In this fourth post on the distribution of communities, I will look at two related communities, the Baghban and Malyar, sometimes spelt Maliar. Both were found largely in the Pothohar plateau, and neighbouring areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, such as the Peshawar valley and the Hazara region. In terms of geographic distribution, they have much in common with the Awans, whose distribution I have looked at in a previous post. The term Baghban or sometimes pronounced Baghwan, is simply the Farsi equivalent of the Hindi word Mali meaning a ‘gardener,’ and commonly used as equivalent to Arain in the Western Punjab. According to Rose, the colonial British ethnologist:
Baghbans do not form a caste and the term is merely equivalent to Mali, Maliar, etc.
There is some confusion as to whether the Baghban and Maliar are distinct communities. In Peshawar, the Maliar and Baghban do seem to be distinct communities. But in other parts, the two terms are used interchangebly. It is also likely that Baghban of Patiala State were really members of the Arian caste. Time permitting, I will write a post on the Maliar caste. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Maliar.
Baghban Population of Punjab
Baghban Population of North West Frontier Province
Malyar in Population Punjab
Malyar in NWFP