Khoja Shaikhs of Punjab

In this post, I will at interesting community of Punjabi Muslims called the Khoja Shaikh, or Khawaja Shaikh. They are a mercantile community, that has provided many of the larger business houses of Pakistan. The rise of the Khoja, from a community of petty merchants at the beginning of the 20th Century to the founders of some of the largest businesses in Pakistan is truly extraordinary.

 

The common self-designation of this community is either Sheikh, Shaikh or Khwaja Shaikh. Sheikh (Arabic and Punjabi: شيخ ), is an Arabic word meaning elder of a tribe, lord, honourable revered old man, or Islamic scholar. The title shaikh in South Asia is given to a convert to Islam who convert individually, and not where individuals collectively convert as whole castes, in which case the caste name is maintained, such as the Jats. The title is then carried on by the decendent of the convert. Khawaja is also an honorific title used across the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, particularly as a title held by Sufi teachers. The word comes from the Iranian word khwāja (Classical Persian: خواجه khwāja; Dari khājah; Tajik khoja) and translates as “master”, “lord”. According to the traditions of the Khoja of Bhera, the title was given to their ancestors, who were Khatri traders who accepted Islam at the hands of Moinudin Chishti.

 

So who are the Khoja Shaikhs. Almost every tradition points to either a Khatri or Arora ancestry, although in Lahore, the Khoja insist their ancestors were Bhatia. There is some argument as to when and how the ancestors of these communities converted to Islam, it certainly existed for at least over four centuries ago. Although conversions to Islam in the Punjab started in the 11th century, it is uncertain when the Khatri and Arora traders embraced Islam. The earliest reference to Khojas in the Punjabi literature is in the Heer Ranjha of Waris Shah (1735–1790):

 The beauty of her Heer’s red lips slays rich Khojas and Khatris in bazaar, like Qizilbash [Afghan soldiers] troopers riding out of the royal camp into bazaar with a sword

 

These verses of Heer- Ranjha, written by Waris Shah in 1766, describe the conditions of the post-Mughal Punjab. Khatris and Khojas occupied an important place in the economy of the Punjabi towns. This was probably the earliest reference to the emerging role of Hindu and Muslim Khatris as rich traders, instead of performing their Vedic functions as fighters and governors. Up to around the middle of the 20th Century, this community of traders self-designated themselves as Khojas. But as that name has been associated by another community found in Sindh and Gujarat, who are Ismaili Muslims therefore the entirely Sunni Khojas of Punjab adopted the name Khawaja Shaikh, or increasingly just Shaikh, to distinguish themselves from the other Khojas. There are several groups of Khoja in Punjab, but after an overview, I will focus on three such groups, the Shaikhs of Bhera and Jalandhar, and the Chiniotis. I hope to write a separate post on the Gadhioks of Chakwal, which has produced the famous Saigol business house.

Origin.

Traditionally, any Hindu trader converted to Islam was given the name of Khoja. Thus the Khojas of Bhera were almost entirely Khatris, while those of Jhang, on the other hand, were said to be converted Aroras; while some at least of the Lahore Khojas claim Bhatia origin, and one section of the Ambala Khojas were Kayastha. The Khojas of Layyah also have the Khatri section-names of Kapoor, Puri, Tandon and Gambhir, but as these are no longer exogamous and as wives may be taken from other castes, the old rules of hypergamy and endogamy are no longer in force. While the Khojas of Jhang have at least four clans, the Magoon, Vohra, Wadawana and Passija, the first two being Khatri and the last two Arora. By the beginning of the 20th Century, it does seem, that any distinction between Khatri and Arora among Khoja had disappeared. The 19th Century British ethnologist Rose wrote the following about them:

These Musalman traders, whether called Khoja or Paracha, are found all along the northern portion of the two Provinces under the hills from Amritsar to Peshawar, and have spread southwards into the central and eastern districts of the Western Plains, but have not entered the Derajat or Muzaffargarh in any numbers. Their eastern boundary is the Sutlej valley, their western the Jhelum-Chenab, and they are found throughout the whole of the Salt Range. Probably it is hardly correct to say of them that they have spread or entered for they apparently include many distinct classes who will have sprung from different centres of conversion. They appear to be most numerous in Lahore

 

Khoja Population According to the 1921 Census of India

 

District / State

 

Population
Lahore

 

13,831
Firozpur

 

10,079
Amritsar

 

8,296
Multan

 

7,484
Jhang

 

6,820
Bahawalpur State

 

5,239
Sheikhupura

 

5,045
Sialkot

 

4,025
Shahpur

 

3,890
Muzaffargarh

 

2,997
Jhelum

 

2,670
Dera Ghazi Khan

 

2,168
Gujrat

 

1,943
Attock

 

1,892
Gujranwala

 

1,688
Lyallpur

 

1,501
Kapurthala State 1,452

 

Montgomery

 

1,274
Gurdaspur

 

1,221
Jalandhar

 

1,119
Rawalpindi

 

683
Mianwali 626

 

Ambala 440

 

Patiala State

 

393
Hoshiarpur 182

 

Ludhiana 134

 

Other Districts

 

369
Total

 

87,461

The 1921 Census was the last that counted the Khoja seperately, in 1931, the last census that counted caste, the Khoja were included within the Shaikh category.

Like other Punjabi Muslims, the Khojas often associate there conversion to Islam at the hands of a Sufi saint. The Khwaja Shaikhs of Bhera have a tradition that they converted to Islam at the hands of Khwaja Moinudin Ajmeri, while those of Chiniot claim to have accepted Islam at the hands of Makhdum Jahanian Jahangasht.

 

Shaikhs of Bhera

 

Bhera is a city located in Sargodha District, located east of the river Jhelum. It is divided into an old walled city and a sprawl beyond the walls. The former is further split into neighbourhoods called mohallas. Each mohalla has distinct traits and is inhabited by different castes — Mohalla Piracha, Mohalla Sheikhanwala and Mohalla Sethian —were home to the Khojas of the city. The Imperial Gazetteer of India records the following about the history of Bhera:

In the seventh and eighth centuries, the Salt Range chieftain was a tributary of Kashmīr. Bhera was sacked by Mahmūd of Ghazni, and again two centuries later by the generals of Chingiz Khān. In 1519 Bābar held it to ransom; and in 1540 Sher Shāh founded a new town, which under Akbar became the headquarters of one of the subdivisions of the Sūbah of Lahore. In the reign of Muhammad Shāh, Rājā Salāmat Rai, a Rājput of the Anand tribe, administered Bhera and the surrounding country; while Khushāb was managed by Nawāb Ahmadyār Khān, and the south-eastern tract along the Chenāb formed part of the territories under the charge of Mahārājā Kaura Mal, governor of Multān.

 

As a centre of trade, the city of Bhera attracted merchants from all over western Punjab, with the Khojas trading as far north as Central Asia. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Khojas had retained many traces of the Khatri caste organization. Thus at Bhera they had the following sub-divisions :—

Sehgal

Sethi

Vohra

Kapoor

Chopra

Duggal

Rawar or Ror

Gorawal

Magoon

Mahindru

And a tenth section, Matoli, does not appear to be a Khatri section, but it ranks with the first six, and from these seven the last three cannot obtain wives, though they give brides to them. Rose wrote the following of the Bhera Khojas:

Khojas of Bhera claim to be strictly monogamous, so much so that, as a rule, a Khoja cannot obtain a second wife in the caste, even though his first have died and ho is thus driven to take his second wife from some other Musalman tribe.

The Matoli section have an interesting history as to their conversion to Islam. As noted by Rose, Matoli were not a section of the Khatri, and according to the Matoli themselves, they were Brahmans. There ancestor was said to have accepted Islam at the hands of the famous Sufi Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (1142–1236 CE) of Ajmer. On his return to Bhera, there ancestor was disowned by his clansmen. Despondent, he returned to Ajmer, where the the Khwaja declared the henceforth they would be known as khwaja, and they should become traders. Over time, as members of the Khatri community in that city converted to Islam, and joined the Matoli, forming the Khwaja community.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, the Khoja of Bhera were involved in the cotton and grain trade, especially as the British began a process of settling the Kirana Bar, introducing widespread production of cotton, Bhera Khojas became extremely wealthy, with there trade networks expanding to Bukhara on end, and the newly expanding port city of Karachi on the other hand. The Bhera Khojas were among the earliest of this caste to enter the textile trade in the newly built city of Lyallpur.

 

Qanungoh Shaikhs of Jalandhar

Jalandhar is an important city located in the Doaba region of Indian Punjab. Like Bhera, the city was associated with Khoja merchant families, who used the title qanungoh.

The Khoja of Jalandhar belonged two such families of Qanungohs, one was that of the Sehgals. They were the traditional proprietors of the city, the other being the Thapars, who were a landowning family, owning the village of Chak Husaina. The Khatris of Jalandhar were divided into two groups, the Darbari, who were involved in government service, and the bazari, who were merchants. The four darbari gotras were the Sodhi, Saigal, Thapar and Bhalla, with the Khojas of Jalandhar all originating from darbari families.

I just want to add a brief note about the title qanungoh. This was an administrative position under the Delhi Sultans and Mughals and referred to employees of the court and judicial system. The title Qanungoh literally referring to an “expounder of law” or the Qanun. These included judges; qazi who were styled sahib or sahibzada, lawyers and a wide variety of other legal functionaries, who would form the principal officers in district or regional courts of investigation, in criminal matters and in offences of a “spiritual nature”. By the Mughal period, the position of Qanungoh had become hereditary, who were now government agents and “permanent repositories of information concerning the revenue receipts, area statistics, local revenue rates and (the) practice and customs” of local areas and municipalities, across the various empires that existed in the subcontinent. Members of the Khatri caste often occupied these positions in Punjab, and some, not all of these families converted to Islam. In Jalandhar, although many of the darbari Khatris converted to Islam, however in Jalandhar there were several families of Sehgal and Thapar Khatris that remained Hindus.

The Jalandhar Khojas immigrated to Pakistan and have settled largely in Faisalabad. Here they provided some of the earliest investors in the textile industry.

 

Chinioti Shaikh

 

Perhaps, the most important group of Khoja families are those of the city of Chiniot, historically part of Jhang District, but now a district in itself. Chiniot is a small town of 200,000 inhabitants, on the banks of River Chenab, in Southwestern Punjab famous for it woodwork. It also associated with the Khojas, who are called Chinyoti, literally a resident of Chiniot. About Chiniot, the Imperial Gazetteer of India gives the following information:

The town is a very old one, and is perhaps identified with Sakala, the capital of the White Huns, which was visited by Hiuen Tsiang. It suffered much from Durrani inroads during the last half of the 18th Century, and also during the troubles of 1848, being the scene of constant sanguinary struggles between leaders of the local factions. It now bears a prosperous aspect, most of the houses being of excellent brickwork, lofty and commodious, especially those of the Khoja traders, who have business dealings with Amritsar, Calcuta, Bombay and Karachi.

 

In Chiniot, the Khojas are mainly of Khatri origin, although some Arora sections over time have been absorbed. About the the Khoja sections of Chiniot, Rose described them as fallows:

 

Khatri Immigrants from the south-west:

Adal.

Behrara.

Churra.

Maggun.

Sehgal.

Wadhwa.

Vohra

Khatri section indigenous to Chiniot:

Talwar.

Puri.

Chopra.

Arora sections.

Tarneja,

Goruwala.

Khurana.

Dhingra

Chawla

 

Rose also makes an interesting obsrvation on the social system of the Chiniot Khojas:

The original Khatri classification into Bari and Bunjahi groups is said to be still preserved. Formerly the Khatri sections used not to intermarry with the Aroras, but this restriction is said to be no longer absolute, though such marriages are not usual

 

In late 19th Century, as the British built in ports and railways in their Indian Empire, allowing groups of Khoja to migrate to Calcutta and other parts of the united India to deal in hides in the 19th century since Hindus who dominated trade in India did not want to deal with leather due to religious taboos, giving these Khoja traders an opportunity. Out of 100,000 people who proudly call themselves Chinioti today, only 5,000 live in Chiniot and an estimated 2,000 of them are still living in Calcutta where they had the biggest concentration in the undivided India, with pockets at Kanpur and Madras. Compared to the Memons who had sailed to far off places, as early as 18th century, the Chinioti’s migration was limited to India.

 

At the time of partition, Chiniotis were mostly rooted in leather, hides and skins trade and there was only one Chinioti group, Mohammad Ismaeel Maula Baksh group which had ventured and Haji Sheikh Maula Baksh who had set up their first ginning factory in 1889 and by 1946, when they split, the group comprised 14 ginning factories, four flour mills and oil extraction plants. The remnants of Maula Baksh group are still active in the Sunshine group of Aftab Ahmad Sheikh. Partition saw most Chiniotis move back to Pakistan, and took opportunity of the fact business in Punjab had been in the hands of their unconverted Khatri kinsmen, who all moved to India. By the 1970’s, three Chinioti groups – Colony, Crescent and Nishat – were already vast behemoths, and were counted among the richest 22 Families’ in the country, a somewhat demeaning term coined by the world-renowned development economics guru, Dr Mahbub-ul-Haq, then the chief economist at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, suggesting that this lofty eminence was actually obtained through capturing and monopolising national resources, which had resulted in inequitable distribution of wealth at the national level.

 

In 1970 there were only five Chinioti groups among the top 42 families including Colony at no 5, Crescent at no 9, Nishat at 15, Monnoos at 26 and Maulabaksh at 27. However while nationalization shattered the will of the Karachi-based groups to invest in Pakistan and triggered a flight of capital, it proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Chiniotis who had been hitherto disadvantaged for lack of access to banking and other facilities, traditionally dominated by Gujarati groups such as the Bohra, Khoja and Memon. This change can be seen by the fact that by 1997, Chiniotis had 14 places among the top 45 groups controlling at least 110 companies at the Karachi Stock Exchange. There are several other Chinioti groups like Mahboob Elahi, Diamond, Guard, Kaisar group of Kaisar A Sheikh, MNA, Kaisar Apparel group and JKB which are known to be immensely rich but have little or no presence at the stock exchange and therefore, it was not possible to rank them.

 

 

 

 

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Bhikh, Jhujh and Kadial Jats

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:

 

Every time,” adds Babar, “that I have entered Hindustan, the Jats and Gujars have regularly poured down in prodigious numbers from their hills and wilds, in order to carry off oxen and buffaloes.

https://i0.wp.com/www.lawsofpakistan.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/na-64-sargodha.jpg

Map of Bhera Tehsil: Source Election Commision of Pakistan

https://www.ecp.gov.pk/Documents/delimitation2018/With%20Watermark/National%20Assembly/Punjab/Jhelum.jpg

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.

Bhikh

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.

 

Jhujh

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 Jhujh are found in Mandi Bahauddin, Okara, Sahiwal and Sargodha districts. Important villages include Mong (Mandi Bahaudin), Pipli Bakka Jhujh (Sargodha), Jhujh Khurd and Jhujh Kalan (Okara).

 

Kadial

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.

Nagyal tribe

In this post I will look at the Nagyal, or Nagial sometimes pronounced Nangyal, with n sound hardly stressed, are a tribe of Jat and Rajput status. The Nagyal are very widespread in the Pothohar and neighbouring Chibhal region. In customs and traditions, they have more in common with the tribes referred to in my earlier posts such as Bangyal and Dhamial. They are distinct from Nagrial and Nagrawal, who are clans of the Bhatti Rajputs, with whom the Nagyal are often confused with. They are a Rajput-Jat tribe found mainly in Rawalpindi , in particular in Gujar Khan Tehsil, Jhelum and Gujrat districts of Punjab, Mirpur District of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. There are also Hindu Nagyal Jatt found in Jammu and Samba districts in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir.

https://www.pndajk.gov.pk/uploadfiles/downloads/Dist_Mirpur.jpg

Map of Mirpr District

Gujar Khan Weather Forecast

Map of the Gujar Khan Region

 

Just a brief background to the Jat population of the Potohar plateau. The Jats are clearly sub-divided into tribes, who refer to themselves as quoms or rarely zats, having a common name and generally supposed to be descended from a traditional common ancestor by agnatic descent, i.e. through males only. Another interesting thing about the various tribes in the region is that there name often ends in al, which is patronymic, for example, the sons of Kals, are the Kalyal and so on, very similar to the Arabic Bin or Slavic ovich or ov. The aals started off as clans of a larger tribe, such as Kanyal being an aal of the Chauhan tribe, which overtime grew in numbers, leading separation from the parent stock. For example, very few tribes in the region are simply known as Bhatti, Chauhan or Panwar, but often as Bhatti Gungal, Chauhan Kanyal or Panwar Bangial. Some Nagyal claim to be an aal, or clan of the Minhas Rajputs.

Origin Story

So who are the Nagyals, and short answer is that they are a clan of the Minhas tribe of Jammu. They claim descent from a Nag Singh, a Jamwal Minhas, who is said to left his homeland migrated to Akhnur. But it quite possible the Nagyal have some connection with a ancient people called the Nagas. The Nagas were mentioned as an snake-worshipping tribe of ancient India, and Puranic legends have constructed the genealogy of the Nagavanshis as a sub-clan of the Suryavansha. Interestingly, the snake was used as a tribal totem among the peoples of Himalayas. Like Matyals mentioned in my earlier post, who are said to be worshipers of Mata, we may conjecture that the Nagyals were somehow connected with the snake cult.

 

According to their own tribal traditions, the tribe came to be called Nagyal due to an event that took place. The mother of the ancestor of the tribe left her son in a cradle asleep. She had gone out to visit someone, and shortly she came back and saw that her son was awake and happily playing with a cobra. She was shocked to see that the wild venomous snake had not bitten the child but, in fact, was trying to protect. From there onwards she and her family vowed not to kill snakes, and hence the child and its descendants were referred to as Nagyals. This legend itself indicates that at one point in their history, the Nagyal were followers of the cult of the Nag.

However, according to another tradition, common among the Hindu Nagyals of Jammu, the word Nagyal is said to be derived from Nag-wale meaning those who are connected to Nag. Nag here is pronounced as Nug (rhyming with jug or mug). The Nagyal according to this history are migrants from Afghanistan, in particular from the region of Nagarhar (pronounced Nugur-arh). It must be said that traditions of immigration from Afghanistan are not restricted to the Nagyals, and are also common other tribes of Punjab such as the Bhatti and Sandhu.I now return to the Nagyal, who are said to have started migrating eastwards, towards the Punjab, where they began to be called as Nag-wale, which later changed into Nagyal.  The Nagyal are concentrated in the Jhelum-Jammu belt, in the foothills of the Himalyas. The Hindu Nagyals have two clans based on their origin – Saamkariyé Nagyals, and Rubaiyé Nagyals. The Saamkariyé Nagyals claim to have originated from Samarkand, while the latter from somewhere further west within Afghanistan. This region was historically home to Dardic speaking tribes, the last group were the Tirahi, who only disappeared at the beginning of the 20th Century, so it just possible the ancestors of the Nagyal belonged to one such Dard tribe.

 

Like other Chibhalis groups referred to such as the Kanyal, once the Nagyal lefts the hills of the Chibhal and arrived in the Pothohar plateau, a process of conversion to Islam occurs. Different Nagyal groups have different tradition is to their history of settlement. The Ghik, a clan of the Nagyal, now settled in Gujar Khan Tehsil, have a tradition that they descend from four brothers that came to settle in this region during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. One of the brothers settled at Ghik Badhal, from whom descend the Ghik Rajputs, second brother settled in Dhok Nagyal, from whom descend the Nagyals of that village, third brother settled in Bagwal and fourth brother settled at Qutbal. So, it seems small groups of Nagyal left the hills and settled land that must have been lightly settled.

Hindu Nagyals

The Hindu Nagyal were concentrated in the Deva-Batala, a region that is now part of Bhimber District. At the division of Jammu and Kashmir, they had leave this region, and are now found in Jammu, Punjab and Haryana. Like other Jammu Jats, they have traditions of Kul-Devta and Kul-Guru. At present, there are three kul-devta temples in India where Nagyals collect on a half yearly basis – Naushera (North of Akhnoor), Sai (South of Bishnah in Jammu) and Rajpura (near Kathua). In fact, until early 20th Centrury, Nagyals were either Hindu or Muslim; conversion to Sikhism was linked to the British Army’s policy of enrolling Jat Sikhs in Punjab. Since the Jhelum Valley – Chhamb belt was located on the Northern edge of Punjab but fell under the jurisdiction of Jammu and Kashmir State, the British had no formal record of Jats in the region. As a result, a significant section of the community converted to Sikhism and enrolled in the British Army. It became a common practice for one son to convert to Sikhism later. Military service is a tradition which continues today– both for Indian and Pakistani Armies..

 

Distribution

 

Presently, the Nagyal are found in Jhelum, Mirpur and Rawalpindi districts, with those of Rawalpindi generally being acknowledged to be of Rajput status, while those of Jhelum and Mirpur considering themselves as Jats. Starting off with the Islamabad Capital Territory, the Nagyal are found in Mohra Nagyal village. In neighbouring Rawalpindi District, they all found in all the tehsils bar Murree.

Rawalpindi District

In Kahuta Tehsil the villages of Hardogher and Nagyal, and in Rawalpindi Tehsil, their villages are Banda Nagyal, Mohra Nagyal and Maira Nagyal, while in Kallar Syedan they are found in Basanta, Bhalla, Dhamali (Chak Mirza), Doberan Kalan (in Dhok Allah Rakha), Jocha Mamdot and Nala Musalmanan. There is a whole clusters of villages in Gujar Khan Tehsil that entirely inhabited by the Nagyal, or they form an important element, and these include Bagwal, Bhatta, Begwal, Bhai Khan, Chak Bagwal, Cheena, Dhok Baba Kali Shaheed, Dhok Badhal, Nagial Umer, Dera Syedan, Dhok Nagyal (near Gharmala), Gagian, Gharmala, Ghick Badhal, Hoshang, Katyam (near Ratala), Karyali, Kaniat Khalil, Nata Mohra, Mohra Nagyal, Qutbal, Sasral, Nagial Sohal, Saib, Mohra Jundi, Dhok Nagyal in Bewal and Nagial Pahlwan. Mohra Nagyal is a single Nagyal village in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Other Nagyal Villages

In Jhelum District, Chautala, Dhok Kanyal, Dhok Masyal, Dhok Nagyal, Gora Nagyal, Nagyal, Sohan and Wagh (near Pind Dadan Khan) are important villages, while in the neighbouring Chakwal District, their villages include Ghazial, Mohri, and Potha. There is one Nagyal village near Sarai Alamgir in Gujrat District, called Mandi Majuwa. In Azad Kashmir, they are found mainly in Mirpur District, an important Nagyal settlement is the village of Nagial.

Hindu Nagyals of Samba District

There are several villages of Hindu Nagyal Jats in the Ramgarh Tehsil of Samba District, such as Nanga, Rakh Flora and Tupsari.

Distribution of Nagyal According to the 1911 Census of India

 

District

 

Rajput Jat Total
Rawalpindi

 

2,038 2,038
Jhelum

 

1,830 1,830
Other Districts

 

127 103 230
Total 2,165 1,933 4,098

 

 

The Nagyal of Punjab were all Muslim in 1911, found almost entirely in Jhelum and Rawalpindi, with a single Nagyal village in Gujrat. Most of the Jhelum (including Chakwal in 1911) Nagyals consider themselves as Jats, although a few did register themselves as Rajputs. The opposite was the case in Rawalpindi, where most Nagyal had registered themselves as Rajputs, showing the dual identity of the tribe. To give some idea, in 1911, the total population of British Punjab was 24,187,750, and presently the just the population of Pakistani Punjab is 110,012,442.

 

 

 

 

 

Bahirwal and Nagra Jats

In this post, I will look at two tribes of Jats called the Bahirwal and Nagra. Both these tribes claim descent from the Chauhan Rajputs, and are found in northern Punjab, the Bahirwal in Gujrat and the Nagra in Sialkot and Gurdaspur. Briefly, the Chauhan are a clan of Agnivanshi Rajputs, whose kingdom was based in Ajmer in Rajasthan and over time they extended control over north west India, and conquered Delhi and its neighborhood in the 12th century. They suffered a set-back in 1192 when their leader, Prithviraj Chauhan, was defeated at the Second Battle of Tarain, but this did not signify their demise. The kingdom broke into the Satyapura and Devda branches after the invasion of Qutbu l-Din Aibak in 1197. In Punjab, several petty Chauhans ranas survived, many eventually marrying in Jat and Gujar families.

 

Chauhans, along with the Solankis, the Paramaras, and the Pariharas, call themselves agnikulas or fire-born tribes. According to the Agnikula legend, after the original Kshatriyas had been exterminated by Parashurama , the Brahmans found themselves in need of protection from the demons that were harassing them, and so they prayed and made a special sacrifice to the god Shiva for assistance. Then, through divine intercession, there emerged from the sacrificial fire the ancestors of the four Rajput clans known as the Fire Tribes, and they vanquished the demons.

 

I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Basra Jats, which gives some more background about the history of the Jats of the Gujrat, Sialkot . Jats are found all over this region and form the backbone of the agricultural community. They are divided into numerous clans and historically belonged to different religions. It was not uncommon to find in a village a few Jat families practicing Sikhism while others Islam. Along the border with the Jammu and Kashmir state, many Jats had remained Hindu, and many Hindu Nagra Jats are still found in the  Jammu Region

File:Sialkot District.svg

Map of Gujrat and Sialkot: Source Wikipedia

Bahirwal

The Bhararwal are found mainly in Gujrat District, and are a clan of Chauhan Rajputs. There ancestor was an individual by the name of Merath, a Chauhan nobleman of Delhi, who had four sons, called called Nano, Barwala, Kharowala and Kano, who of whom were all non-Muslim. When Kano converted to Islam, he was outcasted by the rest of the tribe. The Punjabi word bahar wal, means an outsider, on the account of Kano being thrown out of the tribe. This conversion is said to have taken place during the rule of Mohammad Ghori, in 12th Century. Kano, with his family members left Delhi, and settled in Gujrat. Here he founded the town of Baharwal, which has remained the centre of the tribe. The Baharwal contracted marriages with the neighbouring Jats tribes, and as such became Jats.

Nagra

According to tribal traditions, the clan claim descent from Nagra, who is said to be a Chauhan Rajput, and the tribe also claim a common origin with the Cheema. The ancestor of both tribes was Cheema, a Chauhan nobleman, who fled Delhi, after the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan by Mohammad Ghori. Cheema is said to have sought refuge in Kangra, present day Himachal Pradesh. Chima’s son Chotu Mal settled in Amritsar, and founded a village along the Beas. His great-grandson, Dhol during the rule of Alauddin Khilji (rule 1296 to 1316) moved to Sialkot. He had four sons, Duggal, Mohtil, Nagra and Cheema, from whom descend these four Jat tribes. However, in another account, Nagra himself is said to have left Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji (rule 1296 to 1316), and settled initially in Jalandhar, and them moved to Pasrur, near Sialkot. The Sikh Nagra consider the Sikh Cheema to be their collaterals, and as such these two clans do not intermarry.

 

There are a number of traditions as where the tribe got its name. According to one such tradition, their ancestor got the name nagra, because as a child he had no fear of snakes and even the most dangerous snakes were docile around him. The word nag means snake in Sanskrit, and the cult of snake worship was common among the tribes of the Jammu hills. The Nagyals of this region have similar traditions. The connection with snake worship suggests that the Nagra were clan of Dogras, who immigrated to the Punjab plains. There are still several villages of Hindu Nagra in the Jammu region, further confirming the liklyhood of a Dogra connection. However, according to another tradition, the Nagras get their name name from the town of Nagaur in Rajasthan. Overtime, nagaure, or people from Nagaur, was corrupted to Nagra. Some Nagra claim to have accepted Islam at the hands of Daud Bandagi Kirmani (1513-1575), a Muslim saint from Multan Province, who said to have converted a number Jat clans of the Bar region. He also appears in the origin stories of the Goraya and Tarar clans. Others claim to have converted during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

The Sikh Nagra consider the Sikh Cheema to be their collaterals, and as such these two clans do not intermarry. After the partition of India in 1947, the Sikh Nagra of Sialkot District moved to India, while the Muslim Nagra undertook a similar migration from Gurdaspur District.

Distribution of the Nagras

They now have 17 villages in Pasrur and Daska tehsils of Sialkot District. Until partition, these Nagra villages had both Sikh and Muslim members.  As already mentioned, there are several Hindu Nagras villages in Jammu such as Sai Kalan and Sai Lag. In neighbouring Gurdaspur district of Punjab, the Sikh Nagra are found in Metla and Warah, while Sikh Nagra of Jalandhar district, all claim to have come from Pasrur. There villages include Kohala, Jabowal and Nagra.

In Sialkot, the most important village is Kalekay Nagra, said to be founded by Kali Singh, who was supposed to have lived in the 18th Century. Other Nagra villages in Sialkot include Adamkay Nagra, Firuzke Nagra, Mattokey Nagra, Ralioke Nagra and Seheko Nagra. Many Nagras, like other Jat clans were settled in the Canal Colonies of Lyalpur and Montgomery in the 19th and early 20th Century. One such Nagra village in the canal colonies is Chak 351 GB Nagra in Toba Tek Singh District, another one is 24 JB , Lahorian Chak in Faisalabad District.

Goraya Jats

In this post, I will look at the Goraya, a large Jat caste that is found mainly in the Rechna Doaba, in particular a region called the Gujranwala Bar. The Goraya were a largely pastoralist tribe, common with many Jats in the region. I will ask the reader to look at my post on the Gondal and Tarar, which gives some more information on the cultural practices of the Bar Jats

Map showing the Doabs of Punjab: Source Wikipedia

Writing about the Jats of the Bar, Captain Nisbett, author of the First Gujranwala Settlement report said the following:

The agricultural tribes are very numerous and a large portion claim a Rajput origin, and are sub-divisions of tribes located in the surrounding districts of Lahore, Sialkot and Amritsar, where the elder branch of the original family having set up home, the younger sons soon wondered a few miles further north and founded new colonies in to this district.

The Goraya too claim a Rajput origin, with an ancestor said to have come from a neighbouring region. Like all Punjabi tribes and clans, the Goraya also have a number of origin stories. The northern half off the Rechna Doaba, the present day districts of Narowal, Sialkot and Gujranwala, has always been dominated by Jats. Jat clans such as the Bajwa, Chatha, Tarar, and Waraich, being the majority of the rural population. In custom and tradition, the Goraya share much with these tribes.

Map of Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan

Map of Gujranwala District: Source Wikipedia

Origin Myths

As Captain Nisbett noted, like other Jat tribes, the Goraya also claim a Rajput ancestry, in this case from a tribe called Saroya or Saraoha. Little is known of them, but they appear in the origin stories of several Jats tribes, such as the Hanjra for example. Almost all Goraya myths make reference to an individual by the name of Goraya, as their ancestor. However, after this agreement, the consensus breaks down. Interestingly, the word goraya is also used for the nilgai, a type of a large antelope. Therefore, it is possible that Goraya could have been a nickname for their ancestor. In some stories, he said to have leftSirsa, in what is now Haryana, in search greener pastures, here I use the word in the literal sense. He was looking for a place where there to find pasturage for his cattle.

In Gurdaspur, the Goraya claimed that they are descendants of a person named Lu, who was a Suryavanshi ancestry. Lu lived at a place called Kharmor in the Malwa, and held an official position at the court of a Sultan. He is said to have fallen out with the Sultan, and fled with his family to the banks of the Ravi. Among the Sikh Goraya, there is a tradition that they ate really a branch of the Dhillon Jat, who they do not intermarry, as marriage within a Jat clan is forbidden in Sikhism.

However, a tradition that is prevalent among the Gujranwala Goraya, is that the tribe is descended from a Chandravanshi Rajput called Goraya whose grandson Mai came from the Lakki Thal, in what is now Bhakkar District. The tribe settled in the Jammu region, just north of Sialkot.  Here they were until under Rana their then chief, they came down from the Jammu hills, after a fallout with a Dogra chieftain. This is said to have occurred during the period of Mughal rule over Punjab (circa 15 -17 AD).

 

The next name that occurs in tribal genealogies is that of Budh or Budha, who is said have had twenty sons, one of whom all the Goraya claim descent from. The word budha means an old man, but here it is being used to in the sense of father or founder of the tribe. For example, the Gondals also have a Budha as their ancestor. The word budha here really means the founder or first settler of the tribe. Another name that occurs among the Goraya is that of a Baba Midh, who said to resolved disputes within the tribe, and allocated lands to each chaudhary. This Baba Midh may refer to the Sufi Pir Madha Shah Sultan, whose shrine is in the village of Budha Goraya. Some Goraya claim to have accepted Islam at the hands of Daud Bandagi Kirmani(1513-1575), a Muslim saint from Multan Province, who said to have converted a number Jat clans of the Bar region. He also appears in the origin stories of the Tarar and Chatha clans.

 

The current village of Budha Goraya, located south west of Gujranwala city, is said to be the site of the camp of Budha. The site was initially known as Buddha Gorayan Da , in Punjabi meaning the founders village. The village was said to be destroyed by the earthquake, the original village being about 3 km (1.9 mi) south of Buddha Goraya. After the destruction of the village, the survivors settled in the surroundings areas while some fled further afield. There are now several settlements of the Goraya in Gujranwala, that are named after an individual that left Budha Goraya and founded the settlement. These include Bupra Kalan Goraya, Bupra Khurd Goraya, Chitti Goraya, Harchoki Goraya, Lonkay, Jajoki Goraya, Dhair Virkan, Pipli Goraya, Saddu Goraya, Ratta Goraya, and Mahiya Goraya.

.

A village with the name Budha Goraya is also occurs in Sialkot district near Daska, which was also settled by a descendent of the Budha, after the earthquake destroyed the original village. The Goraya now found in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Gurdaspur all connect themselves with the village of Budha Goraya. They own 31 villages in Gujranwala. In Sialkot, there villages are located ibn the north-east of the Pasrur Tehsil.

Distribution of the Goraya in Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India

 

District/ State Muslim Sikh Hindu

 

Total
 

Sialkot

4,647 681 1,574 6,902
Gujranwala

 

3,534 965 752 5,251
Gurdaspur

 

1,300 2,062 1,008 4,370
Chenab Colony

 

2,132 787 182 3,101
Patiala State

 

283 834 1,117
Amritsar

 

412 501 46 959
Lahore

 

568 53 22 643
Mianwali

 

365 365
Hoshiarpur

 

135 16 146 297
Montgomery 180 180

 

Gujrat

 

146 146
Other Districts/ State 936
Total

 

14,076 5,443 4,748 24,267

 

 

As the Census showed, over 90% of the tribe was found in the Rechna Doab, Gurdaspur at that time included Shakargarh tehsil, which was also located within the Doab. Another point, is that the Hindu Goraya were all Sultani Hindus, followers of the saint Sakhi Sarwar. Almost all of these converted to Sikhism by mid 20th Century. The Goraya now either Muslim or Sikh.

 

 

Chhimba Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census of Punjab

This is my final post looking at the size and distribution of castes that were involved with a certain occupation. I would ask the reader to look at my posts on the Tarkhans and Lohar to get some more information on the history and position of occupational castes in Punjab. In this post, I will look at Chhimba, sometimes pronounced as Chhimpa or Chhipi, who were traditionally engaged in the arts of dyeing, printing and tailoring clothes. Rose wrote thee following about the Chhimba:

is by occupation a stamper or dyer, but he also turns his hand to tailoring or washing. Hence the caste includes the Darzis or tailors, the Lilāris or dyers, and the Dhobis : also the Chhapgar. By religion the Chhimbās are mainly Hindus and Muhammadans.

Also Lilaris, who were entirely Muslim, by the beggining of the 20th Century formed a distinct caste from Chhimba. Like the Tarkhan, the Chhimba had become to convert to Sikhism, and at the beginning of the 20th Century, about 20% were Sikh. By the time of independence in 1947, almost half the Chhimba population was Sikh.

District/State Hindu Sikh Muslim Total

 

Firozpur

 

2,021 4,421 9,059 15,501
Patiala State

 

8,388 4,330 2,420 15,138
Amritsar

 

1,721 5,190 7,754 14,665
Lahore 391 2,998 10,752

 

14,141
Jalandhar

 

7,033 2,187 727 9,947
Ludhiana

 

4,814 3,700 310 8,824
Hisar

 

5,118 372 2,352 7,842
Gurdaspur

 

2,547 582 3,566 6,695
Hoshiarpur 5,985 397 82 6,464

 

Karnal

 

1,226 65 5,162 6,453
Gujranwala

 

441 221 5,180 5,842
Rohtak 5,002 5,002

 

Ambala

 

4,020 278 245 4,543
Kapurthala State

 

1,541 950 1,086 3,577
Nabha State

 

1,671 1,207 389 3,267
Sialkot

 

1,238 144 1,920 3,302
Montgomery 18 3,094 3,112

 

Mianwali

 

3,031 3,031
Delhi

 

2,267 542 2,809
Kangra

 

2,393 63 2,456
Jind State

 

1,301 645 414 2,361
Faridkot State 91 881 1,231 2,203

 

Gurgaon

 

1,194 1,194
Malerkotla State 522 166 688
Chenab Colony 110 448 558
Kalsia State 289 62 22 373

 

Jhelum 161 39 39 239

 

Gujrat

 

61 51 112
Other District

 

Total 62,611 28,855 60,051 151,517

 

 

 

 

 

Tarkhan Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India

In this post, I return to the distribution of different castes foound in the Punjab, at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Tarkhans were the carpenters of Punjab, although in what is now Haryana, the term used was Khati. Unlike the three castes I have looked in the previous posts, the Teli, Julaha and Lohar, the Tarkhan didnot have a Muslim majority. Indeed, the Tarkhan played an important role in the rise of Sikhism in the Punjab, with Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, a Tarkhan, founding the Ramgarhia misal. Sikh Tarkhans at the beginning of the 20th Century made up about 43% of the total population. By the time of partition in 1947, a slight majority of the Tatkhan were Sikh. I would ask the reader to look at the book Textures of the Sikh Past: New Historical Perspectives, which has detailed accounts of the evolution of the Ramgarhia community.

Rose, the early 20th Century British ethnologists oberved the following about the Tarkhans:

Like the Lohar he is a true village menial, mending all agricultural implements and household furniture, and making them all, except the cart, the Persian wheel, and the sugarprees, without payment beyond his customary dues.

Like the Lohar, the Tarkhan were in seipi relationship with the other villagers, providing service in kind, in return for payment in wheat and other agricultural produce. Seipi refers to the barter system among Punjabi villagers, where for example a carpenter would exchange their well sought after service for agricultural produce from farmers. This system was particularly strong in villages in central Punjab. Most Tarkhan were found in the central Punjabi speaking districts, stretching from Gujrat to the Phulkian States. Although included with the Tarkhans, the Khati of Karnal, Hisar and Rohtak formed a distinct caste, largely Hindu, although some Khati were Muslim. Muslim Tarkhans, like the Muslim Lohar increasingly now call themselves Mughals.

 

District / State

 

Hindu Muslim Sikh Total
Patiala State

 

28,782 1,596 16,322 46,700
Sialkot

 

6,509 34,542 2,916 43,967
Amritsar

 

1,604 11,837 27,579 41,020
Lahore

 

1,245 23,293 15,687 40,225
Gurdaspur

 

14,763 6,374 14,139 35,276
Hoshiarpur

 

24,947 2,184 6,190 33,321
Gujranwala

 

3,505 23,450 6,343 33,298
Jalandhar

 

14,882 11,247 6,031 32,160
Firozpur

 

4,855 16,750 9,519 31,124
Rawalpindi

 

388 23,830 833 25,051
Gujrat

 

626 23,428 101 24,155
Ludhiana

 

12,624 764 7,606 20,994
Hisar

 

16,749 2,123 1,340 20,212
Karnal

 

13,096 6,368 566 20,030
Ambala

 

15,567 2,944 1,331 19,842
Multan

 

81 17,176 104 17,358
Kangra

 

15,932 78 141 16,151
Chenab Colony

 

2,065 11,266 2,793 16,124
Jhelum

 

27 15,065 39 15,131
Shahpur

 

36 13,989 68 14,093
Gurgaon

 

13,116 369 13,485
Rohtak

 

12,565 123 12,688
 

Montgomery

122 10,192 480 10,794
Nabha State

 

5,358 228 4,905 10,491
Jhang

 

13 10,432 10,445
Muzaffargarh

 

33 9,670 45 9,748
Kapurthala State

 

3,045 3,749 2,949 9,743
Mianwali

 

9,575 9,575
Delhi

 

8,123 1,077 52 9,252
Bahawalpur State

 

236 7,714 207 8,157
Jind State

 

4,992 316 1,205 6,513
Faridkot State

 

111 469 4,904 5,484
Dera Ghazi Khan

 

11 4,454 4,465
Nahan State

 

1,916 113 27 2,056
Kalsia State

 

1,470 127 292 1,889
Chamba State

 

1,313 14 16 1,343
Shimla

 

771 280 1,051
Suket State

 

941 941
Dujana State

 

644 644
Keonthal State

 

581 581
Jubbal State

 

533 533
Pataudi State

 

462 462
Mandi State

 

286 14 300
Other Districts / States

 

Total

 

238,946 147,475 294,096 680,517

 

 

 

Lohar Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census of India

This is my third post looking at the distribution of castes in Punjab, in this case the Lohar, at the time of carrying out the 1901 Census. The traditional occupation of the Lohar was that of  a blacksmith, but among the occupational groups in Punjab, the Lohar were the most likely to be agriculturists. Unlike the Teli, who were entirely Muslim, and Julaha who were largely Muslim, the Lohar only had a small Muslim majority (around 60%). In fact in south east Punjab, the modern Haryana state, the Lohar were largely Hindu. The Hindu Lohars of what is now Haryana called themselves as Dhiman. Rose, the British colonial ethnologists wrote the following about the Lohar:

The Lohar of the Punjab is, as his name implies, is blacksmith pure and simple. He is one of the true village meniele, receiving customary dues in the shape of a share of the produce, in return for which he makes and mends all the iron implement of agrculture, the material being found by the husbandman. He is most numerous in proportion to the total population in the hills and the Districts that lie immediately below them, where like all other artisan castes he is largely employed in field labour. He is present in singularly small numbers in the Multan division, the Derajat and Bahawalpur; probably because men of other castes engage in blacksmith’s work in those parts, or perhaps becausa the carpenter and the blacksmith are the same.

 

Like the Tarkhans, the Lohar were in seipi relationship with the other villagers, providing service in kind, in return for payment in wheat and other agricultural produce. Seipi refers to the barter system among Punjabi villagers, where for example a blacksmith would exchange their well sought after service for agricultural produce from farmers. This system was particularly strong in villages in central Punjaby the beginning of the 20th Century. Sikh Lohars were merging with the Sikh Tarkhans to form a single Ramgarhia caste. While Muslim Lohar groups began to call themselves Mughals at around the same time. I would ask the reader to look at Khalid Nadvi’s book The Post-Colonial State and Social Transformation in India and Pakistan, about of the Lohar in Sialkot, and their role in creating the surgical instrutments industry. Sialkot had the third highest number of Lohars, and in the city made up a third of the population. However, in 1901, these trends has just begun, with most Lohar groups still registering themselves as Lohar.

 

 

District/State

 

Muslim Hindu Sikh Total
Patiala State

 

8,635 8,493 5,306 22,434
Amritsar

 

16,257 323 5,550 22,130
Sialkot

 

19,253 1,866 147 21,266
Gurdaspur

 

6,860 6,595 3,295 16,750
Lahore

 

14,394 413 1,741 16,548
Rawalpindi

 

16,115 62 185 16,362
Hoshiarpur

 

2,507 11,476 1,928 15,911
Kangra

 

166 15,695 40 15,901
Gujranwala

 

15,440 103 286 15,829
Jalandhar

 

5,012 6,283 4,182 15,477
Gujrat

 

13,504 71 13,575
Karnal

 

8,168 5,233 88 13,489
Ambala

 

4,547 8,438 325 13,310
Jhelum

 

10,536 10,536
Firuzpur 7,775 680 1,384 9,839

 

Hisar

 

7,067 2,709 47 9,823
Ludhiana

 

1,600 4,624 2,503 8,727
Rohtak

 

2,503 6,158 8,661
Chenab Colony 7,255 602 541 8,398
Gurgaon

 

2,040 4,873 6,913
Shahpur

 

6,523 6,523
Delhi

 

2,173 4,174 6,347
Mianwali

 

4,762 4,762
Jind State

 

2,163 2,216 264 4,643
Kapurthala State 2,452 1,427 430 4,309
Montgomery

 

3,813 11 109 3,933
Multan

 

3,678 39 57 3,774
Mandi State

 

3,641 3,641
Malerkotla State

 

390 2,267 882 3,539
Jhang

 

3,535 3,535
Nabha State

 

973 1,581 622 3,176
Nahan State

 

85 1,896 181 2,162
Muzaffargarh

 

1,697 1,697
Chamba State

 

1,684 1,684
Faridkot State

 

1,171 157 163 1,491
Bahawalpur State

 

1,368 1,368
Dera Ghazi Khan

 

1,187 1,187
Kalsia State

 

519 547 38 1,104
Nalargarh State

 

44 721 765
Shimla

 

31 639 670
Other Districts/ States

 

Total

 

206,371 113,100 30,935 350,622

 

 

 

 

 

Julaha Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census

Julahas were one of the larger castes of artisans in the Punjab, traditionally associated with weaving. However, many Julahas were cultivators and land owners.The word Julaha, is said to come from the Persian julah, meaning a ball of thread. Most Julahas were Muslims (about 90%) in 1901, although there was a Sikh and Hindu minority. The Julaha homeland in Punjab was the central region, stretching from Rawalpindi in the west to Hoshiarpur in the east. Most villages in this region had a Julaha presence. Many of the Sikh Julaha belonged to the Ravidasi sect. I would ask the reader to look at the book Sikhs in Europe: Migration, Identities and Representations , which has excellent section on the Sikh Julaha. In Pakistan, Muslim Julaha now self-designate themselves as Ansaris.

 

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Gurdaspur 46,492 782 47,274
Amritsar 46,164 154 46,318
Lahore 43,299 679 24 44,002
Rawalpindi 37,508 21   37,529
Kangra 9,555 21,628 185 31,368
Gujranwala 31,046 24 31,070
Sialkot 27,694 27,694
Multan 27,187 44 27,231
Jhelum 25,821 17 25,838
Shahpur 25,256 33 25,289
Jhang 23,736 23,736
Hoshiarpur 14,814 5,837 2,959 23,610
Firuzpur 23,421 29 23,450
Gujrat 22,514 22,514
Montgomery 22,015 37 22,052
Ambala 18,892 1,626 386 20,904
Chenab Colony 19,532 261 144 19,937
Patiala State 16,301 1,125 1,096 18,522
Ludhiana 16,514 13 209 16,736
Jalandhar 15,550 98 817 16,465
Karnal 10,465 2,334 697 13,496
Mianwali 13,040 13,040
Muzaffargarh 11,690 11,690
Delhi 1,025 8,737 9,762
Bahawalpur State 9,045 225 9,270
Kapurthala State 8,388 8,388
Mandi State 136 4,591 4,727
Kalsia State 3,287 3,287
Hissar 2,773 21 2,794
Gurgaon 1,360 783 2,143
Rohtak 925 283 1,208

Other Districts

 

 

 

 

Total

592,886

57,490

6,511 656,887

Teli Population of Punjab according to 1901 Census of India

In this post, I return to the population breakdown of important Punjabi castes. Here, I will look at the Teli caste. The Teli were largely Muslim (almost 99%), and were 11th largest Muslim group according to the 1901 Census of Punjab. They were divided into three large linguistic groupings, the Punjabi speaking Teli (about two thirds or 208,555), a Haryanvi speaking group (20%) and finally the Teli of Pothohar making up the remainder. The south western region of Punjab (Seraiki region) was not home to any Telis. The Telis of Shahpur, Montgomery, Multan and the Chenab colony (Lyalpur) were settlers who had arrived to colonize the Bar. The Hindu Telis were found mainly in Delhi and Gurgaon, and were connected with Telis of neighboring United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) By 1901, most Teli were largely agriculturists, but the oppressive Punjab Land Alienation Act prevented them from owning land.  There were however several Teli owned villages stretching from Rawalpindi to Rohtak.

Punjab 1909.jpg

Map of Colonial Punjab: Source Wikipedia

Time permitting, I hope to write a post on the Teli communities about the Punjab. Just a point to note, the word Teli has fallen into disuse, replaced with the self-designation Malik. In would ask the reader to look at the Youtube channel of Muhammad Alamgir, which has interviews with members of the Teli caste who have immigrated from the Haryana after partition.

District / State Muslim Hindu Total Population
Lahore 34,063 30 34,093
Amritsar 26,455 10 26,465
Patiala State 25,228 25,228
Gurdaspur 19,354 19,354
Karnal 16,221 74 16,295
Firuzpur 15,938 42 15,980
Rawalpindi 13,958 84 14,042
Sialkot 13,623 13,623
Ludhiana 13,607 13,607
Jalandhar 13,508 13,508
Hissar 12,557 12,557
Gujranwala 12,555 12,555
Hoshiarpur 12,476 12,476
Ambala 12,061 172 12,233
Gujrat 8,772 28 8,800
Chenab Colony 8,218 10 8,228
Jhelum 8,174 8,174
Rohtak 7,218 20 7,238
Delhi 5,242 1,674 6,916
Gurgaon 5,439 905 6,344
Kangra 5,690 325 6,015
Kapurthala State 4,863 4,863
Nabha State 4,208 4,208
Jind State 3,445 3,445
Faridkot State 2,370 2,370
Montgomery 2,249 2,249
Shahpur 2,197 2,197
Malerkotla State 1,435 1,435
Kalsia State 1,383 1,383
Multan 1,126 1,126
Jhang 848 848
Nahan State 636 636
Nalagarh State 618 618
Dera Ghazi Khan 274 274
Other Districts
 
Total Population 318,598 3,907 322,505