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The Mahtam are a clan found among the Punjabis of India and Pakistan. They practice Hindu, Sikh and Muslim religions. In the 1920s the former were mainly cultivators while the latter were clearers of the jungle.[1]

During British rule in India, they were stigmatized under the Criminal Tribes Act 1871.[2]


Historically, the Mahtam community was found mainly in a sizable region stretching from goth thikaratho in the west, to india in the east.

After it was defeated, the army of mahtam went to the jungles to regroup. For survival, they hunted. After some time the army spread to different parts of old Punjab, into districts including Alipur, Multan and Bhawalpur. Rajputs accompanied Partap. Mahtam appear to have migrated from these cities after partition. They settled on the river bank of Yamuna in Haryana Punjab in the districts of Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Rajpura. They traced their ancestry from Raja Bhim Sain of Delhi, through his great grandson Mahi.[3] In southern Punjab, the Mahtam were historically tenants and their chief occupation was snaring wild pigs. The Rassiwat branch was connected with rope making.

The Lahore Mahtams claimed descent from brothers Jaimal and Fateh, who came from Delhi. The Jats were their great rivals and after the Mughal Emperor Akbar married a local Jat, the Mahtam were banished.[3]

The Muslim Mahtam of Multan and Bahawalpur claim, that they are a clan of the Bhatti Rajputs. Most of them have always been associated with farming.

The Gujrat and Sialkot Mahtams were also known as Bahrupia. The Mahtam had varying accounts of their origin, as do many other Punjab tribes.


According to the 1901 census of India, nearly half were Hindu, while one quarter each were Sikh and Muslim.

Mahtam clans or gots[edit]



After the independence of India in 1947, the Hindu and Sikh Mahtam of the tribe emigrated to India. They are now found mainly in Haryana and Punjab states.

The term Mahtam is now used only for the Hindu and Muslim branches of the tribe, while the Sikh branch is now known as Rai Sikhs.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gazetteer of the Multan District 1923-24 published by Sang-E-Meel Publications and Page 99
  2. ^ Punjab - Police and Jails The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1908, v. 20, p. 363.
  3. ^ a b A Glossary of the tribes & castes of Punjab by H. A Rose
  4. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 367 to 372 Manohar