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Thread: The South Asian Institute of Regional Surname, Gotra, Clan, and Tribal Analysis.

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reza View Post
    That's interesting... I didn't realise chubbiness was a pashtun quality

    Assuming that bank clerk was Bengali, I imagine it could simply be an interesting topic of conversation through association. i.e. alleged Afghani ancestor and she meets an Afghani - something easy to talk about. And people love to exaggerate coupled with the culturally inbuilt inferiority complex, that when south asians demonstrate what they perceive to be a non-indigenous quality, they attribute it to something else - comes easily to all of us to some degree.

    With other Bangladeshis, I can't conceive of her describing herself as Pathan / Afghani as opposed to Bengali. That's what I was referring to. It's more of a specific cultural / class distinctions within Bengali Muslim society. She fixates on this Pashtun ancestor when she meets an Afghani, much the way sayyids would on Arab ancestry, or maybe Brits with Norman ancestry. Or how someone might on how aristocratic their ancestors were, or the imam of some grand mosque. The opposite also being true, of proving how little ancestry they might have from any admixture type event. Sadly a reflection of society in itself, rather than specific to certain cultures. The trolling and angst people suffer from some of these claims is quite funny from the opposite end.

    Anyhow, the veracity of such claims is going to be near impossible to test unless there's clear evidence to the contrary. Talking about probable individual males settling and assimilating into a wider society any time between 1300 to 1600s. Way too long ago to pick up. Not enough definition on y-dna testing. My maternal grandfather came up as R1a1a. Could be anything. Local being more likely, but the counter claim not disproved either.

    I just find it interesting on a deeper level, that an event from so long ago can still shape cultural memories so strongly.
    I didn't know either, and I am 5'7" ~125lbs. That's prolly what it boils up to. However, given this thread and for the sake of attempt on accuracy: Afghani is the currency, it's a cringe for many like me, I guess there are others who don't care and pass it off but that ain't right. I have witnessed that many say it to downplay during a conversation though I know such is not the case here.
    It's like calling Bangladeshi people, 'Taka' or other south Asians, "Rupiyah" or lulz.

    I'd like to take such claims seriously, at least now. I have cousins who are mixed via maternal side and they are likely to opt out of the culture... given that we live in the west and they are likely to procreate with someone from a different culture and the descendants are just gonna have the "lastname"/ most likely 'Khan'...

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    Fair point, I stand corrected!

    I've always used that term as I would Irani for example, presumably from Bengali usage, though in English, I imagine, the appropriate term would be Afghan!

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulblighter View Post
    There are no clans among South Indian Brahmins. Sub-castes (and further divisions) do exist.

    It would be incredibly difficult to draw a tree for just the Tamil Brahmins, so i doubt a nice flowchart exists.

    For example, Tamil Brahmins are split among three big divisions of "Iyers", "Iyengars"and "Sivacharyas (also called Gurukkals)". These are big divisions and stem from difference between the definition of God, Soul relationship between them and to the corporeal body ( so in essence separate religions that split off in their doctrine just like Christianity and Islam did from a Jewish source).
    THe Iyers are themselves split into various subcastes such as Vadama, Vathima, Brahatcharanam and Ashtasahasram.
    There is further subdivison among each group. For example, the Vadamas are split into Vadadesha Vadama, Chola desha vadama, Inji Vadama, Sabhya and Thummagunta dravida. Until recently, there groups married within each other as long as the couple did not share the same Gotra. However this intermarriage within the group has changed because there are fewer numbers due to nuclear families.

    There are subdivisions among the Iyengars as well and so on. You probabably get the idea....
    So perhaps from a genetic perspective, it is not useful to distinguish the different subgroups of Brahmins in South India, as these divisions are more theological/ideological and are less likely to manifest in any kind of observable pattern?
    However, if the Brahmins of the North have clans, and some clans are more associated with particular ideologies, perhaps the Brahmins of the South may originally be from some of them. This may be mirrored by similar theological backgrounds. Maybe in that sense we may find genetic relationships?
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    The situation in the case of Telugu Brahmins may also be somewhat similar to what soulblighter has written about Tamil Brahmins, but may not be exactly the same. I am not a Brahmin so I'm not intensely aware of the details of the subcastes of Telugu Brahmins, but as far as I know there are categories like Niyogi Brahmanulu and Vaidiki Brahmanulu with the understanding that Niyogi means that the Brahmin was supposed to take up some sort of secular job like a minister to a chief/king, village head, accountant of a king, treasurer of a king, poet, writer, etc. etc. while Vaidiki means that the Brahmin was supposed to take up majorly jobs like priestly duties in a temple. I am not aware of the details but they have some legends in the case of Niyogi Brahmins such as like they came to Andhra as some 6000 in number at some olden point in time or something like that (not sure where from, probably from Varanasi?), as the name of their caste is Aruvela Niyogulu ('6000 Niyogis' in Telugu). And I'm very superficially aware of regional divisions among Vaidiki Brahmins, such as like Velanati Vaidikulu ('Vaidikis of Velanadu', a medieval administrative district in Andhra), etc. I have no idea of allowances/restrictions of intermarriage between these Brahmin subcastes though. Probably Niyogis and Vaidikis did (or do) have some restrictions when it came to marriages, but I'm not sure.

    But parallel to these two categories, there do exist several minor Brahmin groups whose identity appears to be based on their genetic origins, but I am not sure. And I don't know if these groups consider themselves as falling under one of the two big categories too, alongside their basic identity. The category that comes to my mind is the Nandavarika Brahmanulu, 'The Brahmins of Nandavarikam/Nandavaram'. Nandavaram is a small village or town in the Kurnool district and the origin myth of these Brahmins is that they were brought to Andhra by the king of Nandavaram at some point but quite recently (in the 1300s or 1400s perhaps), and from Varanasi. They maintain that identity till this date and I have seen matrimonial ads mentioning Nandavarika and seeking a Nandavarika. The great poet of the temple poetry tradition of Andhra (which was one of the other currents of Telugu literature that people of the classical school of Telugu literature did not even recognise since recently), Tallapaka Annamayya belonged to this group. It appears they initially took up some non-Indo-Aryan traditions like acting as priests of the local Dravidian village goddesses of the Kurnool area but Annamayya, arguably the most illustrious of their group, directed them towards Vaishnavism- he at least died a Srivaishnava. I'm not aware if the Nandavarika group consider themselves as strictly Vaishnavas or Smartas. That brings us to the Vaishnava and Smarta distinction.

    In the post about Tamil Nadu that soulblighter has written, Iyer and Iyengar were mentioned. Iyer roughly corresponds to the Smarta of Andhra and Iyengar to Vaishnava, speaking based on theological differences. But typically, most of the Brahmins of Andhra are Smarta with Saivite tendencies, many are exclusively Saivite and relatively fewer are Vaishnavite. Many Vaishnavas of Iyengar type are found in the districts of Telangana and they tend to have names like Achari at the end of their names. I don't know about other regions but my grandmother who belonged to a small village near Vijayawada in Krishna district, differentiates between the priest of the Rama (a form of Vishnu) temple of her village from the priest of the Shiva temple, by calling the former a "Namb(i) ayana", 'Nambi gentleman', "Nambi vallu", 'Nambi people' and she uses no such terms for the latter. Nambi may have something to do with the Tamil word Nambi which means 'our brother' used so much among the Srivaishnavite Iyengar Brahmins of Tamil Nadu. There are also a small group of Madhwite Brahmins mainly living in Rayalaseema districts of Kurnool, Anantapur, etc. who follow the Vaishnavite religion of Madhwa of Karnataka.

    Most of the non-Brahmin people of Andhra and Telangana have what are called "gotras" but they are decidedly non-Sanskritic. (I heard the Rajus of the Godavari districts (who are commonly considered Kshatriyas) have Sanskritic gotras, but I'm not sure.) They are all Dravidian words and don't even seem to have anything to do with any paternal ancestor; I don't even know why they are called gotras then; perhaps any other other logic is there. For example, my gotra name is said to be one "Arunulla" which can mean 'of the six hundreds' or 'of the six strings'. Perhaps something to do with some ancient exogamous farmer group or soldier group, if we go by the first understanding, but it is nothing definite, and if I'm asked I'd say almost meaningless etymologically, at least currently. And many of these "gotras" are present in groups considered to be of different castes too, such as like many historically-farmer castes which typically don't intermarry each other these days. That brings us to caste.

    I'm aware of mainly the historical-farmer category, and cannot talk about other groups. It appears that all the groups like Reddy, Velama, Kamma, Kapu, etc. were originally just one big farmer caste and what they were called then we don't know; but there are ancient cognates of the words Velama and Kapu in the other Dravidian languages: see http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/burrow/ entry 1456: Kannada "gāmpa", 'a rustic, simpleton, vulgar or vile man, etc.', Telugu "kă̄pu", 'a cultivator, farmer; pertaining to the farmer, rustic', etc., "kă̄puramu" 'dwelling, residence, abode, domicile', Gondi "kāp" 'Parja (i.e. speaker of Parji)'. And also http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/burrow/ entry 5507: Tamil "veḷḷāḷaṉ", "vēḷāḷaṉ", etc. 'man of the Vēḷāḷa caste', "vēḷāṇmai" 'agriculture, husbandry', etc., Telugu inscriptional period: "vēlāṇḍu" 'a cultivator', Telugu "velama" 'name of a caste, man of this caste'; 'agriculture'. But that said, we can't be sure if these are true cognates, as the Velama cognate is strictly limited to Tamil and it is possible that this term came to Andhra with the various branches of Cholas who ruled Andhra for a long time. Similarly for the word "Kapu" but the distant Gondi cognate and also the difference of meaning in Kannada and also terms like "kapuram" which mean 'dwelling, abode, etc.' even now in Telugu indicates that this may be an indigenous Telugu inheritance, but we can't be sure. Regarding "Reddy", DEDR has a grouping for that too at entry 54 but the origins are quite unclear, and there are indications that this was a telugisation of the Sanskrit Rashtrakuta, Rashtrika, etc. Tamil "iraṭṭi", "reṭṭi", 'name of a Telugu caste of cultivators'. Kannada "raḍḍi", "reḍḍi", "Reddi", 'a petty baron, title of a caste of Telugu cultivators'. Telugu "reḍ(ḍ)i", "raḍ(ḍ)i", 'name of a certain caste'; 'headman of a village'. Words "raṭṭaḍi", "raḍḍi" of Telugu inscriptions are compared along with Sanskrit Rashtrakuta, etc. with these words, in the DEDR. Even in current Andhra, there seems to a kind of understanding that Reddy was originally a title, such as like the 'headman of a village' meaning seen in Telugu but now it majorly refers to a caste. For "Kamma", there are several folk etymologies; some say they are called that because of the ancient name of the place of their origin, the central coastal districts mainly attached to the Krishna river, which was called Kamma Nadu, and some say it has something to do with a Telugu word for 'ear-ring', "kamma" after long origin myths involving a mother/deity (typically Goddess Lakshmi) whose ear-ring gets lost and the group of her sons who manage to retrieve it giving rise to Kammas and all that. While the first is obviously very strong compared to the second, we don't really know about the origin of their caste name.

    Marriages typically are performed within the caste among these groups and outside of the "gotra" that I mentioned earlier. This is called caste endogamy and clan exogamy similar to that of the Brahmins but we can't be sure if these gotras really give any reliable information regarding the clan origins. But it is considered extremely taboo to marry someone of the same "gotra", much more than the occasional marrying outside caste, taking into account the modern period, in fact.

    The standard template for a Telugu name is the following: "House-name" followed by given name followed by any caste-ending or title or anything. All Telugu people have the "house-name" (intiperu in Telugu); everyone without fail, and it looks like something similar to an English surname to me, as messed up as that importantly, with many "house-names" indicating the supposed ancestral place of origin, some indicating supposed ancestral profession, some indicating trees' names, rivers' names, fruits' names, things' names, etc. and some minority indicating a name of a paternal ancestor, etc. And the caste-ending or title can be like Shastri or Sharma for Brahmins, Reddy for Reddys, Chaudari (related to the word Chaudhury used in north India) for Kammas, Naidu for some Kapus and some Kammas also, Rao for Brahmins and some Velamas and Kammas very recently (and the Rao craze among Kammas and other such castes has begun in the 1950s and it went extinct by 1990s and none of these groups name their children Rao anymore mostly lol), Raju for the Raju caste of the Godavari districts, and Setty for the Komatis or Telugu Vaishyas. But it is very important to know that not all people have these tags. The percentage of people within a caste having these tags is very less, except for Reddys and the people of the Raju caste. It appears they universally have the caste-name endings, Reddys almost 100%. Perhaps that is why many north Indians with their deeply internalised surname model typically think of "Reddy" when they think of Telugu people lol.

    So examples of Telugu names are like follows: Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu (Tanguturu is supposed to be his ancestral village name and Tanguturi means 'of Tanguturu' (in the Dravidian languages, adjectives such as these must come before the nouns to make sense, unlike in English); Prakasam is his name and Pantulu meaning 'learned man' could be a title or just an individual case), Gali Janardhana Reddy (Gali, his housename means 'air' and Janardhan is his given name and Reddy is well, 'Reddy'), Gorantla Buchaiah Chowdary (don't know the meaning of his house-name Gorantla, Buchaiah (Bucchayya) is his given name and Chowdary is a caste-name indicating that he is a Kamma), Kancha Ilaiah (Kancha is his surname (edit: I forgot to add that I don't know the meaning of his house-name), Ilaiah (Ayilayya) is his given name and he doesn't have any thing indicating a caste name appended), Gadde Sindhura (Gadde is her house-name which apparently means 'throne' to me but am not sure, Sindhura is her given name and she doesn't have any tag indicating caste too). As I mentioned above, most of the names of Telugu people are of the type of the last two examples.
    Last edited by anthroin; 02-18-2018 at 02:07 AM.

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    Punjab is a mess, oh boy where should I start....
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyDLuffy View Post
    Punjab is a mess, oh boy where should I start....
    Gotta start with something, your area, what you are most familiar with? I'm actually thinking to try and start a little database. So we can have some kind of reference to look at.
    “Chahar chez est tohfay Multan, Gard-o- Garma, Gada-o- Goristan”.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khanabadoshi View Post
    Gotta start with something, your area, what you are most familiar with? I'm actually thinking to try and start a little database. So we can have some kind of reference to look at.
    Who are Kanju? jatt, rajput or their own thing? Been hearing lot about them because of recent by-election in south punjab NA-154 Lodhran.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khanabadoshi View Post
    Gotta start with something, your area, what you are most familiar with? I'm actually thinking to try and start a little database. So we can have some kind of reference to look at.
    -My Village region is Ropar-Anandpur Sahib-Nawan Shehr-Nangal. Technically it comes under Doaba area, but locals divide it between "Dooni" ( meaning between two) which is Nawansher Garhshankar region and Kandi ( means corner) which includes Anandpur Sahib and Nangal. The language is a blend between Pwadhi and Doabi with a little pahari influence.

    -Region has one of the highest Hindu population, more like a divide between 50% Hindus and 50% Sikhs and some minority like Muslims and Christians.

    -Biradaris: Pre partition it had whole villages of Muslim Rajputs (Ranas, Ghorewaha, Jaswal, Thakur), Muslim Gujjars, Muslim Jatts, Mirassis, Pathans (as in pashtun decent), Shahs, Arains and other Kaami biradaris like Muslim Tarkhans/Lohars/Telis etc.

    Post partition the main biradaris among Sikhs are Jatts, (Nijjars, Jhajj, Sarao, Mann, Sandhu, Bains, Mahal, Sohal, Sahota, Sandhu and Dhillon), Sainis (Pabla, Tamber, Taggar), Ramgarhias (Kalyan, Kalsi, Sembhi, Nautey, Siyan, Ajimal, Khokhar,
    Seehra/Sira, Bhambra/Bhimra/Bahmra, Mankoo, Saggu, Gaidu, Reehal, Baansal, Panesar, Rayat, Bahra, Bacchu, Maan, Sohal), Ravidassis (Chamars, Sheemar, Rattu), Rajputs (Tanwar, Palial, Saroa, Thakur, Jaswal, Attri, Parmar, Jhanjua, Rana),
    Gujjars, Lubanas (Multani)

    Hindus: Pandit (Bhardwaj, Sharma, modgil, shukla), Khatris (Sabharwal, Khanna, Chawla, Bedi, Sodhi, Sondh), Gujjars (Chaudhary), Tarkhans, Lohars, Khati Tarkhans (Jhangid, Burhai), Churahs and Baazigar (Nomads).

    Muslims: Heer Gujjars, Mirassis, Dom (Banjaras), Rajputs (Very few).
    Deg Teg Fateh - Victory to Charity and Arms

    Punjab, Punjabi, Fateh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bol_nat View Post
    Who are Kanju? jatt, rajput or their own thing? Been hearing lot about them because of recent by-election in south punjab NA-154 Lodhran.
    Lodhran is relatively new settlement, but that area is basically Rajput (old-school, speaking Saraiki), Rajput (new-school, Harayanvi-speaking), and Baloch (Saraiki-speaking). I was sure Kanju were Rajput or Harayanvi based on the name, but it looks like they claim to be Jatt (but I'll elaborate on my theories later in this post):

    The Kanju are one five tribes, which include the Hattar, Noon and Uttera, that claim a common ancestry.

    According to their traditions, the tribe claims descent from a Bhatti Rajput nobleman, a Rana Rajwadhan. The Rana lived in Ghazni, and then moved to Delhi in India. After some time, he moved to Bhatner.

    In the 13th Century, the Rana moved to Chanab Kalyar, in what is now the Lodhran District. The ruler of the area was a Raja Bhutta. The Raja wanted to marry the daughter of Rajwadhan, who refused. As a result a battle took place, and the Raja was slain. The tract was then divided by Rajwadhan, and his five sons, Kalyar, Uttera, Kanju, Noon and Hattar. Each son was given an area to occupy, the Kanju were given Lodhran, where the bulk of the tribe is still found. Here the Kanju lived the life of pastoral nomads, similar in customs and traditions to other Bar nomads until the region was invaded by Baloch tribes in the 15th Century.

    In the 19th Century, there land was seized for the purposes of colonization, and the nomadic Kanju were settled. The village of Alipur Kanju, near Kahror Pacca, is still a stronghold of the tribe, and Bohar Mailsi is also an important Kanju settlement.


    Outside Lodhran District, Multan District, and Rahim Yar Khan districts in Punjab, Ghotki, Daherki and Nawab Shah districts in Sindh. The town of Muqeem Shah in Dera Ismail Khan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is large Kanju settlement.


    Another source just mentions them as an agricultural tribe of Shahpur.

    It's worth mentioning that in Bahawalpur tradition of these tribes: Bhattis, Bhuttas, and Wattus are all considered to be the same thing -- Bhatias from Jailsalmer.

    They all claim to be Jatt but of a Rajput lineage/status (see end). So you can say that Kanju are a sub-clan of Bhattis, and whatever you consider Bhattis to be, is what they are.

    Bhattis, Bhuttas, Langah, Sajrah, and Uttera are all people considered Jatts local to Southern Punjab and all in the same region we are talking about now. However, they are of varying backgrounds before current Jatt association or of certain "variations". I'll look more into this whole thing in a bit. But basically, the Langah are assumed to be of some kind of Afghan lineage via Sibi-Multan, but are now seen as Jatt and not seen in the same light as other people of Pashtun descent, like Durranis. Uttera are likely from Northern Sindh and are fairly old pastoralist in the region. Many of these groups were displaced from the region to areas north and later regrouped, due to Baloch incursions. However, I think this will only apply to pastoralist communities, as the area was fairly unsettled (no proper towns/cities built) until British era.

    General rule-of-thumb though in Southern Punjab, if the don't call themselves Baloch or Pashtun, they probably call themselves Jatt (with many claiming to be Rajput with that). As far as locally things are concerned, I can say the common perception in my own family is we call everyone a Jatt, and Rajput is just seen as a Jatt that had associations/status within the historical Hindu kingdoms -- basically a Jatt from further east. I can definitely say in Multan if you ask people if they are Jatt or Rajput, many people say both. However, some people are sure they are just Rajput and others are sure they are just Jatt. So in that sense, you can see how these groups say they are Jatt and Rajput, because in a way Jatt is viewed like an ethnicity and Rajput is like the status. ie. Rajput are Jatts who had status in older kingdoms and thus got some money, educated, lived a city-life -- and this is the distinction, the are like Urban Jatts. This is my theory of why so many groups in the southern regions don't see much distinction between Rajput and Jatt. I can say for a fact, until I came to Anthrogenica, I didn't realize they were viewed as very separate things. My entire perception was that within Southern Punjab Rajputs and Jatts were just 2 "classes" of the same thing.

    At least in lower Indus region, distinguishing what is "Jatt" and what is "Rajput" will be difficult. Personally, I prefer to call people Rajput who likely have origin from Rajputana -- only because it keeps things simpler for me, and its easier to distinguish this genetically.

    I could could be mistaken. I'll look into this more later. But for now this is the information I could gather up on Lodhran.
    Last edited by khanabadoshi; 02-18-2018 at 04:55 AM.
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    Gonna go off MonkeyDLuffy's template a bit here
    -From Jhang,Punjab in Pakistan which falls under what would be the Rechna Doab area
    -Close to Faisalabad and between Multan and Faisalabad.
    -From what I know pre partition there were some big Jatt clans there such as the Gills, Sidhu-Brar, Sials, etc.
    -Founded by the Sial clan who are Jatt and claim Rajput ancestry from what I know
    -Dominated by Sials, Awans, and "Syeds"
    -Mostly Muslim population
    -Dialect spoken there is called Jhangvi or sometimes called Rechnavi

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