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Arain

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The Arain (Urdu: آرائیں‎) are a Pakistani tribe who are found mainly in the Punjab province and also that of Sindh. They are chiefly associated with small-time farming or market gardening, with some being zamindars (landlords).

Contents

Origins

The origin of the Arain community is uncertain, with some members of the community claiming a connection with the Rajputs. Others, with whom the historian and political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot agrees, believe that they are displaced farming communities who moved to Punjab from Sindh and Multan as Arab Muslim armies encroached. Jaffrelot also believes the community to be related to the Kamboj. Some scholars have linked Arains to the Hindu Rayeen caste of India. Ishtiaq Ahmed, who is a political scientist like Jaffrelot and also a member of the Arain community, acknowledges that some early Arain texts ascribe a Persian origin and others a Hindu Rajput descent. He says that the Arain claims to be of Arab descent are based on the community's uniform belief in Islam and almost-entire adherence to the Sunni sect of that religion, which is a trait they share with the early Arab invaders under Muhammad bin Qasim.

British Raj period

The Arains have mostly been small farmers specialising in vegetable production. In pre-partition Lahore district they were the main Muslim-landowning group located close to the urban areas while in the rural areas of the districts Jats predominated. When the British wanted land developed in the Punjab after its annexation, the Arain were brought in to cultivate lands around the cities, and were preferred to assist with the opening up of the new agrarian frontier in canal colonies of the Punjab between 1906 – 1940. The Arain received 86 per cent of the land that was allotted to Muslim agricultural castes in canal colonies.

The British favoured them for their "hard work, frugality and sense of discipline". Subsequent development of towns and cities and increasing urbanisation resulted in the value of the land settled by Arain to rise significantly, and Arain families thus flourished. Education was prioritised with the new-found wealth and the Arain came to dominate the legal profession amongst urban Punjabi Muslims. Many used law to enter politics.

Distribution

The Arain were found in territory stretching from the Chenab in the west to the Sultlej in the east, in what was the Punjabi speaking heartland of the British colonial province of Punjab. This was also the region that suffered the worst violence during the partition of India in 1947, with almost the entire Arain population of Indian Punjab migrating to Pakistani territory. However, there are still a small number of Muslim Arains still found in Malerkotla, Sangrur and Patiala districts.

The bulk of the Arain population is now settled in the districts of Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Toba Tek Singh.

Notable people

  • Adina Beg Governor of Punjab in 1758.
  • Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Prime Minister of Pakistan 1955 to 1956
  • Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq Sixth President of Pakistan
  • Mian Family Baghbanpura An Arain family of Lahore
  • Qudrat Ullah Shahab The secretary to then president of Pakistan (in 60's) and author of "Shahab Nama".
  • References

    Arain Wikipedia


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