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Barkia (बरकिया) Barkiya (बरकिया) gotra Jats live in Pali district in Rajasthan. Baraki (बरकी) clan is found in Baghlan district of Afghanistan.[1]


They have originated from Barke town of Lybya (554 BC) as mentioned by Herodotus and Barkai or Barkaians clans in 330 B.C..


H. W. Bellew [2] writes that The sixth satrapy comprised Egypt, and the Libya bordering thereon, and Kyrene, and Barke, and the Lake Moeris. Here we find something of interest to us. I have already quoted the

[Page-61]: passage in Herodotus, describing the transportation of the Barkaians from the far distant Libya to the village in Kunduz of Baktria, which the exiles named Barke in commemoration of the Libyan Barke ; which was founded 554 B.C, and only half a century prior to their own enslavement and deportation as captives of war, by a colony from the adjoining Greek settlement in Kyrene.

Herodotus, after describing the manner in which the Libyan Barke was founded by Greek colonists (Bk. iv. 1B5), states that the name given to the first king was Battus, which in the Libyan tongue meant "king." I mention this because in the Logar valley of Kabul, which is to-day their principal settlement in Afghanistan, the Baraki tribe have two villages close together, the one called the Baraki Rajan, the other the Baraki Barak ; a distinction probably marking some recognised difference originally existing amongst the exiled Barkaians (Barkai of Herodotus) on their first settlement in these parts, such as the Barkai of the king's family or household, and the Barkai of the city of Barke ; for such is the exact meaning of the names themselves — Baraki Rajan meaning " Royal Barkai," Baraki Bark meaning " Barke of the Barkai." That these Baraki of Afghanistan, or rather their ancestors the Barkai of Herodotus, were recognised as Greeks by Alexander and his followers — notwithstanding the absence of any such explicit statement, and of the mention even of their name — seems clear from a passage in Arrian (Bk. iii. 28), who — after saying that, from the Euergetes Alexander directed his march against Baktria, and on his way received the homage of the Drangai, Gadrosoi, and Arakhotoi (each of which nations we shall speak of later on) ; and then proceeded to the Indians adjacent to the Arakhotoi (the Indians in the Paropamisus about Ghazni, the former seat of the Batani tribe before described), all which nations he subdued with the utmost toil and difficulty, owing to the deep snow and extremities of want ; and then, marching to Mount Caucasus, built a city there which he called Alexandria — adds, that in this city Alexander left a Persian prefect in the government of the country, with a party of his troops for his support, and then passed over the mountains, at a part where the surface was bare, nothing but the sylphium (Pukhto tarkha = "wormwood"), and the turpentine tree (Pukhto khinjak = " mastich ") growing there, but the country very populous and supporting multitudes of sheep and neat cattle, for they feed on the sylphium, of which, says Arrian, the sheep especially were so fond that some of the Kyreneans left their sheep at a distance and enclosed within a fence, to prevent their destroying the sylphium by gnawing the roots, as it was there very valuable.

This mention of the Kyreneans in Baktria, near the present Kabul,

[Page-62]: and the Barkai or Barkaians, in 330 B.C., is extremely interesting in relation to the colony of the Greek exiles transported from the kingdom of Kyrene in Libya, of which Barke was but a branch, to this very country by Darius Hystaspes, as before related ; and affords important evidence in corroboration of my identification of the Baraki tribe of Kabul with the Barkai exiles of Herodotus ; for these Kyreneans mentioned by Arrian can be none other than the Barkaians of whom Herodotus speaks, viz., the Baraki of Baghlan in Kunduz.

After the time of the Greek dominion the Baraki, it would appear, increased greatly in numbers and influence, and acquired extensive possessions towards Hindu Kush in the north, and the Suleman range in the south, and eastward as far as the Indus.

During the reign of Mahnud Ghaznavi the Baraki were an important tribe, and largely aided that Sultan in his military expeditions. The reputation then acquired as soldiers they still retain, and the Afghan monarchs — of the Barakzi family at all events — always entertain a bodyguard composed exclusively of Baraki. The Baraki are mentioned by the Emperor Babar as among the principal tribes of Kabul in the early part of the sixteenth century. They are now reckoned at about ten thousand families in Afghanistan, and, besides their head quarters in Kunduz and Logar, have settlements in Butkhak, and at Kanigoram in the Vaziri country, and on the Hindu Kush, about Bamian and Ghorband districts. In Afghanistan, though their true origin is not suspected, the Baraki are considered a distinct people by themselves ; they are disclaimed alike by Afghan and Pathan, by Ghilji and Hazarah, by Tajik and by Turk. Amongst themselves the Baraki use a peculiar dialect, which is more of a Hindi language than anything else, to judge from the few words I have met with.

The Baraki pretend descent from the Arab invaders, but this is a conceit of their conversion to Islam. They are a fine, tall, and active people, with fairer complexions than the generality of Afghans, and are held in consideration as a respectable people. They have no place in the Afghan genealogies by that name, being generally reckoned along with the Tajik population. Yet it is not altogether improbable that the present ruling tribe of the Durani in Afghanistan is originally derived from the Baraki ; for I can find no other source whence the Barakzi can have sprung ; the same remark applies also to the great Barak clan of the Khatak tribe. By reckoning these Durani Barak and Khatak Barak as offshoots from the Baraki, the Barkai of Herodotus, the great decline of the Baraki — perhaps at that time properly called Baraki — from the prosperity and influence they

[Page-63]: are said to have enjoyed in the reign of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, is at once explained. Possibly the split and alienation may have been owing to the readiness of the one and the reluctance of the other to accept Islam in the early period of its introduction.

Distribution in Rajasthan

Villages in Pali district

Alawas, Kala Pipal Ki Dhani, Mandiyan, Sojat Road,

Notable persons

External links


  1. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.52,61.62
  2. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.58

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