The Khakha Rajputs (also spelt Khaka, Kakha and Khake) of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan are clan of Muslim Rajputs who have inhabited the Kashmiri region since the 13th century after the conquer of Janjua warlord Raja Khakha of the region of Upper Jhelum Valley of Kashmir.
They are a branch of the powerful Janjua dynasty of Northern India (and modern day Pakistan). Known for their fierce resistance against all invaders, from the Afghans, Mughals and the Sikhs, the Khakha Rajputs managed to retain their independence through their refractory policy and warlike exploits. They were so influential during their rule, that they aided Mughal Emperors first ever defeat in Kashmir in the Battle of Bulaysa, they defied the Afghan invaders and later terrorised the Sikh governors of Kashmir.
The highly warlike and fierce repute of the Royal Khakha Janjua Warlords earned them an undisputed position in the Jhelum Valley of Kashmir as the most powerful tribe in the region. Their tribal kings, princes and Rajas were renowned for their heroic rebellion against Afghans, Sikhs and British invaders.
The Khakha Rajputs are a branch of the [Janjua Rajput], a famed warrior tribe that has ruled western Punjab since the 13th century in a powerful and warlike fashion. khakha Rajputs are known as the most valiant Kshatriyas (warriors) in Punjab.
The khakha Rajputs are the descendants of Maharaja Janamejaya, Emperor of Hastinapur and great-grandson of the valiant warrior prince Arjun of the Mahabharata, also known as the "Achilles of India". The Khakha Lords are essentially Pandavas. Today, they are entirely Muslim by faith.
Two distinct tribes with the Khakha name
The Khakhas are sometimes confused by speculative historians with the ancient Khasas due to their occupying a similar region of Kashmir, but this is purely theoretical and based simply on phronetic grounds.
Various sources have identified another distinct Kashmiri tribe also named Khakha, as being Muslim Khatris (the distorted word for Kshatriya). Rashmi Pathak has also made mention in her work of a Khatri tribe also called Khakha.
Sir Denzil Ibbetson however, carefully noted that the name Khakha is also a common sobriquet for petty Khatri traders:
|“||Khakha is not an uncommon epithet to apply to any petty Khatri trader....converted to Islam and are found in greatest numbers in the Kashmir hills, lying along the left bank of the Jhelum whence a few have made their way into Hazara and Rawalpindi. Sir John Campbell called them a curiously handsome people.||”|
Confirming this further, other historians have also pondered over the name Khakha as being deriative distortion of the word Khatri rather than an actual name of that tribe:
|“||Historian Pt Har Gopal Kaur feels that the word Brahman got corrupted to make Bamba and the word Khatri to yield Khakha (author - I have no opinion on what these clan names are a corruption of. However, knowing the languages of the area, I have no doubt that these are corruptions of words beginning with B and with K respectively.||”|
Janjua Khakhas proven distinct from the Khatri Khakhas
Interestingly the very same author Parvez Devan, makes reference only two pages earlier of this book, of the Janjua Khakhas as a distinctly separate tribe which appears to nullify Har Gopal Kaur's speculation, who himself never visited the region or led any thorough research into these particular tribes. The historian and writer Parvez Devan who made the above quote, made more thorough research into this and in his work covering the Janjua Khakha Rajputs ancestry, recording their ancestor Raja Mal and stated that the tribe itself attesting Chandravanshi Pandav ancestry and descendency from the Janjua Rajput warrior clan stating;
|“||According to family trees of the clan, Mal was a descendant of Arjun,, the legendary Pandav.... ||”|
Official Evidence - The British Army recruiter, Major Wikeley reported the Khakha Janjua Rajputs as a distinct Janjua Rajput tribe completely distinct from the Khatri Khakha namesakes, whom he in fact dedicated a separate section to in his recruiting manual detailing each Muslim martial tribe recruited into his Punjabi Musalmans regiment. He clearly had personal contact with both tribes and thus confirmed both are distinctly different peoples.
Census figures prove two distinct tribes - Major Wikely recorded irrefutable proof for this via the regional census clearly and distinctly detailing that the Khakha Khatri tribes population figures as 11,260, and of the Khakha Janjua Rajputs as only 1500. This is also displays the significant political regency that such a small tribe has held over the political landscape of this region.
Independent historians have made mention of Raja Mal Janjua's son Raja Khakha Khan's entry and conquer and residence of the Jhelum Valley region. This is also corroborated by the Khakhas own records.
The Janjua Rajput clan, which resides in a different geographical regions of Punjab (Jhelum, Chakwal, Kahuta) to the Khakhas also corroborates the Khakha Rajput's Janjua lineage., thus distinguishing them from the Khatri Khakha namesakes.
This clarifies and concludes that the Khakha Janjua Rajputs are a distinctly different tribe from the Khakha Khatri traders of the neighbouring region, who neither claim to be nor are recognised as Rajputs.
These particular mentioned Khatris were a mercantile trading community, unlike the warlike marauding Khakha Rajput princes.Now some Khakah rajpoot families are living at Village Pulhiar, District Abbottabd, opposite to rara muzaffarabad, these family migrated from Daana Kachi AJK before partition.
Raja Mal Khan
Raja Dhrupet Dev, the King of Mathura, was exiled from his kingdom by the Ghorid General Kutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1195 AD. The Raja and his brother Shripat Dev conquered Chakwal region of Rajghar and settled there. But it was son illustrious son, Raja Mal who established the fortune of the royal house. He was the first Muslim convert from the Janjua Rajput dynasty. He conquered the entire region of Rajghar and renamed it Malluki ki Dhani with its capital at Malot, where he built a large famous fort.
Raja Mal Khan's young son, Raja Khakha Khan is the apical ancestor of the Khakha Rajputs. His elder brothers included Raja Jodh Khan of Makhiala (Jhelum), Raja Bhir Khan of Malot (Chakwal)and Raja Kala Khan of Kahuta.
|“||Raja Mal left five sons...Wir (Bhir), Jodh, Kahla, , and Khaka...Khaka's and Baq's offspring inhabit Muzafferabad, Kot Khakha and other villages near the Jammu frontier||”|
—From The Punjab Chiefs
The Khakha Rajputs during the Mughal Period
The Khakha Rajputs have played an important part in the history of Kashmir by creating alliances with other Kashmiri tribes against many powerful rulers, such as the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Khakha warlords had allied with Yakub Shah against the Mughal army of Akbar at the battle of Bulyasa and were victorious.
Khakha Rajput resistance to the Sikh Empire
During the Sikh Conquer of Kashmir, The Khakha Rajputs united with their age old allies, the Bhamba tribe and fought hard against the invading Sikhs.
|“||The bold and warlike tribes of Bombas and Khakhas who now and then carried out looting incursions into the Valley, were a constant source of anxiety and danger to the Sikhs. In fact many times during their rule Bombas and Khakhas looted the valley as far up as Pattan||”|
— From Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai
It is recorded, that upon a British Officer's visit to Kashmir in 1822, he had to return from Uri as the Khakha chief would not allow him to pass.
The fierce and warlike Khakhas began to intensify their raids in consequence to the weakening Sikh power. Eventually, when Maharaja Gulab Singh assumed rulership of Kashmir, he managed to drive back the Khakhas with great difficulty. But knowing the unrelenting fierce reputation of the rebellious Khakhas, he immediately installed strong garrisons in the forts guarding the passes.
Ancestral title and reputation
The Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu records, "The Khakhás, who enjoy the proud title of Rájá, are Musalmán Rájputs, and trace their descent to Rájá Mal...They regard themselves as belonging to the Janjuah tribe."
The Khakhas are renowned for being a powerful and fiercely warlike Musalman Rajput tribe.
During the period of the Afghan overlordship over the region of Kashmir it is recorded, "..paid little to their overlord and were practically independent." Even when the Sikh empire tightened their hold over the Jhelum Valley of Kashmir, the Khakhas retained a privileged position. In fact, the privilege was such that they would openly wear their weapons and arms in defiance.
Their power and dominance aided Yakub Shah in his defence of Kashmir, in what was the first defeat of Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1582 on his first incursion into the Kashmir valley. But Akbar eventually returned more powerful, and finally conquered the region in 1586.
The Khakha Rajputs have also continued their ancestral tradition of recording of the family lineal tree. The above all indicate a strong a continuance of the Janjua traditions by the Khakha Rajas, making them a highly successful and powerful branch of the Janjua dynasty. They have always been a force to be reckoned with in the Jhelum Valley and their reputation as a fierce warlike tribe is well renowned. Though converted completely to Islam, they continued their traditional title of Rajput a many centuries on.
A strange fact recorded about the tribe, is that their fierce, often predatorial raids during the Sikh age earned them a localised legend, that mothers would tell their children "..the Khakhas are coming..." to frighten them.
This was also corroborated by J.M. Wikely, a Recruiter for the British Indian Army, who called them a "handsome race".
- ^ Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, p669
- ^ Tehreek-e-Janjua by Raja Muhammad Anwar Khan Janjua, Sahiwal Press 1982, v1, p67
- ^ The Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu Sang-e-Meel, 2002, p34
- ^ History of Mediaeval Hindu India by Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya, Cosmo Publ. 1979, p129
- ^ a b Punjab Chiefs by Lepel H. Griffin, Lahore Press, 1909, p214
- ^ History of the Panjab Hill States by John Hutchison, J. PhVogel, Jean Philippe Vogel, Asian Educational Services 1994, p698
- ^ The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology: Non-political, Volume 1 Benoy Kumar Sarkar, Sir Brajendranath Seal, 1914, p33
- ^ Punjabi Musalmans By J. M. Wikeley Edition: illustrated Published by Manohar Publications, 1991 Original from the University of Michigan Page 78
- ^ Punjab Through the Ages By S.R. Kakshi, Rashmi Pathak, Rashmi Pathak, Contributor S.R. Kakshi, Rashmi Pathak Published by Sarup & Sons, 2007 Page 207 ISBN 81-7625-738-9, ISBN 978-81-7625-738-1
- ^ Denzil Ibbetson, Edward MacLagan, H.A. Rose "A Glossary of The Tribes & Casts of The Punjab & North-West Frontier Province, 1916, p250
- ^ Parvéz Dewân's Jammû, Kashmîr, and Ladâkh: Travel, Trekking, Culture, History, Wildlife, Almost Everything By Parvez Dewan Edition: illustrated Published by Manas Publications, 2004 Item notes: v. 1 Original from the University of Michigan Page 423
- ^ Parvéz Dewân's Jammû, Kashmîr, and Ladâkh: Travel, Trekking, Culture, History, Wildlife, Almost Everything By Parvez Dewan Edition: illustrated Published by Manas Publications, 2004 Item notes: v. 1 Original from the University of Michigan Page 421-422
- ^ Punjabi Musalmans by J. M. Wikeley, 1916, p250
- ^ Punjabi Musalmans by J. M. Wikeley, 1916, p78
- ^ Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu Sang-e-Meel, 2002, p34
- ^ Denzil Ibbetson, Edward MacLagan, H.A. Rose "A Glossary of The Tribes & Casts of The Punjab & North-West Frontier Province, 1916, p353
- ^ The History of the Muhiyals: The Militant Brahman Race of India By T P Russell Stracey, General Muhiyal Sabha, Lahore, p77
- ^ a b Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, p637
- ^ Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, p637, p669, p670
- ^ a b Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu, Sang e Meel, 2002, p9, p34
- ^ a b History of Operations in Jammu & Kashmir, 1947-48 by Sri Nandan Prasad, Dharm Pal, Govt. of India 1987, p4
- ^ Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu, Sang-e-Meel, 2002, p34
- ^ Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu, Sang e Meel, 2002, p25, p34
- ^ Kashmiris Fight for Freedom by Muhammad Yusuf Saraf, Ferozson 1977, p77
- ^ Kashmiris Fight for Freedom by Muhammad Yusuf Saraf, Ferozson 1977, p78
- The Punjab Chiefs by Lepel H. Griffin (Lahore Press, 1909, p214).
- Tehreek-e-Janjua by Raja Muhammad Anwar Khan Janjua (Sahiwal Press 1982, v1, p67)
- Chronicles of Early Janjua by Dr. H Khan, (iUniverse 2003, p17,p26)
- Muslim ruling clans of India
- Social groups of Pakistan
- Social groups of Jammu and Kashmir
- Pre-Islamic heritage of Pakistan
- Kashmiri tribes
- Punjabi tribes
- Rajput clans