In this post, I shall be looking a bit south of the Pothohar plateau, and looking at some of the tribes that inhabit the valley of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Most claim to be of Jat status, however among the Chadhars and the Kalyars, there are sections which claim to be Rajput. While my first post dealt with tribes that inhabit the desert region of the Thal, this will focus on the tribes that lived in the river valleys and uplands, called the Bar in the various dialects of Punjabi. Most of the Bar now is agricultural land, being cleared in the nineteenth century for the canal irrigation, was a thick barren forest areas which covered parts of central Punjab. The soil of the Bar however was fertile, the plains have been made by the alluvium driven by rivers flowing from the Himalayas. The Bar is further divided into four regions: the Sandal Bar (the area between the Ravi and Chenab rivers), Kirana Bar (the area between the Chenab and Jhelum rivers), Neeli Bar (the area between the Ravi and Sutlej rivers) and Ganji Bar (the area between the Sutlej and dry river bed of the Hakra).
The tribes that I will look at reside mainly in the Kirana Bar region, although with canal colonization, much of their traditional territory is now home to a variety of settlers. Most of the Bar now forms part Chiniot, Jhang and Sargodha districts, Below is a list of tribes that were classified as Jat by 1911 Census of India in the Shahpur (now Sargodha) district:
From the list we can see that the two larger tribes were the Gondal and Ranjha, but in Sargodha, we also begin to see the presence of the some of the better known Jat tribes of central Punjab, such as the Bajwa, Cheema and Sandhu. Many of these latter tribes were actually settlers brought in from Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sialkot districts. Incidentally, the Gondal and Ranjha are also found north of Salt Range in Jhelum district, and I hope to dedicate the later post on these tribes. Reference can also be made on my earlier post on the Hattar, Baghoor and Talokar tribes, with the former found mainly in the north of the Kirana Bar, and latter two in the Thal Desert portion of the old Shahpur District (made of the modern Khushab and Sargodha Districts). One more thing I wish to add, while in Pothohar the addition of the word aal signifies descent, in the Bar, the suffix added is aana. For example the Tiwana, looked in my first post, are the children of Teu, while the Nissowana are the children of Nisso and so on. This is especially seen among the clans of the Gondals, such as the Sandrana, sons of Sandra, Salmanas, sons of Salman and so forth.
In Jhang District (which included Chiniot), the following were the main Jat clans according to the 1911 Census of India:
Some of these tribes listed separately are actually clans of the Chadhar, such as the Thabal, Kaloke and Rajoke, while the Sial were listed as both Jat and Rajput, while the bulk of the Chadhar clans were recorded under a single entry under Rajput. In this post, I shall look at the very large and influential tribe of the Chadhars, as well as more localized tribes like the Akera, Gilotar, Lali, Nissowana and Rehan.
The Akera are a very localized clan of Jat status, found along both banks of Jhelum River, just above the town of Kot Khan. According to their traditions, their ancestor Khizar was granted a jagir by the 18th Century Sial ruler, Walidad Khan. Little is known of the their tribal origin, but they are one of number tribes found along the banks of Jhelum river, who claim to have always been their. Their are however traditions of migration from Sindh, and the Akera could be one of the earliest of these migrants. They therefore need to be distinguished from tribes such as the Chadhar, who claim to be Rajput, with strong traditions of migration from Rajasthan or Delhi.
Moving now on to the Chadhar, a tribe found among both Rajputs and Jats. Interestingly, in different parts of Punjab, the way to pronounce the word Chadhar differs. For example it is commonly pronounced Chadhar but in some areas of the Punjab, like the cities of Jhang and other adjoining districts, it is pronounced as Chadhrar, while in the Majha, Doaba and Malwa areas it is pronounced as Chandhar.
Chadhars claim descent from Chandarh, the son of Raja Ravilan of the lineage of king Pandu of the Mahabharata. They are Chandra Vanshis, and it is widely believed that they are a branch of the Tomar Rajputs, with the branch of the tribe of in Jhang saying that they are the descendants of Raja Toor and that they migrated into the Punjab from Rajputana.
According to their traditions, in 1193 AD, when Mohammad Shahabuddin Ghauri invaded India, the clan moved from Rajasthan to the Punjab. Some went to Bahawalpur, where they were converted to Islam by Pir Shershah (Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari) of Uchch Sharif. From Bahawalpur, they migrated north, along the course of the rivers Ravi River and River Chenab. They clashed wit those tribes already settled in the region such as the Kharal, Harals and Sial tribes over the possession of essential water resources.
Interestingly, the Chandarhs were the villains in the famous Punjabi romance story of Mirza Sahiban. It is said that Mirza Kharal, the hero of the story, was slain by Chadhars as Sahiban, the heroine was betrothed to Zahir Khan, the son of Jham Khan, a Chandarh Jatts. Because of this murder, it is said that there were many battles between Chandarh and Kharals.
Chadhar sub clans.
According Chadhar genealogists, they are divided into several sub-clans, most of which are found in Jhang. These include:
8. Lune or Loone
10. Nalere(sometimes pronounced Lalere)
Many Chadar villages are named after these sub-tribes like Wijhalke and Kaloke and Chak Sajanke and Chak Loone and Mauza Wllara on the right and left banks of the Chenab in the Chiniot District. Well known villages of Chandarhs in other areas of Punjab include Chandarh, Rajeana, Dhaaban, Awan and Rampur.
Rajputs or Jats?
Jhang Chadhars claim that they are Rajputs, while Chadhras of some areas of Punjab claim to be Jats. According to the Census of 1881, 26404 Chandars recorded themselves as Jats and 177,746 recorded themselves as Rajputs. Furthermore, the gazetteer of Jhang District (1881 – 1884), Chandarhs are considered to be good farmers and rarely indulged in cattle rustling or theft unlike their neighbours, the Sials, Kharals and others. The distinction in the valley of the Jhelum is not quite that clear, however, with regards to the Chadhars, their neighbours generally if sometimes grudgingly accept their status as Rajput
Chadhars occupy a large area of land on the left bank of the Chenab, in the Jhang District, starting from Khiwa (along the boundaries of the Sials) to the adjoining areas of Sayyids of Rajoea Sadaat. Their main village is Tahli Mangeeni which is said to be their throne or Takht. Other villages include Chak 20 Gagh.
The Chadhars are found in districts of Jhang, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Sheikhupura, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Lahore, Khanewal, Multan, Bhakkar, Bahawalpur, Okara and also in some parts of Sindh. There is also a village named Chadhrar near Tank, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Some of the Chadhars settled in the Firozpur District in Indian Punjab and founded the village of Chandarh near Mudki. Others settled in Nakodar near Jalandhar. As Muslim Jats, most of the Chadhar Jats shifted from Ferozepur to Amritsar, and Gurdaspur after partition. Most of these Chadhars are now found in Faisalabad.
Chadhars of Chakwal. Jhelum, Khushab and Mianwali:
In Chakwal District, where the northern most Chadhar settlements are found, important villages include Dhok Chadhar, Dhok Miyal, Punjain and Chak Baqar Shah. In Jhelum District, they are found in the village of Abdullahpur and in Lilla town. While accross the Jhelum river in Mandi Bahauddin, they are found in the villages of Beerpindi Jharana, Bosaal, Bukkan, Gohri and Mangat, Mian da Lok. In Mianwali District, they are found in Sultanwala.
Moving on to the Gilotar are entirely confined to Jhang District, and their villages are situated on the banks of the Chenab river, north of the Chadhars. With regards to their origins, they are considered as Jat, and this is accepted by their neighbours. Their own tradition makes references to their migration from Hansi, in what is now Haryana, to Uch Sharif, where they are said to have converted to Islam at the hands of the Sufi saint Jahaniyan Jahangasht (1307–1383). These Gilotars were said to have belonged to the Ahir caste, but after their settlement in Jhang, they contracted marriages with neighbouring Jat tribes, and as such became Jat.
Their villages are all in Shorkot Tehsil, and the neighbouring Chiniot District. In Chiniot, they are found in Gandhlanwali, Burj Mal,Burj Umer ,Chhani Chuhr and Gilotaranwala and in Shorkot their main village is Jhangar Gloteran.
The Lali, or sometimes written as Lalee, are a Jat clan, found mainly in Chiniot and Jhang districts. They are one of a number of Jat clans that have lived in the Kirana Bar for centuries, and were historically a pastoral tribe. The Lali have several sub-divisions, the most important being the Miana, Kahana, Wanoka, Lohry, Kawain and Bodhar. The tribe has produced a famous Sufi saint, Mian Muhammad Siddique Lali, who has given them a status of sanctity among the other Bar tribes. Their traditional seat of power was at the village of Kanweinwala, but this was reduced to a petty chieftainship with the arrival of the British. A secondary chieftainship also existed at the village of Jakoky, but was extinguished by the Sikhs. The Lali also founded the town of Lalian, literally the place of the Lali, where a good number are still found.
Outside Chiniot and Jhang districts, and they also have a few settlements such as Aasianwala, Chak No 60 S.B and Chak No 61 S.B in Sargodha District. Within Jhang/Chiniot, important villages include Lalian, Ismailkot, Jallaywala. Kanainwala, Jabana, Jagokay, Wallah, Mumtazabad, Miana Thein, Kahana Mauza Bahuddin, Thata Mian Laala, Wanoka, Dawar, Kot Bahadur, Thatta Mian Lala, Kahana Lali, Judhi Sultan and Mohsinabad.