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