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The Janjua Rajput (Punjabi ਜਨ੍ਜੁਅ, , ) (also spelt Janjooa, Janjuha, Janjuah) is a Rajput royal warrior clan of Northern Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker. They have been referred to as the most Valiant Warriors of Punjab.History of Mediaeval Hindu India by Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya, Cosmo Publ. 1979, p129 Their warlike nature and dominant rule of their kingdoms against other tribes earned them a powerful reputation in Western Punjab and the Valley of Kashmir.Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, p637, p669, p670 The Mughal Emperor Jalaludin Mohammed Akbar's record keeper Abu Fazl celebrated the Janjua Rajput as among the most renowned Rajputs of India. The Janjua Rajput were later referred to by researcher Christopher Birdwood as among "the hardest breed in the Continent."

They have a recorded history that spans centuries through famous Maharajas, Rajas, Emperors, Sultans, Nawabs and Princes since the Vedic age to the modern era. They were among the earliest Rājput converts to Islam. Rebelling against the Delhi Sultanate in the early 13th and 16th century, the Janjua princes aided the Mughal conqueror Babur in his conquest of Indiamarker. They served as generals in the Imperial Mughal Army and have played a major part in Punjabi history through the battles, rebellions and alliance. Under the British Raj of India, they were designated as a "Martial Race" and provided strong numbers to the British Indian Army and fought in both World Wars.

Early History

The Janjua Rajput clan claim descendancy from the Pandava dynasty through the Pandav Prince Arjun.

Prince Arjun, known as the Achilles of India, was famous for his valour. He was eulogised in the Mahabharata epic as the perfect Kshatriya warrior. He conquered many powerful kingdoms in the Mahabharata epic and was the main lead in the battle field of Kurukshetramarker.

The Pandavas were representing the Chandravanshi Kuru clan.

Arjun was himself first cousin maternally to the famed Krishna and also married Krishna's sister, Subhadra, to extend his dynasty. In fact, it was Arjun who carried out Krishna's funeral rites.

Arjun's great grandson, Maharaja Janamejaya, is an apical ancestor of the Janjuas. Janamejaya was later the ruling Emperor of the Kingdom of Hastinapurmarker, the capital of which was Indraprasta (modern day Delhimarker). Regarding the Janjuas descent from the Pandavas dynasty, the Bali and Bhimwal generals of Raja Dhrupet Dev of Mathura, recorded that the Janjua Raja Dhrupet Dev was the descendant of Emperor Janamejaya of the Pandava dynasty of Prince Arjun.

Sir Lepel H Griffin K.C.S.I. had also recorded in the early 1900s that the Janjua were Pandavas in origin.

The Mahabharata epic is a narration which records a war between Bharat's later descendants the Pandavas and their cousins the Kauravas for the throne of Hastinapurmarker. This epic is also believed to be the world's longest poem and emperor Janamejaya was responsible for the retelling of it.

Although there is no definitive source to confirm the ancestry of the ancient King Porus of Punjab, the Janjua Rajputs claim that their ancestor, Rai Por is the Porus who fought Alexander in Punjab in 326BC.

Considering the Janjua Rajputs Pandava descent interestingly it has been recorded that Pandava tribe ruled the region of Punjab and specifically Jhelum during the era of Alexander the Great.

Ptolemy recorded the presence of the Pandoouoi (greek transliteration of Pandava) clan in the geographic location noted by Greek writers of King Porus's kingdom in Punjab where he fought Alexander the Great.

The Pandoouoi or Pandus were devout worshippers of Krishna. This is consistent with sources which confirmed that Porus's army carried the idol of their deity Krishna into the battle for luck. Famous writer Atul Chandra Chakravarti was also of the opinion that Porus's tribe was of Pandoouoi/Pandava origin as is Dr D.C.Sircar researcher Ian Austin and others.

It is said:

According to Arrian, Alexander is said to have asked King Porus "How would you like me to treat you?" to which Porus famously replied "As a Raja (king)". The answer touched Alexander, who in return allowed the Raja to retain his Kingdom and more.

The Pandava/Pandoouoi tribe has been connected to the emerging Arjunayana tribe (sons of Arjuna) of the 4th century BC a ruling warrior elite regarded as the descendants of Arjun Pandava, from whom they claimed direct descendancy.

They have been mentioned in various sanskrit scriptures such as the Ganapatha, Brihatsamhitā, Cāndravyākarama, Kāsika and the Saravatikanthāabharana which all indicate the presence of the tribe in Northern india circa 200BC to the 5th century CE.The rule of their state lay in the Delhimarker, Agramarker and Jaipur triangle, comprising roughly the modern Bharatpur and Alwars states near Mathura where the presence of the Pandava tribe has been recorded and Arjunayana coinage has been discovered. Their rule must have continued for many centuries into the age of the Ghorid conquer of Northern India, when the last Pandava Janjua ruler of Mathura Raja Dhrupet Dev was exiled from his kingdom of Mathura.

Pānini refers to the Arjunayānas as the Rājanyādi or ruling class with coinage of the tribe being discovered as early as the 4th century BC even before the Kushan rule of northern Punjab. They flourished between the 2nd century BC till the 5th century CE, issuing coinage bearing the legend, Arjunāyanānāam jayah meaning victory belongs to the Arjunāyanas, in commemoration of their triumphs over their enemies. The Kushans entry and subjugation of their kingdom, led to the Arjunayanas joining a confederacy between another Pandava warrior tribe, the Yaudheyas (who claim descendancy from Arjun Pandava's elder brother Dharma) and also the Kunindas. This allied rebellion proved successful, overthrowing the Kushan regency in Punjab, resulting in the Arjunayanas establishing an large independent state which flourished for centuries.

The page List of Indian monarchs gives an account of the period of rule of the Bharata-Puru-Pandava-Janjua Shahi phase which began from approx 1600BC to 1026AD.

Janjua emperors of the Hindu Shahi Dynasty

From about 964CE, the Janjua chief Parambhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Paramesvara Sri Jayapaladeva (epithets known from the Bari Kot inscriptions) succeeded the Brahmin Hindu Shahi Emperor Bhimdev. The Janjua Shahiya emperors now ruled from Ghandar (Kandaharmarker of Afghanistanmarker) to the whole of Punjab in what was known as the second phase of the Hindu Shahiya, the Janjua Shahi Dynasty.

Alexander Cunningham, Elliot and Dowson and Sachau led research into the origins of the Pala Hindu Shahiya, the second dynasty that succeeded the initial Brahmin Dev Shahiyas. They concluded that the origins of Emperor Jayapala Shah was in the Janjua Rajput. In 1973's Al-Biruni International Congress in Pakistan, Hussain Khan presented a paper, An Interpretation of Al-Biruni's Account of the Hindu Shahiyas of Kabul, which confirmed these findings. The Janjua's genealogy records the names of the Janjua Shahi Jayapala as well as the continued descendants of his House.

Jayapala was challenged by the armies of Sabuktigin and his son Sultan Mahmud towards the end of his reign as emperor. Upon being captured after a fierce battle with Sultan Mahmud, Jayapala was ransomed and upon his release, "he ordered the construction of a funeral pyre. Mounting and setting it alight, he nobly perished in the flames". Misra wrote:"Jaypala was perhaps the last Indian ruler to show such spirit of aggression, so sadly lacking in later Rajput kings".

Anandpal Shah

His son prince Anandapala who ascended the throne (in about March/April 1002CE) already proved an able warrior in leading battles prior to his ascension. According to Adáb al-Harb in about 990, "the arrogant but ambitious Raja of Lahoremarker Bharat, having put his father in confinement, marched on the country of Jayapála with the intention of conquering the districts of Nandana, Jailummarker and Tákeshar." Jayapala instructed prince Anandapala to repel the opportunist Raja Bharat. Anandapala defeated Bharat and took him prisoner in the battle of Takeshar and marched on Lahore and captured the city and extended his father's kingdom.

During the battle of Chachmarker between Sultan Mahmud and Anandapala, it is stated that "a body of 30,000 Gakhars fought alongside as soldiers for the Shahi Emperor and incurred huge losses for the Ghaznavids." It is also mentioned in the same text that "the Gakhars (or Khokhars) formed a very significant force in the armies of the Sáhis". Despite the heavy losses of the enemy, he eventually lost the battle and suffered much financial and territorial loss. This was Anandapala's last stand against Sultan Mahmud. Anandpala eventually signed a treaty with the Ghaznavid empire in 1010CE and shortly a year later died a peaceful death. R.C. Majumdar compared him ironically to his dynasty's ancient famous ancestor "Porus, who bravely opposed Alexander but later submitted and helped in subduing other Indian rulers." Tahqíq Má li'l-Hind called Anandapala noble and courageous.

Tirlochanpal Shah

Tirlochanpála, the son of Anandapala, ascended the throne in about 1011CE. Inheriting a reduced kingdom, he set about expanding his kingdom into the Siwalik Hills, the region of the Rai of Sharwa. His kingdom now extended from the River Indusmarker to the upper Ganges valley. According to Al-Biruni, Tirlochanpála "was well inclined towards the Muslims" and was honourable in his loyalty to his father's peace treaty to the Ghaznavids. He later rebelled against Sultan Mahmud and was eventually assassinated by some of his own mutinous troops in 1021-22CE, an assassination which was believed to have been instigated by the Rai of Sharwa.. He was romanticised in Punjabi folklore as the last Punjabi ruler of Punjab.

Bhimpala Shah

Bhímapála, son of Tirlochanpala, succeeded his father in 1021-22CE. He was referred to by Utbí as "Bhīm, the Fearless; due to his courage and valour". He led the battle of Nandana and seriously wounded the commander of the Ghaznavid army Muhammad bin Ibrahim at-Tāī. He ruled only five years after his father before meeting his death in 1026CE.

His remaining descendants, Rudrapal and his brothers Diddápála and Anangapāla had settled in Kashmirmarker and played a major role in the court of Kashmirian king Ananta (1028-63CE). According to the Rājtarahginī, "Rudrapal proved himself extravagant in personal valour by crushing the rebels of the king, as commander in chief of the Kashmiri royal army."

Al-Biruni, despite living under Sultan Mahmud's grace, praised the house of Jayapala:

Kalhana writes of the Shahis:

The Janjua Rule of Mathura

Raja Dhrupet Dev Janjua ruled Mathuramarker state in the late 12th century. Dhrupet was also the ruler of the Mandu fort of the Shiwalik hills. He was well known for being a Pandava descendant of Janamejaya.

Raja Dhrupet's rule of Mathura ended when Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the general of the Ghorid army, attacked Mathura and exiled the ruling royal family. According to Mohyal historians (Gulshan-e-Mohyali) Raja Dhrupet's younger brother Raja Shripat Dev, accompanied the exile to the Salt Range of Punjab. Shripat Dev later, "established his dominion at Katasraj (old name Namaksar) in Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan, Distt. Jhelummarker." The Mohyal commanders-in-chief of the Janjua army at this point were Rai Tirlok Nath Bali and Bam Dev Bhimwal.

Raja Mal Khan

Rai Dhrupet Dev was the father of a famous rebellious king Rai Ajmal Dev Janjua who embraced Islam in the 12th century due to his love for Sufi art, poetry and teachings. Rai/Raja Mal followed the Islamic tradition of change of name after conversion and was then known as Raja Mal Khan. He was among the first Muslim Rajputs. This conversion was done before the armies of Shahabudin Ghauri entered into the Indian Plateau to conquer whilst he was very young in his teens and inclined towards Islamic philosophy of the Sufis, whose missionary efforts were gaining popularity in Northern India.

Conquering for himself a kingdom in the Koh-i-Jud he settled his capital at Rajgarh which he later renamed Malotmarker. He re-conquered the Salt Ranges of Punjab to re-establish the dominion which his tribe lost almost two centuries earlier to the Ghaznavids. (Malot was originally called Shahghar or Rajghar - meaning home of the Shahis/Kings but was later changed to Malot in recognition of its founder.)

The Tarikh-e-Alfi of the Ghorids mentions the rebellious behaviour of Rai Mal towards the Delhi Sultanate. It records that he excited a rebellion against them and intercepted communications between Lahore and Ghazni. He then led the revolt to Multan with his Gakhar allies, defeating the Ghorid Governor of Multan before progressing to plunder Lahore and blockading the strategic road between Punjab and Ghaznimarker. There are today remnants of an ancient fort in Malot, Chakwal which was initially built by the Shahis and later rebuilt and fortified by Raja Mal Khan. It is also inscribed that the last Hindu Shahi prince Raja Mal embraced Islam at this place.

Raja Mal Khan was also the first ruler to begin the mining of salt in the Salt Ranges of Kallar Kahar and in the Khewra Salt Mines of Punjab which is currently the world's second largest salt mine.

Delhi Sultanate and the Janjua Rajputs

The princes of the House of Rai Mal Khan continued their rebellion against the Emperors of Delhi against whom they held their own for many centuries remaining always turbulent, defiant and restless.

Main branches

The most prominent Hindu and Muslim Janjua Rajputs of today are chiefly represented by the sons of Raja Mal Khan.

The princes were Raja Bhir Khan, Raja Jodh Khan, Raja Kala Khan and Raja Khakha Khan. Jodh and Bhir were born of a Gakhar Rani while Kala, and Khakha were born of another Rajput Rani.

Khakha Rajputs

Raja Khakha Khan was succeeded by three sons, Faggal Khan, Aliya Khan, Mangi Khan who took over from him on his death. The Raja's of the Khakha Janjua of Kashmir and Pakhli became a renowned tribe of the Kashmiri region. Raja Khaka Khan's descendants inhabit Muzaffarabad, Kot Khakha amongst other villages near the Jammu frontier of Kashmir.

The Khakha Rajputs are renowned for being a powerful and warlike Muslim Rajput tribe, with a reputation as a "defiantly fierce warlike tribe".. During the period of the Afghanmarker overlordship over the region of Kashmir they, "...paid little to their overlord and were practically independent." Even when the Sikh empire tightened their hold over the Jhelum Valley of Kashmir, the Khakha Rajputs retained a privileged position. Their power and dominance aided Yakub Shah in his defence of Kashmir, in what was the first defeat of Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1582 on his first incursion into the Kashmir valley. But Akbar eventually returned more powerful and finally conquered the region in 1586.

Raja Jodh and Raja Veer/Bhir

According to Lepel H. Griffin:

The descendants of Raja Jodh had continued to rule this region through various interruptions until the age of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Raja Bhir (also spelt Veer, meaning "brave") meanwhile took over Malot (Rajghar) state in Chakwal from his father. Raja Bhir's son, Raja Acharpal became a famous chief after his father's death. The above mentioned Ahmed Khan was Acharpal, who later changed his name after converting to Islam.

It was particularly these two branches who waged the greatest wars against the Gakhars;

Malik Darwesh Khan

Malik Darwesh was a warrior king of the Janjua tribe and a general of Mughal Emperor Jalaludin Muhammad Akbar.

Malik Darwesh Janjua declared war against the Gakhars. This final battle against the Gakhars caused their defeated princes to flee the battlefield, each prince into separate towns. Malik Darwesh Khan now recovered the territory that was taken from his tribe by the Gakhars. The recovered territories were distributed amongst his tribe, of which one part formed his own Kingdom of Darapur, spreading over twenty two large towns and villages and estates.

Even to day the area is called in Vernacular Bai (22) Deis (land, villages, etc) firstly at Malikpur and then shifted to Darapur (today Malikpur is a small village where no Janjua resides; but almost entire landed property is held by the Janjua Rajas of Darapur. In this area besides Darapur the main villages of Janjua abode are Chakri Dhuman Khan. It has become known as Chakri Rajgaan since the fame of General Asif Nawaz Janjua as Chief of Army Staff. Bajwala Dattan is now known as Bajwala Kalan.

Darapur Janjua Rajputs - Malik Darwesh Khan's later descendant Raja Zaman Mahdi Khan of Darapur, was also distinguished by Lepel H. Griffin as a true noble:

Zaman Mehdi Khan distributed his inheritance equally in four parts between himself and his three brothers, Raja Shakir Mehdi Khan, Raja Abdullah Khan, and Raja Paindah Khan. Later Raja Shakir Mehdi Khan died issueless (he had two sons had migrated and now their descendants are said to be at Qasur) and his share was reassigned back to Raja Zaman Mehdi Khan, whereupon Raja Zaman Mehdi Khan was admitted as chief of the family and was conferred the title Malik.

Nawab Talib Mehdi Khan Janjua

Zaman Mehdi Khan's only son, Malik Talib Mehdi Khan, served as Deputy Commissioner, Ambassador to Kabul, and Prime Minister of the Bhawalpur State.. Talib Mehdi was appointed as Nawab with the rank of Major without attachments of any kind. He assumed rulership of the tribe after his father's death. At this point, almost the entire warrior tribe served in the Imperial Army.

Nawab Malik Talib Mehdi Khan had only one son, the late Nawabzada Malik Afzaal Mehdi Khan. He was chief of the family after the death of his father. The only son of Afzaal Mehdi is Malik Iqbal Mehdi Khan, ex-Provincial Minister, and Member of National Assembly (1988-1999). He succeeded the rule of the Darapur Estate after his father's death and is the current Regal Chief of the Darapur Janjua Dynasty.

Raja Najeeb Ullah Khan Janjua (the paternal nephew of Malik Zaman Mehdi Khan Janjua who in his turn was the father of Talib Mehdi) was among first Imperial soldiers from Imperial Indian Army to get the King’s Commission, and was the first Muslim to do so. He was in the British Battalion.

Raja Ghulam Mehdi Khan Janjua, the paternal nephew of Nawab Talib Mehdi Khan and father-in-law of Nawab Malik Iqbal Mehdi Khan Janjua (current chief of the Darapur Janjua tribe), was a provincial civil servant at the time of independence and later on retired as Deputy Commissioner.

The Janjua Sultans

The Janjua Sultan of Watli, Sultan Fateh Muhammad Khan (descendant of Raja Jodh through Raja Sun Pal) opposed the Sikhs, holding them off for over 6 months in Kusuk Fort, Watli, for which Ranjit Singh gave the salt mines of Khewra and 40 villages to the Sultan as compensation. His descendant, Sultan Raja Azmat Hayat served as a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Pakistan. Upon his death on 15 February 2003 his son Sultan Raja Azam Hayat succeeded the estate of Kusak Fort.

The Janjua Sultan of Makhiala, Sultan Firoz Ali Khan was a warrior king from Raja Jodh's line through Raja Rai Pal. He strongly opposed Maharaja Ranjit Singh during his conquest of Punjab. After his death his son Ali Haider Khan was crowned Sultan, ruling for a very short period before his death. His son Ashgar Ali Khan was crowned the next Sultan of Makhiala.

The Janjuas from Gurah Rajgan and Maira Rajgan are also well organised and settled near Makhiala Rajgan. During the 20th century, Watli Sultan Dynasty and the Darapur Dynasty were united through marriage.

Raja Sarang Khan - Ruler of Kot Sarang

Raja Sarang Khan was a Rajput King (of the Raja Jodh Janjua line). He conquered a vast region in Jhelum and built a strong fort called Kot Sarang Qilla. His life was spent in adventure and battle. He died near Makhad fighting the Afghans. His descendants still reside at Kot Sarang, from a line including Raja Muhammad Khan.

Bihal Rajputs

Badlial & Bihal Rajputs of Badla, the Dasuya region of district Hoshiarpurmarker, are the Janjua descendants of the conqueror of Makhiala, Raja Jodh. They are the main representative branch of the Hindu Janjua Rajputs. Raja Sahj Pal (8th in descent from Raja Jodh) left Makhiala during the era when the Janjua were rebelling against the Delhi Sultanate. Although the Muslim Janjuas remained and fought, Raja Sahj Pal sought escape from the rebellion and migrated to and founded Badla and is thought to have given it that name. Raja Sahj Pal's son and successor, Raja Pahar Singh, held 132 villages around the seat of Badla in his heyday.

The Bihals are the Ranas or superior rulers of the Dogras. The Bihal Rajputs were known for courage, fending off several armies over the course of history in the region.

The Rajput Tika ceremony is applied to the selected Rana or chief of the family. A red tilak is applied under a banian tree at Barnar or Bah Ata, with other assembled chiefs and Rana's of other clans. These assembled Ranas offer the new Bihal chief a shawl, a fine horse and also some money in Nazar (tribute). The new Raja would then select his new diwans/aides to help his leadership. The tribal election of the Sultan of Makhiala up until the mid 20th century is very similar to this tradition.

The Badlial Rajputs are an off shoot of the Bihal Rajas. They are a much smaller tribe than the Bihals.

Ranial Rajputs and Dhamial Rajputs

Ranial Rajputs and Dhamial Rajputs are a branch of the Janjua through Raja Bhir and Raja Jodh respectively. According to Tehreek-e-Janjua these two Rajas employed a sudden military onslaught to conquer the areas of Ranial and Dhamial. Raja Malu took the area Ranial whilst Raja Mubarak took the Dhamial plain.

Raja Kala Khan - Sultan Ahmed Sani

Raja Kala Khan became the ruler of Kahuta district in present day Rawalpindimarker, Pakistan. He became Muslim early on his rule and following tradition, changed his name to Sultan Ahmed Sani. His two sons, Juss Rai and Patt Rai were united in their control of Kahuta. It comprises over sixty villages of various clans including Gakhars, Minhas and Awansmarker. Raja Kala Khan's descendants are in abundance in Kahuta Rawalpindi. Most of his descendants work in the Pakistan Army and are sportsmen including Amir Khan and Sajid Mahmood. A Mazhar (large tombmarker) was erected on his death and his descendants congregate every year at this Mazhar to commemorate his life. During Ahmed Shah Abdali's conquest of Northern India, he was allied by Sardar Ameer Khan of Kahuta, the chief of the Kahuta Janjua Rajas.

Sardar Bahadur Noor Khan son of Sardar Baqar Khan was from Matoremarker, and was conferred the title of Sardar Bahadur by the British Raj. He was elected as the MLC and Vice Chairman of the District Board of Rawalpindi.

Kharwal or Gaharwal Rajputs of Kahuta

The Kharwal or Gaharwal Rajputs of Kahutamarker (not to be confused with Garewal which are a distinctly different tribe and settled in India) are a branch of Janjua through Raja Kala Khan. They reside only in the hills of the eastern half of the Kahuta region called the Kahuru ilaka. They have been recorded by Denzil Ibbetson as: “ ...a fine strong race, decidedly superior to the ordinary (non Janjua) Rájpúts, and socially much the same position as other Janjúas". Kharwal Rajput chiefs were Sardar Baqar Khan, Sardar Nawab Khan, Raja Ali Mardán Khan and Khanbhadur Zaildar Sardar Raja Burhán Ali Khan, who were counted in the census as Janjua Rajputs.

The Janjuas and the Mughals

There is a handwritten Parwana (letter of gratitude) by the minister of Amir Timur to the Janjua Sultan family of Watli, Pakistan for their service to his entourage, which is still held by them to this day. The Janjuas were honoured by Amir Timur for supporting his conquest of India, throughout his campaign. This formed the foundation for the later alliance between Amir Timur's celebrated descendants, the Mughal Emperor Babur and the Janjuas.
The Mughal conqueror Babur made overtures to the Janjuas, and detailed them in his famous Baburnama:

An important ally of Babur's campaign of Punjab, the Pakhtun warrior prince Langar Khan Niazi was also stated by Babur to be a maternal nephew of the Janjua. The Niazi tribe being amongst the most powerful and leading Pakhtun tribes since ancient times:

The Janjua chief Malik Hast (Asad) was recorded by Babur as, "the lone ruler of the tribes and clans in the Sohan River area." He was invited by Babur to unite with him through Malik Hast's nephew Langar Khan Niazi. The Timurid letter was brought to Babur by Raja Sanghar Khan and Malik Hast (Asad). Babur honoured this record. The Janjua Rajas were now allies to the House of Babur. Babur allowed the Janjua to continue their rule in their respective kingdoms as before.

The Janjua Rajputs also took part in the battles against Rana Sangha in 1527AD in which the Mughals defeated the Sesodia Rajputs who had allied with the Afghans against him. Raja Sanghar Khan Janjua is stated to have been involved in charging the army of Sangha when they came out of the fortress and after overwhelming them, the Mughal allies put them to flight.

Emperor Humayun

Upon Humayun's exile from India, the Janjua Rajputs assisted Sher Shah Suri in constructing the Rohtas Fortmarker to keep Humayun out of India as well as crush the Gakhars who in loyalty to the exiled Humayun began a rebellion against Sher Shah Suri. It was given possession to the Janjua chief Rai Piraneh Khan who fought off the Gakhars attacks, in attempting to halt its construction. But upon Sher Shah's death, the Gakhars seized the opportunity to aid the return of the exiled Mughal Humayun. Upon Humayun's return to position as Emperor of Hind, his Gakhar allies sought to now use the Mughals against the Janjuas.

Rai Piraneh fought the combined Gakhar and Mughal forces, but was defeated. His kingdom was finally ransomed to the fallen chief. From the Memoirs of Humayun we learn that the ransom gained from the Janjua king was such, that his entire army gained considerable wealth. It was at this juncture, that the Gakhar chief Sultan Adam Khan requested his Mughal overlord for a major portion of the kingdom of Rai Piraneh, which Emperor Humayun duly agreed.

Emperor Jalaludin Muhammad Akbar

Upon the ascension of Mughal Akbar, the Mughal policy towards the Janjua underwent a reconciliatory phase. Akbar made overtures to the Janjua princes, winning them over and incorporating them into his empire. Malik Darwesh Khan Janjua (grandson of Raja Sangar Khan and younger brother of Rai Piraneh) was a distinguished and noted General of the Imperial Mughal Army under Emperor Akbar's reign, notably in a campaign to capture Prince Mirza Hakim in June 1581 His relationship with Emperor Akbar became a close one. When the Emperor visited Malik Darwesh Khan's kingdom at the city of Ghirjak, Malik Darwesh ordained that the city would henceforth be renamed to Jalalpur in honour of the Emperor and the Janjua's relationship. Jalalpur (now Jalalpur Sharifmarker) at this point was a flourishing centre of trade for the region.

The Khakha Janjuas however allied with the Kashmiri ruler Yakub Shah's stubborn resistance to Akbar, causing his first defeat in the battle of Bulaysa.. After relations broke down between the Sultan of Kashmir and the Khakha princes, they refused aid to his second defence campaign against Akbar's forces, leading to the defeat of the Sultan and victory of the Mughal Emperor. The Khakhas nominally accepting Akbar's reign thereon.

Janjuas and the Sikhs

Malik Darwesh Khan Janjua's great-grandson, Raja Shabat Khan, the Raja of Darapur had allied with Sardar Mahan Singh Sukarchakia (father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) in many campaigns in the late 18th century.

But upon Raja Shabat Khan's death, the Sikh chief Sardar Atar Singh Dhari assassinated his son and successor, Raja Ghulam Muhi-ud-din Khan. Having now realised the Sikh Maharaja's motive to replace the old aristocracies the Janjua rebelled. The lucrative salt mines in possession of the Janjua Sultans of Makrach and Khewra made the territory too important for the Sikh Maharaja to ignore.

The Sikh empires expansion now brought them against the rebellion of the powerful Janjua Sultan of Watli. "The brave Janjua garrison under their gallant leader, Sultan Fateh Muhammad Khan"Journal of Indian History by University of Allahabad Department of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala, University of Kerala Dept. of History, 1935, p362 were fought by Ranjit Singh for 6 months at the almost impregnable Kusuk Fort in Watli. The Sikh forces "having failed to take the fort by assault and bombardment" for such a long period of time, the Maharaja offered terms to the Sultan who due to want of water for his subjects and garrison, finally agreed.

The Kala Khan branch of Rawalpindi Janjuas fortunes were also eclipsed by the irresistible rise of the Sikh Empire. The fiercely independent Khakha branch of the Janjua Rajput fought against the Sikh expansion into their Kingdom in Kashmir.

The Khakha Sardar Raja Ghulam Ali Khan and his brother Raja Sarfaraz Khan openly revolted against the Sikh Governor of Kashmir Dewan Moti Ram resulting in attracting the attention of Hari Singh Nalwa who was deputised to subdue the rebels. Raja Ghulam Ali Khan openly defied the repeated orders to pay revenues, leading to a fierce battle with Hari Singh Nalwa known as the Battle of Khakha at Uri. Both brothers were captured and taken prisoner by the Sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa who viewed the united Khakha Bombas uprising as detrimental to their peace and stability in Kashmir. Both Khakha Rajput chiefs were taken to Lahore under heavy escort, where they were later butchered alive by Nalwa in prison for refusing to instruct their tribe to give up the rebellion.

The Khakha lords eventually began to intensify their raids in consequence to the weakening Sikh power after Ranjit Singh's death. Eventually, when Maharaja Gulab Singh assumed rulership of Kashmir, he managed to drive back the Khakhas with great difficulty. But knowing the reputation of the rebellious Khakhas, he immediately installed strong garrisons in the forts guarding the passes. Despite facing the most powerful Sikh chiefs attempts to subdue them, they still enjoyed a fairly privileged position , paying little if any taxes, openly wearing arms (despite orders banning them) and defying their orders where possible. Their predatorial raids during the Sikh age earned them a localised legend, that mothers would tell their children "..the Khakhas are coming..." to frighten them.

By the time the British Raj took an interest in conquering the Sikhs in 1848-49, warlike tribes such as the Janjua, Gakhars and Awans who had lost political control over centuries old ancestral kingdoms, "When offered the opportunity, they were more than prepared to rally to the banner of the British and exact their revenge on the Sikhs... Besides being impressed with their track record, the British saw in them, with their traditional and historical enmity against the Sikhs, an effective counterpoise against the latter,"[ providing strong numbers and eventually succeeded in removing the Sikh's supremacy over the Punjab. Maharaja Gulab Singh was sold the valley of Kashmir, whilst the scions of the House of Ranjit Singh were exiled to England.

Note:- The rebellion of the Janjua's against the Sikh empire was not a war against the Sikh faith, but a political rebellion, as the Janjua Rajputs were initially keen allies to the Sukerachakia Misl with some Janjuas actually converting to the Sikh faith.

Forts and castles

Many forts within Punjab are still remnants of their royal past, such as the Kusak fort, Sohava fort, Khushab fort, Garjaak castle in Makhiala Jhelummarker, Malot fort in Chakwal Districtmarker, Nagi fort, Dalowal fort, Dhandot fort, Kath Saghral and Masral fort, Dhak Janjua fort, Akrand fort, Anderana fort, Sialkot Fort (which was given to the Janjua by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq who accepted their suzerainty in that region in about late 14th century and many more. Some of these forts were lost, others gained as the changing climate of rulers endured.

The Kusak fort is still in control of the Janjua Sultan of Watli. The Watli Sultans were the descendants of Raja Jodh Khan through his second son Raja Sunpaal.


The Janjua Rajputs possess a martial reputation and rank as the "aristocracy of the Salt Range." Their pride in their ancestry is renowned and are always addressed by their ancestral title of Raja. Their exploits and reputation has earned them the regard as the most valiant Kshatriyas (warlords) in the Punjab. The tribal system of loyalty to the clan is still adhered to, and they tend to only align with other tribes of equally high social rank and reputation.

The Janjua are famed as a "restless and warlike Muslim Rājput tribe" and are "doubtless pure Rājputs". Today a great many Janjua are employed in the Pakistan Army and Navy, as well as the Police Forces in Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Martial distinction during the British Raj

During the nineteenth century, the British rulers of India quickly realised the martial potential of the Janjua Rajput, and designated them as a Martial Race. The Janjua were heavily recruited into the British Indian Army.The Jhelum Gazetteer 1907, Lahore Press, p254

The British held a high regard for the Janjua recruits;

Due to their high aristocratic status, Janjua princes refused to serve in any regiment that was not commanded by either a Janjua or another commander of equal social standing, a rule that the British honoured when selecting regiments for them.

Janjua contribution to World War I & II

The Janjua also took part in the Allied Forces, during both World War I and World War II, with very high numbers. The tribes of Jhelum and Rawalpindi particularly supplying the largest numbers.

Famous Janjuas

  • Sowar Muhammad Hussain Janjua (Shaheed) of the Raja Jodh line of Gujar Khanmarker, was awarded Nishan-e-Haider, the highest Gallantry Award of Pakistan, for sacrificing his life for his country. To keep his memory alive his ancestral village in now named after him.
  • Naik Saif Ali Janjua (Shaheed) received Hilal-e-Kashmir which is equal to Nishan-e-Haider . He fought in the Kashmir sector during the 1948 War and embraced martyrdom. The valiant soldier hailed from Kashmir.
  • General Asif Nawaz Janjua of Chakri Rajgan, of the Raja Darwesh Khan line (see above), was a highly notable General of the Pakistani Army achieving the high grade of Chief of Army Staff in August 18, 1991:

  • Raja Shah Nawaz Khan, hailing from Matore, born in January 1914, Raja Kala Khan Janjua side , was a famous freedom fighter for the acclaimed INA of Subhash Chandra Bose. He was a close aide and follower of the legendary Indian Leader. He was one of the three freedom fighters brought to trial by the British Raj in the famous Red Fort Trial of 5 November 1945, charged with "waging war against His Majesty the King Emperor". He famously represented by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru. When the trial began a mass demonstration was going on outside the Red Fort. People gave voice to their resentment on the trials by shouting;

After the partition of India and Pakistan, Raja Shahnawaz decided to stay in India and his one son still reside in India.He chaired the enquiry into the death of Subhash Chandra Bose in 1956. He later became an Indian Government Central Minister. He was also god father to Mrs Lateef Fatima who is the mother of Bollywood Megastar Shahrukh Khan.Raja Shah Nawaz Khan died in 1983, with full National Honours, draped in the proud Indian Tri-Colour flag. He was buried in the famous grave yard of Jamia mosque, Delhi. His funeral was also attended by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
  • Major General Iftikhar Khan Janjua of the Jhelum Janjuas. Known as a National Hero in Pakistan, given the popularly known reference The Hero of Rann of Kutchmarker after his death in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. In National commemoration for his last memorable sacrifice for his country, Iftikhar Khan Janjua Road in Rawalpindimarker, the road to the Army headquarters (GHQ), is named in his honour.
  • Brigadier Amir Gulistan Janjua served in the Pakistan Army. Upon retirement, his excellency was appointed as Pakistan's Ambassador UAEmarker, Nepalmarker and Saudi Arabiamarker. He also served as Governor of the North Western Province of Pakistan between 16 Jun 1988 to 19 July 1993. He is the current President of the Friends of Nepal Organisation. A highly respected and nationally renowned Raja.
  • Lt GenMuhammad Afzal Janjua HI,SJ,SBT Born on 1 Sep 1943 to the Family of Janjuas of jehlum was commisioned in Pakistan army in 1965 as his military career started from pratical war.He received Sitar-e-Jurat for his gallantry services in the war of 1971 when he was cammanding a company of SSG (Special Services Group).He was the fielld commander of all the operations during the Afghan War . He ws also the Corp Commander 5 corps Karachi.He also served as the MD Mari Gas Company. A very well reputed and highly respected Janjua among the Army and among the mases.

  • Khan Bahadur Shah Nawaz was from village Mowara, tehsil Kahuta. He was the first Muslim Subedar Major of Frontier Force Regiment. In 1893, he was ADC to Field Marshal Lord Roberts, Commander-in-Chief in India. He was awarded the title of Khan Bahadur in 1903. His two sons Lt. Sher Ali, OBI and Capt. Faqir Ullah, OBI, MC, MID & Two Bars, fought in the First World War. Capt Faqir Ullah was among the first few Indians to be selected for the King's Commission but just months before he could get it was killed in action in 1918.
  • Raja Mohammad Zafar Ul-Haq of Matore, Rawalpindimarker. He is the Chairman of the Muslim League Party and also is also the Secretary General of the World Muslim Congress since 1992. He has also served as Pakistan's Ambassador to Egyptmarker from 1985, as well as served as Leader of the House (Pakistanmarker Senate). He was a close associate and minister of information and religious affairs of President Zia ul Haq during his reign. He was also member of cabinet of Prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
  • Tehmina Janjua is a Pakistanimarker diplomat currently Deputy Permanent Representative in United Nations.
  • Kuljit Singh Janjua was born in village Kukowal, district Hosiarpur. He is the creator of, a website dedicated to unite Sikh Rajputs around the world.
  • Kuldip Singh Janjua, IAS was born in village Kukowal, district Hosiarpur. His family moved to village Todarpur district Hosiarpur after the partition. He was a senior bureaucrat with the Government of Punjab, India. At the time of retirement, he was serving as Financial Commissioner.

Famous Janjuas in sport

  • Khalid Hamid. Hockey Olympian, Pakistan Hockey Team. 1984 Olympics Gold Medalist in Field Hockey in Los Angeles, USA.
  • Amir Khan, born in Bolton, originally hailing from Raja Kala Khan's line of Matoremarker is a world class boxer. He was a silver medallist in the 2004 Olympics whilst only 17 years old. He was a Gold medallist in the 2003 Junior Olympics.
  • Sajid Mahmood hailing also from Matore, from Raja Kala Khan's line. He is a world class cricketer, playing professionally for the England Cricket team and also for his home county of Lancashire. In 2003, he won the NBC Denis Compton Award 2003.


Janjuas are spread throughout Punjab both in India and Pakistan. There are Sikh, Muslim and Hindu Janjuas, the majority of Muslim Janjuas are in Pakistan.

  • Raja Bhir's descendants reside primarily in Malot Chakwal and Jhelum holding some sub-branches.

  • Raja Jodh's descendants inhabit mainly the Jhelum region although some sub branches were displaced during the Sikh Conquest, migrating to Malowal, a village of Gujratmarker, and whilst the last Raja of Jalalpur, Raja Abdullah Khan, conquered Ratala, Gujar Khanmarker presently held by the descendants of Raja Mirza Atta Mohammed Khan, renaming it Ratala Rajgaan. Some numbers are also in Azad Kashmirmarker.

  • Raja Kala Khan's descendants inhabit the Kahuta region of Rawalpindi, with some residing in Gujar Khanmarker.

  • Raja Khakha Khan's descendants reside in the lower Jhelum valley of Kashmir in Muzaferabad and Kot Khakha.

  • Sikh Janjua Rajputs are in abundance in Hoshiarpur, Faridkot, Kapurthalla and Fatehghar Sahib of Haryanamarker in India.

  • Hindu Janjua Rajputs reside in the Indian Punjab region, with some numbers also in Delhi.

Royal titles

  • Raja - The aristocratic Janjua clans of Pakistan use their ancestrally inherited title of Raja. Janjua Rajputs are always referred to as Raja.

  • Nawab - The title Nawab was conferred on the ruler of the Darapur State, Malik Talib Mehdi Khan. His current descendants use the title as Nawabzada since the abolition of Princely States in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Current chief of the Darapur Dynasty being Nawabzada Iqbal Mehdi Khan.

  • Kunwar - (pronounced Koo-war) Hindu Janjuas use the title of Kunwar with their names. The variation of the pronounced word, Kanwar, is also used by Muslim Janjuas, Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad being the Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

  • Sultan - The tribal chief of the Janjuas of Watli, who also retains control of the Fort of Kusak uses the centuries the title of Sultan which was conferred by Mughal Emperor Babur. The title was also conferred to the King of the Makhiala Janjua branch. The title is only held by the Regal Chief of these two respective clans and is not used by any other Janjua.

  • Mirza - A well-known Janjua chief of Ratala Rajgaan, tehsil Gujar Khanmarker, Mirza Atta Mohammad Khan was known by the title of Mirza (Persian title of Prince of the blood) and was a tribal chief of Ratala Rajgaan during the early to mid 20th century.

  • Khan - Traditionally applied to a Islamic tribal chief, the title has been used by the heads of the respective Janjua branches since before the 16th century.

See also

External links

Further Reading

Chronicles of Early Janjuas‎ by Raja Muhammad Anwar Khan Janjua, Tarik-i Janjua (Sahiwal, 1982)


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