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.

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

 

Baghial, Manyal and Rupyal tribes

In this post I return the Chibhal country, and look at three tribes, namely the Baghial, Rupyaal and Manyal, who are found in this region. While Manyal are found entirely in the old Poonch Jagir, the other two are also found in Mirpur and the Pothohar regions. Like other tribes in the region, some sections of these tribes call themselves Jats, while other are Rajputs. The Manyal are also known as Malik Manyal, and have a lot in common with the Safial tribe discussed elsewhere. While Safial are concentrated in the Darhal region, the Manyal are found mainly in the Budhaal region. Both groups are collectively known as Malkana.

Baghial

I shall start of by looking at the Baghial. Like other clans looked in my posts, the Baghial have a number of traditions as to their ancestry. They are found in Pothohar, Mirpur and the old Poonch Jagir. Those of Rawalpindi claim to of Panwar (Agnivanshi) lineage, while those of Mendhar considers themselves to of Thakyal (Suryavanshi) lineage. It could be that indeed these two Baghial are distinct clans. However, the Mendhar Baghial to have legends that a branch of their tribes settled in the Pothohar region. Just one more point, the Baghial are entirely distinct from the Bughial, who are branch of the Ghakkar tribe.

The Panwar Baghials

According to the Baghial of Pothohar, they are closely related to the Bangial, a tribe of Jat/Rajput status found throughout northern Punjab. In Pothohar, the Baghial are found entirely in Rawalpindi District, where they occupy five villages in Gujar Khan Tehsil. They are often confused with the Bughial, who are clan of the Gakhar tribe, but with whom they have no relations. The common ancestor of both tribes is Bangash Khan, the Baghial being descended from his eldest son Bugha Khan, which would therefore make them also of Panwar ancestry. Another difference relates to the fact that while Bangial are found throughout northern Punjab, the Baghial are concentrated in Rawalpindi, and only claim to be of Rajput status. Important Baghial villages include Dhamali, Loona, Dhok Sumbhal, Kanoha in Kallar Syedan Tehsil, Pind Dara, Supiyali Baghial and Maira Mohra, all in Rawalpindi Tehsil.

The Thakyal Baghials

In the Poonch Jagir, mainly in present day Mendhar, the Baghial claim to be a branch of the Thakyal Rajputs. The Thakyal Rajputs are of Suryavanshi lineage. The Thakyals are named after Raja Jothar Singh Thakyal who established the Bhimber state in northern Punjab at the foothills of the Himalayas. There was a Thakyal Rajput by the name of Rusmi Dev who lived in a place called Thakar Dhooli, near the village Dhuruti, located near Ziarat Saen Kamla Badshah, now located some two kilometres on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control dividing Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Rusmi Dev in his descendants established a presence in the Rajouri and Mendher areas, and threw a challenge to the rule and authority of Jayrah clan. The relationship between the Thakyals and the Jayrahs deteriorated resulting in a war between the two clans. Led by Rusmi Dev, Thakyals defeated the Jayrahs (Jarals) and he took over as a ruler of this tiny state. It was a time when Islam was fast spreading all over Hindustan. With influence of Islam growing in the land Rusmi Dev, he also embraced Islam and changed his name to Rustam Khan. He ruled his territory till his death and was laid to rest in Dhuruti where his tomb still exists. Rustam Khan had four sons. His eldest son was named as Bagh Khan. Bagh Khan migrated Mendhar area and founded a village known as Sangal, presently called Narol. The other three were Sangi Khan, Kangi Khan and Kaloo Khan. Sangi Khan’s descendants live in Muzafarabad and Bagh in Azad Kashmir, Abbottabad in the Hazara region, and Gujarkhan and Rawalpindi in Punjab. It could that the Panwar Baghial of Pothohar are really Sangi Khan’s branch of the tribe.

The Baghial first settled in Sangal area now called Narol but later speard over to a number of villages like Kalaban, Salwah, Harni and Gursai. There are few Baghial families living in Sarhutti, Ari and Galhutta.

The Jat Baghials

A second group of Baghial are found in Haveli Baghal, a village in Dadyal Tehsil of Mirpur. Unlike the Mendhar Baghial, this lineage considers itself to be Jat, and intermarries with other clans of Jats such as the Rachyal and Roopyal. In Mendhar itself, the Baghial of the villages of Thera, Banola and Kasblari, consider themselves as Jats, and intermarry with other Jat clans.

Manyal

The Manyal trace descent to the town of Rajouri, and the ruler of the town called Manipaal, who lived around the late 12th Century. Manipal belonged the Pal lineage of Rajputs, who around this time were rulers of several principalities in the Pir Paanjal region. In some sources, Mani pal is referred to as Amna pal. It is traditionally believed that ‘Pal’ originated from Sanskrit ‘Pala’ meaning protector or keeper. The Pal Rajahs of the Pir Panjaal claimed a mythical origin from the Pala dynasty of Bengal. Manipal’s ancestral is said to have to come from the Pal kingdom and settled in Rajouri, where are said to have overthrown the Khasiya. Several rulers in what is now Himachal Pradesh also claim to be Pal Rajputs, such as the rulers of Bhajji. Manipal’s own rule was overthrown by Rai Noorudin Khan, founder of the Jarral Rajput line of rulers in Rajouri. Noorudin Khan arrived as a refugee from Kangra, and was greeted by Manipal, who offered his hospitality. The Rai took advantage of this, and seized the throne of Rajauri. In this way Raja Noor-Ud-Din laid the foundation of Muslim Jarral rule in Rajouri in 1194 A.D, which lasted till 21st October 1846 A.D. The Rai took advantage of this, and seized the throne of Rajauri. Manipal and his supporters fled to the region of Budhaal. A branch of his family settled in Majwhaal in Kotli District.

 

In exile in Budhaal, a prince seventh in decent from Manipal is said to have met a Sufi saint by the name of Doodh Haqani, and converted to Islam. He was then known as Din Mohammad. His Fathi Mohammad settled in ‘Moharra’, and was nicknamed Manyaala, on account of his descent from Raja Amna Pal, his clan is still known as Manyaal. Din Mohammad’s son Fateh Mohammad is said to have seized Thakyala from the Thakyal Rajputs. Fateh Mohammad established his base at Mohra village, and all the current Manyals trace their descent from him. They are also known as Malik or Malik Manyaal. The Manyal have produced Sain Bahadur, a famous Naqsbandi Sufi of the Chibhal region. Other than Mohra, the Manyal are also found in Gonthal. The bulk of the tribe remains in Budhaal tehsil.

 

Rupyal

The Rupyal, or The Rupyal or sometimes pronounced as Ruplaal claim descent from the legendary Raja Salvahan, the founder of the city of the Sialkot. He is said to have had 15 sons, the sixth one being called Roop or Roopa. Roopa was said to have left the Sialkot and settled in Pind Dadan Khan, sometime around the conquest of that region by Mahmood of Ghazni. Fourteenth in descent from Rajah Roopa Dev was an individual named Mal. Mal is said to have converted to Islam and adopted the name Rai Jalaluddin. After his conversion, the Rai is said to have left Pind Dadan Khan and settled in Poonch. This settlement occurred in the 15th Century, but happened before the invasion of Kashmir by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, according to Mohamad Din Fauq. The Rai settled in Sarhroon in Poonch. In Sarhoon, there was long settled a clan of local notables called the Chaudhary. When the Mughal Emperor Jahangir visited Kashmir, the Chaudharys provided him with excellent hospitality. As a result, the Emperor granted Sarhoon to the Chaudharys. This caused conflict with Rai Sher Khan, who was then chief of the Rupyaals, who over powered the Chaudhry’s and established Rupyaal rule over the Sarhoon and the villages nearby. The Rai remained rulers of this petty state until the hills of the Chibhal were conquered by the Dogras in the early 19th Century. The Poonch branch, and Pothohar branch of Rupyals consider themselves to be Rajputs, while those in Mirpur call themselves Jats, and intermarry with other tribes of Jat staus.

 

The Rupyal are a tribe found mainly in the Mirpur District, Haveli District and the Pothohar region of the Punjab, Pakistan. In Mirpur they are found in Pandkhor and villages in Dadyal tehsil. In the old Poonch Jageer, their villages include Miani Basti (Haveli), Choi, Degwar Maldyaal, and Chathra. A second cluster of Rupyaal villages are found in Mang Dhagron in Sudhnoti District.

In Punjab they are found mainly in Rawalpindi District, with Doberan in Kahuta and their villages in Kallar Syedan tehsil include Nothia Shareef, Mohra Ropial, Chapri Akkoo, Chanam Shareef and Chauntra. In Jhelum, they are found in Makhiala.

 

Rajput Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

In this post, I look at the distribution of the Rajput population of Punjab, according to the 1901 Census. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Rajputs of Punjab to get some background information.

 

District / State

Muslims

Hindus

Sikhs

Total

Main Clans

Kangra

889 153,100 57  154,046

Katoch, Indauria, Guleria, Jamwal, Jaryal (Jarral), Abhrol, Minhas, Pathania, Pathial, Dadwal and Jaswal

Rawalpindi

121,420  813  114  122,347

Bhatti, Alpial, Thathaal, Baghial, Bhakral, Nagial, Kanial, Chauhan, Dhamial, Janjua, Jodhra, and Minhas,

Bahawalpur State

101,870  3,152  2,035  107,057

Joiya, Wattu, Panwar, Sial, Khichi, Jatu and Tomar

Hoshiarpur

44,260  49,055  223  93,538 Ghorewaha, Manj, Naru, Luddu, Bhanot, Dadwal, Jaswal, Pathania, Janjua and Minhas
Multan 88,975  2,159  387 91,521  Sial, Panwar, Bhatti, Dhudhi, Minhas (Lodhra), Khichi and Noon
Firuzpur 79,868  4,282  1,034  85,184 Bhatti, Joiya, Panwar, Wattu, Manj, Sial, Dhudhi and Rathore
Karnal  66,780  15,529  197  82,506 Mandahar, Panwar, Bhatti, Barya (Brah), Chauhan, Pundir and Taoni
Gurdaspur  43,420  36,405  185  80,010 Minhas, Sulehria, Katil, Bhao, Bhatti, Pathania, Dadwal and Manj
Shahpur  72,096  897  184  73,177 Bhatti, Sial, Dhudhi, Chauhan, Bhon, Joiya, Khichi, Noon and Tiwana
Hissar   55,205  15,262  70,467 Jatu, Tomar, Panwar, Satraola, Raghubansi, Mandahar, Dhudhi, Khichi, Bhatti, Joiya and Chauhan
Ambala  48,746  18,373  128  67,247 Taoni, Chauhan, Ghorewaha, Dahya, Barya (Brah), Panwar and Raghubansi
Patiala State  52,052  12,628  616  65,296 Barya (Brah), Bhatti, Chauhan, Ghorewaha, Joiya, Mandahar, Mandahar, Atiras, Taoni, Panwar, Tiwana, and Wattu
Lahore   53,193  4,716 1,850   59,759 Bhatti, Naru, Panwar, Joiya and Dhudhi
Sialkot  47,919  11,515  232  59,666 Sulehria, Minhas, Bhatti, Katil, Janjua, Bajju and Pathial
Jhelum 57,316   251 57,567  Janjua, Bhatti, Bhakral, Minhas, Mair-Minhas, Chib, Chauhan, and Jalap
Montgomery  49,615  975  457  51,047 Wattu, Sial, Kathia, Bhatti, Joiya, Dhudhi, Khichi and Chauhan
Jalandhar  42,452  5,767 3,079   51,298 Ghorewaha, Manj, Naru, Barya (Brah), Bhatti and Chandel
Jhang  50,077  121  145 50,343 Sial, Chadhar, Gondal, Bhatti, Joiya and Dhudhi
Chenab Colony  40,129  1,129  2,677  43,935 Sial, Wattu, Khichi, Joiya, Bhatti, and Chauhan
Amritsar 32,929  2,342  209  35,480 Bhatti, Manj, Naru and Chauhan
Rohtak 27,238   7,412 1,331   34,650 Panwar, Chauhan, Mandahar, Barya (Brah), Jatu and Tomar
Ludhiana 27,798  344  29,473 Ghorewaha, Manj, Naru, Bhatti, Barya (Brah), Panwar and Taoni
Gurgaon  9,445  18,120  27,565 Bargujar, Chauhan, Jatu, Panwar and Tomar
Kapurthala State  23,788  927  27  24,742 Manj, Naru, Bhatti and Chauhan
Delhi  4,218  19,498  13  23,729 Chauhan, Gaurwa, Tomar and Panwar
Gujranwala  23,688  521 1,937  26,146 Bhatti, Joiya, Khichi and Sial
Gujrat  22,328  1,066 317   23,711 Chib, Minhas, Bhatti, Narma and Janjua
Muzaffargarh 14,699 335 1,949 16,983 Sial, Bhatti, Panwar, Dhudhi and Chauhan
Dera Ghazi Khan 14,693 193 99 14,985 Sial, Bhatti, Panwar, Joiya, Jamra and Tomar
Nabha State 6,578 3,937 286 10,801 Barya (Brah), Jatu, Chauhan, Tomar and Ghorewaha
Jind State 5,409 4,908 10,317 Mandahar, Panwar, Bhatti, Chauhan and Jatu
Bilaspur State 187 7,805 7,992 Pundir and Raghubansi
Mianwali 6,012 129 59 6,200 Joiya, Janjua, Bhatti, Sial, Kanial and Mekan
Mandi State 150 5,650 5,800 Mandial, Katoch and Chandel
Chamba State 185 4,301 4,486 Chambial, Katoch, Pathania
Faridkot State 3,685 181 19 3,885 Bhatti, Chauhan, Joiya and Manj
Nahan State 536 2,964 10 3,510 Taoni and Chandel
Kalsia State 2,432 649 25 3,106 Taoni, Atiras and Chauhan
Shimla 375 2,323 2,968 Shiam and Katoch
Bashahr State 2,570 2,570 Nanglu, Chandel and Chauhan
Malerkotla State 2,238 96 2,334 Barya (Brah), Manj, Bhatti and Ghorewaha
Dujana State 1,525 613 2,138 Chauhan, Jatu and Tomar
Nalagarh State 220 522 742 Chauhan and Chandel
Pataudi State 668 1,644 2,312 Chauhan, Jatu and Tomar
Suket State 1,178 1,178 Katoch
Other Districts
Total 1,397,347 432,360 17,885 1,797,592

 

 

 

 

 

List and Population of Muslim Jat Clans in the Ambala Division

Below is a list of Muslim Jat clans and their population in the Ambala Division of Punjab, drawn up for 1911 Census of India. This region now forms part of the modern state of Haryana. These clans referred to themselves as Muley Jats. In 1911, the Ambala Division consisted of four districts, Ambala, Hissar, Delhi and Rohtak and Gurgaon. In 1911, Delhi was seperated from the Division and became a new province. Almost all the Muslim Jat population Haryana immigrated to Pakistan at partition in 1947. I would also strongly recomend that readers watch Mohammad Alamgir’s Youtube channel, which has interviews with many members of the Mulley Jat community that now live in Pakistan.

Ambala District

The total Muley Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 10,956 (10%) out of atotal population of 106,402. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muley Jat clans:

 

Tribe Tehsil Kharar Tehsil Rupar Tehsil Naraingarh Tehsil Jagadhri Tehsil Total
Baidwan 2 45 1 48
Bains 7 64 3 4 78
Bal 2 2 93 97
Chahal 50 4 96 2 152
Dhariwal 7 151 44 202
Dhillon 5 79 13 97
Dhindsa 10 7 17
Gill 32 17 93 2 21 165
Heer 7 17 1 2 27
Kang 14 14
Maan 9 25 173 207
Mahil 10 10
Mangat 4 8 241 2 255
Pawania 6 43 49
Sarai 1 13 3 17
Sandhu 26 182 2 12 240
Sidhu 7 92 99
Waraich 7 3 1 1 12

 

Hissar District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 5,311 (3%) out of a totalpopulation of 224,889. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Mulley Jat clans:

Tribe Hissar Tehsil Hansi Tehsil Bhiwani Tehsil Fatehabad Tehsil Sirsa Tehsil Total
Bahniwal 237 17 286 540
Bola 33 2 35
Chahal 8 45 24 77
Chauhan 2 24 26
Dandiwal 20 14 34
Dhillon 11 11
Dohan 81 2 83
Gill 13 16 29
Godara 62 202 264
Lahar 10 10
Mahla 13 9 22
Maan 101 101
Nain 57 39 96
Panghal 7 9 59 4 79
Punia 35 88 9 132
Sarai 8 24 33 65
Sawaich 40 40
Sheoran 42 1 43
Sehwag 5 19 24

 

Karnal District

 

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 3,597 (3%) out of a totalpopulation of 111,239. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

 

 

Tribe Karnal Tehsil Panipat Tehsil Kaithal Tehsil Thanesar Tehsil Total
Ahlawat 15 15
Badhan 4 146 1 151
Bhainiwal 2 27 1 30
Dabdal 41 10 51
Deshwal 257 3 260
Dhariwal 11 11
Dhillon 1 68 69
Dhindsa 34 34
Gailan 20 20
Ghatwala or Malik 8 9 3 20
Gill 15 2 17
Jaglan 11 11
Khandi 9 9
Khokhar 50 12 62
Maan 10 10
Narwal 171 3 17 191
Pawania 11 2 13
Saran 4 3 7
Sidhu 4 3 7
Sandhu 2 24 26

 

Rohtak District

 

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 4,015 (2%) out of a totalpopulation of 266,729. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

 

 

 

Tribe Rohtak Tehsil Jhajjar Tehsil Gohana Tehsil Total
Ahlawat 21 21
Dalal 10 10
Deshwal 19 19
Dhaukar 19 26 45
Ghatwala or Malik 5 36 8 49
Khatri 19 19
Panghal 150 150
Phogat 20 20
Rathi 144 144
Sunar 4 120 124

 

 

Delhi District

When the 1911 Census was taking, Delhi was still part of Punjab, and included Sonepat and Ballabgarh, which were added to Rohtak when the new province of Delhi was created. In 1931, the total Muslim Jat population was 1,245, out of a total Jat population of 53,371. Many Muslim Jats were found in the villages of Nangloi Jatt and Shahpur Jat. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

 

Tribe Sonepat Tehsil Delhi Tehsil Ballabgarh Tehsil Total
Ahlawat 13 13
Dagar 2 2
Dahiya 27 27
Deshwal 9 9
Ghatwala or Malik 711 13 724
Gulia 69 2 71
Khatri 21 21
Nain 28 28

 

Ghosi, Gaddi and Gadariya population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census

In this post, I will look at the distribution of three castes according to the 1901 Census, that in the Punjab were associated with pastoralism, namely the Gaderiya, Gaddi and Ghosi. With regards to the Gaddi, we really have two distinct communities, one found in what is now Himachal Pradesh, who practice transhumance, and a community of Muslim agriculturalist found in what is now modern Haryana. They may be the one and same community, simply divided by religion. The Ghosi, found in Delhi, and adjoining parts of what is Haryana were simply Muslim converts from the Ahir caste.

Gadariya Population

The Gadariya were traditionally shepherds and goatherds, who had taken to weaving blankets. In 1901, they were found almost entirely in Haryana, and were largely Hindu. Karnal was the only area with Muslim Gadariya.

District / States Hindu Muslim Total
Karnal 6,916  597 7,513
Gurgaon 5,304 5,304
Ambala 4,571 60 4,631
Delhi 2,226 10 2,236
Kalsia State 581 12 593
Patiala State 556  18 574
Lahore 419 419
Nahan State 360 360
Firuzpur 353   353
Jind State 164   164
Other Districts
    322
Total Population 22,048 721
22,769

Gaddi Population

District / States Hindu Muslim Total
Chamba State  11,507 11,507
Kangra  9,315 9,315
Karnal  4,015 4,015
Gurdaspur  492 492
Mandi State  172  172
Delhi  153 153
Other Districts
Total Population 21,514
4,192
25,706

Ghosi Population

The Ghosi were Muslim converts from the Ahir caste. They were largely urban group, associated with selling milk.

District / States Muslim Hindu Total
Delhi 526  315 841
Hissar 622 622
Karnal 592 592
Ambala 324  46 370
Rohtak 320 320
Rawalpindi 289 289
Jalandhar 211  19  230
Lahore 161  11 172
Firuzpur 134 134
Ludhiana 131 131
Patiala State  84 36 120
Other Districts
Total Population 3,543  487  4,030

Gujar / Gujjar Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census of Punjab

In this post, I will look at the distribution of the Gujjar population in Punjab. The Gujjar were by the begining of the 20th Century becoming a caste associated with cultivation. However as the Pundit Harkishan Kaul, author of the 1911 Census writes:

Allied to Cultivators are the castes and tribes who, although pastoral by origin, have, for
generations, also cultivated land. These are Dogar, Gujar, Pachadha and Ahir, and cattle
rearing forms an important part of their means of livelihood, even now.

Therefore cattle rearing was still an important activity for the caste.

Gujar groups

The region of Gujrat, literally meaning the place of the Gujjars was and remains the centre of the tribe. The majority of the Gujjars were found in the foothills of the Himalyas, stretching from Attock to Ambala. A second group, largely nomadic was found in the Punjab Hill States, mainly in Chamba, Nalagarh, Bilaspur and Mandi, who were largely nomadic. These two groups were largely Muslim, although in Ambala there was a large Hindu minority. A third group found Lahore onwards to Ludhiana, largely cultivators and also Muslim. A fourth group were found in present day Haryana, largly still rearing cattle, with a slight Hindu majority. This last grroup spoke Haryanvi.

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Gujrat 110,478  36 110,514
Hoshiarpur 52,378  20,072  390 77,840
Gurdaspur 50,517  28 50,545
Ambala 23,829 21,670  164 45,663
Rawalpindi 37,978 167 38,145
Patiala State 19,391 16,347 619  36,357
Ludhiana 32,313 682 113 33,108
Karnal  7,673 22,291 29,964
Delhi 2,559 25,671 28,230
Gurgaon 135 24,813 24,948
Jhelum 19,891 11 19,902
Jalandhar 19,415 442 19,857
Firuzpur 12,836 278 33 13,147
Hissar 3,641 7,305 10,946
Sialkot 10,030 57 10,087
Nalagarh State  3,623 5,400 440 9,463
Kangra  7,584 1,054 8,638
Lahore  8,246 112 8,358
Kapurthala State 7,286 400 27 7,713
Nabha State 3,700 3,236 23 6,959
Chenab Colony 6,402 154 24 6,580
Kalsia State 2,835 2,425 5,260
Amritsar 4,716 203 4,919
Bilaspur State 89 3,379 3,468
Rohtak 582 2,834 3,416
Nahan State 1,377 1,266 2,643
Malerkotla State 2,532 2,532
Gujranwala 2,482 41 2,523
Mandi State 805 1,232 2,037
Jind State 477 1,462 1,939
Chamba State 1,296 1,296
Faridkot State 834 41 875
Multan
725 37 762
Bahawalpur State 749 24 773
Montgomery 510 23 533
Jhang 518 518
Shahpur 476 476
Dera Ghazi Khan 380 380
Muzaffargarh 370 370
Mianwali  226 226

Other Districts

Total

 460,450

169,244

1,870

631,524

 

Mughal Population of Punjab according to the 1901 Census

In this post, I look at the distribution of the Mughal population in Punjab. The term Mughal in Punjab really meant anyone actually or putatively claim descent from Central Asians migrants. The Mughals of Delhi were connected with the royal dynasty that ruled India, but the Pothohar groups included people of very diverse origin.

District / States Population
Jhelum 21,424
Rawalpindi 20,377
Multan 8,038
Gujrat 6,272
Delhi 5,782
Lahore 4,683
Sialkot 3,811
Bahawalpur State 3,500
Amritsar 2,730
Gurdaspur 2,247
Patiala 2,195 
Firuzpur 2,177
Jalandhar 1,557 
Montgomery 1,430
Gurgaon 1,208
Shahpur 1,200
Hoshiarpur 1,177
Jind 854
Chenab Colony 845
Hissar 824
Karnal 818
Ambala 655
Gujranwala 621
Ludhiana 528
Kapurthala State 526
Other Districts 4,098
Total Population 98,277