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Tarkhan (tribe)

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Tarkhan (tribe)

This article is about Tarkhan, a Northern Indian tribe. For other uses, see Tarkan (disambiguation)
Tarkhan (Punjab)
Regions with significant populations
Punjab
Languages
Punjabi, Hindi, English
Religion
Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
other Indo-Aryans

The Tarkhan (Punjabi: ترخان (Shahmukhi), तरख़ान (Devanagari) tarkhān) are considered a Punjabi tribe in Pakistani Punjab while a caste in Indian Punjab. They are carpenters by occupation.[1]

H.A. Rose[1] supposed that they are descended from the Saka tribes, and originally settled in Taxila. Scholars such as Khalsa have analysed the work of ethnographers such as Ibbetson, Cunningham, and Elliot, and have concluded that agrarian and artisan communities in Punjab such as Tarkhans may be of Scythian origin.[2]

Further analysis has suggested that Tarkhans may be descended from Scythic tribes who settled in north-western India in successive waves between 500 B.C. too 500 AD.[3][4]

Tarkhan clans

According to Sir Denzil Ibbetson[2], the major Twelve Tarkhan clans (Based on 1881 census) of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier Province in the order as they occur from east to west are:

  • Jhangra - found in Delhi and Hissar
  • Dhaman/Dhiman - found in Karnal, Ambala, Jalandahar, Sialkot, Patiala, Nabha, Faridhkot and Firozpur.
  • Khatti - found in Karnal, Ambala, Jalandahar, Sialkot, Patiala, Nabha, Faridhkot and Firozpur.
  • Siawan - Jallandhar and Sialkot
  • Gade - Amritsar
  • Matharu - Ludhiana, Amritsar and Lahore.
  • Netal - Hoshiarpur
  • Janjua - Rawalpindi
  • Tharu - Gurdaspur and Sialkot
  • Khokar - Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan
  • Bhatti - Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan
  • Begi Khel - Hazara.

Ibbetson notes further that:

"The carpenters of Sirsa are divided into two great sections: the Dhaman/Dhiman and Khatti proper, and the two will not intermarry. These are two great tribes of the Lohars (q.v.). The Dhamans again include a tribe of Hindu Tarkhans called Suthar, who are almost entirely agricultural, seldom working in wood, and who look down upon the artisan sections of their caste. They say they came from Jodhpur, and that their tribe still holds villages and revenue free grants in Bikaner."

Tarkhans and Lohars

Historically,the Sikh tarkhan's occupation was carpentry as well as being blacksmiths.Many administrators of the British Raj period who also wrote books  - such as H. A. Rose[5] and Denzil Ibbetson[6] - referred to the blacksmith communities as Lohars, although in fact that term refers to a specific group of people sikligar and is not the synonym that they supposed.[7]

[3]
Ibbetson Page 312
In Hushyarpur They are said to form a single caste called Lohar-Tarkhan, and the son of a blacksmith will often take to carpentry and vice versa; but it appears that the two castes were originally separate, for the joint caste is still divided into two sections who will not intermarry or even eat or smoke together, the Dhaman, from dhamna "to blow", and the Khatti from khat "wood". In Gujranwala the same two castes exist; and they are the two great Tarkhan tribes also (see section 627). In Karnal a sort of connection seems to be admitted, but the castes are now distinct. In Sirsa the Lohars may be divided into three main sections; the first, men undoubted and recent Jat and even Rajput origin who have generally by reason of poverty, taken to work as blacksmiths; secondly the Suthar Lohar or members of the Suthar tribe of carpenters who have similarly changed their original occupation; and thirdly, the Gadya Lohar, a class of wandering blacksmith not uncommon throughout the east and south east of the Province, who come up from Rajputana and the North West Provinces and travel about with their families and implements in carts from village to village, doing the finer sorts of iron work which are beyond the capacity of the village artisan. The tradition runs that Suthar Lohars, who are now Musalman, were originally Hindu Tarkhans of the Suthar tribe (see section 627); and that Akhbar took 12,000 of them from Jodhpur to Delhi, forcibily circumcised them, and obliged them to work in iron instead of wood. The story is admitted by a section of the Lohars themselves, and probably has some substratum of truth. These men came to Sirsa from the direction of Sindh, where they say they formerly held land, and are commonly known as Multani Lohars.

See also

Dhiman

References

  • A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province 1919
  • ^ Sir Denzil Ibbetson. Panjab Castes - page 312f.[year needed]
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