|Regions with significant populations|
|India • Pakistan|
|Punjabi • Dogri • Hindi • Urdu|
|Hindusim • Islam • Sikhism|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Kambojs (Hindi: कम्बोज Kamboj, Urdu: کمبوہ ALA-LC: Kamboh, Punjabi: ਕਮ੍ਬੋਜ Kamboj), also Kamboh, are an ethnic community of the Punjab region. They may be related to the Kambojas, a tribe 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.
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".
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 Kambojs/Kambohs practiced weapon-worship in the past but the practice is now going out of vogue.
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
- 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.
- 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)).
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