According to British records 33% of the Labana were baptised Sikhs and were found primarily in the Lahore, Gujranwala, and Sialkot areas. The Labanas (along with many other groups) saw the highest conversions into Sikhism during 1881 1891.
According to George Armand Furse, “The Jut and Lobana castes of Sikhs possess in a high degree the useful knowledge of the lading and care of beasts of burden”.
The name Laban may refer to the transport of salt. “The term Labana appears to be derived out from loon (salt) and bana means trade, and the lubana, Lobana or libana was doubtless the great salt-carrying and salt trading caste”.
Acc. to Gurmat Parkash, Magazine by SGPC, Lobana also means who wear Iron Dress, i.e dress of Military person. They mentioned Lobana were Military persons who served in Guru’s army.
These are also called Bahrupia, on account of their versatility in adopting many professions.
Labanki, the dialect of Labanas, is a mixture of Marwari, Saraiki, Gujarati, and Marathi.
Role in Sikh History
After Guru Harkrishan, the eighth Guru of Sikhism, died in 1664, there was confusion about the identification of his successor. According to Sikh legends, Makhan Shah, a great merchant of the Labana tribe, identified Guru Teg Bahadur as the successor of Guru Harkrishan. Makhan Shah was very helpful to Guru Teg Bahadur during his pontificate. The Labanas participated in battles fought by the tenth Guru.
During the Misl period , the Labanas joined the services of various “Misldars”.
During the eighteenth century the Labanas began to follow a settled way of life. The Labanas of Lower Indus, Gujranwala and Jhang, settled as cultivators during Sikh rule.
Wherever the Labanas settled they named their villages as Tandas. Tanda in Labanki dialect means a travelling body encampment. In Kangra district, the Lobanas had four hamlets, each called Tanda. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Lobanas at some places owned not only parts of villages, but also entire villages and even groups of villages. They were chiefly found in the Punjab during the Sikh rule.
Labanas were listed as a martial race by the British.
Labanas are said to have nomadic roots but are not related to the Lambada or Labada tribe of Andhra. There are some who believe that they are of the same stock as the Gypsies or Roma people of Europe. Labanas have been linked with Gypsies from Turkey.
Today Labana is a landholding-rich community of Punjab. A large number of Labanas are settled abroad in western countries. The people are hard-working and uplifted the community again to its pride, which was in crisis during the early years of partition. Most Sikh Labanas are of western Punjab origin (now in Pakistan) and are called Panahi, while a smaller ratio are of East Punjab origin and are called Jaddi.
Special note: This site is not intend to promote cast system and is made to provide history and where up to Lubana community is. All your discussion based comments are welcomed and vulgar language or disrespect of other communities, faith and religion is not allowed.