Patiala State 19,794

 

206,658 258,718 485,170

 

Sialkot 162,403
61,243

 

32,497 256,143

 

Firuzpur 29,393

 

 39,357 179,021 247,771

 

Ludhiana  25,890  76,886  131,963 234,739

 

Chenab Colony 150,602

 

19,139 60,518  230,259
Amritsar 38,545 10,101 179,675  228,321

 

Rohtak 1,913 215,126 59  217,098

 

Gujranwala 155,416 22,481 27,970 205,867

 

Hissar 4,540 166,448 24,171  195,159

 

Gujrat 192,000 2,545 530  195,075

 

Bahawalpur State 176,630 13,252 3,258 193,140

 

Lahore 84,568 5,321 101,629 191,518

 

Jalandhar 20,077 84,343 80,824 185,244

 

Hoshiarpur 25,828 92,129 34,655 152,612

 

Gurdaspur 45,528 36,268 60,956 142,752

 

Multan 137,717 325 2,272 140,314

 

Mianwali 137,665  137,665

 

Ambala 11,754 76,049 37,322 125,125

 

Karnal 2,869 109,098 7,558 119,525

 

Dera Ghazi Khan

 

118,701 142 118,843
Muzaffargarh 117,362 117,362

 

Delhi 2,885 110,571 102 113,558

 

Jind State

 

703 71,118 23,394 95,215
Gurgaon

 

921 75,782 50 76,753
Jhelum

 

72,863 146 355 73,364
Nabha State

 

3,592 30,060 34,419 68,071
Shahpur

 

63,650 141 86 63,877
Jhang

 

50,596 20 152 50,768
Kapurthala State

 

13,895 15,142 19,727 48,764
Rawalpindi

 

43,853 320 1,888 46,061
Faridkot State

 

3,581 794 42,085 46,460
Montgomery

 

41,158 674 3,904 45,736
Malerkotla State

 

137 17,078 8,453 25,668
Kangra

 

183 10,964 211 11,358
Kalsia

 

247 6,110 4,280 10,637
Loharu

 

3,014 6,619 6,619
Nahan

 

19 161 3,194
Dujana

 

174 2,458 2,632
Bilaspur

 

25 1,325 254 1,604
Pataudi

 

1,594 1,594
Nalargarh

 

19 804 45 868
Suket

 

245 245

Other Districts

Total

1,957,252

 1,594,876 (including 16 Jains)

1,389,530 4,941,658