Narma and Sohlan Rajput

In this post, I look at two related tribes, the Narma and Sohlan. Both are branches of the famous Parmar Rajputs, who ruled much of central India, from their capital at Ujjain. Once the Parmar state was destroyed, groups of Parmar migrated to different parts of India, including the foothills of the Pir Panjaal.

Narma

Starting off with the Narma, they are a clan of Paharia Rajputs, whose territory extends from Mirpur and Kotli in Azad Kashmir to Gujrat and Rawalpindi in Punjab. According to tribal traditions, they are Agnikula Rajputs descendant of Raja Karan. This Raja Karan was said to be from Ujjain or Kathiawar, although the Thathaal tradition is he was the ruler of Thanesar in Haryana. My post on the Nonari also explores this mysterious figure found among the traditions of many Punjab tribes. The Narma, therefore are Panwar Rajputs, who ruled Malwa and Ujjain, their famous kings names were Raja Bikramjeet and Raja Bahoj. During the invasions of Mahmood of Ghaznai the Narma were said to be living in the Haryana. Naru Khan 8th descent of Raja Karan accepted Islam and the tribe were named after him; Naru or Narma Rajputs. They were land owner of several villages within Haryana; the chief men of this tribe were known by the title Rai, and this title is still used by their descendants presently. Most Narma Rajputs have accepted Islam, although some remain Hindu. The Panwars are said to have thirty four branches, named after places, titles, language and person’s names like Omtawaar were known as the descendants of Omta, similarly the descendants of Naru became Naruma and then Narma.

 

Naru and Narma

There might be a common ancestory between Naru and Narma, they both claim their ancestor name was Naru, who accepted Islam and given new name Naru Khan during the invasion of Mahmood of Ghazna, and he lived in Haryana area. However, the Narma claim that they are of Panwar Rajput ancestry, while Naru origin stories make reference to Chandravanshi origin (Please see my article on the Pothohar tribes on Rajput sub-divisions). Coming back to the Narma, their origin myth refers to a Rai Pahre Khan, seven generations from Naru Khan who came from Kaithal in Haryana to what is now Jhelum district and founded two villages Fatehpur and Puran. A descendent of Pahre Khan, Rai Jalal Khan relocated to Senyah. As a tribe, the Narma are distributed over a large territory with Gujrat in the east, Rawalpindi in the west, and Mirpur and Poonch in the north, with Panjan in Azad Kashmir being a centre of the tribe.

Clans

The Narmas in Gujrat say that they have nine clans which are as follows:

1. Sadrya

2. Adryal

3. Sambrhyal

4. Haudali

5. Jalali

6. Alimyana

7. Joyal

8. Umrali

9. Hassanabdalia.

Narma Rajputs in Indian administered Kashmir

In India administered Kashmir, they are found mainly in villages near Naushehra in Rajauri District. There main villages include Jamola and Gurdal Paine.

Narma Rajput in Azad Kashmir

Important Narma villages in Azad Kashmir include Khoi Ratta, Narma, Panjan, Dhargutti, Palal Rajgan, Panjpir, Prayi, Charohi, Rasani, Sabazkot, Sanghal, Senyah, and Tain all in Kotli District.

In Bagh District, their villages include Sirawera, Dhoomkot. Kaffulgarh, Ghaniabad, Bees Bagla, Sarmundle, Mandri, Bhutti, Nikkikair, Awera, Dhundar, Cheran, Makhdomkot, Chattar, Adyala Paddar, Lober, and Patrata.

While in Bhimber District, they are found in the villages of Haripur (Samani Tehsil), Jhangar (Bhimber Tehsil), Makri Bohani (Bhimber Tehsil), Broh (Bhimber Tehsil), Khamba (Bhimber Tehsil), Thandar (Bhimber Tehsil), Siyala (Bhimber Tehsil), Garhone (Bhimber Tehsil), and Chadhroon (Bhimber Tehsil).

Narma Rajput in Punjab

In Punjab, they are found in the districts of Gujrat, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. The villages of Puran and Fatehpur in Jhelum District are said to be their earliest settlements. In Rawalpindi, they are found in Jocha Mamdot ,Sood Badhana and Narmatokh Kangar villages.

Sohlan

Sohlan is said to have emigrated from Malwa in the middle ages, settling in the foothills of the Pir Panjal mountains, and converting to Islam. The Sohlan established a principality based on the town of the Khari Sharif and during the time of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals the reigning authorities never levied taxes in the Solhan ruled areas, in lieu of peaceful passage to Kabul. There are however other traditions which connect the Sohlan clan with the royal family from Kishtawar; with Raja Sohlan Singh quarrelling with his relations and settling in Khari, and expelling the Gujjar population. Legend also has it that Mangla Devi an ancestor of the tribe and after whom Mangla is named after was the first person from the tribe to convert to Islam. This site has now been inundated by the construction of the Mangla Dam in Mirpur District. After the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the Sohlan areas came under the rule of the Sikhs. This rule lasted until 1846 when Sohlan inhabited areas north of the Jhelum river were handed over to the Gulab Singh Dogra in an agreement with the British as part of the Treaty of Amritsar. As result of this treaty, Sohlan territory was effectively partitioned, with Sohlan south of the Jhelum coming under direct British areas, in what became the district of Jhelum and sub-district of Gujar Khan. Despite this separation, both the Chibhal territory of Jammu State and British Pothohar continued to share common cultural traditions, with minor dialectial differences between Pothwari and Pahari languages.

 

Presently, the Sohlan are found chiefly in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, with small numbers found in Jhelum, Gujar Khan, and Rawalpindi.

Starting with Mirpur District, their villages include Bani (Mirpur), Dalyala, Ghaseetpur Sohalian, Koonjarai Nawab, Mehmunpur, and Sahang. Sohlan villages in Mirpur are located mainly around the town of Khari Sharif which has historically been ruled by this clan. Since the development of the Mangla Dam, old Jabot Village, which was also an important Sohlan village was submerged underwater causing many families to move to Khari Sharif, and establishing the village of New Jabot. The Sohlan village in Jhelum District are located north of the city of Jhelum near the border with Mirpur, the principal settlement being Sohan. Other villages include Gatyali or Patan Gatalyan, Chak Khasa, Pakhwal Rajgan, Chitti Rajgan, Pind Ratwal Tahlianwala, Dhok Sohlnan, Piraghaib and Langerpur. They are closely connected to with both the Bhao and Chibs, who are their neighbours, and with whom they share good many customs and traditions. Outside this core area, Sohlan villages include Sahang and Dhok Sohlan in Tehsil Gujar Khan district, Morah Sohlan, Pehount in the Islamabad Capital Territory and Naar Mandho in Kotli District.

Bohar, Chachar, Chhajra and Parhar tribes

In this post I will look at four tribes, namely the Bohar, Chachar, Chhajra and Parhar, whose territory stretches from Sargodha in the north to Bahawalpur. In terms of distribution, all four of these tribes have a substantial presence in Sindh as well, but in this blog I will only look at their position in Punjab. Three of these tribes, namely the Bohar, Chhajra and Parhar have traditions of migrating from Rajasthan, and settling in Bahawalpur. The Bohar still have a substantial presence in the Cholistan region, where they are still nomadic.

Bohar

The Bohar are a tribe of Jat status, with quite a few still found as nimads in the Cholistan desert. According to their tribal traditions, the Bohar claim descent from Bohar a Panwar Rajput, who is said to have converted to Islam by the famous Sufi saint Syed Jalal of Uch Sharif. The Bohar were involved in conflict with the Naich, another Jat tribe, and the Sayyid tried to stop the conflict, by asking the two tribes to intermarry. While the Bohar agreed, the Naich refused, and killed their Bohar son-in-laws. As such, the Bohar dispersed into the Cholistan and Jaisalmer deserts, where many are still nomadic. However, the Bohar of Sargodha, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan are settled farmers, no different from the other Jat tribes of the region.

 

Bohar Villages

In Hasilpur, they are found in Bohar Wali Gali.

In Lodhran District found in the village of Basti Gareban near the town of Kehror Paka

In Dera Ghazi Khan District, Bohar villages include Basti Shah Ali Bohar, Wah Bohar and Bohar.

In Rajanpur District, their main village is Basti Bohar.

In Okara District, Boharwala is their main village.

In Pakpattan District, Bohar is their main village.

In Multan District their main villages are Bohar Lodhran and Bohar.

In Vehari District, their main village is Bohar.

In Rajanpur,their main village is Basti Bohar

Chachar

Chachar are Jat clan found in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan. Like most tribes of the Indus plain, they are a number of traditions as to their origin, which are often contradictory. Among the Bahawalpur Chachar, a strong claim is made to Barlas Mughal ancestry. In this tradition, Chachar is a prince, who is a descendent of Timur or Tamerlane. However, the Chachar of Ghotki have traditions that they are Abbasi Arabs, descendents of the Prophet’s uncle Abbas ibn Abdul Mutalib. It interesting to note, that in the Ghotki Sukkur region of Sindh, several tribes such as the Kalhoras and Daudpotas have tradition of Abbasi descent. Despite these claims to Arab or Mughal ancestry, the Chachar are considered by their neighbours and themselves as Jats, and intermarry with tribes of Jat status. In Bahawalpur, the Chachars have several septs : — Raj-de, the highest in status ; Rahmani, whose ancestors were khalifas of Ghaus Baha-ud-Din Zakariya : hence they are also called Shaikh-Rahmani, and some sanctity still attaches to the sept ; Narang, Jugana, Jhunjha, Chhutta, Gureja, Rukana, Kalra, Mudda, Duwani, Dohija, Gabrani, Muria, Kharyani and Zakriani or followers of Ghaus Baha-ud-Din Zakariya.

In Punjab they are found in Sargodha, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Okara and Lodhran districts, with Basirpur in Okara District being an important village of this tribe. In Sindh, the Chachars are foundi n Pano Aqil, Ghotki, Sukkur and Kashmore districts. Gamero, Haji Khan Chachar, Essa chachar, Dari and Yusuf Chachar are some Chachar villages in Ghotki District.

 

Chhajra

The Chhajra are a Saraiki speaking Jat clan, and distinct from the Shajra clan, who I have looked at in another post. They claim descent from the Bhatti tribe of Jaisalmer. They came to Multan under Rao Kehar, a chieftain of Jaisalmer, and settled there. There are several individuals by the name of Kehar, who played an important role in Bhatti history. One such Kehar was a contemporary of the Caliph Walid, who is said to have extended the Bhati kingdom of Jaisalmer. Another, who is said to have ruled Jaisalmer in the 16th Century, and conquered all the country up the Indus. It is not clear, which Kehar is being referred to by the Chhajras, but their Bhati descent is accepted by the neighbouring tribes. However, the Chhajras seem unsure as to why Rao Kehar left Jaisalmer, other then the fact he somehow lost power.

In terms of distribution, the Chhajra are largely found in they are found mainly along the Indus, in Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Layyah and Multan districts. Important villages in that district include Bindah Ishaq Kallarwali, Manikwali, Sharif Chhajra, Bet Chhajra, Nuran Chhajra, Muslim Chhajra, qabul Chhajra Shumali, Qabul Chhajra Junubi, Bibipur Chhajra and Qadirpur Chhajra

In Layyah District, their main village is Chhajra.

In Multan District, their main village is Jhok Chhajra.

 

Parhar

The Parhar are a tribe of Jat status, with a very interesting background. They claim descent from the Parihar Rajputs. So exactly were these Parihar or Pratiharas Rajputs. They were a medieval Indian dynasty, descended from the Gurajara- Pratihara tribe, which said to have invaded India, in the 5th Century.The Parhar Jats, are all that remains of the Pratihara presence in the Punjab. They were forced to migrate from south-central Asia in 3-4th century AD due to the White Hun invasions. The Parhar Jat traditions are unclear as to whether the Parhar are survivors of the White Hun invaders, and latter migrants. In Bahawalpur, the Parhar have traditions of migration from Ajmer, and it does seem likely the present Parhar are latter migrants from Rajasthan. It is interesting to note that the nomadic Rath found in Bikaner have a sub-division called the Parhar. The Parhar seem to have migrated up the valleys of the Chenab and Jhelum, a large number are now found in Sargodha, Layyah and Bhakkar districts.

 

The Parhar are now found in Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Jhang, Rajanpur and Sargodha districts of Punjab. Their main village in Dera Ghazi Khan District is Passo Parhar. In Muzaffargarh District, their main villages are Mohammed Parhar, Ghulam Parhar, Parhar Gharbi, and Parhar Sharqi. In Rajanpur Parhar villages include Mullawala, Nooraywala, and Chah Ladywala.

 

In Okara District, their main village is Parhar. In Sargodha District, their main villages are Adrehman, Chak No.17 NB,Chak No 1NB Gakhra, Ganula Sharif and Ratto Kala..

Jhammat, Mekan, Talokar and Tulla tribes

In this post, I shall look at four tribes, whose home is the Chaj Doab, the land between the Chenab and Jhelum rivers, who are all of Jat status. They are all Bar nomads, practising pastoralism, until the arrival of the British in the 19th Century. My post on the Chadhar looks into some detail on the customs and traditions of the Bar nomads. In terms of origin, the Jhammat , Mekan and Talokar are Panwar Rajputs, with traditions of migration from Malwa in central India. Finally, the Tulla are essentialy a clan of the Gondals, but are now practically independent of the parent tribe.

 

Jhammat

I shall start off with the Jhammat, who are found throughout on the edges of Thal, with large concentrations in Bhakkar, Sargodha and Khushab districts. They are in essence Jhammat a tribe of the Bar, living a nomadic existence. Scattered settlements of the Jhammat are now found in an area extending from Jhelum District in the north to Bahawalpur District. Like their neighbours the Mekan, the Jhammat are by origin Panwar Rajputs, with their ancestor Jhammat having left Malwa in what is now Madhya Pradesh in India sometimes in the early 12th Century, arriving in the Punjab, and like their neighbours the Mekan, having converted to Islam at hands of the famous Sufi Baba Farid.

There settlements are now found mainly along the valley of the Jhelum River, with the bulk of the Jhammats found in Chakwal, Jhelum, Sargodha, Khushab and Bhakker districts.

 Villages

Bhakkar District

1) Cheena,

2) Jhammat 

3) Nabuwala

4) Wadhaywala

5) Waheer

Chakwal District

1) Alawal 

2) Sidher

Jhelum District

1) Chak Jalo

2) Chak Mujahid

3) Dewanpur

4) Khai Kotli,

5) Nakodar,

6) Sahow Chak,

7) Peraghaib

8) Pinnanwal

Sargodha District

1) Bunga Jhammat,

2) Bunga Jhammatawala

4)Jhammat Ranjhewala,

5) Jhammat

6) Shaikhwal

7) Verowal

8) Mangowal Kalan

Other Districts

Other Jhammat villages include Jhammat in Attock District, Jhammat Teli in Rawalpindi District, Jhammatabad and Jhammat Nauabad in Gujrat District,  Chak 232 JB in Jhang District and Jhatwan in Sheikhupura.

 

Mekan

Our next tribe, the Meken, sometimes also spelt Maikan or even Meikan, are a tribe of Jat status. They claim descent from the Panwar (Parmar) Rajputs, and spring from the same ancestor as the Dhudhi tribe. The tribe claims to have settled in the Thal, after the end of Arab rule in Sindh, when the Hindu king of Kanauj, a Parmar Rajput took possession of the Thal region, and settled his kinsmen, the Mekan. They then established a state based in the town of Mankera, now in Bhakkar District, which covered much of the Thal, and lasted for five hundred years, until the state was destroyed by invading Baloch. According to one of their traditions, the Mankera state was founded by a Raja Singh, who belonged to the royal house of Kannauj, and said to have accepted Islam during the time of the Sultan of Delhi, Ghias-ud-din Balban, courtesy of Baba Farid Ganj Shakr. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, the Baloch from Makran flocked into the country in and around Mankera, and subsequently ruled this state for the next three hundred years. The Mekans that settled in the Kirana Bar, and became pastoralist, like the other tribes of the Bar. They, occupied a copact territory in the Kirana Bar, lying to the west of Gondal territory, although a smaller number are also in Jhelum and Gujrat districts. There present territory now forms part of Sargodha, Khushab,and Mianwali districts, although as already mentioned, there are smaller broken settlements in Jhelum, Gujrat, and Mandi Bahauddin districts. In Pothohar, in Jhelum / Chakwal region, the Mekan form an important tribal community.

The Mekans form the majority of the population in Kot Bhai.Khan union council of Sargodha. Their villages in Sargodha District include Behak Maken, said to have been first village founded by the Mekans when they moved to the Bar , Abu Wala, Chakrala, Deowal, Gondal (Shahpur Tehsil), Mochiwal, Okhli Mohla, Sultanpur Meknawala, Jalpana, Dera Karam Ali Wala, Chak No 88 N.B,Chak No 142 N.B, Nihang Chak 71 NB Chak 74 NB, Chak 10 N.B,  Chabba Purana, Faiz Sultan Colony in Shahpur Tehsil, Kot Bhai Khan, Kot Pehlwan, Aqal Shah, Kot Kamboh, Wadhi, Kot Shada, Gul Muhammad Wala and Verowal in Bhera Tehsil and Sher Muhamadwala in Bhalwal Tehsil. Accross the Jhelum, Mekan are also found in Mohibpur village in Khushab District.

Outside this core areas, in Jhelum District, there most important villages are Chautala (Jhelum Tehsil) , Chak Mujahid (Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil) and Tobah (Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil), while in Chakwal District, important Mekan villages include Mangwal, Vero, Lakhwal, Thanil Kamal, Dingi Zer, Dhoke Dhabri (almost evenly divided between Gondal and Mekan), Chak Bhoun, Dhoke Maykan near Thoa Bahdur and Ghugh (which largely a Ghugh Jat villages, but home to several Mekan families). The Mekan Jats in terms of population form the most important Jat clan in Chakwal.

While in Gujrat District, they are found in village Mekan in Kharian Tehsil, and in neighbouring Mandi Bahaudin District, there main villages are Lassouri Kalan, Lassouri Khurd, Mekan and Thatti Bawa.

Talokar

The Talokar are another large an important Jat tribe of the Thal. Like the Jhammats, the Talokar claim to by descent Panwar Rajputs. According to their traditions, they are the related to Sial and Tiwana tribes. Supposedly all three tribes descend from three brothers, Tila, Sila and Taloka. Once again, like the Jhammat, the Talokar traditions state that they accepted Islam at the hands of the famous Sufi Baba Farid Shukar Gunj. The Talokars came from East Punjab in India, and first settled near Bhera in Sargodha District. Their first settlements were the villages were Kalara and Kurrar Talokar. From there, they spread to the east side of the Indus River, founding the villages of Bakharra (Kacha), Ding and Khola (Thal), in Mianwali District. Like the Niazi Pashtuns, who are their neighbours in Mianwali, the Talokar are subdivided in clans, referred to as khels. Important Talokar khels in Mianwali include the Lato Khel,Shahbaz Khel,Baqir Khel,Yaroo Khel, and Rangay Khel

Important Talokar villages include Talokar, Talokar Shumali, Talokar Jannubi and Chak Talokaranwala and a good many other villages near the town of Noor Pur Thal in Khushab District. A small number of Talokar are also found in Bandial village near the border with Mianwali District. In Mianwali itself, there villages include Ding Khola Talokar (New Ding Sharif, Saeed Abad (Sharqi and Gharbi), Lal Khelan wala, Zaman Kelan wala, Hashim Naggar, Tahir Abad, Shahbaz Khelanwala and Khanqah Sirrajia.

Tulla

The last tribe I will look at in this post are the Tulla, who are much more localized then the tribes discussed. They are a classic Chaj Doaba Jat, raising cattle, and leading a nomadic lifestyles until the arrival of the British.

According to their traditions, they are, in fact, a sept of the Gondal Jat tribe. They say, their ancestor being childless vowed that if he had a son he would give his weight in gold and silver to the poor. His son was so weighed and was give the nickname Tula, from the Punjabi word tolna, which, means to weigh. However, the Tulla are now independent of the Gondals, being considered a distinct tribe.
Their villages are found mainly in the Shahpur Tehsil of Sargodha District, such as Jahanabad, Mahmud Tulla and Jalpana. Other important Tulla villages is Miana Kooh in Mandi Bahaudin district.