Daha Rajput

In this post, I wll look at the Daha Rajput tribe, now found mainly in Khanewal District of Punjab. The Daha were rulers of an independent principality in the Neeli Bar and are an extremely influential tribe in Khanewal District. I would ask the reader to look at my post on the Kathiato give more information on the Bar nomad tribes.

The Daha are a branch of the Panwar Rajputs (also pronounced as Parmar), who ancestor was Mahrajah Shri Khand, ruler of the state of Dharanagri in Malwa region of Central India. The ancient Paramar kings of Dharanagri claimed to be members of the Agnikula or Agnivansha (“fire clan”). The Agnikula myth of origin, which appears in several of their inscriptions and literary works, goes like this: The sage Vishvamitra forcibly took a wish-granting cow from another sage Vashistha on the Arbuda mountain (Mount Abu). Vashistha then conjured a hero from a sacrificial fire pit (agni-kunda), who defeated Vashistha’s enemies and brought back the cow. Vashistha then gave the hero the title Paramara (“enemy killer”). The earliest known source to mention this story is the Nava-sahasanka-charita of Padmagupta Parimala, who was a court-poet of the Paramara king Sindhuraja (ca. 997-1010). The Parmar ruled an important state in Malwa until their decline in the 13th Century.

Coming back now to the the Daha, 20th in descent of Shrikhand was an individual by the name of Dohaj. Dohaj was a prince of Dharanagri, and it was his son Daha, from which the Daha Rajputs get their name. Twentieth in descent from Daha, was an individual who converted to Islam and took the name Taqi Khan. A descentdant of Taqi Khan by name of Singhaar Khan left Malwa and settled in the Neeli Bar, near where Khanewal is located. This migration is set to have occurred in the 13th Century. The Daha were pastoralist at this point, although they built a fort near present day Khanewal. Both the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire maintained a very light control over the Bar nomads.

According to another tribal tradition, Daha, who was said to be a Muslim holy man, was married the daughter of Parihar Rajput, who were said to be the rulers of Multan. They claim kinship with the Bohar and Parhar Jats, who are also of Parihar Rajput ancestry. While another tribal tradition claims the tribe originated in Dharwar in central India, from where they migrated to Pakpattan. The tribe then spread to Khanewal and Multan. There original name was dharawal, or in English people of the town of Dharwar, which was shortened to Daha. During the period which saw the break up of the Mughal Empire (circa 18th Century), the Daha became effective rulers of the portion of the Neeli Bar that forms the modern Khanewal District. The town of Khanewal is name after Khan Daha, the founder.

With the collapse of Mughal authority in the 18th Century, the Daha chief Hasan Khan carved out an independent principality. The principality included Tulamba, Luddan and Tibbi Sultanpur. However, like many of these petty Muslim Rajput principalities, the Daha also saw the arrival of the Sikhs. During the rule of Ziarat Khan, the Daha chiefs acknowledged Sikh overlordship (around 1790). The Daha chiefs were granted lands in Bahawalpur such as Khairpur Tamiwali, to which they paid tribute to the Daudputra rulers of that state. When the region came under British rule in 1849, the Daha chief was Khan Mohammad Khan, who was made a zamindar by the new authorities. Like other Bar chiefs, Khan Mohammad lost his indipendence. When Khanewal was founded by the British, and the area opened up to canal colonization, the Daha were granted extensive estates by the colonial authorities. The current member of national assembly from Khanewal is Muhammad Khan Daha .

In terms of distribution, they are found mainly in Vehari, Khanewal, D G Khan, D I Khan,Faisalabad, Multan and Rajanpur districts. Important Daha villages starting with Khanewal District include Dera Nishat Khan Daha, Rajanpur District Kotla Esan and Kotla Daha, and in Muzaffargarh District, their main villages are Head Bakaini, Mahiwal Daha, Sardar Mohammed Daha, Mohammed Daha, Chak Ali Daha and Ali Daha.