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Related ethnic groups

The Pathans of Bihar (Hindi: बिहार के पठान; Urdu: بہار کے پٹھان‎) in India are either descendants of various Pashtun settlers in Bihar or are Hindu converts to Islam from Rajput and Bhumihar castes.[1] The Pathan proper of Bihar belong to eleven sub-groups, the main ones being the Suri, Sherwani, Yousafzai, Durrani, Bangash, Afridi, Khattak,Bettani, Lodhi, Tanoli, Orakzai and Ghori. These Pashtun people are known as Pathan in the Hindustani language. Another common name for the community is Khan, which also a common surname.

The name Pathan in Bihar refers to two distinct but related Muslim communities, the Nasli (from the Arabic word nasl, meaning racial or by birth) and Divani (from the Arabic word diwan, meaning a royal court). It is said to have settled in the region from the 13th century CE onwards. They are considered one of the Ashraf communities meaning they have a powerful status among the Muslims of the state.[2] [3]

Lohani Pashtuns ruled a princely state within Bihar.[4] Sher Shah Suri was born in Rohtas district.[5]

Present circumstances

The Pathan proper of Bihar belong to eleven sub-groups, the main ones being the Suri, Sherwani, Yousafzai, Bangash, Afridi, Khattak,Bettani, Lodhi, Tanoli, Orakzai and Ghori, all of whom are well known Pashtun tribes. Most of them have intermarried into local Muslim communities and are undistinguishable from local population. But there's an exclusivist and superior sense of tribalism and Casteism in some erstwhile landowner families even though those are now involved in small farming. They now speak Hindustani as well as local dialects such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Like other communities in the region, the Pathan are endogamous, and tend to marry close kin. They practice both parallel cousin and cross cousin marriages. Those who live in the larger cities, such as Patna, Darbhanga,East Champaran and West Champaran. Many villages of Yusufzai and Sherwani Pathans are found in Mithilanchal especially Darbhanga as well as Sitamarhi and near Brauni Refinery area. Many villages of Koderma, Jharkhand especially Jainagar(Jainagar East, Kheskari etc.) and there nearby area Pathan or Khan are found.


  1. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal and Hetukar Jha Seagull Books
  2. ^ Alam, Jawaid (1 January 2004). Government and Politics in Colonial Bihar, 1921-1937. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170999799.
  3. ^ Kumar, Ashwani (1 January 2008). Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar. Anthem Press. ISBN 9781843317098.
  4. ^ Bhardwaj. Study Package Cds Exam. McGraw-Hill Education (India) Pvt Limited. pp. 160–. ISBN 978-0-07-107215-1.
  5. ^ Khan, Consulting Editors-Behula; Mitchell, S. J.; Mukundan, Subhadra Sen Gupta & Monisha. History & Civics 7 (Col. Ed.). Ratna Sagar. ISBN 9788183320610.