Turk biradari of Uttar Pradesh

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

Origins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Present Circumstances

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

Distribution

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

Turk population according to the 1901 Census of India

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

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

Khanzada Caste: The Bisen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bisen Khanzada Population According to the 1901 Census of India

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

 

Khanzada Caste: The Bachgoti

In this post I will look at Bachgoti clan of the Khanzadas of the Awadh region of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The reader is requested look at my posts on the Ahbans and Bhale Sultans, which give some background to the history of the Khanzada of Awadh. The Bachgoti were first to acquire the name Khanzada, which now used by all the clans that claim descent from Rajputs or Thakurs of Awadh, who have converted to Islam. The Bachgoti played an important role in the late middle ages and early modern history of Awadh. They were at one time substantial landowners, but with the carrying out of land reform by the government of India after independence in 1947, they lost many of their larger estates.

 

Origin

The Bachgotis and their branches such as their branch Rajkumars, were substantial landowners in the Awadh region throughout late middle ages up to the end of British rule in 1947. According to clan traditions, in 1248, during the reign of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, their ancestor Bariar Singh, a Chauhan, fled from his home and established himself first in the village of Jamnawan and afterwards in Bhadaiyan in what is now Sultanpur District of Uttar Pradesh. There are conflicting opinions as to where he was born; some say it was Sambhal, others Mainpuri, the undoubted home of the Chauhans, while according to the late 19th Century colonial scholar Sir H. Elliot opined that it was Sambhar in Ajmer. According to William Crook, after the fall of Prithvi Raja of Delhi the Chauhans were especially singled out for extermination by the Muslim conquerors, and this may be a reason for Bariar Singh’s migration. This Bariar Singh claimed direct descent from Chahir Deo, the brother of Prithvi Rajah, the last Chauhan ruler of India.

 

In another account of the Bachgoti origin story, the father of Bariar Singh, who had already twenty-two sons, decided to take a young bride, who stipulated that her son, if she bore him offspring, should be heir. When a son was born, the other twenty-two brothers dispersed, and Bariar Singh came to eastern Awadh. This story goes on to say that he joined the imperial forces of Alaudin Khilji, and for his assistance in overthrowing the Bhars he was given the conquered country of the Bhar Raja Dhim Sen. What we can make of these origin stories is that Bariar singh was a Chauhan, who may have come from the territory round Delhi to Awadh, and overthrew the Bhars, like many other Rajput adventurers.

 

Bariar Singh had four sons, known by the names of Ghunghe, Asal, Ghatam Deo, and Raj Sah. The last named is said to have been by a second wife, the daughter of Raja Man Singh of Jaipur, and to have succeeded to throne, as opposed to his elder brothers. From these four have sprung the various Bachgoti taluqdari families. In my article on the Ahbans, I have looked at the status and origin of the taluqdari families of Awadh. Each of the four brothers is said to have received land in what is now Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar and Faizabad districts. Asal is said to have received the pargana called by his name, and from him are descended the present bhaiychara communities of that tract. Ghunghe was given Chanda, which was held in part by his descendants including the taluqdars of Garabpur, Rampur, and Partabpur until independence in 1947. Ghatam Deo received Bahra and Mahrupur in the Partabgarh district, while from Raj Sah, the heir, come the taluqdars of Dhadaiyan, Dera, Hasanpur, Kurwar, Nanamau, Meopur, and Damodra.

 

We now come to the story of the Khanzadas, all of whom claim descent from Raj Sah. Raj Sah is said to have had three sons, lshri Singh, Chakrasen Singh, and Rup Chand. The Khanzada families are descendants of Rup Singh, the second son of Raj Sah. His son, Jura Rai, had two sons, Jai Chand and Pirthipal Singh, from whom are descended the great Khanzada families and the Rajas of Kurwar. Tilok Chand, the son of Jai Chand, was a contemporary of Babar and was captured by the Mughal. He is said to have converted to Islam, taking the name Tatar Khan, and received the title of Khan-i-Azam, meaning the greatest among the khans. One of his sons, Fateh Sah, was born before his fathers conversion and retained the name of Bachgoti; his descendants still hold the Dhamaur estate. The other son, Bazid Khan, was brought up as a Muslim, styling himself Khanzada. Over time other families of convert Rajput ancestry have also adopted the name khanzada, such as the Ahbans, Bisen, Bhale Sultans, Bhatti and Gautams.

The Maniarpur Khanzadas

Khankhanan Khan, fifth in descent from Tatar Khan, had two wives. By the first marriage he had issue, Bahadur Khan, the father of Ismail Khan; and by the second, Hayat Khan and Dalel Khan. According to the author of colonial gazetteer of Sultanpur District, the Maniarpur estat was founded as such:

“they received the Maniarpur estate of 109 villages as their share, but it would appear that they never obtained the claim that they asserted. It is known that Hayat Khan quarrelled with Zabardast Khan, the son of Ismail Khan, and was killed by him, so that the whole property remained in the hands of the elder branch. Hayat. Khan left six sons, Darya Khan and five others. Shortly after his death, Darya Khan and one or two of his brothers went by night to Hasanpur, and stole quietly into the fort to find Zabardast Khan alone and fast asleep. On finding him thus in their power, they desisted from the intended murder, but took his turban, sword, and shoes and left their own instead. When he awoke in the morning, Zabardast Khan recognised the position, and being deeply moved by their generous forbearance set off for Maniarpur to make peace unattended. Darya Khan fled on his approach, but Zabardast Khan secured an interview with Hayat Khan’s widow, and thus effected a reconciliation. Darya Khan took up his residence at Hasanpur and was entrusted with the management of the whole estate: and at the same time, in conjunction with his brothers, received a grant of eleven villages for his support.”

Whether this story is entirely true is not certain. What is clear, though is that there was internecine conflict between the various branches of the Khanzada family. The 109 villages formed the nucleus of the present Maniarpur taluqa. During the rule of Darya Khan, they received considerable additions, by taking advantage of his influential position to ,enlarge his boundaries whenever the opportunity occurred; but at his death, which happened about 1743 .A.D., a division of the estate took place among his sons and brothers, and the separate properties created were too small to be important. However, the majority of them were re-united by Roshan Zaman Khan. Roshan Zaman Khan died in 1818; and was followed by his brother, Basawan Khan, who survived him but two or three years.

The taluqa consisted of the estates of Maniarpur and Pali in Sultanpur district, comprising 72 villages and five pattis, and three villages and one patti in Faizabad. The present Rajah is Sarfaraz Husain.

 

Gangeo Khanzadas

The third Khanzada family of taluqdars was that of Gangeo, which was a cadet branch of the Hasanpur family. It was founded by Wazir Khan, a cadet of the main branch of Hasanpur, and was then passed on to Jahangir Bakhsh. The taluqa consisted of 18 villages and four pattis in the Baraunsa and Miranpur parganas, known as the Gangeo and Bahmarpur estates, and Samdabad Shahpur, a property of five villages in Faizabad. The current Rajah is Tafazzul Hussain Khan

 Meopur Baregaon Estate in Faizabad

In neighbouring Faizabad District was the estate of Meopur Baregaon. According to their origin story, Umresh Singh the son of Sarabdawan Singh, obtained as his share the taluqa known as Meopur Baragaon. This then passed to his elder brother was Jagdeo Singh, who became a Muslim under the name of Husain Ali. He then abdicated his property in favour of Umresh Singh and moved to Faizabad city, where he lived in receipt of an allowance of Rupees 4,000 a year from the estate. The property originally consisted of 38 villages in Surhurpur, all acquired since the beginning of the nineteenth century. It disappeared, however, soon after the first regular settlement, for the whole estate was sold by a decree of the civil court in 1875. The villages constituting this taluqa at the time of sale lay in Akbarpur, Majhaura and Surhurpur, the village of Baragaon from which it derived its name being in the last-mentioned pargana. It consisted in all of 21 villages and three pattis in this district, and was It consisted in all of 21 villages and three pattis in this district, and was sold village by village, the principal purchasers being Khattris. The family however remains settled in Faizabad.

 Distribution

The Bachgoti Khanzada are found mainly in the districts of Ambedkar Nagar (Tanda), Faizabad and Sultanpur. They are Sunni Muslims, except the taluqdar families, but incorporate many folk beliefs. The Bachgoti speak both Awadhi and Urdu.

 

 

 

Distribution of the Tagah/Tyagi, Ror and Reya castes according to the 1901 Census

In this post, carrying from the theme of distribution of different communities according to the 1901 Census, I look at the distribution of the Tyagi (then known as Tagah), Reya and Ror castes.

Map of Eastern Punjab in 1901

Map of the United Provinces from The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1907-1909).jpg

Map of United Provinces in 1901

Tagah Distribution in Punjab

While the Tyagi were split between Hinduism and Islam, the other two castes are almost entirely Hindu. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Tyagi were found in parts of Punjab that now form the state of Haryana. Most were found in Sonepat, a region which was part of Delhi District in 1901. The Muslim Tyagis of Haryana all migrated to Pakistan in 1947.

District / States Hindu Muslim Total
Delhi 6,083 2,690 8,773
Karnal 2,281 2,185 4,466
Gurgaon 11 185 196
Rohtak 143 143
Other Districts
12
Total Population 8,376 5,214 13,590

Tyagi Population of the Unite Provinces (Uttar Pradesh)

In UP, Tyagis, both Hindu and Muslim were found largely in the Doab, indeed most were found in the Upper Doab, which extends from Haridwar on the north to Aligarh on the south.

District Hindu Muslim Total
Meerut 41,230 19,886 61,116
Moradabad 13,816 8,001 21,817
Saharanpur 15,542 2,960 18,502
Muzaffarnagar 10,448 7,510 17,958
Bulandshahr 10,420 669 11,093
Bijnor 8,207 491 8,698
Aligarh 4,618 12 4,630
Mathura 3,026 40 3,066
Agra 1,860 36 1,896
Dehra Dun 499 499
Other Districts
     
Total Population 109,576 39,605 149,181

Ror Caste in Punjab

The Ror were largely Hindu (44,511), with only a smaller number being Sikh (142) or Muslim (118). In 1901, they were found in Rohtak, Delhi and Karnal Districts and the princely state of Jind State. The real seat of the Ror is located in the great Dhak jungles south of Thanesar in the Karnal District. Pandit Harkishan Kaul, the Census Commisioner of Punjab in 1911 wrote the following:

They claim a Rajput origin and their social status is the same as that of Jats. Their chief occupation is agriculture and they have been declared an agricultural tribe in the districts of Rohtak, Delhi and Karnal. The above figures include 214 males and 204 females returned under Aroras opposite Rohtak in Imperial Table XIII, which has since been found to belong to Rors. These persons have been returned mostly from one village Jawahra in the Gohana Tahsil of the Rohtak District.

 

District Population
Karnal 42,187
Jind 1,290
Delhi 651
Rohtak 450
Other Districts 193
Total Population 3,971

Ror population in the United Provinces

In UP, the Ror were found largely in the Doaba region.

District Population
Saharanpur 1,020
Bulandshahr 1,100
Muzaffarnagar 754 
Mathura 148
Other Districts 73 
Total Population 3,095

 

Reya caste Population

According to tribal traditions, they were originally Rajputs, who adopted the practice of widow remarriage, a practice forbidden among higher caste Hindus, and as such became distinct from the Rajputs. Their customs are similar to other Hindu agrarian castes of the region such as the Ror and Jats. They are only found in nine villages, with their ancestral home being Mehrauli

District Population
Delhi 2,285
Total Population 2,285

Meo and Khanzada Population According to 1901 Census of Punjab, Rajputana and the United Provinces

This is seventh post looking at the distribution of communities, namely the Khanzada and Meo, that were gazetted as agriculturalist in census of 1901 in the Punjab province. In this post, I will also look at the distribution of both communities in Rajputana and the United Provinces as well. Both groups were entirely Muslim. The Meo and Khanzada were concentrated in the Mewat region, in what is now south east Haryana and north east Rajasthan and claimed a Rajput status. Both groups claimed a similar origin from the Jadaun clan of Rajputs. The Meo and Khanzada were also found in Alwar and Bharatpur states in what was then the Rajputana Agency. In UP, the Meo were found largely in two regions, Rohilkhand, and the Doab region of western UP. Most of the Meo in UP were called themselves Mewati. The total Meo population in 1901 was 374,923, of which 147,198 (39%) were found in Punjab, 168,596 (45%) were found Rajputana (modern Rajasthan) and the remainder 59,129 (16%) were found in UP. I would also ask the leader to look at my post on the Khanzadas to get some background information on the tribe.

1947AG.jpg

Map of Rajputana Agency: Source Wikipedia

Meo of Punjab

Most of the Meo population was concentrated as I have said in the introduction in the Mewat region, roughly the eastern portion of Gurgaon, and southern bits of Delhi. Outside these areas in Hissar and Karnal, there were a few isolated villages of the Meo.

 

The Meo of Dera Ghazi Khan

The Meo of Dera Ghazi Khan had separated from the main body of the Meo through a migration in the 16th Century. Most of the Meo of this region considered themselves as Jat, and were Seraiki speaking. They had lost all contact with the main body of the Meo.

 

Meo Population of Punjab

 

District Population
Gurgaon 128,760
Delhi
8,268
Firuzpur 4,378
Jalandhar 1,385
Dera Ghazi Khan 880
Karnal 813
Ambala 580
Hissar 543
Other Districts 1,591
Total Population 147,198

Meo Population of Rajputana

 

District Population
 Alwar State  113,154
Bharatpur State
51,546
 Kotah State  1,072
Marwar (Jodhpur State) 1,000
 Jaipur State 654
 Mewar (Udaipur State)  559
 Tonk  State  208
 Jhalawar 125
 Other States and Agencies 278
Total Population 168,596

Meo Population of the United Provinces

District Population
Bulandshahr 9,840
Bareilly 9,374
Rampur State 7,356
Aligarh 6,557
Meerut 5,184
Mathura 3,813
Pilibhit 3,262
Moradabad 2,513
Nainital 2,106
Etah 1,793
Lakhimpur Kheri 1,217
Badaun 1,081
Agra 873
Muzaffarnagar 779
Etawah 603
Shahjahanpur 534
Lucknow 418
Bijnor 365
Rae Bareli 355
Unao 253
Barabanki 220
Farrukhabad 216
Sahanranpur 210
Sultanpur 207
Total Population 59,129

 

Khanzada Population of Punjab

Almost all the Khanzada were found in Gurgaon, where in 1901, they owned nine villages near town of Nuh and to the north of Firozpur.

District Population
Gurgaon  3,901
Other Districts  70
Total Population  3,971

Khanzada Population of Rajputana

 

District Population
Alwar State  8,503
Bharatpur State 814
Jaipur State 97
Other States and Agencies 540
Total Population  9,954

Kamboh Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

This is the first of a number of blogs that will look at the results of 1901 Census of the Punjab, with reference to a particular caste. Its worth mentioning that in 1901, the Punjab included in Pakistan, the Punjab province and Islamabad, and in the India the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Delhi. I will start off by looking at the Kamboh community, which in total terms of the Punjab population in 1901, which was 24,754,737, numbered 174,061, which was not a large in population numbers. But as a gazetted agricultural tribe, under the  Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900 in every district they lived in, were an important landowning group. I will ask the reader to read my post on the Muslim Kamboh of UP, which looks at their origin myths.

Punjab 1909.jpg

Map of British Punjab: Source Wikepedia

Like many Punjabi castes, the Kamboh were found in all three religions, namely Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, although Muslim Kambohs formed the largest sub-group. One interesting fact is that the Kamboh religious affaliation did not follow that of a majority of the population they lived. In what is now Sahiwal and Okara (old Montgomery District), the majority of the Kamboh were Hindu, in a region that was predominantly Muslim. While in Patiala and Nabha, the modern areas of the Punjab and Haryana borderlands, the Kamboh were Muslim, in a largely Sikh region. They Kamboh were also linguistically and culturaly divided. In what now Haryana, the Kamboh spoke dialects of Haryanwi, and were connected with large Kamboh population of Saharanpur in UP. While through the central region of Punjab, stretching from Montgomery to Nabha, the Kamboh population was Punjabi speaking. A third group of Kambohs were those of Multan and Bahawalpur, entirely Muslim, and largely urban.

District

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

 

Lahore

 14,339

 6,227

 2,280  22,846

 

Patiala

 11,910

 5,819

 5,073

 22,802

 

Montgomery

 2,326

 19,507

 201  22,034

 

Amritsar

 11,494

 1,330

 4,907

 17,731

 

Kapurthala

 2,604

 1,289

 12,384

 16,277

 

Chenab Colony

 3,005

 1,880

 10,343  15,228

 

Karnal

 1,754

 11,945

 161

 13,860

 

Ambala

 1,673

 5,530

 2,123

 9,326

 

Firuzpur

 5,204

 821

 327

 6,352

Jalandhar  191  1,040  5,086  6,317
Malerkotla  5,519  5,519
Nabha  4,559  48  20  4,627
Multan  1,947  1,947
Sialkot  1,746  1,746
Ludhiana  1,302  133  15  1,450
Jind  1,277  16  1,293
Gujranwala  744  19  471  1,234
Shahpur  957  957
Gurdaspur  713  94  18  825
Hoshiarpur   303  102  167   572
Kalsia  247  266  513
Bahawalpur  208  208
Hissar  166  166

Other Districts

 103

 84

 44

  231

Total

 73,878

 56,297

 43,886

 174,061

Description of Major Muslim Communities in Uttar Pradesh: The Rayeen

In this post, I will look at the Rayeen, sometimes pronounced  as Rai, another community that is found in the Doab and Rohilkhand regions of western Uttar Pradesh. Like other group such as the Bhatti and Kamboh, which I have looked in my other blogs, the Rayeen have roots in the Punjab. Early British ethnologists, such as William Crook took the position that the Rayeen were one and the same as the Arain community of Punjab. Briefly I will raise an issue of some sensitivity, the use of the term Rayeen by members of the Kunjra community. The Kunjra are a widespread group of Muslims, traditionally associated with vegetable growing and selling, who are found throughout North India. The Rayeen, who are found mainly in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Udhamsingh Nagar are much smaller group, and have rejected the claim of the Kunjra to be called Arain. According to the 1901 Census of Uttar Pradesh, there were 14,698, found in the regions I have just mentioned, and much larger group of Kunjra 85,738, with a much larger geographic distribution. It does seem from the records, that at least right up to the mid-20th Century, both groups maintained a distinct identity.

The Rayeen of Uttar Pradesh are clearly the same community as the Arain of Punjab. There circumstances of migration relate the Chalisa famine of the 1780s in Punjab. The effect of the Chalisa famines was to depopulate many regions of India, especially the semi-arid of the Ghaghar valley, the original homeland of the Rayeen community. The Ghaggar valley is now situated in what is Sirsa District of Haryana. One of among many of the tribal tradition of the Sirsa Rayeen was that they were originally Hindu Rajputs, expelled from Uchh, near Multan, by their enemies and escaped by abandoning their military rank and took to market gardening, the tribal occupation of their neighbours the true Arains. Therefore, the Sirsawal Arains are distinct from the Arains of the Sutlej, who were found largely in the central districts of Punjab, like Jallandhar, Amritsar and Lahore.

After leaving Ucch, they settled on the banks of the Ghaggar, where the tribe was remained for the next four hundred years. Then the famine of 1783 A.D occurred, at which according to early British sources they held the whole of the Ghaggar valley from Bhatner (present day Hanumangarh) up to Tohana in Fatehabad. The famine combined with the attacks of the marauding Bhatti Rajputs, weakened their hold on the land, and they finally broke before the Chalisa famine of 1783 A.D. and many of them emigrated to Bareilly, Pihbhit, and Rampur in what is now Uttar Pradesh.
William Crook, the colonial ethnographer claimed that they are by origin Kambohs:

Mr. Ibbetson says: The Satlaj Arains in Sirsa say that they are, like the Arains of Lahore and Montgomery, connected by origin with the Hindu Kambohs. Mr. Wilson thinks it probable that both classes are really Kambohs who have become Muslims, and that the Ghaggar Arains emigrated in a body from Multan, while the others moved gradually up the Sutlej into their present place.

Another British account, this time by Horace Arthur Rose also makes reference to the distinction between the Sultluj and Ghaghar Arains in Punjab.

In Sirsa the Sutlej Arains meet those of the Ghaggar. The two do not intermarry, but the Arains of the Ghaggar valley say they were Rajputs living on the Panjnad near Multan who were ejected some four centuries ago by Saiyad Jalal-ul-din of Uch. They claim some sort of connection with Jaisalmer. Till the great famines of 1759 and 1783 A. D. they are said to have held all the lower valleys of the Choya and Ghaggar, but after the latter date the Bhattis harassed the Sumnis, the country became disturbed, and many of the Arains emigrated across the Ganges and settled near Bareli and Rampur. They marry only with the Ghaggar and Bareli Arains.

It is interesting to note, that Rose mentions that Ghaghar Arain had still maintained intermarage with those of Pilibhit and Bareilly. While Crook’s point that Arain and Kamboh have a common origin is hard to prove, but it is worth mentioning that the settlement area of both the Rayeen and Kamboh overlaps to some degree, with a substantial presence in Rohilkhand and the Doab. But what mitigates against the theory of common origin is the fact the two communities, despite a close proximity, consider themselves as quite distinct.

Among the Pilibhit Rayeen, there is a traditions that they Arabs, and get their name from the Rayee mountains, located somewhere in Arabia. This probably picks of the tradition among the Punjab Arain, that there name is distortion of Araheeai, which means a resident of Ariha, better known as the city of Jericho in the West Bank. According to this tradition, a group of Arabs soldiers from Jericho accompanied Mohammad Bin Qassim in his conquest of Sindh. From here, they then spread to Ucch. Its interesting there are references to the city of Ucch in almost all the accounts of the Rayeen community. It is very likely, a group of cultivators left the Sutlej valley and settled in the Ghaggar. From the tribal myths, we have some fairly consistent information, the Chalisa famine and attacks by the Bhattis forcing them leave Haryana and move across to Uttar Pradesh. In the 19th Century, the Rayeen were the early colonist in the Nainital Terai region, where they cleared the jungles and built their villages. The majority of the community are still found in the Terai region.

 

Distribution of Rayeen in the United Provinces by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Population
Pilibhit 4,807
Nainital 3,927
Bareilly 2,908
Saharanpur 1,258
Muzaffarnagar 528
Rampur 459
Moradabad 392
Bijnor 214
Dehra Dun 90
Meerut 44
Other districts 161
Total Population 14,698

Looking at the Census returns, it is clear that majority of the Rayeen population were found in the Rohilkhand region, with a second cluster found in Saharanpur and Muzzafarnagar in the Doab.
The Rayeen are still largely found in Bareilly, Pilibhit, Udham Singh Nagar (carved out of Nainital), Nainital, Rampur and Saharanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Villages in Pilibhit District

Starting with Pilibhit District, they are found in the villages of Amariya, Barhepura, Bhainsaha, Dheram, Dang, Dhundhari, Gaibojh, Harraypur, Karghaina, Madhopur,  Nurpur, Patti, Turkania, Sardarnagar, Sirsi,  Sukatia, and Udaipur. There are also several villages located north of the town of Bisalpur including Khameria, and near Jahanabad.

Villages in Bareilly District

In Bareilly District,they occupied several villages near the town of Baheri like Arsiabojh, Dayyabojh, Dhakia, Ekgrah, Fardi Rayeen, Gunah Jawahar, GuleriaMundia Nabibakhsh, Mundia Nasir, Mundia Jageer, Pipra, Paiga, and Suketia.

Villages in Udham Singh Nagar (formerly part of Nainital District)

In Udham Singh Nagar District they are settled in the towns of Kichha , Rudrapur and Sitarganj, and in the villages of Bandia, Baroda, Kachhi Khamaria, Lalpur, Malpura, Naugwan, Sisai, Pipelia and Sirauoli.

Villages in Bijnor District

In Bijnor District they are settled in the town of Najibabad (Mohalla Rampura), Kiratpur, Jalalabad, and Sahanpur Estate specially in the village of Alipura, Chukhapur, Chandanpur, Chilkiya, Ghawaryi(Khadar), Mojampur Tulsi, Puranpur, Rammanwala, Rasulpur and Taharpur.

Rampur District

In Rampur they are present in Mandanpur and Bhaisodi.

Description of Major Muslim Communities in Uttar Pradesh: The Khokhar

In this post I return to the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), and look at one of the lesser known communities, that of the Khokhar. There are in fact two distinct communities of Khokhars in UP, those of Sambhal and Kot. While the Khokhar of Punjab are well known, very little has been written about the Khokhars of UP, and this post will try to provide some information. These two settlements are quite distant from each other, the distance between Sambhal and Kot being almost 500 kilometres. Each group of Khokhars have their own origin stories and I will treat them separate. The Sambhal Khokhar are really a sub-group within Ranghar community of western Uttar Pradesh. Just a brief note about the Khokhars, they are a well known tribe from the Punjab, whose homeland is the the Salt Range

As in common among Punjabi tribal groupings, the Khokhar have a number of origin stories. According to one of tradition, the Khokhars are connected with the Awans, making Khokhar one of Qutub Shah’s sons, the semi-mythical ancestor of the Awn tribe. Many Khokhar groups in the Salt Range now call themselves Khokhar Qutb Shahis, literally descendants of Qutub Shah. Another Khokhar tradition makes them descended from Zahhak , a mythical figure from ancient Iran, who’s descendent Rustam Raja arrived in Punjab sometime in the beginning of the Common Era and was nicknamed Khokhar. What is clear is by the arrival of Mohammad Ghori, the Khokhars were in possession of the Salt Range, and when Ghori tried to conquer the region he was murdered by them. The Khokhars remained rebellious throughout the Delhi Sultanate period, and it is very likely both the colonies of Khokhar now present in UP are result of deportations from the Punjab. I will first look at the Khokhar of Sambhal, who accept a Punjabi origin.

Denzil Ibbetson, the 19th Century colonial scholar of Punjab, commenting on the returns of 1881 Census of Punjab, noted the following in connection with the Khokhars:

Under the head Khokhar only represent a fraction of the Khokhars in the Panjab. The Khokhars are ordinarily considered a Rajput tribe, and most of the Khokhars of the districts have so returned themselves. Many of the Khokhars of western districts again, and all those of the frontier, have been re turned as Jats; while only in the Rawalpindi and Multan divisions are separate figures shown for the Khokhar caste. How far this inclusion is due to Khokhars having actually returned themselves as Rajput or Jat by caste and Khokhar by tribe, and how far to the action of the divisional offices, I cannot say exactly till the detailed clan tables are ready.

Its clear that the Khokhar of Punjab are a quasi-Rajput tribe, their historic homeland is located between the valleys of the Chenab and Jhelum, home such tribes as the Bandial, Ghanjera and Rehan, all of whom are clans of the Khokhar, and I have looked at elsewhere. The most important Khokhar family is that of the Rajahs of Ahmedabad, located in Jhelum District. It is this family that produced the famous Muslim League leader Rajah Ghazanfar Ali Khan.

The use of the tem Pathan in the Fatehpur region where Kot is located often also covers Rajput and quasi-Rajput groups. So the use of the term by the Khokhars of Kot must seen in that way.

Khokhar of Sambhal

The city of Sambhal, now a district headquarters is long associated with the Khokhar tribe, who were substantial landowners throughout the late Mughal and Rohila rule of the region. According to tribal traditions, the Khokhars of Sambhal are said to who have come from the Bulandshahr District and to have settled near Sambhal in the days of the Mughal emperor Babar. The Khokhars first arrived in Bulandshahr, at the invitation of Sikander Lodhi, who was the Sultan of Delhi between 1489 and 1517 It said that these Khokhars came from Koh-Jud, a name used for the Salt Range in medieval Muslim writing in India. Interestingly, Sambhal was one of the capitals of Sikander Lodhi. With overthrow of the Lodhi, there ancestor was given the jagir of Sambhal by the Mughal Emperor Babur. This came with the title of Chadhary, which was hereditary in the family till end of British rule in India in 1947. The Khokhars of Sambhal have always had close relations with the Lalkhani Rajputs of Bulandshar and Aligarh. They are said to have been guest of the Lalkhanis in Bulandshar during their stay there before moving to Sambhal.

Khokhar of Kot

The Khokhars of Kot, a town in Fatehpur District have a very different origin myth. First of all the Khokhars of Kot have been in UP for much longer, according to their traditions, the tribe settled in Kot during the rule of Allaudin Khilji ( r . 1296–1316). They are said to be descended from four brothers, of whom the eldest was Malik Bhil or Babar, who were granted the estate of Kot, which at that time was held by a Bhar Raja. In this eastern region, the Bhar, a local ethnic group were the local rulers. The Khokhars were sent by Ala.-ud-din to supress the Bhars, which they did. The dispute is to the origin of these Khokhars. Unlike the Sambhal branch, the Khokhars of Kot have no tradition of a Punjabi origin. At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Khokhars made strong claims of a Pashtun origin. However, more recently, a small number of Khokhar are claiming an Uzbek origin. What’s interesting is the author of the Gazetteer of Fatehpur makes reference to an inscription making reference to the Khokhar conquest to 590 Hijra (1203/1204 CE). This would be mean that the Khokhars arrived in the region around the reign of Shahabuddin Mohammad Ghori. If we accept either of the traditions, the Khokhars of Kot have long been settled in the Fatehpur region. They were effectively the local rulers, but by the arrival of the British, they landholdings were extremely small. The Khokhars of Kot call themselves Pathans, which in eastern Uttar Pradesh does not donate a ethnicity, rather a status. What is interesting is that over the almost millennia in India, they have maintained the name Khokhar, which is clearly associated with the Salt Range region of Punjab. It is very likely, they are Punjabi Muslim tribe, who served in either in the army of Shahabuddin Mohammad Ghori or Allaudin Khilji. Once settled in eastern UP, as they became large landowners, they acquired the status of being Pathans.
Outside Kot, they are found in the villages of Arhaiya, Urha, Shahnagar, Rahmatpur, Sheopuri, Kali, Ghazipur and Parwezpur.

Bharai Caste

In this post I shall look at the Bharain, also known as Shaikh Sarwari, an interesting community found mainly in the Punjab. Bharain started off as followers of Syed Ahmad Sultan, popularly known as Sakhi Sarwar. He was a 12th-century Sufi saint of the Punjab region, and is also known by various other appellations such as sultan (king), lakhdata (bestower of millions), Lalanvala (master of rubies), Nigahia Pir (the saint of Nigaha) and Rohianvala (lord of the forests). Sakhi Sarwar is said to have migrated from Baghdad, Iraq, and settled in Shahkot near Multan in 1120 AD. He settled in Dera Ghazi Khan, where he was killed on 1181 AD and buried at the place now known as Sakhi Sarwar. Strictly speaking the Bharais do not form a caste, but are an occupational group or spiritual brotherhood. The Bharain are a therefore what are referred to as a sectarian caste, where membership is based on a devotion of to a saint, and not by birth. Horace Rose, the early 20th Century ethnologist of the Punjab made reference to several castes such as the Dogar, Habri, Rawat, Dom, Rajput, Mochi, Gujar, Tarkhan and last, but not least, Jat joining the Bharai brotherhood. However, after a few generations, most sectarian castes start to take on the characteristics of a regular caste. After a generation or two, marriages only occur within the caste. And this is exactly what has happened to the Bharai.

The Bharai were traditionally priests of the Sultani sect, a syncretic sect with combined elements of Hinduism and Islam, with Sakhi Sarwar traditionally said to have founded the sect. Most Sultanis were members of the Hindu Jat community, and called themselves Hindu, but the Bharai were always Muslim, and belonged largely to the Muslim Jat or Muslim Rajput castes. The term Bharai itself is said to be derived from the Punjabi words chauhi bharnā, literally to keep a vigil in the memory of Sakhi Sarwar. The Jat Bharai in central Punjab claim descent from one Garba Jat, a Hindu attendant at Sakhi Sarwar’s shrine, who was in a dream was asked by the saint to embrace Islam. On his conversion he was called Shaikh Garba. The Jat Bharais have several gots: — Dhillon, Deo, Rewal Garewal, Man, Randhawa, Jham, Karhi and Badecha, all very well-known Jat tribes. However, by the beginning of the 20th Century, the Sultani sect saw a severe decline. As a result, many Bharai have been reduced to poverty. The decline of Sultani is very much connected with the sharpening religious tensions in the Punjab, which eventually led to partition of the region. Most Bharai are now day labourers, and heavily stigmatised. There remains a presence of Bharai in Indian Punjab, which is unique for a Muslim community.

There are various theories as to the origin of the word Bharai. Horace Rose, refers to the following legend:

One Bukan Jat was a devotee of Sakhi Sarwar who one day said to him tujhe piri di, ‘the saint’s mouth has fallen on thee’, whence the name Pirhai. Another account says that after leaving Dhaunkal, Sakhi Sayyid Ahmad went to Multan and rested for a while at Parahin, a place south of Shahkot, which was the home of his mother’s ancestors, Rihan Jats by caste. At Multan an Afghan chief had a daughter to whose hand many of the Shahkot youths aspired, but none were deemed worthy. One day, however, the Afghan invited Sayyid Ahmad to a feast and begged him to accept his daughter in marriage. This offer the saint accepted, and the sihra below, which was composed on this occasion, is still sung with great reverence. The mirasi, however, neglected to attend the wedding punctually, and when he did appear, rejected the saint’s present of a piece of blue cloth, 1-1/4 yards in length, at the instigation of the Jats and Pathans, saying it was of no use to him. Hearing this the Sayyid gave it to Shaikh Buddha, a Jat who had been brought up with him, saying: “This is a bindi (badge), tie it round your head, and beat a drum. We need no mirasi, and when yon are in any difficulty remember me in these words: — Daimji Rabdia sawāria, bohar Kali Kakki-wādlia — Help me in time of trouble, thou owner of Kali Kakki ! You and your descendants have come under our protection, panāh, and you shall be called pāndhi.” This term became corrupted into Parahin in time”.

In addition to the story narrated here, there are also several other traditions as to the origin of the Bharai. According of these stories, Sayyid Ahmed incurred the enmity of the Jats and Pathans of Shahkot and left that place for Afghanistan, accompanied by Bibi Bai, Rānā Mian, and his younger brother. Twenty-five miles from Dera Ghazi Khan as they had run out of water. The Sayyid mounted his mare Kali Kakki and at every step she took water came up. His pursuers, however, were close at hand, and when they overtook him the Sakhi was slain, and buried where he fell. The spot is known as Nigaha and a site of a spring in what is otherwise an arid region.

Years later Isa, a merchant of Bukhara, and a devotee of Sakhi Sarwar, was voyaging in the Indian Ocean when a storm arose. Isa asked for the saint’s aid and the ship was saved. On his arrival in India, Isa journeyed to Multan, where he learnt that the saint had been killed. On reaching Nigaha he found no traces of his tomb, but no fire could be kindled on the spot, and in the morning as they loaded the camels their legs broke. Sakhi Sarwar descended from the hill on his mare, holding a spear in his hand, and warned the merchant that he had desecrated his tomb and must rebuild it at a cost of 1-1/4 lakhs Rupees. He was then to bring a blind man, a leper, and a eunuch from Bukhara and entrust its supervision to them. One day when the blind man stumbled near the tomb he saved himself by clutching at some kahi grass where-upon his sight was restored and his descendants are still known as the Kahi. The eunuch was also cured and his descendants are called Shaikh. The leper too recovered, and his descendants, the Kalang, are still found in Nigaha. To commemorate their cures all three beat a drum, and Sakhi Sarwar appeared to them, saying; “He who is my follower will ever beat the drum and remain barahi (sound) nor will he ever lack anything.” Hence the pilgrims to Nigaha became known as Bharais.

Recent scholarship in rural Punjab, for example by Nicolas Martin has shown how marginal the present position of the Bharai is. Most are now in an extremely poor position, and suffer from discrimination.

Books to Read

I have added this section for those who want a more detailed account of the world of the Bharai. For social conditions of the Bharai, I would ask the reader to look at  Politics, Landlords and Islam in Pakistan , while those who are interested in Sultani sect, please read Muslim Communities of Grace: The Sufi Brotherhoods in Islamic Religious

Badhan / Wadhan, Hayal, Kanjial and Rachyal tribes

In this post, I will look at four tribes, namely the Badhan, Hayal, Kunjial and Rachyal, who are found mainly in the southern region of Azad Kashmir, and neighbouring districts of Punjab namely Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat and Sialkot. All these are some sub-clans within the larger Jat community. In Indian administered Kashmir, the Jat are found in Rajouri and the Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch. I will use this post to give a brief description of the Jat population within the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Most of the Jat population was found either in the Duggar Region, about 15% or in the Chibhal Region the remaining 85%. Although the Chibhal region, took its name from the Chib clan of the Rajputs who were the traditional rulers of this area, the Jat population was almost twice that of the Rajputs. The Chibs converted to Islam in mid-17th Century, and other Rajput sub-castes followed suit. It is very likely that most of the Jat also converted at that time. However it is worth pointing out that the Jat and Rajput tribes tended to have a common origin, with CLAIMS TO Rajputhood based mostly on whether a clan had achieved political power or not. Outside Mirpur and Bhimber tehsils, there were several Jat communities in Rajouri (then part of Reasi) and Poonch. Separate from these, were the Jats of the Jammu and Kathua (Duggar) region, who were Punjabi speaking, belonging mainly to the Badhan, Bajwa, Kahlown, Nagra and Randhawa clans, and were really an overspill of the Jats of Sialkot and Gurdaspur. Most of the Muslim Jat villages were located in Ranbir Singh Pura and Bishnah tehsils of Jammu and Samba districts. Below is a breakdown of the total Jat population according to the 1931 Census:

District

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Jammu

9,258

7,014

506 16,778

Kathua

175

1,549

47

 1,771

Udhampur

100

152

   252

Reeasi

2,443

27

12

 2,482

Mirpur

103,095

14,460

4,951

122,506

Poonch Jagir

4,808

65

   4,873

Other Districts

204

131

103

438

Total

120,083

23,371

5,619

149,073

As the 1931 census shows, most of the Jat population numbering about 122,506, of whatever religion were found in the old Mirpur District, where the Jats formed more than a third of the total population of 344,747. Most of these areas now forms part of Azad Kashmir, except the area around Nawshera, traditionally part of Bhimber Tehsil, which is now under Indian administration. Most of the Hindu and Sikh Jat population was found in the Deva-Batala area, now part of the modern day district of Bhimber. The division of the Chibhal region in 1948 led to the migration of the Hindu and Sikh population, while the Muslim Jats left the area around Nowshera that came under Indian control. Similarly, the Muslim Jats of Jammu and Kathua also immigrated to Pakistan. There is still a small Muslim Jat population in Rajouri and Mendhar in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir.

The Jat of Jammu and Kashmir are further sub-divided into numerous clans called gots or gotras. Technically members of a Jat got are supposed to be descended from a traditional common ancestor by agnatic descent, i.e. through male line only. Another interesting thing about the various Jat tribes in Chibhal 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, so the Kanjial are a branch of the Janjua, who have now evolved into a separate tribe. Unlike the Jats of the Punjab plains, where one large clan often has several villages, in the Chibhal we have numerous clans often occupying the same village. In my other posts, I have looked at and posted about Jat tribes that have a presence in the Chibhal, such as the Bangyal, Gujjral,, Kanyal, Kalyal, Bhakral (or Pakhreel), Matyal, Nagyal and Thathaal.

Badhan

I start off this post by looking at the Badhan, sometimes pronounced as Wadhan, also known as Pakhai, who are generally considered as a Jat tribe, but have also claimed to be Rajput. Like many Punjabi tribes, there are several traditions as to the origin of the tribe. There are in fact two origin stories, one connected with eastern Badhan, those found in Gujrat, Sialkot/Narowal, and historically in Jammu and Gurdaspur, and the western group found in Sudhnoti, Kotli, Jhelum and Rawalpindi (mainly Kahuta). Under the various censuses carried by the British in the early 20th Century, the Badhan of central Punjab generally registered them themselves as Jats, and this included those of Jammu, while in Pothohar and Mirpur/Poonch, most Badhan registered themselves as Rajputs.
I shall off by looking at the traditions of the eastern Badhan first. Among many Sialkot Badhans, Jats, that they were a branch of the mythical Saroa Rajputs and descended from Kala, a resident of Jammu. However, a more common traditions was that the Badhan, there ancestor was descended from of Gillpal (Gilpal), son of a Rajput King, Pirthipal, Raja of Garh Mithila and a Waria (Baryah) Rajput by a Bhular Jat wife. This would make the Badhan a branch of the Gill tribe, and indeed the Sikh Badhan Jatts of Gurdaspur and Jammu do not marry the Gills, as they consider themselves to be a branch of the Gills. Judge or Juj was the second son of Gillpal, was the ancestor of Badhan Gills. The tribe gets its name from Badhan, the great grandson of Juj.
The western Badhan have an entirely different tradition. According to them, there ancestor Badhan was a Janjua Rajput of Kahuta, who settled among the Sudhans. In fact, in the Sudhnoti region of Poonch, the Badhan are often confused with the Sudhans, and a few Badhans actually claim themselves to be a branch of the Sudhans. In Sudhnoti, the occupy several villages near the Jhelum river. A smaller section also claims to be Qutabshahi Awans. What is clear is that in this western region, the Badhan occupy a quasi-Jat status, while among the eastern group, a claim to be Jat is generally accepted.

 

In Rawalpindi, there are several Badhan villages such as Parhali (in Tehsil Kahuta) and Rawat. In Sudhnuti, important Badhan villages include Basari, Rakar, Neeryan, Sahr Kakota, Noursa, Hamrata, and Kohala.

Distribution of Badhan in Jammu and Kashmir by District According to 1911 Census of India

The bulk of the Badhan population was found in the Poonch Jagir. However, the figures for Mirpur are slightly misleading, as many of Badhan in Mirpur registered themselves as Jats.

District Population
Reeasi 79
Mirpur 1,393
Poonch Jagir 4,607
Muzafarabad 505
Total Population 6,596

 

Distribution of Badhan who declared themselves as Jat in Punjab by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Population
Rawalpindi 246
Jhelum 248
Total Population 494

 

Hayal

The Hayal are little known tribe, found entirely in Kallar Syedan Tehsil, who claim Chaughtai Mughal ancestry. They are found in the villages of Burra Haya, Hayal Pindoral and Mohra Hayal. In Mirpur District, Hayyal, who classify themselves as Jats, are found in the villages of Kangra and Chappar.

Kanjial

The Kanjial are found mainly in Gujrat, Bhimber, Mirpur and Jhelum districts. According to tribal traditions, there ancestor was a Ghalla, a Janjua Rajput, who had three sons, Bhakari, their ancestor, Natha (ancestor of the Nathial) and Kunjah (ancestor of the Kunjial). However, some traditions make Rai Kunjah to be a Bhatti.
In Mirpur, Kanjial villages include Andrah Kalan, Khandora and other villages in the Islamgarh Tehsil of Mirpur.

Rachyal

Finally, I will look at the Rachyal, sometimes spelt Richyal, who are a Jat tribe, found mainly in the Kotli and Mirpur districts of Azad Kashmir. Like the Kahlotra already mentioned, the Rachyal are a clan of Dogras, whose roots like in the Chamba region of what is now Himachal Pradesh. There ancestor was a Ranchan Dev, a Hindu Rajput of the Kashyap gotra, who said to have converted to Islam in the 16th Century. Generally, among the Rajputs of the Himachal region, each clan was connected with a Hindu rishi, who was traditional spiritual ancestor. Looking at Kashyapa, he is one of Saptarishi, the seven famed rishis and considered to be author of many hymns and verses of the Rigveda (1500-1200 BCE). It is likely that the Rachyal are branch of the Katoch Rajputs, as they belonged to the Kashyap gotra.

According to tribal folklore, once the Rachyals converted to Islam they were forced out of Chamba and its surroundings and we see them migrating to Sialkot, Sheikhupura, and Jhang areas of Punjab in Pakistan. The tribe then re-entered the Jammu state via Dhuki village through Sarai-Alamgir (near Kharian, Punjab, Pakistan) which lies in district of Mirpur around three hundred years ago. They then moved to Mangla and eventually to a place called Ladna near now Chakswari. From here the Rachyals spread farther west and the estate of Panyam came into existence. Most of the Rachyal are still found either in Chakswari or Panyam, where several of their villages are found such as Pothi,and Chamba. Some Rachyals villages are found further north near Naar, Rajdhani, Poonch and Rajouri.