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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Aheer of Khushab

 

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

 

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

 

 

Villages in Thal

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

Outside the Thal,

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jat Population of Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India

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

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Patiala State 19,794

 

206,658 258,718 485,170

 

Sialkot 162,403
61,243

 

32,497 256,143

 

Firuzpur 29,393

 

 39,357 179,021 247,771

 

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

 

Chenab Colony 150,602

 

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

 

Rohtak 1,913 215,126 59  217,098

 

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

 

Hissar 4,540 166,448 24,171  195,159

 

Gujrat 192,000 2,545 530  195,075

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Multan 137,717 325 2,272 140,314

 

Mianwali 137,665  137,665

 

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

 

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

 

Dera Ghazi Khan

 

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

 

Delhi 2,885 110,571 102 113,558

 

Jind State

 

703 71,118 23,394 95,215
Gurgaon

 

921 75,782 50 76,753
Jhelum

 

72,863 146 355 73,364
Nabha State

 

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

 

63,650 141 86 63,877
Jhang

 

50,596 20 152 50,768
Kapurthala State

 

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

 

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

 

3,581 794 42,085 46,460
Montgomery

 

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

 

137 17,078 8,453 25,668
Kangra

 

183 10,964 211 11,358
Kalsia

 

247 6,110 4,280 10,637
Loharu

 

3,014 6,619 6,619
Nahan

 

19 161 3,194
Dujana

 

174 2,458 2,632
Bilaspur

 

25 1,325 254 1,604
Pataudi

 

1,594 1,594
Nalargarh

 

19 804 45 868
Suket

 

245 245

Other Districts

Total

1,957,252

 1,594,876 (including 16 Jains)

1,389,530 4,941,658

 

List and Population of Muslim Jat Clans in the Ambala Division

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

Ambala District

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

 

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

 

Hissar District

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

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

 

Karnal District

 

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

 

 

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

 

Rohtak District

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Delhi District

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

 

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

 

Panwar / Parmar Rajput population According to the 1901 Census of Punjab

The Panwar, sometimes pronounced as Parmar or even Puar were the third largest Rajput tribe in the Punjab. The eastern Panwar, who numbered around 33,553, or 50% of the total population were like the Chauhans, a tribe of Ranghar pastoralists, concentrated in Haryana. A second group, who numbered 19,689, about 30% of the population were concentrated in south west Punjab, especially in Bahawalpur State, and the neighbouring areas of Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali and Firuzpur in present East Punjab. These Panwar, many of whom considered themselves to be Jats, were Seraiki speaking farmers. In between these groups were the Sikh Panwars of the Rechna Doaba, Muslims Panwars of Lahore, Jalandhar and Ludhiana, the Mahton Panwars of the same region, and the Panwar Rajputs of the Pabbi Hills in the Jhelum/Gujrat region. It is worth pointing that several West Punjabi tribes such as the Bangial, Hon, Sohlan, Narma, Dhudhi, Mekan and Tiwana claim to be descended from the Panwar Rajputs. They are now fairly distinct from the parent tribe, and were recorded seperately.

District / States

Muslim

Hindu

Sikh

Total

Rohtak

 13,931

 2,785

   16,716

Bahawalpur State

 9,845

 348

 223

 10,416

Hissar

 6,165

 1,240

 7,405

Firuzpur

 5,453  157  69  5,679

Multan

 5,445

 221

 

 5,666

Jind State

769

 

 2,839

 

 3,608

Karnal

2,009

 288

 11  2,308

Patiala State

1,353

 180

 157

1,690

 

Montgomery

 1,451  24 1,475

 

Ludhiana

1,392

 

63

1,455

Lahore 1,212 23 220 1,455
Gurgaon 920 355 1,275
Muzaffargarh 695
62 100 857
Dera Ghazi Khan 849   849
Jhelum 649 649
Chenab Colony 295 29 205 529
Jalandhar 425 18 443
Mianwali 426 426
Dehli 135 272 407
Gujranwala 16  380 396
Sialkot 278 74 352
Ambala 242 57 299
Rawalpindi 157 157
Dujana State 104 40 144
Shahpur 48  83 131
Gurdaspur 127 127
Gujrat 111 111
Hoshiarpur 108 108

Other Districts

 

 

 

Total

55,067

9,309

1,614

65,990

Tribes of the Thal Desert: The Tiwana

In this post I will look at Tiwana, or sometimes spelt Tawana. I would ask the reader to look at my other articles on the tribes of the Thal, which gives some background information on the Thal and its inhabitants. Perhaps more then any other tribe, the Tiwana represent the culture and tradition of the Thal desert. They have much in common with the Aheers, with whom they intermarry. What perhaps makes the Tiwana unique however is their insistence that they are Rajputs, a claim not made by other Thal tribes. So who are these Tiwana, and the answer is never simple. According to their own traditions, they are Panwar Rajputs. What is interesting about this region of Punjab is the persistence of claims towards Panwar or Parmar ancestry, despite the fact this region never formed part of the medieval Parmar state. The Tiwanas of the Thal are still found mainly in Khushab district. Another branch of the Tiwana tribe, which was partly Sikh and partly Muslim were found in Samana, which was part of the Sikh ruled state of Patiala. The Muslim Tiwanas left Samana after partition, and are now found dispersed throughout central Punjab. This article will focus of the Khushab Tiwanas, with some reference to the Samana clan.

According to Tiwana tribal traditions, they descend from Rai Shankar, who is also said to be the ancestor of the Sial tribe. So this is there story. Rai Shanker, a Panwar Rajput, lived in Daranagar, which was said to be located midway between Allahabad and Fatehpur, in what is now Uttar Pradesh. Other traditions refer to a a group of Panwars migrating to Jaunpur from Dara Nagar where Shanker was born. Three sons were born to Shanker, who were named Ghaiyyo, Taiyyo and Saiyyo and from whom descend the Sial tribe of Jhang, Tiwanas of Khushab and Ghebas of Pindigheb. According to another tradition, Sial was the only son of Rai Shanker and the ancestors of the Tiwanas and Ghebas were merely related to Shanker by paternal descent. Shanker’s clansmen lived in unity until his death, but afterwards they developed severe disputes and clashes which led to his son Sial migrating to Punjab during the period 1241-46 A.D. during the reign of Alauddin Ghauri, son of Sultan Ruknuddin or Masud Shah Alauddin.

It important to note, that almost all the Panwar clans like the Mekan and Dhudi have traditions that they migrated to Punjab during the early 13th Century. The other Panwar groupings also have traditions of accepting Islam at the hands of a Sufi saint. For the Tiwanas, this occurred when Teu, their ancestor arrived at Ajodhan, now named Pak Pattan, and embraced Islam at the hands of Hazart Baba Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shaker. However, the Tiwanas of the Thal also have traditions that they migrated from Samana, so it is likely the Samana was the original area of settlement. What is also a point to note is that the Samana Tiwana were the only Jat clan in the region which a slight majority of Muslims.

Tiwana of Patiala

Teo’s descendants founded the village of Mataur, near Narwana, in present day Jind District. The village remains’ the centre of Tiwanas who have remained Hindus. A group of Tiwanas left Mataur and settled near Samana, and founded the village of Chinhartal, which situated 15 miles from Patiala. A second group migrated and settled in the Thal desert, from which descend the Khushab branch.

The village of Chinhartal was divided into three different sections (known as patties in Punjabi). These three sections were Nanda Patti, Tiloka Patti, and Gaddo Patti, named after an ancestor. Tiloka patti was the largest patti in the village. Gaddo and his descendants had embraced Islam in A.D. 1533. During the Mughal period, Muslim Tiwana Chaudharis, descendants of Gaddo, Majlis Khan and Wazir Khan, were the prominent chiefs in the Malwa region. With the rise of the Sikhs in Patiala, the Muslim branch of the Tiwanas declined, and were reduced to village headmen. Abar Muhammad popularly known as Abri was the village numberdar right up to partition in 1947. The Muslim Tiwanas of Patiala all emigrated to Pakistan in 1947.

Tiwana of Khushab

The Tiwana rose as major landowners in the Thal in the 18the Century, a position that was confirmed by the British colonial authorities. Mughal authority rapidly collapsed in the Punjab in early 1700s, wth both the Sikhs and Afghans vying for power. In the Thal region, the Tiwana under Malik Sher Khan made themselves masters of Nurpur and the surrounding country, and after the death of the Awan chieftain Gul Jahannia of Warchha, succeeded in establishing a partial authority over the Awans settlements along the base of the Salt range. They also seized Shekhowal and several other villages on the right bank of the Jhelum from the Baloch rulers of Sahiwal. However, the Malik’s attempt was unable to capture Khushab, for although Lal Khan, the Baloch ruler was killed in the defence of the town, the Tiwanas were driven off, and Jafar Khan, the deceased chieftain’s son and successor, remained in possession, until Ranjit Singh absorbed the minor principality.

Tiwana power was now reduced the lands near their most important village, Mitha Tiwana, and here too, faced the rising power of the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh sent a well equipped force against them under Misr Diwan Chand in 1816. The Tiwana Malik was forced to leave Mitha for Nurpur, in the heart of the Thal, hoping that the scarcity of water and supplies might prevent the Sikh army from succeeding. But the Sikh commander, sank wells as he advanced, so that after a time the Tiwana, finding resistance hopeless, abandoned Nurpur, and took refuge with their old enemy, the Nawab of Dera Ismail Khan. The Nawab decided that this was the time to finish his Tiwana rivals, plundered them and turned them out. After this, for nearly two years, Malik Khan Muhammad and his sons wandered from place to place, subsisting on the charity of their neighbours but finding this kind of life insupportable, they determined efforts to recover their former possessions.

The Tiwanas were able to raise a force from the Thal tribes, and after surprise attack, seized Mitha. The Sikh garrison, completely taken by surprise, abandoned the place and fled, and the Maliks were once more masters of the land of their ancestors. This success was however short-lived, as in 1818, the ousted Sikh Governor returned with a strong force, and the Maliks were once again forced into exile. The possessions of tho Tiwana Chiefs were then given in jagir to the famous Sikh general Hari Singh, Nalwa, and were held by him till his death at Peshawar in 1837. Khan Muhammad, the Tiwana chieftain then travelled to Lahore to convince Ranjit Singh that it would be bad policy to drive the Tiwanas to desperation. Tiwanas as loyal subjects of the Sikh could act as intermediaries between them and the Jats of the Thal. They were therefore granted an estate on the west bank of the Jhelum, covering much of the norther corner of the Thal.
Kadir Bakhsh, the new Tiwana chieftain, became close friends with the Dogra warlord Raja Gulab Singh, and became an important courtier of Ranjit Singh. At the death of Hari Singh Nalwa, the Tiwana recovered almost all their lands. The next Tiwana chieftain, Fateh Khan, Kadir Bakhs cousin, took a prominent part in the politics of the Sikh Durbar. However, when the British conquered the Malik Fateh Sher Khan, the son of Fateh Khan, and Malik Sher Muhammad Khan, the son of the KAdir Bakhsh, switched to the British side. The descendants of Malik Sher Mohammad became the Maliks of Mitha Tiwana, the most important of the Tiwana estates. Other important estates of the Tiwana include Hadali, Hamooka,

They are now found mainly in Khushab, where important Tiwana villages include Thatta Tiwana, Mitha Tiwana, Noorpur Tiwana, Girot, Hadali, Hamoka, Kalurkot, Kundian, Jhabrian, Waracha, Sakesar, Megha, and Thai Dandan

Distribution of Muslim Tiwana in Punjab by District According to 1901 Census of India

 

District Population
Patiala State 3,039
Shahpur (Sargodha & Khushab districts) 2,971
Other districts 316
Total Population 6,326

 

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.

Population of Muslim Jat Clans of British Punjab According to the 1891 Census of India

In 1891 the total Jat population was 4,625,523, of which Muslim Jats numbered 1,771,034. I would also ask the reader to look at my posts on the Population of Muslim Jat Clans of British Punjab According to the 1901 Census of India and Population of Muslim Jat Clans of British Punjab According to the 1911 Census of India. Both these posts give a breakdown of the larger Jat clans. The process of counting up clans began with the 1891 Census. However only the 68 largest clans were enumerated separately, the rest simply declared miscellaneous. Deciding whether a clan was Jat or Rajput ended up being an arbitrary process. For example in the 1891 Census, the Gondals declared themselves all as Rajputs. while in 1901 a total of 2,508 declared themselves as Jats, while the majority of 36,088 declared themselves to be Rajput. By the 1911 Census, almost all Gondals, about 62,320 declared themselves as Jats, while a mere 31 declared themselves as Rajputs.

Wariach 54,499 Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sialkot, Lahore and Amritsar
Sidhu 48,668 Hissar, Jallandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Sialkot, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Chenab Colony
Sandhu 28,011 Hissar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Montgomery, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Amritsar, Shahpur (Sargodha), Chenab Colony, Jhang and Multan
Tarar 25,619 Lahore, Gujrat, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Jhelum and Chenab Colony
Bajwa 25,255 Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Jallandhar and Patiala State
Gill 19,573 Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Firuzpur, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Bhutta 16,376 Shahpur, Jhelum, Mianwali, Multan and Chenab Colony
Virk 16,052 Gujranwala, Chenab Colony, Gujrat, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sialkot, Lahore and Amritsar
Ghumman 15,044 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Goraya 13,039 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Sipra 11,908 Patiala, Montgomery, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Shahpur (Sargodha), Chenab Colony, Jhang, Multan and Bahawalpur
Dhillon 11,864 Ambala, Hissar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot Mianwali, and Chenab Colony
Kahlon 10,854 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Chenab Colony
Chatha 10,574 Patiala, Lahore, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat and Chenab Colony
Thaheem 10,382 Multan, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan
Chhina 10,058 Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Chenab Colony and Dera Ghazi Khan
Langah 9,905 Shahpur, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali, Multan and Bahawalpur
Bains 8,963 Ambala, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Shahpur, Chenab Colony, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan
Cheema 8,676 Patiala, Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat and Chenab Colony
Sahi 8,619 Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Gujrat, Jhelum and Sialkot
Randhawa 7,994 Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Gujranwala and Sialkot
Harral 7,869 Gujranwala, Shahpur, Mianwali, Gujrat, Jhang, and Chenab Colony
Langrial 7,811 Sialkot, Gujrat and Multan
Soomra / Samra 7,065 Mianwali, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur
Aulakh 5,916 Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Amritsar, and Jallandhar
Dhariwal 5,685 Ambala, Hissar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot and Chenab Colony
Maan 5,210 Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Chenab Colony
Sarai 4,496 Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Ambala and Jallandhar
Chahal 4,805 Ambala, Ludhiana, Firuzpur, Amritsar, Lahore, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Chenab Colony
Bhullar 4,419 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar and Lahore
Mangat 3,919 Patiala, Ludhiana, Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sialkot
Hanjra 3,852 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Montgomery, Shahpur, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Chandhar/ Chadhar 3,822 Montgomery, Amritsar, Firuzpur, Lahore, Jhang, Muzaffargarh, Mianwali, Multan, Jhelum, Shahpur and Chenab Colony
Heer 3,662 Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Montgomery, Shahpur, Mianwali, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Kang 3,571 Patiala, Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Multan, Muzaffargarh and Chenab Colony
Naul 3,440 Jhang
Lodike 3,233 Gujranwala
Dhotar 2,596 Gujranwala and Gujrat
Deo / Dev 2,336 Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Mianwali and Chenab Colony
Pannun 2,161 Amritsar, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Chenab Colony
Atwal 2,040 Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chenab Colony and Jallandhar
Bhangu 1,662 Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Chenab Colony
Sohal 1,648 Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Sialkot
Dalal 1,618 Hissar, Gurgaon, Rohtak and Delhi
Marral or Marhal 1,547 Karnal, Patiala and Jhang
Waseer 1,513 Chenab Colony
Bal 1,312 Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Lahore, Jalandhar and Ludhiana
Mahil 1,081 Ambala, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar
Bahiniwal / Wahiniwal 1,058 Montgomery, Hissar, Rohtak and Firuzpur
Jakhar 1,051 Hissar, Firuzpur, Bahawalpur, Mianwali, Montgomery, and Multan
Sarah 1,027 Firuzpur,
Pawania 982 Karnal, Hissar and Firuzpur
Buttar 916 Dera Ghazi Khan, Ludhiana, Firuzpur, Lahore, Gurdaspur, Gujranwala and Sialkot
Dhindsa 888 Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Lahore, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Chenab Colony
Nain 726 Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Ahlawat 634 Rohtak
Dahya 432 Ambala, Bahawalpur, Hissar, Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Butta 420 Chenab Colony
Rathi 374 Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Dhankar 203 Delhi and Rohtak
Godara 170 Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Dagar 156 Rohtak and Delhi
Ghatwala or Malik 134 Hissar, Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Phogat 114 Karnal and Rohtak
Gulia 112 Mianwali
Gandhi 97 Mianwali
Deshwal / Deswal 87 Hissar, Gurgaon, Karnal, Rohtak and Delhi
Sahrawat 27 Karnal, Rohtak and Gurgaon
Miscellaneous clans 1,290,075

Population of Jat clans of Faisalabad, Multan and South Punjab according 1901 Census of India

The British province of Punjab comprised five administrative divisions — Delhi, Jullunder, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi — and a number of princely states. This post gives a breakdown of the Jat clans enumerated as part of the 1901 Census of India. In 1901, the Multan Division comprised the following districts:

 

Multan District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 137,718, out of a total of 140,315, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Athangal  308
Atwal  386
Aulakh  205
Autrah  2,979
Bachh  175
Bains 2,097
Bajwa  266
Bhangu  134
Bhullar  141
Bhutta  4,872
Buttar  141
Chaj  123
Chadhar 3,734
Channar 1,696
Cheema  311
Chhajra  168
Daha  472
Dhillon  82
Dhudhi  254
Gaun  349
Ghallu 2,761
Gill  536
Hanjra  190
Heer 370
Jakhar  1,822
Kachela 1,010
Kalyar  1,123
Kalru  1,362
Kanju 626
Khaira 467
Khaki  1,465
Lak  303
Lang  1,883
Langah  2,927
Langrial  3,171
Maan  122
Mahe  953
Mahota  271
Maitla  1,751
Naich  108
Nain  21
Nonari  617
Panuhan  268
Pandah 165
Phor 2,019
Raad  616
Rak  432
Rawn  1,813
Randhawa  113
Sahi  127
Sahota / Sahotra  379
Sahu  3,413
Sanda  286
Sandhel  2,118
Sandhu  606
Shajra  539
Sipra  749
Soomra  1,458
Tarar  140
Thaheem  4,540
Warraich  390
Wasir  1,586
Virk  1,571

Chenab Colony

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 150,602 (65%)  out of a total of 230,529. Unlike the other parts of the erstwhile Multan Division, the Chenab Colony was a site a British Imperial colonization scheme, that brought large number of settlers from central Punjab. Among these settlers, the Jat were encouraged to come, and the Chenab Colony latter Lyalpur District had a large presence of Hindu and Sikh Jats. The Muslim Jat population included both long settled Jats such as the Bhutta, Khichi, Wagha and Wasir, and settlers from East Punjab such as the Bal, Dhariwal and Sandhu.

Tribe Total
Atwal  1,361
Aulakh  635
Bains  2,599
Bajwa  4,229
Bal  189
Balani  167
Bar  628
Bhangu  330
Bhatti 4,594
Bhullar 80
Bhutta 351
Buttar 247
Butta 563
Chahal 355
Chadhar 8,678
Chatha 692
Cheema 4,755
Chhina 1,054
Deo or Dev 492
Dhariwal 479
Dhillon 1,159
Gawanis 262
Ghumman 1,372
Gill 3,430
Gondal 768
Goraya 2,132
Hanjra 1,505
Harral 2,671
Heer 266
Jaj  382
Jakhar  248
Kahlon  594
Kahu  1,331
Kajla  364
Khake  120
Kang  308
Kathia  199
Khichi  120
Lak  609
Lali  207
Langah  214
Lidhar  132
Maan  190
Mahe  332
Mahil  97
Mangat  139
Naul  438
Noon  172
Pannu  352
Pawania  113
Rajoka  667
Randhawa  1,999
Sahi  699
Sahmal  778
Sandhu  2,467
Sarai  467
Sidhu  499
Sian  131
Sipra  3,385
Siroha  144
Sohal  67
Tatla  117
Tarar 1,154
Thaheem  158
Virk  1,683
Wagha  616
Wahla  756
Warraich  3,708
Wasir  1,112
Wattu  411

Jhang District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 50,596, out of a total of 50,769, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Aura  437
Bains  257
Bar 271
Batth  145
Bhangu  179
Bhutta  477
Chadhar  6,345
Dab  805
Gil 539
Gilotar 1,393
Hanjra 370
Harral 3,491
Hasnana  104
Hidan  426
Jappa  706
Kalasan  252
Kasra  204
Kathia  119
Kudhan  216
Lak  394
Lali  1,932
Langah  112
Mahe  97
Maitla  238
Mangon  204
Matmal  149
Murali  526
Naul  616
Noon  181
Sahmal  641
Sipra  1,945
Suddle  221
Tarar  158
Targar  150
Thaheem  469
Virk  234
Wagha  200
Waiha  314

Muzzafargarh District

In 1901 the entire Jat population of was Muslim and numbered 117,362.

Tribe Total
Aulakh  122
Autrah  843
Babbar  2,363
Bhullar  116
Bhutta  2,803
Chadhar 525
Chan  479
Chatha  544
Daha 1,454
Dhal 368
Dhotar  138
Dona  205
Ghallu 1,327
Hanjra  402
Hans 395
Heer 395
Jakhar  104
Janjua 778
Jatal  144
Kalasra  1,281
Kalru  1,488
Kang 629
Khaira 2,085
Khaki  1,822
Lakaul  1,518
Langah  700
Lar  778
Mallana  1,797
Naul  118
Nonari  1,454
Panuhan  455
Parhar  2,610
Sahota / Sahotra  630
Sahu  870
Sandhel  2,477
Sipra  123
Soomra  611
Thaheem  1,748

Dera Ghazi Khan District

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 118,701, out of a total of 118,843, therefore almost all of the Jat were Muslim.

 

Tribe Total
Atra  493
Babbar  4,294
Bains /Waince
123
Barra  1,597
Batwani  895
Bhatti  700
Bhutta  1,835
Buttar  1,292
Chachar  1,156
Chadhar 181
Channar 263
Chhajra  913
Chhina  545
Dahya  436
Dhandla  643
Dumra  778
Hanbi 871
Heer 372
Jakhar  273
Janjua 3,861
Jehlan 1,584
Jhar 402
Kahlon  416
Kajla 558
Kalru  106
Kanera  765
Kang 978
Khaira 200
Khati  612
Kohawer  467
Lakaul  1,157
Lak  547
Langah  1,967
Mahar  773
Mahesar  648
Maitla  776
Mallana  1,358
Mohana  3,591
Panwar  189
Parhar  579
Phor  719
Sahota / Sahotra  994
Sandhel 916
Sangi  1,244
Sial  231
Soomra  2,508
Thaheem  1,234
Virk  548
Wagha  456

Bahawalpur State

The total Muslim Jat population in 1901 was 175,370, out of a total of 192,146, therefore almost all of Jat were Muslim.

Tribe Total
Atwal  351
Bains / Waince
177
Bhaya  923
Bhutt  475
Bhullar  43
Buttar 447
Bipar  508
Bohar  3,833
Burara  498
Chachar  8,923
Chadhar 334
Chaudhary 1,162
Chhlar 7,529
Chhina  159
Dahar / Dahiri  1,307
Daha  148
Dahya  1,508
Dala  1,364
Dakah  823
Dasa 459
Dhandu  643
Duran 977
Gabora 352
Ganja  1,047
Hamshira – Chauhan 233
Jaam  448
Jhak  246
Jhullan 1,285
Kahka 1,453
Kalhora 745
Kalwar 1,584
Khaki  514
Khalne  412
Kheri  219
Khal  512
Khombra  637
Kohadar  493
Kolar  661
Kont  288
Langah  2,474
Lodhra  446
Makwal  473
Malak  3,264
Manela  628
Markhand  155
Marral  880
Masson 563
Mohal  373
Naich  3,786
Nanwai 1,833
Nehon  184
Parhar  7,960
Panwar /Puar  7,702
Samma  3,084
Sangah  123
Sangi  1,094
Sanda  139
Shajra  259
Sipra  611
Soomra  4,393
Sutera  468
Thaheem  1,653
Tonwar / Tomar  1,038
Unnar  327
Uttera  1,817
Waraich 287

Basra, Goraya and Nagra tribes

In this post, I intend to look at three tribes, namely the Basra, Goraya and Nagra, who are found mainly in the northern half of the Ravi Chenab (Rechna Doab) Doab, mainly now the districts of Hafizabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala and Narowal. Historically, these tribes also had a presence in Gurdaspur, but like other Punjabi Muslims they had to migrate to Pakistan at the time of partition. All these tribes are Jat clans, and this region of Pakistan perhaps has the clearest boundary between Rajput and Jat. Jats are found all over this region and form the backbone of the agricultural community. They are divided into numerous clans and historically belonged to different religions. It was not uncommon to find in a village a few Jat families practicing Sikhism while others Islam. Along the border with the Jammu and Kashmir state, many Jats had remained Hindu, and many Hindu Nagra Jats are still found in the Jammu Jammu Region. Therefore, we find among the Basra, Goraya and Nagra groups following Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. The Gazetteer of the Sialkot District (1920, Part A) gave the following description:

profess different religions, but a strong family likeness pervades the whole tribe. The Muhammadan is sometimes said to be less energetic than his Hindu or Sikh brother, but it is very doubtful whether any such distinction exists. The Sikh sometimes indulges a taste for liquor and a certain amount of illicit distilling occurs in the district. All are patient, hardworking cultivators without much enterprise but tenacious of their rights and proud of their position as zamindars or landowners, even if their holding be but an acre or two.

Another interesting factor is that both the Basra and Goraya claim descent from the Saroha Rajputs, a tribe of which little is known. The quote makes reference to the word zamindar, literally landowner, and almost Jats in this region interchangeably describe themselves as zamindar and Jat.

Basra

I start of by looking at the Basra, a clan found mainly in the northern part of the Rechna Doab. Like many of other Jat tribes in the Sialkot region, they claim descent from the mysterious Saroha tribe. There are currently very Saroha Rajputs, but most claim to be Chandravanshi Rajputs. Many Basra also connect themselves with the mythical Rajah Salvahan, who is said to founded the city of Sialkot. According to this tradition, Raja Salvahan has two sons named as Basra and Sarra. From Basra descend the Basra tribe of Jats and from Sarra the Sarai, another well known Jat tribe. Basra is said to have migrated to Phagwara, now located in the Kapurthala district of Indian Punjab. There original settlement was the village of Mehli, located near the town of Phagawara. Incidentally, almost all Basra of the Sialkot / Narowal region claim Mehli to be their village of origin. Melhi is also still home to Basra Jat families who follow the Sikh faith. Some five centuries ago, a famine drove the Basra from Phagwara, and they established their first settlement at the village of Gharial Kalan, south of the town of Pasrur. They then founded the village of Gharial Khurd , due to the unavailability of land in Gharial Kalan. It is unclear when the Basra began converting to Islam, but the majority were Muslim at the time of the arrival of the British in the Punjab 1849. Most Basra are now found mainly near the city of Daska.

In terms of distribution, most Basra are still found in Raya Tehsil of Narowal District, and Daska Tehsil of Sialkot District. There are a second cluster of Basra villages in the Kali Subha region of north eastern Gujranwala. In the district Sheikhupura, they are found in the villagers of Bule Chak, Akbarian-Bhagian, Hamidpur and Gundowal. Outside their historic area, the Basra Jats have settled in the Canal Colony districts of Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh, where there are now several Basra villages.

Goraya

The next tribe I will look at are the Goraya. There are several origins myths for the Goraya, which is not uncommon among Punjabi tribes. But most agree that sometime in the past they were once pastoral. Like the Basra, the Goraya are said to be descended from the Saroha Rajputs, and to have come to Gujranwala as a nomadic and pastoral. tribe from Sirsa, in what is now Haryana. According to another tradition,t he tribe is descended from a Sombansi Rajput called Goraya whose grandson Mai came from the Lakki Thal, in what is now Bhakkar District. A third tradition is that Rana their founder, came from the Jammu hills during the period of Mughal rule over Punjab (circa 15 -17 AD). Interestingly, the word goraya is also used for the nilgai, a type of a large antelope. Therefore, it is possible that Goraya could have been a nickname for their ancestor. Finally, it is sometimes said that they are a clan of the Dhillon tribe, descended from Budh who had
twenty sons, one of whom was Goraya.

They are now found in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Gurdraspur. They own 31 villages in Gujranwala. In Sialkot, there villages are located ibn the north-east of the Pasrur Tehsil.

Nagra

The last tribe I will look at are the Nagra. According to tribal traditions, the clan claim descent from Nagra, who is said to be a Chauhan Rajput, and the tribe also claim a common origin with the Cheema. They are said to have left Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji (rule 1296 to 1316), and settled initially in Jalandhar, and them moved to Pasrur, near Sialkot. The Sikh Nagra consider the Sikh Cheema to be their collaterals, and as such these two clans do not intermarry. After the partition of India in 1947, the Sikh Nagra of Sialkot District moved to India, while the Muslim Nagra undertook a similar migration from Gurdaspur District

Nagra tribal territory stretched from Pasrur in the west to Gurdaspur in the east. Like many Jat clans in this region, they are partly Muslim and partly Sikh. Many Nagras, like other Jat clans were settled in the Canal Colonies of Lyalpur and Montgomery in the 19th and early 20th Century. One such Nagra village in the canal colonies is Chak 351 GB Nagra in Toba Tek Singh District.

Naipal and Wattu tribes

In this post, I will look at two communities of Punjabi Muslims, namely the Naipal and Wattu, that were found along the banks of the Sutlej, in what is now Okara, Kasur and Bahawalnagar districts in Pakistan, and Ferozepur in India. After the partition of Punjab in 1947, the Wattu and Naipal of Ferozepur immigrated to Pakistan. Both these tribes connect themselves to the Bhatti, and like them were largely pastoral until the arrival of the British in the 19th Century.

Naipal

I start with the very localized tribe of the Naipal, who were found entirely Ferozepur District. The Naipal clan get their name from Naipal, son of Bhuni, who belonged to the Bhatti tribe, were historically found on the Sutlej just north of the city Ferozepur. They came from Sirsa in the reign of Muhammad Shah (ruler 1719-1748), and once held the river valley as far down as that town, but were driven higher up by the Dogars, and in the Naipal in turn expelled the Gujars. Sometime during the middle of the 18th Century, the Naipals occupied the Makhu ilaqa, then probably a complete waste. It is said to have been named Makkah by a faqir, one Muhammad, who had been there, but its name was corrupted into Makhu. Like their neighbours, the Dogar, Gujjar and Wattu, they were largely pastoral.

By middle of the 18th Century, Mugha1 authority had collapsed in the Sutlej valley and the Naipals became independent until Jassa Singh, the Ahluwalia (1718-1783), chief of Kapurthala took possession of their territory around 1770, and established a thana at Makhu and created the ilaqa of that name. By the early 19th Century, Ahluwalia rule was replaced by the British. Groups of the Naipal began to immigrate to the Ahluwalia ruled Kapurthala State, establishing their settlement in 1857. The Naipal were almost independent under the Ahluwalia rulers, and to have paid a small rent in kind only when the kardar was strong enough to compel them to it, which has not often the case.

By the mid 19th Century, the Naipal were settled as farmers, and began to intermarry neighbouring Muslim Jat tribes such as the Sidhu. They have lost more of their Hindu origin than either the Dogars or Gujars, and in their marriage connections they follow the Muslim law, near blood relations being permitted to enter into the marriage. Most Naipals were owner cultivators, almost every member of the tribe holding land in ownership, and not cultivating it under a few tribal chiefs as tenants, like their neighbours the Dogars.
At the time of partition in 1947, the Naipal territory was allocated to India, leading to the migration of the entire tribe to Pakistan Punjab.


Wattoo

The Wattoo, sometines writen as Wattu, are one of the main Rajput tribes of the Sutlej valley, who are closely connected to the Bhatti. Their historic homeland lay adjacent to Bhattiana, the region that now forms parts of Hissar, Sirsa and Ferozpur. Like other Punjabi tribes, the Watto have several origin myths.

In the old Sirsa territory, modern day western Haryana, the Wattoo traditions refer to a Raja Junher, a descendant of the Bhatti Raja Salvahan of Sialkot, was settled in Bhatner, wher he had two sons Achal and Batera, who were.was settled in Bhatner. The descendants of Batera include the Sidhu and Barar Jats. The former again had two sons Jaipal and Raipal, of whom Jaipal was the ancestor of the Bhatti proper, and Raipal of the Wattoo. The Wattoo are said to have been converted to Islam by Baba Farid, during the rule of their chief Khiwa, who ruled at Haveli in Okara, and was succeeded by the famous Wattu chief, Lakhe Khan. Wattoo territory at the beginning of the 19th Century included lands on both banks of the Sutlej in the Sirsa district, and the adjoining parts of Montgomery and Bahawalpur state, from Baggehi 16 miles above Fazilka, to Phulahi 70 miles below it. Above them was the territory of the Dogars, below them the Joiya. In the late 18th Century, after the Chalissa famine, the Wattoo left what is now Okara and settled in the lands of Sirsa and Rania, which was ruled by Bhatti Nawabs. This migration occurred under the leadership Fazil Dalel Rana. Another branch moved into what is Bahawalnagar District. In the Sutlej valley, the Wattoo were the most important group of Hitharis. Other groups also began to move into the Ravi river valley clashing with both the Kharals and Bhattis of the Bhatiore.

Another Wattoo traditions makes them descendants of Rajah Salvahan son Pital, who quarrelled with hie brothers and went th Bhatner (now known as Hanumangarh) in Rajasthan. Twelve generatione later Adham, owing to a feud with tho Panwar Rajputs, immigrated into the
Punjab and earned his title of Wattoo by subduing the pride of that race.The word watt or vat has various meanings, and Wattoo very likely meens a borderer. The Wattoos have a number of clans (muhins), e.g. Ladhoka, Bazidke,
Salim-Shahi, etc, all named after a particular ancestor.The principal clans of the Wattoos in Bahawalpur are:

i) Salim-ke (I) Qaim-ke, (2) Amruke, (3) Bare-ke.
ii. Sahru, with a sub-sept Darweshke.
iii. Gaddhoke, (1) Ratte-ke, (2) Bithe-ke, (3) Dhaddi-ke, (4) Daddd-ke.
iv. Rahmanke
v. Malike
vi. Miana
viii Jasoke
ix. Ahloke

The Wattoo were pastoralist par excellence, and this shown by a quote by the colonial ethnographer W.E. Purser:

priding themselves upon their politeness and hospitality. They are of only moderate industry, profuse in expenditure on special occasions, indifferent to education and exceedingly fond of cattle

In Bahhwalpur they have a different origin, with the Wattoos originally coming from Jaisalmeer and settled in the Punjab, advancing as far as Batala, which according to this tradition they founded. They then dispersed along both banks of the Sutlej. Their conversion to Islam occurred during the rule of Firoz Shah Tughlak (1351 to 1388) after which period they were incorporated into the Sultanate of Delhi. With the collapse of Muslim rule, the Wattoo suffered greatly at the hands of Sidhu-Bar Sikhs to whom they remained tributary until Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan II (4 June 1772 – 13 August 1809) expelled the Sidhu-Barars from the Wattu territory and annexed it to Bahawalpur.

Prior to the partition of India, there were sizeable colonies in Fazilka in what is now Punjab, India and Sirsa in what is now Haryana. All of these communities migrated to Pakistan in 1947.

The Wattoo tribe is now found in the following districts; Okara District, Pakpattan District, Bahawalnagar District, Shekhupura District, Multan District, and Nankana Sahib District.