|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India|
|• Ranghari • 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. The term Ranghar is very rarely used by the community itself, who prefer the self-designation Muslim Rajput.
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 the formation of Pakistan in 1947, many Uttar Pradesh Ranghars also migrated to Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan. They are entirely Sunni Hanafi Muslims and follow Deobandi and Barelvi schools of South Asia.
History and origin
The Ranghar were classified as an "agricultural tribe" by the British Raj administration. This was often taken to be synonymous with the classification of martial race, and some Ranghars were recruited to the Indian army.
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]
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
- Mazumder, Rajit K. (2003). The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab. Orient Longman. p. 105. ISBN 9788178240596.
- 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