The longest lasting Afghan dynasty in history : Lohanis of Jalore and Palanpur

The dynasty of Nuhani Afghans which held sway at Jalore (Rajasthan, India) for nearly three hundred years, and which, after session of this town and district to Marwar by Aurangzeb in 1697, transferred its capital to Palanpur (Gujarat, India) where it ruled till 1947. By virtue of its an uninterrupted rule extending over five centuries and half, the ruling house of Palanpur was ranked as the oldest among the Muslim states of India in 1947. They belonged to Aba Khel section of Mian Khel branch of Nuhani tribe.

About 1370 a soldier of fortune named Malik Khurram Khan Nuhani, accompanied by his relatives and retainers, left Bihar and came to Jalore, a fort and a district in Marwar , where he took service under the then Ruler Chauhan Sangara Rajput Visaldev.

Visaldev was assassinated by the Rathor Prince of Mandor. Malik Khurram Khan who was at that time the Deputy Governor of Jalore, immediately installed the Dowager Princess Popan Bai on the gadi. But ultimately disagreement arose between Rajputs and Afghans, and Popan Bai issued an order for execution of Malik Khurram Khan. Malik Khurram Khan having previously obtained information of the conspiracy besieged the Palace, from which Popan Bai deserted by her supporters, managed to escape and the vacant Gadi passed into the hands of Malik Khurram Khan who established his sovereignty there in 1391. In this unexpected manner a strong Muslim power was founded in the very heart of Rajputana.

Malik Khurram Khan was succeeded by Malik Yousaf Khan who in turn was succeeded by his son Malik Hasan Khan who enlarged his fiefdom. Malek Khuram Khan was, recognized by the Gujerat Sultan as the Ruler of Jalore.

Malek Usman Khan, 5th Ruler of this House, was granted the hereditary title of ” Zubdat-ul-Mulk ” by Mohamed Begda, the Sultan of Gujerat. Under Malik Usman Khan, Muslim authority became definitely established in south Rajputana and north Gujarat, and he was presented with dresses of honour by the Lodi Sultan at Delhi. Malik Usman Khan accepted the doctrines of Mahdavis. From this period the ruling princes of Jalor and Palanpur continued to be attached to the Mahdavi creed.

The reign of Malek Sikandarkhan, second in succession from Mujahid Khan the fourth in descent from Malek Hasan was disturbed by the attack of Rao Maldev of Jodhpur, who took and plundered both Jalore and Sanchore. Malik Sikander Khan, who died in 1548, was succeeded by Malik Ghazni Khan, the twelfth Ruler of Jalore, restored the prestige of the Jalore family. The emperor Akbar bestowed on him the hereditary title of ” Dewan ” in recognition of his conspicuous services on the frontier and presented him with a robe of Honour and a jewel-studed sword.

Banu Begum, the Emperor’s foster sister, was given in marriage to Dewan Ghazni Khan, and the emperor gave the principality of Palanpur, Deesa, Dhantiwada, etc., as a dowry. Dewan Ghazni Khan was also appointed Governor of Lahore. His services were further recognized by Emperor Jahangir who increased Dewan Ghazni Khan’s former rank by 500 infantry and 400 horses. His son Pahar was executed by Jahangir,

“When I came to Dih Qaziyan, near Ujjain, I summoned Pahar – This wretch had been put by me, after the death of his father, in possession of the Fort and the district of Jalor, his ancestral home. He is a young man and was often checked by his mother for his bad bahaviour. Annoyed at this, he entered with some of his companions her apartments, and killed her. I investigated the case, found him guilty, and had him executed.” [Tuzk-i-Jahangiri]

Another son of Ghaznin Khan is Nizam, who died in the 6th year of Shahjahan’s reign. He was a commander of 900, 650 horse. Ghaznin’s brother Firuz was a commander of 600, 400 horse, and died in the 4th year. The Padishahnamah mentions also a Mujahid of Jalor, who in the 20th year of Shahjahan’s reign was a commander of 800, 800 horse.

The Lohanis lost Jhalor to Dalpat Singhji Rathor during the early seventeenth century, victims of the alliance between Emperor Jehangir and the Rajputs. Diwan Pahar Khan I was forced to withdraw to the Aravali foothills in Gujarat. Pahar’s successor, Diwan Firuz alias Kamal Khan, was reconciled to the Imperial authorities after Emperor Shah Jahan acknowledged his services in bringing in the outlaw, Kanji Koli.

After half a century of independence, the state came under increasing harassment by the Marathas. Like their neighbours, they were subject to the usual arbitrary “indemnities” and “taxes” that amounted to little more than extortion. The Lohani’s therefore became keen allies of the British and concluded a treaty of alliance and protection with the EIC in 1817.


1- “List of Ruling Princes and Chiefs in Political Relations with the Government of Bombay and their Leading Officials, Nobles and Personages”, 1938.
2- “A history of Gujarat, including a survey of its chief architectural monuments and inscriptions”, 1938.

The Diwan of Palanpur with his two sons




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