Origin and History of Brars (Sidhu - Brar)
Sidhus are the descendants of Bhatti Rajputs. They claim Yaduvanshi descent. At one time, the Bhattis ruled over the lands of Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, from Mathura to Ghazni. Ghazni and Lahore were seized by the king of Bukhara (in today's Uzbekistan) after a long period. The Bhattis migrated and settled in the area of Bhatner [A city and district HQ Hanumangarh (A city and district HQ) in present-day northern Rajasthan].
Devraj, Jaisal and Hemraj
A Bhatti chieftain named Devraj founded Devgarh. Jaisal from his lineage was a renowned king who founded the city of Jaisalmer. His son, Hemraj had a tiff with his brothers which led to his settlement in Hisar in 1180 AD.
When Mohammed of Ghor invaded India, he was given maximum support by Hemraj and his followers. Hemraj was rewarded with the control of the Sirsa, Hisar and Bathinda areas. Hemraj built a fort in Hisar. He ousted the Panwar Rajputs from the area of Muktsar. He died in 1214 AD.
Jondhar, Mangal Rao, and Khiva Rao
Hemraj’s son Jondhar sired twenty-one sons. Each of these twenty-one sons founded a new clan. One of his grandsons, Mangal Rao rebelled against the Delhi government, but was slain. Khiva Rao, a grandson of Mangal Rao, had no son. He married a girl from a Sarao Jat family. He was discared by his community and built Khiva Khota.
Khiva Rao sired Sidhu Rao in around 1250 AD. Sidhu Rao’s descendants merged back with the Jat community. Sidhu is the founder of the Sidhu Clan.
Sidhu was also married into a Gill Jat family. He sired six sons from this marriage:
• Dahar’s descendants are know as Bhaike of Kainthal and Jhumba.
• Dhar’s descendants are know as Pirkotias.
• Roop’s progeny are Rosse of the village of Tehna in Faridkot.
• Suro’s progeny are know as Meharmia.
• Mano’s descendants are settled in Malkana and Naurang villages and known as Manokes.
• Bhura’s descendants are known as Harikas and Brars.
• Hari Rao was born in the family of Sita Rao, the elder son of Bhura. He was the founder of the Harkike Sidhu branch. Kaonke, Attari, Harike and Fattanke belong to this lineage. They are not of Brar lineage.
• Jarth, the second son of Sita Rao, sired Brar who founded the Brar Clan.
Thus, Sidhus have seven sub-clans:
A descendant of Sidhu married into a Dalit family and his progeny merged with Dalits. Sidhus thus, are also found among backward castes such as barbers (Nais) and Dalit castes such as Mazhabi Sikhs.
Brar was the fifth generation descendant of Sidhu. He was a known marauder and warrior. He regained Bathinda after defeating the Bhattis. He also rebelled against the Delhi government. He made Bidowali in Bathinda as his stronghold. He died around 1415 BCE in Bidowal. During Timur's terrible raid on Northern India in 1398, the Brars robbed Timur in the area of Tohana in today's Haryana. After marauding, the Brars used to take shelter in the jungles of the area. The enraged Timur started deforestation on a large scale. Timur killed a large number of Brars and avenged his losses.
Brar had six sons but only Dull and Paur could attain fame. Brar had three brothers whose descendants also call themselves as Brars. The Harike Sidhus also claim to be Brars although they are not. Faridkotiye and Sangharke belong to the lineage of Dull while Phoolke, Mehrajke and Ghurajke are from the lineage of Paur. They are mostly settled in the Bahia area of Bathinda.
Dull sired four sons named Ratan Pal, Lakhan Pal, Binay Pal and Sehan Pal.
Ratan Pal’s descendants are settled in the villages of Abloo, Daan Singh Wala, Kotli, Kili, Mehma Sarja and Kundal. Lakhan Pal’s descendants are called Deonke. Sehan Pal’s progeny is settled Nagedi Sran and Fidde while Binay Pal’s in Matta, Doda, Kauni, Bhagsar and Jhutti Patti of Bathinda. Sanghar from the lineage of Binay Pal attained eminence. He had fourteen sons including Bhallan.
Sidhus and Brars during the lifetime of the Sikh Gurus
Sanghar lived in 1526 during the reign of the Mughal, Babar. He sided with Babar. He died during one of the wars. Akbar felt indebted to the Brars. He anointed Bhallan as Chaudhry of his area. He died in 1543.
Bidowali(or Bidowal) is the original village of the Sidhu-Brars. The sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Gobind , along with his family, granted a visit to Mohan in Vikrami Samvat 1688.
Mohan and Kala
According to the Bathinda Gazette, the Choudhar (landlordship) of this area was given by the Mughals to a Sardar (Chief) named Bairam of Brar lineage. After his death in 1560, the same was handed over to Mehraj. Mehraj’s grandson Mohan was pestered by Muslim Bhattis and he left Bidowali for some time in 1618 and came to the Bathinda area. According to one description, Mohan and his son Roop Chand laid their lives in 1632 during a fight with Muslim Bhattis. Mohan’s son Kala was also an ardent follower of the sixth Guru. When Shah Jehan’s army attacked the Guru in 1635 at Lehra near Mehraj, Kala along with his clan sided firmly with him. The Guru ended victorious. A happy Guru Har Gobind asked Kala Brar to fence as much land he wanted to. By evening, Kala had marked twenty-two villages and put his fence (Morhi) into the ground. The Bhullar Jats, who considered themselves to be the original dwellers and owners of this area removed his fence and threw it into a well. When Kala complained against this to the Guru, he remarked: “Bhai Kala, your roots have reached to the other world.” Hence, Kala founded a village and named it as Mehraj.
When Guru Har Rai visited this area, Kala along with his cousins, Phool and Sandal appeared for his service. The Guru blessed Phool and Sandal with the privilege of affording to take his horse to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers for drinking water. On growing up, Phool founded the village of Phool and captured the areas surrounding it. Chowdhary Phool sired Tarlok Singh and Ram Singh who avenged his death from Nawab Isa Khan. They were baptized at the hands of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
During Guru Gobind Singh's time, the Brars dominated the Malwa region of the Punjab. Aurangzeb too dreaded the Brars and did not dare enter Malwa. Guru Gobind Singh in his Zafarnama referred to the Brars saying that all the Brars were behind him.
Sidhu and Brar kingdoms
Sidhus and Brars had five principalities of their own in the Malwa region of the Punjab prior to the Partition. These were Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kaithal and Faridkot. After the Partition, Patiala, Nabha, Jind and Faridkot, along with three other princely states (Kapurthala, Malerkotla and Kalsia) formed the short-lived Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), with the Maharja of Patiala, Yadavindrah Singh as the Rajpramukh and the capital at the city of Patiala. PEPSU was later incorporated into the new state of Punjab, from which Himachal Pradesh and Haryana were later separated due to the reorganization of Indian states on a linguistic basis.
Patiala, Nabha and Jind
The descendants of these two brothers ruled over the principalities of Patiala, Nabha and Jind. These three were known as the Phoolkian principalities after Phool Brar. Among these three, Baba Ala Singh expanded his principality far and wide. He was an ardent Sikh and a statesman of high calibre. He was the Misldar of the Phoolkian Misl. Baba Ala Singh died in 1765.
The ancestor of the Faridkot principality, Bhallan was also an ardent follower of Guru Har Gobind. He had also helped the Guru in the battle of Mehraj. He died issueless in 1643.
Kapura, who was a nephew of Bhallan, succeeded him. Kapura founded the town of Kot Kapura in 1661. Kapura was the Chaudhry of eighty-four villages. He was also a Sikh but did not want to earn the ire of the Mughals. In the battle of Muktsar in 1705, Kapura helped Guru Har Gobind in an underhand manner. Kapura was slain by Isa Khan Manj in 1708. He had three sons named Sukhia, Sema and Mukhia. Mukhia killed Isa Khan and took control of the entire area. Sema was also killed in this battle in 1710. Kapura’s elder son Sukhia again came into power in 1720.
In 1808, Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured the principality of Faridkot up to Muktsar. Ranjit Singh vacated this area on the behest of the British. That is why the ruler of this principality, Pahara Singh sided with the British during the Anglo-Sikh Wars.
The principality of Kaithal (today in Haryana), was founded by Bhai Bhagtu. This state had wide areas in its control. Due to the 1857 Mutiny, the British took over this principality in 1858. The villages of Bidowali, Jhumba, Kot Bhai, Channu, Faqaarsar, Thehri in the Tehsil of Muktsar were part of this principality. The prominent villages of Bhaike Sidhus included Fafre, Chakk Bhaika, Bhucho, Selbrah, Dialpura, Bambiha Bhai, Thehri, Bhaika Kera and Kot Bhai.
VillagesThe progeny of Baba Jalal, a Sidhu-Brar founded the villages of Aaklia, Gurusar, Bhodipura, Koir Singh Wala, Hakamwala, Hamirgarh and Ramuwala.
Besides three Sidhwans, Sidhus have also many villages in the tehsil of Jagraon in the Ludhiana district. Sidhus also have their villages in the area of Moga and Bagha Purana.
Caste and Religious status
All the Brars in Punjab are Sikhs. Sidhus are also found among Hindu Jats as well as Dalit and backward classes.
In the 1881 Census, Sidhus were pegged at 155332 and the Brars at 53344. By the 1991 Census, the number of Sidhu Brars had reached upto three million.
Sidhu-Brars are more in number than other Jat clans.