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History and origin
In Agra District, the Malkana claimed descent from a number of Hindu castes. Those of Kiraoli, where they occupy five villages, claim descent from a Jat. Other Malkana families in the district claim descent from Panwar, Chauhan, Parihar and Sikarwar Rajputs. In Hathras District, they were found mainly near the town of Sadabad.
In Bihar, the Malkana Rajputs are mainly concentrated in the erstwhile Shahabad district. In 1923, there were a recorded 1300 Malkanas in Shahabad alone. Many of them were considered to be Hindu in appearance and culture which led to them being targeted by the Shuddhi movement which aimed at reconverting them to Hinduism. Many Muslim leaders attempted to counter this leading to religious tensions in Shahabad, Gaya and Munger.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Malkana were a community that was on the religious faultline, as there customs were a mixture of Hindu and Muslim traditions. They kept Hindu names, used the salutation Ram Ram, and were endogamous. But the community buried their dead, practised circumcision, and visited mosques on special occasions. This eclectic nature of the community led to attempts by both Hindu and Muslim revivalist to target them.
This has led to splits in the community, with many members of the community converted to Hinduism in the early part of the 20th century, during the course of the shuddhi movement. The shuddhi campaign among the Malkanas, was launched in early 1923 and led by the Arya Samaj under Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. This re-conversion campaign reached its peak by the end of 1927, by which time some 1,63,000 Malkana Muslims are said to have been brought into the Hindu fold.