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Pathans of Uttar Pradesh

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Pathans of Uttar Pradesh

Pathans of Uttar Pradesh
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Islam 100% •
Related ethnic groups
PashtunPathans of HyderabadPathans of Madhya PradeshRohillaPathans of GujaratPathans of RajasthanPathan of BiharPathans of Punjab30-35% of the Muhajir people

The Pathans of Uttar Pradesh (Pashto: د اوتار پرادش پښتانه‎), have a large community of Ethnic Afghans also known as Pashtuns in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, who form one of the largest Muslim communities in the state. They are also known as khans, which is a commonly used surname, although not all those who use the surname are Pathans, for example the Khanzada community of eastern Uttar Pradesh, who are Muslim Rajputs, are also commonly known as khan. Indeed in Awadh, the boundary between the Khanzada and Pathans are blurred. In addition, the phrase Pathan Khanzada is used to describe Muslim Rajput groups, found mainly in Gorakhpur, who have been absorbed into the Pathan community. However in Rohilkhand, and in parts of the Doab and Awadh, there are genuine communities of Pashtuns, such as the Rohilla.[2]

History and origin

The word Pathan is simply the Hindustani pronunciation of the word Pashtun. Their presence in the territory that now forms Uttar Pradesh dates from at the least the 10th Century. Various medieval sources refer to the presence of Pashtuns in the armies of the Delhi Sultanate. With the rise of the Pashtun Lodi dynasty, there were the beginnings of mass Pashtun immigration. The Lodi were replaced by the Mughals, who continued to employ the Pashtuns in their armies.[3]

With the breakdown of the Mughal Empire, two Pashtun confederacies, the Rohilla of Rohilkhand and the Bangash of Farrukhabad rose to independence. In the Awadh region, the Kakar Rajahs of Nanpara also carved out an independent princely state. By the end of the 18th Century, the British had established control over the region, and all the Pashtun states were annexed barring Rampur, which became a British protected state. Various Pashtun families continued to exercise influence such as the Sherwanis of Aligarh District.[2]

Present circumstances

A process of indigenization has occurred, and the Pathan are now indistinguishable from neighbouring Muslim communities. They now speak Hindustani as well as various dialects such as Khari boli. They are found throughout Uttar Pradesh, with settlements in Moradabad, Farrukhabad, Hathras, Malihabad, and Rohilkhand being the densest. A cluster of Pathan settlements are referred to as a basti.Some Khans came from Iran Usually belongs to Mogals Dinesty, Ghaziuddin Khan and his family belongs to Majhpurwa district Kannauj The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja.

The Pathan are divided into sixteen groupings, who generally take their name from the ancestral Ghori, Khalil, Lodi, Mohmand, Mohammadzai, Orakzai, Rohilla, Sherwani, Suri, sultani and Yousafzai, all of which are well known Pashtun tribes. In older parts of the Muslim areas of the towns in UP, the Pathan have maintained their own residential neighbourhoods. The Pathan are not an edogamous group, and arranged marriages do occur with other Sunni Muslim communities of similar social status, such as the Mughal and Muslim Rajput, although there is still a preference of marriage within the community. In Rohilkhand, they are still a community associated with agriculture, having historically been a community of land owners. The Afridi of Malihabad are known throughout as expert mango growers,

The Pathan have also been prominent in the Muslim religious sphere in UP, having produced many Ulama and Huffaz and have built and financed many Mosques and Madrassahs. In terms of formal education, they are seen as a Muslim community that has a favourable attitude towards education, and many are now in professional occupations, such as medicine and the law.[4]

Pathans in Western Uttar Pradesh

The Pathan population in the Doab, with the exception of Kasganj, Kaimganj and Farrukhabad is fairly thin on the ground. The upper Doab, a region roughly covering an area from Aligarh to Saharanpur is home mainly to the Ranghar, Muslim Gujjar, and Muley Jat communities. However, the region is still home to a number of Pathan settlements. Starting with Saharanpur District, the Pathan population is found mainly in the city and villages nearby. The only large Pathan colony is that of the Kakars in Deoband tehsil, where there are several villages. There is also a very ancient settlement of Ghori Afghans in Roorkee, and settlements of Lodis in Saharanpur tehsil, and Yousafzais in Nakur. In addition to these, the district is also home to small numbers of Mohammadzais, Tareens, Durranis (mainly Barakzais and Achakzais), Bangash, Khalils and Afridis.[5]

Deoband town itself has small communities of Yusufzais in Mohalla Qila and Kakars in Mohalla Pathan Pura. Until 1947 Mohalla Qila was predominantly a Pathan area and also houses a mosque, known as Masjid-e-Qila or Qila Wali Masjid, built by the Pathan King Sikander Bahlol Lodhi in the year 616 HIJ/1219 A.D. Like the Pathans of other parts of western Uttar Pradesh Kakars and Yusufzais of Deoband were either small zamindars, served in the army and the police or were involved in transport business.

In neighbouring Muzaffarnagar District, the Pathan settlements are found mainly in a tract between the Hindan and Kali rivers, there is a cluster of villagers known as the Bara Basti. These Pathan are for the most part belong to the Daudzai(yadgare salf) and Lodi tribes. Further west, the Kakar of what is known as the Bawan Basti were at one time substantial landowners. They are of the same stock as the Kakar of Deoband tehsil in neighbouring Saharanpur District. There is also a settlement of Afridis north of the town of Thana Bhawan, who were settled by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to control the turbulent Ranghars of the region. Their main settlement is the village of Jalalabad.[6]

In Meerut District, including Baghpat, the Pathan are found throughout these two districts. They belong for the most part to the Yousafzai and Ghori tribe. The city of Meerut has been said to be the earliest settlement of the Pashtuns in North India, and the Ghori have been settled for at least eight hundred years. Other Pathan tribes in the district include the Kakar, Bangash, Tareen and Afridi.[7]

The district of Bulandshahr is home to a number of important Pathan colonies. Perhaps the most important settlement is that of the city of Khurja. The Keshgis of Khurja were brought over from Kasur in Punjab by Firuz Shah Tughlaq. They are often referred to as Kasuria, on account of that being their original settlement in India. There also exists a barah basti, or twelve towns of Lodi Pathans near the banks of the Ganges. These Pathans are connected through marriage with the larger Pathan settlement in Rohilkhand, across the river. The Pathans of Malakpur, who are Yousafzai were settled their by the Emperor Akbar. In additions to these communities, there are also settlements of Afridis, in the city of Bulandshahr, as well as Bangash.[8]

The Pathans in Aligarh District belong to a number of clans, perhaps the most important from a historic point are the Sherwani of Bhikampur and Datauli, in Aligarh tehsil. These Sherwani were substantial landowners, and were practically independent rulers in the period between the collapse of Mughal power and the rise of the British. Their oldest settlement is at Jalali, which contains several families of Lodis and Ghoris. The Popolzai Durani of the village of Barla were settled their by Ahmed Shah Abdali. In the city of Aligarh, there are settlements of Yousafzais and Mohammadzais. Other Pathan settlements include the Lodis in Sikandra Rao, the Afridis in Khair and the Ghoris in Atrauli.[9]

Pathans of Saharanpur

There are many settlements of various tribes of Pashtuns in the district of Saharanpur. Khanalampura colony in the city came in to existence before the city at the bank of "Paun Dhoi" river. Khan Alam was the name of Meer-e-shikar of Shah Jahan and the ruler of the area in Mughal Empire.

In Saharanpur district there are more than fifty villages and colonies where Kakar pathans are living from the mughal period which is called "Kakro Ki Bawni" means fifty two villages of Kakar pathans. Some are Khera Afghan, Titro, Ambehta Peer, Dhurala, Jajwa, Papri, Nagla Jhanda (Jhandia), Sansarpur, Harpal, Pathed, Chaura Kalan, Pithori, Sarsawa, Deoband, Nakur, Kairana, Kailashpur, Nanauta etc. where Nakur Deoband and Sarsawa also have a significant population of yusufzai people among the pathans and the city has considerable population of various type of pathans. Mansoor Ali Khan ex member of parliament from the saharanpur loksabha seat is a Kakar pathan and his father Mahmood Ali Khan had been elected as MLA several time.

Pathans of Aliganj and Kasganj

The most important Pathan colonies in the Doab are that of Aliganj and Kasganj, both in Etah District. These Pathans belong mainly to the Lodi tribe, but there are also important settlements of Ghoris, Mohammadzais and Yousafzais. Both the settlements of Aliganj and Kasganj were founded by a Yaqut Khan. Yaqut Khan is said to have invited Pathans to settle in these two towns. A further settlement was founded at Kadirganj and Sajawar. Most of the early settlers belonged to the Lodi tribe, who still form the largest sub-group. In addition to these settlements, Bhai Khan Toyakhel, a courtier of the Bangash Nawab of Farrukhabad founded the village of Sarai Aghat, which still remains a settlement of Danish khan Pathan.[10] yousufzai founded in majeedpur of kasganj distt. etah. Shahbaz khan came to India from Afganistaan in 1680.

Pathans of Sarai Tareen (Sambhal)

Sarai Tareen is a township in Sambhal district. More than 50% of the pathan population of this township Belongs to Tareen Tribe of Pashtoon. Other major pathan clans are Shinwary Mohmand and khatak.

Pathans of Qaimganj and Farrukhabad

The Pathans of Farrukhabad region basically belongs to The Mughal dinesty,these mughals of UP are an endogamous community, marrying within their own community, or in communities of a similar status such as the Pathan and Muslim Rajput.The district of Farrukhabad was the centre of the Bangash kingdom, and as such home to a large settlement of Afridi Pathans, Gaziuddin khan belongs to the same family. Important settlement in the district include town of Qaimganj, and the villages of Pitaura, Kuberpur, Subhanpur, Gulami, Gadhi Izzat Khan, Gadhi Noor Khan, Chalaul, Lalbagh,kalakhail Pahadi and Ataipur Jadid. Most of the Pathan belong to the Bangash tribe, with smaller numbers of Ghori, Khattak and Yousafzai.[11]

List of Pathan tribes of the Doab

Here is a list of the major tribes, tabulated for 1891 Census of India.[12]

Tribe Saharanpur District Muzaffarnagar District Meerut District Bulandshahr District Aligarh District Mathura District Agra District Farukhabad District Etah District Etawah District Kanpur District Fatehpur District Allahabad District Total
Afridi 148 593 115 33 96 32 499 3,658 88 254 196 141 80 5,933
Baqarzai1 11 5 188 15 5 224
Bangash 92 60 202 120 169 440 195 4,043 207 761 611 240 7,270
Barech 31 4 35
Bunerwal 2 7 18 12 37
Daudzai 4 2 49 37 25 19 136
Kakar 52
Lodi 1001 4 15 1020
Urmuz 3
Warakzai 4
Shinwary 125 53 27 92 159 374 312 232 1452
Yousafzai 786 68 854


1 The Baqarzai are sub-clan of the Durrani tribe

2 The Bunerwal are Yousafzai, and originate in the Buner District, and the word Bunerwal literally means an inhabitant of Buner. Most Bunerwal are Mandanr Yousafzais

3 The Urmuz are a sub-tribe of the Afridis

4 The Warakzai or Barakzai are largest sub-division of the Durrani confederacy.

Pathans of Awadh

In Awadh, there are two distinct settlements of Pathans, those in Lucknow District, and a second settlement in Bahraich District. The Bahraich Pathan settlement arose out of the fact that the district formed part of the Nanpara taluqdari, an important Pathan state in eastern Uttar Pradesh. While the settlement in Lucknow arose out families that settled in the region because they were in service of the Nawabs of Awadh. Many of the Awadh Pathans are Ithna Ashri Shia.[13]

Pathans of Lucknow District

The district of Lucknow is a home to a number of Pathan communities, most found in towns referred to locally as qasbas, such as Malihabad. In the city of Lucknow, there are communities of Mohmands, Shinwary Yousafzais, Lodi, Bangash and Ghoris. While in the district, the Pathans are found mainly in the qasbas of Malihabad, Bhaktiyarnagar, Khalispur and Garhi Sanjar Khan. Unlike other Uttar Pradesh Pathans, a significant numbers are Shia Muslims. Among the oldest settlers are the Bazidkhel Pathans of the village of Barigarhi in Malihabad tehsil, whose ancestor Shaikh Ibrahim settled in Awadh in the 15th Century, during the period of Lodi rule.

The Lodi (Pashtun tribe) pathans of village Sheikhpur near Alamnagar, Lucknow claim descent from Darwesh Sheikh Ibrahim Shah Lodi Afghan, setteled in 987 Hijri or in the 16th Century during the rule of "The Great Emperor Akbar". The King was granted zamindari of Zafurpur & Rukun-udin pur to Darwesh Sheikh Ibrahim Lodi. And on the said land Darwesh established a village called Sheikhpur, which was extracted from the Title name and surname (Shei + khan) as per old records. The tomb of Darwesh Sheikh Ibrahim Shah Lodi situated in the heart of village.

The Garhi Sanjar Pathans belong to the Amazai clan of the Jadoon tribe. They claim descent from Daler Khan Amazai, who arrived in Awadh in 1656. Daler Khan, also known as Jalal Khan, was appointed governor of Awadh. Daler Khan brought with him two brothers, Kawal Khan and Khan Bahadur Khan. They settled initially in Bulakinager, while the son of Khan Bahadur Khan, Sarmast Khan founded the settlement of Garhi Sanjar Khan. The Jadoons are now found mainly in Bulakanagar, Bhakitiyarnagar, and Garhu Sanjar Khan[14]

The Malihabad Pathan belong mainly to the Afridi and Shinwary tribe, and were settled in the district during the rule of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula. Their ancestor was Faqir Mohammad Khan, who sought service under the Nawabs of Awadh. He brought with him members of his tribe, and they now form an important element in Malihabad’s Muslim population.

The Duranis of Khalispur claim descent from Yousaf Khan Qandhahari, who settled during the rule o Shuja-ud-Daula., and was granted the village of Khalispur as an jagir. He is said to have brought his kinsmen from Afghanistan, and village now contains a large settlement of Duranis.[14] Hotak Gilzai Pathan are also settled in Malihabad mainly Abdul Hameed Khan and his eight sons are lives in Malihabad and they are Hotak Ghilzai and sons of Mohammad Shah Gauri and his wife BIBI Matto are called Qandhari Pathan in Malihabad.

In neighbouring Barabanki district, the town of Fatehpur is also an important centre of the Pathans in Awadh. The town was founded by a Fateh Khan, who was a Pathan, in 1321. As a frontier settlement, with the countryside still held by Hindu chiefs, Fateh Khan established a colony of Pathans. They belong mainly to the Yousafzai and Lodhi tribes. In addition to the Fatehpur Pathans, there are also settlements in Ramsanehighat tehsil, belonging mainly to the Afridi and Shinwary tribe.[15]

Pathans of Bahraich and Balrampur District

The other important Pathan settlement in Awadh is that of Bahraich and Balrampur districts. This arose out of the fact that this area was home to the Nanpara and Uttraula principalities, both of which are now situated in Balrampur District, which the centre of the largest Pathan settlement outside Rohilkhand. Both these was found at height of their powers controlled most of the districts from the 17th to the early 19th Century. The Nanpara principality was founded by a Rasul Khan, an Afghan, was appointed keeper of the fort at Bahraich in 1637. He was also granted five villages as jagir, and these five villages formed the core of what was to become the Nanpara Raj. His descendant, Karam Khan taking advantage of the collapse of Mughal authority in the early 18th Century, extended his rule over pretty much the entire district. During this period, several Pathan families settled in the district. The present Pathan population include the Kakar found mainly in Nanpara, now in Balrampur District and adjoining villages, Mohammadzais mainly in Charda and Fakhrpur, Afridi, Shinwary Dilazak and Bangash, all in Bahraich.[16]

The principality of Uttraula was founded by Ahmad Khan Kakar, who established a base initially in Gonda, and Basti (a Pindari estate). His son Ali Kham Kakar seized Uttraula, from the Gautam Rajputs, and founded the principality Uttaraula, now in the Balrampur District, and is home to large colony of Kakar Pathans. There are also important settlements of Ghori and Yousafzai Pathans in the district.[17]

Pathans of Gonda District

This district has some of the very early Pathan settlers near Gonda city and Colonelganj. The block Haldharmau is a notable area dominated by Pathans of Niazi tribe. The name Haldharmau itself is said to be named because of the founder of the area Haldharmau Khan. According to traditional sayings and some old documents, two Niazi Pathans settled near Gonda in early 12th century A.D., who had come there in those early waves of migrations during Ghaznawi period. Haldharmau, Mohammadpur and Nindura are notable villages with large Niazi populations. Notable local people from this area are Mohammad Aslam Khan(Advocate),Bilal Khan, Mohammad Adil Khan, Mohammad Asif Khan(Raising Business Tycoon), Mahfooz Khan(Member of Legislative Council, UP), Waqaar Khan, Masood Khan (Assembly Candidate in 2012 UP election from Bahujan Samaj Party),Ataullah khan(Tipu) etc. THis area has more than 12 villages with strong and influential presence of Pathans.

Nindura, located 5 km from Colonelganj has also a large population of Niazi Pathans with strong local influence. This area includes Khinduri, Rajwapur, Birpur and few more villages. Most of the people are local farmers or labourers in Gulf countries but they lack political influence because of backwardness. Educational condition is pathetic in this area despite people being able to afford quality education.

Distribution of tribes by district in Awadh

Tribe Lucknow District Unnao District Raebareli District Sitapur District Hardoi District Lakhimpur Kheri District Faizabad District Gonda District Bahraich District Sultanpur District Pratapgarh District Barabanki District Total
Afridi 1,421 356 431 233 600 140 24 6 317 72 107 302 4,009
Baqarzai1 18 48 23 1,163 340 4 1,596
Bangash 180 162 187 119 421 256 400 191 80 60 58 1,292
Barech 9 4 13
Bunerwal 2 20 20
Daudzai 5 622 6 16 649
Dilazak 102 129 22 43 86 423 33 838
Durrani 55 129 25 80 69 7 4 40 8 417
Ghori 1,788 5,672 768 2,515 5,780 3,369 523 410 2,315 414 1,266 85 24,905
Kakar 215 263 540 1,249 1,534 697 1,210 10,057 2,909 279 82 327 19,362
Khalil 38 24 27 48 129 5 11 16 298
Khattak 41 25 15 8 20 8 73 164 17 371
Lodi 2,678 2,175 3,609 3,306 1,538 2,812 2,800 8,080 4,427 2,621 6,028 3,778 43,852
Mohmand 123 34 307 38 7 509
Mohammadzai 158 61 33 216 487 246 6 447 9 7 1,670
Rohilla 197 75 48 109 386 237 57 101 139 32 65 28 1,474
Tareen 199 76 31 8 375 185 24 42 10 950
Barakzai Warakzai 4 131 411 250 55 12 30 4 893
Wazir 59 29 88
Yaqubzai 8 8
Yousafzai 7,172 959 641 2,525 1,173 2,116 4,025 3,121 3,821 1,192 1,170 2,164 30,079
Shinwary 74 115 93 37 289 327 84 374 227 312 232 25 2187



1 The Baqarzai are sub-clan of the Durrani tribe

2 The Bunerwal are Yousafzai, and originate in the Buner District, and the word Bunerwal literally means an inhabitant of Buner. Most Bunerwal are Mandanr Yousafzais

3 The Urmuz are a sub-tribe of the Afridis

4 The Warakzai or Barakzai are largest sub-division of the Durrani confederacy.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 1139 to 1141 Manohar Publications
  3. ^ Medieval India: The Study of Civilization by Irfan Habib
  4. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three Amir Hasaan, B R Rizvi and J C Das editors pages 1138-1141 Manohar publications
  5. ^ A Gazetteer of Saharanpur District page 110
  6. ^ A Gazetteer of Muzafarnagar District page 110
  7. ^ A Gazetteer of Meerut District page 110
  8. ^ A Gazetteer of Bulandshahr District page 82
  9. ^ A Gazetteer of Aligarh District page 82
  10. ^ A Gazetteer of Etah District Volume XXII: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
  11. ^ A Gazetteer of Farrukhabad District Volume IX: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
  12. ^ Census of India 1891. Pt. 3, The North-western Provinces and Oudh. Imperial caste tables. Government of India Press
  13. ^ Tribes and Castes of the North Western Provinces and Oudh by William Crook Volume IV
  14. ^ a b A Gazetteer of Lucknow District Volume XXXVII: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
  15. ^ A Gazetteer of Barabanki District Volume XLVIII: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
  16. ^ A Gazetteer of Bahraich District Volume XLV: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
  17. ^ A Gazetteer of Gonda District Volume XLIV: Gazetteers of the United Provinces edited by H. R Neville
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