|Regions with significant populations|
|India • Pakistan|
|Punjabi • Hindi • Urdu|
|Hindusim • Islam • Sikhism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Muslim Kamboh • Indo-Aryan peoples|
The Kambojs (Hindi: कम्बोज Kamboj, Urdu: کمبوہ Kamboh, Punjabi: ਕਮ੍ਬੋਜ Kamboj), also Kamboh, are an ethnic community of the Punjab region. They may relate to the Kambojas, an Indo-Iranian tribe known to the people of Iron Age India and mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts and epigraphy. Kamboj is frequently used as a surname in lieu of the sub-caste or the gotra name by many Kambojs of Punjab, India. Their Muslim counterparts living in Pakistan mostly use the last name Kamboh instead of the gotra name. A good many Muslim Kamboh are also found in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh, especially in the town of Marehra, and call themselves Zuberis.
During Muslim rule
Muslim Kambojs were influential during Lodhi and Moghul rule. Miyan Jumman Khan Kamboh was "Hajib-i-Khas" (Special Lord of Bed Chamber), Umar Khan Kamboh was Amir-i-Akhur (Minister of Cavalry department) and Miyan Ladan Khan Kamboh was an Imam and Royal Nadim of Sikandar Lodhi. Shaikh Itmad-ul-Malik Sambhal was Amir-i-Arz (Paymaster General) and then Prime Minister of Sher Shah Suri. General Shahbaz Khan Kamboh was the most capable and trusted general of the Akbar. He had been "Mir Tozak" (Quarter Master General/Master of Ceremonies), "Mir Bakshi" (Lord Pay Master General/Chief Military Adviser), and "Wakil" (Highest Mughal Administrative Officer, Prime Minister) of Emperor Akbar. As a Governor of Bengal in 1581, Shabaz Khan had distinguished himself greatly and had commanded 9000 strong cavalry in Bengal when operating in Brahmputra. Shaikh Gadai Kamboh had been "Sadru-s-Sadur" or "Sadar-i-Jahan" (Administrator General or Lord Chief Justice) in Akbar's reign.
Numerous other Kamboj are known to have occupied very key military and civil positions during Lodhi, Pashtun and the Moghul reign in India. "The Sayyids and the Kambohs among the Indian Muslims were specially favored for high military and civil positions during Moghul rule".
"The Kambo, Indian Shaikh-zadas and local Saiyid nobles rose to prominence during the period under review" (i.e. Lodi dynasty of Delhi).
Muhammad Umar writes: "The (Muslim) Kamboh distinguished themselves by their courage, generosity and high spirits. They were famous for their excellent manners and were particularly gifted with wisdom and nobility....In terms of social stratification, the Kambohs were counted among the Shaikhs.....Among the Indian Muslims, the Kambohs were regarded as the noblest of all. However, perhaps with a view to maintaining the purity of their descent, or because of pride of nobility, they confined their matrimonial relationships within their own groups and did not establish marriage connections with other Muslim groups including even the Saiyids and the Mughals. Some members of this clan like Shahbaz Khan Kamboh, Nawab Abu Muhammad Khan, Bahadur Khan and Nawab Khair Andesh Khan rose to high positions during the reign of Mughals" .
The rest of the original Kamboja tribe was assimilated into other social groups and castes of the Indian sub-continent. Consequently, many sub-caste names overlap with those of other communities of northern India like the Khatris, Rajputs, Tarkhans, Jats, Brahmins, Arains and others.
The Kambojs of the north, by tradition, are divided into 52 and 84 clans. 52 line is stated to be descendants of Cadet branch and 84 from the elder Branch. This is claimed as referring to the young and elder military divisions under which they had fought the Bharata War. Numerous of their clan names overlap with other Kshatriyas and the Rajput castes of the north-west India, thereby suggesting that some of the Kshatriya/Rajput clans of north-west must have descended from the Ancient Kambojas.
The Kambojs/Kambohs practiced weapon-worship in the past but the practice is now going out of vogue.
Hindu Kambohs claim to be related to the Rajputs and to have come from Persia through southern Afghanistan.They came in the period of Mahabharta  Many of the Bijnor Kambohs also have a tradition that they are of the same ethnic stock as the Chattris or Khatris. The Hindu Kambohs from Karnal claim their origin from Garh-Gajni. Their Pandits still pronounce the following couplet at the phera during their marriage ceremony to give information about their original home: Garh Gajni nikaas, Lachhoti Ghaggar vaas (Trans: Originated from the fort of Gajni, and settled down in Ghaggar region (in Haryana or Punjab)). One Gajni or Ghazni is located in Afghanistan, but based on another tradition of the Karnal Kamboj, several scholars have identified this Gajni in Kambay in Saurashtra (port of Vallabhi).
Muslim Kambohs have a tradition that they descended from ancient Kai dynasty of Persia, to which the emperors Kaikaus, Kaikhusro, Kaikubad, Kai-lehrashab and Darius[disambiguation needed] all belonged. On the last king of the dynasty having been dethroned, and expelled from the country, he wandered about some time with his family and dependents in the neighboring countries and finally settled in Punjab.
Numerous foreign and Indian writers have described the modern Kambojs/Kambohs as one of the finest class of agriculturists of India.
The Kambojs have made great contributions in agriculture and military fields. The majority of Krishi Pandit awards in Rajasthan/India have been won by the Kamboj agriculturists. Col Lal Singh Kamboj, a landlord from Uttar Pradesh, was the first Indian farmer to win the Padma Shri award for progressive farming in 1968. According to M. S. Randhawa (Ex-Vice Chancellor, Punjab University, "For sheer tenacity and persistence no body can beat Kambohs".
List of notable Kambojs
- Ethnology of Ancient Bhārata, 1970, p 107, Ram Chandra Jain.
- The Journal of Asian Studies, 1956, p 384, Association for Asian Studies, Far Eastern Association (U.S.).
- India as Known to Pāṇini: A Study of the Cultural Material in the Ashṭādhyāyī, 1953, p 49, Vasudeva Sharana Agrawala.
- Afghanistan, p 58, W. K. Fraser, M. C. Gillet.
- Afghanistan, its People, its Society, its Culture, Donal N. Wilber, 1962, p 80, 311 etc.
- Muslim Society in Northern India During the Eighteenth Century, 1998, pp 24, 25 Muhammad Umar.
- Medieval India: A Miscellany, 1972, p 31, edited by K.A. Nizami - History; History of Sher Shah Sur, 1971, p 137, Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi.
- Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's Reign, with Special Reference to Abuʾl Fazl, 1556-1605: with special reference to Abul Fazi: (1556-1605), 1975, p 186, Saiyid Ather Abbas Rizvi.
- Medieval India: A Miscellany, 1972, p 31, Editor: K.A. Nizami - History; History of Sher Shah Sur, 1971, p 171, Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi - India; Shershah Suri and His Dynasty, 1995, p 185, Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi.
- Medieval India: Essays in Intellectual Thought and Culture, 2003, p 100, Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi - India; Indo-iranica, 1990, p 9, Iran Society; Hamdard Islamicus: Quarterly Journal of the Hamdard National Foundation, Pakistan, 1987, p 65, Hamdard National Foundation, Pakistan - Islam.
- Islamic Thought and Movements in the Subcontinent, 711-1947, 1979, p 278, Syed Moinul Haq - Islam.
- Discovery of Pakistan: By A. Aziz. [2d Rev. Ed.], 1964, p 71, Abdul Aziz - Pakistan.
- A Biographical Dictionary of Mughal Noblemen, 1993, p 107, Farīd Bhakkari, Shaikh Farid Bhakkari, Ziyaud-Din A. Desai.
- See: The composition of the Mughal nobility, The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 1993, p 70, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., Robert McHenry; See also: Concise Encyclopædia Britannica, Online.
- The Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb, 2002, p 21, M. Athar Ali.
- Some Aspects of Afghan Despotism in India, 1969, pp 59, 23 Iqtidar Husain Siddiqi - Lodi dynasty.
- Muslim Society in Northern India During the Eighteenth Century, 1998, pp 24, 25 Muhammad Umar
- Jatt Tribes of Zira, p 138
- Encyclopedia of Sikh Religion & Culture, 1997, p 24, Gobind Singh Mansukhani, Romesh Chander Dogra.
- India and World War 1, 1978, p 218, DeWitt C. Ellinwood, S. D. Pradhan; The Transformation of Sikh Society, 1974, p 132, Ethne K. Marenco
- Origin of names of Castes and Clans, 2004,Principal Sewa Singh.
- Out of the Ashes: An Account of the Rehabilitation of Refugees from West Pakistan in Rural Areas of East Punjab, 1954, p 60, M. S. Randhawa.
- Cf: "The Kambos are an agricultural tribe unmatched for their hard work. Due to their tenacity and persistence, they have succeeded in getting the best land in the district allotted to them" (See: Haryana District Gazetteers, 1970, p 99, Kiran Prem - Haryana (India)).
|Look up Kamboj in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|