The Khokhar, Khokar or Khokra are a people of Punjab region of Pakistan and north-western India. The Khokhars were designated as an "agricultural tribe" for the purposes of the Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900, a term that was at that time synonymous with that of "martial race".
In 1240 AD, Razia, the daughter of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish marched with her husband Altunia to recapture the throne from her brother Muizuddin Bahram Shah, she is reported to have headed an army composed mostly of mercenaries from the Khokhar tribe of the Punjab.
"In 1246-7 Balban mounted an expedition as far as the Salt Range to chastise the Khokhars". "His last campaign was undertaken with the object of subjugating the turbulent Khokhars of the Salt Range."
Although Lahore was reoccupied by Dehli,[when?] for the next twenty years Lahore remained in ruined condition, being sacked on several occasion by the Mongols or by their Khokhar allies. Around the same time a Mongol commander named Hulechu occupied Lahore in alliance with Khokhar chief Gulchand, the one time ally of Muhammad's father.
Shaikha Khokhar and Tamerlane
Shaikha Khokhar (sometimes Sheikha or Shuja) was a chief of the Khokhars in the 14th and early 15th centuries and a contemporary of Tamerlane's invasions into Punjab. Shaikha occupied Lahore in 1393, and five years later Nusrat Khokhar[who?] was defeated by Tamerlane.
Jasrath Khokhar (sometimes Jasrat or Dashrath) was the son of Shaikha Khokhar. He became leader of the Khokhars upon the death of Tamerlane, escaping prison in order to do so.[clarification needed] He supported Shahi Khan in the war for control of Kashmir against Ali Shah, and was rewarded when victory was achieved. Later, he attempted to conquer Delhi, taking advantage of the death of Khizr Khan. The scheme met with partial success, as he won campaigns at Talwandi and Jullundur but was hampered by the seasonal rains in his attempt to take over Sirhind.
In 1428 AD, The Mughal armies, under Shaikh Ali of Kabul, invaded[clarification needed] and a contingent of Khokhars headed by 'Ain-ud-din and Malik abu-l-khair joined them at Talwara to guide them onwards.
With reference to the British Raj's recruitment policies in the Punjab, vis-à-vis the British Indian Army, Tan Tai Yong remarks
The choice of Muslims was not merely one of physical suitability. As in the case of the Sikhs, recruiting authorities showed a clear bias in favour of the dominant landowning tribes of the region, and recruitment of Punjabi Muslims was limited to those who belonged to tribes of high social standing or reputation - the "blood proud" and once politically dominant aristocracy of the tract. Consequently, socially dominant Muslim tribes such as the Gakkhars, Janjuas and Awans, and a few Rajput tribes, concentrated in the Rawalpindi and Jhelum districts, ... accounted for more than ninety per cent of Punjabi Muslim recruits.
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- Syed (2004), p. 162
- Yong (2005), p. 74
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