Minhas is an off-shoot of Jamwal-Dogra Rajputs, the founders of the city and state of Jammu. The Minhas were a warrior clan and it was in the early 13th century, during the time of the conquests by the early Islamic phase of Muhammed Ghauri, many of these warriors fighting for the Dogras converted to Islam. There were a large number of Minhas families living in Jammu and surrounding villages all the way up to Poonch. Many were small cropholders as well as loggers. Till the present day there are still Minhas families scattered around the region; their names may be spelt differently such as Manhas and Minhasian. One such village is Paghwari Minhasaan.
The Minhas branch from which Abdul Rashid descended were originally engaged in timber logging, they managed the forest estates of the Dogra rulers of Jammu, They were hardy forest men and after logging would send the timber downstream to the fertile plains of Punjab from where it would be distributed.
In the early 1700’s, the earliest known direct ancestor of Abdul Rashid, named Rai Luckoo Minhas (b. 1690) migrated down-river to the town of garrison town of Sialkot, at that time a town populated by a mix of Hindu, Sikh and Muslims.
Rai's aim was to support his family up-river by establishing a sawing and distribution facility at Sialkot for the family timber floated downstream. The logs were collected from the river, sawn in the newly-created timber mills and loaded onto bullock carts for distribution around the Punjab. Early accounts were that Rai Luckoo was successful in this venture and his local footprint grew with his sons; Amanat Minhas (b. 1720) and Shahadat Minhas.
The Rai Minhas
Descendants of this branch in Sialkot are also known as Rai Minhas, after Rai Luckoo.
This family tree is from 1690 to present day. It is in Excel format, click on it and scroll left and right to see the family members. See if you can discover yourself or your descendants. Please contact me if you can.
From Shahadat Minhas to Atta Mohammed to Meher Ellahi
Not much is known of Shahadat Minhas, however Amanat married and fathered a son, Haji Minhas (b. 1750) and a daughter (unknown). Haji Minhas was a rather frail man and very religious. He was well-respected as he was in the rare position of having performed Haaj. However the timber profession was not for him, and he took up the somewhat less labour-intensive trade of tailoring and settled in the district of Rangpura. Therefore from the late1790’s the Minhas family in Sialkot took on this concern as their primary means of income.
Haji Minhas fathered two sons; Mian Hashim Minhas and Mian Qasim Minhas (both born around 1790). The title Mian (pronounced ‘Miah’) was conferred upon them as clan-elders. The older of the two sons Mian Hashim is the great, great-grandfather of Abdul Rashid. Little contact is maintained with the other brother Mian Qasim and his present day descendants.
Mian Hashim had three sons; Mian Noor Ahmed, Mian Ghulam Ali and Mian Ghulam Moyyid-Din (1820 – 1900). Mian Ghulam Moyyid-Din (1820 – 1900) was Rashid's great grandfather and he in turn fathered two sons; Mian Abdus-Samad (born around 1850) and Mian Atta Mohammed (1860 – 1952), and three daughters (Fazal Bibi, Aisha Bibi and Karam Bibi). Unfortunately the author was unable to locate any photographs of Mian Ghulam Moyyid-Din.
Mian Atta Mohammed was the grandfather of our father Abdul Rashid. He is seen below resting in the chair. Our father had very fond memories of him as a child and considered him as a strong unifying force. Atta Mohammed married Hussain Bibi (see the picture on the top left below and the family tree) and they bore three sons; Meher Ellahi (1887 – 1969) , Fazal Ellahi (1895 – 1994) and Mohamed Sadiq (1908-1972), and three daughters; Mehera Bibi (1890 – 1924), Begum Bibi (1900 – 1961) and Barkat Bibi (1905 – 1973). Meher Ellahi was the father of Rashid as is shown in the picture to the right below with his wife.