Narma and Sohlan Rajput

In this post, I look at two related tribes, the Narma and Sohlan. Both are branches of the famous Parmar Rajputs, who ruled much of central India, from their capital at Ujjain. Once the Parmar state was destroyed, groups of Parmar migrated to different parts of India, including the foothills of the Pir Panjaal.

Narma

Starting off with the Narma, they are a clan of Paharia Rajputs, whose territory extends from Mirpur and Kotli in Azad Kashmir to Gujrat and Rawalpindi in Punjab. According to tribal traditions, they are Agnikula Rajputs descendant of Raja Karan. This Raja Karan was said to be from Ujjain or Kathiawar, although the Thathaal tradition is he was the ruler of Thanesar in Haryana. My post on the Nonari also explores this mysterious figure found among the traditions of many Punjab tribes. The Narma, therefore are Panwar Rajputs, who ruled Malwa and Ujjain, their famous kings names were Raja Bikramjeet and Raja Bahoj. During the invasions of Mahmood of Ghaznai the Narma were said to be living in the Haryana. Naru Khan 8th descent of Raja Karan accepted Islam and the tribe were named after him; Naru or Narma Rajputs. They were land owner of several villages within Haryana; the chief men of this tribe were known by the title Rai, and this title is still used by their descendants presently. Most Narma Rajputs have accepted Islam, although some remain Hindu. The Panwars are said to have thirty four branches, named after places, titles, language and person’s names like Omtawaar were known as the descendants of Omta, similarly the descendants of Naru became Naruma and then Narma.

 

Naru and Narma

There might be a common ancestory between Naru and Narma, they both claim their ancestor name was Naru, who accepted Islam and given new name Naru Khan during the invasion of Mahmood of Ghazna, and he lived in Haryana area. However, the Narma claim that they are of Panwar Rajput ancestry, while Naru origin stories make reference to Chandravanshi origin (Please see my article on the Pothohar tribes on Rajput sub-divisions). Coming back to the Narma, their origin myth refers to a Rai Pahre Khan, seven generations from Naru Khan who came from Kaithal in Haryana to what is now Jhelum district and founded two villages Fatehpur and Puran. A descendent of Pahre Khan, Rai Jalal Khan relocated to Senyah. As a tribe, the Narma are distributed over a large territory with Gujrat in the east, Rawalpindi in the west, and Mirpur and Poonch in the north, with Panjan in Azad Kashmir being a centre of the tribe.

Clans

The Narmas in Gujrat say that they have nine clans which are as follows:

1. Sadrya

2. Adryal

3. Sambrhyal

4. Haudali

5. Jalali

6. Alimyana

7. Joyal

8. Umrali

9. Hassanabdalia.

Narma Rajputs in Indian administered Kashmir

In India administered Kashmir, they are found mainly in villages near Naushehra in Rajauri District. There main villages include Jamola and Gurdal Paine.

Narma Rajput in Azad Kashmir

Important Narma villages in Azad Kashmir include Khoi Ratta, Narma, Panjan, Dhargutti, Palal Rajgan, Panjpir, Prayi, Charohi, Rasani, Sabazkot, Sanghal, Senyah, and Tain all in Kotli District.

In Bagh District, their villages include Sirawera, Dhoomkot. Kaffulgarh, Ghaniabad, Bees Bagla, Sarmundle, Mandri, Bhutti, Nikkikair, Awera, Dhundar, Cheran, Makhdomkot, Chattar, Adyala Paddar, Lober, and Patrata.

While in Bhimber District, they are found in the villages of Haripur (Samani Tehsil), Jhangar (Bhimber Tehsil), Makri Bohani (Bhimber Tehsil), Broh (Bhimber Tehsil), Khamba (Bhimber Tehsil), Thandar (Bhimber Tehsil), Siyala (Bhimber Tehsil), Garhone (Bhimber Tehsil), and Chadhroon (Bhimber Tehsil).

Narma Rajput in Punjab

In Punjab, they are found in the districts of Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. The villages of Puran and Fatehpur in Jhelum District are said to be their earliest settlements. In Rawalpindi, they are found in Jocha Mamdot ,Sood Badhana and Narmatokh Kangar villages.

Sohlan

Sohlan is said to have emigrated from Malwa in the middle ages, settling in the foothills of the Pir Panjal mountains, and converting to Islam. The Sohlan established a principality based on the town of the Khari Sharif and during the time of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals the reigning authorities never levied taxes in the Solhan ruled areas, in lieu of peaceful passage to Kabul. There are however other traditions which connect the Sohlan clan with the royal family from Kishtawar; with Raja Sohlan Singh quarrelling with his relations and settling in Khari, and expelling the Gujjar population. Legend also has it that Mangla Devi an ancestor of the tribe and after whom Mangla is named after was the first person from the tribe to convert to Islam. This site has now been inundated by the construction of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur District. After the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the Sohlan areas came under the rule of the Sikhs. This rule lasted until 1846 when Sohlan inhabited areas north of the Jhelum river were handed over to the Gulab Singh Dogra in an agreement with the British as part of the Treaty of Amritsar. As result of this treaty, Sohlan territory was effectively partitioned, with Sohlan south of the Jhelum coming under direct British areas, in what became the district of Jhelum and sub-district of Gujar Khan. Despite this separation, both the Chibhal territory of Jammu State and British Pothohar continued to share common cultural traditions, with minor dialectial differences between Pothwari and Pahari languages.

 

Presently, the Sohlan are found chiefly in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, with small numbers found in Jhelum, Gujar Khan, and Rawalpindi.

Starting with Mirpur District, their villages include Bani (Mirpur), Dalyala, Ghaseetpur Sohalian, Koonjarai Nawab, Mehmunpur, and Sahang. Sohlan villages in Mirpur are located mainly around the town of Khari Sharif which has historically been ruled by this clan. Since the development of the Mangla Dam, old Jabot Village, which was also an important Sohlan village was submerged underwater causing many families to move to Khari Sharif, and establishing the village of New Jabot. The Sohlan village in Jhelum District are located north of the city of Jhelum near the border with Mirpur, the principal settlement being Sohan. Other villages include Gatyali or Patan Gatalyan, Chak Khasa, Pakhwal Rajgan, Chitti Rajgan, Pind Ratwal Tahlianwala, Dhok Sohlnan, Piraghaib and Langerpur. They are closely connected to with both the Bhao and Chibs, who are their neighbours, and with whom they share good many customs and traditions. Outside this core area, Sohlan villages include Sahang and Dhok Sohlan in Tehsil Gujar Khan district, Morah Sohlan, Pehount in the Islamabad Capital Territory and Naar Mandho in Kotli District.

List and Population of Muslim Rajput clans of the Rawalpindi Division According to 1901 Census of India

Below is a list of Muslim Rajput clans and their population in the Rawalpindi Division of Punjab, drawn up for 1901 Census of India. Please also read my introduction for the 1911 Census to give you some background. Almost all the population that professed to be Rajput were Muslim, with exception of Kharian Tehsil of Gujrat District, which was home several Bhao and Chib Rajput villages, who had remained Hindu. In 1901 Rawalpindi Division comprised the following districts; Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat, Shahpur, and Mianwali.. In 1902, Attock was seperated from Rawalpindi and seperate figures were produced. However, the 1901 data on Rawalpindi includes the Attock figures/

In terms of choice of calling oneself Rajput or Jat, this as much depended on the status of a tribe within the village they inhabitted. For example, the Kanial in Jhelum District declared themselves to be Jat, while in Rawalpindi as Rajput. However, in Gujrat the boundary between Rajput and Jat was somewhat more rigid, with those calling themselves Rajput were Dogra clans that had accepted Islam such as the Bhao, Chib, Minhas and Narma.

Rawalpindi District

The total Rajput population in 1901 was 122,317, of which 121,420 (99%) were Muslims.

Tribe Total
Adrah 909
Alpial 9,395
Badhan 272
Baghial 5,769
Bains 152
Baria 106
Bhakial 404
Bhakral 10.819
Bhao Ragial 153
Bhatti 36,268
Budhal 152
Chatha 500
Chauhan 3,029
Chib 309
Dalal 133
Dhamial 2.967
Dhanial 3,935
Dhudhi 196
Gakhar 690
Gaharwal 194
Gangal 178
Gondal 168
Hafial 197
Hon 1,496
Janjua 3,815
Jasgam 129
Jatal 1,451
Jodha 368
Jodhra 1,802
Johar 407
Kahut 178
Kalial 773
Kangra 222
Kanial 2,435
Kanial Chauhan 470
Kassar 122
Kawar 487
Ketwal 2,251
Khakha 106
Khatril 722
Khel 234
Mair 235
Mangral 331
Marrial 167
Minhas 3,974
Mial 699
Nagial 3,036
Nagral 918
Nagrawal 580
Narma 158
Naru 241
Panwar 125
Ranial 1,345
Sainiwal 408
Salhal 271
Saswal 174
Sasral 1,292
Satral 146
Satti 326
Sial 388
Sudhan 227
Thathaal 4,134
Taranda 162
Tonda 162

Please note most Gakhars declared themselves to be Gakhar and in 1901 numbered 13,665. Similarly most Janjua, Satti and Sudhan declared themselves as such and numbered 8,361,17,094 and 2,291.

Jhelum District

The total Rajput population in 1901 was 57,567, of which 57,316 (99%) were Muslims.

Tribe Total
Bhakral 702
Bhatti 10,664
Chauhan 5,140
Chib 254
Gakhar 475
Gondal 2,592
Jalap 949
Janjua 8,881
Kanial 107
Mair-Minhas 15,692
Mandahar 210
Minhas 723
Mekan 729
Panwar 649
Ranjha 869
Sial 477

Please note that some Gondal and Ranjha declared themselves to be Jat, and interestingly in the 1911 Census all the Gondal declared themselves as Jat. While the Mekan tribe declared themselves to be Rajput in 1901 Census and Jat in 1911. What is surprising is the omission of the Sohlan, who are an important tribe found along the Jhelum and Mirpur borders. The Gakhar population in 1901 was 10,572, almost all whom barring the 475 declared themselves simply as Gakhar, and not Rajput.

Attock District

The total Rajput population in 1901 was 25,611, of which 25,590 (99%) were Muslims.Below is a list of the larger clans recordeed for the 1901 Census.

Tribe Total
Alpial 9,180
Bhatti 3,553
Chatha 5,395
Chauhan 502
Janjua 1,153
Jodhra 1,700

Gujrat District

The total Rajput population in the District was 23,711, of which those who were Muslim were 22,328 (94%). Below is a list of the larger clans recordeed for the 1901 Census.

Tribe Total
Bhatti 1,784
Chauhan 79
Chib 9,349
Janjua 1,063
Minhas 723
Narma 748
Panwar 111

The omission of the Bhao, who an important Kharian tribe is a mystery.

Shahpur District (Sargodha District)

The total Rajput population in 1901 was 73,177, of which72,096 (99%) were Muslims.Below is a list of the larger clans recordeed for the 1901 Census.

Tribe Total
Bargujar 176
Bhatti 7,205
Chauhan 1,463
Chib 311
Dhudhi 1,506
Gondal 25,535
Janjua 4,293
Jhammat 2,266
Joiya 3,004
Khichi 833
Mekan 6,577
Minhas 406
Noon 1,213
Panwar 48
Ranjha 8,907
Sial 2,679
Tiwana 2,971
Wattu 266

Mianwali District

The total Rajput population in 1901 was 6,136, of which 6,003 (98%) were Muslims.Below is a list of the larger clans recordeed for the 1901 Census.

Tribe Total
Bhatti 590
Chauhan 197
Chib 204
Dharwal 175
Gaurwa 384
Gondal 173
Janjua 598
Joiya 1,174
Kanial 327
Khichi 514
Mekan 134
Naru 407
Panwar 426
Sial 193
Wattu 215

Bhawpal, Domaal, Kamlak, and Mangral tribes of Azad Kashmir

In this post I shall look at four tribes of Chibhali or Pahari Rajputs, found mainly in the Mirpur-Rajouri-Poonch region, now bisected by the Line of Control. This region is located in the middle of the Pir Panjal Mountains. These mountains form part of the Inner Himalayan region, run from east-southeast to west-northwest across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and the disputed territories comprising Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir, where the average elevation varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). The mountains are traversed by the rivers Chenab and Ravi, with the Chenab also forming a culturally boundary, with tribes located in the east of the Chenab remaining Hindu, while those found in the west have generally converted to Islam. So the Kamlak, a tribe I will look in this post, is still Hindu in territories east of the river like Reasi, while largely Muslim in Rajouri. These four tribes are the Bhawpal, Domaal, Kamlak, and Mangral . Two of these clans, the Doomal and Mangral are now entirely Muslim, but Bhawpal and Kamlak still have Hindu branches in the region. With regards to the Mangral, they also have a large presence in Rawalpindi District. All four tribes speak Pahari, but the Mangral dialect is also close Pothohari, reflecting their more western location.

Bhawpal

I shall start off with a little known tribe, the Bhawpal or sometime pronounced Bhopal, who are a Rajput clan that are included within a group of tribes that form part of the Chibhali community. Chibhali history starts with the conversion of Dharam Chand Chib, the Hindu Raja of the area in the 15th Century to Islam. As a result of his conversion, many other Rajput clans also converted to Islam. What ever the actual facts of this conversion, it is an important foundation myth for most the tribes in the Pir Panjal region. The Bhawpal, like other Chibhalis, are a clan of Katoch Rajputs of Kangra, in what is now Himachal Pradesh, India, claiming descent from a Bhawpal or Bhopal.

In Pakistani Kashmir, they are found mainly in Kotli District and Bagh District, in villages near the line of control, while in Indian administered Jammu & Kashmir, they are found in Rajauri, Nawshera and Jammu tehsils

Domaal

The Domaal are well known tribe with a substantial presence in the historic Poonch area. The Domaal are of Rajput status, a claim generally accepted by their neighbours. They are found principally in the divided district of Poonch in Jammu & Kashmir, as well as Rajouri District in Indian-administered Kashmir and Bagh District in Azad Kashmir.

Like most tribes in the region, the Domaal have a number of traditions as to their origin. In one such tradition, there was once a Mala Rajput who went to Kargil. There, he contracted a marriage with a Buddhist woman, and the Domaal are the progeny of this marriage. However, with regards to origin myths, the more common traditions makes the Domaal a branch of the Chib Rajputs. They are said to be descended from two brothers Dharam Chand and Puran Chand (incidently also ancestors of the Muslim Chib). Dharam Chand on a visit to Delhi converted to Islam. For this action, he was excommunicated by members of his tribe. They then chose his younger brother Puran Chand as the new chief of the tribe. He too latter converted to Islam, and took the name Dom Khan. The Domaal are the descendants of Dom Khan, the suffix aal clans signifiying descent. After his conversion, Dom Khan left Bhimber and settled in the village of Rajdhani in Rajouri, although he is buried in the village of Narrouni, still a place of pilgrimage for many Domaals. According to some sources, they account for 35% of the population in Rajauri Tehsil.

The community occupies the southwestern slopes of the Pir Panjal range. Their villages are found along the slopes of hills overlooking a number of tributaries falling into the Poonch River and Chenab River. Perhaps the greatest concentration of the Domaal is in the Manjakot block of Tehsil Rajouri.

 

Kamlak
Unlike the two previous tribes, the Kamlak make no claim to Chib ancestry. They are in fact a Dogra clan, and have much in common with the Bhao and Sohlan referred to in my earlier blogs. The clan claim that they are the descendants of Raja Azamat Khan Kamlak, who migrated from Budhal to the village of Azamatabad, situated in north Thanamandi Tehsil. They are a Rajputs tribe found mainly in the Rajauri District of Jammu and Kashmir. In Budhal Tehsil, there are still several villages of Kamlak, both Hindu and Muslim, such as Kandi, Dandwal, Rajnagar and Shahpur. Other then Azmatabad, Manyal  in  Thanamandi Tehsil of Rajouri District is an important Kamlak village. The Hindu Kamlak are a Dogra clan, and they intermarry with neighbouring clans such as the Charak, Chandial and Manhas. Both groups of Kamlak claim a common origin and have some common customs and rituals.

Mangral

The next tribe we shall look is are the Mangral, sometimes pronounced as Mahngral, Mangarpal. They are closely associated with the history of the town of the Kotli, which was said to be founded by their ancestor Raja Mangar Pal. The Mangrals ruled Kotli State until 1815 when it was incorporated into the State of Jammu by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. Raja Sensphal Khan who founded the city of Sehnsa and was the first Mangral to adopt Islam. Since then the Mangral are entirely Muslim, and found mainly in Kotli, with smaller communities found in both Indian and Pakistani administered Poonch. They are in essence a Chibhali tribe, and have much in common with both the Domaal and Kamlak clans. With regards to their origin, nothing is definite. According to Hutchinson and Vogel, authors of the Punjab Hill States, “Kotli was founded about the fifteenth century by a branch of the royal family of Kashmir. Kotli and Punch remained independent until subdued by Ranjit Singh in 1815 and 1819 respectively.” However, other traditions make the Mangral Chandravanshi Rajputs, descendent from the ancient race of the Yadavas, the clan of Krishna. According to the Chandravanshi tradition, Raja Mangar Pal son of Hani Dev who migrated to present day Sialkot from the Jangladesh region of northern Rajastan in the Twelfth century A.D. Hani Dev’s brother Nirmal Dev continued to live in Jangladesh. Prior to the mid 15th Century Jangladesh was a wild barren area. It was subsequently conquered by Rao Bika a Rathore Rajput and since then has been known as Bikaner. If we accept this tradition, the Mangral and Bhatti have a common origin, but Mangral are always considered Sahu, while only some Bhatti are.

Mangral rule over Kotli lasted for approximately four centuries until they were defeated by the army of the Sikh leader Ranjit Singh. The Mangrals led by Raja Shah Sawar Khan initially defeated the Sikh forces in two battles (1812 and 1814), though at very high cost in loss of life. However, the Sikh army returned in 1815 with 30,000 soldiers and a final battle ensued. Having lost many fighters, the Mangrals agreed to a compromise, giving up control of their city (then based in Baraali near modern Kotli) to Ranjit Singh. The rural areas remained under the control of various Mangral families as jagirs from the Jammu Raj, and they continued to be the landowners and collectors of tax revenues. This arrangement lasted until Pakistan’s 1962 Land Reform Act, whereby the ownership of the land was transferred to the tenant farmers without compensation to the landowners.

The last official count of Indian castes was conducted by the British in their census of India of 1931. At the time they recorded 4,500 adult male Mangrals. According 1911 Census, there were 2,309 Mangral in Rawalpindi District. Mangral’s in Rawalpindi are found mainly in Jawra and other nearby villages in Gujarkhan Tehsil.There are also three Mangral villages in Kahuta Tehsil of Rawalpindi District, namely Galli, Marigala Mangral and Nandna Mangral

 

Chib, Katil, Minhas /Manhas and Sulehria tribes

In this post, I shall look at four tribes, the Chib, Katil, Minhas and Sulehria, who are all of Dogra stock, with traditional homeland comprising the plains bellow the Pir Panjal hills. My posts on the Bhao and Sohlan looked into some detail as to the origin of the Dogra, and reasons for their conversions to Islam. These four tribes all still have branches that have remained Hindu. Historically, the Chib were found mainly in the Bhimber and Kharian region, and have given their name to the Chibhal, the region between the Jhelum and Chenab. The Katil and Sulehria are eastern neighbours of the Chib, which concentrations between the Chenab and Ravi, in Jammu, Sialkot and prior to partition in Gurdaspur District. While the Minhas stretch all the way from Rawalpindi in the west to Hoshiarpur in the east, at least prior to partition in 1947.

Chib

I shall start by looking at the Chib, sometimes also writen as Chibh, who are found mainly in Bhimber, the Kharian areas of Gujrat and the Pabbi hills portion of Jhelum. As I have stated in my earlier posts on the Bhao tribe, the Chib have given their name to the Chibhal region lying between the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, and on the southern edges of the Pir Panjal range. This is because the Chib ruled of Bhimber effectively covered the territory that latter became known as the Chibhal. Furthermore, it was there conversion to Islam that also led to many other tribes such as the Bhawpal, Domaal and Kamlak following suite. They are in essence Dogras who have converted to Islam.

The Chibs trace their descent from Partab Chand, a Katoch Rajput prince of Kangra, who said to have ended Thakial rule in the Mirpur-Bhimber region, and established the Chib dynasty. According tribal tradition, this rule was established by the overthrow of the last Thakial ruler of the region named Siripat. When Partab Chand reached the hilltop near Bhimber, he observed that it was very difficult to capture the state. He then set up camp there and named this hilltop as Kangra and the village still exists by that same name. Partab Chand stayed for a long time with his troops on the hilltop waiting for a suitable opportunity to attack and capture the state, but this did not take place as he had run short of supplies for his men. Partab Chand sent his soldiers in disguise with his own jewellery to go down to the markets of Bhimber to get the much needed supplies. His men went to a jeweller who was astonished when he saw the royal jewels. Siripat Thakial also learned about the man with the royal jewels and found out about the deployment of the Kangra troops on hill. He sent his ambassador to Partab Chand which resulted a friendly meeting between the Partab Chand and the Maharaja of Bhimber.

Maharaja Siripat Thakial had no sons but had a daughter. He married the princess to the oldest son of Partab Chand, Chib Chand. On the death of Maharaja Siripat, Chib Chand became the new Maharaja of Bhimber. Raja Dharam Chand was the seventh Raja of the Chib Chand line, who converted to Islam. The following story is related in connection with the conversion:

The first of the tribe to become a Muslim was one Sur Sadi , which died a violent death in Aurangzeb s reign. He is still venerated as a martyr and the Muslim Chib offer the scalp locks of their male children at his tomb, till which ceremony the child is not considered a true Chibh , nor is his mother allowed to eat meat.

This is how their conversion tradition has been related by Sir Denzil Ibbetson, a late 19th Century British ethnographer. By the 17th Century, the Chib state split into two, with Bhimber home to the elder branch and Khari Khalyari in present day Mirpur District home to the younger branch. The Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh’s armies defeated the last rajah of Bhimber, ending Chib independence.

In Mirpur District, there villages include Lehri Rajgan There is a concentration of Chib villages in Bhimber District such as Kalri and in Kotli District there villages include Khoi Ratta, Segyum and Supplah. These Chib claim descent from Raja Shadab Khan, also known as Hazrat Sheikh Baba Shadi Shaheed. There are also several Chib villages in Gujrat District, the most important being Thatha Rai Bahadur and in the Pabbi Hill region of Jhelum District such as Dak Chibhan.

Katil

 

The next clan I intend to look at are the Katil, sometimes spelt Katal or even Kateel. They belong to the Survanshi branch of Rajput community. According to their traditions, their founder Raja Karet, driven from the plains of Punjab by the Turkish conqueror Mahmud of Ghazna, settled in Mangla Devi, a fort in Jammu. One of his descendents took to robbery in the forest near the town of Samba, and captured a Sambial (a Survayavanshi Dogra clan found in Samba, Jammu) girl, so in return of her release, the girls kinsmen gave him a large tract of land in Shakargarh tehsil of Narowal District. He is then said to have founded the town of Katli, and his descendents were called Katil. The tribe is said to have 360 founded villages, of which a 100 are found in Gurdaspur and Narowal districts, and the remainder in Jammu. There are other traditions, which reference to the fact that the Katil are in fact a branch of the Khokhar tribe, and until recently, there was no intermarriage between the Khokhars and Katils on account of this common descent.

With regards to their conversation to Islam, it is said that during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, three Katils Rao (chiefs), namely Balel, Mal and Nihala accepted Islam. However, a good many Katil have remained Hindu, and in Gurdaspur make up the largest Dogra clan.

Minhas 

The Minhas, sometimes pronounced Manhas or Minhas-Dogra are Suryavanshi Rajput clan. In this post, I shall only be looking at the Muslim branch of the tribe, and not the quite substantial community of Minhas that follow Hinduism or Sikhism. In terms of distribution, they are found in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir regions that lie divided between India and Pakistan. According to their tradition, they are an off-shoot of the Jamwal-Dogra Rajputs, the founders of the city and state of Jammu and its rulers from ancient times to 1948 C.E.

 

As I have said in my introduction, the Minhas Rajputs belong to the Suryavanshi branch of the Rajput caste, and claim descent from Rama a legendary king of Ayodhya. In Rajputana, their closest cousins are the Kachwaha and Bargujar Rajputs of Jaipur. They trace their ancestry to the Ikshvaku dynasty of Northern India (The same clan in which Lord Rama was born). He, therefore is the ‘kuldevta’ (family deity) of the Hindu Minhas Rajputs). Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha younger of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed. His later descendants, the Dogras ruled over the state for hundreds of years till 1948 C.E, when the state of Jammu and Kashmir officially acceded to India. Maharaja Hari Singh was the last in the long list of the Dogra rulers of Jammu.

 

All the descendants of Raja Jambu Lochan were called Jamwal Rajputs, until according to tradition, Raja Malan Hans Dev(while on a hunting trip)was tricked by his brother to help a poor old farmer working under hot sun with ploughing. According the traditions of the Kshatriya caste, the stigma of touching a plough was so great, that Raja Malan had to immediately give up the kingship and take up agriculture as a profession and his throne passed to his cunning younger brother, Raja Suraj Hans Dev. Rajputs in general and those in the Punjab hills in particular have had a strong prejudice against taking up agriculture as a profession and therefore Raja Malan Hans and his descendants were styled Minhas. Therefore, any  member of the Jamwal clan who took up agriculture or converted to Islam, was called Minhas, whereas the name Jamwal has been confined to the royal branch including the Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Muslim Minhas are perhaps the most widespread of the Islmasized Dogras, stretching from Rawalpindi District in the west to historically Horshiarpur, all along the foothills of the Himalayas. In Chakwal, the Mair branch of the Minhas is extremely important, I shall look at them in a separate post. Similarly the Lodhra and Manes of southern Punjab, also important branches of the Minhas will be looked at separately. In Sialkot, Gujrat, and the Jammu region, the Muslim Minhas are generally a compact tribe, but as we move west, the term Minhas covers a multitude of clans. Perhaps the Nagyal are the most important, but we have the Dolchial, Kanyal, and Ratial, who are all important clans in their own respect. In Gujarkhan and Jhelum, and neighbouring Mirpur, the Minhas are after the tribes that call themselves Bhatti, the largest component of the population. In Jhelum, the Minhas clans such as the Kanyal and Nagyal call themselves Jats, and intermarry with other Jat clans. In Rawalpindi, and neighbouring Kotli, Rajouri and Poonch regions, the Minhas generally identify themselves as Rajputs.

Sulehria

The last tribe I intend to look at are the Sulehria, sometimes pronounced as Suleri or occasionally Salaria. Like most tribes, there are several theories as to their origin.

According to Sir

Denzil Ibbetson, author of the Census report of the Punjab 1892, the Sulehris are:

… a tribe ofRajput who trace there descendents from Shal of fabulous antiquity. They say that their eponymous ancestor came from Deccan in the time of Sultan Mamdah as commander of a force sent to suppress the insurrection of Shuja* (*Shaikha is the usual form of his name) and settled in Sialkot; and that his in the time of Bahlol Lodi. They are for the most part Muhammadans, but still employ Brahmans. As a rule they do not marry within the tribe.

Sulehrias traditions also refer to the tribe settling around Sialkot during Bahlul Lodi’s rule According to Najmuttawarikh by Munshi Natiq, a Sulehri historian, the tribe were effective rulers of the Sialkot region until the rise of the Bajju Rajputs around the 16th Century. The Sulehri Raja Sahn Pal Sulehria is said to have converted to Islam due to the preachings of Hazrat Abdul Jalil Chorh Bandgi Qureshi in the reign of Bahlol Lodhi, while his other brother Raja Jeet Pal Sulehria and his descendants remain of the Hindu religion.

In Pakistan, the Sulehris inhabit a long chain of border villages in Sialkot, Shakargarh and Narowal districts along the working boundary between Pakistan and the province of Jammu (Indian Administered Jammu-Kashmir).

In Punjab

In Sialkot District, Sulehri villages include Darwal. Bini Sulehrian, Chak Maral, Charwah, Tigray, Nakhnal, , Tursipur, Nogran, Aal, Kharkara, Rangore, Jabbal, Malanay Rajputaan, Dharkalian, Khadral, Sangrayal and Chhowni Sulehrian. While in Narowal, Sulehri villages include Bhagiare, Fattowal Sulehrian, Lagwal Minhasan, Nadala Sulehrian, Masial, Kingra, Najuchak, Ropochak, Shahpur, Jarpal, and Pindi Bohri.

Refugees Salahria are found in Shaikhupura District, in particular in the villages of Ghang, Jhamkay, Nokhar, Chumbar, Kujar, Dera Khurshaid, and Dera Kala Singh

In Azad Kashmir 

In Azad Kashmir, the Salaria are found mainly in Kotli, Bagh and Poonch districts, while in Indian administered Kashmir, Salaria inhabited districts include Rajouri and Poonch.

Sakhaal/ Sakhial, Tezyal, and Thakial tribes

In this blog, I revert back to the Chibhal region, and this time look at three tribes, namely the Tezyal, Thakial and Sakhaal, all of whom are only found in Azad Kashmir, largely in the region that now covers Bagh, Kotli and Mirpur districts. Readers are asked to look at my posts on the Bhao and Sohlan, which gives some background to the general history of the Chibhal region. Almost all these tribes are of Dogra stock, and are essentially people of the foothills, and claim and are accepted as Rajput or Sahu.

Sakhial

I start of with the Sakhial, sometimes spelt, Sakhaal, who are found mainly in what is now southern Azad Kashmir. According to their tribal traditions, they are branch of the Ghakkhar or Kayani tribe. Most Ghakkhars, now claim descent from the Kayani dunasty of ancient Iran, who are a semi-mythological dynasty of Persian tradition and folklore which supposedly ruled after the Pishdadids, and before the historical Achaemenids. Considered collectively, the Kayanian kings are the heroes of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, and of the Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic. There ancestor, a Ghakkar Khan arrived in the Pothohar region, around the time of Mahmood of Ghazni. He said to have accepted Islam after his settlement in Pothohar, earlier being a Zoroastrian. On account of this supposed Iranian descent, many GHakkars now prefer to call themselves as Kayani.

The Gakhars then are subdivided into a number of clans, known as muhis, such as the Admal, Iskrandral and Bugial. Some clans, however, like the Paharial, Jodhial, Mangral, Kainswal, Farmsial, Sunal, Kul Chandral, Tulial, Sakhal, and Sagial are not recognised as true Gakkhars by the others. Historically, Gakhars clans of the higher status did not marry those of lower status. This is no longer the case now. The Sakhaal of Mirpur however deny that they are anything other than Ghakkhars, and their status as Sahu in accepted in the region they occupy. Unlike the other two tribes discussed in this post, the Sakhaal were never successful in establishing their rule, and remained confined to the status of village headmen.

Fourth in descent from Ghakkar Khan was Rajan Khan. Rajan Khan was said to have been accepted as chief of the Ghakkars. Rajan has two sons, the younger of which was named Ishak. While his older brother Saphar Khan was proclaimed as chief after the death of Rajan Khan, Ishaq and followers moved to what is now Mirpur District. Ishaq is said to have founded the village of Kathar, now called Kathar Delawar Khan. This branch the of the Ghakkars became known as Sakhaal or Sakhial Ghakkars, literally meaning the aal or children of Ishaq. A grandson of Ishaq, by the name of Tassa Khan left Kathar and settled in Poonch. These Sakhaal are settled in Salotri in Indian Poonch, while a second group are found in Balnawi near Palandri. The Balnawi Sakhaal trace direct decent from Raja Tassa Khan. Tassa Khan had three sons, Mohammad Yar Khan, Balo Khan and Sattar Khan.

In Mirpur District, other than Kathar, the Sakhaal are also found in the villages of Siakh, Namb, and Panyam.

Tezyal

Looking at now at Tezyal, sometimes spelt Tezal, who are also fairly localized, found almost entirely in villages along the right banks of the Mahl river in the Bagh District of Azad Kashmir. According to their tribal traditions, the Tezyal are a branch of the Janjua clan of Rajputs, found mainly in what was known as the Poonch jageer. They are in fact a sub-division of the Khakhe Rajputs, who are located mainly in Muzafarabad District, in villages along the Jhelum River, quite close to the Line of Control. Janjua origin myths make reference to a Raja Khakha being the youngest son of Raja Mal Khan, the founder of the Janjua tribe. His elder brothers included Raja Jodh Khan of Makhiala (Jhelum), Raja Bhir Khan of Malot (Chakwal), Raja Kala Khan of Kahuta and Raja Tanoli of Amb (Hazara). The Khakhe are referred to in the 15th Century as occupying the Jhelum River beyond the town of Muzaffarabad, thereby controlling the access to Kashmir valley. In effect, the Khakha were independent until the region was conquered by the Sikhs in the 18th Century.

Coming back to the Tazyal, seventh in descent from Khalhe Khan were two brothers, Raja Gondh Khan and Raja Dhodha Khan. Dhodha Khan had been nicknamed Tez Khan, literally quick, on account of his fighting prowess. Having left the Jhelum valley, the brother conquered territory that now forms Bagh District in Azad Kashmir. The Tezyal are therefore the descendants of Tez Khan. In Bagh, they were petty chieftains, there territory lieing between the Janhal, Sudhan, Jarrals of Rajouri and Rathore of Poonch. Like other petty Rajputs of the hills, the accepted the over lordship of the Mughals. With the arrival of the Sikhs in the 18th Century, the Tezyal lost their independence. They are found settled in sixteen villages, the main ones being Dheerkot, Natrol, Bhagsar, Mankiala, Nawal, Arja, Seelkot, Rongli, Bees Bagla, Dharray, Mallot and Nazarpur.

Thakyal

We now move on to the Thakyal, sometimes written as Thakial, who are a tribe of Rajput status found mainly in Bagh and Kotli districts. According to tribal traditions, they are of Suryavanshi lineage said to be descended from Rama the mythical king of Ayodhya. Thakial tradition links them to Jamwal and Raja Agnigarba who came to Ayodhya and founded a small state on the banks of River Tawi. The tribe claims descent from Raja Jothar Singh Thakial who established the Bhimber state in the northern Punjab at the foothills of the Himalayas. It remained an independent state for thousands of years under the Thakial rule until the fourteenth century, until the last Thakial ruler Siripat was toppled. Siripat Thakial had no sons but had a daughter, who he married to the oldest son of Partab Chand, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand. On the death of Maharaja Siripat, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand became the Maharaja of Bhimber. From this union, of the Thakial princess(rani) and Raj Kumar Chib Chand, the Chib Rajput clan emerged. The region where the Thakyal are found is still called Chibhal, after the Chib tribe.

After Chib Chand became the ruler of the state, some Thakials are said to have conspired to overthrow Chib Chand which resulted in Chib Chand executing some leaders and driving others out of the state. These refugees settled in the area north of Bhimber, currently known as Fatehpur Thakiala, which was then ruled by the Jayrah clan.

Among the Thakials, there was a man of great stature and resolve named Rusmi Dev. Rusmi Dev lived in a place called Thakar Dhooli in the village Dhuruti in Fatehpur Thakiala. There are many stories about Rusmi Dev; among them being the one where he fought and killed an evil jinn. It is said that he was travelling across the Pir Panjal mountains when he met an old holy man who told him to return to his home for he would one day will become a ruler and also told him that he will convert to Islam.

The relationships between the Thakials and the Jayrah deteriorated and war broke out between the two clans, which led to the Jayrah’s being defeated. Rusmi Dev, the Thakyal leader became the ruler. It was at this time that Islam was spreading in the Himalyas, and Rusmi Dev and his clansmen converted to Islam, and Rusmi Dev adopted the name Rustam Khan. Rustam Khan had four sons and their decedents are the modern day Thakials. His oldest son was called Sangi Khan, whose decedents live in Muzafarabad and Bagh in Azad Kashmir, and Abbotabad in Hazara, and Gujarkhan, Muree and Rawalpindi in Punjab. The descendents of other three sons, Bagh Khan, Kangi Khan and Kaloo Khan live in the Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir. Bagh Khan’s descendents are known as the Baghal.

In terms of distribution, they are now found mainly in Bagh, Thub Thakyalan, Muzaffarabad and Kotli districts. Fatehpur Thakiala is named after them.

Douli, Khan-Mughal/Kamangar and Maldiyal tribes of Azad Kashmir

In this post I shall look at six tribes, all of whom are Muslim, that are found mainly within the boundaries of Azad and Indian administered Kashmir. In particular they are found in what once the Poonch jageer, an autonomous state ruled by a cadet branch of the royal family of Jammu and Kashmir. The Poonch Jageer is now divided between the districts of Poonch (Pakistan), with Rawalakot as its capital, Poonch (India), with Poonch city as its capital, Bagh and Sudhnoti districts in Azad Kashmir, and Rajouri and Reasi districts in Indian Kashmir. What thats means in practice is that their homeland is bisected by the line of control, one of the most militarised borders. Perhaps, the most interesting tribe in this region are the Sudhans, and time permitting, I intend to look at them in some details latter. The region in question is extremely mountainous, located right in the middle of the Pir Panjal Mountains. These mountains located in the Inner Himalayan region, run from east-southeast to west-northwest across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and the disputed territories comprising Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir, where the average elevation varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). These mountains are traversed by the rivers Chenab and Ravi, with the Chenab also forming a culturally boundary, with tribes located in the east of the Chenab remaining Hindu, while those found in the west have generally converted to Islam. So the Kamlak, a tribe I intend to later, is still Hindu in territories east of the river like Reasi, while largely Muslim in Rajouri. All these tribes speak dialects of western Pahari, which is very close to the Pothohari spoken in north west Punjab. In this blog, I shall look specifically at the Douli, Hoteel, Khan Mughal and Maldiyal. Interestingly, all these tribes now claim Mughal status, which in terms of South Asia, means a claim to Central Asian descent. Although the both the Douli and Maldiyal had registered themselves as Rajput in the 1921 Census of India, showing how fluid identities are.

Douli

I start this blog my looking at the Douli, who are one of a number of tribes that claim Mughal ancestry, and like the Phaphra and Gheba, they claim to be a clan of the Barlas Mughals. According to tribal traditions, their ancestor was a Nawab-ud-Doula, who said to be descendent of the Barlas warlord Tamerlane. However, some of their traditions make reference in their tribal myths of a Mongol tribe by the name of Douldai, which was settled in Iran and Khorasan (parts of which are now in Afghanistan, the rest in Iran), and Douldai chiefs Ameer Behrma and his son Ameer Mohammad Douldai were effective rulers of the region. Their descendents Ameer Hafiz Douldai, Hafiz Mohammad and Tahir Douldai are said to have accompanied Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur in his invasion of India. All three fought against Uzbeks and died in that battle. These Douldai are said to have settled in the Poonch region after the establishment of the Mughal empire. Over time, the name Douldai was changed to Douldi. After Babar, Hamayun was the next ruler of the Mughal Empire, was disposed of his throne by the Afghan. Sher Shah Suri. The Afghans, according to the Douli traditions, said about killing any Mughal they would find. As a result of this threat, most of the Douldai in Delhi left and joined their kinsmen in Poonch. After the restoration of Mughal power in India, most Douli remained in their new homeland. Although I cannot find any reference to a Douldai tribe in history, is just about possible that a group of Mughal families settled in this region. However, it is interesting the in 1901 and 1911 Census of India, the Douli declared themselves to Rajputs, and Denzil Ibbetson writing in the 19th Century noticed a tendency among tribal groupings in the Chibhal to make a claim of Mughal ancestry, as being Rajput no longer carried much weight in what is a fairly stratified social region.. The Douli are found mainly along line of control in the villages of Hajira, Dara Sher Khan, Mandhole, Tatrinote, Madarpur, Kakuta, Mehndla, Buttal Dharamsal, Sehra, Abbaspur, Serarra, Punjerra, Sarsawa as well Rawalakot town in Poonch District. Outside Poonch, they are found in the village of Goi in Kotli District, and in Indian administered Kashmir, there villages are found in Tehsil Mendhar in Poonch District, namely Darra Doulian, Chandak, Mankote, Challas, Saloutri, Tarrana, and Surrankot. In the Kashmir valley, they are found in two villages of Tangmarg tehsil: Chak Traren and Chak Ferozepora. Outside Kashmir, the Douli also found in villages near the town of Ghazi in Haripur District of Hazara.

Khan Mughal / Kamangar

The next tribe, the Khan Mughals, who I am going to look at, differs somewhat from the other tribes discussed in this post. They are also known as Kamangars, which is derived from word Kaman Gar which means bow-maker in the Farsi. As a community, they are in essence village artisans, who are now involved mainly in the manufacture of pots and pans. According to their tribal traditions, they are a clan of the Chughtai Mughals, who were brought over from Central Asia, as they specialized in the manufacture of arms and weapons. There claim to Mughal ancestry is not accepted by other groups of Mughal status discussed in this blog. This is because Mughal status in the Mirpur-Poonch region is restricted to tribes who were zamindar or landowning, and the Kamangar cas non-landowning community of village artisans will always their claim to be Mughal challenged. It is quite possible that the Kamangar as bowmen could have been troopers in the Mughal armies, rather then soldiers who were Mughal. Whatever their origin, they have now shifted to calling themselves as Khan Mughal, and no longer the word kamangar. They are found in mainly in Mirpur and Kotli district, and speak the Pahari language.

 

Maldiyal

The Maldiyal or sometimes written as Maldial, which in share numbers is the largest clan found in the historic Poonch jagir. The tribe itself claims a Mughal heritage, and has much in common with the Douli tribe described earlier. Like the Doulis, the Maldiyal were registered as Rajputs in 1911 Census of India, although early British authorities did note that a claim to Mughal ancestry was made fairly early on. Also like the Douli, the Maldiyal claim a Barlas origin, being descended from Tamelane, and accompanied Babar when he invaded India. According to their traditions, the Maldiyal are descended form a Mirza Tahir Baig, a Timurid prince, who immigrated form Herat in Afghanistan, and settled in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. His son was Mirza Moloud Baig, left Srinagar and settled in Poonch, with the Maldiyal being aal or descendents of Moloud or Mald, who still live in the Bagh area of Poonch. Like the Junhal’s refered to an earlier post, the Maldiyal were effective rulers of a portion of Bagh, with Sudhans occupying a tract north of their territory, and Janhal to the south west. There independence was ended in the early 19th Century, when the Poonch Jageer fell under the rule of the Dogras, and became part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. They have much in common with both the Junhal and Sudhan, with military service forming an important part of their culture. In terms of distribution, the Maldiyal are in majority in eighty four villages in Bagh District, with their main villages being Birpani, Gehlan and Nar Sher Ali Khan . Other villages include Panyali, Kotteri Najam Khan, Chowki, Dharay, Salyian Maldyalan, Naryullah, Kalori, Chitra Topi, Sullot, Kothian, Kharl Maldyalain, Kotehri Tughloo Khan, Kotehrea Mast Khan, Choki, Dhokan Rawali, Noor gala, Maldhara, Saver, Panially, Rawalyi, Bhurka Maira, Khawaja, Ratnoi, Jabbarh, Kotla, Seekot, Bangran, Swang, Samni Kawel Khan, Ramikot Rehra, Dhulli, Chattar Paddar, Shujjaabad, ,Gehalan, Chatra, Polas, Bhount, Namjar (Abbaspur Tehsil), Potha (Abbaspur Tehsil), Khori Channa, Trar Dewan all In Rawalakot, Kakutta and Sehra in Tehsil Hajira, Nawan in Tehsil Sehnsa of Kotli, and Goi in Tehsil Nakial of Kotli District. There are also a number of Maldiyal villages in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch in Indian administered Kashmir.