Kalal or Ahluwalia Sikh Subcastes

The real identity of Ahluwalia caste is that of 'Kalal'. Kalal is a caste of professional distillers and wine-sellers. In the Hindu ritual framework, Kalal was regarded as a low caste owing to their engagement in the manufacturing of a product proscribed in religion. During 18th century , one of the member of Kalal caste by the name of Jassa Kalal adopted Sikhism and rose to prominence . His descendants started calling themselves 'Ahluwalia' because Jassa Kalal was from the village 'Ahlo'. In the later period, not just direct descendants of Jassa Kalal, but all Hindu as well as Sikh Kalals of Punjab started writing their caste name as 'Ahluwalia' instead of 'Kalal'. This is generally done to hide the humble origin of the caste.

According to Mcleod, Ahluwalia is a "small Sikh caste, originally Kalals or brewers of country liquor. The Kalals were very close to being outcastes in status. It was a small, tightly organized caste, and late in the 19th century its leaders decided to Sanskritize (i.e., adopt professions and a way of life that would result in an ascent in caste terms). They adopted for the caste the name of a famous Kalal, Jassa Singh Ahluvalia, and rigorously followed a lifestyle conspicuously higher than was required of a low caste. In adopting the name of distinguished misldar, the Ahluwalias have been more successful than Ramgarhias, who adopted the name of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia. The change was aided by the fact that the ruling family of Kapurthala (the descendants of Jassa Singh Ahluvalia) was also Kalal. So successful have they been that today their Kalal antecedents have been largely forgotten, and the Ahluvalias rank with the Khatris in caste status. Most Ahluvalias as Sikhs."

Kalal or Ahluwalia Subcastes

Aakre

Ashkal

Banal

Bhawrishi

Bhagat

Bhambral

Bhandari

Bhar

Bharoo

Bejagade

Bimat

Bontra

Caprahaan

Chandwaan

Channi

Dhaul

Diwan

Harshyaan

Hoon

Jaardi

Jaiswal

Janvathiya

Jari

Jaspal

Joshan

Judge or Jaaj

Josh

Kaath

Kandel

Kannu

Kapoor

Kent

Kher

Ludhatia

Madhvati

Malhi

Mali

Malihan

Malik

Mumick or Mamik

Nagi

Neel

Pabra

Paintal

Paul or Pal

Rana

Rekhi

Rosha

Ratra

Sadd

Sand or Sandh

Sambhi

Sigat

Sikand

Shrikant

Sulhyan

Talwar

Tulsi

Yashpal

References:

  • Historical Dictionary of Sikhism , p21, Louis E. Fenech,Rowman & Littlefield, 2014
  • The A to Z of Sikhism , p6, Scarecrow Press, 2009
  • The Sikh Review, Volume 52, p20, Issues 7-12; Volume 52, Issues 607-612
  • A History of the Sikhs: From the Origin of the Nation to the Battles of the Sutlej, p1748, Joseph Davey Cunningham, Oxford University Press, 1918
  • The Sikh Review, Volume 35, Issues 397-408, p29, Sikh Cultural Centre., 1987