The South Asian region of the world which includes; Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, has a long history of the caste system and its different forms. These countries share the same cultural and religious roots. The caste system of this region has been a subject for study for the students of social sciences. The caste of a person was founded on his profession.
The caste system determines the status of a person in the society and classifies them socially. People give importance to the caste of a person when they marry. It also determines how they interact. The caste system in urban areas is diminishing due to education and equality which is a positive sign as it will help in the strengthening of the society. However, it is still quite active in the rural areas where the way they interact and marry with each other is dependent on the castes.
Castes in Pakistan
There are hundreds of castes existing in Pakistan. Each province of Pakistan has its separate castes. Here are some of the famous castes in Pakistan along with stereotypes attached to these castes.
The Jutt is a traditionally agricultural community in the Punjab of both India and Pakistan. They are the landowners and farmers mostly settled in the rural areas. They are thought to be courageous, brave, warmhearted and loyal. It is believed that marrying in Jatts comes with disturbing peace and tranquillity within the household as they are short tempered, argue a lot and are always ready to pick a fight.
Though Butt is a common surname of the people in the Kashmir Valley, the locals of Punjab use Butt as a collective terminology. They are believed to be proud, arrogant people who love food. The Butt caste is famous for their beauty and physically attractive looks.
Sheikh is a Arabic term for “lord”, the honourable, elder of a tribe or a scholar of Islam. Historically, Sheiks came from Central Asian Turkish tribes, Iran and Arabs. They were Muslim trading families and were quite rich. Socially, Sheikh people are believed to be conscious of their social standing and image. They are cooperative with their relatives. They usually marry in their own caste brethren and are famous as money hoarders.
Rajpoot means “son of the king.” It is a prominent social group in Punjab especially in Pakistan. They claim their ancestry from the ancient royal warrior dynasties in India and track their roots back to Rajpootana which is a part of Rajasthan. People see Rajpoots as people who are loyal, courageous, physically strong, self-sufficient, coherent, resilient, tenacious, hard-working and militarily strategic humans. They are further divided into various other clans.
Gujjar is a historical tribe and a very diverse cast both religiously and linguistically. This caste is spread in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. They are primarily involved in agriculture, livestock farming and dairy. They are considered to be furious and ready to pick a fight. They usually reside as a pastoral community on the outskirts of major cities.
The Mughal caste is famous for the Mughal dynasty that ruled the Indian subcontinent for over 300 years. When the Mughal throne was overthrown by the East India Company, most of the Mughals were forced to flee to the far flung areas. Their land and wealth was snatched by EIC and they started working as builders and some adopted carpentry and metalwork.
Qureshi is thought to be the most respected caste in Pakistan because it signifies ancestry from the Quresh, the Arab tribe to which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) belonged. In South Asia, specifically in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Qurashi is a multi ethnic community. As the Arabs, when they came to the Sub continent, were settled in Sindh, the majority of Qureshi people reside in Sindh.
In India, especially in the state of Bihar, Qureshis are primarily associated with the profession of butchery.
Are Gujjars Rajputs?
Gujjar is a subcaste of Rajput community. The Gujjar tribe tend to marry within their brethren. However, in Himachal Pradesh state of India, Gujjars were classified as a scheduled tribe in 2001.
What is the most common surname in Pakistan?
Different parts of the country have different common surnames. For example, Butt is a common surname in the Kashmir Valley.
What are the Castes in Islam in India?
The Muslims of India recognize themselves in one of the two main social divisions; Ashraf and Ajlaf. Ashraf or Sharaf means “noble” and includes all undoubted descendants of converts from high caste Hindus.
Hamza Subhan is a digital content director at Price In Pakistan. He lives in Lahore. He keeps an eye on every new item in the markets of Pakistan and his hand on the pulse of Pakistani people to provide them with the information that they need about the product. He has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical engineering from UET Lahore. His keen passion for the latest technology, gadgets, and knowledge about electrical appliances led him to launch Price In Pakistan. He is the main hand behind the articles related to electrical home appliances and gadgets. When he is not looking out for the new technology and writing about it, he is playing guitar and singing for his friends.