I am a Punjabi and being a Punjabi, I have always been fascinated and obsessed by the land and history of the present day India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sindh, Punjab, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. The current topic that I have been researching on and already done with a lot is “Saini People”.
Saini is the Punjabi version of the Sanskrit word ‘Sainik’. Sainik means soldier in Sanskrit and hence it is inevitable that Sainis were mainly the soldiers of Punjab and Sindh region. To this day, Sainis are found mainly in the Indian Punjab, Delhi and Pakistani Punjab. Most Muslim Sainis have lost their identity and use Arabic surnames like Zaheer, Elahi, Salmani, Qureshi, Saifi, etc.
After the Muslim invasion of North and West India, the Kshatriyas (Khatris), the ruling class, were either killed, converted or reduced down to traders. Sainis were always persecuted by the Khatris and other rich castes, hence, most of them found no barrier converting to Islam. Rest either migrated eastwards or were reduced to the gardening job. The Hindi and Punjabi word for gardener is Maali. 999 out of 1000 Indians are unaware of the soldier or warrior background of the Sainis and they are only aware of their gardening background. Hence, they are sometimes still persecuted.
One of the subcastes of the Sainis is Bhela; Bhelas are the ones who used to grow the Bael tree and dealt in Baers. Bael is considered a very sacred tree in India and the Bhelas were the least persecuted subcastes among Sainis. The Sainis were persecuted so much that anybody from the Aroras or Khatris marrying a Saini would be persecuted too.
Whatever, the Sainis are very good-looking, well-built and energetic people, but they suffer from a lot of diseases due to marrying only in their caste traditionally. The current generation has started marrying the people of other castes or vice versa.