Hanjra, Lodike, Natt and Wahla tribes

In this post, I will look at four tribes, namely the Hanjra, Lodhike, Natt and Wahla, that are found mainly in the Gujranwala Bar. The Bar is the region between the Ravi and Chenab, forming the modern districts of Gujranwala, Hafizabad and Sheikhupura districts. Among the tribes, the Hanjra have spread as far south as Muzaffargarh, but the others are fairly localized. I would ask you to look at my post on the Tarar and Gondal, who customs and traditions are very similar to the tribes I am looking at in this post.  With regards to the Natt, they are essentially found along the banks of the Ravi, and these tribes are often referred to as hitharis.

 

Hanjra

The Hanjra, sometimes Hanjrah and occasional Hinjra are large tribe of Jat status. Like the Jakhars, the Hanjra are most widespread then the other tribes referred to in this post. According to tribal traditions, the Hanjra are of Tomar Rajput descent.

There ancestor was a Raja Jagnath, who was the younger son of Raja Giyal, the conqueror of Makhiala. Raja Giyal was the son of Raja Mal, the ruler of Malot in Chakwal, who was descended from Raja Dalip of Delhi. The Hanjra were originally settled in Muzaffargarh, where a great many are still found. However, the bulk are settled in Gujranwala, near the town of Ghakkar Mandi. They were pastoralist till the early 19th Century, and when the Sikh rulers began to settle the tribes of the Gujranwala Bar. In Gujrsanwala, the Hanjra have a tradition that their ancestor Hinjraon came from the neighbourhood of Hissar, in what is now Haryana, to Hafizabad and founded a city called Uskhab, the ruins of which still exist. Their immediate ancestors were Mal and Dhol. Interestingly, the Hinjroan were a clan of a Muslim ethnic community called the Pacchada, who were found mainly in the semi-arid country that now forms parts of Sirsa, Hissar and Ganganagar districts of Haryana and Rajasthan. The Pacchada, a corruption of the Punjabi word paschim da, or literally someone from the west, are a collection of Muslim Rajput tribes, the other clans being the Bhagsanke and Sukhera, who at one point were the effective rulers of the Sirsa country. This would suggest that the original home of the Hanjra was the Sirsa country, from where groups moved west and north settling in the Gujranwala Bar. Another point to note the Hinjroan are entirely Muslim, while some Hanjra groups are Sikh, while others are Muslim.

The Hanjra now own 37 villages in Gujranwala Division (mainly in Hafizabad District) which is their home, but have spread both east and west, with a significant collection of Hanjra villages in Bhakkar, Layyah and Muzaffargarh districts. In Bhakkar District, Wadhaywala near Maibail Sharif is an important village.

Lodike

Lodike, sometimes pronounced as Lodhike are a Jat clan, who are found mainly in Gujranwala District. They are a branch of the large Kharal tribe, who have separated from the parent stock. The Kharal are of Panwar Rajput stock, and were the archetypal maharavi tribe. Coming back to the Lodike, according to their traditions they are said to have come from the Ravi, and initially led a pastoral life and nomadic life in the Sangla Hill country. Reverses at the hands of the Virk Jats forced them to settle down in the 18th century. The tribe settled initially in villages belonging to the Hanjra and Jag Jats. The tribe gets its name from the Lodi, or sometimes spelt Lodhi, its ancestor. Among Kharal clans, the suffix ke has the same function as aal among the Pothohar tribes, and aana among the Thal.

The Lodike are now found in thirty six villages in the Gujranwala Bar.

Natt

The Natt are a tribe of Jat status, found mainly along the bet (banks) of the Ravi, which now forms the international boundary between India and Pakistan. Before I delve deeper into the origins of the Natt, I wish to make clear that they have no connection with the Nat, a gypsy tribe found through out North India. Coming back to the Natt, the Natt claim descent from Natt, son of Jogah, Suryavanshi Rajput, who came from Ayudhia. According to other traditions, they came from Ghazni in Afghanistan. Claims to an origin from Afghanistan is fairly widespread among several Jat tribes, but unfortunately theu have never been investigated properly. Therefore, as things stands, this simply remains that, a claim. In other tribal traditions, the Natt claim common descent with the Wahla and Kang tribes of Jatt, Kang and Wahla being brothers of Natt.

The Natt are found mainly in Narowal and Gujranwala districts. They form the dominant tribe in the Wahando region of Gujranwala, which borders India, specifically, in the villages of Chak Alisher, Nat Kalan, Natt Batala and Kartarpur

A second cluster of Natt villages are found in and around Trikha, in Gujrat District. Families of Trikha Natts are now found in Kot Mojdin Chak No 46 and Chak 4 Nobahar in Mandi Bahauhdin District.

The tribe has gained infamy in Pakistani folklore, as the result of the film Maula Jatt. In the film, which is a sort of Pakistani western, the villain is a character by the name of Nouri Natt. He is loosely based on an actual individual, who was involved in cross border smuggling. As many Natt villages are situated in valley of the Ravi river, along the border with India, many have become involved in smuggling.

Wahla

The Wahla are a Jat clan found mainly in Sialkot and Narowal districts. A smaller number are also found in the canal colonies of Faisalabad and Sahiwal. Like the Kang and Natt clans of the Jats, the Wahla claim descent from Jograh, a Suryavanshi Rajput, who came from Ayudhia. According to other traditions, they came from Ghazni in Afghanistan.

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