Labana

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Not to be confused with Lohana.
Labana , Lubana
Religions Sikhism, Hinduism
Languages Punjabi, Lubanaki
Country Primarily India, a significant population in Europe, UK, United States and Canada
Populated States Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan.

Lubana (sometimes also Labana, Lavana ) is a social and ethnic group in India. It is a landholding community whose members were traditionally transporters, carriers and loaders who are now mostly agriculturists.[1] The Lubanas of Punjab region are mostly Sikhs and Hindus. During British colonial times, they were declared as a martial race. Now they called Lubana Jatt's of Punjab

Etymology and Origin[edit]

There is no single proven origin of the Labana people, though many equate them to the Romani of India. However tracing the many linguistic roots of Labanki, the traditional language of the tribe, they seem to be a confederation of different peoples from various backgrounds.

The term 'Labana' translates into salt trader, where 'loon' is salt and 'vanya' equates to craftsman. Labana merchants were known to trade in much more than salt, often taking part in cross regional trading.

According to Sikh Magazine Gurmat Parkash (Published by SGPC), Lobana also means who wear Iron Dress, i.e. dress of Military person. They mentioned Lobana were Military persons who served in Guru's army.[2]

Lobana (Sindhi: لٻاڻا‎) is also a Sindhi tribe living in Sindh and Panjab

History[edit]

Labanas are an offshoot of Ikshwakus of Ramayana fame as well as Audumbaras or Damars.

In Ludhiana and Jhang districts, the Lobanas claimed to be the descendants of Chauhan Rajputs of Jaipur and Jodhpur.[citation needed] In Gujarat district, they claimed to be Raghu vanshi Rajputs.[citation needed] The Lobanas of Kangra and Hoshiarpur districts claimed their origin from the Gaur Brahmins of Pilibhit. A good number of them traced their origin from Gaur Brahmins who came to the Panjab from Ranthambore in Aurangzeb's time.[citation needed]

Culture[edit]

Occupation[edit]

Makhan Shah, A Labana use Ship Transport for trading

Originally, Labanas were traders and Carriers and were nomadic,. They use Animal-Powered transportation and move with entire families, cattle and dogs, around the country. Lakhi Shah Vanjara, famous Labana Sikh use Bullocks for Land Transportation during Mughal Rule.

Labanas were also engaged in Water Transportation. The famous Sikh is Makhan Shah, who had ships for transportation.

They were employed by various empires for transportation of War material. They served under empires of Mughals, British, Sikhs etc. Due to political disorders, it became difficult for Labanas to continue traditional occupation and began to settle around rivers. During Maharaja Ranjit Singh tenure, they entered into agriculture.[citation needed]

The major setback to their traditional profession is introduction of Motor and railways by British, so there dependence on agriculture increased. For additional Income, they adopted military profession and served in both world wars and got lands and appreciation for their performances.

According to George Armand Furse, "The Jut and Lobana castes of Sikhs possess in a high degree the useful knowledge of the lading and care of beasts of burden".[3]

Clan System[edit]

Main article: Labana Clans

The Lubanas have 11 Gotras and are mostly agricultural.[citation needed] Their gotra names are derived from places, profession, ritual and prominent personalities; for example, the Multani Lobanas were named for Multan city when they came to the Punjab region during Nadir Shah's invasion of India in 1739. Lubana clans or got are Ajrawat, Multani,Rath,Ghotra,Garha,Sandlas,Khasriye,Kundlas,Karsana,Kaknian,Patwalie,Pelia,Bhagtana,Badwal,Bawa,Lyallpurie,Maniani,Mathaun,Makhan shai,Mundar,Merawat,Lubana,Labana,Lavana.[4]

Language[edit]

Labanki, the dialect of Labanas, is an extinct Indo-Aryan language. It is a mixture of Marwari, Saraiki, Gujarati and Marathi.[5] The dialect is extinct among Labanas of Punjab, but Rajasthani Labanas still speak the same. Among Sikhs, the famous Labanki quote Guru Ladho Re(Found the Guru) was outspoken when Makhan Shah identify the 9th successor of Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Religion[edit]

Labanas profess Hinduism and Sikhism . In Punjab, most of Labanas are follow Sikh religion. In Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, there are Hindu Labanas and Sikh Labanas.

Hindu Labanas[edit]

Hindu Labanas are mostly followers of Shiva and Shakti. According to chronicle, Labanas were son of King Lava, who was son of Rama. So they call themselves Suryavansha. All clans in Hindu Labanas have their Ishtdev and Kuldevi.

Folk Religion[edit]

Traditionally, Labanas believes in Sati and Shaheeds.[6] They also believe in Pipal, Cow and Gugga Worship. Sati-sthan(Temple), also called Amma Sati, is a building raised outside village, where milk given by cattle is dedicated to her. Other castes are not allowed to do the same. Shaheed worship, also called Martyr worship is prevalent among Labanas where a Samadhi is raised in memory of those labanas who sacrificed their life for good cause.

In Punjabi Labanas, these form of folk worshiping is getting decreased with influence of Sikhism.

Sikh Labanas[edit]

Main article: Labana Sikh

Guru Nanak met many Lobana Traders during his journey and guided the path of truth. In an account of Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, During North Udasi, Nanak met a trader of Salt and guided him to be lowly.[7] First Sikh Labana recorded in Sikh History was Bhai Mansukh, who came in contact with Guru Nanak, accepted the Sikh thought and preached it around South India and Sri Lanka region.[8] Bhai Mansukh told King Shivnabh about Guru Nanak.[9]

According to British[10] records 33% of the Labana were baptised Sikhs and were found primarily in the Lahore, Gujranwala, and Sialkot areas. The Labanas (along with many other groups) saw the highest conversions into Sikhism during 1881–1891.[10]

Demographics[edit]

In 1881, population of labanas was 48489 out of them 69% were Hindus, 25% were Sikhs and 3% were Muslims, the population was rose to 56316 in 1921 in which Sikh population rose to 77%, Hindu labanas to 15% and Muslim lobanas to 7%.[11] In this era, maximum percentage of Hindu Labanas were converted to Sikhs, under Singh Sabha Lehar. In Punjab, Labanas started leaving merchant work and shifted to agriculture profession which turns them to landholding community.

Notable people[edit]

Main article: List of Labanas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Page 171, THE LUBANAS OF PUNJAB, Kamaljit Singh, Guru Nanak Dev University
  2. ^ SGPC Parkash. Gurmat Parkash. SGPC. p. 80. 
  3. ^ Studies on military transport By George Armand Furse P. 215
  4. ^ Dr Jaswant Singh,Panjab di Lubana Bradri,(1849-1947)
  5. ^ Chapter 8, THE MAKING OF EXILE: SINDHI HINDUS AND THE PARTITION OF INDIA;NANDITA BHAVNANI Westland, Jul 29, 201
  6. ^ Page 87, THE LUBANAS OF PUNJAB: Researcher: Kamaljit Singh
  7. ^ Sakhi 72, Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  8. ^ Sikh Heritage
  9. ^ Mahankosh, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Page 949
  10. ^ a b Transformation of the Sikh Society (Ethene K. Marenco) p. 120
  11. ^ Punjab di Lobana Biradar, Dr. Jaswant Singh

External links[edit]