The Janjua (also spelt Janjooa, Janjuha, Janjuah) are a clan often found among the Rajput communities of Pakistan and along the north western border of India. Their warlike nature and dominant rule of their kingdoms against other tribes earned them a powerful reputation.[clarification needed] The Mughal Emperor Jalaludin Mohammed Akbar's record keeper Abu Fazl celebrated the Janjua Rajput as among the most renowned Rajputs of South Asia.
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. Further, "The Punjabi ruler was Raja Porus, said to be a direct descendant of the Pandava kings".[full citation needed]
Janjua emperors of the Hindu Shahi Dynasty
Around 964 CE, the Janjua chief Jayapala succeeded the Brahmin Hindu Shahi emperor Bhimdev. This gave the Janjua Shahiya emperors a territory from Ghandar (present day Kandahar, in Afghanistan) across the entire of Punjab in what was known as the second phase of the Hindu Shahiya, the Janjua Shahi Dynasty.
Jayapala was challenged[when?] by the armies of Sabuktigin and his son, Mahmud of Ghazni. Captured after a fierce battle with Mahmud, Jayapala was ransomed and when released he committed suicide on a funeral pyre constructed for the purpose. Misra says that "Jaypala was perhaps the last Indian ruler to show such spirit of aggression, so sadly lacking in later Rajput kings".
His son, Anandapala, who ascended the Kabul Shahi throne in about March/April 1002 CE, had already proved to be an able warrior in leading battles. According to Adáb al-Harb, around 990 Jayapala had instructed his son to rebuff the incoming forces of Raja Bharat, and this venture proved successful as Anandapala defeated Bharat. He took Bharat prisoner in the battle of Takeshar and then proceeded to capture the challenger's city of Lahore, thereby extending Jayapala's kingdom.
His own reign, however, was short. Despite the support of 30,000 Gakhars at the battle of Chach, he was defeated there by Mahmud and suffered much financial and territorial loss. He signed a treaty with the Ghaznavid empire in 1010 CE and died a peaceful death in the following year.
Tirlochanpála, the son of Anandapala, succeeded to the throne. He set about expanding his kingdom into the Siwalik Hills, the region of the Rai of Sharwa. His[clarification needed] kingdom now extended from the Indus river to the upper Ganges valley. According to Al-Biruni, Tirlochanpála "was well inclined towards the Muslims" and abided by his father's peace treaty with the Ghaznavids. He later rebelled against Mahmud and was eventually assassinated by some of his own mutinous troops around 1021 CE, 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.
Tirlochanpala's son, Bhímapála, succeeded him. 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.
Raja Mal Khan
Rai Dhrupet Dev[clarification needed] was the father of the rebellious king, Raja Ajmal Dev Janjua who embraced Islam in the 12th century due to his love for Sufi art, poetry and teachings. 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 Malot. 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.)
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 Ghazni.
Delhi Sultanate and the Janjua Rajput Rebellion
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.
The most prominent 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 princess while Kala, and Khakha were born of another Rajput Rani.
The main branches of the Janjua Rajputs are as follows:
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 Habib 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.
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.
Upon Humayun's exile from India, the Janjua Rajputs assisted Sher Shah Suri in constructing the Rohtas Fort 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.
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.
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
Raja Shabat Khan, the great-grandson of Malik Darwesh Khan Janjua, allied with Maha Singh in many campaigns of the late 18th century. Upon his death, the Sikh chief Atar Singh Dhari assassinated Khan's heir, Raja Ghulam Muhi-ud-din Khan. The Janjua then rebelled, having realised that the intent was to replace the old aristocracies. 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 expansion of the Sikh empire, spearheaded by Ranjit Singh, was met with a rebellion by the Janjua Sultan of Watli, Sultan Fateh Muhammad Khan. A six-month siege of Kusuk Fort in Watli followed and this was ended when the inhabitants ran short of water.
The Kala Khan branch of Rawalpindi Janjuas fortunes were also eclipsed by the 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 bold and warlike tribes of Bombas and Khakhas who now and then carried out looting incursions into the Valley, were a constant source of anxiety and danger to the Sikhs. In fact many times during their rule Bombas and Khakhas looted the valley as far up as Pattan
When the Sikh Empire's attention turned towards Kashmir, they encountered the other formidable Janjua branch of the Khakha Janjua warlords, renowned as the most troublesome tribe of Kashmir. 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 the Khatri Sikh General 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.
On 1 February 1821, information was received at the (Sikh royal) court that Hari Singh Nalwa had suppressed the uprising of Khakhas and captured their chief, Ghulam Ali. The Maharaja wrote to Hari Singh to lose no time in sending the captive with appropriate security to Lahore. There was great rejoicing in Lahore for this was a troublesome man. A celebratory firing of cannons was ordered.
Both Khakha Rajput chiefs were taken to Lahore under heavy escort, where they were later butchered alive by Nalwa in prison captivity for refusing to instruct their tribe to give up the rebellion.
The Khakha Rajas now intensified 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, they were joined by opportunistic tribes such as the Janjua, Gakhars and Awans who had lost control of centuries-old ancestral kingdoms and sought revenge. Tai Yong Tan says that "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." Sikh supremacy over the Punjab was removed, the valley of Kashmir was sold to Maharaja Gulab Singh, and the scions of the House of Ranjit Singh were exiled to England.
The Janjua rebellion 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 Jhelum, Malot fort in Chakwal District, Nagi fort, Dalowal fort, Dandot 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 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.
During the nineteenth century, the British rulers of India acknowledged the martial potential of the Janjua Rajput, designating them as a martial race. Peter Karsten says that they "... were held to be among the best Muslim soldiers, and were also the only really pure Rajputs in the plains of Punjab' ... the British preferred their Martial races to be as socially exclusive as they were themselves. During this period, 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. This preference was honoured by the British honoured when selecting regiments for them.
- General Asif Nawaz Janjua. He was a senior four-star general and the 10th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army from 16 August 1991 till 8 January 1993. His career highlights featured successful pacification operation in Sindh when the province wilted under the most violent period in its history. He also stayed as Corps Commander Karachi and Chief of General Staff before becoming the COAS.
- Major General Iftikhar Khan Janjua, HJ & Bar, SPk, SQA, (died 9 December 1971) of the Pakistan Army is the most senior Pakistani officer to have been killed in action. He is known in Pakistan as the hero of Rann of Kutch and after his death in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The Iftikhar Khan Janjua Road in Rawalpindi is named after him.
- Raja Shah Nawaz Khan (Matore, January 1914) was a freedom fighter and Major General for the Indian National Army and a close aide of Subhas Chandra Bose. He was famously tried by the British Raj in the Red Fort Trial in 1945, represented by Jawaharlal Nehru himself. After the partition of India and Pakistan, Raja Shah Nawaz Khan stayed in India. He chaired the enquiry into the death of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1956, and later became an Indian Government Central Minister.
- Brigadier Amir Gulistan Janjua served in the Pakistan Army. Upon retirement, he was appointed as Pakistan's Ambassador to UAE, Nepal and Saudi Arabia. He also served as Governor of the North Western Province of Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. He is the current President of the Friends of Nepal.
- Raja Zafar ul Haq of Matore, Rawalpindi. He is the Chairman of the Muslim League Party and the Secretary General of the World Muslim Congress since 1992. He has also served as Pakistan's Ambassador to Egypt from 1985, as well as served as Leader of the House of the Pakistan Senate.
Janjuas are spread throughout the Punjab as well as adjacent regions. The vast majority of Janjuas are Muslim and live in eastern Pakistan. Additionally, There are Sikh and Hindu Janjuas who reside principally in north western India.
- Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, pp. 537, 669, 670
- Ain e Akbari by Abu Fazl Vol i, Delhi 2006, p. 354, and Vol iii, p. 131
- Punjab Chiefs, L.H.Griffin, 1909 Lahore, p. 213
- The Jhelum Gazetteer, Sang-e-Meel, 2004, p. 96
- City of legends by Ian Austin, 1992, p. 53
- The Last Two Dynasties of the Śāhis: an Analysis of their History, Archaeology, Coinage, and Palaeography Prof. Abdur Rehman, Delhi Renaissance publishing house. p. 147
- R. G.Misra, Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders Up to 1206 AD, Anu Books, repr.1992
- The Last Two Dynasties of the Śāhis: an Analysis of their History, Archaeology, Coinage, and Palaeography Abdur Rehman, Delhi 1988, p. 152
- The Last Two Dynasties of the Śāhis: an Analysis of their History, Archaeology, Coinage, and Palaeography Prof. Abdur Rehman, Delhi 1988, p. 166
- The History of the Muhiyals: The Militant Brahman Race of India by T P Russell Stracey, Publ.General Muhiyal Sabha, Lahore, 1911, p. 76
- Martyrdom in Islam David Cook, Publ Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 75
- Journal of Central Asia Vol. XIII. No.1, 1990,p.78
- Pakistan Journal of History and Culture by National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research (Pakistan), 1985, p. 79
- The Frontier Policy of the Delhi SultansAgha Hussain Hamadani, 1986, p. 175
- Despotism on Trial: History of Balban and His Successors Radhey Shyam, Publ Y.K. Publisher, 1992, 213
- Journal of Central Asia, Vol. XIII, no.1, 1990 p. 79
- Biographical Encyclopedia of Pakistan by Biographical Research Institute, Pakistan 1956, p. 777
- The Partition Omnibus, David Page, Anita Inder Singh, Penderel Moon, G. D. Khosla, Mushirul Hasan, Oxford 2002, p. 62
- MNAs – Pakistan. Findpk.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
- Punjabi Chiefs L.H.Griffin, Lahore 1909 p. 217
- The Life and Times of Humāyūn by Ishwari Prasad, Published by Orient Longmans, 1956, p. 36
- Temples of Koh-e-Jud & Thar: Proceedings of the Seminar on Shahiya Temples of the Salt Range, Held in Lahore, Pakistan by Kamil Khan Mumtaz, Siddiq-a-Akbar, Publ Anjuman Mimaran, 1989, p. 8
- Panjāb Under the Great Mughals, 1526–1707 by Bakhshish Singh Nijjar, Thacker 1968, p. 191
- Imperial Gazetteer of India. Provincial Series, Adamant Media Corporation, p. 25
- Punjab Chiefs, Lahore 1909, p. 215
- Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Ian Talbot, Publ Routledge, 1996, pp. 21–22
- Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and NWFP H.A. Rose, Ibbetson, Maclagan, Asian Educational Services 1990, p. 855
- Archaeological reconnaissances in north-western India and south-eastern Iran, M. A. Stein, London 1936, p. 46
- The Land of the Five Rivers and Sindh: Sketches, Historical and Descriptive David Ross, Publ.Languages Dept., Punjab, 1970, p. 153
- Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India: by Ian Talbot, Routledge 1996, p. 21
- Culture and Political History of Kashmir by Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai, MD Publ. Ltd., 1994, p. 537
- Hari Singh Nalwa – Champion of the Khalsaji By Vanit Nalwa, p. 201
- Hari Singh Nalwa by Surinder Singh Johar, Sagar Publ 1982, p. 201
- The Panjab past and present By Punjabi University. Dept. of Punjab Historical Studies Published by Dept. of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University., 1981 Item notes: v. 15 Original from the University of California page 372
- Advanced History of the Punjab, GS Chhabra, New Academic Pub. Co., 1968, p. 73
- Life and Accomplishments of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Marshal of the Khalsa Gurabacana Siṅgha Naīara, Dharam Prachar Committee 1993, p. 32
- The Campaigns of General Hari Singh Nalwa Gurabacana Siṅgha Naīara, Punjabi University 1995, p. 96
- A History of Sikh Rule in Kashmir, 1819–1846 RK Parmu, Published by Dept. of Education 1977, p. 126
- Nalwa, Vanit (2009). Hari Singh Nalwa – Champion of the Khalsaji. Khalsaji: Hari Singh Nalwa. p. 61. ISBN 978-81-7304-785-5.
- Kashmiris Fight for Freedom : 1819–1946 Muhammad Yusuf Saraf, Ferozsons 1977, p. 78
- Imperial Gazetteer of Kashmir and Jammu, Sang e Meel, 2002, pp. 9, 34
- History of Operations in Jammu & Kashmir, 1947–48 by Sri Nandan Prasad, Dharm Pal, Govt. of India 1987, p. 4
- Kashmiris Fight for Freedom by Muhammad Yusuf Saraf, Ferozson 1977, p. 78
- Tan, Tai Yong (2005). The Garrison State: The Military, Government and Society in Colonial Punjab 1849–1947. Sage. pp. 61–62.
- Sikhism and Punjab's HeritageWazir Singh, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University 1990, p. 160
- Tareekh-i-JanjuaRaja Muhammad Anwar Khan Janjua, Sahiwal Press, p. 71
- The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia Gyanes Kudaisya, London 2000, p. 207
- Karsten, Peter (1998). Recruiting, Drafting, and Enlisting (Military and Society, 1). p. 119.
- The Garrison State, Tan Tai Yong, Sage Pub. Inc, p. 75
- A Hundred Horizons, Sugata Bose, 2006 USA, p. 136
- Army Museum. Museum.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
- The I. N. A. Heroes: Autobiographies of Maj. Gen. Shahnawaz, Col. Prem K. Sahgal by Prem Kumar Sahgal, Shah Nawaz Khan, Gurbakhsh Singh Dhillon, Hero Publ.1946, pp. 15, 50
- No solution of Kashmir without wishes of Kashmiris: Yasin, Zafar. Paktribune.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
- Sikhism and Punjab's Heritage by Wazir Singh, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University 1990, p. 160