Basra, Goraya and Nagra tribes

In this post, I intend to look at three tribes, namely the Basra, Goraya and Nagra, who are found mainly in the northern half of the Ravi Chenab (Rechna Doab) Doab, mainly now the districts of Hafizabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala and Narowal. Historically, these tribes also had a presence in Gurdaspur, but like other Punjabi Muslims they had to migrate to Pakistan at the time of partition. All these tribes are Jat clans, and this region of Pakistan perhaps has the clearest boundary between Rajput and Jat. Jats are found all over this region and form the backbone of the agricultural community. They are divided into numerous clans and historically belonged to different religions. It was not uncommon to find in a village a few Jat families practicing Sikhism while others Islam. Along the border with the Jammu and Kashmir state, many Jats had remained Hindu, and many Hindu Nagra Jats are still found in the Jammu Jammu Region. Therefore, we find among the Basra, Goraya and Nagra groups following Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. The Gazetteer of the Sialkot District (1920, Part A) gave the following description:

profess different religions, but a strong family likeness pervades the whole tribe. The Muhammadan is sometimes said to be less energetic than his Hindu or Sikh brother, but it is very doubtful whether any such distinction exists. The Sikh sometimes indulges a taste for liquor and a certain amount of illicit distilling occurs in the district. All are patient, hardworking cultivators without much enterprise but tenacious of their rights and proud of their position as zamindars or landowners, even if their holding be but an acre or two.

Another interesting factor is that both the Basra and Goraya claim descent from the Saroha Rajputs, a tribe of which little is known. The quote makes reference to the word zamindar, literally landowner, and almost Jats in this region interchangeably describe themselves as zamindar and Jat.

Basra

I start of by looking at the Basra, a clan found mainly in the northern part of the Rechna Doab. Like many of other Jat tribes in the Sialkot region, they claim descent from the mysterious Saroha tribe. There are currently very Saroha Rajputs, but most claim to be Chandravanshi Rajputs. Many Basra also connect themselves with the mythical Rajah Salvahan, who is said to founded the city of Sialkot. According to this tradition, Raja Salvahan has two sons named as Basra and Sarra. From Basra descend the Basra tribe of Jats and from Sarra the Sarai, another well known Jat tribe. Basra is said to have migrated to Phagwara, now located in the Kapurthala district of Indian Punjab. There original settlement was the village of Mehli, located near the town of Phagawara. Incidentally, almost all Basra of the Sialkot / Narowal region claim Mehli to be their village of origin. Melhi is also still home to Basra Jat families who follow the Sikh faith. Some five centuries ago, a famine drove the Basra from Phagwara, and they established their first settlement at the village of Gharial Kalan, south of the town of Pasrur. They then founded the village of Gharial Khurd , due to the unavailability of land in Gharial Kalan. It is unclear when the Basra began converting to Islam, but the majority were Muslim at the time of the arrival of the British in the Punjab 1849. Most Basra are now found mainly near the city of Daska.

In terms of distribution, most Basra are still found in Raya Tehsil of Narowal District, and Daska Tehsil of Sialkot District. There are a second cluster of Basra villages in the Kali Subha region of north eastern Gujranwala. In the district Sheikhupura, they are found in the villagers of Bule Chak, Akbarian-Bhagian, Hamidpur and Gundowal. Outside their historic area, the Basra Jats have settled in the Canal Colony districts of Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh, where there are now several Basra villages.

Goraya

The next tribe I will look at are the Goraya. There are several origins myths for the Goraya, which is not uncommon among Punjabi tribes. But most agree that sometime in the past they were once pastoral. Like the Basra, the Goraya are said to be descended from the Saroha Rajputs, and to have come to Gujranwala as a nomadic and pastoral. tribe from Sirsa, in what is now Haryana. According to another tradition,t he tribe is descended from a Sombansi Rajput called Goraya whose grandson Mai came from the Lakki Thal, in what is now Bhakkar District. A third tradition is that Rana their founder, came from the Jammu hills during the period of Mughal rule over Punjab (circa 15 -17 AD). Interestingly, the word goraya is also used for the nilgai, a type of a large antelope. Therefore, it is possible that Goraya could have been a nickname for their ancestor. Finally, it is sometimes said that they are a clan of the Dhillon tribe, descended from Budh who had
twenty sons, one of whom was Goraya.

They are now found in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Narowal and Gurdraspur. They own 31 villages in Gujranwala. In Sialkot, there villages are located ibn the north-east of the Pasrur Tehsil.

Nagra

The last tribe I will look at are the Nagra. According to tribal traditions, the clan claim descent from Nagra, who is said to be a Chauhan Rajput, and the tribe also claim a common origin with the Cheema. They are said to have left Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji (rule 1296 to 1316), and settled initially in Jalandhar, and them moved to Pasrur, near Sialkot. The Sikh Nagra consider the Sikh Cheema to be their collaterals, and as such these two clans do not intermarry. After the partition of India in 1947, the Sikh Nagra of Sialkot District moved to India, while the Muslim Nagra undertook a similar migration from Gurdaspur District

Nagra tribal territory stretched from Pasrur in the west to Gurdaspur in the east. Like many Jat clans in this region, they are partly Muslim and partly Sikh. Many Nagras, like other Jat clans were settled in the Canal Colonies of Lyalpur and Montgomery in the 19th and early 20th Century. One such Nagra village in the canal colonies is Chak 351 GB Nagra in Toba Tek Singh District.

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List and Population of Major Muslim Jat clans of Lahore Division

The list below gives a breakdown of the larger Jat clans of the Lahore Division according to the 1911 Census of India. In 1911, Lahore Division covered Gujranwala, Lahore, Kasur, Narowal, Okara, Sahiwal, and Sialkot districts, as well as Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts now in India. Those who are familiar with Jat clans, will recognize the major clans that are also found among the Sikhs of East Punjab. For example clans like the Bajwa were largely Muslim in Sialkot, but had a slight Sikh majority in Gurdaspur.

Gurdaspur District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 54,811 (35%) out of a total population of 158,628. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

Tribe Gurdaspur Tehsil Batala Tehsil Shakargarh Tehsil Pathankot Tehsil Total
Atwal 214 13 227 
Aulakh 65 12 22 99 
Bajwa 185 391 265 3 844 
Bains 625 40 76 112 853 
Bal 117 117 
Bhangu  96 6 3 1 106
Basra 39 419 458 
Bhullar 12 174 192 
Buttar 52 553 605 
Boparai 4 5
Chahal 1 46 1 48 
Chhina 223 162 395 
Chuna 156 128 130 1 415 
Dhariwal 292 67 153 7 519 
Dhillon 17 153 66 9 245 
Gadri  65 490
Ghuman 680 107 59 5 851 
Gill 689 107 59 5 1,198 
Goraya 677 117 620 1,414 
Hanjra  181 181
Jandi 528 10 538 
Johal 55 55 
Kahlon 843 370 516 1,729 
Kallu 612 207 1 1 821 
Khaira 155 80 4 239 
Khak 554 2 556 
Maan 89 264 1 354 
Malhi 51 51 
Mami 154 1 11 166 
Natt  64 442 249 755
Padda 28 98 151 
Pannun 107 107 
Randhawa 249 1,950 75 9 2,283 
Rayar 5 573 578 
Samra 175 9 184 
Sandhu  225 558 783
Sarai  386 193 1 580
Sidhu 624 414 117 1,155 
Sohal 144 2 51 197 
Thathaal 303 85 84 1 473 
Virk  492 524 1 1,017
Wahla  58 56 30 1  145
Waraich 538 497 444 33 1,512 

 

Amritsar District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 22,056 (17%) out of a total population of 139,454. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

 

Tribe Amritsar Tehsil Tarn Taran Tehsil Ajnala Tehsil Total
Aulakh 43 51 580 674

 

Bajwa 138 66 173 377

 

Bal 36 8 7 51

 

Bhangu

 

35 2 37
Bhullar 32 24 5 61

 

Chadhar 166 166

 

Chahal 20 42 29 91

 

Cheema 43 59 35 137

 

Chhina 165 140 434 739

 

Deo 16 198 23 237

 

Dhillon 635 1,528 138 2,298

 

Dhariwal 75 10 263 348

 

Ghumman 187 155 105 477

 

Gill 2,710 693 943 4,346

 

Goraya 178 20 214 412

 

Hanjra 38 23 81 142

 

Heer 65 9 74

 

Hundal 207 21 2 230

 

Kahlon

 

218 53 119 330
Kang

 

20 66 11 97
Maan

 

35 25 35 95
Mahil

 

29 3 6 38
Pannu 26 9 56 91

 

Randhawa 2,020 198 443 2,661

 

Samra 20 25 8 53

 

Sandhu

 

765 779 510 2,054
Sarai 81 43 47 171

 

Sidhu

 

155 566 158 879
Sohal

 

76 56 86 218
Virk 124 34 167 325

 

Waraich 231 61 200 492

 

Sialkot District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 147,879 (62%) out of a total population of 237,575. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

 

Tribe Sialkot Tehsil Pasrur Tehsil Zafarwal Tehsil Raya Tehsil Daska Tehsil Total
Aulakh 403 33 84 54 40 614
Awan 462 148 2 42 60 714
Bains 191 20 202 202 11 626
Bajwa 6,711 3,135 2,220 1,356 305 13,727
Basra 286 212 266 1,815 1,004 3,583
Cheema 908 90 151 176 5,221 7,446
Deo 359 22 65 405 4 855
Dhariwal 35 219 16 215 39 524
Dhillon 287 163 1,224 1,071 2,758
Dhindsa 263 1 1 265
Ghumman 3,458 1,001 558 172 2,390 7,579
Gill 1,462 821 180 388 617 3,468
Hanjra 325 967 55 214 183 1,744
Heer 42 31 73
Kahlon 267 870 3,946 944 258 6,285
Kang 32 9 5 127 173
Lidhar 433 8 152 21 614
Maan 127 28 8 1 5 169
Nagra 13 36 104 120 26 299
Pannun 176 10 39 210 63 498
Randhawa 30 40 18 235 34 357
Sahi 301 85 69 1,331 1,786
Sandhu 625 1,209 67 505 2,648 5,054
Sarai 57 93 413 478 1,041
Sidhu 250 4 150 404
Virk 403 539 234 313 161 1,670
Waraich 3,640 437 580 415 845 5,917

Gujranwala District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 172,924 (81%) out of a total population of 213,389. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

Tribe Gujranwala Tehsil Wazirabad Tehsil Hafizabad Tehsil Khangah Dogran Tehsil Sharakpur Tehsil Total
Aulakh  96 36 17 201 7 357
Bajwa  461 260 172 1,360 230 2,483
Bhangu 87 7 278 372
Buttar 736 28 45 32 842
Chahal 224 6 41 272 66 609
Chatha 371 1,549 544 305 35 2,804
Chhina  391 2,750 42 4 65 3,252
Cheema  6,044 10,818 2,294 2,415 164 21,735
Deo  108 108
Dhariwal  345 92 10 243 54 744
Dhillon 275 53 74 359 8 769
Dhotar 29 38 246 44 357
Ghumman 233 659 115 379 43 1,429
Gill 484 727 303 809 312 2,635
Goraya 770 105 1,603 816 297 3,591
Hanjra  838 826 1,347 736 587 4,334
Haral 185 336 90 5 643
Kahlon  108 91 62 261
Kharal  219 231 4,004 1,859 5,763 12,077
Khokhar  825 1,795 1,999 2,125 1,149 7,893
Lodike  2,630 45 2,675
Maan  39 5 87 77 245 453
Mangat  103 67 135 107 23 435
Pannun  176 18 41 16 251
Randhawa  5 156 85 322 9 577
Sahi  218 316 121 370 25 1,050
Samra  162 38 56 121 29 406
Sandhu  592 658 452 1,064 426 3,192
Sarai  234 62 296
Sidhu  97 99 196
Sipra  121 111 372 12 42 658
Tarar  244 945 3,046 562 44 4,841
Virk  1,770 655 620 3,460 1,139 7,644
Waraich  3,577 2,875 1,101 1,305 652 9,510

Sahiwal District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 118,940 (88%) out of a total population of 151,186. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

Tribe Sahiwal Tehsil Gugera Tehsil Dipalpur Tehsil Pakpattan Tehsil Total
Arar  108 1,648 44 1,800
Bhadro  440 2 36 160 638
Bhatti 121 240 1,105 510 1,976
Chadhar 694 892 660 37 2,283
Chauhan  69 49 141 258 517
Dhaku 188 13 221 251 673
Dhudhi 94 245 128 115 582
Hans  128 71 390 375 964
Jakhar 200 343 49 84 676
Jhandir 10 651 28 679
Joiya  300 292 387 979
Kalsan  1 295 261 10 576
Kharal  8 32 491 206 735
Khichi 260 455 183 409 1,307
Khokhar  1,142 687 1,121 1,187 4,137
Mahaar 17 9 1,011 218 1,255
Malil  168 269 547 649 1,633
Nonari 195 83 1,432 738 2,448
Sahu 649 186 112 231 1,178
Sapral  179 47 101 273 600
Sial 818 772 818 1,301 3,709

 

 

Lahore District

The total Muslim Jat population of the district, according to the 1931 Census of India, was 77,915 (38%) out of a total population of 204,406. According to the 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans:

Tribe Lahore Tehsil Chunian Tehsil Kasur Tehsil Total
Aulakh  212 126 19 357
Awan  2,715 567 151 3,433
Bajwa  295 68 129 492
Batth  254 85 1 340
Bhatti  1,230 667 145 2,042
Bhullar  669 92 612 1,373
Buttar  43 10 145 198
Chahal  182 362 17 561
Chander 358 311 52 1,221
Chauhan 247 52 94 393
Cheema  337 115 151 603
Chhina  207 98 437 742
Deo  35 58 18 111
Dhariwal  140 358 254 752
Dhillon 777 405 524 1,706
Gill  1,330 400 651 2,381
Ghuman  163 199 41 403
Gondal  558 355 97 1,080
Goraya  158 106 216 480
Hanjra 94 633 111 838
Heer  243 128 10 376
Joiya  81 537 31 649
Khaira  3 80 24 107
Kharal  318 1,629 121 2,064
Khokhar  1,065 1,386 257 2,708
Maan 288 7 342 637
Malhi  37 117 154
Pannun  7 7
Randhawa  7 22 69 162
Samra  9 36 45
Sandhu 3,153 2,798 4,014 9,965
Sansi  475 43 4 522
Sarai 256 49 46 351
Sekhon  58 59 46 155
Sidhu  419 603 1,002
Sial  266 952 155 1,373
Tarar  38 7 125 170
Uppal  29 58 87
Virk  576 509 290 1,375
Waraich  212 126 19 357