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ਜਾਣਹੁ ਜੋਤਿ ਨ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਜਾਤੀ ਆਗੈ ਜਾਤਿ ਨ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ (ਪੰਨਾ 349, ਸਤਰ 13, Nanak)

Sikhism does not endorse caste based distinctions in society that lead to unequal opportunities for some people. In fact, Sikhism completely rejects class or race based distinctions between humans, that leads us to make an inequitable society. Such distinctions have surfaced only due to ill interests of certain section of people, who, on the pretext of making a society more manageable through these classifications, eventually paved the way to an unequal grouping within the human race. This article is just for information purpose and to share how people from different castes came into the Sikh fold. So, please treat this article as a source of general information about this issue and kindly do not amend this article to highlight this important underlying Sikh principle. If you have any comments, please discuss them appropriately here

Castes & Tribes
Classification Landlords/Merchants
Significant populations in Punjab, US, UK, Europe
Languages Punjabi, Hindi, other Eurpoean languages
Religions Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam

Lobanas (Also pronounces as Lubana, Labana, Lobana, Lohana) is a very rich community that lives in and around Indian subcontinent. Basically, Labanas are braham kashatriya rajputs which means they are upper class people in hindu (jaati verna)cast system. Initially they were kings and rulers of many different dynasties like Gurjar pratiharas/ Pal dynasty/ Chhendlas dynasty/ Chohan dynasty etc later they started Trading/Merchant/Transportation. This community was engaged in Maritime trade and Land Trade which includes Trading and transportation of Goods like Gun powder, Grains, spices, Diamonds, Gold, etc. In Punjab Region, during socio-economic reforms, Labanas overwhelmingly became agriculturists. Labanas have their own dialect called "Lubanki" which is said to be mixture of Hindi, punjabi, Marwari, Gujarati. The Labanas of Punjab and Haryana are mostly Sikhs and speak mainly Punjabi or Hindi. They are also called lohana (in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Lavana is another variation often heard.

In Punjab, Labanas started leaving merchant work and shifted to agriculture and turned to landholding community since times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Notable Baba Makhan Shah Lobana was a great merchant Marine who owned over 250 big marine ships for his vast international trade business. He traveled around India, Africa, Portugal and other Europe for trade of multiple goods.

Historical Background

  1. The origin of the word, 'Luvana' is that it has originated from the Sanskrit means linage of luva(son of god Ram).
  2. One more accepted etymology is Lobana also means who wear Iron Dress, i.e. dress of Military person, derived from Loh & Bana. They mentioned Lobana were Military persons who were Kashatriya rajputs they also served in Guru's army from sixth guru sahib till the end of sikh empire and played major role in fight against Mughal samraj and corrupt hindu kings. Nishan wali misl belonged to lubana sikhs.[1][2]


Main article: Origin Of Labanas

Lobanas are residing in and around India from ancient times. People of Labanas were basically kashatriya Rajputs.[3][4], offshot of Ikshwakus of Ramayana. [5]. In 1891 Census, they were categorized under Rajputs and are descendents of Suryavanshi and Chandarvanshi Kashatriyas.

  • In Ludhiana and Jhang districts, the Lobanas claimed to be the descendants of Chauhan Rajputs of Jaipur and Jodhpur. [6]
  • In Gujarat district, they claimed to be Raghu vanshi Rajputs. [7]
  • The Lobanas of Kangra and Hoshiarpur districts claimed their origin from the Gaur Brahmins of Pilibhit. A good number of them traced their origin from Gaur Brahmins who came to the Panjab from Ranthambore in Aurangzeb's time. [8] [9]

According to Piyara Singh Tanda Of Laban Sewak Jan 2008, Labanas were once part of the Rajputs (a warrior caste), he attributes the name laban to use of iron (loh) in the armor they wore. Some people from among these warriors started trading to expand their wealth with peace thats how the name altered to Vanzaras (trade/transport). It is said that the Lobanas are of Turkish origin. They travelled from Turkey/ eastern europe toward india. The Lobanas were the great ammunition powder -carrying and grains/spices -trading community. They were occasionally called Banjaras. Locally, they were known by different names in parts of the Panjab.

People & Professional Background

  • In the past the Naik lobanas would wear a garland of diamonds and pearls around there neck, it showed their wealth. They used to go through Deserts and deep forests and were more probable to be attacked by robbers and pirates, so Naik have security arrangements to deal with those situations. Lobanas had big work force who worked for them for a long time. Lobana’s main work force were shikligars who helped them carry their goods from one place to another. They always had well trained guards with weapons for securty of their workers and goods. Gulcharan Singh also claims that both Tipu Sultan and the Duke of Wellington were also labanas. The bodies of lobanas were fit and they were tall as they were fighters.
  • Lobanas also worked as intelligence for Kings and held major posts in army.
  • The Ladies of Lobanas were said to be beautiful and fair in colour. They were bold and not fearful. J.H Huttel in book the Trioe & Caste wrote that the ladies of lobana community were famous for beauty & domestic freedom and also put beautiful clothes.
  • In Marinetime Transportation and Trade, "The lobanas took products from all over India to the harbours of Surat(Gujrat, India) to be sent to ports scattered around the world on ships that were often owned by Lobanas. Makhan Shah Labana was the owner/master of many ships and trade around India, Africa and Portugal. [10]
  • Their village is called Tanda, which is word of Lubanki Dielect(Danda) which means the Halt or Stopping place of Caravan. In Kangra, there were four halt station which are developed as Village to towns. When british annexed india, they stopped moving jobs and became settlers and resided in villages, this lead to Socio-Economic changes in them.

Contribution in Sikhism

Main article: Lobanas (During guru's period)

Lobana Sikhs are mostly descended from Hindu Labanas and people of this community is well known in Sikhism. Guru Nanak met many rich Lobana Traders during his journey and guided the path of truth. In an account of Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, During North Udasi, Nanak met a trader of gun powder and guided him to the truth.[11]. Following are some famous names in Sikh History:

  • First Sikh Labana recorded in Sikh History was Bhai Mansukh, who came in contact with Guru Nanak, accepted the Sikh thought and preached it around South India and Sri Lanka region. [12][13]. Bhai Mansukh told King Shivnabh about Guru Nanak. [14]
  • During Guru Angad Dev times, Bhai Saunde Shah, with Lobana congregation, came to meet Guru Angad dev and bring many commodities to giru sahib. [15]
  • During Guru Arjun Dev Times Baba Hasna another very rich lobana served Under guru sahib.
  • One of wealthy Lobana trader, Baba Makhan Shah, searched 9th Guru and bring him before Sikhs on directions of Guru Har Krishan. He also punished Dhir Mall for his act against Guru Tegh Bahadur.
  • Lakhi Shah is among name in history who cremates guru Teg bahadur sahib’s body in his house in 1675 to perform last rights of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib.[16].
  • During Guru Gobind Singh times, Many Lobana Sikhs joined Guru Gobind SIngh's army. Makhan Shah's son Bhai Javand Singh was killed in Chamkaur in 1705[17]. Son of Lakhi Shah, Bhai Hem Singh Khalsa, was martyed in fight of Anandpur in 1704. Shaheed bhai Mani singh ji along with his 9 brothers out of ten and his sons and grandsons also big names of sikh martyrs. Bhai Bachittar singh, chittar singh udai singh, Ajab singh, Anaik singh sons

Of shaeed bahi Mani singh and grandsons of baba Lakhi shah lobana are also big names in the list of sikh martyrs. Shaheed bhai Dayala ji were also from the same family. Later baba Banda singh bahadur, bhai Baaz singh, bhai Rann singh, bhai Hem singh sacrifices for sikhi were also from lobana families. Lobanas also helped in purchasing armours[18]

  • Other Lobanas include Baba Takhat Mal, Baba Dasa Lobana, Bhai Kuram & many more Lobanas name are include in sikh history.

After Guru's period

  • When Banda Bahadur need soldiers then many lobana participated in his army. Kesar Singh Chibber in Banwalinama wrote,

Saath Lubana sikhan aad kharota,
maal balad ladey hoyae, maarag chaley jaaya,
chela bhej nayak sad mangaya.

  • As per Prachin Panth Parkash, When Banda Singh Bahadur needs money then a Caravan of Labanas helped them:

ਨਹੀਂ ਖਰਚ ਅਬ ਹਮਰੇ ਪਾਸ ।
ਆਵੇ ਖਰਚ ਯੋ ਕਰੀ ਅਰਦਾਸ ।
ਆਏ ਲੁਬਾਣੇ ਲਗ ਗਈ ਲਾਰ।
ਦਯੋ ਦਸਵੰਧ ਉਨ ਕਈ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ।
ਸੋਊ ਬੰਦੇ ਆਈ ਅਗੇ ਧਰਯੋ ।
ਕਰੇ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਬੰਦੇ ਹੇਠ ਫ਼ਰਯੋ ।

During the Misl period, they ruled Nishan wali misl and some Lobanas joined the services of various Misldars. They mostly served in the Bhangi, Ramgarhia, Shaheed and Ahluwalia Misl. Some of them were in the ruling class of the Ahluwalia Misl. During the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lobanas were recruited into the Khalsa Army. They proved to be good soldiers. Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave lands of Sahadra Pargana, Gujranwala and Multan to Lobana people for their outstanding contributions.

During British Rule

Lobanas also joined in english forces, then they started buying land in areas of Ambala, Hoshiarpur, Jalnadhar, Ludhiana, ferozpur, Lahore, Amritsar, gurdaspur. They have equal status as jatts.

During the eighteenth century the Lobanas started focusing just on farming due to British government’s control on all sort of trades. The Lobanas of Lower Indus, Gujranwala , Jhang, multan and Hoshiarpur owned big pieces of land for agriculture. In Kangra district, the Lobanas ascribed their settlement by Raja Dharam Chand and Langarpal. For instance in Gujrat district, they had three villages named Bazurgwal, Khori Dunna Singh and Tanda. Tanda was a well-known Lobana settlement. It was situated on the land of Moth-sa-duddin which was a part of chhachhan TAPPA.

Clans In Lobanas

Main article: Lobana Clans

Ghotra( Ajrawat or lakhman), Pelia/Palia, Multani, Parmar, powar Labana, Sujlana, Patwalia , Lambarh , chhandlas/shandlas are main clans mostly found and well known.

Other Clans are Badwalie, Belia, Bhagtaun, Bhonie, Dahgre, Daniye, Dara Shah, Datla, Dhandsi, Dhami, Dotal, Fatra, Garhe, Gojalia, sihane, Gadria, Gujars, jullon, Titarya, chauhan/ chohan, Brahman, Kakaniya, Kharrie, Khera, Khasarya, Kulwana, Lahoriae, Lavana, Lohana, Lalia, Shahi, Maniani, Mathaun , mathaunie, Nanaut, Narowal, Bhadurgi, Palsiya, Parwal, Tadra, Wamial, Wamowal,

Geographical Distribution



Region:South Asia

Population in India:355,000

Largest States on file:

Punjab (283,000), Haryana (16,000), Rajasthan (11,000), Jammu and Kashmir (10,000), Uttar Pradesh (10,000), Delhi (8,000), Maharashtra (3,600), Uttaranachal (3,300), Chandigarh (2,200), Madhya Pradesh (1,900),

Notable Labanas

  • Baba Makhan Shah Labana

Labana Matrimonial (Mariages)

  • Labana Marriages are very strict have to be Labana Matrimonial.
  • Labana Bride or Groom for (Example) Labana Bride or Groom is Kundlas or Sandlas can not marry both surnames, have to be other Labana Surnames reasons why its like marrying brother or sister.
  1. ^ last= SGPC Parkash|title=Gurmat Parkash|accessdate=October 2000|publisher=SGPC|isbn=81-7835-664-3|page=80
  2. ^ Piara Singh Tanda, Lobana Sewak
  3. ^ Dr. Jaswant Singh, Punjab Di Labana Biradri
  4. ^ Piara Singh Tanda, Lobana Sewak, Jan 2008
  5. ^ History Of The Later Harappans And Silpakara Movement, Gyan Publishing House,page=268
  6. ^ History Of The Later Harappans And Silpakara Movement, Gyan Publishing House,page=268
  7. ^ History Of The Later Harappans And Silpakara Movement, Gyan Publishing House,page=268
  8. ^ Supplement to the glossary of Indian terms, Henry Miers Elliot, page=110
  9. ^ The Indian Encyclopaedia, Genesis Publishing Pvt Ltd,page-629
  10. ^ Colonel Gulcharan singh
  11. ^ Sakhi 72, Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  12. ^ Sikh Heritage
  13. ^ Bhai Bala Janamsakhi
  14. ^ Mahankosh, Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha, Page 949
  15. ^ Bhai Veer Singh, Asht Gur Chamatkar, Bhag 1, Page 18
  16. ^ Puna Rakaab Gand-mein aure, Nom Guru Ka Tann jis thoo-rae, saskario thaa sikh luvaane, naaik lakhi lijj ghat aane, Panth Parkash, Giani Gian Singh, Page 1135
  17. ^ Bhai Javand Singh, Beta Makhan Shah Da, Pota Dase Shah Da Parhpota, bane da, aulaad, bohan shah pelia gotra taanda, pragna desh muzafrabad desh| Guru Gobind Singh Marg(Sampadak Fauja Singh), Punjab Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala 1973 Page 34
  18. ^ Muhar, Chaap Karvai Lubana, Lai aayo gur teer sujaana (Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, Page 145)