History of Lohanas


Originally Lohanas were a prominent community of the Kshatriya caste (Sanskrit Kshatriya) that originated in the region of Punjab and later on migrated to Sindh and present-day Gujarat state in India around 800 years ago. As administrators and rulers, Kshatriya Lohanas are assigned with protecting the people and serving humanity. In the course of time, however as a result of economic and political exigencies, the Lohanas are now mainly engaged in to mercantile occupations.

Some of the Lohanas converted to Sunni Islam and they are called Memon (Gujarati).

Ismaili Dai’ Pir Sadardin converted many of them to the Ismaili sect of Islam. They are known as “Khoja”. Presently Khoja Ismailis are spread in many countries such as India, Pakistan, Canada, UK, and USA.


Early History

Lohanas trace their roots in history right up to the advent of Aryas (Aryans) in the Indian sub-continent, making theirs the probably oldest surviving community in the world. According to puranic sources Aryan civilization was established by king Ishaku (Ikshvaku) some two or three millennia before Christ (BC). His 22nd descendent (Ref: Valmiki Ramayan, Balkand sarg 70 shlok 38 to 43) was the great king Raghu, a great conqueror, who established the Raguvansh Dynasty.

Lohana’s history begins with king Raghu, who belonged to the Suryavanshi lineage, so called because they worshiped the sun (Surya). Raghu’s 14th descendent was Sri Ram (Valmaki Ramayan Balkand sarg 70); his younger three brothers being Bharat, Lakshaman and Shatrughana.

Rama was considered an avatar or incarnate of lord Vishnu, protector of the universe according to Vedic or Hindu mythology. Lord Rama divided his vast kingdom into eight parts, giving one each to his and his three brothers’ eight children. Ram’s elder son was Kush, who was given a Dakshin Kaushal which was in the Gangetic basin. Descendants of Kush are known as KUSHWAHA. The younger son of Ram was Luv, who was given the north (uttar Kasuhala) of his kingdom (Ref: Valmaki Ramayan Uttar Kand sarg 107), which later called Luvalka or Luv’s land consisting of present day Lahore (Capitol of Pakistan).

Luv is portrayed in the Ramayana as a great warrior. In one of the episodes of the Ramayana even though he is a mere boy in the hermitage, he brings the entire army of his father Lord Rama (under the command of his uncle Laxman) to a standstill by the prowess at archery (of course along with his older brother Kush). His descendants too were cast in the same mould, but they were not satisfied with Luvalka and pushed to the west and annexed today’s Afghanistan and adjoining areas. This has confirmed by Chinese traveller Fa-hien, who visited India between 414 and 399 BC. He calls Lohanas a brave community ruling the northwest territory of India. Col. Todd, who delved into the history of Rajasthan describes Lohanas as the oldest Kshatriya community.

Around 580 BC., when king Bimbisara ruled over Bharat (India), the society came to be divided into different communities based on their occupation. One of their communities was called Kshatriyas and King Luv’s descendants were classed with them and came to be known as Luvanam, which was also referred to as Luvana. The Luvanas from Loharghat became known as Loharana (masters of swords; or iron chiefs (Loha=iron, Rana=chief)), which later became Lohana.

From Fa-hien downwards all pay tribute to Lohanas as brave a community. One of the possible reasons for this bravery is that they had placed themselves for centuries in the direct path of invaders from northwest like Persians, Macedonians, Huns, Mughals, etc.

Veer Jashraj, who is revered as Dada Jashraj for his masterful leadership, was born in the city of Lohar (today’s Lahore in Pakistan), which was the capital of Lohargadh. His domain extended from Lahore to Multan (also in Pakistan today). His descendants proudly carry the surname of Mirana to preserve the memory of this great warrior king. He was treacherously killed when he was only 28- a life so short but full of heroic deeds. After the death of Dada Jashraj, the decline of Lohanas began and their reign at Lohargadh ended.

Recent History

In 1422 AD, 700 Lohana families comprising of some 6,178 converted to Islam at the hands of one SaiyedYusuffuddinQadri in Thatta Sindh — these are now known as Memons.

Uderolal is revered as Dariyalal, his father was Ratnarai Thakur, who lived 90 miles from Narayankot, (now Hyderabad, Sindh). Uderolal fought with the chief Markah. Even today he is revered both by Hindus and Muslims who visit the site of his Samadhi.

The Lohanas felt their identity was increasingly threatened in Sindh and they began to migrate towards Kutchh, Saurashtra, Gujarat and even as far as Thailand. In Gujarati, Lohanas performing the puja (ritual worship) of Dariyalal are known as Pujaras and Dariyalal’s descendants as Ratnani. In the battle of Zora, Lohana women fought alongside their men, and the land of Kutchh is strewn with memorial stones marking the deaths of Lohanas. A saying in Gujarati eulogises Lohana women thus: Only Rajputani, Loharani and Miyanai bring forth gems of children.

Lohanas Today

Lohanas are still to be found in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are now Islamic states. In Afghanistan, they still maintain their religious identity and are known as Lokhathra. The Lohanas who keep their Hindu identity in Sindh are known as Sindhi Lohana.

A large number of Hindu Lohanas from Gujarat migrated to the British colonies of East Africa during the early part of the 20th centenary. The descendants of these have moved to Great Britain in recent decades. Many of them have settled in North West London and Leicester. Gujarati Lohanas in East Africa were great entrepreneurs; the Madhvani and Mehta families were the prominent industrialists in Uganda. Today in East Africa, after the Idi Amin period, new prominent Lohana families such as the Ruparelia family have also experienced similar success.

Today, a good number of Gujarati Lohanas reside in Gujarat and in other parts of India. In Gujarat, many of them are in Rajkot, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Outside Gujarat, they can be found in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Bangalore, Mangalore and other major Indian cities. Also, Gujarati Lohanas own the majority of food businesses, especially “farsan marts,” in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. They also have a noticeable share in other businesses. A significant number of Gujarati Lohanas also reside outside India.

Notable Lohanas in recent centuries

  • Guru Nanak – Sikh leader and Guru

  • Jalaram Bapa – spiritual Guru in Gujarat

  • Yogi Maharaj – 4th spiritual successor of Swaminarayan

  • Hiraji-bapa – Nakuru, Kenya

  • Rao Bahadur Sheth Curumsey Damjee

  • Davaram-bapa

  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah (son of Jinabhai Thakkar) Father of Pakistan.

  • Nanjibhai Kalidas Mehta - 20th Centuary business tycoon in Uganda

  • Manubhai Madhavani – business tycoon in East Africa.


Complied by Ajaybhai Popat in 2006, Ashton-U-Lyne.