The Khokhar are people from the Punjab region of Pakistan and northwestern India. The Khokhars were designated as an agricultural tribe and are usually classified as Jat and Rajput. The term agricultural tribe, according to the Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900, 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 objective of subjugating the turbulent Khokhars of the Salt Range.
Although Lahore was reoccupied by Delhi,[when?], it remained in ruins for the next twenty years, being attacked multiple times by the Mongols or by their Khokhar allies. Around the same time, a Mongol commander named Hulechu occupied Lahore in alliance with Khokhar chief Raja Gulchand, the erstwhile ally of Muhammad's father.
Shaikha Khokhar and Tamerlane
Raja 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 in the Punjab. Shaikha occupied Lahore in 1393.
Raja Jasrath Khokhar (sometimes Jasrat or Dashrath) was the son of Shaikha Khokhar. He became leader of the Khokhars upon the death of Tamerlane after escaping from prison in order to become leader.[clarification needed] He supported Shahi Khan in the war for control of Kashmir against Ali Shah and was rewarded for his victory. 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 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 favor 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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