Lt. Col. J.M. Wikeley in his book Punjabi Musalmans wrote, "The Sudhans have pride of race and look on themselves as superior to any of the other tribes of Poonch Kashmir". "Sudhuns are mainly settled in the region from Kotli to Sudhan Gali of present Azad Jammu & Kashmir and having the population of 500,000”. Apart from Indian Kashmir Sudhans are also settled in different cities of Pakistan mainly in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Kahuta, Murree and Kotli Sattian.
Rawalakot, in the Poonch District and Pallandri, in the Sudhanoti Districts of Azad Kashmir are major Sudhan strongholds. Internationally Sudhans are settled all over the world and have large communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. A significant Sudhan diaspora is now present in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Belgium. Sudhans are also found in large numbers in Middle East and South Africa.
Major G. Carmichael Smyth in his book A History of the Reigning Family of Lahore states: "About the year 1832, several independent hill-tribes inhabiting the north western regions of the Punjaub [Punjab] were reduced into subjection to the Lahore state. These were the Doondh, Soodhun (Sudhan), Suthee, Hoteels(Muhgals) and Murdiall(Mughals) tribes. The Doondh tribe lived chiefly on the banks of the Jhelum...was in number about fifty or sixty thousand... The Soodhun tribe inhabited a large tract on the eastern bank of the same river opposite the country of the Doondhs, and numbered about forty thousand souls."
In Punjabi Musalmans by Lt. Col. J.M. Wikeley: "Male population.— 25,300. (Census 1838). The Sudhanoti tahsil of Poonch is the home of the Sudhans, but they spread also into the Havali, Bagh and Kotli tehsils and a few even are to be met with across the Jhelum in the Kahuta tahsil of Rawalpindi... The Sudhans are the most important tribe of Poonch."
The history of the Sudhans is replete with conflicting controversies. Whether they came from Ghazni or Kandhar or their ancestor converted to Islam may never be resolved, but it is a fact that they are a distinct tribe whose history demands detailed research.
Afghan Ancesty or Rajput Ancestry:'
According to Major (Retd) Tilla Mohammad, now deceased, a political leader in Peshawar, in his books on the Sudhan tribe stated:
Major (Retd) Tilla Muhammad was himself from Rehara, Kashmir and his ancestors had migrated to Peshawar from Kashmir.
Some Sudhans adopted the name Sadozai, after the publication of the articles by Major (Retd) Tila Muhammad.
Some members of the Sudhan tribe claim that the Sudhan tribe are descendendts from Afghan Pathan tribes; this may just be because Ahmed Shah Durrani's empire consisted of what is now known as Kashmir and the Sudhans just a by-product of the subsequent invasions. However none of this been ascertained by historical or genealogical proof. The only evidence given to this theory is through oral traditions.
Brahmin ancestry: According to Col. (Rtd) Dr. Khalil Khan now deceased, a Dermatologist from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir. "Sudhans were converted to Islam by Aurangzeb Bahadur Alamgir the sixth Mughal ruler".
|“||By origin the Mohyals are certainly Saraswat and still take wives from that group in Gujarat, while in Rawalpindi the five superior sections (Sudhan, Sikhan, Bhaklal, Bhog and Kali) of the Bunjahi Sarsuts used to give daughters Bhimwal(Bhibhal) Mohyal Sarsuts and occasionally to other Mohyal sections.||”|
The name Sudhan also occurs in the Mahabharata mythology, as a descendant of the vedic rishi Angiras, this is also further corroborated by the reference above, although there is no reference of the tribe itself claiming descent from the mentioned Angiras's son Sudhan. Also in the Gazetteer of Rawalpindi, there appears no mention of the Sudhan's Mohyal or Brahmin connection. There are Hindu Sudhans, mostly living in India-controlled Kashmir, and Sikh Sudhans in Indian Punjab and Kashmir.
Castes and Tribes of Poonch by Muhammad Din Folk “Sudhan is shown as one of the 12 communities in Hazara during the Vedic age. Sodhan is described as a Rajput tribe. Sud race is settled in East Punjab”.
Reigning Family of Lahore by Major G. Carmichael Smyth “Sud were originally called suwdik, one of the nomadic tribes who settled in Iran in 900 BC. The name changed to Sogdian-Sulik-Sud due to dialects of Chines, Sogdian & Punjabi writers. Sudrakas (sud race in South Punjab) fought battle with Alexander the Great and gave Alexander a tough time in Sogdian (Summarkand)”.
The Sudhan Revolt (The News 19 October 1997.) By Sardar M. Saleem Khan. "Sudhan, and important and high caste of Chihalis-Rajputs (Aryans)".Gazetteer of Kashmir & Ladakh (1890) "Lehr Muni (ancestor of Sudhan) son of Bawa Muna (Chief of Katas Tirath) migrated from Katas to Poonch in 11th century. One of his descendants Sudh Sain/Pal is the patriarch of Sudhan. Sudhan Chander Bansi dynasty ruled from the capital of Sudhnuti. Sudhan are Muslims as well as Hindus".
Literacy rate in Azad Kashmir soars to 85 percent, leaving the rest of Pakistan behind. The Sudhan tribe in particularly is well educated composing of high literacy rates both among its female and male members.
The Sudhan mother tongue is the Pahari language. Sudhans generally learn and speak the language of the area of settlement but take pride in speaking Pahari. Sudhans living in Karachi and other elite classes have become accustomed to using English and Urdu.
Sudhans rebelled against the Pakistan Army. Pakistan sent the Punjab constabulary along with a Brigade of Pakistan Army, to crush the rebellion. This rebellion damaged the careers of some Sudhans, however, Sudhans supported the rebellion against the Pakistan military.
Sudhans were not given security clearance until 1972, and were not accepted in the Pakistan Military Academy regular course until 1965.
The Sudhans have long history of service in the Armed Forces. This was because in Poonch district, opportunities for employment were few and far between, thus joining the Indian Army was necessary for survival.
Sudhans fought against the British Occupation of India with the Indian National Army. One prominent being Colonel Hidayat Khan. He later fought in the war against Dogra rule.
Sudhans won many gallantry awards in 1948, 1965 and 1971 wars against India.
Sudhans are found among Muslim, Hindu & Sikh religious communities. Muslim Sudhans are mostly Sunni of the Hannafi branch of Islam. With mushrooming of religious madrassas all sects of Sunni Islam have crept into the sudhan belt. There is lately, Wahabi influence, that has crept into Sudhans communities being brought bySaudi Arabian authorities. Traditionally they believed in and revered saints/holy men and visited holy places with enthusiasm as most Sudhans were converted to Islam by Sufi saints.
During the Second World War Sudhans fought in Burma, North Africa and participated in the liberation of Europe. Some Sudhans who participated in the War are receiving war compensation from the Government of Japan. Sudhans are well represented in the military, government and business.
On Saturday, October 8, 2005 a 7.6 magnitude earthquake killed more than 30,000 people and left up to three million homeless in AJK alone. The city of Rawalakot, the capital of the Sudhan tribe, suffered significant damage from the 2005 Kashmir earthquake; although most of the buildings were left standing, many of them were rendered uninhabitable, and some of the population was left homeless. Most of the buildings have been reconstructed, though without the help of the Governments of Pakistan or Azad Kashmir.
In District Rawalakot the Press for Peace team in the supervision of divisional coordinator, Sardar Abid Siddique started rescue and relief work soon after the disaster.Cuba along with the Czech Republic and Jordan provided medical assistance to the population of Rawalakot.