|Regions with significant populations|
|Pakistan • India|
|Punjabi • Urdu|
The Arain (Urdu: آرائیں) are a caste of Pakistan who are found mainly in the Punjab province and also that of Sindh. They are chiefly associated with petty farming or gardening, with some being zamindars (landlords).
The Arains are historically exclusively Muslim. Their origins are uncertain, with some members of the community claiming a connection with the Rajputs. Others, with whom the historian and political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot agrees, believe that they are displaced farming communities who moved to Punjab from Sindh and Multan as Muslim armies encroached. Jaffrelot also believes the community to be related to the Kamboj. Ishtiaq Ahmed, who is a political scientist like Jaffrelot and also a member of the Arain community, acknowledges that some early Arain texts ascribe a Persian origin and others a Suryavansha Rajput descent. He says that the Arain claims to be of Arab descent are based on the community's uniform belief in Islam and almost-entire adherence to the Sunni sect of that religion, which is a trait they share with the early Arab invaders under Muhammad bin Qasim.
British Raj period
Although gardening and market-gardening were considered historically to be ritually impure occupations and thus those engaged in such activities were considered to be of low standing, the work of the Arains in this sector were admired by the administrators of the British Raj. They were classified as an 'agricultural' caste. When the British wanted land developed in the Punjab after its annexation, the Arain were brought in to cultivate lands around the cities, and were preferred to assist with the opening up of the new agrarian frontier in canal colonies of the Punjab between 1906 – 1940. The Arain received 86 per cent of the land that was allotted to Muslim agricultural castes in canal colonies.[need quotation to verify]
The British favoured them for their "hard work, frugality and sense of discipline". Subsequent development of towns and cities and increasing urbanisation resulted in the value of the land settled by Arain to rise significantly, and Arain families thus flourished. Education was prioritised with the new-found wealth and the Arain came to dominate the legal profession amongst urban Punjabi Muslims. Many used law to enter politics.
The Arain also contributed to military service predating and during British rule in India. Their lack of classification as a martial race was most probably a consequence of rebellions against British rule. One notable rebellion occurred in the Indian rebellion of 1857, when the Arain Shah Abdul Qadir Ludhianvi led an inter-communal uprising in Ludhiana against the British East India Company.
The Arain were found in territory stretching from the Chenab in the west to the Sultlej in the east, in what was the Punjabi speaking heartland of the British colonial province of Punjab. This was also the region that suffered the worst violence during the partition of India in 1947, with almost the entire Arain population of Indian Punjab migrating to Pakistani territory. However, there are still a small number of Muslim Arains still found in Malerkotla, Sangrur and Patiala districts.
The bulk of the Arain population is now settled in the districts of Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Toba Tek Singh,[need quotation to verify] with a large number of refugees settled by the Thal Development Authority in the districts of Khushab, Mianwali, Bhakkar and Layyah.[page needed]
- Adina Beg Governor of Punjab in 1758.
- Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Prime Minister of Pakistan 1955 to 1956
- Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Sixth President of Pakistan
- Muhammad Sarwar Governor of Punjab from 2013 to 2015
- Mian Family Baghbanpura A famous old Arain family of Lahore
- Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Peasant History of Late Pre-colonial and Colonial India, Volume 8. Center for studies in Civilization. p. 195. ISBN 9788131716885. Retrieved Feb 2015.
- Donald Anthony Low. Soundings in Modern South Asian History. University of California Press. p. 375. ISBN 978-0520007703. Retrieved Feb 2015.
- Burki, Shahid Javed (October 1988). "Pakistan under Zia, 1977-1988". Asian Survey 28 (10): 1082–1100. doi:10.1525/as.1988.28.10.01p0206e. JSTOR 2644708. (subscription required)
- Jaffrelot, Christophe (2004). A History Of Pakistan And Its Origins. trans. Beaumont, Gilliam. Anthem Press. pp. 154, 208. ISBN 9781843311492. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Ahmed, Ishtiaq (18 April 2006). "There is many a slip betwixt cup and lip". Daily Times (Pakistan). Retrieved 2014-06-15.
- "The Punjab Canal Colonies', 1885-1940", Ph.D. thesis, Australian National University, 1980; and Imran Ali, The Punjab Under Imperialism, 1885-1947 (Princeton University Press,Princeton, New Jersey, 1988).
- People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 37 to 42 Manohar
- Shaw, Alison (2000). Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-9-05823-075-1.
- Honigmann, John Joseph (1953). Three Pakistan Villages. Institute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina.
- "Dina Arain: the master 'double game' player".
- Pakistan Under the Military: Eleven Years of Zia Ul-Haq by Shahid Javed Burki, Craig Baxter, Robert LaPorte, Kamal Azfar Pg.4
- Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military By Husain Haqqani pg.112
- The Garrison State: Military, Government and Society in Colonial Punjab, 1849-1947 by Tan Tai Yong pg.263