Finding the origin of the Sudhan Tribe of Azad Kashmir Pakistan is a minefield for anyone trying to reveal the truth. This is because of the extreme dislike for anything affiliated with Hinduism, because of the treatment meted out by Hindu dominated Indian forces in Kashmir valley closely.
I will try to be as objective in my conclusions regarding the Sudhan tribe of Azad Kashmir Pakistan, as possible.
Sudhnoti area of Poonch
Sudhan tribe is concentrated around Kotli, Poonch, Sudhnoti, Bagh districts of Azad Kashmir of Pakistan and is one of the most educated groups of people in Pakistan. It is quite natural that now they want to know their real history, origins based on evidence. So, here is my bit.
Recorded History of Sudhan Tribe, Kashmir, Pakistan
Lt Col JM Wikely, a colonial British officer in his book, Punjabi Musalman mentions that the “The Sudhan have pride of race and look on themselves as superior to any of the other tribes of Poonch, but they cannot be considered high-class Rajput, which term, notwithstanding their claim to Pathan origin, they apply to themselves.” [Verified by me]
The only evidence that brings the Sudhan tribe anywhere close to being called Chibali or Pahari Rajput is mentioned here in this recent research document. Even in this document, the “Sudhan” word is nowhere mentioned [It is an opinion piece].
In his book, Castes and Tribes of Poonch by Muhammad Din Folk, “Sudhan is shown as one of the 12 communities in Hazara during the Vedic age. Sudhan is described as a Rajput Tribe. Sud race is settled in East Punjab”. By this account, Sudhan’ should have been in the tens of millions by now, whereas they are only close to 1 million. [Reference verified by me]
Muhammad Din Folk in Castes and Tribes of Poonch by “Sudhan is shown as one of the 12 communities in Hazara during the Vedic age. Sudhan is described as a Rajput tribe. Sud race is settled in East Punjab”, but is also a very ancient reference.
Major G Carmichael Smyth in his book, a history of the Reigning Family of Lahore states that “in the year 1832, several independent hill-tribes inhabiting the northwestern regions of Punjab were reduced into subjection to the Lahore State (of Sikh)” These were the Doondh, Soodhun (Sudhan), Suthee, Hoteels (Mughal), and Murdiall (Mughal) tribes. The Soodhun tribe inhabited a large tract of land on the eastern bank of the same river opposite the Doondh, and numbered about forty thousand souls” [Reference verified by me]
Frederic, Jammu & Kashmir Territory, 1875 states that Sudhan is an important and high caste of Chibhal Rajput. Parl speaks a Dogri dialect. [Not verified yet by me]
Captain E.G. Calvin, writes in his first settlement report on Sudhnuti published in 1905 that Sudhan claim descent from the Sudhzai tribe of Afghanistan.
Hindu ancient references to Sudhan
There is mention of the word Sudhan in Ancient Hindu Texts Rig Veda Sinhita by HH Wilson as ” Sudhan-Wan the leader of the sacrifice” Sudhan word in Sanskrit means ‘Son of God’ or a slight variation Suthan means “very rich”; this reference is too ancient for a fairly recent tribe. [Reference verified by me]
Thakar Kahan Singh, Tarikh Rajgan-e-Jammu-o-Kashmir & Rajputan-e-Punjab 1930 states that the Sudhan Chander Bansi dynasty ruled from the capital of Sudhnoti. Sudhan nation is Rajput. The majority of them have become Muslim.
According to D Mackenzie, India, 1994, Sudhan-van, is synonymous with Indira, the King of Gods. He was the founder of Vedic religion and his Pando dynasty did rule Kashmir for thousands of years. [Reference not verified yet by me]
In Ebbettson’s book, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of Punjab & NWFP 1911, under the main heading of Brahmins of Khatris, ‘Sudan’ is shown as one of the 12 tribes in Hazara in the Vedic Period (1300-1000 BC). In the present day, Sudhan is described as a Rajput Tribe in Rawalpindi, and Sud race is settled in East Punjab. [Not verified yet by me]
According to Colonel Muhammad Khalil, Gazetteer of Kashmir & Ladakh (1890 mentions Sudhan as “Lehr Muni (ancestor of Sudhan) son of Bawa Muna (Chief of Katas Tirath) migrated from Katas to Poonch in the 11th century. One of his descendants Sudh Sain/Pal is the patriarch of Sudhan. Sudhan Chander Bansi dynasty ruled from the capital of Sudhnuti”. I could not find this reference myself, but this reference is also debunked because as per my estimates, the Sudhan tribe must have originated 1650 AD, as they were about 30,000 in 1837.
Ancient Hindu scriptures especially in Nepal refer to “Sudhana” (pure), quite frequently. This indicates that Sudhan word could have its etymology from Hindu Scriptures.
Recent research on the Sudhan tribe
The Sudhan Revolt (The News 19 October 1997.) by Sardar Saleem Khan States that “Sudhan, and important and high caste of Chihalis-Rajputs (Aryans)” but no evidence is presented.
Pre-partition, the people of the Valley of Kashmir considered the people of Rajouri-Poonch as “Pahari Gujjar”, a general term they used for them and were considered backward. [Muhammad Zubair Kails Asian Resonance 2013 “Identity Crises and Perceptions of Regional Disparity: A Study of Rajouri and Poonch Districts (J&K)”]
Zahur Ul Haq, Kashmir, 1991 states that Sudhan Rajput, known for their fighting valor extended up to the Rawalakot and Rajouri near Jammu. [Reference yet to the verified]
Sudhan population was 25300 in the Census of 1838. [Reference not verified yet]
Sir Denzil Ibbetson mentions “Sudhan” in his genealogy tree “Castes and Tribes of Punjab and North Western Frontier province”, but I couldn’t make any sense about it.
Col Khalil also believed that the Sudhan tribe is “by origin Mohyals (Sara swat Brahmins) and takes wives from the group in Gujarat, while in Rawalpindi the five superior sections (Sudhan, Sikhan, Bhaklal, Bhog, and Kali) used to give their daughters to Mohyal Sarsuts”; [I couldn’t find this reference].
Sardar Saleem, The Sudhan Revolt, The News dated 19 Oct 1914 believes that the Sudhan migrated to Sudhnoti in the 14th century.
Captain Ashraf, Alnasabul Qabail Akbaria, 1997 states that Jassi Khan, the recorded ancestor of Sudhan, conquered Mong in 1300 AD. Saddulla Khan (Sudho Khan Patriarch of Sadozai) born 1585 is shown as the forefather of Jassi Khan. [Not verified my me yet] This is where the Soddozai controversy has started. There is no evidence to support the fact that Soddo Khan is the same patriarch of the Soddozai tribe of DI Khan, which is so far away.
Dr. Ganda Singh, Ahmad Shah Abdali 1977 states that “Assadulla alias Soddo, patriarch of (Durrani) Soddozai was born in 1585 AD”
Durrani (Soddozai) ruled Kashmir from 1752 to 1818 AD but now are only in live in pockets in Qila Saifullah Baluchistan and DI Khan, none in Kashmir.
Sudhan Revolt by Shamus Khan Sudhan
“Sudhun” is also mentioned by Gulab Singh Dogra in his account of his massacre of Sudhan Rebels and their families in 1837, especially Shamus Khan, the self-proclaimed tribal leader of a lose confederate of clans, who was brutally killed by Dogra Rulers of the time and his lieutenants’ Sabz Ali and Malli Khan skinned alive at Mong. [Reference posted below].
Sudhan tribe DNA results
Sudhan DNA tests in recent times show the origin of these people is mostly around Kashmir and Indus Valley rivers, that is, northwest India, but not Afghanistan or Central Asia at all. There are some linkages with Sikhs too, which supports the Tej Bahadur theory.
The Sudhan gene pool has been mixed with that of several rulers that took over Srinagar Kashmir like the Durrani, Turks, Sikh, Greek, Europeans, Eurasians, and even Bengalis. This also shows up in the DNA reports as a very small percentage.
Sudhan DNA Sample 1
Statistical Results of Sudhan origin
HarappaWorld runs a website dedicated to finding origins of people based on cold mathematical calculations.
I posted the same question to him and his replies are pasted for your reference
The Yahoodi reference of the Sudhan Tribe, Kashmir Pakistan
Jamshed Yazdani, Kutch Qoam e Yahud kae baray main Jang 25 Oct 73, states that General Afghana, the commander of King Solomon’s army, had forty sons, namely Suri, Salma, Sudan, are worth mentioning. [Reference not yet verified] This reference is too ancient to be valid. Also, how come the Yehuda have never approached the Sudhan tribe for information?
Hindu and Sikh Soodhun in India
Sardar Ibrahim Khan in his book “Kashmir ke jang-e-Azaadi” writes that Hindu Brahmin Sudhan of Sudhnuti were usually poor farmers like the muslim Sudhan. The lucky Hindu Sudhan migrated to Rajouri, Poonch and Jammu in 1947 and ones that stayed back, converted to Islam.
Navaldeep Sharma in his blog post “thesoodans.blogspot.com/2011/11/soodan-aryan-community” writes that the Hindu Sudhan met their relatives that had converted to Islam with deep affection, after 1947.
Captain Sudhan (Hindu), 1981 “Hindu Sudhan live in Jammu and proudly display Sudhan as their surname”
DFO Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, 2000 “Hindu Sudhan were our class fellows in Poonch city”
There were many Sikh and Hindu Sudhan that converted after 1947, inside Pakistan
Sudhan tribal customs
The Punjabi dialect, homogeneity, treatment of women, cold weather adaptation, and laid back lifestyle of Sudhan do not resemble the rigid societal structure of Pathan, especially blood feuds of Pathan’ and treatment of women.
Sudhan do not speak a word of Pashto, or Kashmiri — it is mostly a Hindko-Punjabi mix dialect
Sudhan never had a lineage of the Sardari system that is typical of socially superior people. This shows that this tribe has lived in these mountains of Sudhnoti since its beginnings around 1675 AD.
Soodhun tribe and Sadozai caste
The Suddozai tribe of KPK is of Durrani origin and is a lot smaller than the 0.8 million Sudhan of Kashmir. By pure mathematics, the Sudhan tribe cannot originate from the away smaller tribe.
The Sudhan do not even look like Suddozais that are presently settled in the DI Khan district of KPK and Afghanistan. Suddozai is short, stocky, dark-eyed, dark-haired, and with heavy-set eyebrows. Sudhan is the opposite, tall, lanky, light-haired, and light-eyed, chiseled brows and reddish in complexion.
Pashtun invaders in Kashmir 1947
The repeated revolts against Sikh Ranjit Singh and Hindu Dogra Gulab Singh after 1800 indicate that this tribe owned the land they reside in for centuries and were not invaders.
The Sudhan people pushed back the Dogra Army from their land, Sudhnoti and here is where the line between Indian and Pakistani Held Territory of Kashmir Lies.
It is called The Line of Control on Kashmir.
History of conversion of Hindus and Sikh in Kashmir
The first wave of conversion from Hinduism in Kashmir took place in 1350 AD, but that would be too early for a young tribe like Sudhan.
I could not find any mention of the Sudhan tribe in the history of Mughals up to 1700 when Muslims started losing power to Hindus and Sikh backed by colonial British.
Mention of the Sudhan tribe appears after 1830 when the British needed subjects that despised the Raj of Sikh and Hindus in India and could work for them in their World Wars.
Sudhan tribe Characteristics
This tribe has always been desperately poor and illiterate, unlike the residents of the Kashmir valley. This indicates they could be nomadic people, settled in harsh snow-covered mountains for safety.
Sudhan elders even today believe in several Hindu myths and legends. Furthermore, their knowledge of puritanical Islam was very limited.
Findings on Sudhan based on the evidence above
There is evidence to suggest the ruling Sikh and Dogra Hindus of Kashmir never got along with these Pahari tribes of Poonch and Rajouri that were predominantly Sudhan, so they were deleted from the official genealogy records and scheduled castes in Indian Held Kashmir.
As per Colonel Khalil, “Sudhan were converted to Islam by Aurangzeb”; that could be plausible as Aurangzeb had a beef against the Sufi order that was pervasive in Kashmir till 1600 AD, which Aurangzeb had vowed to eliminate.
So mass conversion did take place in 1675 AD, right about the estimated time of the formal origin of the Sudhan tribe by Jassi Khan.
It is highly unlikely that the Hindu Dogra Rajput would not discriminate and marginalize another Brahmin Rajput caste, even if they had converted two centuries back. Therefore, something does not add up in the Rajput theory.
Soddo Khan (Assadullah) born in 1585 AD could be the earliest recorded patriarch of the Sudhan tribe and is a close predecessor of Jassi Khan who was given the nom de guerre of Sudhan, not as a clan lineage.
Soddo Khan of the Soddozai people is from another time and is being confused with Asadullah Khan of Mong.
The only question remaining is whether the Sudhan tribe was once Brahmin? I have no direct evidence to support this claim.
Conclusion : Who are the Sudhan tribe ?
Summing up all the evidence I have to date, it seems like the Sudhan tribe is neither Pashtun, nor Sadozai and is … BUY THE BOOK for just $ 2 and support Sudhan research, please
If anyone has real evidence before 1650, please write it in the comments, I’ll update this page for everyone.