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Sm-vev of Luha Oi'Fu-ns, C;d,nLtta,131fi.



Being a reprint of the chapter on
" The Races, Castes and Tribes of
the People " in the Report on the
Census of the Panjab published
in 1883 by the late Sir Denzil
Ibbetson, K.CSJ,

Lnhore :

Peintbd by the Supbeintendent, Govbenment Peintins, Punjab,


Price Rs. 4-0-0 or 6s.




introductory Note ... ... ... ... i

The original preface to the Census Keport of 1881 ... ... Hi

The Chapter in the Census Report of 1881 on ' The RaceSj Castes
and Tribes of the Pan jab ' —

Parti. — Caste in the Panjab ... ... ... 1

Part II. — The Biloch, Pathan and allied Races ... ... 38

Part III. — The Jat, Rajput and allied Castes ... ... 97

Part IV. — The Minor Landowning- and Agricultural Castes ... 164-

Part V. — ReligiouS; Professional, Mercantile and Miscellaneous

Castes ... ... ... ... 214

Part VI. — Vagrant, Menial and Artisan Castes ... ... 266


The Census of the Panjab Province was carried out in 1881 by Mr.
(afterwards Sir Denzil) Ibbetson of the Indian Civil Service and his Report
on the Census was published in 1883. The Report has always been recognised
as one of the most remarkaljle official publications in India, and a work of
the greatest value both from the administrative and from the literary and
scientific point of view. It at once attracted widesj)read attention^ more
especially in view of the copious information which it provided regarding the
people oF the Province, and a separate volume was issued in 1883, under the
title of *' Panjab Ethnography " which contained a reprint of those portions
of the Report which dealt with the Religions, the Languages, and the Races,
Castes and Tribes of the people. The number of copies published, however,
both of the Report and of the Ethnography, was comparatively small and they
are now difficult to procure outside Indian official circles. There are at the same
time indications of a continuing demand for the Report, and more especially for
the ethnological portion of it, and to meet this demand the Punjab Government
has determined to undertake the issue of the present volume.

This volume reproduces a portion only, — but that is the most important
portion, — of the original Report, namely the chapter on the Races, Castes and
Tribes of the Panjab. The chapters on Religion and Language, which formed
part of the "Ethnography " published in 1883, though valuable and interest-
ing, have necessarily lost something of their original importance owing to the
progress made in scientific enquiry during the last thirty years, but the chapter
on the Races, Castes and Tribes still contains much valuable information that
cannot be obtained elsewhere, and this chapter must always command attention
and respect for its vigorous and comprehensive treatment of the subject. The
figures are, of course, out of date and the territorial boundaries of the Province
and districts with which the chapter deals are now considerably altered. There
are also, no doubt, points on which later investigation suggests modification of
the facts and opinions originally given, but it has been thought best to repro-
duce the chapter as it stands, without any attempt to annotate it or bring it up
to date. It is believed that in this way the wishes of most readers will best be
met, and it is felt that by this course the volume will best fulfil the further
object which the Government of the Panjab has in view, namely, the per-
petuation of the memory of the original writer.

There are so many still alive to whom Sir Denzil Ibbetson was personally
known that anything like a complete description of his career in this introduc-
tion is unnecessary, but it may not be out of place to mention a few of its


outstanding features. He was born on August 30th; 1847, and after being
educated at St. Peter's College, Adelaide, and St. John's College, Cambridge,
entered the Indian Civil Sor\ace in 1870. He was early in his service selected
for the special posts of Settlement Officer of the Karnal District and Superin-
tendent of Census Operations in the Panjab. He subsequently filled from time
to time the appointments of Director of Public Instruction and Financial Com-
missioner in the Panjab, Secretary to the Government of India in the Revenue
and Agricultural Department, Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces, and
Member of the Viceroy's Council. In 1907 he became Lieutenant-Governor
of the Panjab, but held that important post for all too short a time, succumbing
to a fatal malady on the 21st of February 1908.

No one to whom Sir Denzil Ibbetson was known can ever forg-et his
personality : his tall and commanding presence, his vivacious and original
conversation, his constant sense of humour, his quick indignation and his equally
quick sympathy. For the thoroughness of his erudition in many directions he
was unsur^jassed in India and as an administi^tor there are not a few who hold
him to have been the greatest Indian Civil Servant of oui* time. His character
and career are admirably summed up in an inscription placed by the Viceroy
on whose Council he served on the walls of the Simla Church which runs as
follows : —

Untiring in Administration,

Fearless in doing right,

a scholar and a man of affairs,

Loyal in co-operation, devoted in friendship.

He gave to India his love

and his life.




In writing the accompanying report on the Panjab Census of 1881, I
have steadily kept two main objects before me. FirHtly^ I have attempted to
produce a work which shall be useful to District officers as a handbook of
reference on all the subjects dealt with in Ihe Census Schedules, and which
shall stand with regard to such subjects in a position somewhat similar
to that occupied by the modern Settlement Report in respect of revenue
matters. Secondly, I have endeavoured to record in some detail the experience
gained at this Census, for guidance on the occasion of future enumerations.
My pursuance of each of these objects has helped to swell the size of the

It would have been easy to write a short notice of some of the more
obvious conclusions to be drawn from the Census totals of the Province as a
whole ; and such a notice would doubtless have technically sufficed as a report
to Government upon the operations which I had superintended. But it would
have been of small use for future reference, and would have served no purpose
beyond that of furnishing the text for a Government resolution. A Census
report is not meant merely for the information of the Secretariat; it is
intended to be constantly referred to in every office of the Pro\nnce. The
mere results would ill serve this end in the absence of an interpreter. It is of
but small advantage to cast voluminous tables of naked figures at the heads of
District officers, without at the same time explaining what they represent,
which can be done by no one but him who compiled them, and drawing from
them the more important conclusions to which they lead, which few will draw
but he whose special business it is to do so.^

In the ordinary routine of district work, information is constantly needed
regarding some feature or other of the society which we govern. That in-
formation often exists in print ; but in India libraries are few and books scarce ;
while where the latter are available, they are often too detailed or too learned
for the practical purposes of the District officer. It has been my endeavour to
furnish such a sketch of the salient features of native society in the Panjab
as will often supply the immediate need, and at the same time to indicate
where, if anywhere, further details may be found. A Census report is not

» Much of the length of the report is due to tlic exceptionally large number of the administrative
unite for which the separate fig\ire8 had to he discusfled. (See section 929, page 4'6S.) The Native
States took great pains with the Census ; and, apart from the intrinsic value of the results, it would
Ijftve been ungracious to discuss their figxires less fully than our own,


light reading ; and men take it up, not to read it tlirongh, Init to obtain from
it information on some definite point. It is therefore more important that it
should l)e complete than that it sliould be brief; and so long as its ai-range-
ment directs the student at once to the place where he \\\\\ find wliat he wants,
without compelling him to wade through irrelevant matter, the fuller the
information which he there finds on the sub-ject, the more valua})le will the
report be to him. I have therefore omitted nothing relevant that seemed to me
to be interesting or useful, simply because it occupied space.

The difficulty of an Indian Census springs mainly from two sources ; the
infinite diversity of the material to be dealt with, and our own infinite ignor-
ance of that material. The present Census was, as regai'ds the Panjab and in
respect of its minuteness and accuracy of detail, practically a first experiment ;
and one of its most valuable results has been to show us where our chief
difficulties lie, and how and why we have on this occasion frequently failed to
overcome them. If the present Census had been one for all time, nothing more
would have been needed than such a brief account of the operations as would
have explained to the student of the results how those results had been
obtained. If, on the other hand, a Census were of annual recurrence, an
'^ office," with its permanent staff and traditions, would have taken the place of
the record of the experience which I have attempted to frame. But the
operations will be repeated after intervals of ten years. It has therefore been
my endeavour to record the experience now gained in such detail as may enable
us to avoid past errors on a future occasion, to point out every defect that
the test of actual practice disclosed in the scheme, and to put forth every
suggestion that my experience led me to think could be of use to my successor
in 1891.

Till now nothing of the sort has been attempted in the Panjab. The
meagre report on the Census of 1868 afFords no record of the experience of the
past or suggestions for guidance in the future; while though Settlement
reports and similar publications contain a vast mass of invaluable information
regarding the people, it is scattered and fragmentary, and needed to be
collected, compared, and consolidated. A Census recurs only after considerable
intervals, and it will not be necessary on each subsequent occasion to rcM'rite
the whole of the present repoi-t. Much will be added ; more will be corrected ;
the new figures will be examined and compared with the present ones ; the old
conclusions will be modified, and new ones drawn. But the main groundwork
of the report will stand unaltered.

I have not absolutely confined myself in the following pages to facts and
figures which will be immediately useful for the actual purposes of administra-
tion. I have not hesitated to enter occasionally into general discussions


on certain sul)3ects, fnich as roligion and caste, and to express my own views on
the matter. T venture to think tliat these digressions are not the least interest-
ing portions of tlie vohime ; and in a report which must of necessity consist
for the most part of a dry discussion of figures, any passage of general interest
is welcome, if only as a relief. But my chief object in entering upon these
discussions has been, to draw the attention of ray readers to the extraordinary
interest of the material which lies in such aljundance ready to the hand of all
Indian officials, :ind which would, if collected and recorded, be of such immense
value to students of sociology. Our ignorance of the customs and beliefs
of the people among whom we dwell is surely in some respects a reproach
to us ; for not only does that ignorance deprive European science of material
which it greatly needs, but it also involves a distinct loss of administrative
power to ourselves. And if aught that I have written in this report should
incline any from among my readers to a study of the social and religious
phaenomena by which they are surrounded, I at any rate shall be amply repaid
for my labour.

JNIoreover, Indian official literature is gradually gaining for itself students
from beyond the limits of India, and European scholars are turning to it for
the facts of which they find themselves in need. In his Village Communities
{pages 34-5) Sir Henry Maine writes of Indian Settlement reports : " They
"constitute a whole literature of very great extent and varietv, and of the
" utmost value and instructiveness. I am afraid I must add that the Eno-lish
"reader, whose attention is not called to it by official duty, not unusually finds
" it very unattractive or even repulsive. But the reason I believe to be, that
" the elementary knowledge which is the key to it has for the most part never
" been reduced to writing at all." I see no reason why an Indian report
should of necessity be repulsive or unintelligilile ; and I have ventured,
here and there, to add at the expense of brevity matter which would perhaps
be superfluous if addressed exclusively to Indian oflScials.

The more we learn of the people and their ways, the more profoundly
must we become impressed with the vastness of the field and with the immense
diversity which it presents. Not only is our knowledge of the facts as nothing
compared with our ignorance ; but the facts themselves vary so greatly from
one pnrt of the Panjab to another, that it is almost im2)0ssible to make any
general statement whatever concerning them which shall be true for the whole
Province. I have not always stopped to say so ; and I have not unfrequently
made assertions, as it were ex cathedra infallihili. But I would always be
understood to mean, in writing of the people, that while I have taken pains to
obtain the l»est and most trustworthy information available, I only present
it for what it is worth, and that it will almost certainly be inapplicable
to some parts at least of the Panjab. Yet I do not think that the uncertain



value which attaches to the information that I have recorded renders that in-
foiTiiation less worthy of record. lu matters such as are discussed in this
report^ the next 1)est thing' to having them put rightly is to have them put
wrongly, if only the wrongness he an intelligent wrongness ; for so we stimu-
late inquiry and provoke criticism ; and it is only by patient and widespread
inquiry and incessant and minute criticism, that we can hope to arrive on these
sul)jects at accurate information and sound generalisations. Nothing would be
so welcome to me as to find the officers of the Province setting to work to
correct and supplement the information given in my report ; for the more
holes they will pick and the more pul>licly they will pick them, the faster shall
we extend and improve our knowledge of the matters discussed.^

I need not apologise for the many and palpable defects of the report, so
far as they are due to the haste with which all official publications have to be
prepared. Pages which have been written against time in the first instance, which
have been sent to press often without even the most cursory revision, and which,
when once in type, the writer has not felt at lil)erty to improve save by the most
trifling corrections, must not be judged by any literary standard. But I must,
in justice to myself, be allowed to make one explanation which will account for
much hurried and slovenly work that is only too apparent in the following
pages. On the loth of January 1883, I received orders from the Paujab
Government to the effect that the report must be finished without fail by the
end of the following February. When these orders reached me, I had com-
pleted only Chapters I, II, and IV, and the first two Parts of Chapter III ;
while Part II of Chapter VI which deals with Pathans and Biloches, and the
greater portion of Chapters XI and XII and of the first two Parts of Chapter
XIII, were written in the rough, though exceedingly incomplete. Thus I had
six weeks allowed me within which to fill in the lacun

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