Source: Times of India

The Varaha’s are the progenitors of the lesser known dynasty which defended Bharat’s western frontier against Mahmud-I- Ghazanvi. It was only after successive kings of the Hindu Shahi Dynasty (Raja Jaypal, Anandapala..) were defeated that invaders could enter Bharat and create mayhem during the medieval period. Varahas have not found their way in the history books written by most Indian historians and only passing remarks are mentioned by those who have taken note of their presence. DNA analysis and historical documents confirm that the Varaha are the Central Asian Hephthalites or Alkhan to be more specific. In the Gandhar and Punjab region, they were known as the Turk Shahi and later the Hindu Shahi. They finally settled In Western, Central, North India and adopted the local religion and traditions. Thus, their character has changed as they migrated, and the Varaha’s have adapted to new cultures and religious followings.

There is enough reference to the Varaha’s in Iranian history and their movement from Eastern Khorasan (Torkhistan) through Afghanistan to Punjab. Varaha’s have rarely used their clan’s name after establishing their rule in India, except for rulers like DharaniVaraha, JayaVaraha from Gurjadesa, and UdayVaraha from Orissa. In the book Annals of Rajasthan, a historian like Col. James Tod has written about Varaha’s and the deliberate move to obliterate their names and references from Indian history. It is interesting to find the names of clans and family trees that originated from the Varaha’s, e.g. Wadan Gils (Rose, 1914, pp. 299-301), Man (Rose, 1914, p. 64) & Bhuller, but there is no documentation of the Varaha’s, or can we safely assume that some motivated genealogists have deliberately blotted their names. (Rose, 1914). Abul Fazl in his Ain has shown the presence of Varhas in the Mahals of Sarhind, Sumana, Karyat Rae Samu and Machhiwara of Sarkar Sarhind of Subah Delhi and Mahals of Bajwara, Dardak, Rahimabad and more. The chaudhari’s of Ambota in Una district of Himachal Pradesh are Varaha by caste as documented in their vanshavali (shajra). The vanshavali further details a few important notes on the extent of the kingdom of Raja Anadpal. His capital was in Bhatinda and ruled over the hills of Shimla (Shamla), Dehradun and BadriNarain Teerath. This gives the same lineage to the Varyas of Ambota to that of the Hindu Shahi’s. Some of the Raja’s mentioned in the vanshavali are Raja Mansar and Raja Mohar. Thereafter the title changed to Rai, Rana and Chaudhari. Chaudhari Jahjar came from Arniala and settled in Ambota.

Varaha ruled the plains of Punjab in the early medieval century (Devra, 2003). According to Muhnot Nainsi, the famous Khyat writer of seventeenth-century Rajasthan, Varha were the lords of the forts, like Uchchha (near Multan) and Derawar (Baltistan) at that time. The Khyats of Jaisalmer also include Vitheda or Bhatinda under their possession (Devra, 2003). Bhatinda’s fort, the oldest fort in India, was built between the 4-6th century A.D. by Raja Dhab, who was a Varaha Rajput (Ibbeston, D., 1883).The presence of Varaha in the region of Baluchistan has also been mentioned in the work of James Tod (Tod, 1920). Muhnot Nainsi, too, informs that the territory lying between Hakra and Derawar, along with the forts of Uchchha (near Multan) and Derawar (in the upper Sind), were parts of their possession (Nainsi, 1967).

The Hindu Shahis were the last known great Varaha’s dynasty who were forced to retreat to Kashmir and the interiors of Himachal Pradesh after repeated invasions by Mahmud Ghazanvi. During the Mughal rule, most of them converted to Islam, a handful of them who did not convert moved into the hills of Himachal Pradesh to escape from the oppression and thus probably did not reveal their identity. The ancestors of Varaha’s are associated with famous forts like those at Chittorgarh, Kangra, and Bhatinda, to name a few. Temples like the famous Somanatha temple in Gujarat , the Multan Sun Temple, Universities like the Sarda University in Kashmir. They donated to the construction of Buddhist Stupas and the famous Bamiyan Buddha statues. They ruled over Western, Northern and Central India during the medieval period after having ruled in the Khorasan region of Central Asia, now North Iran and Afghanistan.

Varahas have defended Bharatavarsha’s Northern frontiers with valour and courage, offering supreme sacrifices to ward off invaders. The name Varaha is derived from the third avatar of Lord Vishnu (Varaha meaning “boar” in Sanskrit), which he took in the Satya Yug. Lord Vishnu is incarnated in this avatar as a Boar to protect the earth (Prithvi). The name also appears in Central -Asian, and Iranian tribes, also known as Indo-Scythic tribes, as Varaz/Waraz/Barah, which has the same meaning. The book that I am writing will trace Varaha’s journey from Mongolia through Central Asia in the 4-5th Century A.D. ,Gandhara 9-10th Century and Punjab, Himachal Pradesh.

The Indo-Scythic tribes trace their origin to the Hephthalites. The Hephthalites originated from North China as the Xiongnu tribe at the beginning of the 1st century. Due to the prevailing internal strife and unsettled political atmosphere, they migrated west towards Central Asia. As they moved, hordes of other tribes joined them too. Hephthalite identity changed from an ethnic tribe to a political entity. A branch split and migrated towards Europe, and the other migrated south towards Central Asia, South Asia. As they moved, they displaced other tribes, thereby altering the region’s demographics. The Varahas are these Hephthalites from Central Asia who had long settled in the Bactria region. They are also one of the seven noble families of Persia, called the ‘House of Waraz’ during the Sassanian reign.

The Y-chromosome haplogroup Q has three major branches: Q1, Q2, and Q3. The haplogroup Q3-L275 is confined to West Asia and neighboring parts of Central and South Asia – mainly Pakistan, West India, and up to 7% in Iran. Over the past decade, Chinese archaeologists have published several reviews regarding the results of excavations in Xinjiang. They imply the genetic composition of Xiongnu’s supreme ruling class.

Al-Beruni, the historian once wrote, “The Hindu Shahi dynasty is now extinct, and of the whole house there is no longer the slightest remnant in existence. We must say that, in all their grandeur, they never slackened in the ardent desire of doing that which is good and right, that they were men of noble sentiment and bearing”. I have traced their origin and where they are at present. I am a Hindu Shahi and a proud Varaha.

Source: Pakistan Observer

According to local media, an explosion occurred in the city of Jalalabad located in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan.

According to the report, the incident happened in the fourth district of this city near Sikh temple.

According to the Sputnik news agency, the head of the Taliban’s Intelligence and Culture Department in Nangarhar confirmed the explosion and said that 6 civilians were injured in the bomb explosion in Jalalabad city.

Early on June 18, heavily-armed militants targeted a gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship, in the Afghan capital Kabul. Several blasts tore through the Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul’s Bagh-e Bala neighborhood before militants opened fire and hurled grenades at the site. At least two people were killed and another seven injured in the attack.

The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), an Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the gurdwara.

According to statistics, there were around 220,000 Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan in the 1980s. That figure dropped to 15,000 in the early 1990s and to 1,350 in 2016. The multiple attacks on Sikhs between 2018 and 2021, especially the assault on the Rai Sahib gurdwara, forced thousands to flee Afghanistan.—Afghanistan Times

Related article on Pajhwok Afghan News site.

Source: Pajhwok Afghan News by Yousuf Zarifi

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The only remaining Sikh in eastern Nangarhar province, Gulcharan Singh, says his love for the country is not letting him migrate elsewhere and has forced him to stay and serve his countrymen.

Singh, 60, a resident of Sherzad district, has been running a Greek medicine shop in Jalalabad city for decades. He says his profession is a family heirloom and he has served his people for decades with great pride.

After the fall of former president Dr. Najibullah’s government, he recalled, Sikhs started leaving Afghanistan. Only 45 families out of 10,000 families remained in Nangarhar until recently.

He said a new wave of Sikhs migration began after the recent political change, but after the Daesh-claimed attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul, many Sikh families left Nangarhar, Ghazni and Kandahar provinces.

Singh said out of the 45 families, his family was the only one remaining in Nangarhar and all other Sikh families left Afghanistan and handed over their businesses to their pupils.

He said the Sikhs started leaving Afghanistan after the collapse of Dr. Najib’s government. “Their children got education abroad. They have either sold their properties here or people have seized them.”

Singh said he faced no problem in the current government and the governor of Nangarhar and some other security officials had repeatedly visited him and assured him of all kind of cooperation and security.

He added: “The governor himself came, the director of intelligence came. They gave me their phone numbers and said to contact them if I faced any problem from anyone.”

Gulcharan Singh’s children, like other Afghan Sikhs, are in India where they received education. One of his sons, who is a doctor, runs a small hospital in India.

“Anderpal Singh is my eldest son, my second son is Sandeep Singh who is also a doctor, my third son is a computer science graduate and the fourth is a 12th grader.”

The only Afghan Sikh left in Nangarhar says he could live a comfortable life in India where his children reside “But my heart is attached to Afghanistan and I don’t enjoy living there (India)”.

“We are Afghans and familiar with the climate of Afghanistan. I fall sick wherever I go to India. My heart is happy here, otherwise my business is very good there.”

Gulcharan Singh said still many people in Nangarhar used Greek medicine for treatment and with it his business was running

He hoped that one day the situation in the country would improve and the exiled Afghan Sikhs would return to Afghanistan.

Source: Business Standard (Press Trust of India)

The Centre on Monday decided to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and currently living in two districts of Gujarat under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The move to grant citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and not the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) bears significance.

The CAA also provides for granting Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but as the rules under the Act have not been framed by the government yet, no one so far could be granted citizenship under it.

According to a Union home ministry notification, those Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians residing in the districts of Anand and Mehsana in Gujarat will be allowed registration as a citizen of India under section 5 or will be granted certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009.

Such people living in the two districts of Gujarat have to submit their applications online which will then be verified by the collector at the district level. The application and reports thereon shall be simultaneously made accessible online to the central government, the notification read.

The collector may make such inquiry as he considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant and for that purpose forwards the application online to such agencies for verification and comments as may be required for completing such an inquiry, it said.

After completing the entire process, the collector, being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, grants him or her the citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation and issues a certificate of registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, the notification said.

The Narendra Modi government wants to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians — from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who had come to India till December 31, 2014.

There were massive protests in some parts of the country after the CAA was passed by Parliament in December 2019 and the subsequent presidential nod. Over a hundred people lost their lives during the protests.

However, the CAA has not been implemented so far as rules under it are yet to be framed.

According to the Manual on Parliamentary Work, the rules for any legislation should have been framed within six months of presidential assent or seek extension from the Committees on Subordinate Legislation in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

In January 2020, the home ministry notified that the Act would come into force from January 10, 2020, but it later requested the parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to give it some more time to implement rules as the country was going through its worst ever health crisis due to the Covid pandemic.

Last fortnight, the Union home ministry had been granted yet another extension by the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules of the CAA.

While the permission has been granted from the Rajya Sabha till December 31, 2022, the Lok Sabha has granted time till January 9, 2023.

This was the seventh extension given to the home ministry to frame the rules under the CAA.

Source: Pajhwok Afghan News

KABUL (Pajhwok): A special flight carrying 55 Sikh and Hindu refugees from Afghanistan has landed in New Delhi, Indian media reported on Monday.

The latest batch of minority members leaving Afghanistan late on Sunday included 38 adults and 17 children, the Press Trust of India said.

The Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee arranged the special flight that landed in the Indian capital Sunday evening.

Indian lawmaker Vikramjit Singh Sahney said they had been in contact with the Ministry of External Affairs for the evacuation of the Sikhs and Hindus stranded in Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan facilitated the repatriation of the minority members, who would be given all possible facilities, the MP said.