Saini Sikh Subcastes
Sainis are a Rajput descent agricultural and landowning caste of Punjab . The Saini Sikhs are found in the sub-mountainous region of Punjab. They dominate in a significant number of villages in Hoshiarpur, Nawanshehr, Jalandhar, Ropar and Gurdaspur. The neighboring sub-mountainous districts of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also have considerable Saini Sikh population. They are not found in any significant numbers in the lower and the interior Punjab, although the descendants of Sardar Nanu Singh Saini of Phulkiyan, who were a part of the Patiala nobility, at one time held one of the largest estates in the erstwhile princely state. Their real strongholds , however, are in the areas of Jalandhar and Bari Doabs where they exclusively own a large number of villages, and where they also held the Zaildari in the British era.
Interesting accounts are given about the ancestry of Sainis. Their origin is traced to the Jadubansi Rajputs of Mathura and Delhi who came to Punjab to thwart the repeated attacks of Ghazni's generals on this area. These specific battles are said to be duly recorded in Tarikh-i-Alfi. These Rajputs were called Sainis or Shoorsainis because these rulers of Mathura region traced their origin to Krishna's grandfather , Maharaja Shoorsen. The existence of a Yadava origin Saini Rajput dynasty, that is, the Shoorsainis, which ruled Mathura in a period ranging between 700 and 1100 CE, is recorded by historians such as Cunningham. As per the historical and local accounts, when these Rajputs lost these battles they had no choice other than facing slaughter or conversion to Islam. Some Rajputs converted under duress and started being addressed with the names such as Ranghars, Khanzadas , Ghauri Pathans, etc. Some, desperate to retain their estates and influence, started marrying their women to the Muslim conquerors as part of the prevalent "Dola" culture. This was considered a reprobate practice by the orthodox Hindus. These Rajputs were thus considered degraded and the inter-marriage between them and the other Rajputs stopped. This led to the birth of various endogamous groupings within the Rajputs.
Some Rajputs living under the sword in the Muslim-ruled areas , however, took to nuancing their identities in various ways to escape conversion and "Dola" enforced ritual pollution targeted at the rebellious Rajput groups (and also Brahmins in some cases) . The Sainis are said to be one such Rajput group who took up agriculture in this era. Many of their clan names such as Badwal, Tirotia, Salaria, Dhamrait, Mangar, Darar, Gehlon, Tambar, Banwait and others are identical or very similar to those of the Rajputs found on the neighboring hills which suggests that both were at one time part of the same stock which later got fragmented into separate groups due to the reasons already mentioned. The comparative ABO distribution studies conducted on both the groups, which were published in the prestigious American Journal of Physical Anthropology in 1961, had confirmed identical genetic markers of both the groups, while at the same time showing significant differences between them and those of other leading castes of the area such as Jats, Aroras, etc. This also strongly indicates a common ancestry. The oral and historical accounts thus do have some scientific corroboration in this particular case.
Since 1931 the surname Saini is also used by Mali groups of Rajasthan and some other states. These however are different from the Sainis that are found in Punjab and have no marital links with them.
Saini Sikh Sub Castes
Banwait , Banait , Banawat, Banotra
Bhowra, Bhaura, Bhaora
Dhanota (Dhanotra), Dhanoa
Gidda, Gidde, Giddar
Golan, Goli, Goleria
Kaberwal /Caberwal /Kabadwal)
Mundh , Mundra
Salaria , Salariye
Tamber (Tumber, Tanwar)
Thind / Thanday
- The land of the five rivers; an economic history of the Punjab from the earliest times to the year of grace 1890, p 100, Hugh Kennedy Trevaskis, [London] Oxford University press, 1928
- "Another numerous tribe, the Saini (14000), also trace their origin to a few ancestors who came from their home in Mathura (North-West Provinces) in defence of the Hindus against the first Moslem invasions", The Indian village community, p 274, Baden Henry Baden-Powell, Adegi Graphics LLC, 1957 (Originally published in 1896)
- REPORT OF A TOUR IN EASTERN RAJPUTANA IN 1882-83 , VOLUME XX, A. Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India, pp 2, 7, 57-59, Published by Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1885 ,Item notes: v.20 1882-1883, Original from the University of Michigan
- REPORT. VOLUME XIV, A. Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India, pp 115-119, Published by Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1878-89
- Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Volume 100, pp 119 - 120, SS Sashi, Anmol Publications, 1996
- History of the Panjab hill states, Volume 1, pp 217, John Hutchison, Jean Philippe Vogel, Asian Educational Services, 1994
- Epic and Counter-Epic in Medieval India, Author(s): Aziz Ahmad, Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Sep. - Dec., 1963), pp. 470-476
- Some Phantom Dynasties of Early and Medieval India: Epigraphic Evidence and the Abhorrence of a Vacuum , David P. Henige, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 38,No. 3 (1975), pp. 525-549, Cambridge University Press
- "Sainis show significant differences from only Jats, Chamars and Khatris of Punjab. They show non-significant difference with Rajputs of Punjab and Peshawaris. They also show non-significant differences with Punjab (Boyd) , Kayasthas, Khatri and Brahmin of UP(Majumdar) " American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1961 Sep;19:223-5.The study of ABO blood groups of Sainis of Punjab, SINGH IP, SINGH D.,PMID: 13913332
- Castes and Tribes of Rajasthan, p 107, Sukhvir Singh Gahlot, Banshi Dhar, Jain Brothers, 1989
- Mangi Lal Mahecha, Rājasthāna ke Rājapūta (The Rajputs of Rajasthan) , Rajasthan, 1965
- People of India: Haryana, pp 432, 433, Author: T.M. Dak, Editors: Kumar Suresh Singh, Madan Lal Sharma, A. K. Bhatia, Anthropological Survey of India, Published by Published on behalf of Anthropological Survey of India by Manohar Publishers, 1994