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Awan is the name of a fiercely independent and warlike tribe, settled in the mountainous region of the Salt Range, Punjab, Pakistan, for atleast one thousand year. Their warlike nature and dominant position earned them a powerful reputation in Punjab. Under the British Raj of India, they were designated as a "Martial Race".
At some time between the era of Mahmud of Ghazni and Sultan Shahab ud din Ghori Arabs marauders captured the mountainous region of Salt range and settled in the mountains after they defeated the Janjuas, Gakhars, and other Rajput tribes until they permanently settled.
It is stated in the Imperial Gazetteer of India that “They are essentially a tribe of the Salt Range, where they once held independent possessions of very considerable extent, and in the western and central portions of which they are still the dominant race.” While writing about the Chiefs of Punjab, Sir Lepel Henry Griffin states in his book entitled, “The Panjab Chiefs: the most authentic book on the subject that;
“All branches of the tribe (Awans) are unanimous in stating that they originally came from neighourhood of Ghazni to India, and all trace their genealogy to Hasrat Ali the son-in-law of the Prophet. Kutab Shah, who came from Ghazni with Sultan Mahmud, was the common ancestor of the Awans…….It was only in the Rawalpindi, Jhelam and Shahpur districts that they became of any political importance……. In Shahpur District the Awans held the hilly country to the north west, Jalar, Naoshera (Naushera) and Sukesar, where the head of the tribe still resides.”
Qutub Shah married Aysha, a desendant of Hazrat Imam Hussain and begat two son from this Hashmite wife. After he took three wives, Zeenab, Khadija, Kalsoom from among the families of Hindu Rajas..............
"The home of the Awan in the Panjab is the Salt Range",............."The best of the Musalman tribes comes from the Salt range"...............But the main noble branch of Awan tribe maintained their dominian in these mountainous regions. These are undoubtedly the leading tribes among the Awan people. As a whole this is they who have kept alight the lantern of the race. They regards themselves and indeed are regarded as the truest and finest exponents of the Awan tribe in bravery, in dignity, in counsel and many would admit their claim...............
.... the most suitable persons for army were available in the north-west part of India...............Of these perhaps the most interesting were the Awans of the Salt Range........."The best of the Musalman tribes comes from the Salt range".