Chaudhary (Urdu: چودهرى; Bengali: চৌধুরী; Nepali: चौधरी ) is a term in Indo-Aryan languages, literally meaning "holder of four", and also "holder of seven". Chowdhury (also spelt Chaudhuri, Choudhuri, Choudary, Chaudhari, Chaudhri, Chaudhary, Choudhary, Chaudhury, Chaudhry, Choudhury, Chowdhery, Chowdhary, Chowdhury, Chaudri, Chaudry or Choudhry) is a hereditary title of honour, awarded by Mughal Emperors to persons of eminence or royalty. In some cases it may also mean "power". The word Chaudhary is derived from the sanskrit word Chatur Dhrit meaning "One who holds all the four varns (groups) of society" i.e respected by all.
The earliest written references are from the 15th century, when this title was conferred by the Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate upon its military nobles of Indian origins. During the Mughal era and the British rule in India, a talukh or district usually consisted of 84 villages and a central town. The talukhdar was required to collect taxes, maintain supplies and manpower to the provincial government and undertake small official tasks. In most cases the talukhdar's were entitled to retain 10% of the collected revenue for their efforts. However,some privileged Taluqdars were entitled to a quarter and hence were called Chowdhury ,which also literally means "owner of the fourth part". These persons were mainly landlords. This title at that time famous in mainly northren india and main landlords of punjab from Jat clans were the first to got this title.
Also during the Sikh rule in Punjab when mainly Jat were the rulers. This title became very common and quite a few village headmen or "Lumberdars" were given "Chowdhary" as a title by Jat Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Certain other similar title used by the landlords Jat clans were "Zaildar" and "Nambardar" etc. Ever since, the Chowdharys of Chakwal style themselves a "Chowdharial" to distinguish themselves from the newly appointed men. And certain others landlords also start using this title with time.
This Title as Perfix and Suffix with individual names Used by Mainly Jat ,Yadav, & Gujjars. In Pakistan also Jat & Gujjars use this title. These landlords use chaudhary surname to show their ancestral association with land and power during pre-independence era.Traditionally, the term is used as a title indicating the ownership of ancestral land, but in contemporary usage it is often taken as a surname or title.