Arain (also known as Raeen) are a large Punjabi agricultural tribe with strong political identity and organisation,[1] found mainly in the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh with a small population in parts of Indian Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Arain
Raeen, Rain or Arai
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Raeens or Arains, Mahomedans, Lahore
ReligionsIslam
LanguagesPunjabi
CountryPrimarily Pakistan and India
RegionPunjab and Sindh and Uttar Pradesh

Origins

The historian and political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot believes that the Arain are displaced farming communities who moved to Punjab from Sindh and Multan as Arab Muslim armies encroached; they originally practised Hinduism but many later converted to Islam. He says that the community is related to the Kamboj Rajput community mainly located in northern India and eastern Pakistan.[2]

Ishtiaq Ahmed, a political scientist who is also a member of the Arain community, acknowledges that some early Arain texts ascribe a Suryavanshi Rajput origin, while others note a Persian one to reflect to others the status of being “conquerors”. He believes that the Arains "are a mix of many ethnicities and races", similar to other "farming castes of the Punjab and Haryana".[3]

History

According to Ahmed, during the Mughal and Sikh periods Arain held prominent positions, such as governors and army generals; he also believes that numerous names adopted by the community may indicate a tradition of military employment.[4]

During the Indian rebellion of 1857, Shah Abdul Qadir Ludhianvi, an Arain, led an uprising from Ludhiana to Delhi where he was killed. In the aftermath, the British viewed the Arain as a disloyal community, and categorised them as a non-martial caste which denied them entry into the Bengal Army.[4] Due to lobbying by the Arain community, in the early 20th century the Arain were officially re-classified as an "agricultural tribe", then effectively synonymous with the martial race classification.[5]

Traditionally associated with farming, when the British wanted land developed in the Punjab, Arain were brought in to cultivate lands around cities, and were one of the agricultural communities given preference to assist with opening up the agrarian frontier in the Canal Colonies between 1885 and 1940.[6][7][8] Shahid Javed Burki says that the British favoured the Arain for their "hard work, frugality and sense of discipline". The development of towns and cities and increasing urbanisation resulted in the value of the land settled by Arain to rise significantly, and Arain families flourished. Education was prioritised with the new-found wealth and Arain came to dominate the legal profession amongst urban Punjabi Muslims. Many used law to enter politics.[9]

Organisation

Several meetings were held to establish an organisation to represent the Arain community in the 1890s. Eventually, in 1915, Anjuman Ra’iyan-i-Hind emerged as such a body in Lahore and a national community newspaper, titled Al-Rai, was established.[10]

Culture

The Arains are in majority in Lahore and this biradari is also active in industrial and commercial activities. A few families play a significant role in the politics of Lahore at national and local level.[10][clarification needed]

Diaspora

There are several diasporic Arain communities in British towns and cities, such as Manchester, Glasgow and Oxford.[11] The tribe has its own organisation, Arain Council UK, which was established as Anjuman-e-Arains in the 1980s and renamed in 2008.[12]

British Conservative Party politician Sajid Javid's family were farmers from the village of Rajana near Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, from where they migrated to the UK in the 1960s; Javid speaks some Punjabi.[13][14] Javid was the first British Asian to hold one of the British Great Offices of State, being first Home Secretary (2018–2019) and then Chancellor of the Exchequer (2019–2020).[15][16]

Notable people

References

  1. ^ Katherine Pratt Ewing (1997). Arguing sainthood: modernity, psychoanalysis, and Islam. Duke University Press. p. 145. ISBN 9780822320265.
  2. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2004). A History of Pakistan and its Origins. trans. Beaumont, Gilliam. Anthem Press. pp. 154, 208. ISBN 9781843311492.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (18 April 2006). "There is many a slip betwixt cup and lip". Daily Times. Pakistan. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  4. ^ a b Ahmed, Ishtiaq (15 December 2007). "An Arain freedom fighter". The News.
  5. ^ Rajit K. Mazumder (2003). The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab. Orient Blackswan. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-81-7824-059-6.
  6. ^ Ali, Imran (1979). The Punjab Canal Colonies, 1885-1940 (Ph.D. thesis). Australian National University. p. 29. doi:10.25911/5d74e7b3b71c9.
  7. ^ Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri (2008). Peasant History of Late Pre-colonial and Colonial India, Volume 8. Center for studies in Civilization. p. 195. ISBN 9788131716885. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Low, Donald Anthony (1968). Soundings in Modern South Asian History. University of California Press. p. 375. ISBN 978-0520007703.
  9. ^ a b Burki, Shahid Javed (October 1988). "Pakistan under Zia, 1977-1988". Asian Survey. 28 (10): 1082–1100. doi:10.1525/as.1988.28.10.01p0206e. JSTOR 2644708. (subscription required)
  10. ^ a b Ibrahim, Muhammad (2009). Role of Biradari System in Power Politics of Lahore: Post-Independence Period (Thesis).
  11. ^ Shaw, Alison (2000). Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain. Psychology Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-90-5823-075-1.
  12. ^ "About". Arain Council UK. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  13. ^ a b "British home secy belongs to TT Singh". The Nation. 8 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019. Newly appointed British Home Secretary Sajid Javed belongs to a Toba Tek Singh village.
  14. ^ "'Did you ever think we'd be here today?' UK's Sajid Javid asks mother in Punjabi". The Express Tribune. 2 October 2019. Archived from the original on 19 November 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Javid replaces Rudd as home secretary". BBC News. 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  16. ^ "Boris Johnson overhauls cabinet on first day as PM". BBC News. 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  17. ^ "Dina Arain: the master 'double game' player".
  18. ^ https://www.dailyparliamenttimes.com/2021/06/22/sonia-ahmed-our-real-hero/#.YNQCB_lKiCg
  19. ^ https://epolitics.net/anas-sarwar-first-muslim-and-pakistani-who-elected-leader-of-scottish-labour-party/

Further reading