|Regions with significant populations|
|• India • Pakistan|
|• Awadhi • Hindi • Urdu|
|• Islam 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Rajputs • Muslim Rajputs • Khanzada • Ahbans Khanzada • Bhatti Khanzada|
The Chandel Khanzada are a Muslim community found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are part of the larger Khanzada community found in the Awadh region. The community uses the surname Khan.
The Chandel Khanzada are Muslim converts from the Chandel clan of Rajputs. These Chandel were at one time rulers of much of central India, and their kingdom extended to what is now Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh. According to the traditions of the Chandel Khanzada, their ancestors are said to have come originally from Shivrajpur in what is now Kanpur district during the period of Rathore rule at Kannauj. They were sent by the Rathore to deal with the Thatheras, who were given the Rathore rulers much trouble. The Chandel successfully subjugated the Thatheras, and were granted the former Thathera lands in Kacchandao in what is now Hardoi district. There immigration is said to have occurred in the early eleventh century. The next event in their history was the arrival of Sher Shah Suri, who was on his way to Delhi to overthrow the Mughal ruler Humayun. He is said to have compelled the Chandel ranas of the villages of Baraichmau, Harpura, and Mallanwan to convert to Islam. Thus arose the community of the Chandel Khanzada.
The Chandel Khanzada have been intimately connected with another Khanzada community, that of the Ahbans Khanzada of Bangarmau in Hardoi district. These Ahbans have no connection with those of Lakhimpur Kheri District, and they too were said to be converted to Islam by Sher Shah Suri. The Chandel Khanzada are largely small zamindars, and many are simple peasant proprietors.
They are Sunni Muslims, but incorporate many folk beliefs. The Chandel speak both Awadhi and Urdu. They were at one time substantial landowners, but with the carrying out of land reform by the government of India after independence in 1947, they lost many of their larger estates. The community are now small to medium-sized farmers, growing wheat, sorghum, pulses and sugar cane. They have no caste council or panchayat, although there are localized panchayats in their villages. The Chandel intermarry largely with the Ahbans Khanzada of Bangarmau, but also adjoin into neighbouring Khanzada communities.
The sense of belonging to the Rajput community remains strong, with the Chandel Khanzada still strongly identifying themselves with the wider Rajput community of Awadh, and often refer to themselves as simply Rajput. This is shown by the persistence in their marriages of Rajput customs, like bursting of fire crackers and sending specially made laddoos to biradari members. Many members of the community continue to serve in the armed forces of India, an activity traditionally associated with the Rajputs. The Chandel Khanzada, however have been badly affected by abolishment of the zamindari system, with many now destitute. However, like other Indian Muslims, there is growing movement towards orthodoxy, with many of their villages containing madrasas. The madrasas have also facilitated the growth of Urdu, with it beginning to replace the Awadhi dialect they traditionally spoke.
- A Gazetteer of Hardoi District Volume XLI: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
- Tribes and Castes of Northwestern Provinces and Oudh by William Crooke page 38