Religion and Castes :  The details of the population of the district, religion-wise, are given below :

 

 

 

Males

Females

Total

Budhists

..

176

205

381

Christians

..

1,388

1,250

2,638

Hindus

..

2,00,270

1,65,159

3,65,429

Jains

..

2,642

2,468

5,110

Muslims

..

2,834

1,852

4,686

Sikhs

..

2,43,985

3,00,281

6,44,266

Others

..

10

..

10

Total

..

5,51,304

4,71,215

10,22,519

                Excluding Payal Sub-tahsil, for which religion-wise figures are not forthcoming.

            (Source : Ludhiana District Census Handbook, 1961, pp. 252-53.)

 

               Principal Communities.

 

            Christians. -  Christians number 2,638 in the district.  American Presbyterian Church was established in Ludhiana as early as A.D. 1834. They established churches, chapels, schools and hospitals.  They also started the earliest printing press in Punjabi and English.  The humanitarian activities impressed the people and facilitated conversion.  Miss Brown did wonderful work in the hospital line and the present grand medical establishment at Ludhiana is still popularly known as Miss Brown’s Hospital.

 

            The Christians consider Bible as their holy book.  The main festivals amongst them are the Easter, X-mas and the New Year’s Day.  The place of their prayer is church.  They propagate Christianity in chapels.

 

            The conversion of Christianity in the district has been largely from the low caste Hindus and in rare cases from Muslims.  Under the Britishers conversion also carried with it the benefits of other concessions and employment.

 

            After independence and the exit of the Britishers, the Christian way of thinking has undergone a change.  The missionaries are endeavouring to be indianised.  They are making deeper probe in Indian religions and cultural heritage so as to appear to be integrated with the Indian society.  Undoubtedly their spread through proselytization stands checked.  Now they are mostly propagating Christianity through beneficient institutions, viz., schools, colleges, hospitals and medical colleges and also by giving certain concessions to Christian families.

 

            Hindus. -  In the Census of 1961 the number of Hindus in Ludhiana district is given as 3,65,429.  Hinduism in the district is hardly distinguishable from that of their co-religionists elsewhere.  Strictly speaking Hinduism does not signify any specific form of religion.  Instead it connotes a social system of variations in religious beliefs of the members of the community.  In its broad view of life Hinduism comprehends different variations of animism (worship of spirits) to Pantheism (oneness of God).  It is also sometimes said to be a conglomerate of a hetrogenous mass of beliefs.  It believes in transmigration of soul.  It also believes in re-incarnations (avtars), people believe that God so often takes human from as avtar to relieve humanity of prevailing distress and suffering.  It has a philosophy and metempsychosis quite independent and different from that of the Greeks.  Some of the Hindus worship minor deities like Sitla i.e. (goddess of small pox) and different devis (Vaishno Devi of Jammu, Chintpurni and Jawals Mukhi).  Some of them also worship Kali Devi.

 

            The most important group amongst Hindus is called Sanatan Dharmis.  They believe in idol worship.  For meditation they keep idols of gods before them. They also believe in incarnations of Rama, Krishna, shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.  The Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharta, and Upanishads are considered as religious books.  The Vedas and Puranas are read by learned pundits. Ramayana and Mahabharta are read by commoners.

            The place of worship of the Hindus is called mandir or shivala.  Some of the temples contain the idols of all the important gods and goddesses, whereas a few specially dedicated to the particular deity, have images of that god or goddess alone.  The worship of Hanuman is usually done on Tuesdays.  Sanatanists also worship sun, fire, water, ari etc.

 

            An important sect amongst the Hindus is called Arya Samaj.  Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Daya Nand in 1857 and it became popular in Punjab and U.P..  The first branch of the Arya Samaj was opened in Ludhiana in 1882.  Arya Samajists do not believe in idol worship and in incarnations.  They hold Vedic religious to be only true religion and as such, regard the Vedas as their only religious books.  The Arya Samaj also pleads for Shuddhi or the re-conversion into Hinduism of those who were converted into other religions from amongst the Hindus.  The places of worship of the Arya Samajists are different from those of Sanatan Dharmis. They perform yajna and recite mantras. In Ludhiana city they have a considerable hold, running a number of institutions, wherein they also deliver religious discourses.

 

            The Radhaswami sect with its headquarters at Beas is also popular amongst the town folks of Ludhiana.  Their present Guru is Baba Charan Singh.  This sect has also gained some footing in the district.

 

            There are also a few Dev Samajis.  They are atheists.  Their headquarters is at Moga.  their activities are mostly confined to the moral fields.  As such Dev Samajists have not attained much popularity.   In all other respects the Dev Samajists are not different from the other Hindus.

 

            Bhajans, Kirtans, recitation of devotional songs in praise of Rama, Krishna and some local deities, such as devis etc., the concept given originally by Vaishnavism, have become very popularin the towns.  Different Kirtan mandalies formed in the towns recite kirtans on request and those Kirtans are performed in the day-time.  Jagratas are performed as marks of devotion to devis in the night.  The kirtans are performed with musical instruments.  Kathas in performed with musical instruments.  Kathas in praise of Sat Naryana are also held in the homes and temples and generally end with the distribution of ‘prasad’ (Sweets).

 

            Superstitions and beliefs in with craft and sorcery etc, are observed by the illiterate persons, worship of peepal, tulsi and Banyan trees and other animate and inanimate objects is also common among certain classes of the Hindus.

 

             The religious observances differ from family to family and caste to caste.  Hindus usually go to temples, but it is not obligatory.  Some of them make small temples in their own houses by installing small idols.  Religion still continues to play an important role in the life of people.  on certain occasions i.e., on ceremonies of sanskaras (sacraments) and grah pravesh (entering newly built or purchased house), the priest attends to the performance of the rites.

 

             Castes. – The principal castes of the Hindus are Brahmana, Khatris, Banias, Swarankars, Suds, Rajputs, Aroras, Jats, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

 

            Brahmans. – there are ten sub-castes of Brahmans.  Of these the Sarsuts, Kankubajas, Utkals and Maithals, are called Panjgaur ; and the Darbars, Tailangfs, Maharastras, Gurjars and Karanataks are called Panjdarbaries.  Those who live in the Punjab are chidfly Sarsut Brahmans.  Sarsut Brahmans have special association with the Punjab proper since they take the name from Suraswati, which lies near the eastern boundary of Yamuna.  Sarsuts are less grabbing and volatile than the Gaurs and are certainly much less rigid in the observance of caste rules, such as eating and smoking with most of the other Hindu castes like Banias, Khatris, Suds and Kayths.

 

            Sarsut Brahmans represent a single group.  Still, on account of their different families, they do not intermarry with each other.  Amongst Sarsuts themselves some sections are called Baharis (i.e. twelve), who marry and give their girls in marriage to twelve castes only, and other called Bunjahis (i.e., fitry-two), who give and take the daughters of fifty-two houses only and do not give them to, or take them from, any other house.  The third group of Sarsut Brahmans are called Athwans (eight families), Joshis, Kurals, Sands, Pathaks, Bharaduajis, shoris and Tewaris.  These eight families give their daughters to and take them from each other and will have nothing to do with any other families.  Similarly, another group comprising Datt, Bali and Mohan Lau and Chhiber, are called Mohyal.  They also own lands and generally eat meat and are not very strict in the observance of religious customs.  They also marry within five castes.  In the changed socio-economic circumstances the rigidity of having matrimonial alliances within particular groups amongst Bahris, Bunjahis, Athwnas and Mohyals has greatly diminished and they generally inter-marry now-a-days.

 

            Brahmans are scattered all over the district.  Previously their vocation was confined to teaching and performing priestly duties.  Under new economic and changed social conditions they, too, have taken to trade and industry and have also started joining services in the public and private sectors.  They are generally of good disposition and of gentle manners.  The number of Brahmans still sticking to priestly duties is fast decreasing.

 

            Khatris. – Khatri is a popular variant of the Sanskrit word Kashtrya, which was used to describe the warrior caste among the Hindu according to the varanashram propounded by the Shastras.  In course of time as a result of economic and political exigencies, however, the Khatris also resorted to mercantile occupations, which were originally adopted by the Vaisas, the trading classes.

 

            Like Brahmans there are further sub-divisions amongst Khatris-Bannjais, Sarin, Dhaigharas, chargharas, etc.  in the reign of Alaudin Khiliji widoe re-marriage was enforced. Fifty-two castes of Khatris are said to have submitted a memorandum, duly signed, to the Emperor.  The signatory castes are called Banjais.  Certain castes of eastern Punjab refused to sign the memorandum and were called Shari-Ain, later corrupted to that of Sarin.  The Khokhrain baradari is said to consist of the descendants of certain families of Khatris who were believed to have joined the Khokhars in a rebellion and with them other Khatri families were loath to have matrimonial relations.  The Bahri section of the descendants of Mehr Chand, Khan Chand and Kapur Chand, three Khatris who went to Delhi in attandance upon one of Akhar’s Rajput wives, and who thus separated from rest of the Khatri castes, married only within each other’s families.8  the number of the members of this caste is fairly large.  The more prominenty, however, in point of social rank are the Mehrotra or Mehra, Khanna, Kapur and the Seth sub-castes.

 

8.                These appear to be conjectural for the same division appears among the Brahmans of western plains.

 

            Prior to partition certain castes, such as churamani, Nanda. Khullar, Jerath, Chopra and Vig were particularly associated with Ludhiana ; Bahl, Kapur, Mehra, Seth, Beri Sencher and Dhir with jagraon ; Batte, sondhi and Karir with Machhiwara and Bahlolpur ; sehgal and Thapar with Rai kot and Had and Cham with Khanna. After partition different castes of Khatris have been widely dispersed with the result that it is very difficult to ascertain their numbers caste-wise, especially because compilation of statistics according to castes has been discontinued since 1947.

 

            Khatris are generally mild in disposition.  They are mostly literate and law abiding.

 

            Khatris in the district are a great commercial class.  They have also made their mark in industry.  In Payal sub-tahsil they are generally land-owners.  They also engage themselves in Government or private service.

 

            Banias. – The word Bania is derived from the Sanskrit Banjya or trade ; and the Bania, as the name implies, lives solely for and by trade and commerce.  Prior to partition Banias of castes Gar, Goyal, Sital, Mital, Earn, Dheran, Bansal, Kosal and Oswal were generally found in the district.  Thereafter the position has greatly changed and the Banias of other sub-castes have also settled in these localities.

 

            Banias are settled every where in the district but are less numerous than khatris.  They are essentially a commercial class.  They occupy a prominent place in industry as well.  Some of them have joined service in private and public sectors.  They are very intelligent and shrewd.  They are fairly well-to-do and easily distinguishable from their peculiar dress, though concentrated in Ludhiana, Jagraon and Khanna.  In out of the way villages where they used to be the only shopkeepers their number has rapidly decreased.

 

            Suds. – The origin of Suds is a mystery.  It is stated that they are really the same as the Raikwals of Agra and Delhi ; and they have the same sub-castes ; but surprisingly did not inter-marry.  They are said to have become a separate class like the kaithas, whom they resembled in the lack of rigidity in the religious observances and liking for wine and meat.  Geographically they are divided into the hill (Uchandia) and the plain (Nawandia) and specially pure (khara) and inferior (gala, chechar). The suds of hills are said to be of the latter type as they were believed to have fallen in status at some period on account of observance of widow re-marriage.

 

            In the district they are concentrated in Ludhiana and Machhiwara.  They are of gentle disposition and law-abiding.

 

            Some decades ago, Suds had special liking for Government jobs i.e., Munshi, Patwari, Kanungoes, etc., but this liking has now disappeared.  Presently they are engaged in commerce and industry.  They also join services in private and public sectors.  They are literate as a class and are very intelligent and shrewd.

 

            Aroras. – Aroras claim to be of Khatri origin.  Khatris, however, reject this claim.  Sir George Campbell is of the opinion that the two belong to the same ethnic stock.  They say that they became out-castes from Kshatriya stock during the persecution by Paras Ram (legendary Parshu Ram) to avoid which they denied their caste and described it as aur or another, hence their name.  But it has been suggested that the Multan and Lahore Khatris are Khatris specially connected with those places : Aroras are Khatris of Aror, the ancient capital of Sind, now represented by modern Rohri (Near Sukkur in West Pakistan).

 

            After partition very large numbers of Aroras have migrated from different districts of west Pakistan and have settled in the district. They are very active, hardworking and intelligent tradesmen. They are far shrewder than their local counter- parts, Khatri shopkeepers.  They are mostly engaged in commerce and industry.  They are fully alive to the dignity of labour and do not hesitate to take up any petty job.  Poorer amongst them have been running mobile shops in the villages on bicycle and make available the goods from towns on nominal profit.  Gradually their economic position has become better and they have almost become settled and have given up the vendor’s jobs.  By sheer dint of merit and superior skill they have made their mark in business and industry.  They are of good disposition and lead hardy life.  They have mostly settled in town and few of them who own land have settled in villages.

 

            Raiputs. – The origin of Rajputs is also a mystery.  Some hold them to be of scythian stock and the other believe that they are the descendants of foreign invaders, i.e., Kushans and Huns, etc.  The general belief about their origin form Agni kund is also prevalent.  Previously Rajputs and Hindu jats were engaged in agriculture and, as such, generally settled in villages. They gave their lands on batai and did not cultivate on their own.   They have almost shifted to towns and have engaged themselves in other professions.

 

            Scheduled Casets. – For centuries they were accorded very low status in society.  With the advent of freedom constitutionally their position has completely chaged.  Untouchability has been madder a penal offence.

 

            Shenduled castes are also scattered throughout the district.  They are generally engaged in their ancestral profession.  In towns they reside in separate localities.  In rural areas they generally live in the localities separated from the main habitaion.  Government have provided many amenities and concessions to ameliorate their lot.  In Government services 19 per cent posts are reserved for them and consequently a good number of Scheduled castes are being represented in Government service.

 

            Among themselves scheduled castes are also caste ridden.  They freely use wine and meat.  They are generally of submissive disposition due to their chronic economic backwardness.  They have yet to enter commerce and industry.  In leather and tanning trades, of course, they have already made appreciable progress.  They are also well represented among industrial labour.

 

            Jains. – Jains number 5,110 in the district.

 

            Vardhamana mahavir Tirthankara was the chief protagonist of Jainism.  Out of 24 Arhats, beginning with Rsabha or Ursabha and including Neminatha, Parsanatha, the last is Vardhamana.  The word jain or Jaina denoted a person who has given up living or thinking like ordinary men.  A true Jain should entirely renounce all thoughts of self.  Jains acknowledge one supreme being to whom they give the names of Jaineswara, Paramatma, Paraparavesta and several others as attributes of infinite nature.

 

            It is to this supreme being that all the prayers and sacrifices of the true jains are offered ; and it is to Him that all the marks of respect which they pay to their holy personage, known as saloka-purushas, and to other sacred objects represented by human form, are really addressed ; for these on attining moksa (supreme blessedness) after death, have become united or incorporated with supreme being.

 

            The jains are divided into two main groups.  Digambra Jains, who roam un-clothed and Svetambra, who put on white robes.  People of former sect are considered inferiour and are not seen in general.

 

            Jains have their own philosophy and metempsychosis.  The Supreme being, they say, is one and indivisble, a spirit without corporal form or physical limitations.  His four principal attributes are Ananta-gnanam (infinite widom), Anant darsanam (infinite intuition), omniscene and omnipresence, Ananta Viryam (omnipotence) and Ananata sukham (infinite blessedness).

 

            They believe in transmigration of soul.  They lay stress on external and internal denial.  As in Vedanta, they do not agree with the theory of Atma Paramatma.  They hold that the sould and individual does mingle with the Supreme.  They are opposed to offering a devotion to any being, human or divine in the hope of gaining bliss or immortality.  Jainism was perhaps the first to recognize life in plants.  They lay great emphasis on Ahimsa or the doctorine of non-injury to any one (Ahimsa Parmodharma).  Their conception of worship of God is impersonal.  They even permit suicide to end life.

 

            Jains are strictly vegetarians.  They even abstain from taking garlic and onion.  Usually they take their dinner before sunset.

 

            Jains are a very rich class, essentilally a commercial community.  Unlike elsewhere in India, they do not have any temple of architectural significance in the district.

 

            Mohammadans. – In the wake of the partition of the country overwhelming majority of mohammadan population of the district migrated to Pakistan.  The number of muslims had fallen to 3,360 in 1951 as against the muslim population of 3,02,482 in 1941.  In 1961 Census their population has increased to 4,486.  Out of the two sects of Sunnies and Shias, the existing population mainly comprises the former.  Islam teaches theism.  Literally it means submission to the will of God.  It is held that the religion was revealed by God through Muhammad, His Prophet.  The teachings are contained in the holy Koran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.  Islam believes in the conception of hell and heaven. Dead bodies would come out on the Roz-I-Hasher (Day of judgement) and will be judged according to their deeds.

 

            Every Muslim is required to say namaz five times a day regularly.  He is also required to observe Roza (fast) in the month of Ramzan.  Lending money on interest is forbidden in Islam.

 

            The remining Muslims mostly resided in big towns, especially in Ludhiana proper.  Since their population had been greatly reduced and statistics are not maintained caste-wise, it is difficult to describe their number in that manner.  In Malerkotla proper (Sangrur district) Muhammandans form a consplcuous majority and a good number of Muhammandans of the district belong to that place.  It is believed that they represent every section and caste of Muhammandans viz., Sayyids, Sheikhs, Arains, Rajputs and Julahas, etc.  They are also believed to represent both the denominations-Shias and Sunnies.  Quite a large number of Muhammandans of the district hail from Jammu and Kashmir.  They are mostly engaged in shawl weaving and enbriodery work.  They work as casual labour.  Some of the Muhammandans do certain miscellaneous jobs as tailors, cobblers and dhunka (cotton-cardner), etc.  With such a thin representation in the district and not having any notable and direct hand in agriculture and industry, their presence is not being significantly felt.

 

            Sikhs. – Out of the total population of the district 6,44,266 are Sikhs.  They pay respect to their ten Gurus and their holy book is Adi Granth i.e., the Grant Sahib.

 

            Sikhism has an uncompromising belief in monotheism.  The nonotheism of Siokhism is different from that of Islam.  Sikhism holds God as omnipresent and does not have a particular place for him to reside.  As such, the conception of God in Sikhism is more pantheistic than anthropomorphic.9

 

9.            “We can distinguish in the Granth”, says Trumpp in the Transation of the Adi Granth, “a grosser and finer kind of Pantheism.  The grosser pantheism identifies all things with the, Absolute, the universe in its various forms being considered the expansion of it; the finer Pantheism, on the other hand, distinguishes between the absolute and the finite being and orders frequently on Theism.  Though God is producing all things out of Himself and is filling all, yet he remains distinct from the creatures and is not contaminated by the Maya, as lotus in a pond of water reminas distinct from the water surrounding it.”

 

 

            Of God it has bo form or substance.  It does not believe in idol worship.  It lays great emphasis on recitation of ‘nam’- the constant repetition of any of the names of God. It also believes in immortality of soul and its transmigration.  It pleads for meditation of God through nam under the guidance of a Guru.  It does not believe in casteism, at best in theory.

 

            A Sikh is required to receive pahul, a sacred ceremony like the sacred ceremony like the sacred thread among Hindus.  He is not to smoke and take alcohol.  Sikhism inculcats moral and domestic virtues.  It is essentially a religion of householders.  It does not require a man to renounce the world or to become an ascetic in pursuit of God.  The Guru set an example in this regard and served as models for the followers.  Sikhs are required to observe five ‘Ks.10  They generally take meat by killing the bird or animal with one jerk of sword and call it jhatka.  The cow is sacred to them.

 

10.       Kachha (short pant), Kara (iron bangle), Kirpan (sword), Kangha (comb) and Kes (long hair).

 

            The place of worship of Sikhs and the centre of their community life is called the Gurudwara, whrein the Adi Granth is generally kept for devotioal study or recitation . The holy book is kept with reverence . Dasom Granth (the work of the 10th Guru) is also considered a holy book; but it is not kept in the Gurudwara. Five Gurudwaras: Amritsar, Anandpur,Patna, Nander and Damdama Sahib are called tahats or the holiest places.

 

            By and large Sikhs are tall and sturdy with long hair carefully kept and long beards. They never go out without a turban; any other headgear being srrictly forbidden to them. In eating and drinking they closely resemble the Hindus, through they are generally meat-eater.

 

            In  the course of time , several sects sprang up among Sikhs and disappeared. Only Nihangs, Namdharis, Udasis and Nirankaries still exist. Of these, Namdharies deserve special mention in the district.

 

            Sikh population comprises Khatri Sikhs, Arora Sikhs, Sikh Jats and Mazhabi Sikhs, Khatri Sikhs,-khatri Sjkhs are generally of the same sub castes as Hindu Khatries, It is well known that any Hindu could seek conversion to Sikhism without losing his original caste . In principal, Sikhism does not recognize caste; but in practice it is observed amongst Khatri Sikhs as in the case of Hindu Khatris. Khatri Sikhs have generally settled in the Doada and Manjha. They have recently migrated from the urbon area of West Punjab and have settled in Ludhiana. They are gererally engaged in commerece and industry, A few of them also own land but they do not cultivate it themselves and get it done on Batai.Being literate they have also taken up service in the private and public sectors. Khatri Sikhs, like Hindu Khatris, are also divided into Banjahi, Sarin, Dhaigaras, Known as Bahri, etc. Their origin is also not different from that of the Hindu Khatirs.

 

            Arora Sikhs.- Arora Sikhs have settled in urban areas.  After partition some Arora Sikhs from Sargodha, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujranwala and Lyallpur districts have also settled in this district.

 

            They are not different from Hindu Aroras. Any Hindu Arora after conversion to Sikhism becomes Arora Sikh and retains the sub-castes like his Hindu counter parts. Till recently there was a custom amongst Hindu Arora Families in West Punjab that they used to keep long hair of their first male child and name him as Sikh. Quite a few arora families in the district still have the eldest son as a Sikh while the rest are Hindus. Some Arora Sikhs from Sargodha district also own land ; but they usually do not cultivate and instead give it on batai.

 

            Like their Hindu Counterparts they are well-built, hardworking, enterprising and intelligent. Generally they are engaged in trade, commerce and industry. Some of them have also taken up service in private and public sectors. They are, however very successful in business. Ever  those who had migrated here from West Punjab with slender resources have, by dint of their own labour, rapidly rehabilitated themselves and can hold their own against well-established local parties.

 

            Notable amongst Sikhs in the district are Jats. They are well-built sturdy, energetic and hardworking. They are virtually the lords of the soil. They also have entered services in the private  and public sectors. Their representation in the Defence services in fairly high. The British were appreciative of fine qualities of the Malwa Jats and called them the best peasantry in India.  They undoubtedly preferred them to the Manjha and the Doaba Jats.  The  tribute is probably due to the faithfulness of Malwa Jats and their Chief during the Anglo-Sikh Wars and also on account of the intention of Britishers to use the Malwa Jats as a counterpoise against the Manjha and the Doaba Jats.  The fact, however remains the Manjha and Doaba Jats are in no way second to the Malwa Jats.  All the exploits and deeds of valour of the Khalsa in the time of Misls and Maharaja Ranjit Singh were attributable to the people of the Manjha and the Doaba, including the Jats.  In recent times also, this stands corroborated as the Manjha and the Doaba Jats enjoy equal status in every sphere.  The Manjha and Doaba Jats settling in the district after partition have proved their worth and have been found to be equally skilful and successful in the field of agriculture as well.

 

            The statistics about the different gots of Jats (as they do not believe in castes) wqho have settled in the district from sargodha, Jhelum, Gujranwala and Lyallpur districts under the rehabilitation programme of the State Government are not available.  It is presumed that Jats of almost all the notable gots of Manjha and Doaba Jats previously settled in bars and canal colonies have migrated and settled in the district.

 

            The principal gots among Malwa Jats in the district are Gerwals, Gils, Dhariwals, Snadhus, Sekhon and Dhillon. Almost all the Jats trace their origin from the Rajputs. This identity is perhaps due to the fact that prior to the rise of Jats, Rajputs enjoyed superior status and prestige in the Punjab, Different theories have been advanced about the orgin of the Jats. The consensus appears to be in favour of view that they are from the Seythian stock. Anyhow the points need further research. The origin of different gots of the district, however may be given according to commonest tradition prevalent in the area.     

 

            Garewals or Grewals.-          One of the notable gots in the district are Garewals or Gerwals. They trace their descent to a Rajput Raja Rikh, who came from the south and settled in Kahlur (Bilaspur in Himachal pradesh) in the hills. Bairsi, son of Rikh, left Kahlur for Naiebad. Then to the South of Ludhiana, and contracted a marriage with a Jat woman named Rup Kaur and had to start his got himself as his brothers would have nothing further to do with him. His son was Gare whence the name of got. It is also said that the  son was named Gare as he was born at Gare (kup of husk). Another fanciful origin is Kerwal frm Kerwa. The former orgin appears to be more  plausible as the got was spelt Gerwal till very recently and its spellings stand changed to that of Gerwal in every recent times.

 

            The descendants of Bairsi gradually spread over the country to the couth-west of Ludhiana. The Garewals were admitted by the other gots to be superior and were called Sahu- log, i.e., superior. The Garewal families of Raipur, Gujarwal and Narangwal enjoyed a sort of local authority till in the army. Ever now their representation in the Defence services, especially in the army. Even now their representation in the Defence Services and civil administration is fairly good..

 

            Gils.- Gils own about forty villages, mostly in Jagraon tahsil. They claim their descent from Surajbansi Rajputs, their ancestor being a king of Gharmela in the south, whose son, Akaura, took to agriculture. The son of Akaura, Gill, Founded the Got which moved northwards by degrees. It is said that they came to this district about 310 to 370 years ago, in the reign of Shah Jahan. Gils are first agriculturists but their habits are generally extravagant.

 

            Sidhus.-  The sidhus have a good many villages in Jagraon tahsil and three Sidhwans. They are well known got in Manjha as well. Those of the Ludhiana district are of Brar sub-division; and came from the south west from Faridkot in the time of Rais about 260 to 360 years ago. They also trace their origin from Rajputs of Jaisalmer (Rajasthan).

 

            Dhariwals.- Dhariwals have a good many illages lying about Pakhowal and are mostly found in the Jagraon tahsil. Their ancest was as usual a Rajput, who cvame from Jaisalmer tahsil. Their ancestor was, usual, a Rajput, who came from Jaisalmer and settled in Kangar in Nabha territory, becoming a Jat. From kangar his descendants came into this district under the Rais and their Sikh successors. They are considered to be one of the superiors gots of Jas; but do not differ much in their customs from the others.

 

            Bhandhers.- Bhandhers are stated to be descendants of Bhander who was the off-spring of the union of the Rajput and woman of inferior caste. He settled in Bhatinda first and thence his decendants migrated to Maludh where the got now holds a few villages.

 

            Sekhons and Dhillons are stated to have come from Patiala territory (Pawad) and Amritsar District (Manjha). Dhillons were believed to have come in the reign of Emperor Muhammad Shah. Besides, there were other gots Mans, Sindhus, Mangats and Cheemas, Numerically less in number, settled in the district.

 

            Ramgarhis.- Ramgarhis is not a caste of carpenters,  is popularly believed. They have derived this denomination from the name of the Misl. This Misl had its jurisdiction between Amritsar and Lahore (around modern Barki now falling in Lahore district, West Pakistan). Before independence, Ramgarhias were mostly engaged in cultivation, and small scale industry. They have a technical bent of mind. After partition they greately progressed in the field of industry and have emerged a very well-to-do class, through socially in Ludhiana proper. They have a considerable hold on the iron and steel industry  in the district.

 

            Namdharis.- Namdharis, Popularly called Kukas, cohesive group among Sikhs, are distinguishable by white home-spun dress and flat turban (Sidhi pag). This movement was originally  started in Hazro (Pakistan) by Bhagat Jawahar Mal and Baba Balak Singh.

 

            Namdharis trace their origin to Guru Nanak. The faith up to Guru Gobind Singh, as Accepted by the Namdharis and the other Sikhs, is the same. After Guru Gobind Singh the Namdharis  believe in the continuity of the living Gurus whereas the other Sikhs believe that Guruship was vested in Granth Sahib. Through the Granth Sabih is being respected by the Namdharis but they claim that according to Sikh scriptures, and the ture Sikh history, Guruship cannot be vested in a thing which has no life. According to N\ Namdharis belief, Guru Balak Singh is the 11th Guru and Ram Singh is the 12th Guru in the line of succession.

 

            The movement in the district was given a fresh start by Baba Ram Singh. Under his dynamic leadership the movement soon assumed a political tinge with Bhaini Sahib as its headquarters. Baba Ram Singh was deepy  conscious of the rapid moral deterioration of the Sikhs in regard to the observance of traditional practices and also by loose living- prevalent among the Sikhs under the British. In a very short time Sikhs rallied around him and became his devoted followers. They considered him a descendant of Guru Gobind Singh. On his deportation to Burama on political grounds, he was succeeded by Baba Hari Sngh and then by Partap Singh. This living Guru is Baba Jagjit Singh.

 

            Namdharis  are strictly vegetarian.  They war home spun and put on a rosary of woolen thread around their neck. They hold cow as sacred. Kukas believes in Casteism. They hold that Roti (bread) and Beti (daughter) should be accepted within the caste group. They do not cat cooked food with non-Namdharis. Before independence they also took active part in freedom movement. The headquarters of the Kukas have recently been shifted to Jeewan Nagar (Sirsa) in Haryana. Bhaini Sahib abd Jeewan Nagar enjoy the same status.

 

            Namdharis have settled throughout the district. Shri Bhaini Sahib is the headquarters of this sect. They are mostly engaged in agriculture and trade. They are popularly known as ‘Kukas’ and can be recognized from their dress as they tie their turban in a peculiar style (sidhi pag). They are very puritanical in their habits and strictly observe the injections of their guru. They have mostly shifted to Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) and Jeewan Nagar (Sirsa Sub-Division of Haryana).

 

            Mazahabi Sikhs.- The Schedule castes converted as Sikhs are called Mazhabi Sikhs. They are engaged in petty jobs. They do not, however, carry night soil. It is said that the dead body of Guru Teg Bahadur, 9th Sikh Guru was broughtby a Mazhabi from Delhi and the members of the caste were accepted into Sikhism. Hence, the saying,’ Rangreta Guru ka Beta’. In practice, however they do not enjoy the status enjoyed by the Khatri, Arora and Jat Sinkhs. They do not associate with them in marriages, etc. In the Gurdwara and in langar, however they are treated alike.

 

            Miscellaneous.- Banjaras and Labanas: Banjaras and Labanas reside in the bet area. They claim the same origin as others, as a mate of course. They are, however, district caste. Banjaras assumed to be somewhat superior to Labanas; but in the district they intermarry. They  are both Hindus trade and Sikhs by religion. Transporting grains, etc., on bullocks; and the pety trade and labour, i.e., transporting gains, etc., on bullocks; and the Labanas in making ropes, brushes, etc, etc., from Munj (beaten weeds).

 

            Labanas are Sikhs. They also reside exclusively in bet where they own some villages. They are said to be a branch of the Chauband Rajputs. The important gots among them are Dagnamat, Udiana, Sukiana, Majrawat, Bartia, Balthia and Barnawat. They practise krewa and worship Gugga pir.

 

            Carpenters.- Like other village artisans, carpenters formed an integral and important part of the agricultural economy. They used to serve the rural community in exchange for specified share of the seasonal crops. As a result of rapid urbanization of Ludhiana and other towns, the carpenters were greatly in demand there for the manufacture of fashionable articles of furniture and sundry wood work connected with fast growing construction of new houses. In the course of time they became economically well off due to cash payment of their wages. Village carpenters are no match to their urban counterparts in the economic field. A good number of them, as stated elsewhere, have adopted new trades and industries and have been quite well off.

 

            Lohars (Blacksmiths).- Lohars are also village artisans who do all the smith work for the agriculturists. In the urban areas previously almost all the lohars were Muslims. After partition petty jobs are being performed by both Hindus and Sikhs. Items of nos are manufactured by foundries in Ludhiana and in other important towns like Khanna and Jagraon.

 

            Jhiwars or Kahars (water carriers) are not necessary in most of the village, for the Jat women mostly fetch water of their own, where necessary. They are also not fond in towns as in all the towns of the district water is in abundance and water supply is regular. In marriages, however even now, the presence of Jhiwar is must for fetching water and clearing the utensils. In the changed circumstances the Jhiwars have suitably adjusted themselves. They have started petty hotels and restaurants and also enjoy monopoly in establishments selling parched grams, maize, groundnuts and sugar coated parched grams, etc.

 

            They have also sought employment in big hotels as cooks, tandurias and other miscellaneous and petty jobs.

 

            Nai- Nai (barber) is found everywhere and is a very important village servant. Previously he was invariably employed, at the time of need, in arranging betrothals and deciding about dates of marriages etc. Now their services are confined to conveying messages of marriages and deaths, etc., amongst relations and acquaintances of the concerned family in very rare cases.

 

            Younger lot of barbers are settling in urban areas where the running of saloons is very paying business. Many of them are also joining services in the public and private sectors. Only the aged persons ar clinging to their ancestral professions. In the near future these functions of lagi or-between will be performed by few as the nature of job is quite unattractive and less paying.

 

            Jullahas (weavers). – By the end of the last century Julahas were widely scattered throughtout the district.  In Ludhiana proper there was a large colony of weavers.  With the popularity of mill-made cloth and also with its availability at competitive rates, the weaving of cloth by Julahas has become unremunerative.  They are, however, still engaged in the weaving course cloth for use by the local population.

 

            This profession has also undergone good deal of change.  Blankets, mufflers and shawls are in great demand.  This work is not necessarily being done by the Julahas, but instead by the local  industrial labour engaged in woolen hosiery, who do not accept the nomenclature of Julahas. 

           

            Besides, brickmakers, mochis (leather workers), dhobis and chhimbas (cloth stampers) reside mostly in towns.  The work previously done by dhobis has been further sub-divided.  Dry cleaning of woolen and silken garments is performed by dry-ckeaners- not necessarily by dhobis.  Since the rates of washing cotton clothes have gone abnormally high, people wash them on their own and get them ironed from itinerant dhobis, as this arrangement also enables them to carry on even with less number of clothes.

 

            Brickmakers are employed in bhattas (brick kilns) and mostly this labour is imported from Rajasthan and U.P.  One rarely comes across any local man from the district engaged in this profession.  A reference to mochis has already been made elsewhere under caption Scheduled Castes.

 

Contents        Next