Tarar and Ranjha Jats

In this post, I will look at the two tribes of Jat status, that are found between the Chenab and Jhelum rivers, with the Tarar also found further east, across the Chenab in Hafizabad district. My post on the Gondal Jats gives a bit information on the Jats of this region.

Below is a breakdown by population of the larger Jat tribes of Gujrat District, which included Mandi Bahaudin for the 1911 Census of India.

Tribe Population
Waraich 41,557
Gondal

23,355

Tarar

14,365

Totle 4,192

Langrial

3,736
Sahi

3,736

Sandhu

3,442

Hanjra

2,751

Cheema 2,572
Thathaal 1,930
Bangial 1,679
Sial 1,511
Heer 1,451
Dhotar 1,355
Sipra 1,084
Mangat 1,075
Kang 1,032
Virk 1,030
Chadhar 976
Ghumman 846
Chauhan 726
Dhillon 692
Badhan 662
Sarai 631
Bains 596
Bagril 586

The absence of the Ranjha from 1911 Census was clearly an omition, as the Ranjha are a major tribe of what was then the Phalia tehsil of the old Gujrat District. I would ask the reader to look at my post on Warriach as well, which gives further information on this region. After the Warriach and Gondal, the Tarar were the third and Ranjha were the fourth largest tribe in the Jech Doab. The central and southern regions of the Jech are entirely inhabitted by the Jats, but as we move north, the region is largely Gujjar, indeed Gujrat means land of the Gujjars, until we reach the hilly region, most of which was in Jammu and Kashmir State, that we found the Chib and other Rajputs. Indeed most of the Jat clans have stories of finding the region inhabitted by the Gujjars, who they expelled. According to the traditions of many of the Jat tribes of the Chenab valley, they accepted Islam at the hands of the Sufi saint Daud Bandagi Kirmani (1513-1575),  who came from the Multan Province. Such traditions are common in particular among the Bajwa, Basra,  Chatha, Cheema, Dhothar,  Goraya, Ghumman, Hanjra, Maan, Tarar, Sandhu, Sahi, Virk, Waraich and Waseer. Whatever the circumstances, most of the Jat of this region were Muslim by the time of the arrival of the British in the mid-19th Century.

Map Showing the Doabs of Punjab. Source Wikepedia

Tarar

I start off this post by looking at the Tarar tribe of Jats. The Tarar consider themselves and are considered Jat by others. So who exactly are these Tarars? According to their tribal traditions, their ancestor was Tarar, was a Rajput originally from Bikaner in Rajasthan, who took service with Mahmud of Ghazna, and converted to Islam. His elder son Lohi is said to have stayed behind in Bhatner (now Hanumangarh in Rajasthan), inheriting the family lands, while Tarar settled in what is now Gujrat district.

The Mandi Bahaudin Tarar claim descent from Bhatti, third in descent from Lohi, who, with his ten sons, settled at Jokalian. Three sons are said to have disappeared, going south; the remaining seven founded many villages south of Jokalian, in the Phalia tehsil of Mandi Bahaudin and in the Hafizabad district. The seven subdivisions of the Tarar claim descent from the seven sons. There are said to be a total of 83 Tarar villages in this region.

The Hafizabad Tarars have slightly different origin story. Here there ancestor was Banni, third in descent from Tarar. Banni settled in Jokalian, it is possible that Bani and Bhatti are one and the same person. One of his sons, Amrah left Phalia and settled in what is now Hafizabad district, founding the village of Amrah. In Hafizabad, they are now found in sixty two villages, all whom claim descent from Amrah. This origin myth does seem to suggest that the Tarars are certainly one of the oldest of the settled Jat tribes. Most of their villages are found near the banks of the Chenab river, which does suggest a pastoral background.

The Tarar had remained Hindu until the time of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (October 1542– 27 October 1605). According to a local tradition common among the Gujranwala Tarar, Akbar  sent a military expedition against them as a condequence of thir constant challenges to the Mughal ruler., The Tarar were defeated and Kaulo Tarar, the head of the Tarar Jat tribe was killed. His wife was pregnant, at that time fled to the jungles of his area, where she took refuge. Here she met a Fakir, who said that she was destined to bear a son and would be well, but advised her to bring him up in the true faith, he was named Mohammed Mirza. With the passage of time the Tarar Jat clans, descendants of Kaulo Tarar grew in numbers, and their possessions increased. The district flourished during Mughal rule, from the days of Akbar. The authorities built wells which were scattered over the whole country, and villages lay thickly dotted about the southern plateau, now a barren waste of grass land and scrub jungle. Their remains may still be found in the wildest and most solitary reaches of the Bar. With the breakdown of Mughal Empire, Sultan Muhammad a Tarar chieftain created a mini state that was destroyed by Ranjit Singh in the late 18th Century.

In Hafizabad District, Tarar villages include Beri Wala, Vanike Tarar, Kolo Tarar, Sindhowan Tarar, Rasoolpur Tarar, and Muzaffar Tarar While in Mandi Bahauddin district, most Tarar villages are found in Mandi Bahauddin and Phali tehsils. In Phalia Tehsil there villages include Adda Pahrianwali, Agroya, Bahri, Bhagat, Bhekho, Bherowal, Bhoa Hassan, Bumbi, Burj Ghanian, Chak Abdulla, Chak Kamal, Chak Mitha, Charound, Chayto, Dhaboola, Dhal, Dharekan Kalan, Dhola Khurd, Dhunni Kalan, Dhunni Khurd, Ghanian, Ghoghanwali, Gujjan, Haigerwala, Jago Kalan, Jokalian, Haigerwala, Kala Shadian, Kot Hamid Shah, Kot Sattar Sharqi, Kuthiala Sheikhan, Ladher, Lakhia, Mailu Kohna, Mangat, Mano Chak, Melu, Mureed, Pejo Kot, Pindi Kaloo, Raike, Randiyali, Saida Sharif, Sainthal, Sarang, Sohawa Dilowana, Sulaiman, Tariqabad, Thatha Alia, Thathi Mureed, and Thatti Shah Muhammad. In Mandi Bauddin Tehsil and include Balhar, Chak Basawa, Chak Shabaz, Chak Mano, Barri Tarar, Kala Shadian, Kot Pundiwala, Lak, Ghanian, Rattowal, , Shaheedanwali, Takhat Mal Tarar and Wasu.   Outside the core Tarar area, there are also several Tarar villages in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil of Jhelum District such as Dhudhi Thal, Kot Umer and Sherpur. In Chakwal District they are found in Dhok Virk.

Distribution of Tarar by District According to 1911 Census of India

District Population
Gujrat 14,365
Gujranwala 4,841
Shahpur (Sargodha) 1,716
Jhelum 745
Lyalpur (Faisalabad) 514
Lahore 170
Total Population 22,351

 

The Tarar of Lyalpur were largely settlers from Phalia, brought in by the British to settle the Bars of Punjab in the late 19th Century, while those of Lahore claimed descent from an ancestor who left Amrah in last days of Mughal rule (around 1700s).

Ranjha

The other tribe I am looking at in this post is perhaps the most famous of the Jat tribes, that of the Ranjha. They are famous on account of the fact that Deedo Ranjha, the hero of the famous Punjabi legend of Heer Ranjha belonged to this tribe. Despite being refered to as Ranjha, the actual name of this folk hero was Deedo, with Ranjha being the name of the tribe. So who exactly are these Ranjhas. The answer is far from simple, with several traditions. Early British writers on Punjab ethnography suchSir Denzil Ibbetson classified them as Bhatti Rajputs. Howver, others such Horace Arthur Rose did note claims to Arab or even Qureshi ancestry. According to this tradition, the Ranjha are descended from Abu Jahl, uncle of the Prophet Mohammed, as such are of Qureshi ancestry. Ikrama’s son by name of Jagis is said to have settled in Ghazna, in Afghanistan. A descendent of Jagis by the name of Duranah accompanied Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna to the Kirana Bar. Ranjah, the son of Durranah founded the town of Nasirpur, near present day Sargodha. Ranjah and his three sons Khamb (said to be the ancestor of the Khamb tribe), Chuha and Jhal, divided the Bar among themselves. When the Gondal are said to have arrived, a hundred years later, both the tribes co-operated in pushing the Gujars out of the Kirana Bar.

There he settled, and by marrying other Jat clans, the Ranjha became Jat. By the early 20th Century, traditions of descent from Abu Jahl were dropped in favour of emphasising his son Ikrama bin Abi Jahl. Ranjha writters began to refer to a Sultan Mohammad, who was said to be a commander in the army Muhammad Bin Qasim, the Arab conqueror of Sindh. While Mohammad Bin Qasim was recalled back to Damascus, Sultan Mohammad stayed on in Sindh, marrying a local girl. The only problem with this legend is that Ranjha are seen by others as Jats, and indeed intermarry with other Jat tribes such as the Gondal and Tarrars, their neighbours. While groups claiming Qureshi descent very rarely marry Jats.

In addition to the Ranjha proper, the Gudgor and Khamb are branches of the Ranjhas, that have now evolved into distinct clans. However, as I say on the post on the Khamb, they also have separate origin myths. The Ranjha are found in the eastern uplands of Sargodha, Mandi Bahauddin and Gujrat districts, with a smaller number are also found in Jhelum and Gujranwala districts

Villages Kirana Bar Mandi Bahaudin District

In Mandi Bahauddin District, the Ranjha are found in the villages of Bhindar Kalan, Bohat, Bosaal, Chak Fateh Shah, Dhok Jori Madhre, Ratowal, Khamb Khurd, Mianwal, Pandowal, Kotali Mastani, Nain Ranjha, Ghang, Sajan, Sahbowal, Bhojuwal, Khairewal, Burg Agar, Bhukh, Ghanni Ghanna, Chak Mian,Kot Sher Muhammad, Musa Kalan, Kot Hast Khan, Musa Kurd, Hamber, Walayt wala, Ghut Kurd, Chut Kalan, Noorpur Kehna, Khamb Alam, Ghar Lakhan, Chak chut, Burg Hassan, Burg Ghanian, Raan, Bherowal, Takhar Miana, Fatehwala, Wariyaam and Wasu. Thatha Hust, and Thatha Ameer. In Malakwal Tehsil, Ranjha are found in Ajjowal, Khai, Kot Pindiwala and Makkewal. While in Phalia Tehsil, they are found in Agroya, Anhay Sharif, Bhinder Kalan, Chayto, Dhal. Dharekan Kalan, Dhola Khurd,  Dhoul Bala, Dhoul Zairen, Furkhpur Kohna, Ghoghanwali, Kadher Gharbi, Khamb Kalan, Khamb Khurd, Kot Rehm Shah, Lakha, Madhary, Mianwal Ranjha, Thakkar Kalan, Thatti Bawa, Thatti Shah Muhammad and Noorpur Katvi

Villages Kirana Bar Sargodha District

While in Sargodha, District, their villages include Badar (in Bhera Tehsil), Ran, Rahimpur, Garhi Kala, Mela, Kot Sher Mohammad, Wah Miana, Midh Ranjha, Buccha Kalan, Mela, Dhingran-aali, Chak 88SB, Kot Fazal Ahmed and Jholpur.

Villages Jhelum/ Chakwal

Outside the Kirana Bar, opposite the bank of the Jhelum River, are several Ranjha villages in Jhelum and Chakwal districts. Almost all the Ranjha villages in Jhelum are found in Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, which situated across the river Jhelum from Sargodha. There main villages are Baghanwala, Daulatpur, Chak Mujahid Shumali, Dhudi Thal, Ghowra, Maira Ranjha, Pinanwal, Sial, Sammanwal  and Thil. Outside Pind Dadan Khan Tehsil, Ranjha are also found in the village of Ranjha near Dina. In Chakwal District, the Ranjha are found in the villages of Munday, Ranjha and Sutwal.

Other Ranjha Villages

Kot Ranjha in Gujrat District, Ado Rai and in Kamoke in Gujranwala District. In Dera Ghazi Khan District, the Ranjha are found in Basti Ranjha and Rakh Ranjha.

Distribution of Ranjha by District According to 1911 Census of India

District Jat Rajput
Shapur (Sargodha) 7,536
Jhelum 579
Total Population 7,536 579