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Updated June 9, 2019

Family name origins & meanings

  • Indian (Panjab) : Sikh name derived from a place name Ahlu + -wāliā, a Panjabi adjectival suffix. According to Ibbetson (1916), Ahlu is the name of a village near Lahore which was founded by Sada Singh Kalal, a man of the Kalal community. The hereditary occupation of the Kalals was the manufacture of liquors (Sanskrit kalyapāla ‘distiller of spirituous liquors’), but when that trade was subjected to government regulation in the 19th century, they mostly took to commerce. The title Ahluwalia ‘one from Ahlu’ was first taken by Sada Singh’s descendant, Jassa Singh, who is said to have been the most powerful and influential chief that the Sikhs ever had till the rise of Ranjit Singh. The Ahluwalias ruled in Kapurthala, a district in the Panjab which was once a small princely state. The family name Ahluwalia is now found not only among the descendants of Jassa Singh but also among many others who adopted it later.

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