Bachgoti Khanzadeh of Awadh

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.

 

 

 

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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

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

 

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.

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

Pathan population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census

This is my eleventh post looking at the distribution of communities designated as agriculture. Of all the communities looked at, the Pathans were the most diverse in terms of language, culture and traditions. Other then the Makhad Pathans, who spoke Pashto, the Pathan groups difered little from the population of the region they were settled in. These colonies of Pathans were accounted for by Sir Densil Ibbetson in the following manner:

During the Lodi and Suri dynasties many Pathans migrated to India especially during the reign of Bahlol Lodhi and Sher Shah Suri. These naturally belonged to the Ghilzai section from which those kings sprung.[3]
— Sir Densil Ibbetson

Large numbers of Pathans accompanied the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni, Muhammad of Ghor and Babur, and many of them obtained grants of land in the Punjab plains and founded Pathan colonies which still exist. Many Pathans have also been driven out of Afghanistan due to devastated invading forces such as Genghis Khan and his Mongol armies, including internal feuds or famine, and have taken refuge in the plains east of the Indus River where the Mongols marked the line of their aggression. The tribes most commonly to be found in the Punjab region are the Yusufzai, Mandanr, Lodhi, Kakar, Sherwani, Orakzai, Tanoli, Karlanri and the Zamand Pathans. Of these the most widely distributed are the Yusufzai, of whom a body of 12,000 accompanied the Mughal Emperor Babur in the final invasion of India, and settled in the plains of India and the Punjab. But as a rule the Pathans who have settled away from the frontier have lost all memory of their tribal divisions, and indeed almost all their national characteristics.

In terms of distribution, most of the Pathan population was found in four distinct areas, about 20% in Mianwali, similar percentage in the Chhach, 20% in the region around Delhi, about 20% in East Punjab especially in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ambala, and Gurdaspur, 5% were the Multani Pathans, found in southern Punjab, the remainder distributed in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.

The Mianwali Pathans

The District with largest Pathan population was Mianwali, where they numbered 46,818, almost 20% of the total. There are four different tribes of Pathans in the district, the Niazais, Khattaks, the Biluchch Pathans, and the Multanis, and spoke a dialect of Punjabi close to Seraiki. The Khattaks of Isa Khel Tehsil, known as  Bhangish or Bhangi Khels from the region they occup in the Isa Khel Tahsil, and one village opposite their own
country across the Indus in the Mianwali Tehsil. The other section of Khattaks, called the Guddi Khels, hold the villages on the  skirts of the Maidani range. Both these Khattaks are unique in that they still Pashto.

The Makhad and Chach Pathans

Most of the 44,244 Pathans living in Rawalpindi District came from the Chhachh region. In 1902, this region became part of the seperate Attock District. These Attock Pathans are found in two parts of the tehsil, those of Sarwala, and those of Chhachh.The Chhachh Pathans have very little in common with the Sagri, as they are separated by the Kala Chita mountains. The Chhachh are a Hindko and speaking community, and have much in common with the Pashtun tribes settled in the neighbouring Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The largest clan are the Alizai, who include the Tahirkheli, one of three mains septs of the Alizai. The Tahirkheli inhabit villages along the Haro river. The other tribe along the Haro are the Saddozai, and both they and the Alizai, are branches of the Utmanzai tribe. Together with the Manduri and Barahzai, who are also found in numbers in the district, they are all sections of the great Yousafzai tribe. By far the greater proportion of the Attock Pathans are Yousafzai, allied to the Yousafzai of Swabi and Mardan districts. In addition to these, there are also a small number of Kakar, Wardag, Khattaks, Akakhel, Bangash, and Jadoon. They are largely Hindko speaking.

The Delhi and Haryana Pathans

Almost 43,420 Pathans, about 20% of the total population lived in territory that forms the modern states of Delhi and Haryana.  The Delhi Pathans lived largely in the city, and spoke Urdu, while the colonies in Gurgaon, Rohtak, Hisar, Karnal and Dujana were largely farmers and Haryanwi speaking. The princely states of Dujana, and Pataudi were ruled by Pathan rulers, and in Dujana town, the Pathans formed the largest single community. Almost the entire community were forced to leave at the time of Partition.

Multani Pathans

The descendants of Zamand very early migrated in large numbers to Multan, to which province they furnished rulers, till the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, when a number of the Abdali tribe under the leadership of Shah Husain were driven from Kandahar by tribal feuds, took refuge in Multan, and being early supplemented by other of their kinsmen who were expelled by Mir Wais, the great Ghilzai chief, conquered Multan and founded the tribe well known in the Punjab as Multani Pathans.

Zahid Khan Abdali was appointed Governor of Multan with the title of Nawab, at the time of Nadir Shah’s invasion. Multan was Governed by different members of this family, until in 1818 the city was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, after a heroic defence in which the Nawab and five of his sons were slain.

Their main clans were the Alizai, Badozai, Bamzai and Saddozai, all clans of the Durrani tribe. Other tribal communities include the Babar, Khakwani, Tareen and Yousafzai.[8] In Muzaffargarh District, the Pathans of the district are related to the Multani Pathans. They settled in Muzaffargarh in the 18th century, as small groups of Multani Pathan expended their control from the city of Multan. There distribution is as follows; the Alizai Durrani are found at Lalpur, and the Popalzai are found in Docharkha, while the Babars are based in Khangarh and Tareen in Kuhawar are other important tribes.

District / State Population
Mianwali  46,818
Rawalpindi  44,244
Delhi 17,763
Dera Ghazi Khan
13,135
Gurdaspur 11,214
Bahawalpur State
10,988
 Lahore 8,920
 Multan 8,251
 Patiala State
7,917
 Karnal 7,460
 Ambala 6,804
 Hoshiarpur 6,802
 Rohtak 5,712
 Gurgaon 5,497
Jalandhar 5,364
Hisar 4,870
Amritsar 4,676
Chenab Colony 4,531
Firuzpur 4,455
Muzaffargarh 4,019
Sialkot 3,983
Shahpur 3,562
Ludhiana 3,401
Gujrat 3,283
Jhelum 3,194
Montgomery 2,460
Nabha State 2,254
Shimla 1,312
Jhang 1,306
Malerkotla 1,282
Gujranwala 1,175
Kapurthala 1,155
Dujana 1,131
Jind 1,128
Kangra 987
Mandi 614
Kalsia 614
Keonthal 591
Chamba 550
Other Districts 1,089
Total Population 263,897

 

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 India: 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, 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.

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.

Description of Major Muslim Communities in Uttar Pradesh: Muslim Kamboh

In this post, I return to the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), and the Muslim communities that inhabit it. In particular, I will look at the Muslim Kambohs, a Muslim community that is part of the wider Kamboh ethnic group of South Asia. They are also known as Zubairi. The Muslim Kamboh are found mainly in the Rohilkhand and Doab region. They are largely Sunni, although Amroha is home to a smaller Shia population, and speak Urdu. They are fairly small community, but played a major role in the history of Western Uttar Pradesh. Like the Gujjar and Bhattis discussed in my earlier posts, they are likely to have been immigrants from the Punjab.

Origin

There are a number of different traditions as to the origin of the Kamboh. Some Kamboh claim Afghan origin, others claim Arab origin, while others simply claim to be Muslim converts from the Hindu Kamboh caste.

• Those who claim Indian ancestry claim descent from Raja Sodakhsh of Kamboja, an ancient Indian kingdom. The Rajah was a descendent of the god Chandra Verman, and the Kambojas are referred to in the Mahabharata. They are said to have inhabited Afghanistan, which was known as Kamboja desa, or land of the Kamboh.

• Those who claim Afghan origin, claim to belong to the famous Kayani dynasty of ancient Iran. The word Kamboh is said to be a compound of the word Kai Ambo, after an ancestor. The descendents of this king were known as the Kamboh, and Ghazni in Afghanistan was a centre of their power.

• Those who claim Arab ancestry claim descent from Zubayr ibn al-Awam, the first cousin of the Prophet Mohammad. According to this tradition, the original homeland of the Kamboh was Multan and not Afghanistan.

It seems clear is that most Uttar Pradesh Kamboh have strong traditions of migrating from Punjab. Some groups, such as those of Bareilly claim that they were part of the army of Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, a general in the army of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir. He was asked to pacify a rebellion in Assam, and said to have come from Jalandhar in Punjab. Many in his army were Punjabi Kamboh, who instead of returning to Punjab settled in various locations in western Uttar Pradesh.

The exact circumstances of the Kamboh migration to Uttar Pradesh are unclear. However, towards the end of the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526), we hear increasing references to the Kamboh as playing an important role in the politics. During the Lodhi and Moghul rule. Miyan Jumman Khan Kamboh was “Hajib-i-Khas” (Special Lord of Bed Chamber),Umar Khan Kamboh was Amir-i-Akhur (Minister of Cavalry department)[ and Miyan Ladan Khan Kamboh was an Imam and Royal Nadim of Sikandar Lodhi, Shaikh Itmad-ul-Malik Sambhal was Amir-i-Arz (Paymaster General) and then Prime Minister of Sher Shah Suri. Numerous other Kamboj are known to have occupied very key military and civil positions during Lodhi, Pashtun and the Moghul reign in India. Irfan Habib writes:

The Sayyids and the Kambohs among the Indian Muslims were specially favoured for high military and civil positions during Moghul rule”.
The Kambo, Indian Shaikhzadas and local Saiyid nobles rose to prominence during the period under review” (i.e. Lodi dynasty of Delhi).

According to the historian Muhammad Umar writes:

“The (Muslim) Kamboh distinguished themselves by their courage, generosity and high spirits. They were famous for their excellent manners and were particularly gifted with wisdom and nobility….In terms of social stratification, the Kambohs were counted among the Shaikhs…..Among the Indian Muslims, the Kambohs were regarded as the noblest of all. However, perhaps with a view to maintaining the purity of their descent, or because of pride of nobility, they confined their matrimonial relationships within their own groups and did not establish marriage connections with other Muslim groups including even the Saiyids and the Mughals. Some members of this clan like Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, Nawab Abu Muhammad Khan, Bahadur Khan and Nawab Khair Andesh Khan rose to high positions during the reign of Mughals”

Hindu origin

The tradition of a Hindu origin seems more prevalent among the Kamboh of Saharanpur District. According to tribal myths, they originally  lived about Mathura and were Kshatriyas. When Parasu Rama was slaughtering the Kshatriyas, he found their ancestor Bhup  Rae armed and ready resist. He, therefore, proposed  slaying him; and on Bhup Rae saying that he was not a Kshatriya,Parasu Ram is said to have replied that he was demenour was that of a  Kshatriyas. Bhup Rae at once objected that he was not qaim buu (of any fixed  odour) at all and was saved. He was afterwards was known as Qaimbn,
which gradually got changed into Kamboh. This legend was recorded in the late 19th Century by the ethnologist William Crooke, at the time most Hindu and Sikh Kamboh were making claims to Kshatriya.  What was clear was that both in Punjab, where the majority of Kambohs lived, and in western UP, they were seem by their neighbours as quasi-kshatriya.

 

Those who claim a Hindu origin, claim their conversion to Islam occurred during the early years of Islam in India, one of the groups of this clan embraced Islam at the instance of Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya Suhrawardi (of Multan) and his son Shaikh Sadruddin. Their tradition refers to their migration from Multan to Saharanpur under during the rule of the Lodhi dynasty. It is interesting that Saharanpur District is also home to a large community of Hindu Kambohs. These Kamboh have largely remained affiliated with agriculture. In this district, they are believed to be one of sub caste of Jatts. This region may be the site of their earliest settlement in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Arab origin

The tradition of an Arab origin is more common among the Kamboh of Etah and Bareilly districts. They generally now prefer to be known as Zubairi. Zubairi literally means in Arabic a descendant of Zubair, and the Zubairi Kamboh claim descent Zubair ibn al-Awam. Zubair ibn al-Awam was the first cousin of the Prophet but was also one of his closest companions. He was known for his valor and bravery and is remembered as the conqueror of Egypt in 19 AH, and embraced martyrdom in 36 AH. Zubair was laid to rest in Basra, near the borders of Kuwait and Iraq. This town was named as Al-Zubair. Zubair had twelve sons and nine daughters. Three of his famous sons were Abdullah, Musab and Urwah. Abdullah was a Muslim caliph at Makkah, Musab was the governor of Kufa in 73 AH and Urwa was the first Muslim historian.

After almost fifty years of the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad Bin Qasim, Zuberis started migrating from Makkah and Medina towards Sindh. Most of them settled at place near modern Dadu. By the end of 4th century AH, Zuberis started migrating from Sindh to Multan. During 14th century AD, portion of Zuberi clan migrated to Delhi. Sheikh Samauddin Zuberi was a famous Sufi who led this migration. Afterwards Zuberi family flourished in Lahore, Panipat, Delhi and Sambhal. During the regime of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Zuberis also settled in Meerut.

Kamboh of Marehra, Etah District

The Kambohs of Marehra in Etah District claim to be Arab descent, and often call themselves Zubairi. There ancestor was Shaikh
Khwajah Imad-ud-din Muhammad , a native of Multan, who was a courtier of the first Mughal Emperor Babur (20 April 1526 – 26 December 1530). Babur appointed him amil (administrator) of Marehra around 1527.In 1542, during the reign of Sher Shah, the Khwaja’s two sons were appointed to the offices of chaudary and kanunjo of the pargana (lowest administrative unit), when theses post were created. These posts remained with the descendants of the original holders until the occupation of country by the British, when the office of was abolished.The Mughal Emperor Akbar conferred the proprietary rights on Marehra to Fateh Khan and Umar Khan, grandsons of the Khwaja. The town was divided into eleven muhallas or wards, the most noteworthy of which was the Kamboh muhalla.

Kamboh of Meerut District

The Muslim Kambohs of Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh have a tradition that they belonged to a distinguished Kamboh family of Ghazni which had come to India in early eleventh century in the invading army of Sulatn Mahmud of Ghazni (rule: 997 AD – 1030 AD). According to their own accounts the name “Kamboh” of the family is derived from that of their original home, Kamboja, the ancient name for Afghanistan. The Muslaman Kambohs of Meerut stated that that one of their ancestors, Hasan Mahmudi Kamboh was the Wazir (minister) of Sultan Mahmud Ghazni and came to India in first decade of eleventh century AD in the army of the Sultan. Their ancestors succeeded in capturing the city of Meerut from Raja Mai of Meerut Hassan Mahmudi Kamboh built the Jama Masjid in the city and around it stand buried the Kamboh heroes from Ghazni who fell in the attack on Meerut. The Masjid was later repaired in 16th century during the rule of Mughal Emperor Humayun. The early members of the Kamboh family built the Sangi Mahal which was later known as Permit House and another elegant palace known as Rangi Mahal– the remains of both these once-elegant palaces are still in existence.

Kamboh of Amroha and Moradabad

The Kambohs of Amroha all claim to come from Afghanistan. They traditionally resided in two mohallahs, the Saddu muhalla Kamboh who were Shia and those of Badshahi Chabutra wo were Sunni. The Saddu muhalla Kambohs claimed descent from from Hakim Imam-ud-din Khan, who arrived in Amroha the end of the eighteenth century from Meerut . The Sunni Kambohs claim descent from Muhtashim Khan, who came to Amroha at a somewhat earlier date. This family is related to the Sunni Kambohs of Moradabad, whose ancestor, Karim Bakhsh arrived in Moradabad from Dehli , during the rule of the Awadh Nawab Asaf-ud-daula. The Awadhi authorities appointed him chakladar . When Awadh rule was replaced by the British in the beginning of the 19th Century, he was made tehsildar. These Moradabad Kambohs were substantial landowners. In addition to the Muslim Kambohs, the old district of Moradabad (now Amroha, Moradabad and Sambhal) was also home to a large community of Hindu Kambohs.

Distribution of Muslim Kamboh in Uttar Pradesh by District According to 1891 Census of India

 

District Hindu Muslim
Saharanpur  3,271  689
Muzaffarnagar  920  8
Dehra Dun 290 5
Meerut 760 480
Bulandshahr  11
 Aligarh  38
 Agra  1
 Farrukhabad  67
 Mainpuri  2
 Etawah  2
Etah 437
 Bijnor  274  16
 Badaun  11
 Moradabad  308  294
Shahjahanpur  19
Kanpur  7
Fatehpur 62
Banda 17
Hamirpur 2
Allahabad  50
 Jhansi  24
 Jalaun  23
 Ghazipur  8
 Gorakhpur  6
 Basti  13
 Nainital  309
 Lucknow  9
 Sitapur  10
 Barabanki  2
 Bahraich  9
Total Population in UP 6,222 2,322

As the census showed, the bulk of the Muslim Kamboh population was found in four pockets, the agrarian community of Saharanpur, which shared much in common with the Muslim Jats and Rajput neighbours, the urban groups found in Meerut, Aligarh, Bareilly, Amroha and Marehra, who were very similar to the other Ashraf Muslims, found in western Uttar Pradesh.

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

District Population
Saharanpur 710
Meerut 430
Etah 378
Aligarh 306
Moradabad 224
Muzaffarnagar 214
Bareilly 178
Dehra Dun 28
Other districts 133
Total Population 2,601

The main difference between the two census is the omission of the Kamboh of Bareilly, who were an important community. The Kamboh of Aligarh were largely recent immigrants from other historic centres of the tribe, gravitating towards the city on account of the university.