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Mohyal

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Mohyal (alternate spellings include Muhiyal, Muhial, Mhial, Mohiyal or Mahjal) is the name of an endogamous ethnic group that originates from the Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 region and consists of seven Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 lineage
Lineage
Lineage may refer to:- Science :* Lineage or kinship, descent group that can demonstrate their common descent from an apical ancestor or a direct line of decent from an ancestor....

s of that area that left the usual priestly occupation of Brahmins long ago to serve as soldiers and in government services.

The community is noted for a long tradition of producing distinguished soldiers. - including, among others, India's most decorated General, Zorawar Chand Bakhshi
Zorawar Chand Bakhshi
Lt. Gen. Zorawar Chand Bakhshi is a retired soldier of the Indian Army, and has the distinction of being "India's most decorated General"-Family and Early Life:...

.

Despite their classification as Brahmins in the Hindu Varna system, they in fact strictly refrain from working as priests--often to the point of excommunicating those who break that tradition. They also do not adhere to many customs and taboos observed by other Brahmin groups, and their regional history and specific customs mark them as a distinct ethnic group as well.

Most Mohyals are Hindus. Many are Sikhs - largely as a result of the role played by Mohyals in the formative days of the Sikh religion and also because of a tradition once popular in Mohyal families of bringing up the eldest male child as a Sikh. A small percentage are Muslims.

Mohyal clans


This ethnic group is presently divided into seven clans listed below with their gotra
Gotra
In the Hindu society, the term Gotra broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Panini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram , which means "the word gotra denotes the progeny beginning with the son's son"...

s (lineages):
  1. Bali: Parashar
  2. Bhimwal: Kaushal
  3. Chhibber
    Chhibber
    Chhibber is a Brahmin clan from the Punjab. They are one of the seven clans of the Mohyals who are Saraswat Brahmins of the Punjab. The other six clans are Bali, Bhimwal, Datt/Dutt, Lau, Mohan and Vaid. Punjabi Brahmins other than Mohyals include Barahis , Bawanjais and Athwans...

    /Chibber:Bhrigu
  4. Datt/Dutt/Dutta: Bharadwaja
  5. Lau
    Lau (Mohyal)
    Lau is one of the Saraswat Brahmin clans of Punjab. They are one of the seven lineages constituting the Mohyal community, known for its martial tradition.-Mythological roots:...

    : Vasishtha
  6. Mohan
    Mohan (Mohyal)
    Mohan is a famous Brahmin clan from the Punjab. They are one of the seven clans of the Mohyals who are Saraswat Brahmins of the Punjab. The six other clans are Bali, Bhimwal, Chhibber, Datt, Lau, and Vaid...

    : Kashyap
  7. Vaid
    Vaid
    Vaid is a Brahmin clan from the Punjab, one of the seven clans of the Mohyals. The words Vaid and Rajvaid are particularly used to denote medical professionals in Indian history.- Gotra :The gotra or founding lineage of the Vaids is Dhanvantari...

    : Dhanvantri


Certain families of Segan Brahmins also consider themselves part of the Mohyal Brahmins because of their historical engagement in military and civil administration.

Courtesy titles


As an ethnic group, Mohyals have a long military tradition. During Mughal and Sikh rule, Mohyals were bestowed hereditary courtesy titles as for bravery and loyal service. These figure in most Mohyal names even today, and include Bakhshi, Bhai, Chaudhri, Dewan, Malik, Mehta and Raizada and are often indicative of the history of specific families.
Courtesy Title Meaning Background Information
Bakshi or Bakhshi Benevolent Frequent Mohyal title. The term Bakshi was also used for a paymaster of an army, and a small section of Mohyal families carry that name for that reason.
Bhai Brother Conferred on the Chhibbers of Karyala by the Sikh Gurus
Sikh Gurus
The Sikh Gurus established Sikhism from over the centuries beginning in the year 1469. Sikhism was founded by the first guru, Guru Nanak, and subsequently, all in order were referred to as "Nanak", and as "Lights", making their teachings in the holy scriptures, equivalent...

 for great sacrifices and devotion to dharma, and only found among their descendants
Chaudhri Head of village or clan Among Mohyals, usually descended from the Datt families of Kanjrur, Veeram and Zaffarwal
Dewan Landlord or person of authority The Dewans (prime ministers) of all the ten Gurus were Chhibbers belonging to Karyala; Also carried by Datts belonging to Guliana and certain other places
Mehta Responsible for finance/property Frequent Mohyal title
Raizada Of noble lineage Mostly Balis and some Vaids. Among the latter, only those tracing descent from a royal house of the Hindu Shahis
Sultan Sultan Conferred by the Mughals, and carried by Datts (hence the term "Datt Sultan", the only Hindus given this title during Mughal rule)
Khan Khan Conferred by the Mughals (also the only Hindus given this title during Mughal rule)

Numerical strength and geographical distribution


The current strength of the Mohyal community is estimated at about 100,000 persons. This is likely an over-estimation considering that the total number of Mohyals recorded in the 1901 census was 13,413. The census of 1891 placed their strength at 10,871, while a census carried out in 1977 by Mohyals themselves placed their numbers at 35,600. In India's billion-plus population they constitute a microscopic minority, yet have a disproportionately large presence in various fields, especially the Indian Armed Forces.

The traditional homeland of the Mohyals was the region of Gandhara that corresponds to modern day districts of Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi District
Rawalpindi is a district of Pakistan in the north of the Punjab province which contains the city of Rawalpindi. The district has an area of . It was part of Rawalpindi Division, until the year 2000 when the division was abolished...

, Haripur
Haripur District
Haripur is a district in the Hazara region of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, province of Pakistan with an altitude of around above sea level. Haripur District has the highest Human Development Index of all the districts in the Hazara....

, Jhelum
Jhelum District
Jhelum District is in the Punjab province of Pakistan. According the 1998 census the district had a population of 936,957, of which 31.48% were urban. Jhelum is known for providing a large number of soldiers to the British and later to the Pakistan armed forces due to which it is also known as...

, Gujrat
Gujrat District
Gujrat is a district of Punjab Province in Pakistan. It is an ancient district located in between two famous rivers, the Jhelum and Chenab. Because of its proximity with the rivers the land is good for cultivation with rice and sugar cane as main crops...

, Sargodha
Sargodha District
Sargodha District is a district of Punjab province, Pakistan, the capital of the district is Sargodha. It is an agricultural district, wheat, rice, and sugarcane being its main crops. The Sargodha district and region are also famous for citrus fruit; kino is a newly developed variety...

, Baramulla and Jammu
Jammu District
Jammu District is a district in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu is the winter capital of the state. The majority of the population of the district practise Hinduism; people of all religions, Muslims, Sikhs live in peace and harmony. Jammu is also known as city of temples with major attraction as Maa...

. Once a great centre of Indian learning, Pāṇini, Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu
Vasubandhu was an Indian Buddhist monk, and along with his half-brother Asanga, one of the main founders of the Indian Yogācāra school. However, some scholars consider Vasubandhu to be two distinct people. Vasubandhu is one of the most influential figures in the entire history of Buddhism...

, Asanga
Asanga
Asaṅga was a major exponent of the Yogācāra tradition in India, also called Vijñānavāda. Traditionally, he and his half-brother Vasubandhu are regarded as the founders of this school...

 and Charaka
Charaka
Charaka, sometimes spelled Caraka, born c. 300 BC was one of the principal contributors to the ancient art and science of Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India...

 hailed from this region.

The river Ravi
Ravi River
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region ....

 was regarded as the southern and eastern limit of Mohyal territory. Mohyals continued to live in large numbers in these areas until the creation of Pakistan in 1947, after which a near complete process of brutal religious cleansing emptied their presence in all these areas barring Baramulla and Jammu, which did not become a part of Pakistan. After a loss of many lives, they were forced to move to India - except for the Muslim Mohyals and a few Hindu/Sikh families that stayed on in Pakistan.

Comparative strength


Even among the various ethnic groups of the sub-continent that have a strong martial tradition, Mohyals are numerically very small by comparison. For example, in today's numbers, the Mohyals number only about 1/400th of the Rajput population. Even in pre-partition India's District of Rawalpindi, where the concentration of the Mohyals was at its highest, the Imperial Gazetteer of India of 1909 indicated the presence of only 1 Mohyal for every 8 persons of the Janjua community, 13 of the Gakhar
Gakhars
The Gakhars are an ancient warrior clan who have predominantly resided in what is present day northern Punjab and South-Western Kashmir, Pakistan. In particular in the cities of Rawalpindi, Jhelum and regions of Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Khanpur and Mirpur, Pakistan...

 and 39 of the Awan
Awan (Pakistan)
Awan , is a South Asian Zamindar tribe, putatively of Arab origin, living predominantly in northern, central, and western parts of Punjab, Pakistan...

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/pager.html?objectid=DS405.1.I34_V21_272.gif&bcsi_scan_77FB4BB6EFD07B2B=0&bcsi_scan_filename=pager.html.

Due to this fact, their very notable presence in the honors list of the armies they have served in is considered an especially remarkable achievement.

Community organization


The General Mohyal Sabha, with it headquarters at New Delhi is the apex body of Mohyals, to which about 75 local mohyal sabhas in different parts of India are affiliated.

Customs and values


Mohyals have through history been very selective in choosing rulers to serve, often paying a high price for maintaining a fierce independence http://www.defencejournal.com/2003/june/tribesandturbulence.htm. During the British rule they were favored in military recruitment due to their strong martial traditions and their assurance of loyalty.

Mohyals and religious identity


On the one hand, Mohyals take pride in having retained their Hindu identity despite living as minuscule religious minorities in predominantly Muslim lands, and in the face of widespread conversions of other groups to Islam. This was generally regarded as a sign of staying unconquered, especially in the backdrop of conversions brought about by force or incentives. On the other hand, many Hindu groups consider them very Muslim-like in their outlook, especially given the Hussaini-Brahmin appellation, and a few other traditions as well. Neither of these perceptions have traditionally caused friction in Mohyal relations with Muslims or other Hindu communities.

Mohyals have been patrons of Hinduism and Sikhism in remote outposts beyond South Asia. In the 1800s, a Mohyal of the Datt clan from Pind Dadan Khan spent nearly all the savings of his life just to sponsor repairs at the Atashgah fire temple in Baku
Fire Temple of Baku
The Baku Ateshgah or "Fire Temple" is a castle-like ancient Hindu religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. "Atash" is the Persian word for fire....

, during his stay in Central Asia.

Links and relations with other groups


Across the subcontinent, other Brahmins are also believed to switched from the traditional duties of Brahmins in favor of military and administrative ones. In other parts of the sub-continent, outside of Punjab and the Gandhara region they have been known as Tyagi Brahman and "brahma-kshatriya" groups. These groups also claim to have descended from ParshuramTyagi Brahmans of Haryana and West Uttar Pradesh have close relationship and brotherhood with Mohyals traditionally..

Some Mohyal Brahmins migrated eastward and became as some sub-divisions of Bhumihar Brahmin
Bhumihar
Bhumihar or Babhan or Bhuin-har is a Brahmin Hindu community mainly found in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.- Varna status :...

s, some of whom are also descendants of Hussaini Brahmins and mourn the death of Imam Hussain. Bhumihar Brahmins
Bhumihar
Bhumihar or Babhan or Bhuin-har is a Brahmin Hindu community mainly found in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.- Varna status :...

 and Tyagi/ Mohyal Brahmins have an affinity and brotherhood for each other. The Bhumihar Brahmin
Bhumihar
Bhumihar or Babhan or Bhuin-har is a Brahmin Hindu community mainly found in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.- Varna status :...

s, of whom many, though not all, belong to the Saryupareen Brahmin division of Kanyakubja Brahmins.

An eminent example was Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh. Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh, who was a freedom fighter, administrator and educationist in which capacity he did a lot for improving education and health services in the province of Bihar in the pre-independence era. Sir Ganesh Dutta made generous donations from his earnings and personal property for the development of educational institutions, like radium institute in Patna Medical College, Darbhaga Medical College, Ayurvedic College and schools for the blind, deaf and dumb, among others.

Mohyals have had a traditional affinity with these groups, on account of similar customs and belief in having descended from the same stock. There are known cases of Mohyals who migrated to other parts of the subcontinent, and became accepted as a part of the corresponding "fraternal community" of the new location.

In addition, Mohyals also have a tradition of respecting other groups' martial traditions, transcending any ethnic or religious divides. Various works by Mohyals on their community's history are especially replete with mentions of a relationship of admiration and mutual respect with Gakhars
Gakhars
The Gakhars are an ancient warrior clan who have predominantly resided in what is present day northern Punjab and South-Western Kashmir, Pakistan. In particular in the cities of Rawalpindi, Jhelum and regions of Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Khanpur and Mirpur, Pakistan...

. According to these works and the oral history of Mohyals, the special respect for Gakhars is believed to date back to the times Gakhars played a key role in fighting off foreign invasions under some rulers from whom Mohyals claim descent. This used to be mentioned as a reason why Mohyals especially served with pride under Gakhar chiefs in subsequent centuries and were sought for their services by them as well, particularly in the era before Sikh rule.

The community's traditional disdain for the "handling of scales" has meant that few Mohyals used to become traders. It was the custom that anyone subsisting solely on charity was especially despised, even more so if that happened to be a Brahmin. With such Brahmins, Mohyals while admitting a common origin, usually objected to be classed with. At the same time Mohyals do also have a tradition of patronizing and supporting other Brahmins that engage in priestly or any other work.

The traditional respect for hard work in Mohyals also translates into a universal respect for farmers, and being a farmer used to be the expected choice for anyone not serving in the army or administration . For that reason Mohyals often insist on being hereditary agriculturists themselves.

Satbansi Brahmins and other offshoots



Mohyals are believed to be the parent community from which the Satbansi Brahmins arose as an offshoot. The term Satbansi literally means seven lineages, and this is a community of Brahmins that does engage in priestly rituals, unlike Mohyals.

According to Mohyals' written and oral history, when the Arora
Arora
Arora is an Indo-Aryan community of the Punjab region. Commentators differ in their opinions regarding the relationship between the Arora and the Khatri community....

 community of Sind and Multan was ostracized by the Khatris, the latter had disallowed their priests from continuing to perform religious rites for Aroras, causing especial hardships for them at funerals and marriages.

In this duress a community elder of the Aroras named Sidh Jaichik of Arorkot had appealed to a Mohyal of Thatta named Gosain Bodh Raj Vaid for help. The Mohyal community, after deliberating on the issue had decided to help out by assigning seven families, one from each Mohyal clan, to perform priestly rituals for the Arora community from that point onwards. At the same time, these 7 families theselves got ostracized from the Mohyal clan as the ritual punishment for taking up priesthood.

The seven persons who stepped forward for rendering this assistance at the expense of their own place in the Mohyal community were Chhangi Ram Mohan, Dhanpat Datt, Lalumal Bali, Satpal Chhibber, Sham Lau, Takhatmal Bhimwal along with Bodh Raj Vaid himself. Those seven clans came to be known as Chhangu Potrey, Dhan Potre, Lalrey,Saitpal, Shamu Potre, Takhat Potre and Bhoj Potre respectively.

As per Mohyal history and other sources, this group in turn is believed to have given rise to other branches, like the Wadhwani clan under Wadho Ram, Mangwanis under Mangho Ram, both descendants of Sham Lau, the Ramanandani clan under Rama Nand, a descendant of Gosain Bodh Raj Vaid, and others.

Sources


Currently, a documented history of Mohyals is mostly derived from oral history and a few historical records.

The known written works include the following:
  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati
    Swami Sahajanand Saraswati
    Swami Sahajanand Saraswati , born in a Jijhoutia Brahminfamily of Ghazipur of Uttar Pradesh state of India, was an ascetic of Dashnami Order of Adi Shankara Sampradaya as well as a nationalist and peasant leader of India...

     Rachnawali
    (Selected works of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati), Prakashan Sansthan, Delhi
    Delhi
    Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

    , 2003.
  • Bali Nama (Persian) by Rattan Chand Bali
  • Mirat-ul-Mohyali (Urdu, 1870s.)
  • Islah-e-Mohyali (Urdu, 1908) Raizada Rattan Chand Vaid
  • Mohyal History (Urdu, 1940) Chuni Lal Dutt
  • Gulshan-e-Mohyali (Urdu, 1920s) Raizada Hari Chand Vaid
  • Jang Nama - An account of the Mohans by Har Bhagwan Lau
  • Tawarikh-e-Vaidaan - (Punjabi) A history of the Vaids
  • The history of the Muhiyals: The militant Brahman race of India (English,1911) by T.P. Russell Stracey
  • Mohyal History (English, 1985) by P.N. Bali


There have also been in existence many ballads extolling the feats of Mohyals, for many centuries. The sustained existence through the centuries is attributed to the fact that in the past Mohyals used to patronize bards that were devoted to memorizing these ballads and passing them on from generation to generation.

Stracey mentions that the Mohyals are primarily a military class, divided into seven clans that have been prominently associated with the government and sometimes rulership of the country. They have also figured at some early period of history in the affairs of Arabia, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Persia. At the time of his writing he states that they were spread from Afghanistan and Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 to Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

.

Origin


The Mohyals are a branch of the bigger Bawanjai Saraswat group. Bawanjai literally means 52 lineages, including 6 that have since converted en masse to Islam (most prominently, the Gakhar
Gakhar Hindus
Gakhars are a Punjabi community living in India with an ancient recorded history, originally belonging to the areas of West Punjab which now fall in the territory of Pakistan...

 community).

When Gandhara witnessed repeated invasions and decline in Hinduism, many Brahmins are said to have become administrators and warriors. Mohyals are believed to be a community that emerged from this larger group, from the grouping together of seven lineages sharing records of distinguished martial and administrative achievements.

Across the subcontinent, other Brahmins are also believed to switched from the traditional duties of Brahmins in favor of military and administrative ones. In other parts of the sub-continent, outside of Punjab and the Gandhara region they have been known as "brahma-kshatriya" groups. These are believed to have descended from Parshuram, such as Tyagi Brahmins
Tyagi
Tyagi is a surname of North India and Pakistan. There are both Hindu and Muslim Tyagis. Tyāgī is a sanskrit word meaning the renouncer Once localized to Western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, they are now also found in Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan due to the...

 in Western U.P and Haryana
Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

, Goud Brahmins in U.P. and Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

, Bhumihar Brahmin
Bhumihar
Bhumihar or Babhan or Bhuin-har is a Brahmin Hindu community mainly found in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.- Varna status :...

s in U.P. and Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Gaud Saraswat Brahmins in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Niyogi
Niyogi
Niyogis are a sect of Hindu Brahmins who gave up priestly occupations and are predominantly Telugu language speakers, from Andhra Pradesh, India.-Theories of origin:...

 Brahmins in [Andhra Pradesh], Anavil Brahmins in Gujarat, Havyak Brahmins in Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, Namboothiri Brahmins in Kerala.

With most men either in established militaries or mercenaries, the Mohyals developed a warlike culture and reputation over the last millennium.
"A group of chivalrous Hindus called Muhiyals are very well at par with Pushtuns and Rajputs. Muhiyals have been rulers of territories in the present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. They are essentially a military race, which have served as soldiers throughout the centuries. They have a reputation of courage, loyalty and bravery. Muhiyals are composed of seven clans; Datt, Vaid, Chibbar, Bali, Muhan, Lau and Bhimwal. Though small in numbers but all these clans have a rich military history. In India, they are also called ‘Hussaini Brahmins’ as Muhiyals proudly claim that though being non-Muslim, a small number of them fought in the battle of Karbala on the side of Hussain. Muhiyals are very close to Pushtuns in their character. For centuries, they never or seldom paid in their revenue until coerced by a military expedition involving a number of casualties on both sides. On one occasion, they fought three sanguine battles against Babur's army as they refused to surrender a khatri girl to Mughals who had sought their protection. The testament to their chivalry is the fact that during Muslim rule, they were the only non-Muslim group on whom the title of Khan or Sultan was ever bestowed. During British rule, a number of them were residing in the military belt of Campbelpur, Rawalpindi and Jhelum area. A number of Muhiyals served with distinction in British Indian army especially cavalry. They served in many regiments especially 9th, 11th, 13th, and 19th Lancers, 3rd, 4th and 15th Punjab Cavalry and Guides Cavalry."

The legend of Rahab Sidh Datt


As per Mohyal folklore, a Mohyal of the Dutt clan had fought on behalf of Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala, more specifically in the storming of Kufa- sacrificing his seven sons in the process. According to legend, Rahab Sidh Datt (also mentioned as Rahib Sidh or Sidh Viyog Datt in some versions) was the leader of a small band of career-soldiers living near Baghdad around the time of the battle of Karbala. The legend mentions the place where he stayed as Dair-al-Hindiya, meaning "The Indian Quarter", which matches an Al-Hindiya
Hindiya
Al-Hindiya or Hindiya is a city in Iraq on the Euphrates River. Nouri al Maliki went to school there in his younger days. Al-Hindiya is located in the Kerbala Governorate...

 in existence today. The Dutts have traditionally been referred to as Hussaini Brahmins‎ since times immemorial Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand , was a famous writer of modern Hindi-Urdu literature. He is generally recognized in India as the foremost Hindi-Urdu writer of the early twentieth century...

's novel ‘Karbala’ also mentions about Hindus fighting for the sake of Imam Hussain, and refers to them as descendants of Ashwatthama
Ashwatthama
A hero of the Indian epic Mahābhārata, Ashwatthama or Ashwatthaman was the son of guru Drona. He is one of the seven Chiranjeevins. Dronacharya loved him very dearly. The rumours about his death in the Kurukshetra war, led to the death of his father from the hands of Prince Dhrishtadyumna...

, who the Dutt clan considers to be an ancestor. This legend occupies an important part in the Dutt clan's oral history, and is considered a source of pride for them.

Zameer Hassan Kazmi, in his article "Imam Husain's Hindu Devotees" published in The Illustrated Weekly of India
The Illustrated Weekly of India
The Illustrated Weekly of India was an English language weekly newsmagazine publication in India. It started publication in 1880 and ceasing publication in 1993...

, documents sacrifices made by Hindus, particularly Dutt Brahmins, while fighting on the side of a descendant of Prophet Mohammad.

However, certain historians also believe that the seven persons who stepped forward to take up priesthood earlier had sent a representative each from their respective clans under the leadership of Rahib Sidh Dutt.

Early history


Mohyals have long claimed a few royal houses of ancient and early medieval times as their own ancestors, including King Dahir and the Hindu Shahi kings of Kabul and the Punjab. According to their oral history, the Kabul dynasty of King Spalapati that reached a glory under his son King Samanta Dev were of the Datt lineage, and whose ancestors in preceding centuries are said to have been displaced as rulers of a small coastal territory called Harya Bunder further towards the Middle-East. Some of the latter Hindu Shahi Kings that were defeated after successive invasions by Ghazni Sultans are claimed to have been of the Vaid clan, which according to Mohyal ballads is said to have nearly been wiped out in the process.

As per Mohyals' history, King Dahir of Brahmanabad in Sind belonged to the Chhibber clan and was a forefather of Bhai Mati Das. Other oral and written sources talk of the Raja Vishav Rai of the Lau clan having ruled over Bajwara (near modern day Hoshiarpur
Hoshiarpur
Hoshiarpur is a city and a municipal council in Hoshiarpur district in the Indian state of Punjab. It was founded, according to tradition, during the early part of the fourth century. In 1809 it was occupied by the forces of Maharaja Karanvir Singh and was united into the greater state of Punjab....

), and the Mohans ruling over Mamdot. Some of the other royals claimed by Mohyals as their own forefathers are also claimed by other groups, these names include King Porus and Raja Nand of Punjab.

Recent history


During the Mughal and Sikh rule, they were bestowed with titles like Sultan, Bakshi, Dewan, Mehta etc. in reward for their bravery. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had appointed many Mohyals to his famous Vadda Risala-the Life Guards of the Lion of Punjab. During the British period, fifty percent of the Mohyal commissioned officers, were decorated with awards for their distinguished services. In the self-serving "Theory of Martial Races" propounded by the British after the 1857 mutiny, Mohyals were the only predominantly Hindu community from Punjab included in the classification.

Places named after Mohyals

  • Prem Kot - Village near Nankana Sahib, named after Bakhshi Prem Singh Vaid, IOM with 2 bars, OBI
  • Mansehra
    Mansehra
    Mansehra city is located at in Mansehra District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is very near to Abbottabad city. It is a major stop for tourists on the Karakoram Highway which leads to China...

     - Town in NWFP, named after Sardar Raja Mahaan Singh "Mirpuria"
  • Ganda Singh Wala
    Ganda Singh Wala
    thumb|alt=Full-length It is the snapshot of Ganda sing border kasur where the flag lowering ceremony is underway in feb 2010|Ganda Singh Wala Border, Flag Lowering CeremonyAbout=...

     - Now a village near Kasur, Pakistan, named after Ganda Singh Datt
    Ganda Singh Datt
    About=Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Major Ganda Singh Datt was a decorated soldier in the British Indian Army, who served in the 19th Bengal Lancers also known as Fane's Horse....

    , IOM, OBI
  • Dhok Balian Village in Punjab, Pakistan, once populated with many Bali Mohyals

Famous in early Sikh history

  • Bhai Mati Das
    Bhai Mati Das
    Bhai Mati Das Bhai Mati Das Bhai Mati Das (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਮਤੀ ਦਾਸ, is one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history. He along with his younger brother Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dyal Das, all disciples of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, were executed along with him at the Kotwali(police-station)...

    –He was a descendant of the same family as Baba Praga and was a disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur. He preferred a barbaric death instead of a forced conversion to Islam. Bhai Mati Das was sawed in half on 9 November 1675 under the orders of Emperor Aurangzeb for his refusal to convert, and his only last wish was that he be allowed to face his Guru while the execution was being carried out.
  • Bhai Sati Das
    Bhai Sati Das
    Bhai Sati Das along with his elder brother Bhai Mati Das is one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history. Bhai Sati Das and his elder brother Bhai Mati Das were followers of ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur...

    –He was the younger brother of Bhai Mati Das, and a scholar of Persian who translated hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur for the understanding of some of his Muslim followers. He too was executed in a barbaric fashion on 10 November 1675 by being subjected to cuts and later burned alive, for his refusal to convert to Islam.


Many descendants of this extended Chhibber clan of Karyala (Bhai Charan Singh, Bhai Gaj Singh, Bhai Wazir Singh and Bhai Jai Bhan) were entrusted with senior posts during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and awarded jagirs and stipends. They were issued certificates of honour, exempted from paying salt-tax and severe punishments were provisioned for anyone disturbing the peace of their families.

During Sikh rule

  • Sardar Raja Mahan Singh "Mirpuri"
    Mahan Singh Mirpuri
    Sardar Raja Mahan Singh "Mirpuri" was a famous General in the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and was the second-in-command to the famous General Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. He was conferred by Maharaja Ranjit Singh the title of Raja for his conquests of Haripur, Nowshehra and Peshawar...

    –(Bali), was a famous soldier in Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army, who rose to become second-in-command under Hari Singh Nalwa
    Hari Singh Nalwa
    Hari Singh Nalwa was Commander-in-chief of the Khalsa, the army of the Sikh Empire. He is known for his role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Multan, Kashmir, Attock, and Peshawar. He led the Sikh Army in freeing Shah Shuja from Kashmir and secured the Koh-i-Nor diamond for Maharaja Ranjit Singh...

    , playing a leading role in the battles of Peshawar and Kashmir, and in defending the Fort of Jamrud
    Jamrud
    Jamrud , is a town located in the Khyber Agency, one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. The town is the doorway to the Khyber pass, part of the Hindu Kush range...

     in 1837. He was conferred the tile of Raja by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is believed that the town of Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province is named after him. His father Data Ram was a counsellor to the Gakhar Subedar of Gurat, Mukkarb Khan.

In Afghanistan

  • Brigadier General Dewan Niranjan Dass–He was Chairman of the State Bank of Afghanistan and Finance Minister of Amir Aman Ullah Khan. Besides being a trusted advisor to the King, was quite popular amongst the Afghan people as well. A descendant of Dewan Narain Dass, he earlier served as Sardaftar-e-Wajuhat having responsibility for all taxation in the Kingdom.

From the Armed Forces of British and/or Independent India

  • 2nd Lt. Puneet Nath Dutt
    Puneet Nath Dutt
    2nd Lt. Puneet Nath Datt , was a soldier who served in the 11 Gorkha Rifles regiment of the Indian Army.He belonged to the Muhiyal community and was posthumously awarded India's highest peace-time gallantry award, Ashok Chakra for bravery displayed in an operation conducted against foreign...

     posthumous winner of India's highest gallantry award, Ashok Chakra
    Ashoka Chakra Award
    The Ashok Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peace time equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" other...

    , in 1997 for his role in a counter-terror operation
  • Maj. Vijay Rattan Choudhry
    Vijay Rattan Choudhry
    Major Vijay Rattan Choudhry , was a soldier who served in the 9 Engineers Regiment regiment of the Indian Army...

     (Datt)–posthumously won MVC
    Maha Vir Chakra
    The Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It may be awarded posthumously. Literally Maha Veer means extraordinarily brave.-Appearance:The medal is made...

     in Indo Pak war of 1971
  • Lt. Col. Rajeev Bakshi–posthumously awarded Sena Medal for his role in a counter insurgency operation that he chose to lead from the front, even when his seniority had allowed him to delegate the task.
  • Lt Col. Harbans Lal Mehta–(posthumously won MVC
    Maha Vir Chakra
    The Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It may be awarded posthumously. Literally Maha Veer means extraordinarily brave.-Appearance:The medal is made...

     in Indo Pak war of 1965)
  • Brig. Ravi Datt Mehta
    Ravi Datt Mehta
    Ravi Datt Mehta , was a brigadier in the Indian army. He died in the suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul while serving as India's Defence Attaché to Afghanistan on July 7, 2008.-Early life and Military career:R.D...

    –A highly rated officer, died serving as India's Defence Attache in Kabul upon being targeted in a homicide bombing.
  • Lt. Gen. Kalwant Singh (Datt)–(General Officer Commanding during 1948 Indo Pak war)
  • Sardar Bahadur Risaldar-Major Chaudhri Ganda Singh Datt, OBI
    Order of British India
    The Order of British India was a medal and chivalric order which was bestowed by the East India Company for "long, faithful and honourable service", beginning in 1837. The Company's powers were removed after the Indian Mutiny, and the Order was incorporated into the British honours system in 1859...

     (awarded Order of Merit (IOM) in 1857, saved the life of Sir Robert Sandeman at Lucknow, and later excelled in British Indian Army's wars with China and Afghan Campaigns particularly in the famous march to Kandahar)
  • Lt. General Yuvraj Kumar Mehta (PVSM, AVSM) Military Secretary, Commandant IMA, Paratrooper
  • Maj Gen SK Bali (Artillery) - 2000, VSM (Vishisht Seva Medal), then Brigadier http://www.tribuneindia.com/2000/20000126/nation.htm
  • Sardar Bahadur Risaldar-Major Bakshi Prem Singh Vaid, OBI, IOM with 2 Bars
  • Sardar Bahadur Risaldar-Major Bakshi Tirath Ram Vaid
    Bakshi Tirath Ram Vaid
    Sardar Bahadur Risaldar Major Bakshi Tirath Ram Vaid , O.B.I, O.B.E., Hony. Capt. was a decorated soldier of the British Indian Army.-Family:...

    , OBI, OBE, IOM awarded after battle of Malakand in 1897
  • Sardar Bahadaur Mehta Mangat Ram Chhiber, OBI, won numerous medals fought in World Wars I & II, and in Waziristan
  • Subedar Major Hony. Capt. Sardar Bahadur Jai Singh Bali, Order of Merit- served with distinction in the Guides Infantry in the British Indian Army, was a special invitee in the Durbars of King Edward VIII (1903), King George V (1913)
  • Risaldar-Major Dewan Hukam Singh Datt, Hony. Capt., Hony. Magistrate, ADC to Lord Curzon.
  • Raizada Wazir Chand Bali numerous awards from Mesopotamia (1921), Mehmand Operations (1935), Waziristan (1936–38), WW-II including Sardar Bahadur OBI, Hony. Capt., Victory Medal, Iraq Medal, India Service Medal, Burma Star
    Burma Star
    The Burma Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in World War II.The medal was awarded for service in the Burma Campaign between 11 December 1941 and 2 September 1945...

    , Britain War Medal.
  • Major (Raizada) Madan Lal Vaid
    Madan Lal Vaid
    Raizada Major Madan Lal Vaid was an officer in the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles regiment of the British Indian Army until the Independence of India in 1947, and subsequently first in the Jammu-Kashmiri Army and then in the Indian Army...

    , Military Cross
    Military Cross
    The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

     in World War II, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.
  • Raizada Salamat Rai Vaid , King Commissioned Officer, Capt. in British Indian Army during the First World War
  • Capt. (Dr.) Prithvi Raj Bali, Military Cross
    Military Cross
    The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

     in World War II, one of the very rare cases of a non-combatant getting that award, in the battle of Sidi Birani
  • Lt. Gen. Zorawar Chand Bakhshi
    Zorawar Chand Bakhshi
    Lt. Gen. Zorawar Chand Bakhshi is a retired soldier of the Indian Army, and has the distinction of being "India's most decorated General"-Family and Early Life:...

     (Lau) (hero of the capture of the strategic Haji Pir pass in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, and India's most decorated General so far, time having been awarded PVSM, MVC
    Maha Vir Chakra
    The Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It may be awarded posthumously. Literally Maha Veer means extraordinarily brave.-Appearance:The medal is made...

    , VrC, VSM and the MacGregor Medal
    MacGregor Medal
    The is awarded to Indian Armed Forces personnel for valuable military reconnaissance. The medal was instituted in 1888 to honour the memory of founder, Maj Gen Sir Charles MacGregor....

    )
  • Air Vice Marshal K.K. Bakshi,born 1935 Vr. C, Vayu Sena Medal (as a Sqn Ldr flying a HF-24 Marut
    HAL HF-24 Marut
    |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography*Donald, David . The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London:Aerospace, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.*Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1969-70. London:Jane's Yearbooks, 1969....

     in the 1971 India Pakistan War, he had two confirmed air-to-air combat victories http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_327.shtml to his credit, both involving superior F-86 Sabre aircraft of the PAF.)

In other fields in British and/or Independent India

  • Pandit Amir Chand Bombwal
    Pandit Amir Chand Bombwal
    Pandit Amir Chand Bombwal was a journalist, a freedom fighter in the Indian independence movement, a Khudai Khidmatgar and a political leader of the Indian National Congress Party from Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province of British India...

     - a freedom fighter in the Indian independence movement
    Indian independence movement
    The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

  • Sir Ganesh Dutt–Longest serving minister in the entire British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

    .
  • Dr. Bhai Mahavir
    Bhai Mahavir
    Dr. Bhai Mahavir is a former governor of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. He was governor of the state from April 1998 to March 2003. He is a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party. He has authored many books and he was earlier member of Rajya Sabha.A simple, vegetarian Arya Samaji, Dr...

    –(former Governor of Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

    , son of Bhai Parmanand)
  • Bhai Parmanand
    Bhai Parmanand
    Bhai Parmanand was an Indian nationalist.-Biography:Parmanand was born into a prominent family of the Punjab, descended from the family of the famous Sikh martyr, Bhai Mati Das...

     (Chhibber)–(A social reformer in the Punjab, and a descendant of the family of Bhai Mati Das
    Bhai Mati Das
    Bhai Mati Das Bhai Mati Das Bhai Mati Das (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਮਤੀ ਦਾਸ, is one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history. He along with his younger brother Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dyal Das, all disciples of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, were executed along with him at the Kotwali(police-station)...

    )

  • In the Indian Film Industry
  • Sunil Dutt
    Sunil Dutt
    Sunil Dutt , born Sunil Balraj Dutt, was an Indian Hindi movie actor , producer, director and politician. He was the cabinet minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government...

  • Geeta Bali
    Geeta Bali
    Geeta Bali was a popular film actress from Bollywood.-Early life:Bali was born in a Mohyal family in pre-partition Punjab as Harkirtan Kaur, a Sikh. Her family moved to Bombay and were living in near poverty when she started to get breaks in films.-Career:Bali became a star in the 1950s...

    ,
  • Om Prakash
    Om Prakash
    Om Prakash was an Indian character actor. He was born in Jammu as Om Prakash Chibber. He used to play the role of Kamla in the stage play by the famous Dewan Mandir Natak Samaj Koliwada. Starting his career in 1942, he was a popular supporting actor from the 1950s until the 1980s. He was one of...

    ,
  • Anand Bakshi
    Anand Bakshi
    Anand Bakshi was a popular Indian poet and lyricist.-Early days:Anand Bakshi was born in Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, on 21 July 1930. His ancestors were from Kurree, near Rawalpindi, and had origins in Kashmir. His mother, Sumitra, died 1940, when he was 10...

    ,
  • JP Dutta,
  • Gauri Chhibber Khan
    Gauri Khan
    Gauri Khan is an Indian movie producer and the wife of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, with whom she co-founded Red Chillies Entertainment, their film production and distribution company in 2002.-Early life:Gauri Khan is a Hindu of Chib Mohyal Brahmin origin, born in New Delhi, India and...

  • Sanjay Dutt
    Sanjay Dutt
    Sanjay Dutt is an Indian Hindi film actor and politician. Dutt, son of Hindi film actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, made his acting debut in 1981.-Personal life:...

    ,
  • Lara Dutta
    Lara Dutta
    Lara Dutta Bhupathi is an Indian actress, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, and former Miss Universe.-Early life:Dutta was born in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh to a Punjabi father and an Anglo-Indian mother. Her father is Wing Commander L.K. Dutta and her mother is Jennifer Dutta...

     (prior to becoming an actor, was also Miss Universe
    Miss Universe
    Miss Universe is an annual international beauty contest that is run by the Miss Universe Organization. The pageant is the most publicized beauty contest in the world with 600 million viewers....

    ),
  • Divya Dutta
    Divya Dutta
    Divya Dutta is an Indian actress from Ludhiana, Punjab, India who appears in Hindi and Punjabi films.- Career :She did her schooling from Sacred Heart Convent, Ludhiana...

  • Aryan Vaid
    Aryan Vaid
    Aryan Vaid is an Indian male model who won the Graviera Mr. India modelling pageant in the year 2000.-Career:Vaid is a qualified chef and a lifestyle columnist with The Hindustan Times. He has been actively involved with theatre and has done a few street plays at the Prithvi theatre in Mumbai...


See also

  • Brahmins
  • Bhumihar Brahmin
    Bhumihar
    Bhumihar or Babhan or Bhuin-har is a Brahmin Hindu community mainly found in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.- Varna status :...

    s
  • Saraswat Brahmins
  • Punjabi Brahmins
    Punjabi Brahmins
    The Brahmins of the Punjab region are chiefly Saraswat Brahmins. They have a special association with the Punjab since they take their name from the river, Saraswati.-Sub-divisions:...


External links