|Manmohan Singh • G.L. Nanda • Raj Kapoor|
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Khatri (Punjabi: ਖੱਤਰੀ, Hindi: खत्री) is the Punjabi adaptation of Sanskrit or Pali word Kshatriya (Hindi: क्षत्रिय, Kşhatriya). , a warrior tribe from the northern Indian subcontinent. As administrators and rulers, Kshatriya were assigned with protecting dharma, and serving humanity and the world. In course of time, however, as a result of economic and political exigencies, the Khatri also expanded into other occupations.
The Khatri community traces its origins to the Taxila, Potohar and Majha regions of the Punjab. These regions are historically connected with the composition of the Vedas, the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas as well as more modern religious texts such as the Guru Granth Sahib.
Historically, Khatris were found throughout the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, although there had been some migration to nother and eastern India a few centuries ago. However, after the partition of India, Khatris migrated from Punjab, Pakistan to Punjab, India. They are also found in several other north Indian states, particularly Chandigarh, Haryana, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Well integrated into India, from historical times to modern times, the Khatris have played a significant role in the Indian economy, as businessmen, civil and government administrators, landlords and military officials/generals.
Khatris, along with other Punjabi tribes like, historically bore the brunt of all invasions into India. These warrior tribes mostly comprise of Hindus. Census of India, 1901. In Pakistan there are significant Muslim communities with a Khatri background who have preserved their unique identity. Hindu and Sikh Khatris have had a historic presence in Afghanistan (Kabul, Herat) where they have been involved mostly in the mercantile business, although they have also served as administrators in the past.
The Khatris are a prominent Indian community originally from the Potohar and Majha region of north-western Indian subcontinent, now largely in Punjab in Pakistan. This region is of considerable historical significance in the development of the Indian culture since the composition of the Vedas and classics like the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas.
According to Ramayana, Taksha and Pushkala, the sons of Bharata, the brother of Lord Rama founded Taxila and Pushkalavati in this region. According to Bichitra Natak (about AD 1696) of Guru Gobind Singh, Lava and Kusha, the sons of Lord Rama founded Lahore and Kasur, and the descendants of Lava and Kusha form the Khatri Bedi and Sodhi clans. An empty temple dedicated to Lava still exists in the Lahore fort.
The region was ruled by Hindu kings until 1013 AD. King Bhimapala, the son of Trilochanapala has his capital at Nandana in the Salt Range region, where many temples and archaeological relics from their period are still present. Katas Raj remained a major pilgrimage center until the partition of India. Khatris encountered hardships after the conquest of the region, but stubbornly clung to their heritage. Because of high levels of education and scholarship, they were able to survive even in difficult times .
One of the most important characters of famous Punjabi legend Raja Rasalu is minister Mahita Chopra, Most scholars agree that Raja Rasalu ruled from Sialkot and lived sometime between 400 to 500 AD.
Many prominent historical figures have emerged from the Khatri. All ten Sikh Gurus were Khatri. The four gots of Sikh gurus existed at least since 15th century AD: As also the names of most Khatris included the word 'Dev', such as Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Angad Dev Ji etc.
Sangam Rai Kapoor, was the founder of the house of Maharajas of Burdwan, founded in 1657. The family continued as rulers of Burdwan until feudal estates were abolished by the government of India in 1955/56.
Raja Fateh Chand was a Maini Khatri chieftain of Bihar who served Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji with dedication during his visit in 1665. Raja Fateh Chand and his wife converted their house into a dharamsala for the sangat or devotees to assemble in holy congregation. The place came to be known as Maini Sangat. On the site now stands Gurdwara Bal Lila Maini Sangat.
Haqiqat Rai was a Puri Khatri whose martyrdom was celebrated on Basant Panchami in Lahore until independence. Hari Singh Nalwa, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's most feared general was an Uppal Khatri. The father and son pair of the Diwans Sawan Mal and Mul Raj Chopra were successive governors of Multan under Ranjit Singh.
Raja Vanvihari Kapoor has written that major Khatri clans are named after Lord Sun. are mentioned below.
According to the Bhavishya Purana, Punjab indeed was an ancient center of Sun worship.
A majority of Khatris are Sanatan Hindus. As noted in the introduction, the Khatri community have been positioned in roles of administration, rule and warfare within Punjab. The Khatris were the patrons ('yajamansas' or in Punjabi 'jajmani') of the Saraswat Brahmins. The Khatris are among the very few non-Brahmin communities that have traditionally studied the Vedas. Additionally, Saraswat Brahmins accept both Kachcha and Pakka food from Khatri's. Hindu Khatris constitute 9% of the total population of Delhi.
Swami Dayanand was invited to Punjab to counter the missionaries by prominent individuals who also founded the Singh Sabha. He established Arya Samaj in Lahore in 1877, which was against casteism, rituals, idol worship and promoted strict monotheism, which he claimed was the essential message of the Vedas. Arya Samaj became popular among Punjabi Hindus, especially Khatris who were attracted to a similar message by the Sikh Gurus earlier. Arya Samaj inspired individuals like Swami Shraddhanand and institutions like Dayanand Anglo-Vedic Schools System started by Lala Hansraj.
A portion of the Khatris are Sikh. All the Ten Sikh Gurus were Khatris from the Sodhi, Bedi, Trehan and Bhalla clans which like other Khatri clans, claim Suryavanshi Kshatriya, descent according to the autobiographical Bichitra Natak by Guru Gobind Singh. During the lifetime of the Gurus, most of their major supporters and Sikhs were Khatris. A list of this is provided by Bhai Gurdas in Varan Bhai Gurdas, a contemporary of the Sikh Gurus.
The martial development by the Sikh Gurus is well documented, with the first master (Guru Nanak Dev) Ji, calling upon Sikhs to make a "ball of their head" to play the game of love. The second Guru (Guru Angad Dev) Ji encouraged physical activities of Sikhs by encouraging wrestling bouts and Kabaddi. The 6th Guru (Guru Hargobind Dev) Ji took up the sword and fought many battles against neighboring Rajputs and Mughals. The 9th Guru Guru Teg Bahadhur Dev Ji fought many battles like the 6th Guru and was an accomplished martial artist. The 10th master Guru Gobind Singh Ji, was proficient in the art of warfare as well as an accomplished swordsman, marksman and equestrian. The tenth Guru's maternal side of the family was accomplished warriors and fighters in their own right. Guru Gobind Singh Ji's maternal uncle, Kirpal Chand Ji served as a General in Guru Hargobind Ji army and guided Guru Gobind Singh ji from an early age.
The sacred sections of the Khatris :-There are four sacred sections among the Khatris, whose position must be touched upon, These are the:- Bedi (Guru Nanak Dev Ji) of the Dharman or Chota Sarin sub group.
Sodhi (Last seven Gurus) of the Chota Sarin sub-Group.
Trehan (Guru Angad Dev Ji) of the Bara Sarin sub group
Bhalla (Guru Amar Das Ji) of the Bara Sarin sub group.
These four sections became sanctified by the births of the various Sikh Gurus to them
Sahib Singh Bedi (1756-1834), was tenth in direct descent from Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and much revered in Sikh times for his piety as well as for his martial prowess. He was born at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur district. At the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's coronation at Lahore on April 11, 1801, Baba Sahib Singh Bedi placed the tilak or mark of sovereignty on Ranjit Singh's forehead anoiting him Maharaja of Punjab.
Bhai Binod Singh, was a Khatri of the Trehan clan and a direct descendent of the second Sikh Guru Guru Angad Dev Ji. Bhai Binod Singh was a devoted disciple of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and was one of the few Sikhs to accompany the tenth master to the South in 1708. Bhai Binod Singh fought many battles as a Commander and was leader of the Tatt Khalsa, (True Khalsa). It was Bhai Binod Singh whose Tatt Khalsa declared the official Sikh Warcry to be Sat Sri Akal.
Bhai Daya Singh- Was a Khatri of the Sobti clan and the "first" of the Panj Pyare
. In the historic divan in the Keshgarh Fort at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, Bhai Daya Singh was the first to rise at the Guru's call and offer his head.
During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Misl that was always ahead of other Misls and continuously moving ahead and helping other Sikh Misls was the Dallewalia Misl, founded and led by Gulab Singh Dallewalia a Khatri Sikh.
One head of the family Baba Tikka Baba Harbhajan Singh Bedi is based in Chandigarh, India. Tikka Baba Harbhajan Singh Bedi is the 16th Descendent in the bloodline starting from Guru Nanak Dev Ji with two sons Tikka Surjinder Singh Bedi and Kunwar Arvinder Singh Bedi. Arvinder Singh Bedi is blessed with two sons Tikka Nain Noor Singh Bedi and Kunwar Gagandeep Singh Bedi making the 18th current bloodline starting from Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Many Hindu Khatri families raised at least one Sikh son after the formation of the Khalsa in 1699. This resulted in Khatri clan names being present in both Hindu and Sikh communities worldwide.
Some of the Khatris converted to Islam in the Mughal period. With the advent of Islam following invasions by Turkic tribes from Afghanistan and the North West Frontier Province from the 11th century onwards, there were conversions of Hindus to the faith from among various Punjabi communities, including Khatris. Generally they retained their tribal, clan or caste affiliations as has been the norm in the region. Similarly, the Khatris who converted to Islam, continue to retain a strong social identity.
Pakistan continues to have a prominent community of Khatris. Some Muslim Khatris like the Sahgal family, Aftab Ahmed Vohra, Najam Sethi, etc., of Pakistan are examples of well-known and successful Muslim Khatris.
When Khatri traders from the western districts of the Punjab like Sargodha, Jhang, Jehlum, Chakwal, Faisalabad accepted Islam called themselves Khawaja and adopted Shaikh as title. They are thus called Khawaja Sheikh. Some of them have also adopted Mian as title. In recent years traders from a small town of Chiniot,in the Chiniot District, became prominent due to their contribution in the industries of Pakistan. These traders are known as Chiniotis or Chinioti Shaikhs. The famous trading family of Sahgals, Sahgal Khatris of Chakwal, are known simply as Punjabi Shaikh instead of Khawaja Shaikh. They use Mian as title.
The first censuses of the Punjab were conducted by Denzil Ibbetson and Edward Maclagan in 1883 and 1892. According to their reports, the Khawajas of Bhera in Shahpur, Sargodha District were converted from Khatris, and those from Jhang were said to be converted from Arora. At Chiniot in Jhang District, Majority of the Khawajas are Khatris, while some are Arora. They reported the following sections (gotras) of Khatris from Chiniot:
Only one section of Arora is reported from Chiniot:
The sections of Khawajas from Bhera were reported as follows:
The sessions of Akhil Bhartiya Khatri Mahasabha were held in Lucknow in 1916, 1936, 1952 and 1980. Lucknow Khatri Sabha was established in 1927 and publication Khatri Hitashi was started in 1936. 
|“||"The division into the Bara and Bunjahi groups is noticed in the Ain-i-Akbari:- "The Kshatriya (now called Khatris) form two races, the Surajbansi and Sombansi * * There are more than 500 tribes of these Kshatriyas, of whom 52 (Bawanjai) are pre-eminently distinguished and 12 (Baraghar) are of considerable importance"||”|
There are several subdivisions within the Khatri clans. There are the Dhai Ghar (i.e., 2 1/2 houses - the number 3 being considered unlucky) grouping comprising of Mehra/Mehrotra/Mehrota/Malhotra, Khanna and Kapur/Kapoor. Along with the Seth clan these four subdivisions form the Char Ghar (4 houses) grouping.
Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and NWFP, by H.A. Rose, states that Chopra, Dhawan,Batta, Bandha, Kakar, Mahindru, Sahgal, Soni, Talwar, Tandon, Vohra, Wadhaun, and Wahi, form the Barah-Jati group of Khatris.
Another group is called Bavanjai (52). 
Other regional clan groupings include the Sarin.
Regionally Abbhi, Basur, Nanda, Khullar, Jerath, Chopra and Vig/Vij were particularly connected with Ludhiana & Hoshiarpur; Bahl, Kapoor, Mehra, Seth, Beri, and Dhir with Jagraon; Sondhi with Machhiwara and Bahlolpur; and Thapar with Raikot; Gulla with Sahowala, Bhopalwala - Daska Gujranwala - Sialkot, Delhi & Ghaziabad and Had and Cham with Khanna
|“||Khatris. – Khatri is a popular variant of the Sanskrit word Kashtrya, which was used to describe the warrior caste among the Hindu according to the varanashram propounded by the Shastras. In course of time as a result of economic and political exigencies, however, the Khatris also resorted to mercantile occupations, which were originally adopted by the Vaisas, the trading classes.
Like Brahmans there are further sub-divisions amongst Khatris-Bannjais, Sarin, Dhaigharas, chargharas, etc., in the reign of Alaudin Khiliji widoe re-marriage was enforced. Fifty-two castes of Khatris are said to have submitted a memorandum, duly signed, to the Emperor. The signatory castes are called Banjais. Certain castes of eastern Punjab refused to sign the memorandum and were called Shari-Ain, later corrupted to that of Sarin. The Khokhrain baradari is said to consist of the descendants of certain families of Khatris who were believed to have joined the Khokhars in a rebellion and with them other Khatri families were loath to have matrimonial relations. The Bahri section of the descendants of Mehr Chand, Khan Chand and Kapur Chand, three Khatris who went to Delhi in attandance upon one of Akhar’s Rajput wives, and who thus separated from rest of the Khatri castes, married only within each other’s families.8 (8.These appear to be conjectural for the same division appears among the Brahmans of western plains.) the number of the members of this caste is fairly large. The more prominenty, however, in point of social rank are the Mehra or Mehrotra, Khanna, Kapur and the Seth sub-castes.
Source: Castes, People, GAZETTEER LUDHIANA, Department of Revenue, Government of Punjab (India)
Khukhrain (also spelt Khokhran/Kukhrain/Kukhran) are a regional subcaste of Khatris of eight clans of Punjab, originally from the town of Bhera in the Jech Doab (Jhelum - Chenab interfluve) region of Sargodha district of Pakistani Punjab. A significant number of Khukhrains, along with other major Khatri groups, adopted Sikhism during the 18th and 19th centuries. The names of the eight clans are: Anand, Bhasin, Chadha, Kohli, Sabharwal, Sahni/Sawhney, Sethi and Suri. Later three new subclans originated those were Chandok (Chandhoke, Chandhok, Chandiok), Gandhoke, and Ghai. The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh is a Khukhrain of the Kohli clan.
In addition to three Indian prime ministers, many distinguished soldiers, administrators, writers, businessmen and artists have been Khatri.