Bhangu, Jotah / Joota, Naul, Nonari and Sahu tribes

In this post, I shall be looking at tribes found not only in the Kirana Bar, but also in the Sandal and Neeli Bars. For example, the bulk of the Nonari and Sahu are settled in the Neeli Bar, but groups have left the parent tribe to settle in others parts, for example Jotah groups are found in Layyah District, while the Nonari country extends from the Indus to Sultlej. Almost all the tribes of have traditions of migration from Rajasthan, with an ancestor fleeing to the Bar, converted to Islam at the hands of a Sufi saint, and contracting marriages with locals, and thus becoming Jats. Interestingly, almost none of these tribes have tradition of aboriginal descent, with the possible exception of the Bhangu and Jotah. Both the Bhangu and Jotah also have traditions that they have always been Jat. Among the three tribes being looked, most now live in Chiniot, Jhang, Sahiwal, Okara and Faisalabad districts, there are some traditions of Brahman descent, which if true shows the fluid nature of the society in the Bar. In this post, I shall look at the Bhangu, Jotah, Naul, Nonari and Sahu. Time permitting, in the future I want to look at the numerically important Kharal tribe. Among the three, the first is fairly widespread with a presence in North Punjab, but the Naul and Nonari are classic Bar nomads. Below is a list of tribes classified in Jhang District (present day Jhang and Chiniot districts):

Below is a list of tribes classified in Jhang District (present day Jhang and Chiniot districts):

Tribe

 Jhang Tehsil  Chiniot Tehsil  Shorkot Tehsil

Total

Awrah

164

51

599

814

Chadhar

1,942

1,112

360

3,414

Dhudhi

74

65

461

600

Gilotar

14

1,475

1,497

Ganda

421

216

637

Gill

529

29

558

Gondal

229

565

106

900

Gujjar

694

386

185

1,265

Harral

2,285

2,590

133

4,988

Hidan

116

749

49

914

 Hanjra

908

139

129

1,176

 Heer

580

2

2

584

Joiya

404

998

319

1,721

Juta

365

151

28

544

Kalasan

183

188

162

533

Kaloke

23

520

95

638

Kanwan

34

644

678

Kharal

871

716

205

1,792

Khichi

178

176

227

581

Khokhar

3,185

1,605

3,876

8,666

Kudhan

724

122

199

1,045

Lak

760

378

181

1,310

Lali

87

1,501

1,640

Lana

650

361

1,011

Mahra

381

216

597

Mahun

877

588

6

1,471

Marral

313

464

49

826

Maru

954

2

956

Naul

338

269

1,529

2,136

Nonari

566

289

128

983

Noon

434

383

216

1,089

 Rajoke

1,072

73

117

1,262

Sahmal

746

156

92

994

Sattar

781

2

18

801

Sial

437

55

103

595

Sipra

1,333

969

790

3,092

Thabal

15

969

35

1019

I would also ask you to look at the list in Jhang district, which is referred to in the post on the Chadhars. Some of these tribes that are listed separately are actually clans of the Chadhar, such as the Thabal, Kaloke and Rajoke.

Bhangu

Bhangu, also pronounced Bhangoo, and even Bhango is a Jat gotra or clan mainly found in the Punjab state of North India, Sindh and Punjab province of Pakistan. In this post I shall only be looking at the Muslim branch, in particular those found in the Shorkot region of Jhang District. The Bhangu have a tradition that they have always been Jat, and those in Jhang claim to be the earliest settlers, predating the Chadhars, Gilotars, Sials, Nissowanas, who acknowledge that Bhangu were there before them. It is quite possible, the Jhang was the first settlement in the Punjab.

Reference is made by early Arab historians, to a tribe called Bhangoo, who were the lords of “Budhiya” around present day Sehwan, Sindh, Pakistan. According to tribal traditions, Kaka was the son of Kotal, and the grandson of Bhandargu Bhangoo, who may or may not be the Bhangoo refered by Arab historians. Historians like Andre Wink have referred to the migration of Jat tribes from Sindh to Punjab, leading to settlement as farmers, and often conversion to Islam. Certainly, the Bhangu are said to be the rulers of Jhang, before their displacement by the Chadhars, who in turm were overthrown by the Sial. Like their neighbours, the Shorkot Bhangu were pastoral nomads, who lost their lands as Shorkot was opened to the settlement in the 19th Century. Unlike the Bar Bhangus, groups migrated further east, and settled in the Majha and Malwa regions, as well as Gunjranwala. These were essentially farmers, although Gujranwala Bhangu had longer traditions of pastoralism. Some of these adopted the Sikh faith, while others became Muslim.

Outside Shorkot, Bhangu, both Sikh and Muslim were found throughout central Punjab from Lyalpur (now Faisalabad) to Ludhiana. At the time of Partition, Sikh Bhangus of Sialkot and Gujranwala moved to India, while Muslims from Amritsar and Jallandhar moved to Pakistan. In Shorkot, the Bhangu villages include Basti Mujahidabad, Bhangu Sharqi, Chah Jandan Wala, Chah Tahli Wala Bhangoo, Chah Lal Wala, Chah Budh Wala, Kot Mapal Bhangoo, Kothi Sultan Mehmood Bhangu, Kikranwala, Mauza Bhangoo and Chak 7 Gagh.

 

 Jotah / Joota

The next clan that I will are the Jotah, which sometimes spelt as Joota. Like the Bhangu, the Jotah have no tradition of migration, which thus point to a possible aboriginal descent. They are a clan of pastoral Jats, who have always resided in the Chenab Jhelum Doab, who make no claim to Rajput ancestry. According to tribal traditions, the word juta is derived from the Seraiki word jutna which means to plough a field.

The Jotah are found mainly in the Shorkot Tehsil of Jhang District, and their main villages are Allahyar Juta, Chak 7 Gagh, Chak 233 JB, Kotla Zarif Khan, Mauza Mahla and Yarewala, north of the city of Shorkot. West of Jhang, the Joota villages in Layyah District include Chak No 152TDA and Haider Kalluwala. In Khanewal District, they are found in the villages of Jato Kassi, Karampur Juta, Kot Kathia Juta, Khan Bahadurgarh, Chak Hyderabab, Kukkar Hatta, Salarwahin, Inyatpur, Mulapur and Faridpur. While in Khushab in the heart of the Thal Desert, there are several Juta families in the large village of Noorpur Thal. In Sahiwal District their villages include Chak No. 18/14 L Iqbalnagar, Chak NO.14/14L, Chak No.20/14L, Chak No.31/12L, Chak No.28/14L, Chak No.103/12L, Chak No.101/12L and Chak 58G.D Bahadar Shah.

Naul

The Naul are a tribe of Jat status, Like the Langrials, discussed earlier, there are traditions that Naul are of Brahman decent. Naul, there ancestor was a Brahman of Bikaner, who migrated to the Neeli Bar, adopted Islam, and married into a Jat family. Other traditions however refer to Naul being a Rajput, the elder son of Raja Dhaan, the Rajput ruler of Bikaner in Rajasthan. He is said to have accepted at the hands of Baba Farid, the Sufi saint now buried at Pakpattan, a city located in the Neeli Bar. After their conversion to Islam, the Naul occupied lowlands of the Chenab round Jhang before the Sials. With the arrival of the Sials, said to be around the 15th Century, the Naul were pushed deeper in the Bar. For a short period after the arrival of the Sial, the Sials were subject to the Nauls and paid tribute. However, with the support of the Lodhi Sultans of Delhi, they ended Naul rule. As pastoral nomads, the Naul migrated through a wide portion of the Sandal Bar and Vichanh areas in the Chaj Doab. With rise of Sikh power, the Naul independence finally came to an end, and with the rise of the British, most of the Naul area was subject to large scale colonization,

 

There are still more then three hundred settlements ain the low areas of Rivers Satluj in Kasur and along the Chenab in District Jhang. Most of the tribe are settled in districts of Kasur, Sahiwal, Okara, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib. Important Naul settlements include Haveli Lakha in Okara, and Chak 227 JB, Chak 230 JB, and Chak 232 JB in Jhang District.

Nonari

I shall next look at the Nonari, sometimes also spelt Nunari, are a tribe of Jat status found mainly in the Neeli Bar region. Although found mainly in what is now Sahiwal, Okara and Khanewal districts, Nonari settlements also exist in the Kirana Bar in what is now Sargodha District. According to their own tribal traditions, they are descendent of a Rajah Karan, ruler of Anhilvara Pattan in what is now Gujerat in India, who was defeated by the Khilji Ala-ud-Din in 1297 and again in 1307. This Rajah Karan and his kinsmen are said to have fled to the Neeli Bar, where they accepted Islam at the hands of the Sufi saint, Mukhdum-i-Jehaniyan. This would make the Nonari a branch of the Solanki or Chalukya tribe of Rajputs.

 

Over the centuries Nonari power declined as the Kharal and Joiyas reduced their area of influence. As the Nonari contracted marriages with other tribes of Jat status, they became absorbed into the Jat community. So this is what the Nonari say of their origin. However the Nonari does sound a lot like Nona or salt, and there is caste of workers that produce salt called the Nungar. There may be some connection, but the Nonari are seen as by most of their neighbours as of Jat status, and were recognized as such by the British colonial authorities. Like the Naul, the coming of the British meant they could not practice nomadic pastoralism, and were forced to settle.

In terms of distribution, they are found in Jhang, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal, Multan, Lodhran and Khanewal. Starting with Jhang, they are found in Chak 7 Gagh and Chak 230 JB.

Sahu

The Sahu are a tribe of Jat status, found mainly near the towns of Tulamba and Kabirwala. They are a branch of the Chauhan tribe. They originate from the Marwar region of Rajasthan, where a good many Sahu are still found. In Marwar, the Sahu were ruler of a small republic, who capital was the village of Dhansia, situated at a distance of 65 km in northwest of Churu. The various Jat republics were eventually conquered by the Rathore Rajputs. When the Rathore were expanding their control, groups of Sahu left Rajasthan, and settled near Tulamba. Their presence in Tulamba is attested by the Ain-Akbari, which made reference to the Sahu occupying Tulamba, near Multan in the 15th Century. They are considered one of the oldest established tribe in the Multan region. Like other migrants from Rajasthan, once the Sahu entered the Bar region, they converted to Islam. The Sahu have produced the famous Sufi Khawja Sufi Allahdad Sahu, whose shrine is in the town of Sheikh Fazil in Vehari District.

In terms of distribution, they are found mainly in Khanewal and Vehari districts. In Khanewal District, important Sahu villages include Mouza Hussainpur Aari Wala, near the town of Tulamba, Maari Sahu, Rehana Sahu and Qaim Sahu. While in Jhang District, they are found in Chak 228 JB. The village of Mouza Sahu near Makhdoom Rasheed, in Multan District, according to Sahu traditions is their oldest settlement in Punjab.

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Channar, Daha, Jandran and Maitla tribes

In this post I shall be looking at four tribes, namely the Channar, Daha, Jandran, and Maitla, whose homeland is the Neeli Bar, in particular its southern edges. They are all of Jat status, and were archetypal Bar nomads, speaking the Jhangochi dialect, which has now merged into modern Seraiki. In terms of distribution, the Channar are found at southern end of the Neeli Bar, mainly in Lodhran district, but extend over the Sultlej river into Bahawalpur, the Daha are concentrated in Khanewal, slightly north of the Channar, the Jandran even further north in Okara, and finally the Maitla mainly near Multan.

Channar

I start off by looking at the Channar, a tribe found mainly Lodhran District and Bahawalpur District. There are several origin stories, but perhaps the most interesting connects them with the Pir Channan, a famous Sufi saint of Cholistan.

According to one of the origins myths the Channan are connected with the Jakhars, Kanju, Noons and Utteras. All these five clans assume the title of Rana, and are mythical sons of Rana Rajwadhan, a Bhatti Rajput. Therefore, this suggests that the Channar are Bhatti by origin.

However, in Bhawalpur there is a strong tradition that they are descended from Pir Channar. The question before us is who was this mysterious Pir Channar.The Pir Channar legend starts with the arrival of the Sufi saint Jalaluddin Surkhposh. After arriving in Cholistan, the saint is believed to have stayed in a place now known as Channan Pir. At that time, this area was ruled by a king named Sadharan. Since the King was childless, the royal couple approached the saint who foretold the birth of their son. When the prince was born, his beauty won him the name of Channan, meaning moon in the local language. In a twist of fate, while still a child, Channan started reciting the Kalma. As word spread about the crown prince’s different faith, his political reputation was brought to abrupt end. The King immediately ordered the execution of his son but on the Queen’s intervention the sentence was softened to exile.

Young Channar was left over a mound to fend for himself. A few days later a group of travellers saw him being fed by a deer. On hearing of her son’s fate, the Queen rushed to the desert and started staying with her son. Her defiance enraged the king who renewed his son’s death sentence. From this point the story deviates into many conclusions. Some say when the assassins reached the mound, Channan Pir had disappeared while others believe he grew up to become a saint, enlightening the life of many faithful. Another version, in which the king and saint’s names vary, claims that on witnessing his son’s divine arrangement, the King accepted Channan who made the mound his permanent abode. Regardless of the version’s initial narration, they all conclude with Channan Pir either disappearing, dying and getting buried on the mound, making it a relic of faith for centuries to come. His legacy has survived, with an annual fair held which is a gathering of all the Cholistan tribes.

In Bahawalpur, the Channar are often referred to as the Channun-di, or sons of Channar. However, there other strong traditions that the Pir never married and that the Channars are descended from his seven brothers, sons of Rai Sandhila. Their main clans in Bahawalpur are  Admani, Ram, Wisal, Bhojar, and Bharpal, said by some of the tribe to be the five sons of Channar.

In Lodhan District, important Channar villages includes Chah Anganwala and Kikerwala.

Daha

Moving now on to the Daha, they are an extremely influential tribe in Khanewal District. The tribe claims descent from Daha, who was said to be a Muslim holy man, who 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.

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. 

Jandran

Looking next at the Jandran, who according to their traditions came to the Punjab, accompanying the Mughal Emperor Zahiruddin Babur during his invasion of India (circa mid 15th Century). After the conquest of subcontinent by Mughals, the ancestors of the Jandran were settled in the Neeli Bar. Another tradition however, gives the Jandran a Sindhi origin, the tribe having originated in the Makran region of Baluchistan, and migrating to Punjab in the 15th Century. Despite their claim to Mughal ancestry, the Jandran consider themselves and are considered by others as Jats.

In terms of distribution, starting with Okara, they are found in Jandran Kalan and Jandran Khurd, in Sargodha at Jandran, in Khushab at Rahdari and in Jhelum at Pindi Saidpur. There are other Jandran settlements in Jhang, Khanewal, Vehari, Lahore, Lodhran, Hafizabad, Gujranwala and Faisalabad districts.

Maitla

Maitla or Metlo, somtime spelt Metla, are a tribe of Jats status. According to tribal traditions, they descend from Maitla, a Dogra Rajput, who converted to Islam during the rule of Firuz Shah Tughlaq, and settled in Sialkot. Like the Lodhra looked at in a different post, the Maitla then migrated to the Neeli Bar, settling in an area that now forms the boundary between Khanewal and Multan district, practising pastoralism. With the rise of the Multan nawabs and their allies the Dahas, groups of Metla began to migrate westward into the Derajat and southward into Sindh. In Sindh, the Maitla, or Maitlo as they are known are settled in Larkana District. They are one of a number tribes, collectively known as Serai or those from the north found in Sindh. Other important Serai tribes include the Joiya, Kharal and Sial. These Serais were invited to settle in Sindh during the period of Kalhora rule (18th Century), and the Maitlo still speak the Seraiki language.

The Maitla tribe has also produced a number of important Sufis, such as Dada Gajjun Darvesh Maitla, whose shrine is located near the city of Khanpur in Rahim Yar Khan district, and Karim Bakhsh Maitla alias Baba Haq Ali who is buried in historical at Pattan Munara near Rahim Yar Khan.

Despite the 18th Century dispersion, most Maitla are still found in Jahanian Mandi Tehsil of Khanewal district, in particular the village of Kotwala. Outside this core area, Maitla are in the districts of Jhang, Sargodha, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Bhakkar, Vehari, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Gujranwala, Sheikhpura, Faisalabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad, Jhelum, Narowal, Sialkot, Okara, Sahiwal, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan in the Punjab and Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Sanghar, Larkana, Dadu and Badin in Sindh. In Sargodha District, important Maitla villages include Chack 53 SB (Rajewala) and Chak 87.