Khan doesn’t mean Pathan – Its a Title, not Caste

There is a common misconception in some parts of our country that Khan means pathan or related descends.

For now, I’m not going to research much and dig out info and online references to what I’ll be saying here, but if anyone needs more info I can definitely try to provide it to them.

Khan is a term used for the leaders, rulers or conquerers of the region.

This term is not only used in Pakistan, but in many other regions like Afghanistan, India, even China (as Xan)

By the way, i hope you guys didn’t think Changaiz Khan was pathan too ;)

So Khan doesn’t mean pathan.

Also, not all pathans are Khans, not at all.

Khan is not a caste. It’s more like social status. Like Raja, Chaudhary etc are not casts. They’re titles used in various castes in Pakistan too and merely describe the profession of that family (or their forefathers to be more specific)


34 thoughts on “Khan doesn’t mean Pathan – Its a Title, not Caste”

    1. thanks for valueable and “non-useless” comment Rashid

      I wrote this post as a reply to a query from one of my friend who asked me why am I not pathan if I’m a Khan.

      I’m sorry to hurt your feelings!

    2. Every Khan is not Pathan. Muslims having name Muhammed, Abdul in addition to Khan are not Pathans.
      It is to be noted that Nizam has awarded many people with the Title “Khan” for their tremendous performance in their duties.
      Pathans, Syeds, Mughals belongs to Noble group of muslims called Ashrafs. These people are foreigners who came to India. They came to India either to Rule India or to spread Islam. Many people in India converted to Islam. They usually had their traditional professions in India
      Islam Staes “La Ilahah Illalah Muhammudur Rasullilah” which means “Allah Is the Almighty and Muhammad is his prophet”.People who believe this statement with their hearts are believed to be muslims. Converted people usually add Muhammed to their names to show they are muslims now.

      Most of the muslims having names mohammed are converted muslims. Peole having hereditarily profession in India are not Pathans.
      See page 11 and 12

  1. Khan is a cast :)..I don’t know why you are saying that its just a term used …. May be some people just use it as their sir names but its basically a cast… I am pathan myself….I don’t agree what you have written..:(

    1. Fariha, i didn’t say its just a word. It’s a Title for someone who achieves something. It’s not a caste

      e.g Shahid Khan Afridi is afridi by caste, not Khan

      don’t know why you want to call it a caste

      or do you really mean that Changaiz Khan was pathan too?

      1. it’s ok, don’t call her fool, it’s not her fault, their parents made them believe that khan is their caste because they might be ashamed of telling them the real caste? or due to some other issue.

  2. hahaha…can’t help laughing :D…any way you even know what are you saying?… its a caste and myself is pathan by caste. May be your right in saying that its a title too for somebody who achieves something but please don’t confuse people as when they will read such things they will misinterpret many things about pathans.

    1. Then what type of caste is this KHAN in Pathans ?

      Historians only says that this term Khan is derived from mangol GREAT CHANGAIJ KHAN and later it used as Title awarded by NIZAMs.

  3. i am also strongly agree that khan is not a cost it a title. like molana zafar ali khan is not a pathan. sir mohammad zafrullah khan is not pathan.

  4. Partially correct but not exactly the same.
    Khan is the surname used by the people of pathan caste
    Some people do use Khan as a surname though they are’nt pathans just to gain some artificial respect.but it aint used as for some to symbolise their occupation

  5. khan is not cast. in china during the period of mongol emperor khan is used for brave man. mahmood ghaznavi gave the name khan to pathan. when he attacked on india pathans in his army fought very bravely. then mahamood ghaznavi said that real khan is pathans.

    i m pathan(pukhtun)from tribe of afridi
    belong to khyber agency.(khyber pakhtunkhwa zindabad)

  6. well doctor nabeel,.. u r surgeon r8.,,, how u came to have much more knowledge about electronics n IT?? was it ur craze?

  7. Yes you are right KHAN is a ruler of that area. especially in Northern part of Pakistan. KHAN were the rulers in their area.

    good explanation…. some one said in past if it is possible to buy KHAN name but now a days every one is KHAN so check their background for real and fake KHAN

  8. khan is a cast………and all real khanz r pathans….some are hindko speakers and some r pushto speakers….

    1. The Jadaun or Jadon is a clan (gotra) of Chandravanshi / Yaduvanshi Rajputs. They’re found mainly in northern india and Pakistan.

  9. Khan name originally comes from Pashtuns!!!!!!
    Pakistanis (excluding Pashtuns, because they aren’t pakistani) are just copying our Pashtun historical and cultural name!!!!! Every single pakistani and Indian is now using our Pashtun name, which was passed down from our Pashtun family tree. Also these pakistani people are pretending to be Pashtun and are just putting Khan in their name. I know we Pashtuns are the best, but its really annoying that they are copying, and now everyone else thinks that Khan is a pakistani name when its not! Its a Pashtun name. Oh and us Pashtuns are not pakistani!

  10. Hi dear, you guys right whose said that khan is not cast. Basically Khan is a Title name and title for Brave man.
    FOR Example:

    Ch Nisar ali khan … not khan by cast, he belong to Punjabi family.

    Dr.abdul Qadeer khan… by cast not khan.. he is Urdu Speaking from Bopal India.

    Liaqat ali khan… by cast not khan.
    Bollywood actor’s by cast not khan.

    So Khan means not pathan but it’s given to Pathans people’s for brave man.

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