Lohana

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Lohana
Regions with significant populations
India , Pakistan, South Africa, Europe
Languages
Primarily Gujarati, Kutchi, Sindhi,
Religion
Primarily Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
• • Gujarati peopleSindhi peopleKhojaMemon

Lohana, are an Indian caste. Lohanas claim to be descendants of the Luva, son of Rama, and to descend from the Raghuvanshi dynasty.[1] The Lohanas are divided into many separate cultural groups as a result of centuries apart in different regions. Thus there are significant differences between the culture, language, professions and societies of Gujarati Lohanas, Sindhi Lohanas, Kutchi Lohanas

History[edit]

According to Hinguladri Khanda(Skanda Purana) Lohanas are originally Rathore[2]

Gujarati lohanas trace their origin to Saurashtra region in present-day state of Gujarat, India.

Sindh fell under the Muslim rule of Muhammad bin Qasim after defeat of Dahir.

According to Chachnama, Samma was a branch of Lohana tribe.[3] Ala al-Din Khiljl (1296-1316) mounted a number of campaigns in the region battling the Sumra princes whose cycle of capitulation/rebellion could be charted exactly to the perceived military stress on the metropole. Yet, the Delhi Sultans and their governor rarely resorted to invading Sumra held ter- ritories - relying, instead, on alliances with tribal elite and local power strug- gles. Against the Sumras, Khiljl advanced the cause of the Lohana tribe of Samma. The conflict guaranteed a rolling supply of princes and tribal chiefs wanting alliances with the center. The tussle for dominance between the Sumras and the Samma lasted until the reign of Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351- 1388), when the Jam emirs of Samma were finally able to end Sumra dominance, taking over lower Sindh.[4]

Lohana women in western India (c. 1855–1862).
Lohana men in western India (c. 1855–1862).

Sindhi Lohanas have since been divided into several groups, among which are:[5]

  • Amils : In the 18th–19th century, they stopped being merchants and began working for local rulers. They currently are generally involved in clerical jobs in government offices, as working in posts of revenue collectors and other senior positions. They originally composed 10–15% of the Lohana community, but soon acquired a status higher than Lohanas and Khatris, and continued to draw members from those castes.[6]
  • Bhaibands : mainly involved in trade and commerce and so mostly merchants. The community was involved in international and trade in interior of Sindh even before the arrival of the British. They also played an important part in the development of the city of Karachi[7]
  • Sahitis: placed somewhere between Amils and Bhaibands, they could be either in government service or traders
  • Ladii-Lohana(Ladii-Sindhi) : Traditionally these were farmers and landowners whose ancestors tilled land for rice and build the community of Hindu-Sindhis near and around Hyderabad,Sindh but had to leave all types of assets and wealth behind during partition.They remain true to their ancestors identity and values even during all the skirmishes faced during that time (800 AD to 1800s) due to continuous invasions.

For hundreds of years, the Sindhi Lohanas absorbed other communities from the western Indian subcontinent.[6]

Formation of Khoja and Memon Islamic communities[edit]

The community's oral history says that the decline of their kingdom began after the death of Veer Dada Jashraj. It also says that their name derives from the city of Lohargadh (/Lohanpur/Lohkot) in Multan, from which they migrated in the 13th century after the establishment of Muslim rule there.[8]

Pir Sadardin converted some Lohanas to the Shia Ismaili Nizari sect of Islam in the 15th century. As Lohanas were worshippers of Shakti, the emergence of a devotional Ismaili oral tradition that incorporated indigenous conceptions of religion, known as ginans, played a role in the forming of a new ethnic caste-like grouping. This group came to be known as Khojas (from Khawaja), a title given by Sadardin, that would predominantly merge into what is now understood as the Nizari Ismaili branch of Shia Islam.[9]

In 1422, Jam Rai Dan was tribal leader in Sindh during the Samma Dynasty; he was converted to Islam by Sayad Eusuf-ud-Din and he adopted a new name Makrab Khan. At that time a person named Mankeji was head of 84 nukhs of Lohanas, who were in favour in court of that Samma king. He was persuaded by ruler and the Qadri to convert to Islam. However, not all Lohanas were ready to convert from Hinduism. But 700 Lohana families comprising some 6,178 persons converted in Thatta, Sindh. These are now known as Memons (from Momins).[10]

Post-Partition[edit]

After the Partition of British India in 1947, Lohanas from Kutch and Sindh migrated in large numbers to Gujrat, mostly to Kutch, Ahemdabad and Vadodara. Many also settled in Maharashtra in Mumbai, Mulund, Pune, and Nagpur.[11]

Overseas diaspora[edit]

Thousands of Hindu Gujaratis left India between 1880 - 1920 and migrated to British colonies in the African Great Lakes region of Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika. A significant number of these came from the Patidar and Lohana communities.[12] At that time, however, there was already a bustling merchant class diaspora of Gujarati Muslims in these countries.[13]

The Lohana migrants to East Africa, of which there were 40,000 in 1970,[14] came mainly from the Saurashtran cities of Jamnagar and Rajkot.[15] Many Lohanas set up businesses in those countries, two of the most successful being those set up by Nanji Kalidas Mehta and Muljibhai Madhvani.[16][17]

In the later part of 20th century, following the independence of British colonies, and particularly after Idi Amin's expulsion order for South Asians in 1972, most Lohanas moved to the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent to United States and Canada.[18] In the UK, the highest concentration of Lohanas and other Gujarati Hindu communities is around the West London suburbs of Wembley and Harrow, and the city of Leicester in the East Midlands region of England.[19][20]

Sindhi Lohana Amil's.

Society and culture[edit]

Lohanas largely follow Hindu rituals and worship Hindu deities such as Krishna. They worship avatars of Vishnu such as Rama with his consort Sita and Krishna in the form of Shrinathji. They worship Shakti in the form of Ravirandal Mataji, and Ambika. The 19th century saints Jalaram Bapa, and Yogiji Maharaj, also attract many Lohana devotees. Their main clan deities are Veer Dada Jashraj, Harkor Ba, Sindhvi Shree Sikotar Mata and Dariyalal. The Sun is also worshipped by the community.[8] Some Lohana branches worship Hinglaj as a clan goddess.[21]

The Lohanas, Bhatias, and Khatris were close communities and were known to intermarry. The Lohanas recruit Saraswat Brahmins as priests.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lachaier, Pierre. "Cérémonies D'hommage à Sarasvatī Et Aides à L'éducation Chez Les Lohāṇā De Pune." Bulletin De L'École Française D'Extrême-Orient 94 (2007): 27-58. Accessed November 2, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43733204.
  2. ^ Mishra, Pandith Jwala Prasadji (1970). Jatibhaskar-satymarg. p. 207.
  3. ^ Elliot, Henry M. (1867). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period Vol. I - page - 362. Trubner & Co., London.
  4. ^ Ahmed, Manan (2008). The many histories of Muhammad b. Qasim: Narrating the Muslim conquest of Sindh - page - 99. The University of Chicago.
  5. ^ Falzon, Mark-Anthony (2004). Cosmopolitan connections: the Sindhi diaspora, 1860-2000. pp. 34, 35. ISBN 978-9004140080.
  6. ^ a b Schaflechner 2018, p. 73.
  7. ^ Askari, Sabiah (2013). Studies on Karachi: Papers Presented at the Karachi Conference 2013. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 55, 65–66. ISBN 978-1-44387-744-2.
  8. ^ a b Lachaier, Pierre (1999-01-01). Firmes et entreprises en Inde: la firme lignagère dans ses réseaux (in French). pp. 70–73. ISBN 9782865379279.
  9. ^ Asani, Ali S. (2001-07-01). "The Khojahs of South Asia: Defining a Space of their Own". Cultural Dynamics. 13 (2): 155–168. doi:10.1177/092137400101300202. ISSN 0921-3740. S2CID 143013406.
  10. ^ Engineer, Asgharali (1989). The Muslim communities of Gujarat: an exploratory study of Bohras, Khojas, and Memons. Ajanta Publications. pp. 42–44. ISBN 9788120202306.
  11. ^ Lachaier 1999, p. 65.
  12. ^ Herbert, J. (2004). Contested terrains: negotiating ethnic boundaries in the city of Leicester since 1950 (Doctoral dissertation, History). p. 25.
  13. ^ Oonk, G.. (2004). "The Changing Culture of Hindu Lohanas in East Africa" (PDF). Contemporary Asians Studies. 13: 83–97. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
  14. ^ Gregory, Robert G. (1992). The rise and fall of philanthropy in East Africa : the Asian contribution. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction Publishers. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-56000-007-5.
  15. ^ Kalka, I. (1986). A case study of urban ethnicity: Harrow Gujaratis (Doctoral dissertation, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom) (PDF). p. 74.
  16. ^ Gregory, Robert (1992). The Rise and Fall of Philanthropy in East Africa: The Asian's Contribution. p. 53. ISBN 9781412833356.
  17. ^ Bennett, Charles Joseph (1976). Persistence Amid Adversity:The Growth and Spatial Distribution of the Asian Population of Kenya, 1902-1963. Syracuse University. p. 182. Probably the success of the most prominent Lohana families in Uganda, Nanji Kalidas Mehta and Sons, M. P. Madhvani and D. K. Hindocha had much influence on Lohana migration from Porbandar and Jamnagar
  18. ^ Burghart, Richard (1987). Hinduism in Great Britain: the perpetuation of religion in an alien cultural. ISBN 9780422609104.
  19. ^ Thompson, Linda (2000). Young bilingual children in nursery schools. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-1853594540.
  20. ^ Firth, Shirley (1997). Dying, death and bereavement in a British Hindu community. Leuven: Peeters. p. 21. ISBN 978-90-6831-976-7.
  21. ^ a b Schaflechner, Jürgen (2018). Hinglaj Devi: Identity, Change, and Solidification at a Hindu Temple in Pakistan. Oxford University Press. p. 72.

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