Tribe in Focus
Fatehpur Thakiala and the present day Nakyal city of Mirpur Division in Pakistan Administered Jammu and Kashmir were part of Mendhar sub-division of the state of Poonch before the partition of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947. The current town of Nakyal lies along the Line of Control (boundary between Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir).
The 1947-48 war between India and Pakistan divided the border Thakiala into two parts. One went to Pakistan and the other became part of India. After the separation from Mendhar it became a tehsil of Kotli District.The old name of this area was Thakiala, named after the Thakial Rajputs who live here since ancient times but it was renamed Fatehpur Thakiala to honour a veteran politician and local elder Sardar Fateh Muhammad Khan Karelvi. It is also the birth place of the former president and prime minister of Pakistan Administered Kashmir, Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan.
Thakyal Rajputs are of the Suryavanshi lineage and legend claims they are descended from Rama, a mythical king of Ayodhya. Thakial tradition links them to Jamwal and Raja Agnigarba who came to Ayodhya and founded a small state on the banks of River Tawi. The Dogra Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir belong to Jamwal clan. Minhas or Manhas Rajputs are also an offshoot of this clan. It is said that one Raja Malan Hans took up agriculture and left the throne to his younger brother, Raja Suraj Hans. Since that time Rajputs who took up agriculture are styled Minhas, whereas the name ‘Jamwal’ is confined to the royal branch.
The Thakials are named after a Raja Jothar Singh Thakial who established the Bhimber state in the northern Punjab at the foothills of the Himalayas. It remained an independent state for thousands of years under the Thakial rule until the fourteenth century.
The last Thakial Maharaja of the State was Siripat. It was at this time that Partab Chand, a prince of Kangra started his journey from Kangra to Bhimber. When he reached the hill tops near Bhimber, Partab Chand observed that it was very difficult to capture the state. He set a camp there and named this hilltop as Kangra and the village still exists by the same name even today. Partab Chand stayed for a long time with his troops on the hilltop waiting for a suitable opportunity to attack and capture the state but this did not arise as he had run short of supplies for his men.
Partab Chand sent his soldiers in disguise with his own jewellery to go down to the markets of Bhimber to get the much-needed supplies. His men went to a jeweller who was astonished when he saw the royal jewels. The Maharaja of Bhimber, Siripat Thakial learned about the men with the royal jewels and found out about the deployment of the Kangra troops on hill top. He sent his ambassador to Partab Chand which resulted a friendly meeting between the Partab Chand and the Maharaja of Bhimber.
Maharaja Siripat Thakial had a daughter but no sons. He married the princess with the oldest son of Partab Chand, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand. On the death of Maharaja Siripat, the Raj Kumar Chib Chand became the Maharaja of Bhimber. From this union, of the Thakial princess(rani) and Raj Kumar Chib Chand, the Chib Rajput clan emanates. Raja Dharam Chand was the seventh Raja of the Chib Chand line. He converted to Islam and was named as Raja Shadab Khan of Bhimber. He was killed by Ibrahim Lodhi and his tomb still exists on the hills of Bhimber by the name of Baba Shadi Shaheed.
After Chib Chand became the ruler of the state, some Thakials conspired to overthrow Chib Chand which resulted in Chib Chand executing some leaders and driving others out of the state. The Thakials who were driven out of the Bhimber state by Chib Chand settled in the area north of Bhimber, currently known as Fatehpur Thakiala. This area was ruled by the Jayrah clan.
Among the Thakials was a man of great stature and resolve named Rusmi Dev. Rusmi Dev lived in a place called Thakar Dhooli in the village Dhuruti in Fatehpur Thakiala. There are many stories about Rusmi Dev; among them being the one where he fought and killed an evil jinn. It is said that he was travelling across the Pir Panjal mountains when he met an old holy man who told him to return to his home for he would one day will become a ruler and also told him that he will convert to Islam.
The relationships between the Thakials and the Jayrah were not good and war broke out between the two clans. The Jayrah clan was defeated and Rusmi Dev became the ruler. Islam was spreading all over India during this time and under growing influence of Islam in the Subcontinent Rusmi Dev converted to Islam and changed his name to Rustam Khan. On his death Rustam Khan was buried in Dhuruti, a village in Fatehpur Thakiala and every year a gathering is held at his shrine where people in their hundreds go to pay homage.
As with other Muslim Rajputs, they hold the title of Raja, which is the ancestral title of the Rajputs since the times of the Mahabharata and some have additional titles like Sardar, which was conferred upon them by the rulers of latter days.
Rustam Khan had four sons and their decedents are the modern day Thakials. His oldest son was called Sangi Khan, whose decedents live in Muzaffarabad and Bagh in Azad Kashmir, Abbotabad in the North West Frontier Province and Gujarkhan, Muree and Rawalpindi in Punjab. The descendents of other three sons, Bagh Khan, Kangi Khan and Kaloo Khan live in the Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir. Bagh Khan’s descendents are known as Baghal. The Tehsil Fatehpur Thakiala in the Kotli District is named after them. Around 150 Thakyal Rajput are also residing in Charri Panchayat of Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh. They are Hindu Rajputs and living in Charri Panchayat since around 1850. For more information on Thakyal Rajput tribes please visit here