|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India • United States • Canada • Australia|
|• Haryanvi • Khari Boli • Punjabi • Sindhi • Urdu • English|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Muslim Rajputs • Khanzada • Punjabi Rajputs • Pachhada|
Ranghar (Urdu: رانگھڑ) are a Muslim ethnic group, which is found in Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan and Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh states of India. Ranghar were native to Indian state of Haryana and also found in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh, as well as Delhi in India. The term Ranghar is very rarely used by the community itself, who prefer the self-designation Muslim Rajput. The Ranghar use the titles of Rana, Rao, and Kunwar, prefixed to their given names, and use Khan as a surname. In Haryana, the Ranghar spoke a dialect of their own, called Ranghari, which is itself a dialect of Haryanvi, and many in Pakistan still use the language. Those of Uttar Pradesh speak Khari Boli among themselves, and Urdu with outsiders. After independence of Pakistan in 1947, many Uttar Pradesh Ranghars also migrated to Sindh in Pakistan and mostly settling in Karachi. They are entirely Sunni Hanafi Muslims and follow Deobandi and Barelvi schools of South Asia.
The Ranghar can be roughly divided into sub-groups, conveniently divided by the Yamuna river. Those to the west of the river remained as pastoralists much longer than the Yamuna Ranghar, who were all settled agriculturist by the start of the 19th century. The partition of India further divided these two groups, with the trans Yamuna Ranghar emigrating to Pakistan, while those of the Doab region remaining in India. They comprise a large numbered of dispersed intermarrying clans. These exogamous groups are made up of myriad landholding patrilineages of varying genealogical depth, ritual, and social status called biradaries or brotherhoods scattered in the various districts of western Uttar Pradesh. The biradari, or lineage is one of the principal point of reference for the Ranghars, and all biradaris claim descent from a common ancestor. Often Biradaris inhabit a cluster of villages called Chaurasis (84 villages), Chatisis (36 villages) and Chabisis (26 villages).[full citation needed].
The ranghar of haryana and doab also played a crucial role in war of independence 1857 the 3rd Light Cavalry which actually captured Delhi in 1857 was a predominantly Hindustani Ranghar unit of Muslims from the Upper Doab districts of modern UP, Ranghars from Rohtak, Gurgaon and Hissar districts! It was this unit which single-handedly transformed an essentially military revolt into a full-fledged war of independence by rebelling at Meerut and then marching 40 miles to Delhi and seizing it ! The unit withdrew to Lucknow after the fall of Delhi in September 1857 and to the Nepali Himalyan region of Terai in March 1858.The great bulk of its men either died in fighting or because of disease and starvation in Nepal. Some of its troopers returned to Rohtak and died penniless shunned by the society for complicity in the rebellion ! Today no one knows about the glorious role of 3rd Light Cavalry in the freedom struggle. Their exploits are, however, remembered in some Ranghar households from Kanar and Kalanaur from which the greater part of this regiments Ranghars were recruited.
Distribution and present circumstances
Ranghar communities are found in Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah Districts of Sindh. Recent studies of the Ranghar communities in Pakistan have confirmed that they maintain a distinct identity. They have maintained the system of exogamous marriages, the practice of not marrying within one's clan, which marks them out from neighbouring Punjabi Muslim communities, which prefer marriages with first cousins. In districts of Pakpattan, Okara, and Bahawalnagar which have the densest concentrations of Rangarh, they consist mostly of small peasants, with many serving in the army, police and Civil Services. They maintain an overarching tribal council (panchayat in the Rangharhi dialect), which deals with a number of issues, such as punishments for petty crime or co-operation over village projects.
- People of India: Uttar Pradesh XLII Part III edited by K Singh page 1197
- Embattled Identities: Rajput Lineages and the Colonial State in Nineteenth Century North India by Malavika Kasturi
- Muslim Communities of South Asia Culture, Society and Power edited T N Madan pages 42–43