November 20, 2008

Other Castes of District Sialkot


Khokars are also found here and there in different parts of the district and are not a distinctively Sialkot tribe as they inhabit various tracts along the Chenab and Jhelum Valleys. Their origin is very obscure and their history occupies eleven pages of the "Glossary of Tribes ad Castes". They deserve mention here mainly because the influential of Raya Tehsil Mirowal family belongs to this clan.

Khokar is a common got name among Lohars, Tarkhans and Chuhras.


The Awans occupy a strip of country stretching from Maharajke in Zafarwal, due west, into Gujrat. They have very exalted theories about their descent, and describe themselves as the looting auxiliaries of some invaders of India from the west. But the fact that they still consult Brahmins points to a Hindu origin. They are all Muhammadans and agriculturists. They have good physique.

Like the Khokhars and Bhattis this tribe is by no means confided to the Sialkot district.


The Arains are probably an offshoot of the Kamboh or Saini tribe. They are found all over the district, generally as tenants, and they frequently enjoy rights of occupancy. They are famous market-gardeners and excel at intensive cultivation. In the Raya Tehsil especially they are of fine physique and are the best looking people in that tract. They are all Muhammadans.


Other agricultural tribes or clans notified as such under the Punjab Alienation of Land Act are the Baghban, Dogar, Ghakkar, Gujar, Kamboh, Kureshi, Labana, Mughal, Pathan saini and Saynd. None of them is of much importance numerically. Baghbans are related to the Arain tribe. The origin of the Dogar is obscure, but in this district they rank as a Jat clan. On the whole they are peaceful agriculturists, though their reputation is somewhat suspect. Ghakkar is a Rajput clan. There are very few of them in this district.


The Gujars were originally a pastoral race. In this district they are scarcely to be distinguished from the Jats and are quiet agriculturists, not inferior to their neighbors in the art of cultivation.


The Kamboh and Arain are probably caste fellows, but the former is not addicted to market gardening as is the latter.


Kureshis are of Arab descent and belong to the same tribe as the Prophet (PBUH). Their strong-hold in the Sialkot district is Chiti Shekhan where some reputed relics of the Prophet (PBUH) are kept. The tribe enjoys an odor of sanctity. Some of them are hakims and the profession of medicine is hereditary in one or two families. They are not good cultivators.


Labanas are a peculiar race found in the Raya, Pasrur and Sialkot Tehsils. They are all Sikhs and are freely recruited especially for Pioneer Regiments. In this district they are agriculturists, hard-working and persistent, quarrelsome and acquisitive. In some villages they have a bad reputation as thieves. In the Daska Tehsil there are a few settlements of Bahrupias, whose features and ways closely resemble those of the Labanas of other Tehsils. They have had the good fortune, however, to be recognized officially as Rajputs although they are probably Labanas or Mahtams in origin. The Bahrupias are all tenants with rights of occupancy, but they also practice the profession of mimics, assuming various disguises and begging money as a reward for their skill in doing so.


The Mahtams of the rive rain villages in Raya when they wear the kes closely resemble in appearance Labanas and Bahrupias. They are all three as a rule lean, wiry and swarthy. The Mahtams are tenants, sometimes with right of occupancy, but they are poor cultivators, while the Labanas are good and the Bahrupias excellent agriculturists. Mahtams are much addicted to sport, and coursing hares or netting pigs has much more attraction for them than ploughing the soil. The Mughals, Pathans and Sayads of this district are somewhat poor specimens of once great Musalmans tribes which came into India with various invaders. How far the claim of the so-called Sayads to belong to that tribe is justified cannot be said, but it is notorious that the genealogy of many of them will not bear inspection.


They are very few Sainis in the district. They are the Hindu counterpart of the Arains.


Dat Brahmins are notified as an agricultural tribe in a separate group under the Punjab Alienation of Land Act, 1900. They are found in the village of Zafarwal Dattan in the Raya Tehsil. Like the Dat or Muhil Brahmins of other districts they are addicted to Goverment service in which some of them have attained considerable distinctions, notably the family of Sardar Jai Singh. His eldest son was Sardar Ganda Singh, sardar Bahadur, Honorary Captain, A.-D.-C. to H. E. Lord Roberts when Commander-in-Chief in India. Sardar Ganda Singh served with the 19th Lancers ( Fane Horse ) in the Mutiny, China, Afghanistan and on the Frontier. On retirement in 1894 he was appointed Sub-Registrar of Raya. Sardar Natha Singh, son of Sardar Jai Singh's second son, served as a Tehsildar in Baluchistan and after retiring was appointed Honorary Magistrate and Sub-Registrar in Raya. The late Sardar Bahadur Sardar Sant Singh, son of the third son, was an Extra Assistant Commissioner in the Punjab and served with credit as President of the Council of Regency, Kalsia State. The family holds a hereditary seat in the Provincial Darbar. No families observe primogeniture.

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