Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Babur Ki Aulad? Who, me?

There is something about identity that excites us. It is far too complex to express in words. Babur Ki Aulad: Hindustan Ki Talaash Mein Ek Play, (Sons of Babur, A Play In Search of India is the English version) the book recently released seeks to trace the Mughal history.

The origin of the book is the five-act play penned by Salman Khurshid. Khurshid has stated that is was the complex questions relating to (his) identity among other things that led to the play.

'Babur Ki Aulad' has for sometime been used to address Muslims in India. It is supposed to associate all Muslims with the Mughal rule and hence with Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire in India.

As I said before, issues relating to identity are very complex. Two months back when I was at the Victoria and Albert Museum I saw a chair commissioned by Nawab Ghaziuddin Haidar of Awadh. It was designed on the lines of the prevalent trend in European countries and not modelled on the thrones used by the Mughal kings and princes. The exhibition 'Indian Maharajas' noted that the Nawabs of Awadh sought to 'establish a new style that marked an ideological separation from Mughal taste and turned to European inspired art and architecture'.

While a South Indian Muslim will almost never associate himself with Babur (he will feel much closer to Tipu Sultan or Nizam of Hyderabad) we should remember that even a Lucknowi is more commonly referred to as Nawab rather than a Mughal.

So who are the sons of Babur? North Indian Muslims? Baburnama, which has kept me busy many a lazy afternoons and the period between dinner and a good night sleep, has helped conclusively prove that I am not Babur's Aulad. Page 387 of the The Baburnama translated and edited by Wheeler M Thackston says 'Dham Deo with four thousand' (troops) along with Rana Sanga fought against the Mughals in the battle of Khanwa (a place near Agra) in 1527.

The Mughals were victorious and the Rajput army was scattered. Dham Deo and his elder brother Kam Deo came down to Ghazipur with their families and followers. According to a book, Evolution and Spatial Organization of Clan Settlement by S H Ansari the Sakharwar Rajputs of Gahmar (one of biggest villages in Asia situated on the bank of river Ganga) emerged from Dham Deo and Bhumihars and Kamsar Pathans emerged from Kam Deo.

Five centuries later all the three clans continue to co-exist in Ghazipur (between Zamania and Gahmar) but not many are aware of their close historical lineage. In the days when farming was still bereft of tractors and fertilisers, these 'brothers' used to share the cattle for ploughing and other agricultural activities.

A school established by a Kamsar Pathan at Dildarnagar, which is the main market town for the villages inhabited by the three clans, is more popularly called 'Rajput'. It took me some time to realise that it reflected the origin of my forefathers. Thus Kamsar Pathans (with the surname Khan) have no qualms in calling their school 'Rajput.'

During a train journey to Ghazipur in 2006, I met an elderly man retired from government service. He was from the Bhumihar clan (closer to me than the Rajputs of Gahmar) and told me that since our 'grandfather' was the elder brother, he gave Dham Deo the more fertile part of the land in a fatherly gesture.

Though I have spent all my life in Mumbai and am now based in London it perhaps makes no difference being a Babur Ki Aulad or progeny of the Rajputs 500 years later. That said I am glad to know the identity of my forefathers.


  1. A very nice read...i'm comvinced you will do more for the image of the community than a lot of others who may be scholars of the texts but not learned enough

  2. Dear Danish, I can't agree more with you. It is wrong to say that Muslims came to India with Babur. I believe in what Tagore said about sangam of mahamanv streams in India-no one knows really who came from where, but mingled as a single human stream. Read the poem in translation. Situation favouring my next book "Battleground India: Cruces of Hindu Muslim exclusivism" should be out by the year end. It is a research based historical account. I am happy with your depth of knowledge.

  3. Dear Danish......
    Very Nice & very interesting to read & have so many useful information related to our forefathers.....

  4. Hi Danish. I am from Kamsar myself. I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for some info about my lineage. I am adding you on my gtalk. Please accept my request.

  5. Dear Friend,
    You seem to be more mistaken than guided, & that is waht really happens when you donn have a coplete or comprehensive idea of anything:-
    (1) First of all, origin of Bhumihar Brahamins dates far far back than 500 yrs as indicated wrongly by you from "Kam Deo". I solicit you to augment your knowledge regarding this from wikipedia & internet because it will be utter waste of my time to elaborate on that.

    (2) There is another village in Ghazipur popularly known as "Khanpura" . Today all its residents are Bhumihars & hindus, but during the Moghul times due to atrocities and "Dola Pratha" they had converted to Muslims And thus were given the title of Khans. After the end of Moghul Empire & consequently also of their atrocities, all the resident of Khanpura again turned back to Hinduism & became Bhumihars. Today in that village there stands a Mosque but no Muezzin to call upon "ALLAH-O0 AKABAR ALLAH.......". Even today also their land properties carry half hindu & half muslim name e.g Samaresh Khan (Note Samaresh is a hindu name followed by a muslim title; PLZ NOTE THAT EVEN THE TITLE "KHAN" ALSO DOES NOT BELONG TO MUSLIMS for e.g Chengiez Khan was not at all a Muslim, read history) because the ledgers are all getting carried from the same British Era, so the british ledgers reflect the bitter truth.
    (3)So far as Babar Ki Aulad is concerned, I can tell you though Babar was a genius par anything but at the same time he was ruthless and a very cruel hearted man, he had his heart full of hatred for Hindustan & Hindus. Read "Baburnama" & "The Peacock Throne" By Abraham Early........."People are all ugly, there is no good food available, there areno markets, no prepared foods, no good dogs, no good horses, weather is sultry and dirty, people are dirty...........blah blah...........my heart cries for Kabul...." and he was weeping------ this all Babur writes while narrating his memoir of eating of a musk melon sent to him by his comrade in arms, Khwaja Kalan from Kabul.
    So Babur like all his descendant Moghuls had tremendous hatred for Indians. There are evidences that Babur got a lot many Hindus forcibly converted to Muslims with the help of Mir Zaki. One such e.g is transformation of Birth plce of Lord Rama into a mosque now popularly known as 'Baburi Masjid' at Ayodhyaya. Similarly forcible conversion took plce all over the subcontinent leadind to formation of clans known as "Muslim Rajputs" "Mullad Jats" "Muslim Gujjars" etc .Fore-fathers Farooq Abdullah & M. Ali Jinnah were brahmins. Like buburi masjid another hindu temple was demolished and turned into a mosque now popularly known as 'Jnan Vapi' at kashi. I mean space does not allow me to write further.
    (3) Further to the above mentioned facts it is a well established fact which Muslims usually refute because truth tastes them bitter, that almost all the conversion to islam took place forcibly either to avoid dola or other atrocities.
    (4) So far as you are talking of Kamsar/ Muslims of Dildarnagar they had all adopted Islam to avoid the prevailing atrocities that is why all the muslim rajputs of Ghazipur District had kept a meeting in 1953 in which they showed thier earnest interest to reconvert bact to Hindu Rajputs but unfortunately that did not happen. In order to know the truthfulness of my statement you can ask any of your elders. Muslims Rajputs wanted to reconvert back to hindus only because plenty of their relationship still were hindus and any ceremonies happening in their own blood relationship who were hindus they cuold not attend, as Muslims are regarded as untuochable in eastern part of Uttar-Pradesh & Bihar.You can still notice in eastern UP & Biharand nearby regions that female apply vermillon (Sindur) which is a characteristic feature of Hindu married females.

    1. Dear, I am Kamsari and no forced conversion happened because Bhumihar and kamsari pathans are having great affection. The elder brother converted to Islam but younger not.

  6. (4) I have great love for all the religions of this world and I am huge believer of God , call it by any name be it Allah, God, Rabba, Ilaha, Deva or Bhagwan. But in todays world of prosperity, growth and knowledge I find Muslims are lacking behind beacause of thier own thoghts and pre-occupation. They believe that all which is written in Koran-Majid is true & there is no knowledge/ truth which is not written in Koran ("Koran ek aasmani kitab hai" etc). If it is so then why not the muslim coumtries developed nuclear weapon first as it should have been mentioned in Koran, why didn't you developed drugs for T.B, cancer, AIDS etc. Your religion does not believe in contraception & consanguinity, so your population explosion happens then when your youth remains unemployed you blame the policy of the Country as a whole rather then introspecting yourself. If one will keep producing dozen and dozens of children then no amount of good governance will give job to everybody.
    (5)Koran may give you any knowledge but it has certainly taken away one right from yourself that is to question from your own mind that "What is right & what is wrong?"

    (6) Why not Mohammed like Lord Budhha had the courage to say that "Hey O you all Muslims who are Dear to me there will come countless number of more prophets if the need be. Allah in his absolute capacity & mercy will keep on sending many more 'rasools' if He feels so. In no moment of time hey My Dears you should loose your internal sights, like Ingil, Tawrat & Jaboor has become invalid today similarly will happen one day with Koran too." Why not such a courage, intelligence & freedom has been bestowed by Islam on its subject like it has been by all other religions who have left the path of growth open for their followers.
    (7) On all this background I need not explain it any further that why this newest religion has at sudden found itself neck deep in terrorism, poverty, illitercy, bacwardness, exploitation of females, Taliban, Hijbul Mujahiddin, Lashkar -e-taieba, Jamat ul Dawa, Jaish -e- Mohammed, etc etc...... they created a separate country Pakistan just on the name of religion & chased out almost all the hindus but even then also they are not living peacefully why? If Koran has all the answaers in the world then aint there is one for this?
    (8) To all my Muslim bother and sisters I beg pardon profusely if in telling the truth I have hurt your sentiments. Mujhe muaf kar dijiyega agar meri baat se aapko jakhm lagi ho to.
    (9) I am praying to the same Almighty to send another Prophet who can open all our eyes and save us from falling into the fire of hell (Jahannum ki Aag).

    Bbye Tc

  7. Excellent. Such articles are also necessary apart from those on Urdu literature. Most of the Muslims know about these facts. However, your article will serve as a befitting replies to those who trace Muslims' roots in Arabia, Persia and other countries. Keep it up. However, I request you to throw light on the Urdu litterateurs of European countries.

  8. SalaamAlaikum...Myself another Kamsarii....I too was searching about our lineage and stumbled on your blog.Can you provide the Full details on the lineage.Although a Book has already been written on this by Master Suhail Sb titled "KAMSARNAMA". Besides kindly pay a visit to this website www.kamsarobar.in and give your valuable feedback and suggestions.


    Ziaul Khan

  9. Dear Danish
    I am also a pathan from Ramwal (a village of Kamsar), and I am remembring my Grand Father' word's the Chaudhry of chaurasi(84)villages of Pathan,Bhumihar and Rajput, orgenised a Panchayat of their own.Some times ago very populer ritual in marriages like MAADO and
    folk song (geet,Gane)etc. were common among
    three brothers. Some time back the populer MUJRA (in village Basuka) was very famous in these
    comunities.Also Hukka Pani and Kujaat was famous in Three comunities.

    1. Assalam Alaikum...

      Can U give me more detail (history) about Village Basuka. their Profession. Current condition.

      About there social , educational , financial Condition .

      I am waiting for Your reply.

    2. Assalam Alaikum

      Can u give me more detail (history ) about Village Basuka , kindly give me brief Idea about their Origin , their social status and condition.

    3. Ramwal is not in kamsaar... kamsaar is mostly 12 villages surrounding Usia...

  10. dear sir assalamelukum i m from karari vill which has an intimate relationship with kamsaar.i m sure that this article will help to build unity among these communities of this region.i think that this type of inter-relation ship is necessary for development and i strongly believe that the traditions should be continued and we should not let them due on the cost of fake communalism/// azad khan

  11. dear sir assalam alaikum.i m pathan from karari and i think this type of articles will help in building a relation ship among these communities which is dying very fast.we should be proud of our history and traditions and should not let it dye. azad khan

  12. Dear All
    assalamelukum ,

    I'm from BARA an integral part of Kamsar. This article is very helpful in tracing our ancesterial roots. what I suggest is we should have an online kamsar network where all the members can be in touch and contribute to the development of Kamsar-which inspite of rich history is far from being developed in all aspects.

  13. Kindly give me the detail ( history) about Village Basuka.

  14. Wikipedia gives a different account for the origin for Bhumihar Pathans of Ghazipur and traces it from Kinwar clan who came from Delhi and entered the service of local tribal chieftains.(In any case Bhumihars come under brahmin category and a brother of a Rajput can't become a bhumihar brahmin). The extract is a s below:
    The Bhumihar Muslims claim to be converts from the Hindu Bhumihar Brahmin caste. They are said to have been converted to Islam during the period of Lodhi rule over Ghazipur district. Other traditions refer to the conversion having taken place during the rule of Sher Shah Suri. The Muslim Bhumihar belong entirely to a single clan, the Kinwar clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, who claim to have come from Delhi in the distant past.[2] Subsequent to their arrival, they entered into the service of Tikam Deo, the Cheru tribal chieftain of Birpur and eventually overthrew him, seizing his capital and occupying his estate.[2] They later split into three main branches; after the founders Rajdhar Rai, Mukund Rai, and Pithaur Rai. Rajdhar Rai captured Birpur and one of his subdivisions settled in the Bara taluka of Zamania, and converted to Islam. The Muslim Bhumihar now occupy a compact territory between near the town of Bara, between the Ganges river and the Bihar state border.The community has much in common with the neighbouring Sikarwar Khanzadas, whom they intermarry.

  15. Kam Dev Sikarwar settled with his progeny in Morenaa district of M.P. They ruled over Pahargarh state. Rao Dham Dev Sikarwar and his progeny settled at (Gahban- thick forest) or Gahmar while proceeding to Gawhati on pilgrimage to Kamakhaya. He was a her devotee who had brought her idol from Sikri after the Battle of Kanhua with Babur. His nephew Kamat Dev caught by Babur was converted to Islam at sword point. He was living with Dham Dev’s brother-in-law, Gajender Singh Gautam. The names of Kamat Dev’s son were Puran Dev, Vishnu Dev and Naman Dev. After conversion, Kamat Dev was rechristened ‘Karim Khan’, Vishnu Ajmat Khan, Naman ‘Inyat Khan’, and Puran‘Akram Khan’. Their progeny continues to live at Sikri, Agra, Sultanpur, and Ghazipur. Karim Khanji established the ‘Kamsar Paragana’ in his name. His bard Khurshid hailing from ‘Machali Sahar’ also accompanied him. ‘Akram Khan (erstwhile Puran Mal) progeny settled down in ‘Kamsar Paragana’ of Ghazipur and continues to prosper there.

  16. Sir you are a progeny of Bhumihars and not Rajput. And the Rajputs of Gahmar is yet another instance of Rajputaization, process whereby various clans have claimed Rajput status for various reasons, most of the time to rise in the social status. The case of Gahmar is different. Gahmar is the only branch which is Rajput, all other Sankarwar clans are Bhumihars or Pathan. It is popularly alleged that Gahmar lost its Brahmin status on account of an irregular marriage outside Brahmin varna.

    Anyway, despite knowing that your clan and Bhumihars originated from Kam Deo, you still claim to be Rajput progeny points to the fact that the disparate Rajput clans ironically have always been the refuse to claim a higher social status even in case like Gahmar's where they actually lost a higher varna status of being Brahmins.