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This article is about Tarkhan, a Northern Indian tribe. For other uses, see Tarkan (disambiguation) The Tarkhan (pronounced Terr-khaan) ethnic tribe inhabits the Punjab area of Northern India and Punjab area of Pakistan. They are a separate cultural and ethnic people that by historical tribal custom associate within their own Tarkhan community. Some are also found in Kashmir. Scholars such as H.A. Rose state that they are descended from the Saka tribes, and originally settled in Taxila. The Tarkhans are a minority in the Punjab, with numbers estimated at around 1,000,000 at least to 2,000,000 maximum.


  • 1 History

  • 2 Ramgarhia/Tarkhan tribes

  • 3 Tarkhans and Lohars

  • 4 The Ramgarhia Misl

    • 4.1 Hardas Singh

    • 4.2 Jassa Singh

    • 4.3 The Ghallughara

  • 5 Tarkhan Gotras (Clans)

  • 6 Tarkhan - Ramgharia Personalities

    • 6.1 Political, Religious and Miscellaneous Figures

    • 6.2 Eminent Writers

    • 6.3 Sports Personalities

    • 6.4 Film, Television & Media Personalities

    • 6.5 Music Personalities

    • 6.6 Eminent Painters/Artists

    • 6.7 Successful Entrepreneurs

    • 6.8 Eminent Academicians

  • 7 References

  • 8 External links

[edit] History

Hindu Tarkhans are regarded to be of the Vaishya Varna (as they are artisans) and worship the Vedic deity, Vishwakarma.[1] This is namely due to following the traditional Vaishya occupation of carpentry.

Sikh Tarkhans are more commonly known as Ramgarhias because of their reverence for the famous Misl leader, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia(1723-1803), who was a Tarkhan.
A very proud and fiercely independent people, they are amongst the wealthiest and most educated clans of the Punjab region. Historically, Tarkhan occupations have included carpentry, landowning, farming, engineering, politics, science, medicine, and military.[2].
Tarkhans have served courageously in crack Commando units of the Punjab and Sikh Regiments of the Indian Army, as well as brave fighter pilots and in the Navy. They were made famous on the silver screen in the Bollywood film, Border for their brave actions in the Battle of Longowal, a battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

[edit] Ramgarhia/Tarkhan tribes

According to Sir Denzil Ibbetson[3], the major Twelve Tarkhan tribes of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier Province include

  • 1) Jhangra - found in Delhi and Hissar

  • 2) Dhaman - found in Karnal, Ambala, Jalandahar, Sialkot, Patiala, Nabha, Faridhkot and Firozpur.

  • 3) Khattia - found in Karnal, Ambala, Jalandahar, Sialkot, Patiala, Nabha, Faridhkot and Firozpur.

  • 4) Siawan - Jallandhar and Sialkot

  • 5) Gade - Amritsar

  • 6) Matharu - Ludhiana, Amritsar and Lahore.

  • 7) Netal - Hoshiarpur

  • 8) Janjua - Rawalpindia

  • 9) Tharu - Gurdaspur and Sialkot

  • 10)Khokar - Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan

  • 11)Bhatti - Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan
  • 12)Begi Khel - Hazara.

Ibbetson Ibbetson notes further that[4]:
"The carpenters of Sirsa are divided into two great sections: the Dhaman and Khati 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."
Ibbetson It should be noted that the artisan sections of Tarkhans look down upon the agricultural sections of their tribe too.

[edit] Tarkhans and Lohars

Lohars are blacksmiths. According to HA Rose and Denzil Ibbetson, Lohars are descended from Rajputs and Jats. Although considered a lower caste than Tarkhans, Lohars have been accepted into Tarkhan tribal affiliations.


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.

Ibbetson This would explain why some Tarkhans/Lohars have similar surnames to Jats and Rajputs.

[edit] The Ramgarhia Misl

The founder of the Ramgarhia Misl was Khushal Singh of Guga village near Amritsar. Khushal Singh was succeeded, Nand Singh, who belonged to the village of Sanghani near Amritsar. He was succeeded by a much more enterprising and valiant man, named Jassa Singh, under whose stewardship the band assumed the status and the name of the Misl. He took over the floundering Misl and made it into one of the greatest fighting armies of the Punjab.

[edit] Hardas Singh

Hardas Singh, the grandfather of Jassa Singh, a carpenter by caste, was the resident of Sur Singh which is situated about nineteen miles east of Khem Karan, in the present district of Amritsar. Hardas Singh was initiated into the Khalsa faith by Guru Gobind Singh himself from whose hands he took pahul and fought some battles at the Guru's side. When Banda Bahadur organised the Sikhs to fight against the Mughals, Hardas Singh joined his followers and participated in most of the battles fought by him. He died in the battle of Bajwara AD 1715.

[edit] Jassa Singh

One of the known warriors from punjab jassa singh came from the zamindars/landlord family. Bhagwan Singh, the only son of Hardas Singh, was of a still more adventurous disposition. He had also mastered the Adi Granth. He shifted to the village of Ichogil which lay about twelve miles east of Lahore. He preached the Sikh faith in the neighbouring villages. He was an intrepid soldier. Bhagwan Singh had five sons, named Jai Singh, Jassa Singh, Khushal Singh, Mali Singh and Tara Singh. In 1739, during the invasion of Nadir Shah Bhagwan Singh saved the life of the governor of Lahore at the cost of his own. To reward his brave deed the governor gave a village each to all of his five sons. The villages gifted were Valla, Verka, Sultanwind, Tung and Chubhal. Of these villages Valla came to the share of Jassa Singh. [6]. Ramgharia Sikhs today (often referred to as Tarkhans) derive this name from the very same aristocratic Jassa Singh Ramgharia, who was renowned for his bravery in battle.

[edit] The Ghallughara

When Prince Timur, son of Ahmad Shah Abdali, marched against Adina Beg, the latter retreated towards the hills to the north and Sardar Jassa Singh and his brothers left him and went to Amritsar, where they joined the forces of Nand Singh Sanghania. The younger brother of Sardar Jassa Singh was at this time killed in action with the Afghans near Majitha. After the terrible blow dealt to the Sikhs by Abdali, in the Battle of Ghallughara ('Holocaust'), in which 17,000 Sikhs fell, the three brothers, Jassa Singh, Mali Singh and Tara Singh, with Jai Singh Kanhaiya (Leader of the Kanhaiya Misl), were reduced to the necessity of hiding in jungles and subsisting on whatever chance threw in their way. They had, however, the temerity to visit Amritsar to bathe in the sacred tank, and pillaged the suburbs of the city. When attacked by the Shah's troops they fired off their matchlocks and fled to the jungles. After the departure of Ahmad Shah, Jassa Singh with his brothers Mali Singh and Tara Singh, and Jai Singh Kanhaiya emerged from their jungle retreat, and collecting their followers ravaged the country far and wide, building forts and establishing military outposts. When Khawaja Obed, the Governor of Lahore, attacked the Sikh fort at Gujranwala, he was opposed by the united forces of the Ramgarhias and Kanhaiyas and the guns, ammunition and treasure left by the Governor were equally divided by the leaders of the two Misls.

[edit] Tarkhan Gotras (Clans)

Main article: List of Tarkhan Clans

Many Tarkhan clans are also cross-listed as Jat, Gujjar and Rajput, due to Tarkhans having the same racial lineage and racial type as these ethnic tribes. In the context of secular classification they can be classed a Eurasian due to central Asian ancestral lineage contributions. Eventually Hephthalites (coalition between many tribes with different origins, including Mongolian and Turkic) and Huns (it is proven Rajputs have also an east-Asian ancestor-line). It is probable that Aroras/Arokhas (they are also thought as Herodot's Arachosians in ancient Kandahar), Gujjar, Jats, Kamboj, Khatris and Rajputs, have varying degrees of both foreign and indigenous Indian stock. In many parts, it is largely due to familial tradition that some members of a certain clan dub themselves Rajput and others of the same clan are Arora, Gujjar, Jat, Khatri, Kamboj and Tarkhan. This is more often the case in the Punjab, where there was already a large indigenous ethnic tribal population when the invading tribes arrived. Within the religion of Hinduism, it is not entirely clear in the case of many clans and surnames as to which subdivision of the religious Kshatriya classification they belong to. They were absorbed into the Hindu religious Kshatriya classification, given their warlike nature, and thus became one of the subgroups or in many cases, assimilated completely into older Indo-Aryan clans.

[edit] Tarkhan - Ramgharia Personalities

The lists in this article may contain items that are not notable, encyclopedic, or helpful. Please help out by removing such elements and incorporating appropriate items into the main body of the article. (August 2008)
Monty Panesar was born into the Tarkhan Panesar Clan.

[edit] Political, Religious and Miscellaneous Figures

  • Bhai Laalo Ji - a Ghatorha Gotra to be blessed by Guru Nank Dev ji himself,and was one of the greatest saints of Punjab.

  • Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia - Leader of Ramgharia Misl, Jathedar and holder of keys to the Golden Temple.

  • Baba Ram Singh - one of the greatest social reformers, a spiritual teacher and national leader. One of the leaders of the Namdharia Cult.

  • Sarmukh Singh Chamak - Gurudwara reform movement leader and Indian Freedom fighter.

  • Arjan Singh Gargaj - Gurudwara reform movement leader and Indian Freedom fighter.

  • Baba Nand Singh ji - The life of Baba Nand Singh ji is also the life of highest type of 'Saint'.

  • Bhai Sukha Singh Kalsi - Sikh Warrior and Leader in Buddha Dal.

  • Bhai Roop Chand Ji Khokar - Sikh Warrior and trusted Lietenant of Guru Hargobind Singh Ji.

  • Bhai Dharam Singh - Bhai Roop Chand's son and warrior of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

  • Bhai Param Singh - Bhai Roop Chand's son and warror of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

  • Bhai Dharma Singh - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Param Singh - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Karam Singh - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Mahanand Singh - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Sadanand Singh - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Surtia - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Bhai Sukhia ji - Sikh Warrior and son of Bhai Dharam Singh.

  • Hardas Singh - Trusted Warrior of Guru Gobind Singh.

  • Jai Singh - Sikh Warrior and Misl General.

  • Mali Singh - Sikh Warrior and Misl General.

  • Tara Singh Bhambra - Sikh Warrior, Misl General and expert in the Sikh Martial Art of Gatka.

  • Giani Zail Singh - Chief Minister of Punjab and First Sikh President of India.

  • Dalip Singh Saund - First Sikh United States Congressman.

  • Sardar Bahadur Karnail Singh - Chairman, Indian Railways and brother of Dalip Singh Saund

  • Justice Mota Singh - First Sikh Law Lord in United Kingdom.

  • Air Marshal Shiv Dev Singh - IAF leading light and 2nd World War Veteran.

  • Bhai Ranjit Singh Ghattora - Jathedar At Golden Temple and chastiser of the Nirankari Cult.

  • Sardar Sardul Singh Caveeshar - Indian Freedom Fighter.

  • S. Karam Singh Bhogal - Indian Freedom Fighter and Partcipant in the Jaito Ji Morcha.

  • Shaheed Sundar Singh - Son of Bhai Gian Singh Saggu and Martyr of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.

  • Sardar Chanan Singh Hunjan - Barrister at Law and Chief Judge of the Kenyan High Court. Close friend of President Jomo Kenyatta.

  • Jaswant Singh Bharaj - Freedom Fighter who fought against British Colonialism in India and Africa.
  • Priyadarshan Singh - DGM, Bank of Baroda

[edit] Eminent Writers

  • Dr. Harbhajan Singh - winner of Kabir and Saraswati Sanmaans and Professor Emeritus, University of Delhi

  • Hazara Singh Gurdaspuri - best known for the "vaars" he wrote in Punjabi

  • Tara Singh Kaamal - best known satirist

  • Suba Singh - best known humor-writer, also press-advisor to Giani Zail Singh, then Chief Minister of Punjab

  • Giani Ditt Singh - best known for his seminal book "Mera Pind"

  • Gurdial Singh - eminent novelist, winner of Bhartiya Gyanpeeth Award

  • Atam Hamrahi - Eminent folklorist and poet from the Malwa region

  • Jaswant Singh Virdi - eminent short-story writer based in Chandigarh

  • Ajmer Rode - Canada-based eminent poet, dramaturg and translator

  • Navtej Bharti - Canada-based eminent poet and prose writer

  • Surjit Paatar - amongst the best known Punjabi poets today

  • Surinder Kaur Chahal - Canada-based eminent poetess

  • Madan Gopal Singh - Lyricist and Composer for "Khamosh Pani"

  • Munna Dhiman - Lyricist for "Nishabd"

[edit] Sports Personalities

  • Joginder Singh - Winner of the African Safari

  • Joginder Singh Gindi - Member, Indian Hockey Team in the 60s

  • Virender Singh - famous right-half of the Indian hockey team that won the 1975 World Cup

  • Harbhajan Singh Plaha - Indian Cricketer.

  • Monty Panesar - England Cricketer.

  • Gursharan Singh - played for the Indian test team

  • Bahadur Singh Saggu - Indian Strongman and Olympic Shotputter and Asian Games Gold Medalist.
  • Jatinder Singh Mudarh - Indian Strongman and given the title "The Strongest Man in Panjab".

  • Mandeep Singh Bhogal - AKA Iron Singh - American BodyBuilder.

[edit] Film, Television & Media Personalities

  • Ajay Devgan - Famous Indian Film Star

  • Veeru Devgan - Famous Action Designer for Indian Films - Father of Ajay Devgan

  • Gulzar - Famous Indian poet, lyricist, film-maker, director.

  • Ameet Channa - British Film Actor

  • Kulvinder Ghir - Actor/Comedian Goodness Gracious Me

  • Satnam Bhogal - Actor - Holby City

  • Suzanne Virdee - News Presenter

  • Vicky Bhogal - UK TV Chef & Author

  • Kanwaljit Singh - Punjabi film star, acted in a number of serials and punjabi films with harbhajan maan

  • Ravinder Bhogal - UK TV Chef and presenter

[edit] Music Personalities

  • Baba Jwala Singh Thatte Tibbewale - greatest exponent of Gurbani Kirtan

  • Bhai Santa Singh - the best known Gurbani Kirtankaar

  • Bhai Surjan Singh - Equally well-known Kirtankaar

  • Bhai Sumand Singh - Vintage Kirtankaar of Agra Gharana

  • Bhai Avtar Singh Gurcharan Singh - the best known Kirtankaar in Dhrupad Ang

  • Bhai Balbir Singh - Another stalwart in Gurbani Kirtan

  • Bhai Baldeep Singh - An institution in himself at a young age

  • Bhai Manjit Singh - Amongst the most melodious kirtankaars today

  • Ustad Gurdev Singh - Amongst the ablest disciples of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

  • Alam Lohar - a legend of a folk singer from Pakistan
  • Dr Madan Gopal Singh - Best known for his renditions of Sufi texts

  • Bally Sagoo - World Famous Music Producer and first Sikh Artist to cross over to UK Charts.

  • Surinder Shinda - Panjabi Folk Singer and Icon.

  • Jaswant Bhanwara -Eminent Musician. Guru of Sukhvinder, Kamal Heer, Manmohan Waris and Sangtar

  • Jeet Bhogal - renowned music producer.

  • Jagjit Singh Dhiman - World renowned religious singer and famous ghazal artist.

  • Rohan Singh Bhogal - a tabla child prodigy born and raised in Canada.

  • Dilraj Kaur - Became a famous singer under the tutelage of OP Nayyar and Jaidev

  • Talvin Singh - Musician and world renowned percussionist.

  • Kuljit Bhambra - Music producer (for groups such as Heera and Premi).

  • Kulwant Bhambra - Singer and one half of duo in Apna Sangeet.

  • Sardar Sukhvinder "Pinky" Bharaj - Renowned Tabla Player.

  • Prof. Harchand Singh Kalsi - Musician.

  • Amarjyot - Singer with the famous Amar Singh Chamkila.

  • Hazara Singh Ramta - Panjabi Folk and comedy singer.

  • Johnny Kalsi - World Famous Dholi.

  • Jagmohan Kaur - Panjabi Folk singer.

  • Ranjit Kaur - Panjabi Folk singer with Mohd. Saddiq.

  • Didar Sandhu - (Ramgarhia-Sandhu) Famous Folk Singer.

  • Pargat Singh Matharu- Classical singer [Sham churasi Ghrana he disciple of legandery Master Rattan jee]

  • Mandippal Jandu - Young Toronto based Musician viewed by many music journalists as a future star.

  • Harbans Jandu - known more commonly as Jandu Littrawala. Famous punjabi lyricist.

[edit] Eminent Painters/Artists

  • Sobha Singh - Artist and Famous Religious Painter.

  • GS Thakur Singh - Landscape artist par excellence
  • S. Sohan Singh Saggu (Popular as G. S. Sohan Singh) - Famous Artist.

  • Kirpal Singh - Artist who painted the bulk of the Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple, Amritsar

  • Dr. Surjit Kaur - A well known woman painter of Punjab, established Fine arts Department in Apeejay college of Fine Arts, Jalandhar.

  • Bhai Gian Singh Saggu - Artist and Fresco Painter.

  • Avtarjeet Dhanjal - famous artist based in London

  • Gurcharan Singh - Amongst the most sought after India painters based in Mumbai

  • Phoolan Rani - Amongst the better known women painters of Punjab

  • Rajesh Kalsi - Eminent artist, a product of Art College, Chandigarh, is famaous for his Printmaking, Digital Art and Photography

[edit] Successful Entrepreneurs

  • Sardar Ganda Singh - the man who played a decisive role in developing the railway network in the North-East in the 20s

[edit] Eminent Academicians

  • Dr. Harbhajan Singh, Professor Emeritus, University of Delhi

  • Prem Singh - Eminent artist and teacher, retired as the Principal of the Art College, Chandigarh

  • Dr. Shamsher Singh Bari - Registrar, Panjab University, Chandigarh

[edit] References

  1. ^ see H.A. Rose. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province; Manu Smriti

  2. ^ Patwant Singh. The Sikhs.

  3. ^ Prof Sahib Singh - Adhi Bir Barai - page 198

  4. ^ H.A. Rose. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province.
  5. play songs online punjabi singer at punjabilok.com

  6. ^ Patwant Singh. The Sikhs.

  7. ^ Sir Denzil Ibbetson. Panjab Castes - page 313.

  8. ^ Sir Denzil Ibbetson. Panjab Castes - page 313.

  9. ^ Sir Denzil Ibbetson. Panjab Castes - page 312.

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