Karlani Tribes: A Note on their Origin

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Karlani Tribes: A Note on their Origin, Omar Usman
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, April 5 2010 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Karlani Tribes: A Note on their Origin

Omar Usman

Publishing Date: Monday, April 5 2010

A group of tribes such as the Afridi, Wardak, Dilazak, Khattak, Shitak etc. are collectively referred to as Karlan tribes. According to geneology trees, they are descendants of Karlan; however, the origin of Karlan is disputed in itself. All descendents of the Karlani tribes have their own geneology trees marked from Karlan onwards. The dispute is only confined to where to place their head, i.e., Karlan in the existing trees. According to H.A. Rose, the Karlan's were not only of disputed origin, but they were also disciples of Pir Roshan, widely regarded as a heretic by other tribal groups. Today, these tribes straddle the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt and have visible cultural differences with their neighbouring tribes. Since the exact origin of Karlani's has been a debate for many decades if not centuries, to which I cannot add anything new, the most I can do is to make a note of the few references to their origins. Following are the different variations that are reported by Raverty, H. Rose, and S. Mohmand.

(1st source)
Qais Abdul Rashid
|_ Sarban
|_ Sharakhbun
|_ Amar-ud Din
|_ Urmar (Abdullah and Zikria are not direct sons)
|_ Abdullah
| |_adopt_ Karlan
|_ Zikria

According to a narration by H.A. Rose, Abdullah, son of Urmar adopted Karlan. The baby Karlan was found by Abdullah's brother Zikria. Since Abdullah was child-less, Zikria exchanged the baby for a steel cooking pot (Karai).

(2nd source)
Qais Abdul Rashid
|_ Sarban
|_ Sharakhbun
|_ Urmar
|_ Amar-ud Din
|_adopt_ Karlan

(3rd source; Khattak Tradition; Muhammad Afzal Khan)
Qais Abdul Rashid
|_ Sarban
|_ Sharakhbun
|_ Honai
| |_ Karlan _
|_ Urmar |
|___adopt__|

According to Khattak sources (Muhammad Afzal Khan), Honai was the blood-father of Karlan, but was later adopted by his brother Urmar. H.A. Rose however, claims that the Khattak's have mistaken this Honai with another who was son of Syed Gisu Daraz, a sufi of Chishtia order.

(4th source; Dalazak Tradition)
Caliph Ali
|_ Imam Hussain
|_ Imam Jafar Sadiq
|_ Ismail
|_ Khatim
|_ Rijal
|_ Qab
|_ Karlan

The Dalzak sources makes direct reference of Karlan as son of Syed Qab, a descendant of Caliph Ali. Whereas the Bangash tradition places the link with Syed Gisu Daraz as has appeared earlier in this write-up.

(5th source; Bangash Tradition)
Caliph Ali
|_ Imam Hussain
|_ Imam Jafar Sadiq
|_ Ismail
|_ Khatim
|_ Rijal
|_ Kab
|_ Umar
|_ Ghur
|_ Gisu Daraz
|_ Wardak
|_ Honai
|_ Karlan

Yet another origin by Sial Mohmand from his pashto book accounts the origin as follows:

Qais Abdul Rashid
|_ Ghurghasht
|_ Burhan
|_adopt_ Karlan

Many sources available on the Internet place Karlan as a direct descendent of Qais Abdul Rashid; his 4th adopted son. Some popular diagrams have also appeared on Wikipedia showing Karlan from Ghurghasht stock. This is wrong entirely and I have not been able to follow up on any supporting references. For example, the tree appearing on Wikipedia cites Olaf Caroe, but Olaf Caroe writes in his book regarding the origins of Peshawar Urmars, "As we know, their ancestor is dragged into the genealogies under something like a bar sinister, and figures as an adopted Sarbanri who in his turn adopted a foundling as the progenitor of all Karlanris."

Qais Abdul Rashid
|_adopt_ Karlan

Apart from the Arab link, what the remaining sources agree upon though is that Karlan was adopted.

References

  1. H.A.Rose, Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Provinces, Nirmal Publishers, pp-224
  2. M.J.Sial Mohmand, Pukhtano Qabilo Shajaray
  3. O.Caroe, The Pathans, pp-191

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Karlani Tribes: A Note on their Origin, Omar Usman
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, April 5 2010 (http://www.khyber.org)