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Sansi Sikh Subcastes

Sansi is  a gypsy and nomadic caste of Sikhs, although Hindu Sansis also exist within and outside Punjab in sizable  numbers.  The caste claims origin from Bhati Rajputs from Rajputana who had taken to nomadic life after their defeat by Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1303 AD. Many of these Bhati Rajputs moved north into Punjab and the Sikh ruling houses of Jind, Faridkot and Patiala as well as the clan of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was a Sansi,   traced their origin to these Bhati Rajputs.  Bhati Rajputs were originally a Jadubansi Rajput tribe tracing origin to Lord Krishna's clan.

One of the patriarchs  from this group of Bhati Rajputs, who were expelled from Rajputana,   was Sansmal or Sansi, son of one Padam Rath.  His  consanguineous followers came to be known as "Sansis".  Their social status , however, vastly deteriorated in a matter of few centuries , owing to nomadic lifestyle. There  is also a possibility that this group later  assimilated with other gypsy groups of uncertain origin which would have almost certainly brought a loss of Rajput status.  Over a period of time  the group crystallized to form a  new caste group synonymous with gypsies and nomads. Their main profession, it is said, had been reduced to  hunting, robbery and petty theft .  It is not surprising that Sayed Muhammad Latif, a renowned historian of Punjab, has described Budha Sansi, an immediate ancestor 0f Maharaja Ranjit Singh, as a well-known "Dharwi",  meaning a highway robber,  and also as a cattle-thief.  In the colonial period , the English rulers had enlisted the entire caste as a "Criminal Tribe" under Criminal Tribes Act (Act XXVII of 1871) .  After the independence of India in 1947 ,  however,  they were officially  denotified from this list and attempts were made by the government to rehabilitate them socially.


In the past Sansis also served as the hereditary  genealogists of  Jats for which every Sansi family  would receive a minor share in the  harvest from the host  families . Sansis were also affectionately addressed as "Dada" (or grand father) by the Jats , perhaps because they provided them the information about their forefathers when requested.


Socio-anthropologists , who have studied Sansi gypsies closely , have found them to be remarkably akin to the gypsies found in Europe in terms of linguistics , cultural habits and genetics.  Some of the other names Sansis are commonly  known with are Saunsis, Sainsis, Sahnsis, Sahsis, Sansiyas, Bhatus or Bhantus.

Sansi 
Subcastes

1    Agarwal
2    Agowal
3    Arar
4    Awan
5    Badwal
6    Bagri
7    Bains
8    Bhanduwal
9    Bharpai
10    Bhatti
11    Bidowal
12    Bola
13    Budhowal
14    Chahal
15    Chandar
16    Chattha
17    Chatwal
18    Chawle
19    Chhina
20    Choghatta
21    Dagarwal
22    Dandewal
23    Datar
24    Dhaliwal
25    Dhanewal
26    Dhawan
27    Dhindse
28    Diwan
29    Gaddi
30    Galdike
31    Gali
32    Galianwala
33    Gall
34    Gandowal
35    Gawala
36    Gele
37    Ghogharwal
38    Ghuman
39    Ghusar
40    Gill
41    Gorewal
42    Gowala
43    Gudunge
44    Gund
45    Halna
46    Harar
47    Hiba
48    Hira
49    Jagait
50    Jaidev
51    Jairam
52    Jaman
53    Jammun
54    Jandwal
55    Jangiwal
56    Jat
57    Jhanchi
58    Jhandi
59    Jhanji
60    Jhojn
61    Jogi
62    Kadduwal/Kadoo
63    Kang
64    Karjol
65    Karsa
66    Karthan
67    Kawar
68    Khakh
69    Khanwal
70    Khara
71    Khokhake
72    Khokhar
73    Khote
74    Kodbaddu
75    Ladhan
76    Lakhanpal
77    Laloowal
78    Langa/Lange
79    Lodiwal
80    Mahesh
81    Mahi
82    Maiya
83    Majera
84    Mala
85    Mala
86    Malang
87    Malia
88    Maluwal
89    Manasan
90    Mata
91    Mathra
92    Mattu
93    Mehra
94    Morad
95    Mors
96    Nanda
97    Narwai
98    Padda/Padarwal/Paddewal
99    Pakhar
100    Parmanandi
101    Patti
102    Phalad
103    Phan
104    Piddi
105    Pohu
106    Puri
107    Rahar
108    Raiwal
109    Ranji
110    Ratanwal/Ratanwalia
111    Ratilal
112    Sadawa
113    Saddo
114    Saggi
115    Sahjewal
116    Sahota
117    Sakruwal
118    Sakwal
119    Salabi
120    Samhandewal
121    Sanarura
122    Sandhu
123    Sandi
124    Sandrani
125    Sansi
126    Sansmal
127    Saradhwal
128    Sarwani
129    Seguwal
130    Seran
131    Shahriana
132    Shamir
133    Sharnapal
134    Sheral
135    Sherewal
136    Shibar
137    Sial
138    Sidhowal/Sidhuhwal /Sidhu
139    Sodhi
140    Sunder
141    Sunderwal
142    Tanoi
143    Topi
144    Tor
145    Toriwal
146    Uggon/Uggi
147    Waraich

References :
  • Griffin, Sir Lepel Punjab Chiefs, Vol. 1, p. 219
  • Singh, Sher (1965) The Sansis of Punjab: a Gypsy and denotified tribe of Rajput origin; Maharaja Ranjit Singh: the most glorious Sansi, p. 13. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal
  • Latif, Sayed Muhammad, History of the Punjab, p.335  Cacutta 1891