Pathans of Madhya Pradesh

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Pathans of Madhya Pradesh
Shahryarkhan-forsec.jpg Dost Mohammad Khan, Nawab of Bhopal.jpg Begum sajida sultan.jpg
Regions with significant populations
 India Pakistan
Allah-green.svg Islam
Related ethnic groups
PashtunRohillaPathans of RajasthanPathans of Uttar PradeshMuhajir people

The Pathans of Madhya Pradesh (Pashto: د مادایا پرادش پښتانه; Urdu: مدھیہ پردیش کے پٹھان‎) are a large Urdu-speaking Pashtun community settled in the present-day Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Most settled in Madhya Pradesh from the 18th century onward. They are mainly concentrated in and around the districts of what use to be princely states ruled by Pashtun Nawabs such as Jaora, Kurwai, Bhopal, Sironj, and Muhammadgarh. After independence in 1947, many of these Pathans migrated to Pakistan. According to estimates, there are 816,000 people in Madhya Pradesh who claim Pathan ancestry.[1][2]

History and origin[edit]

Pathan settlement in Central India started with the arrival of Dost Mohammad Khan a Pashtun adventurer from Tirah in 1709, soon after Dost Mohammad Khan invited fellow tribesmen from Tirah. [3] These early settlers mainly hailed from the Mirazi Khel and Firoz Khel sub-tribes of the Orakzai. Descendants of these early settlers still pride themselves as being Barru-kat ("reed cutter") Pathans since they initially made their homes with thatched reeds. With the creation of the princely state of Bhopal a hub for Pathan settlement was created and thousands of Pathans arrived as soldiers to fill the Begum's army. Immigration from the Northwest Frontier continued until the independence in 1947. In neighboring areas of Madhya Pradesh similar migrations took place and have left Pathans scattered throughout Madhya Pradesh. In state of Indore Pathans came looking for employment in the Holkar's army and settled down, several large Pathan commanders in the Holkar's armies were given large estates or Jagirs themselves which became princely states in the surrounding areas. The states of Tonk and Jaora were two such states originally given to Rohilla commanders in the Holkar's army. Descendents of the founders of these states and their Pathan soldiers are found in the areas of Sironj, part of Tonk, and in the area of Jaora. In northern Madhya Pradesh similarly Rohillas came from Uttar Pradesh into the army of Gwalior, eventually ending up settling in the area.

Present circumstances[edit]

A process of assimilation with neighboring Indian Muslim communities is occurring however pockets of full blooded Pashtuns can still be found in Bhopal District, Raisen District, Sehore District, and Vidisha District. They speak Urdu or the Bhopali dialect of Hindustani made famous by actor Jagdeep in the film Sholay; certain individuals still have a limited knowledge of Pashto. Traditionally these Pathans are strictly endogamous and tend to only marry within their kin. Many different Pashtun Tribes are present in Madhya Pradesh such as the Mirazi Khel, Firoz Khel, Mishti Khel, all three subgroups of the Orakzai, Yusufzai, Afridi, Tareen, Durrani, Mohammadzai, Rohilla, and Ghilzai. Many are traditionally associated with agriculture, historically they have been soldiers for local nawabs and land owners. In recent years large numbers have moved abroad to foreign countries such as USA, UAE, UK, Canada, and Australia

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]