Pathans in Bihar

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Regions with significant populations
Islam 100%
Related ethnic groups

The Pathans of Bihar in India are said to have settled in the region from the 13th century CE onwards. These Pashtun people are known as Pathan in the Hindustani language. Another common name for the community is Khan, which also a common surname. Lohani Pashtuns ruled a princely state within Bihar.[1]

The name Pathan in Bihar refers to two distinct but related communities, the Nasli (from the Arabic word nasl, meaning racial or by birth) and Divani (from the Arabic word diwan, meaning a royal court). The former are descendents of various Pashtun settlers in Bihar, while the latter are Rajput and Bhumihar converts to Islam.[2] They are considered one of the Ashraf communities meaning they have a powerful status among the Muslims of the state.[3] Ruhella Pathans are significant landowners in the southern part of the state and formed a militia with Rajputs called the Sunlight Sena to combat Maoist insurgents.[4]

Sher Shah Suri was born in Rohtas district.[5]

Present circumstances[edit]

The Pathan proper of Bihar belong to eleven sub-groups, the main ones being the Suri, Sherwani, Yousafzai, Durani, Bangash, Afridi, Khattak, Lodhi, Tanoli, Orakzai and Ghori, all of whom are well known Pashtun tribes. They now speak Hindustani as well as local dialects such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Like other communities in the region, the Pathan are endogamous, and tend to marry close kin. They practice both parallel cousin and cross cousin marriages. Those who live in the larger cities, such as Patna have begun to marry other Bihari Muslims, and a process of assimilation into the wider Bihari Muslim community has begun.[6]


  1. ^ Bhardwaj. Study Package Cds Exam. McGraw-Hill Education (India) Pvt Limited. pp. 160–. ISBN 978-0-07-107215-1. 
  2. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal and Hetukar Jha Seagull Books
  3. ^ Alam, Jawaid (2004-01-01). Government and Politics in Colonial Bihar, 1921-1937. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170999799. 
  4. ^ Kumar, Ashwani (2008-01-01). Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar. Anthem Press. ISBN 9781843317098. 
  5. ^ Khan, Consulting Editors-Behula; Mitchell, S. J.; Mukundan, Subhadra Sen Gupta & Monisha. History & Civics 7 (Col. Ed.). Ratna Sagar. ISBN 9788183320610. 
  6. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 766 to 769 Seagull Books