Origin of Castes

(An anthropological study of few Sindhi Tribes)  

M.H. Panhwar

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The dating of the development and evolution of several, rather countless castes in Sindh and subsequently spreading all over the South Asia goes on as follows:

i)                    From 13,000 years ago to about 9,500 years ago, man in Sindh lived on hunting and food gathering, from wild plants in the Western Hills extending from Karachi to Dhadar. This period was too cold and too dry. Wild DECIDUOUS trees were growing in these hills, which provided feed for animals and mountain caves and rock over hangs provided shelter for the man. They moved around for hunt, intermingled with each other, traded in a skin, wild fruit and shells for ornaments. 2,500 years ago they formed uniform population as well as cultural contacts.

ii)                   From 9,500 years to 8,000 years ago it became warm and rainfall increased multifold. Man moved down the hills to the foot-hills and domesticated animals like; cattle, sheep and goat and probably grew what. He learnt to build houses, granaries and etc., from hunting food gathering, he became pastoral and farmer.

iii)                 From 8,000 years ago to 6,000 years ago he domesticated more grains, vegetables, dates and etc.

iv)                 Then there was reduction in rainfall, but not too much so he constructed gabbarbands in Kohistan and adjoining areas of Sindh and Baluchistan. He also moved to Indus flood plains around 5,750 years ago at Amri, as he understood the Indus floods leave moisture behind on which Rabi crops could be grown. Around 5,370 years ago, he developed Kot Dijjian culture. By 4,500 years ago rainfall further increased and Mohenjo Daro was established based on rain fed agriculture, pasture and some kind of irrigation.

v)                  Around 2,000 years ago, it became very cold and dry, water in river reduced, but irrigation canals still followed, so Mohenjo Daro survived for another 350 years. Hakra dried up. By 3,650 years ago, it became drier and colder, and river and canals flow reduced further. Mohenjo-Daro was looted by Sindh’s own people. There4 were some killings too and the city was destroyed. There were no invaders, no out-siders and no Aryan conquerors. Aryans as tribe did not exist any where. It is false theory. The population was indigenous and remained so there after.

vi)                 The urban people gradually became nomadic pastorals. By 3,300 years ago, another cold spell came, rainfall further reduced and this lasted until 2,900 years ago.

vii)               From 3,000 years ago the same people have occupied the above area, until recently. There were, very limited immigrants and they too were absorbed in the majority population of Sindh.

viii)              Human skulls found Mohenjo Daro were sent England for anthropological examination before the World War-II by Archaeological Survey of India but the results got delayed till 1963 and were sent to India, and directly published there, but went un-noticed in Pakistan.

ix)                 The skull examination showed that they had cornice index on 0.7 and they resembled present Jutts, Jats, Sikhs and Chuhras of Sindh and the Punjab.

x)                  I hope this settles the question where from Jutts came from? There has been no immigration from Mesopotomia in the past 13,000 years. 6,000 troops came with Muhammad Bin Qasim from Shiraz to conquer Sindh. The survivals settled in Sindh and married local women. In each century there are 5 generations and blood left at end of century is 31/8 percentage. The Arab blood left in 11th centuries or 65 generations in Sindh has reduced to 0.0071 percent. Further it is not known whether those 6,000 troops were Arabs, or Iranians, as troops were recruited from the Sassanian territories conquered by Arabs 50 years earlier and even Iraq was an Iranian territory and soldiers may have been Iranians rather than Arabs.

xi)                 This is not end of the Jut story. Jats in Punjab are buffalo breeders. In U.P (India) they are cow herdsmen. On the fall of Mohenjo Daro and specially 3,300 years ago and afterwards until 2,600 years ago, no city was left in Sindh. The whole population of Sindh and the Punjab had become pastorals raising sheep, goat, cow, buffalo, camel and ass. It is in the recent centuries that further bifurcation has taken place in these pastorals; Jutts have specialized in breeding camel in Sindh and buffalo in the Punjab, but all pastorals including goat-men and shppareds (Panhwar) were originally Jutts. When the pastoral people of 600 years ago, they became cultivators, traders and artisans, but they were decedents of Jutts.

xii)               There is another question. Are Panhwar of Arab descendents? No, not at all. They are local herdsmen raising not only goat and sheep, but also doing farming. Panhwars exist in U.P (India), Gujrat, Maharashtra, Madhya Paradesh, Bikanir, Rajasthan, Bahawalpur and etc. In U.P they are both Hindus and Muslims and in other parts of India they are Hindus.

In 16th and 17th century there was immigration of the Central Asians and Iranians to South Asia on a long scale due to serious draught and famine, which had bought Arghoons, Tarkhans and Mughals into movement, (see my article “Little Ice Age” in Sindh Quarterly). They did not trust locals who were despised upon. Only Mughals (fair coloured with no local wives and fair children, were classified as Mughals) and foreigners were trusted. So all Sindhi tribes who claimed themselves as immigrants were trusted as second rate citizens and others i.e., Sammas were considered as rebels. In the 16th and 17th centuries Panhwars of Dadu, Johi, Sehwan Talukas (where they were settled by Sammas in compensation for help given in over throw of Soomras), called themselves as descendents of Bibi Halima nurse of prophet Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H), as reported by Mazhar Shah Jehani. In the 19th century they became descendents of one Haris (Ansari, Castes and tribes of Sindh 1890). Soon afterwards they claimed that they were descendents of Hazrat Haris elder brother of the father of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and called themselves Qureshis. Before they would have promoted themselves Syeds, some Panhwars of U.P migrated to Hyderabad and told them that they are Rajputs and U.P has Hindu Panhwars too. Thus some of them made amendments to their theory of origin from Rajputs. The others still stick to Arab origin.

xiii)              The next question is Rajputs and who were they? Vedas written 2,900 years ago, imposed caste system, but it was not harsh. Under Guptas, Manu made it harsh, giving Khatris a position to become kings and wrrriors. Huns broke Gupta Empire, created chaos all over the South Asia, except Deep South in 5th century AD after Hun troubles, war-like people collected, occupied present Rajasthan and called themselves Rajputs, the sons of kings. In the future kings of South Asia had to associate or claim their origin from Rajputs. Sindh’s Rai’s (499-641/42 AD), were Sudrasas Hieun Tswang, who visited their court and was in South Asia from 629-641 AD mentions; but Chachnama considers them as Rajputs.

xiv)             Soomras, Summas and Kalhoras were Sindhi descendents of Indus Culture people. All look like Jutts, Jatts and Sikhs. They became Muslims and as rulers had to claim descendence from some Muslim source equivalent to Rajputs. They became descendents of Summerians, jamshed, the Sassanians and Abbasid Caliphs respectively. Jareja Sammas who migrated to Kutch in 1148 AD, were Hindus and ruled that place for 800 years up to 1948. Jareja Sammas of Sindh became Muslims. There are Samma tribes in Kutch, who are both Hindus and Muslims. The same Samma tribes exist in Sindh, but are Muslims. So one can judge?

xv)               Soomras were Hindus. They became Ismailis and were converted to the Sunni faith in the 3rd and 4th centuries. They had not adopted Arabic names until 14th century.

xvi)             The general belief that Brohis were non-Aryan Indus people, thrown out by Aryans is not true. There are more Brohis in the South Western ti of Afghanistan than in Baluchistan. Iran too has Brohi population adjoining to their concentrations in Afghanistan. The belief that Brohis and Baluchis migrated to baluchistan in the 10th century can not be supported scientifically, as 10th century was a period of “Climatic Optimum” on the earh and Afghanistan or Seistan had more rainfall and warm climate, in which migrations were un-necessary. It seems to me that both tribes were up-rooted from their abodes by Mongols in the 13th century Mongols left Mongolia at the beginning of thirteenth century, due to harsh climate there and in a century destroyed major parts of the civilized world, causing many migrations. It is at this time that Brohis and Baluchis may have migrated in the hill country of Sindh, but it is futile to get into arguments. The gypsies left upper Sindh, i.e., Multan and uch under Mongol pressure.

I hope I have answered some of the questions. I do not want to enter into arguments for rest of my life on the question of origin of castes of Sindh. The above information is based on my studies done up to now, but can be superceded any time if new facts come to light.

Article from: Journal The Archaeology Quarterly, Vol. VI, No. 2 & 3, 1993, pp. 153-154.

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