Hoteel and Janhal tribes of Azad Kashmir

In this post I intend to look at two tribes, namely the Janhal and Hoteel, who both claim to be Mughals and are found in the Poonch Jagir. The word Mughal is simply the Farsi and Urdu version of the word Mongol, for the two words are only different forms of the same name, probably either entered the Punjab with Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Babur (14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530), or were attracted to India during the period of Mughal rule (circa 16th Century to 18 Century). For this article, I have relied heavily on Munshi Muhammad Din Fauq’s Tareekh Aqwam Poonch as my main source.


We now take a look at the Hoteel, a fairly compact tribe found only within the historic Poonch Jageer, in the region which is now Bagh District. Like the Douli, the Hoteel claim a Mughal origin, descended from Taimurlane or Amir Timur, the Barlas ruler of Central Asia. There ancestor was a Sultan Khalil Mirza, an uncle of the first Mughal Emperor Babar (14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530). Fourth in descend from Sultan Khalil was a Hot Yar Khan, who is said to have given the tribe its name. He is said of settled in the Poonch region during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, while his son Sanjar Khan, the first two be given the surname Hoteel established a principality in the Poonch region, around the settlemet of Bngion. The present Hoteel tribe claims descent from Buj Khan and Bunga Khan, Sanjar Khan’s sons. Their main settlement is Bangion, in present Bagh District of Azad Kashmir. This town gets its name from the Bango Khan, who is said to founded the town. This family tree would make the Hoteel to be members of the Barlas, the tribe of the Mughal Dynasty of India. However, despite this pedigree, the Hoteel do not claim to Barlas, but allege a Chagtai ancestry. I shall just briefly to look at who these Chagtai are. Chughtai’s were Turkic or Tatar nomads of Central Asia, who were followers or descendants of Chagatai Khan, the second son of Genghis Khan, who founded the Chagatai Khanate in 1226, which covered an area of most of what are now the five Central Asian republics. The Chagatai language, which the lingua franca in Central Asia for at least eight centuries and Chagatai Turks take their names from him. There is tradition of Chaghtai migration to India, after the Mughal conquest, so it is just about possible that the Hoteel are by origin Chaghtai.

The Hoteel are found mainly in Bagh District, with important villages of Bangion, Jandala, Qamrota, Pachiot, Tahla and Samrota.


Looking now at the Juhnal, or sometimes pronounced Janhal or even Janhaal, they too have a number of traditions as to their origin. According to some traditions, the Junhal are Rajputs, however most Janhal oclaim a Barlas Mughal origin. The Junhal are said to be descended from Mughal troopers who were settled in the mountainous region of Kahuta to keep watch over the hill tribes of Murree and the Dogras who inhabited the slopes of Pir Panjal mountains. Most Janhal families claim descent from two sons of Amir Timur, founder of the Timurid / Mughal dynasty of Central Asia and India, namely Ghayasudin Mansour and Mansour Mirza. Mirza Bhakar Khan, the founder of the Janhal tribe was a decendent of Ghayasudin Mansour, arrived in the Kahuta region during the 16th Century. The tribe gets its name from Mirza Jahan Khan, the Jahan aals, or sons of Jahan that was corrupted to Janhaal or Janhal. Sixth in descent from Mirza Jahan were two brothers, Mirza Bhuga Khan and Mirza Kuna Khan. The descendents of Mirza Kuna are found in Kahuta, where they founded an independent state, while Bhuga Khan’s clansmen crossed the Jhelum and settled in what was then the Poonch state. According to tribal tradition, Bugga Khan married into the locally dominant Rai Zada family, and founded the village of Bugga in Kotli. A decendent of Buagga Khan, Noor Khan founded the town of Norsa, which became a centre of another Janhal principality. Norsa gets its name from Noor Khan Janhal.

Up to the 18th Century, the Junhal were a considerably power occupying a tract of the Jhelum River valley that now forms part of Kahuta Tehsil of Rawalpindi District, and a part of Bagh District. However, their independence was destroyed by the Gakhars, and the tribe was reduced to cluster of villages near the town of Beor in Kahuta Tehsil, where they are still found. The Junhal are now one of a number of agrarian tribes, such as Maldiyal and Douli who claim a Mughal ancestry, and are found in the hill country covering parts of Rawalpindi District and Azad Kashmir.

In terms of the settlements, outside the town of Beor itself, which is still largely Janhal, important villages in Kahuta Tehsil include Bharuthi, Chanor, Janhatal, Khalol, Sail, Sanj, Seri and Sweri. Across the Jhelum river in Sudhanoti District, their villages stretch from a cluster of villages near the river bank such Bloch, Bethok Thalyan, Sahar, Janga Bagla, Kalar, Kharand, Norsa, Gallah, Janhal Chawkian, Pakhonar, Gaam Kotli, Chana Gali, and Poti Chaharian. In Kotli District, there villages include Pooral, Noi, Nigai, Sersawa, Bugga and Bandhoor. Near the line of Control, there are number of Janhal villages such an Manarhol and Tahi, and Tattapani town contains several Janhal families.


Mallana, Samtia / Samitiah, Sandhila and Sehar tribes

In this post, I shall look at four tribes that are found largely in the uplands of the Chenab and Indus rivers, now forming part of Bhakkar, Layyah and Muzaffargarh districts. This region goes by the name of the Sindh Sagar Doab (the land between the Indus and Chenab rivers), and is frontier region in terms of both politics and culture. The Jats were probably the earliest settlers, but many Jat tribes have vague traditions of migration from Jaisalmeer or Bikaner in Rajasthan.


I shall start off by looking at the Mallana, who are a tribe of Jat status. According to their traditions, the Mallana claim descent from Mallana, said to be a Barlas Mughal trooper in the army of the Emperor Akbar. Mallana is said to have settled in Gujrat. His descendants contracted marriage with the Jats tribes, settled in the region. The name Mallana follows the pattern where the suffix aana signifies a descendent, for exam the descendents of teu are the Tiwana and so forth.


Although the Mallana claim to be Mughals, they are seen by others and themselves as Jats. Over the centuries, they have spread as far west as Dera Ismail Khan District, in Khyber Pakhtukhwa. Prior to the partition of India, they were also found in Jalandhar District, their main villages being Burj Sherpur, Jodhuwal, Mithewal and Malikwal, all of whom migrated to Pakistan at the time of partition. Those settled in southern Punjab speak the Seraiki language, while those in the north speak Punjabi.

Distribution and Villages

They are found mainly in Layyah, Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Gujrat districts of Punjab.

Their main village in Dera Ghazi Khan District are Bet Mallana, Hadir Mallana and Basti Mallana and Malana.

In Gujrat District, the village of Mallana, and neighbouring hamlets are held by the Mallana.

In Muzaffargarh District, the villages of Lang Mallana and Paunta Mallana, Bet Malana and Chhina Mallana.

In Multan District, the village of Binda Mallana.

In Khanewal District, the village of Kot Mallana.

In Bhakkar District, Chah Dhirkanwala near Cheena and Mallana Daggar are important villages.

In Layyah District, Chak 436 TDA

In Khushab District in Rahdari and Pillow Waince

In Dera Ismail Khan District, Haji Mora and Mallana (Kacha,Pakka) are important villages.


The Samtia, sometimes pronounced Samtiah or even Samitah, claim Rajput extraction and tell the following story of their origin; Ram Chandar and Gonda, two brothers adopted Islam under Sultan Allaudin Khilji of Delhi. They then assumed the names of Muharam and Variam respectively.T he former was appointed Kardar or governor of Sindh and with his brother came to that country, where he married the daughter of the old governor. But the population rose against the new governor, and the two brothers fled with their kinsmen. The settled in the Sindh Sagar Doab, near the city of Layyah. They overcame the Gashkori Baloch and Bahalim Shaikhs, who occupied the country. They were in turn dispossed by Seharr Jats, who drove them from the western parts of Layyah and Bhakkar districts. The Samtia and Seharr are still biter rivals. Other traditions connect them to the Bakhar caste of Jats, and according to some traditions Ram Chander and Gonda were Bhakkar by caste.

In terms of distribution, the Samtia are found mainly in Layyah, Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.

In Layyah District, there villages include Ada Qaziabad, Bangla Nasir Khan, Basti Shahdu Khan, Basti Rajanpur, Basti Eliani Bhaggal, Bhatti Nagar, Chak 138 TDA, Chak No.119/T.D.A, Chak 220 TDA ,Chak 270 TDA, Chak 143 TDA, Chak 152 TDA, Dhhal, Dorrata, Heera, Hafizabad, Ghulam Hyder Kalluwala, Jamanshah, Kasaiwala, Kazmi Chouk, Kaneywali Puli, Latifabad, Kotla Haji Shah, Kharral Azeem, Kot Sultan, Noshera, Shahpur, Rajanpur Darbar, Paharpur and Warraich, and the city of Chouk Azam.


The Sandhila, like the other clans discussed, are a Seraiki speaking tribe of Jat status. According to tribal traditions, they claim descent from a Rai Sandhila, a

Hindu Jat who came from the neighbourhood of Delhi, during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, and settled in Multan. Here he is said to have converted to Islam, and along with his kinsmen, established control in the Chenab valley, west of the city of Multan. With rise of the Multan Nawabs, and their Pathan allies of Khangarh in Muzzafargarh, the Sandhila lost their independence.

The Sandhila in are found all along the Indus, from Mianwali in the north to Rajanpur in the south, and between Layyah and Panchnad in the Chenab valley.In Sindh, they are found mainly in Sukkur and Ghotki districts.


In Muzaffargarh District, the villages of Sandhila, Basti Sandhila, Bhammu Sandhila, Bullu Sandhila, Kuhal Sandhila, Massa Sandhila and Pakka Sandhila are centre of the tribe.

In Dera Ghazi Khan District, the villages of Sultan Sandhila, Gadi Sandhila and Gaman Sandhila are important centres of the tribe.

In Rajanpur District, the villages of Chak Sandhila and Babulwali.

In Multan District, the villages of Binda Sandhila and Tajpur Sandhila.

In Shujabad Tehsil of Multan, the villages of Sandhila, Warcha Sandhila and Mohana Sandhila.

In Sheikhupura District, the village of Mahmunwali is centre of the tribe.

In Bhakkar District, the village of Dhengana is center of the tribe. Near Dhingana, important Sandhila villages include Cheenawala and Goharwala.

In Layyah District, the tribe is scarted in Tehsil Chaubara and Karor Lal Esan


The next tribe that I will look at are the Seher, or sometimes pronounced as Seer, who are of Jat status. They are found mainly in southern Punjab, and in particular in Layyah District, and said to have founded the town of Kahror Lal Essan. The Sehar are said to have originating in Las Bela, and were invited to settle near Kahror Lal Isa by the Sufi Makhdum Lal Isa, who also appears in the origin myth of the Lohanch tribe, discussed in another post.


An interesting legend is associated with the Sehar. According to this, the Sehar were settled on the banks of the Indus near where Dera Ghazi Khan now stands. A group of Sehar women were making pilgrimage to the shrine of Lal Isa. On their way home, the Samtia chief Miru forced them to unveil themselves. This led to a fierce feud between these two tribes, which in effect saw the movement of the Seher into the Thal Desert. Eventually, a faqir of the Qureshi caste divided the village of Muranwala, and settled there himself. The area is still held by the Qureshi families. What this legend suggest is a gradual migration of Jat tribes from Sindh into southern Punjab that occurred in the later middle ages.

In terms of distribution the Sehar are found mainly in Layyah District.

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

In this post I shall look at three 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 was once the Poonch Jagir, an autonomous state ruled by a cadet branch of the royal family of Jammu and Kashmir State. 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). They 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 have looked at in an earlier post, 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, 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, interestingly both the Douli and Maldiyal had registered themselves as Rajput in the 1911 and 1921 Censuses of India, showing how fluid identities are.


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. They were originally bow makers, but with the arrival of British rule in the 19th Century, many Kamangar took to wood decorating. The Kamangar are really a sub-group of Tarkhan, the traditional village carpenters of the Punjab and adjoining territories. What historically distinguished the Kamangars from other Tarkhans was that Kamangar specialized in the use of bamboo, manufacturing baskets for example.

However, 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 as a non-landowning community of village artisans will always have their claim to be Mughals 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 Bagh, Mirpur and Kotli district, and speak the Pahari language.

Distribution of Kamangar by District According to 1911 Census of Jammu and Kashmir


District Population
Poonch Jagir 229
Mirpur 117
Muzaffarabad 87
Jammu 45
Udhampur 13
Total Population 491


As the census figures show, the Kamangar were concentrated in Mirpur and Poonch, territories that now form part of Azad Kashmir. It is also worth pointing out that numbers here may be an underestimate, as increasingly numbers of Kamangars had declared themselves as Mughals.


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.

Alpial, Gheba, Jodhra, and Khattar tribes

In this post, I shall concentrate on a number of tribes that are found largely in Attock District, a region where Pothohari culture and language gives way to Pashtun cultural norms. The Indus River flows along the western boundary of the district for about 130 Kilometres, dividing the district from the three bordering districts of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. As such, identification with a tribe, a common feature of Pashtun cultural traditions, is an important source of identity in this border region. The four tribes that I will look at, namely the Alpial, Gheba, Jodhra,  and Khattar, all claim a non-Pashtun origin, either tracing Rajput ancestry or claiming a Mughal identity. Sources used here include D. Turner “The Attock District: A Detailed and Comprehensive Survey Updating Col Gracroft’s Report”, (1891) and Col. C. Gracroft. “Report on the Races and Tribes of the Attock and Rawalpindi Districts”, (1868). Below are a list of tribes classified as Rajput by 1911 Census of India:

Tribe Population
Alpial 9,180
Chatha 5,335
Bhatti 3,553
Jodhra 1,690
Janjua Chauhan  


The Alpial are a Rajput tribe, found mainly in Attock and Rawalpindi districts. According to tribal traditions, the Alpials claim descent from the Manj Rajputs, and their claim to Rajput origin is generally admitted by neighbouring tribes. There ancestor was said to be a Rajah Alp Khan Manj, and the Alpial are the aals or descendents of this Alp Khan of the Manj tribe. I shall now say a little word on the Manj Rajputs. According to the traditions of the Manj, they are in fact Bhatti Rajputs, descended from Raja Salvahan (Salivahana), father of Raja Rasalu, a mythical figure that was said to ruled over much of Punjab, and founded Sialkot. There origin myths also make reference to a Tulsi Das (sometimes called Tulsi Ram), who was converted (to Islam) by the famous Sufi saint, Hazrat Makhdum Shah Jahaniya of Uchh, who died in 1383 A.D. After his conversion to Islam, Tulsi Ram assumed the name Shaikh Chachu, and the Manj had some influence in the valley of the Sutlej, in what is now Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts. Some six hundred years ago (13th Century) Shaikh Chachu and Shaikh Kilchi, are said to haved settled at Hatur in the southwest of Ludhiana, whence their descendents spread into the neighbouring country; and the Jallandhar traditions refer their conquest of the tract to the time of Ala-ud-din Khilji. After the dissolution of the Mughal Empire, the Manj Rais of Talwandi and Raikot ruled over an extensive territory south of the Sutlej, till dispossessed of it by the Ahluwalia Sikhs and later by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Coming back to the Alpials, they appear to have settled in their present locality about the same time as the Jodhras and Ghebas that is about the 15th Century, having first wandered through the country now contained in the Khushab and Chakwal districts before settling down in the southern corner of Fateh Jang. Thereafter, it seems little contact existed between the parent tribe in the Sutlej and the Alpials. According to 1931 census of India, their approximate population was 4,500. The author of the 1929 Attock District Gazetteer had this to say about them:

“ Hard-working and excellent cultivators, generally tilling their own land and working laboriously on their wells, they have taken only a small part in the more lurid history of the district. Socially they rank high, intermarrying freely with the Mughals. They are a bold, lawless set of men, of fine physique, much given to violent crime, sturdy, independent and wonderfully quarrelsome. ”

The Alpials occupy a compact block of villages on both banks of the Swaan River, in the Thana Chountra circle of Rawalpindi Tehsil, Rawalpindi District and the in the Sil Sohan circle of the Fateh Jang Tehsil,Attock District. They own 32 villages in all, the main Alpial villages being Sihal, Chakri, Ghila Kalan, Pind Malhu, Jhandhu Syedan, Dhalwali Mohra, Adhwal, Chak Beli Khan, Chountra, Chak-Dinal, Dhullial, Sangral, Khilri, Malkaal, Parial, Raika Maira, Hakeemal, Koliam Goru, Dhoke Gujri, Lamyran, Ramdev, Tatraal, Jaswal, Dheri Mohra, Kharri Murat, Gangainwala, Kolian Hameed, Chak Majhid, Gangal, Jada, Dhok Chach, Habtal, Bhutral, Dhok Cher, and Jodh.

The Gheba are also ound in the District of Attock, and claim to be Mughal. In fact, the tribe is often referred to the Rawal Mughals of Kot Fateh Khan, which is their most important village. The Ghebas have either given their name, or received it, from the Gheb ( a region forming the south east of Attock District) , they explain it as the latter reason and prefer to be known as Mughals. A not improbable conjecture is that they were a small band of broken Rajput families, fleeing from the central Punjab, who joined the Jodhras and settled down on their borders. As regards to the ancestry of the tribe, some traditions refer to the story of three brothers who were born to a Panwar Rajput by the name of Rai Shanker who were named Ghaiyyo, Taiyyo and Saiyyo and from whom descend the Sial tribe of Jhang, Tiwanas of Khushab and Ghebas. Rai Shanker is said to have lived in Daranagar, located in the midway between AlIahabad and Fatehpur, in what is now Uttar Pradesh. According to another tradition Sial was the only son of Rai Shanker and those forefathers of Tiwanas and Ghebas were merely related to Shanker by paternal descent. After their arrival in Punjab, the Ghebas converted to Islam at the hands of the Sufi saint Baba Farid of Pakpattan, and eventually settled in Fatehjanj, expelling the Jodhras, and become effective rulers of the region.. Another tradition makes the Gheba a clan Barlas Mughal (see my post of the Phaphras for more information on the Barlas), who get there name from Mirza Gheba Khan a distant cousin of the Mughal Emperor Babar, who came here with his army during the Mughal invasion of India in 15th century with Zaheeruddin Babar. Therefore it was the Ghebas who gave the area of Gheb its name, and not vice versa. A claim of Mughal origin has now been accepted, the family of the Sardars of Kot Fateh Khan play an important role in the politics of Attock District. Prior to the arrival of the Sikhs in early 19th Century, the Ghebas were effectively independent. They are now considered equal in rank with the Jodhras and Alpials, and intermarriage with the Alpials, Jodhras and Khattars is common.

Like other tribes of this region, the Gheba are further sub-divided into three main muhis (clans), the Rawal, Bhandial and Sihal. The Sardars of Kot Fateh Khan belong to the Rawal branch of the family, and current Sardar is Sher Ali Khan. The Ghebas are found mainly in the western portion of the Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District, where they occupy solid block of villages reaching to the Kala Chita on the north, to Fateh Jang and Sagar to the east, and almost to the Sil river in the south. There main villages are Kot Fateh Khan, Manjia, Dhurnal, Gullial, Malal, Mari, Shahr Rai Saidullah, Sikhwal and Dhari-Rai-Ditta all in Fatehjang Tehsil of Attock District.



We now look at the Jodhra, who account for themselves as being of Rajput origin, and derive their name from Jodhra who was converted to Islam by Mahmud of Ghazni, and who settled initially in Kashmir. They appear, however, to have come to the Attock District about the end of the 15th century as a small band of military adventurers. They possessed themselves of the Sohan (Swaan river) and Sill ” illaquas ” (areas) and much of Talagang. The Awans, the original owners, were not evicted but remained as tenants under the conquering Jodhras, who never themselves cultivated.

The Jodhras became independent chiefs keeping up a large body of armed retainers. Their power was recognised by the Mughals, and Malik Aulia Khan, their first chief known to history, held a revenue assignment of Pindigheb, Talagang and parts of Chakwal. Owing to family feuds and other causes the tribe has lost much of its original prosperity and is now much less well-to-do than its neighbours, the Ghebas, who have been their ancient rivals and enemies. The two tribes now inter-marry and are on friendly terms.

The Jodhras inhabit the south-eastern portion of the Pindi Gheb Tehsil and the valley of the Swaan River extending, on the south, to the border of Talagang of Chakwal District. Almost all the Jodhra villages are found in Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District and Pindi Gheb Tehsil of Attock District, with a few settlements in the Haripur District of Hazara. Their main villages in Pindi Gheb are Khunda, Domial Ahmadal, Ikhlas, Noushehra, Parri, Dandi, Gharibwal, Ganda Kas, Kamrial, Sidrihaal, Kharauba, Kamalpur Sher Jang, Kanat, Mirwal and Saura. In Fatehjang, they are found in Ahmadal, Chauntra, and Langrial, while there also found in the villages of Baldher, Bandi Sherkhan and Akhoon Bandi in Haripur district. The current chief of the tribe is Malik Atta Mohammad Khan

The Khattar are perhaps the most interesting in terms of their exact origin. According to the traditions of the tribe, the Khattar were an Arab tribe that enetered in Spain with Tariq ibn Ziyad. The head of the tribe, Abu Al-Khattar was said to be a popular governor of al-Andalusia, Spain. After the downfall of Muslim rule in Spain, the tribe left and moved to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India and north west of Pakistan. The bulk of the tribe is now found in the in Attock and Rawalpindi districts. In due course, the Khattars split up into two major sections, the ‘Kala’ (Black) and ‘Chitta’ (White); of which the Kala Khattars were mostly of mixed Muslim and Hindu population whereas the Chitta section were almost entirely Muslims, and married extensively with various Afghan, Turkish and Kashmiri tribes. The Hayat family of Wah village, from which some of the most notable Khattars have descended in recent times, are from the ‘Chitta’ Khattars, though Wah village itself was founded much later c 17th century, originally as ‘Jalal Sar’ village, renamed ‘Wah’ by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir, and a pleasure garden was later built here by the Emperor Shah Jehangir. A small of Khattar also claim descent from Qutub Shah, the supposed ancestor of the Awan tribe, which would give the Khattar an Alawi Arab ancestry.
Other theories of their descent include:

“ The Khattars are generally credited with a Hindu origin,from Khatris but they are divided in belief as to their descent .Some admit Hindu origin , while those who deny it claim an Arab descent , alleging they are closely connected with Awans . ”

“ In order to meet the generally accepted belief that they were originally Hindus , even those who claim a Mussalman origin admit that while at Bagh Nilab they became Hindu and were reconverted ”

“ Khattar wedding rites used to closely resemble those of Hindus , Brahmans even being present , but they are now solemnised according to strict Muhammadan rules . ”

A further claim is that the Khattars are of Turkic ancestry; which is based on two factors: (a) supposed physical features and temperament (b) their later inter-marriages with Pakhtun/Afghan tribes living mainly in North-West Pakistan, in the Attock and Hazara regions. However, this theory neglects the Khattars’ actual and close genealogical links to various neighbouring tribes and blood kin, of Attock (Pakistan) and nearby areas, such as the Ghebas, Jodhras etc. This confusion, as to the origin, is not unique to the Khattars, in a region where many tribes, have multiple theories as to their origin.

The Khattars now occupy a stretch of land, known as Khattar, on both sides of the Kala Chita Range, and runs in a narrow strip east and west from the Indus, and across the district, in Rawalpindi, where they own, fourteen villages. They own twenty nine villages in Attock Tehsil, forty-three in Fateh Jang Tehsil, and a fair number in Pindigheb Tehsil. Their main villages in Attock District include Dhrek, Bahtar, Bhagowi, Kot Shadi, Thatha , Kutbal and Pind Sultan. The town Wah, as already mentioned, was historically an Khattar settlement. In Rawalpindi District, there villages are mostly in the Kharora Circle, in the present Taxila Tehsil, and include Dhok Phor, Pind Nosheri, Garhi Sikander and Usman Khattar. The Khattar are largely a class of feudal landlords, never really forming a majority of the population in their villages, leaving cultivation to groups they consider inferior.


Jalap, Jethal, Khoti, Lila, and Phaphra tribes

Moving on from my previous post on the tribes of the Chibhal, I now shall now look some tribes settled in Jhelum and Chakwal districts, which are situated directly to the south of Chibhal, that have generally fallen under the rubric of Jat, although many also claim a Middle Eastern or Central Asian ancestry. As this region lies between Rajput dominated Pothohar, and central districts of Sialkot and Gujrat, where the Jat dominate, it perhaps more than most areas of the Punjab where the term Jat is used loosely. It can be applied any cultivator who does not claim foreign ancestry or Rajput ancestry, and does not belong to one of the larger tribes of the region such as the Gakhar or Janjua. However it may include groups that may have historically belonged to one of the larger tribes, but over time intermarried and merged into the general cultivating class. The tribes I shall look at all have traditions of a Central Asian or Middle Eastern, but as far as local traditions are concerned are of for the use of a better word of Jat status. Perhaps the largest of these tribes are the Gondal (whom I will look at in a latter blog), who are found all along the Jhelum river valley, with some sections in one village claiming to be Jats, and those in the following village claiming to be Rajputs. Below are a list of tribes, starting with largest tribe in terms of population, which were and probably still are the Gondal, that were enumerated as Jat by population in the 1911 Census of India:

Tribe Population
Gondal 6,549
Dhamial 4,730
Bhatti 3,146
Kalyal 3,039
Kanyal 2,603
Bhakral 2,147
Bangial 1,869
Nagyal 1,830
Raya 1,790
Jhammat 1,471
Thathaal 1,230
Bhans 1,188
Khatarmal 1,184
Matyal 1,147
Khinger 1,146
Sial 1,125
Gungal 1,049
Gujjral 788
Tarar 744
Khanda 734
Jatal 710
Ghogha 710
Phaphra 663
Khoti 646
Bhutta 632
Jandral 618
Tama 617
Chadhar 196
Hariar 579
Jangal 572
Serwal 572
Dhudhi 526
Haral 500
Minhas 457
Bains 309

As the table shows, the eastern parts of the Jhelum-Chakwal region is home to fair number of number of tribes that have a large presence further east and south of Punjab such as the Chadhar, Gondal, Haral, Mekan, Tarar, Ranjha and Sial, while as one moves north and west, we find tribes such as the Bhakral, Gungal, Kalyal, Kanyal Khinger and Nagyal, which are essentially Chibhali, with roots in the Mirpur-Jammu region. In terms of the fluidity of identity between Jat and Rajput, it is interesting to note that the Sial, who in Jhang and Multan are perceived as Rajput, are consider themselves as Jats in the Jhelum region, while some groups of Minhas have recorded themselves as Jat and other as Rajput. In this blog, I shall look into some details at the following tribes, the Jalap, Jethal, Khoti, Lilla, Paphra and Tama. In the 1911 Census, the Jalap and Jethal were assigned Rajput status, while the other tribes were recorded as Jat. Most of these tribes are found along and near the banks of the river Jhelum. Readers can make reference to my earlier postings that look at the origins of the Bangial, Dhamial, Kalyal, Kanyal, Khinger, Jatal and Jhammat clans, all of whom have significant presence in the Jhelum, Chakwal and Pind Dadan Khan region. Time permitting; I hope to dedicate future postings on the Chadhar, Dhudhi and Mekan, all of whom are large tribes of the Jhelum and Chenab valleys. Below are a list of tribes that were tabulated as Rajput by the 1911 Census of India:


Tribe Population
Mair-Minhas 15,075
Janjua 10,572
Bhatti 6,586
Chauhan 4,394
Minhas 1,329
Chauhan Taubl
Jalap 1,172
Ranjha 866
Khokhar 770
Sohlan 606
Panwar 518
Bhakral 465
Gondal 7


The Jalap, sometimes spelt Jalip, are the predominant tribe in the Jalap Illaqa, the rich well tract situated between the Jhelum River and the Salt Range. According to the 1931 Census of India, the last that counted caste, they numbered 400. The Jalap are generally recognised as Rajputs by their neighbours, although they do intermarry with the Gondals, who are their neighbours, and considered as Jat. Most of the tribe is found the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of the Jhelum district, there are also a few small villages in the Bhalwal tehsil of Sargodha District.

According to one of their origin myths, at the time of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, they were settled along the banks of the Chenab river. Jalap was the chief of the tribe, and the Emperor asked him to give his daughter in marriage, as other Rajputs had done. Jalap agreed, but the rest of the clan disapproved, and when he came home, they set upon him and killed him. Shah Jahan then sent an army to punish them, and being driven from their home they crossed the Jhelum, and after many fights with the Janjua established themselves where they are found.

Most Jalaps however prefer another tradition, that their ancestor was named Jalap, a holy man, and is buried in Sargodha. Jalap is said to be buried at Ramdiani in Sargodha District. Sidharan, who was several generations in descent from Jalap led the tribe to its present location. The Pind Dadan Khan plain was at that time held by the Janjua Rajputs, whom the Jalap ousted. Both traditions make reference to the fact that Jalap was a Khokhar Rajput, and the well known Khokhar Rajput family of Ahmedabad in Pind Dadan Khan acknowledge the connection with the Jalap. Closely connected with the Jalaps are two liitle known clans, the Bharat and Khiwa clans, that also reside in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil.

The best known families reside at Chak Shadi, Chak Jani and Pinnanwal in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. Other Jalap settlements include Addowal, Chak Ali Shah, Chak Danial, Dhudhi Thal, Dharyala Jalap, Khotian Jalap, Kot Shumali, Kotli Piran, Mirzabad and Nawanloke, all of which are also in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. A smattering of Jalap are also found across the Jhelum River in the Bhalwal Tehsil of Sargodha District, in particularly in the villages of Chak 4 NB Phullarwan, Chani Mohammad Qazi, Jalap, Lakseen, Salaam and Verowal. Smaller numbers are found in Chakwal District at Lehr SultanpurMandi Bahaudin District at Jayya and Sanda, Gujrat District, at Jalapwala and Sialkot District at Jalap Wali.


Like the Jalap, the Jethal are Rajput clan, who claim Bhatti Rajput descent, but their pedigree is traced to a Bhutta, who some 12 or 14 generations ago, married the sister of a Ghori Sultan. The king, however, drove Bhutta with his 21 sons in the Kirana Bar. Bhutta eventually crossed the Jhelum River, and settled at Ratta Pind, now a mound near the town of Kandwal. According to other traditions, they are in fact Bhutta Jat by origin, a tribe found mainly in the Multan Bahawalpur region. Interestingly, Jethal legends refer to the tribe being settled at Ucch Shah Jalal, the modern town of Uch in Bahawalpur, an area with a fairly large Bhutta population.

The Jethal are found mainly in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District, where they hold five villages, of which Pind Saidpur is the largest, and are also found in neighbouring Dhudi Thal, Jethal, Chak Musiana, and Kahana villages. In addition, they are found in the villages of Jethal, Munday and Thoha Bahadar in Chakwal District. They are also found in the village of Chak 21 S.B. in Sargodha District and these Jethals are immigrants from the four Jethal villages in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil.


Moving now on to the Khoti or sometimes written as Khothi, are a tribe found almost entirely in Chakwal District. Like most of the tribes in the region, they have multiple traditions as to their origin. One such tradition makes the Khoti descendents a Raja Kang of Ludhiana. Sohi, the grandson of the Raja, moved from Ludhiana and settled in Sialkot, and from him descend the Sohi tribe of the Jats. One of his descendents, Khoti, left Sialkot and settled in Pind Dadan Khan, founding the village of Chak Hamid, which is the centre of the tribe, and where the bulk of the tribe is still found. However, a second tradition makes the Khoti are a muhi, or clan of the larger Awan tribe. As the bulk of the Khoti live in a region dominated by the Awans, it makes some sense of the Khoti to claim descent from Qutub Shah. However, their neighbours such as the Mair-Minhas and Kahut consider the Khoti to be Jats, and intermarry with other Jat tribes of the area such as the Jhammat, Khinger and Serwal. The Khoti are sub-divided into a number of lineages, the largest being the Arbal, Babka, Jewal, Malkal and Nawabal.

The Khoti occupy several villages, Azampur, Baghanwala, Chak Hamid , Chak Mujahid Shumali, Daulatpur, Dhingwal, Karimpur, Khotian Jalap and Nawanloke being the main ones, in the Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, at a distant from Jhelum river. They are also the main Jat clan of Chakwal District, with the villages of Dheedwal, Munday and Khotian, near Chakwal and Khotian near Choa Syedan Shah are centres of the tribe. The village of Khotian, in Chakwal is incidentally also home to the famous Sahgal family, who have remained it Saigalabad.


The Lilla tribe is a small tribe of Jat status, which claims Quraishi descent. According to their traditions, the tribe was originally settled in Arabia, being relations of the Prophet Mohammad, on his mother’s side. Their ancestor Haras or Haris, arrived in India with Mahmud of Ghazna ( circa 10th Century). The tribe originally settled in Masnad in India. After seven generations, their forefathers moved to Multan, where a well known Pir chose one Ghaus Shah to be their spiritual Pir.


Accompanied by Ghaus Shah, the tribe settled in Shahidiwalian, near present day Gujranwala. The local governor was ordered to expel them and succeeded in dividing the tribe into two factions, which fought a pitched battle. The defeated party dispersed and its descendants are now found near the Chenab, while the others, weakened by the struggle, migrated to the Pind Dadan Khan plain, led by Lilla Buzurg, whose is considered the ancestor by all the present Lillas. When Lilla arrived at their present location, the tract was then occupied a tribe of Hal Jats. As I have already mentioned in the section on the Hal, the Lillas proceeded exterminated this tribe, barring one pregnant woman, who had managed to escape. Despite the claim to Qureshi ancestry, the Lilla are considered as Jats by their neighbours and intermarry with other tribes of Jat status such as the Phaphra and Wariaches.

The tribe holds about 40 square miles of territory between Pind Dadan Khan town and the Salt Range in the Jhelum District, and form the majority in the villages of Chak Hameed, Jalalpur Sharif, Lilla Handwana, Lilla Goj, Lilla Bhera and Rawal in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil. There also a second cluster of Lilla villages on the banks of the Jhelum River in Khushab District, such as Kotla Jagir, Mohibpur and Waheer. While in Mandi Bahauddin District, they are found in Bohat, and further south in Sargodha District, they are found in Bhikhi Khurd.


Phaphra is small tribe of Mughal status, also found in Pind Dadan Khan plains located north of the river Jhelum.

The tribe claims to be Barlas Mughals, and cccording to their tradition, the tribe came from the direction of Faridkot in Indian East Punjab, and settled in the district as traders and agriculturists. The tribe claims descent from a Phaphra, a Barlas Mughal, who settled in the district in the 15th Century. So who exactly are the Barlas, and I shall briefly look at this group of medieval Mongols. According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan [r. 1229-1241], the Barlas shared ancestry with the Borjigin, the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors, and other Mongol clans. The leading clan of the Barlas traced its origin to Qarchar Barlas, head of one of Chagatai’s regiments. Qarchar Barlas was a descendant of the legendary Mongol warlord Bodonchir (Bodon Achir; Bodon’ar Mungqaq), who was also considered a direct ancestor of Genghis Khan. Due to extensive contacts with the native population of Central Asia, the tribe had adopted the religion of Islam, and the Chagatai language, a Turkic language of the Qarluq branch, which was heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian. Timur, the ancestor of the Mughal dynasty belonged to the Barlas clan, and therefore that would connect the Paphra with the Mughals. As their little historic evidence to connect the Phaphra with the Mughals, there is some scepticism as to their claim of Mughal ancestry.

The Phaphra are now divided into two rival clans, the Dhudhial, from the village of Dhudhi Paphra and Sadowalia from those who belong to the village of Sadowal. Despite claims to a Barlas origin, the Paphra are perceived to be Jats, and intermarry with neighbouring tribes such as the Lilla and Gondal, who are considered as Jat.

The Paphra occupy a compact area of about 25 square miles at the foot of the Salt Range, east of Pind Dadan Khan in Jhelum District .The main Mughals Phaphra villages are Chak Danial, Chak Shadi, Chakri Karam Khan, Dewanpur, Dhudi Paphra, Ghareebwal, Jutana, Karimpur, Kaslian, Kot Phaphra, Kot Shumali, Rawal, Sidhandi, Sammanwal, Sadowal, Saowall, Shah Kamir, Qadirpur, Thil, Warnali, and Warra Phaphra, all in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District. In Chakwal District they are found in Dhok Virk and Jotana. Mohra Phaphra is a lone Phaphra village in Rawalpindi District. Accross the Jhelum, in Mandi Bahauddin District the Paphra are also found in villages of Phaphra, Chak No 29 and Nurpur Piran.