An Ethnographic Note on Kambojas in Sindh


An Ethnographic Note on Kambojas in Sindh

Around 4000B.C.Kambojas tribe was living in Tajikstan, the state situated in thesouthern U.S.S.R, to the north of Tibet and Afghanistan in the Pamir-Badakhshan region(1), when most probably pushed by the Mongols from thenortheast, its members crossed the Himalayas through the Kura Kuram passes,moved southwards along the Indus, and traveling through Kashmir, reachedPanjab and Sindh,contributed to the development of the Indus Valley Civilization ,and merged with the Dravedian people. This process continued and the peoplereached Afghanistan and the areas further to its west, from where they usedto travel along the Silk route to Europe to sell their horses, which they were expert in breeding and riding(2). During the third millennium they were well settled in Afghanistan, where during the Vedic times they contributed to the creation, preservation and propagation of the Vedic lore and the formation of the Brahman varna, which explains the commonality of over two dozen clans/gotras between the Brahmans and the Kambojas(3).Here the Kurus and the Kambojas, one tribe originally, split into two, but jointly participated in the Bharata war, in which they were defeated, and the Kambojas were taken by Krishnaas war prisoners to Gujarat ,where they were a free people after thirty sixyears(4). An other section went to southern Panjab and Sindh(5). The Vedasmention boats with hundred oars(6) sailing in the Panjab rivers, which may betaken to mean that many from this tribe moved to Sindh by boats. Besides the people have been moving from Afghanistan to Sindh via Bolan pass along with their flocks, and it is probable that several from amongst this tribe reached Sindh as shepherd(7).

Their Foot Prints in Sindh

Scholars(8) mention Kambistholi in southern Panjab/Sindh during the b.c. era, which means that a section of this tribe had been living here to have a town associated with its name, and that it must have settled here centuries earlier to stamp its name on this place. Another town in this region is named Sarangoli ,which seems to be associated with Sarang, a clan of this tribe. During the janapada times Mc Crindle (9) mentions Kamboga janapada in this region, where letter g seems to have been used for j. It is probable that Kambistholi was its capital. Besides Lambrick (10) notes place names in the Sindh region which are evidently associated with this tribe. Some of these are: Kabana/ Kaumana , a place in the Arabian sea in the Sindh region at the time of Alexander which was visited by Nearchues (p.124). Kambali, a town in Sindh, three days journey from Sehwan and two days from Debal (p.240). Kambu , a range of mountains in Sindh, facing Lakhi Hills across Baran valley, made of limestones, twenty miles long and 2300 feet high, half way between Hyderabad and Karachi as the crow flies (p49). Kambah, a lake by the river, corresponding to the western Nara (p.156). Kio, an islet 123 feet above the sea level 1.25 miles off shore (p.124). Kai ,a township and a flat topped hill, a few hundred yards from western Kohistan which is now inhabited by the Baloches .Evidently they formed an other stratum over the area inhabited by the people, whose name changed from Kamboja to Kavoch and then to Kaoch,Koch and Cutch. This area was adjacent to Gujarat, where the Kambojas had settled around 1000 b.c. Runn of Cutch like Kachha, seems to draw its name from this tribe (p.217). Kachhi are the people living in that area (p.108,218 ). Majumdar (11) notes a place in the Sindh noted by Nearchues as Kaumana. There is a mountain called Kamb and a tributary of Indus named Kambh to its western side in the Sindh province of Pakistan (12 ) . Kautilya in his Arthasastra (11.1.04.) mentions Kamboja Saurashtra Kshatrya shreni adayo varta shastra upajivinah_--Kamboja corporations of warriors, traders, farmers and shepherds in western India. Chachnama mentions a river named Kanbah and the community described as Kai and Ka'ab. These are just some of the footprints of this tribe in this region pertaining to the b.c. era, which have survived to these times, and many more can be found., but they suffice to mark its presence here in ancient times.

Chandra Gupta Maurya started in Sindh

Alexander had to face stiff resistance from half a dozen states in Afghanistan around Koh-e-More area inhabited by this tribe, and during those days Sircar (13) mentions twenty eight states in north western India,the last one of those was called Patalene, which had its capital at Bahmanabad, and it was ruled by two hereditary kings, one of which was named Moeres/Maurya. This state most probably belonged to the Kambojas, who were Brahmans belonging to the Chach clan of this tribe,who again ruled this area in the seventh century . According to Gupta(14) Chandra Gupta Maurya belonged to the Ashvak section of the Kambojas, and he was called Maurya because he hailed from the Koh-e-More region of Afghanistan. It seems that his ancestors came from that area, but he belonged to Patalene , and this explains his recruiting his men and procuring horses from this region, starting his fight from here, and after shaking the Greek dispensation invading Patna.There is no doubt that Chandra Gupta belonged to Panjab and Vishnu Gupta was his teacher at Taxila, and both the Guptas executed the plan to conquer Patna. It was because of a strong social base in this region that the Guptas could organize the resources to win the victories that they did. After a fight with the Guptas the Macedonians, the political inheritors of Alexander, accepted him the monarch of India and established diplomatic relations with him, while the Guptas focussed their attention on eastern India.

Deepak Kamboj

Deepak Kamboj started and conceptualized the powerful interactive platform - KambojSociety.com in September 2002, which today is the biggest and most popular online community portal for Kambojas in the world. He was inspired by the social and community work carried out by his father Shri Nanak Chand Kamboj. He has done research on the history, social aspects, political growth and economical situation of the Kamboj community. Deepak Kamboj is an author of various articles about the history of Kamboj community and people.