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.


Budhal, Dulal / Dolal, Khatril, and Jasgam/Jaskham tribes

This is my third installment, looking at some of the lesser known tribes of the Pothohar region. In this post, I shall look at the Budhal, Dulal, Khatril, and Jasgam tribes. None of these tribes claim either a Jat or Rajput ancestry, but connect themselves either with the the Abbasi (Khatril and Jaskham) or Qureshi (Dulal and Budhal) Arabs, with traditions of settling in the Pothohar Region between 13th and 15th Century. However, reflecting the fluidity of identity, the Khatril in popular estimations are seen as Jat, while Budhal in some areas are considered as Rajput. All these tribes are extremely localized, found only in Rawalpindi District, with the exception of a few Khatril villages in Jhelum District. They all speak Pothwari, and are  largely Sunni.


Starting off with the Budhal, they are a small tribe which is supposed to be allied to the Bhakral, both tribes having said to have come across from Jhelum River from the Chibhal territory in Jammu and Kashmir sometime in the 17th Century. According to their traditions, they are a branch of the Awan tribe, and now occupy a block of villages near the town of Daultala in Gujar Khan Tehsil. Very little is known about this tribe, and their customs are very similar to the Bhakral, with whom they intermarry. As Awans, they trace their descent from Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet, and the forth Caliph of Islam. The history of the Awan tribe is well known, and I will not spend a lot of time on it. Suffice is to say that the Budhal, like other Awans claim descent from an individual named Qutb Shah, a descendent of Ali, who originally resided in Herat in Afghanistan, and served in the army of Mahmud of Ghazni. The Awans all claim descent from the six sons of Qutab Shah, namely Gauhar Shah or Gorrara, settled near Sakesar, Kalan Shah or Kalgan, settled in Kalabagh, Muzammil Shah colonized the hills close to the Indus, Mohammad Shah (the elder son of Qutab Shah) or Khokhar, settled by the Chenab, and Turi Shah ‏and Jhajh Shah settled in Tirah the descendants of Turi or Tori and Jhajh are also known as Syeds of Tirah. These six clans are further divided sub-clans called muhins, the Budhal claim to be a sub-group of the Khokhar Awans, descended from the great grandson of Mohammad Shah nicknamed Khokhar called Budh Khan. Their customs are similar to other tribes in the vicinity, speaking the Pothohari language and following Sunni Islam.

In terms of distribution, in Guja Khan Tehsil, they are found in Barki Badhal, Bhair Ratial, Bokra, Chak Bagwal, Dhoke Budhal, Dora Budhal, Garmala (near Kountrila), Karnali and Punjgran Khurd, while in Kallar Kahar Tehsil they are found Basanta, Chakrali Budhal and Sahote Budhal . Other villages include Alipur Farash and Barki Badhal, located in the Islamabad Capital Territory. A separate group of Budhal villages are found near Chountra, on the Attock Rawalpindi borders, such as Bajnial in Rawalpindi Tehsil. Other villages include Bishandour (Tehsil Sohawa, Jhelum District) and Khabbal (on GT Road, Tehsil Sohawa).

Dulal or Dulaal

I shall next look at the Dulal, sometimes spelt Dolal or even Dolaal, who are extremely localized tribe, confined entirely Gujarkhan tehsil. They claim to be Qureshi Arabs, the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike other Qureshi groups found in the Pothohar region, the Dolal have no tradition of claiming descent from a Sufi saint. Their ancestor, according to tribal traditions, was Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali (ca. 603 – 688), a close companion of Ali ibn Abi Talib and a grammarian, who is said to be the first to place consonant-pointing and vowel-pointing (markings) on Arabic letters to clearly identify them. Abu Aswad is said to have had a son, who accompanied Mohammad Bin Qasin in his conquest of Sindh. The tribe settled initially in Sindh, but when Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the Punjab in the 10th Century, the Ad-Duali settled in what became the Gujar Khan region. Over time Ad-Duali was corrupted to Dolaal or Dulal. The tribe also intermarried with Rajput groups in the Gujar Khan region, and has now much in common with those tribes such as the Bhakral and Kanyal.

The Dolal are now farmers and soldiers , and therefore have much in common with Abbasi groups such as the Jasgam and Khatril, who I will look at latter in this blog. They now occupy a number of villages near the town of Mandrah, the main ones being Hachari Dulal, Karnali (especially in village Mohra Manjia), Mohra Dhamial, Nathu Dulal, Noor Dulal (Dhoke Qureshian / Lamian), Pharwal Dulal, Narali, Bhattian and Kuri Dolal. The Dolal should not be confused, by the Dulal branch of the Janjua, who are entirely distinct


We now look at the Khatril, sometime spelt Khatreel, they are a tribe found almost exclusively in Rawalpindi District, with a small number also found in Jhelum. The Khatrils claims descent from Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, a great-grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad and the progenitor of the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraish tribe in Mecca, and in particular his grandson Abbas ibn Abul Mutalib. A descendent of Al-Abass, Zarab Khan or Zurab Khan Al-Abbasi is said to have accompanied Mahmood of Ghazni to India, and settled initially in Kashmir, which would therefore be sometime in the late 10th Century. This Zarab Khan is also claimed to be an ancestor by many of the other tribes of the Pothohar plateau and Murree Hills, and is quite likely to be a mythical figure. The Khatril were initially settled in the Kahuta Hills, from where the Khatril were said to have been expelled by the Jasgam, and they ended up settling in Gujar Khan Tehsil, in villages near the town of Mandrah. In claiming an Arab ancestry, the Khatril are not unlike many other tribes in the Pothohar region, where claims to Arab ancestry have become increasingly frequent since the start of the last century. This change in identity is seen by the fact that they were classed as Jats in 1911 census of India, but were included with the Dhund in the 1921 census.

Gayal Khatril make up the bulk of the Khatril in Gujar Khan, who are descendants of Gai Khan.The Gaiyal, descendants of Gai Khan, whose tomb is near Duberan in the Kahuta tehsil. Currently, the Khatril are found mainly in Gujar Khan Tehsil, especially around the town of Mandrah, in the villages of Dhok Luss near Paleena, Dhok Maira near Paleena, Durab Jatal, Kahili Khinger, Sapiali KhingerMardial, Mohri Khatril, Dhok Khatril, Dulmi Khatril, Jatal Surkhru, Miana Moda, Rumat and Roungtay. Another cluster of Khatril villages are found near Saeela, such as Hathia Dhamial in Jhelum District.


Like the Khatril, with whom they share many customs and traditions, the Jasgam, sometimes spelt Jaskham,  also claim descent from Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, through his grandson Abbas ibn Abul Mutalib. Also like the Dhund and Khatril, the Jasgam claim descent from Zarab Khan, who is said to have arrived in the Pothohar region in the late 10th Century. According to the traditions of the Khatril, the Jasgam are said to have expelled them from the Kahuta Hills, so it is likely their settlement post-dated that of the Khatril. Their own tradition makes their ancestor Jasgam, leaving Murree after quarrelling with his Dhund kinsmen, and founding the town of Panjar in the Kahuta hills. According to another tradition, the Jasgam took possession of the tract they now occupy under Gakkhar rule, when one Hazrat Zubair,nicknamed Jaskamb, a Abbasi Arab came from Arabia and settled near Kahuta. He had four sons, Gulab Khan, Bachu Khan, Bero Khan and Sewo Khan.The Jasgam territory lay between the Janhals and the Gakhars, and by playing one against the other, the Jasgam maintained their independence until the arrival of the Sikhs in the late 18th Century.


In customs and traditions, they still have more in common with the Murree Hill tribes such as the Satti and Kethwal, and less with their neighbours such as the Janhal and Janjuas, including that the fact that still speak the Dhund-Karaili dialect of Pahari. In 1857, when the British faced a rebellion in the Murree Hills, the Jasgam maintained their neutrality, and as such were left largely untouched by the colonial administration. A Jasgam family in the village of Salitta traditionally held the office of chief, but they no longer hold this position.

The Jasgam are mainly found in thirteen villages in Kahuta Tehsil, including Panjar, Bara, Saroha, Duberan, Khowain, Manyand, Phagwari Gala, Salabar, Sartha, Salitha, Sarai Kharbuza and Rajrot, A small number are also found in the town of Mandrah and villages of Soura Khatril and Qazian in the Gujar Khan Tehsil and Chakiala and Mohra Hiran in Kallar Syedan tehsil. Outside Punjab, there are two Jaskam villages in Sudhnoti District of Azad Kashmir, namely Gulkot and Chaloi.