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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

The Tarkhans are a Northern Indian ethnic tribe that inhabits the Punjab, which is now divided between Northern India and northern Pakistan. Scholars such as H.A. Rose state that they are descended from the Saka tribes who were originally settled in Taxila. They are known to be of the same stock as the Jatt ethnic tribe and other tribes as they are a purely Indo-Scythian tribe.

It is interesting to note that Tarkhan was a very respected title in use among some of the armies that invaded India during the reign of Tamer the Lame of Central Asia, therefore it is possible that the Tarkhans found in Punjab and the Northwestern Province are possibly the descendants of those Tarkhans.

History of Sikh Tarkhans

Sikh Tarkhans are more commonly referred to as Ramgarhias because of their reverence for the famous Misl leader, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia (1723-1803), who was a Tarkhan.

A very proud and fiercely independent people, they are amongst the wealthiest and most educated clans of India. Historically, the Sikh tarkhans' occupation was Carpentry.

Tarkhans have served courageously in crack Commando units of the Punjab and Sikh Regiments of the Indian Army, as brave fighter pilots and in the Navy. They were made famous on the silver screen in the Bollywood film, “Border” , which depicted their brave actions in the Battle of Longowal, a battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Ancient History

Kasgarli Mahmut was 11th century scholar from Kashgar. He explained the word "Tarkhan" in the following way: "It is a name given before the Islamic religion. It means prince (Bey, Umar) in Arghu language"

It is clear the word Tarkhan was not pure Turkish and that it was adopted into Turkish from the old language of Sogdiana. This was proved in the Turkish dictionary Divan u Lugat it-Turk written by Kasgarli Mahmut. Sogd was a name of a nation who settled in Balasagun. These were of the Sogd race. Sogd lay between Bukhara and Samarqand. Sogdia (/ˈsɒɡdiə/) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization (Anatolian Iron Ages by A. Çilingiroğlu and D. H. French).

Historian H. Beveridge in his paper titled Tarkhan and Tarquinius points out that antiquity of Tarkhan is evidenced by the fact it's etymology is lost. He also states that Tarkhan was both a personal title and the name of a tribe. Bipin Shah in his paper titled Patali of Alexander, Sack of Nagar Thatta and Arghoon rule of Sindh talks about pre-historic central asian tribe named Tarkhan. Beveridge, Isaac Taylor, C. R. Condor and J. G. R. Farlong in their writings all agree that Tarkhan, Tarkan and Tarquin are same. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, was the legendary fifth king of Rome from 616 to 579 BC. Tarkhan was used among the Hittites (1700BCE- 1200BCE) to refer the tribal Chiefs. Also the the Kassites (1531BCE-1155 BCE) had god called Tartakhan (The faiths of man : a cyclopædia of religions by Major-General J. G. R. Forlong).

In Era's of Humanity by Genealogy, Brian Starr writes about Kama Tarkhan of Huns. Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese traveller of 7th century AD also mentions various Tarkhans in Indian subcontinent such as Tarkhan of Samarkand, a meeting between king and 200 Tarkhans. Across the Hindukush of the First Millennium a collection of the papers by S. Kuwayama makes the mention of Chebishi Tarkhan who along with Tafu Tegin was sent to court of Tang Dynasty by King of Gandhara in 753 AD. Tarkhan Dynasty ruled over Gilgit in 7th and 8th century and was founded by a prince from Badakhshan. Further, founders of Maglot dynasty of Nagar and Ayash dynasty of Hunza were both Tarkhan princes. Tradition traces the origin of these Tarkhans to an imaginary Kayāni prince of Persia, by name Azur Jamshid, who is said to have fled here after the Arab conquest of Persia (A Socio-Political Study of Gilgit Baltistan Province by Omar Farooq Zain, The Western Himalayan States by A. H. Dani).

Khodadad Rezakhani of Freie Universität (Berlin) in the paper titled Continuity and Change in Late Antique Irān: An Economic View of the Sasanians writes (year is 560 AD): "These are the famous Nezak Tarkhans who claimed descent from the Alkhon king Khingila (Grenet 2002: 218). We know that these Tarkhans controlled the passes across the Hindukush both to Bamiyan and also to Kabul, via the Panjshir Valley (Baker and Allchin 1991). Based on the pattern of the earlier Hephthalites, they established and controlled formidable castles on both sides of the #Surkhab River in southern Tokharistan, controlling the trade and military route from Bactria to Bamiyan (Grenet 2002: 218-20)."

The town named Tarkhan in Egypt has been a site of various archeological diggings, some which were as old as 4000 BCE and oldest woven piece of cloth called Tarkhan Dress. In the town of Chal Tarkhan (Iran) many artifacts were found belonging to Sassanian Period (224 to 651 AD). Tarkhankut is name of peninsula in Ukraine and there are various places named Tarkhan in Russia.

In modern times, most of Tarkhans of North India follow Sikhism and speak Punjabi, a Indo-European language.

Martial Races

The Tarkhans are among the Races designated by the British as martial races.

From an anonymous list (c.1860) titled -"Rajputs"- in the collection of the British Library of the races declared by the British as martial races [15] [page # needed]

They are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Awans
  • Bhumihar
  • Cheema
  • Dogra
  • Garhwalis
  • Gujjars
  • Gurkhas
  • Irish
  • Jats
  • Javanese
  • Kamboj
  • Kumaoni
  • Minhas
  • Mohyal
  • Scottish
  • Sikhs
  • Tarkhan (Punjab)
  • Pashtuns/Pathans
  • Rajputs
  • Tyagis
  • Yadavas
  • Zulus

The Tarkhan Clans


  • Ahdi
  • Arrii
  • Assi


  • Babra
  • Bachu
  • Bansal
  • Bahra
  • Bamrah
  • Bara
  • Barhey
  • Bassan
  • Bari
  • Baharha
  • Bhachu
  • Bhachoo
  • Bhamber
  • Bhambher
  • Bhambra
  • Bhamra
  • Bhara
  • Bharaj
  • Bhari
  • Bhatti
  • Bheley
  • Bhogal
  • Bhui
  • Bhurjee
  • Bhurji
  • Bilkhu
  • Birmi
  • Birdee
  • Birdi
  • Bubbra
  • Budhoo
  • Burmy


  • Caveeshar
  • Chaddha
  • Chaggar
  • Chamak
  • Chana
  • Channa
  • Chani
  • Channy
  • Chharote
  • Chita
  • Chodha


  • Daddoo
  • Dadiala
  • Daffu
  • Dahale
  • Dahley
  • Daphu
  • Darhalay
  • Deerhe
  • Deogan
  • Deogun
  • Deosi
  • Devgan
  • Devgun
  • Devsi
  • Dhaffu
  • Dhammi
  • Dhamu
  • Dhanni
  • Dhanjal
  • Dheeraj
  • Dhiman
  • Dhonsi
  • Dhoopar


  • Dhulphir
  • Dhuphar
  • Dogra
  • Dulphir
  • Duphar


  • Flore


  • Gabri
  • Gabriah
  • Gahir
  • Gaidu
  • Gallad
  • Gaand
  • Gansie
  • Gargaj
  • Ghariall
  • Gharyal
  • Ghatora
  • Ghattora
  • Ghir
  • Ghura
  • Gidda
  • Gilla
  • Gillar


  • Harbias
  • Hothi
  • Hunjan
  • Hunjoon
  • Hunzan
  • Hussainpura
  • Hussainpuri
  • H...
  • Hussanpura
  • Hussanpuri
  • Hyothi


  • Jabba
  • Jagdeo
  • Jagdey
  • Jandu
  • Jandoo
  • Jass
  • Jetlay
  • Jhass
  • Jhita
  • Jhooti
  • Jouble
  • Jutla
  • Juttla
  • Jutley


  • Kaile
  • Kainthal
  • Kalha
  • Kalah/Kala
  • Kalsi
  • Kaundal
  • Khalsi
  • Kharal
  • Kharey
  • Kharl
  • Khattia
  • Khohar
  • Khokhar
  • Khural
  • Kohar
  • Kular
  • Kundral
  • Kundi


  • Lall
  • Lafunghaa
  • Leel
  • Lota
  • Lotay
  • Lottay :D
  • Lyall


  • Main
  • Mandaley
  • Mankoo
  • Manku
  • Marway
  • Marwa
  • Marwaha
  • Matharoo
  • Matharu
  • Matyar
  • Meen
  • Mion
  • Mudarh
  • Mudhan
  • Mudhar
  • Multani
  • Mundae
  • Munday
  • Muttair


  • Nadoia
  • Nagi
  • Nandhra
  • Nandra
  • Nanery
  • Nanre
  • N...
  • Nanra
  • Nautay
  • Nawetay
  • Notah
  • Notay
  • Note
  • Notta


  • Obhi
  • Oshan


  • Padam
  • Palhora
  • Palne
  • Panesar
  • Philoura
  • Phull
  • Phul
  • Plaha
  • Plania
  • Pohli
  • Puaar


  • Ramgarhia
  • Ranauta
  • Rayat
  • Rehal
  • Rehnsi
  • Riat
  • Rihal
  • Riyat
  • Rooprai
  • Rupal
  • Roopra
  • Ruprah


  • Sagoo
  • Saggu
  • Salh
  • Sambhi
  • Sandhu
  • Saond
  • Saund
  • Sayan
  • Seehra
  • Sehmi
  • Sehra
  • Sembhi
  • Seol
  • Shergi
  • Sihota
  • Sihra
  • Sian
  • Singhraj
  • Singhpal
  • Sira
  • Sokhi
  • Sohal
  • Sohanpal
  • Sond
  • Sondh
  • Soor
  • Soora
  • Sootdhar
  • Spal
  • Sund
  • Sura
  • Suraj
  • Surajbansi


  • Suri
  • Sutardhar
  • Syan
  • Singhrao


  • Tattar
  • Tethi
  • Thoka


  • Ubhi


  • Verdi
  • Virdee
  • Virdi
  • Virdy


  • Zandy
Ethnic Groups

♣♣ Jatt ♣♣ Tarkhans ♣♣