A photo from 'The People of India', published from 1868 to the early 1870s by WH Allen, for the India Office
|Regions with significant populations|
|South Asia|
|• Sindhi • Urdu • Punjabi • Bengali •|
|• Islam 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Turkic peoples • Mongol peoples|
The Mughals (Persian: مغول; Urdu: مغل; Arabic: مغول, also spelled Moghul or Mogul) are a number of culturally related clans of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In theory, the Mughals are descended from the various Central Asian Turko-Mongol armies that settled in the region. The term Mughal (or Mughul in Persian) literally means Mongolian.
History and origin
During the time of the Mongol Empire in the 13–14th century, the army of Genghis Khan swept across Central Asia. Over subsequent centuries, descendants of these soldiers inter-married with Persian and Turkish Muslims, converted to Islam, and adopted the Persian language and culture. Conflict between India and the Mongols has been recorded from the time of Genghis Khan to Timur to Babur. The Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) faced nearly annual Mongol onslaughts from 1297 to 1303 when the Doab was sacked and what is now Pakistan was under continual Mongol occupation. Indian and Indo-Persian sources referred to the invaders as Mughal, derived from Mongol. During the 16th century, the Turko-Mongol conqueror Babur brought most of northern India under Mughal rule, establishing an empire that would endure until the mid-19th century. As the ruling class, the Mughals lived mainly in cities along with other Muslims. They were traditionally known for their skill at horsemanship, archery, wrestling, and a meat-heavy diet.
In North India
In North India, the term Mughal refers to one of the four social groups that are referred to as the Ashraaf. In Pakistan, a number of tribal groupings such as the Gheba and Kassar in Punjab claim Mughal ancestry. Sir Denzil Ibbetson, the eminent British student of Punjabi tribal structures, noted a tendency among many tribes of the Pothohar and Upper Hazara regions of Northern Pakistan to claim Mughal ancestry.
Mughals are found in the states of Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in North India.
In Uttar Pradesh (UP), their main clans are the Chagatai, Barlas, Douli, Qazilbash, Turkmen, Turk, Uzbek, Tajik, Kai and Chak. The Mughals of Uttar Pradesh belong to both the Sunni and Shia sects, with the majority belonging to the Sunni Hanafi sect. Sunni Mughals are usually orthodox in their religious outlook. The Shia Mughals of Awadh trace their entry into the region to the year 1750. The Mughals of UP are an endogamous community, marrying within their own community, or in communities of a similar status such as the Pathan and Muslim Rajput. The rural Mughals are farmers, and many own orchards, especially mango orchards, while in towns they are engaged in trade, handicrafts, and carpet weaving. Carpet weaving is an activity particularly associated with the UP Mughals.
The city of Delhi has always been associated with the Mughals, being the seat of the Mughal dynasty that ruled India for four centuries. Their settlements in Old Delhi date back to the 16th century when the first Mughal courtiers arrived with Babar. The Taimuri clan claims direct descent from the Mughal dynasty. Other sub-groups include the Chagatai, Turkman, Changezi, Barlas, and Douli, Bakhst and Qazilbash. A large number of Mughals from old Delhi emigrated to Pakistan at partition. A small rump community is left in Delhi. They are still an endogamous community, marrying among themselves, or on occasions with communities of a similar status, such the Sayyid and Pathan. The Taimuri are Sunni, while the Qazilbash and Turkmen are Shia.
The Khamb is another tribe claiming to be Mughal, and found mainly in the Pothohar region of northern Punjab. According to their traditions, the ancestors of the Khamb arrived from Kathiawar, in what is now the modern state of Gujarat in India.
The Khamb were settled in their present abode by a Hashmat Khan, a chief of the Thathal tribe, who are natives of the Pothohar region. This Hashmat Khan was appointed as a garrison commander of Khambhat in Central Gujarat by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. When Hashmat returned to the Pothohar region of Pakistan, he was accompanied by members of the garrison at Khambait. He ordered villages to be built named Khambi Qaleechpur and Khanpur, and the Khamb tribe was granted land in and around the new town. At present they live in Khambi Qaleechpur and Khanpur in the Gujrat district of Punjab.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Beg or Baig are said to be the descendents of Mughal soldiers, who were custodians of the treasury. They are an urban community, found in their own quarters in the cities of Anantnag, Baramulla, Badgam, Neelum valley, Muzaffarabad, Jhelum District and borders adjoining with Hazara division Pakistan. According to some traditions, the Baig are in fact descended from Uighur of Kashgar, and many also refer to themselves as Kashgari. They remained a community distinct from other Kashmiri Muslims and were only granted state citizenship in 1939. Many are still involved in their traditional occupation of carpet weaving and embroidery. The Baig are entirely Sunni Muslim, and historically affiliated to the Barelvi sect, with many belonging to the Dastigiri Sufi order. A few of the Mughals also follow the Deobandi sect.
Jammu and Mirpur
The Mughals of Jammu and Kashmir share many culture similarities with those of Punjab. In kotli district and some other districts of AJ&K some Mughals migrated here from poonch and rajauri. In 1857 when Englishes[clarification needed] elapsed Mughal dynasty, they started brute killing of Mughals as they believe there is no enemy except Mughals as a sign of peril. To save their lives Mughals hidden their identity and pretended to be of different castes. There are number of agrarian tribes, such as the Junhal Maldial and Hoteel who claim Mughal ancestry. These Mughal tribes all claim to have settled in the Jammu and Mirpur region during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Babar. The Emperor is said to have settled these tribes as a bulwark against the local Rajput tribes, who were continuously rebelling against the Mughal authority. The Chagatai families of Jammu city are descended from a Mirza Jan Beg Tarkhan, a Mughal nobleman who fled Delhi after the Indian mutiny of 1857.
The Mughals in the Jammu region are settled mainly in Jammu, Bhadarwah (Distt. Doda) Nawshera, Rajauri and Poonch. Those of Jammu are a Punjabi speaking community. The Jammu city Lohar Chughtai and Tarkhan Barlas Mughal are an urban community, many of whom migrated in and out of India and Pakistan at the time of the partition of land in Pakistan & India, an event which also led to the division of Jammu and Kashmir. The Mughal tribes of Rajauri and Poonch region are effectively separated from their kinsmen by the line of control. These division especially affects the Junhal and Tarkhan tribes, who villages are literally bisected by the line of control. The Mughals in Azad Kashmir are found mainly in the southern districts of Mirpur, Rawalpindi, Kotli and Bhimber, and are culturally the same as Jammu Mughals. Other than the Chughtai Lohar of Jammu, who are Shia, the other Mughal communities are Sunni, equally divided between Barelvis and Deobandi.
Here is a brief descriptions of the main clans:
The Khan Mughals are tribe of Mughal status found in Kashmir, They are locally referred to as Kamagar, which is derived from word kaman gar, which means weapon makers in the Persian language. According to their traditions, they were part of the Mughal under the leadership of Babur. They were mainly concerned with manufacturing arms and weapons.
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- John Keay (2000). India: A History. New Delhi: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255717-7.
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