History Introduction

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Author: Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क

"The Jats are not only a Hindu Caste; of course they are a race" - John Saymore said about Jats in Round About India 1953. The Jats have a proud history, but no historian. They have long memories, but little sense of history. Their record in patriotic valour is glorious. Rajputs had James Tod, the Marathas had Grant-Duff, Sikhs had Cunningham as historians but Jats had no historian.

"The history of the Jats in the history of India itself. Throughout the centuries, they have been known for their sturdy independence. Again and again, we find examples of their love of freedom and their readiness to defend it with their lives. In the same way the history of the Jat Regiment is the history of the Indian Army. For, wherever the army has fought, the Jats have been in the forefront and have distinguished themselves by their valour." - Dr. Zakir Hussain (3rd President of India) (Nov. 23, 1967)[1]

Jat history was distorted

A look at the Indian history reveals that after the resurrection of Hinduism by Adi Shankracharya, Kumaril Bhatt and Ramanujam, the caste-brahmin became the sole arbiter of new order and hierarchy. They distorted history and social precedence to suit them. Jats refused to bow to brahmanical Hinduism. Kshatriyas who accepted the brahmanical supremacy unconditionally became favourites and were given dignified name of Raj-Putra, the modern day Rajputs. Jats drew the censure of the Brahmin, and hence their historical background and contribution was underrated, distorted and ignored.

In India, either history was not written about in ancient ages, or the writings have perished. Even today, a number of ancient manuscripts lie in the great libraries of India, Iran, Central Asia and Middle East unread, uncatalogued and untranslated. Many might shed additional light on Indian history and particularly the ignored Jat history. One of the most urgent tasks of scholarships is the publication and translation of these various works.

History of India, as it is taught in our schools, colleges and universities, leaves many questions unanswered. At almost every alternate step, we have to put a question mark, and these question marks start from the very beginning of the historical period. Were the Aryans, native to India, or did they come from outside? If the latter, from where? Who were the Nandas and Mauryas? Why are they called the initiators of the Age of Sudra rulers? What happened to the Ksaharatas and the republican Tribes? Who were the Guptas? Why do the Puranas not mention the kings of the Maurya/Gupta dynasty? Who started our national eras, the Saka and the Vikram Samvatas?

Introduction to Jat History (जाट इतिहास परिचय)

It was in 1925 that Prof. Kalika Ranjan Qanungo’s “History of the Jat” appeared. It is a scholarly, but not an inspired work. Thakur Deshraj produced his book on Jat history in Hindi “Jat Itihasa” in 1934. It is a well-researched book and still serves as a reference book. It has not yet been translated in to English. Ram Sarup Joon has written another well researched book "History of the Jats" in Hindi in 1938 which was translated in English in 1967. In the last 80 years quite a few other books in Hindi came on the subject; notably by Kaviraj Dr. Yogender Pal Shastri, Capt. Dilip Singh Ahlawat, Hukum Singh Panwar, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Bal Kishan Dabas, etc.

Bhim Singh Dahiya was a historian and civil servant belonging to the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). In 1982, he wrote the monumental book- "Jats the Ancient rulers", published by Dahinam Publishers, Sonipat, Haryana. This book is a reconstruction of the History of Jats from time immemorial. His linkage of the clan names/ Gotras to the existence of the Jats in Central Asia, and Europe, put a stamp on the histiography of the Jat History, for the people who could not have access to the works in Hindi or Urdu.

He brought out to the layman reader, that Chandragupta Maurya, the Kushans, the second Guptas, and Harshavardhana were Jats. He showed how the G letter represented the J sound, as the J letter did not exist in the ancient Greek alphabet. The significance was that the Getae, whom the Chinese and Western and most Indian Historians know as the Yuezhi, are Jats, of whom Kushans were just one clan Kaswan, not a people unto themselves.

In 1992, he brought out his next book- Rig Vedic Tribes and Aryans, published by Dahinam Publishers, Sonipat, Haryana. Here he demonstrated how over 80 Jat Goths, Gotras, clans could be traced back to the Rig Veda.

His third great work in the history is in the form of Book- History of Hindustan Vol. I, II, III. Dahinam Publishers, Sonipat, Haryana also published it.

Dr Natthan Singh has written a very good book on Jat History in Hindi “Jat Itihasa” which is published by Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad Gwalior in 2004. He was also editor of second edition (1992) of his book on Jat history “Jat Itihas” written in 1934 by Thakur Deshraj.

For more books on Jat history see – Books on Jat History

Jat history needs recognition

R.C.Majumdar in his book "History of culture of the people of India, the clasical age" (page 42) writes about their role in stemming the tide of Islam for two centuries as under:

"From the very commencement through every one of these routes. The early naval raids against Thana, Baroch and Debal and subsequent raids in the same direction mark the vain efforts to reach India by sea, of the land routes, the Kheyber pass was guarded by Kabul and Zabul while the Bolan pass was protected by the brave Jats of Kikan, If there had been history of India written without prejudices and predilections the heroic deeds of these brave people, the Jats who stemmed the tide of Islam for two centuries, would certainly have received the recognition they so richly deserved."

Jats during Muslim rule in India

The advent, of Islam in Arabia began in 610 A.D. during the rule of Raja Harshavardhana.

The founder of Islam, Prophet HAZRAT MOHAMMED, proclaimed himself as the messenger of God when he was 40 years of Age. He claimed that he had 'ILHAM' (Divine message) the preaching of which is called 'ISLAM'. He preached that idol worship was a sin and there is only one God. He stressed on equality and fraternity amongst all human beings and condemned discrimination.

Islam spread very fast up to the neighbouring areas of India. Its advance was stemmed at the boundaries of India.

There were two main reasons for this. Firstly the countries in which Islam succeeded were engaged in internal wars, and secondly the Gujars, who became a power in India after the death of Harshavardhana did not allow the Muslim invaders to penetrate into this country. The sheet anchor of Gujar force was the Pratihars, Chuhan and Parmars. The Solanki Kings had also joined them. They had driven away the Kauls? from Latt (Gujarat) territory.

The creation of the Agnikula and the advent of the Puranic Mat sowed the seeds of dissension amongst the Indians.

The Kings of one Gotra considered it a disgrace to have matrimonial relations with other gotras. Bhats were persuaded to change the dynastic histories to claim comparative superiority. Kings reveled in listening to the concocted glory from these bards. Every King lived in an imaginary world of glory, considered himself invincible and supreme within his own territory and looked upon alliance unnecessary and below dignity. The ruling Rajputs looked down upon others as inferior beings and thus alienated them.

Drinking became the fashion of the day. Morals descended.

Idol worship became popular and heaps of wealth were accumulated in the temples. India was called 'Bhuri Gae' (Brown cow) or 'Sone Ki Chirya' (Golden sparrow). Muslim merchants and travellers exposed this social and political weakness of this country to Muslim rulers who turned their covetous eyes towards India.

Aggression met a disunited India. Mahmud of Ghazni, a daring young ruler of Ghazni, on appreciating this condition swarmed towards the Indian frontiers and unhinged the Indian gates. He invaded this country many times with the purpose of looting the wealth of the temples and to spread Islam by terrorizing Indian population. He ransacked the whole of India, plundered all the wealth from temples and raised these to the ground- The Rajput Kingdoms due to mutual jealousy were not in a position to rally under banner to check the advance of the Muslim invaders. Individually none of them was strong enough for the task. Once this state of affairs was exposed, further invasions followed. Muhamad Gauri invaded India after Mahmud of Ghazni.

India was in a state of religious instability.

It would have spread even faster but for certain shortcomings which were not acceptable to the Hindus e.g. cow slaughter, marriage amongst first cousins and lack of hygiene in Muslim household. One thing, which helped Islam, was the inflexible attitude of Hindu priests. The slightest breach of the prevalent Hindu religious customs was unpardonable. If a chop of Beef touched the lips of a Hindu accidentally or even forcibly, it was sufficient cause for his degradation from Hinduism. Such outcasts naturally became an easy prey to Islam. They longed for generations to conjoin with their Hindu brethren, but alas, the adamant Pandits never relaxed the rigid social order and never allowed those outcasts to fulfil their dreams.

The Jats living in Northern India have always been the corner stone of Jat arch. The Rajputs could never subdue them. Nor did they provide recruitment to the army of Rajputs. As the Jat territory was a corridor through which every invader passed, some Jats did get converted to Islam. Still most of them never bowed and continued giving resistance and trouble to the oppressors.

In Muslim period of Delhi Sultanate (1192-1526) under the slave, Khilji, Tughlak, Saiyyad, Lodi Dynasty and Mughals (1526-1656), the Jats having lost their kingdom, states and social eminence, retired to the country-side controlling and tilling land with their swords girded round their wastes. They would draw the sword out of the scabbardd at the command of their Panchayat for the Muslim rulers if they are fighting against the invaders or against them if they are persecuting the Hindus. The Jats became the sons of soil.

The significant role played by Jats at the time of Mahmood Ghazni's, Mohammed Gauri's and Timur-Lane's invasions is described in detail in following sections.

Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (977-1030) and Jats

Mahmud Ghazni was a Turk. The original rulers of Turkistan were Jats. Then the Mongols ousted them and Turk tribes were gradually compelled to leave Turkistan. Mahmood's ancestors had thus come and settled in Zabulistan and Afghanistan. Alptigin of this tribe established his kingdom in Ghazni. Sabuktigin (977-997), who was born in the third generation of Alptigin, invaded India many times but was vigorously repulsed by the Jat King, Jai Pal, at Frontier Provinces. His son Sultan Mahmud was aware of his father's battles with Raja Jaipal and India's weaknesses.

It has been mentioned in Indian History that Mahmud Ghazni had given a vow to the Khalifa to invade India every year, demolish the idols they worshipped and spread Islam. Every time he came like a hurricane looted, and returned but only to create a large Army with that wealth, and invade again. Two of his invasions were purely against Jats and these proved the costliest.

In 1001 AD Mahmud of Ghazni defeated Jay Pal and occupied the state of Bhatis, Bhatinda. He captured Multan and levied tax on acts of worship. Anand Pal, son of Jay Pal, took with him the rulers of Kannauj and Jujhauti and attacked Mahmud. In this war Gakkhar Jats were also with Anand Pal. Mahmud had come this time with a huge army and camped for 40 days. At last the army of Gakkhars attacked Mahmud at place called Chhachh near Atak. The Turk army could not sustain war before Gakkhars. Mahmud was about to withdraw from the war, But unfortunately at the same time the elephant of Anand Pal got angry, which sent the signals as a defeat and the army got demoralized. This led to the victory of Mahmud. (Dr Natthan Singh, 123-124)

The Rajput kings of those days did not offer any appreciable resistance against his invasions. Once it was rumored that an attack on Somnath temple was imminent and it would be looted and devastated. All the Rajput Kings assembled there to save Somnath temple from this anticipated disaster, but had no mutual confidence among themselves. They had no heart to fight, but presented themselves only as a matter of prestige. The Head priest of this temple, however, assured them that there was no need to fight as the idol of Somnath would curse the devils to blindness, and they would perish moaning and screaming.

The rumor came true. The Muslim force laid siege of the temple and the battle ensued. At that time a dance of beautiful girls (devdasis) was going on in temple to appease the idol and all Rajput chiefs who had come to defend the temple were busy in enjoying the function. When the Muslim invaders attacked, the Rajputs took to their heels. The priests, however, fought bravely and were killed in large numbers at the altar. Sultan Mahmood demolished the idol of Somnath and started towards Ghazni with a Caravan of Camels laden with gold, silver and precious jewels.

It is mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan that while the Army of Mahmood Ghazni with the booty was passing through the Jat territory of Multan, they were ambushed by Jats in 1025 AD, and all the wealth was recovered.

Sultan Mahmood Ghazni collected the remnants of his force, and managed to slip away with it. This was the first occasion when he met defeat in India.

Muhammad Ghori (1173-1205)

In Jabulistan there is a big 'Khap' of Gaurzai (derivative of Gaur). Ghazni's old name was Gazni and was founded by the Madrak Jat Raja Gaj. After the death of Mahmood Ghazni, Gaurs again came into power.

Their capable ruler planned to extend his empire into India to revive the ancient glory of Gaurs who had earlier ruled Hissar and Ajmer Areas. The ancestors of Raja Gaj had also ruled Sialkot and Quetta. Ruins of a fort Bala-e-Hissar still exist in Afghanistan.

The King Jai Chand was at daggers drawn with Prithvi Raj. He continued a clash between Mohammed Gauri and Prithvi Raj, and promised to support Mohammed Gauri with men and material. Mohammed Gauri jumped at the proposal. Unlike Mahmood Ghazni his aim was not more plunder. He wanted to capture the throne of Delhi and to establish his empire there. Muhammad Ghori (1173-1205) invaded in 1191 and faced Prithvi Raj Chauhan at Tarain near Delhi. Jats fought along with Rajputs. Prithvi Raj's commander-in-chief was Chand Ram, Dahima Jat. Ghori was defeated and wounded and his troops were looted by Jats while retreating.

It has been mentioned in the chronicles of Jat 'Sarv Khap', which are still reserved with Chaudhry Qabul Singh Shoron Distt Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, that the Jat Sarv Khap, reinforced Prithvi Raj with 22,000 brave Jats, who contributed a great deal for Prithvi Raj to win the day.

To avenge his humiliation and defeat he attacked again and won at Tarain (1192). Ghori made Kutb Uddin Aibak his regent at Delhi.

The Jats under Jatwan beseized the Muslim commander of Hansi (Haryana), Nasrat Uddin, raised the sieze and an obstinate and fierce battle defeated the Muslims under Kutb Uddin Aibak (1193). Khokhar Jats killed Ghori (March 15, 1205) at Dhamyak near Lahore after a fierce battle and avenged the defeat of Tarain.

Ala-Uddin Khilji (1296-1316) and Jats

Alauddin Khilji was a religious bigot and was deadly against Hindus. He had a trusted chief named Malik Kafur, a Hindu (Saini) convert, and ex-wrestler.

He married a sweeper woman.

Ala-Uddin ruined Chittorgarh in his effort to get Rani Padamni. He levied Jazia on the Hindus and placed restrictions on marriages, so that beautiful Hindu virgin girls could be given to Muslims. These acts were worse that death to Hindus.

The Jat Sarv Khap meeting was held in protest against these 'Firmans' at Khanpur, District Meerut.

It was unanimously decided that the king should be given an ultimatum on a fixed date on which all able bodied men from 18 to 40 years of age should be ready to sacrifice themselves. They assembled at the confluence of the Kali (Nadi) and Hindon Rivers.

The remaining men and women were detailed on administrative duties.

The king was infuriated on - receipt of this ultimatum and at once sent Malik Kafur with 25,000 men, to deal with them.

A fierce battle-took place. Malik Kafur was defeated. The Jats gave a severe blow to the royal army which was forced to run away from the battle field.

He never attacked the Jats of the Sarv Khap again.

During his period it was rumored that Mogul invasion was imminent in Punjab. Ala-Uddin thought it better to reconcile with the Jats at this crucial moment. He negotiated a truce with them by canceling his repugnant firmans. He paid a huge remuneration and compensation to the Jats and got their promise to help him in the event of foreign aggression.

Timur (1370–1405) and Jats

It has been mentioned in Malfuzat Temuri that is the time of Temuri's invasion of India, Jats were the first to intercept him many Jats were killed in the encounter.

Timur had for long harboured an animosity against the Jats.

Timur was from Chughtaiya (Saktaya) the capital of which was in Trans Oxiana. A great Jat king Kokaltas invaded Khurasan and occupied it. After that he invaded Trans Oxiana. The king fled away. But the nephew of that Amir Timur was a clever and far sighted man. He offered due apologies on behalf of his uncle and admitted the suzerainty of Kokaltas, who had one Lakh (100,000) brave Jats in his army. King Kokaltas died issue less in 1380, Timur occupied the throne and also married a Jat Rajkumari. But Jats did not accept the rule of Timur. A mutiny flared up and continued for long time. Finally Timur managed to suppress it, carried out a mass massacre of the Jats and drove out the remnants from the country. By 1349 he succeeded in finally establishing himself, but still he was not free from Jat troubles. He writes in Timur Nama, that he did not intend to kill so many Jats, because they were handsome, stalwart people, but he had to do so. It is written in MulfuZai Temur P 429 that when he invaded India, he was interrupted by the Jats who took a heavy toll of his army.

It is also mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan with reference to Tazke-babri that at the time of Babur's invasion of India a large number of Jats resisted him at Thanesar and most of them were slain.

In 1398 AD Timur made a ferocious attack on India with 92,000 horsemen. On receiving the news of Timur's total and open looting and destruction, in Vikram Samvat 1455 (1398 AD), kartick badi 5, Raja Devpala (who was born in the village of Nirpradha, District Meerut in a Jat family), who was in charge of the of the Haryana Sarv Khap Panchayat, called a Mahapanchayat in the jungles in the middle of the villages of Tikri, Doghat, and Daha. The chief committee passed the following resolutions:

1) All villages would be emptied.

2) The elders and women, and children would be taken to safe places

3) All able-bodied men would join the army of the Sarv Khap

4) The young women would also take up arms like the men.

5) The army of Timur, which was advancing from Delhi to Haridwar, would be fought with Guerilla warfare, and the water in his way would be poisoned.

6) 500 young horsemen would follow Timur and report his whereabouts to the Sarv Khap army.

The Panchayat Army: Under the flag of the panchayat, 80,000 warrior soldiers (Mulls) and 40,000 young women joined together. These heroes also handled all the arrangements of the war material. From hundreds of miles around Delhi Heroic warriors came to the battlefield ready to sacrifice their lives. All the young men and women took up arms. Dharampal Dev, a Jat warrior, who was 95 years old, played a great part in gathering together this army. He traveled day and night on horseback to encourage men and women and gather the army. His brother Karan Pal helped arrange money, grain, and clothing for the army. The choosing of the Supreme General, the deputy general and the other generals. In this endeavor of the Sarv Khap, the hero warrior Jograj Singh Gujar was chosen Supreme General. He was of the Clan Khubar Parmar, and hailed from a village near Haridwar called Kunja. The general chosen from among the heroic maidens were

1) Rampiari Gujar,

2) Hardai Jat,

2) DeviKaur Rajput,

3) Chandro Brahmin, and

4) Ramdai Tyagi.

All of them took a vow to lay down their lives in defence of their nation. Two Deputy Generals were chosen -

1) Dhula Bhangi (Valmiki),

(2) Harbir Singh Gulia Jat,

Dhula Bhangi was a resident of the Village of Hansi, near Hissar. He was a strong and powerful brave warrior. The second deputy general was Harveer Singh Jat, of the Gulia Clan. He was from the village Badli, district Rohtak I Haryana. He was 22 years old. He weighed 53 Dharis (approx. 160 kilograms). He was strong and brave warrior. The names of the generals were

1) Gaje Singh Jat Gatwala, 2) Tuhiram Rajput, 3) Nedha Rawa, 4) Sarju Brahmin, 5) Umra Taga (Tyagi), and 6) Durjanpal Ahir.

The deputy generals chosen were 1) Kundan Jat, 2) Dhari Gadariya, who was a Dhari, 3) Bhondhu Saini, 4) Hulla Nai (barber), 5) Bhana Julaha (Harijan) 6) Aman Singh Pundir, Rajput 7) Nathu Pardar, Rajput 8) Dhulla (Dhandi) Jat, who would lead raids from Hissar, to Dadri, to Multan. 9) Mamchand Gujar 10) Phalwa Kahaar.

Assistant generals, 20 assistant's generals were chosen from the various jatis (castes). The hero Bard: the Eminent Scholar Poet Chandrabhutt (Bhat) as chosen as the official Bard. He wrote an eyewitness account of the war with Timur.

The battles with Timur were fought by the Jat Panchayat army at Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Haridwar. The Deputy Commander Harveer Gulia, along with 25,000 warriors of the Panchayat army, made a fierce attack on a big group of Timur's horsemen, and a fierce battle ensued where arrows and spears were used (There over 2, 000 hill archers joined the Panchayat Army. One arrow pierced Timur's hand. Timur was in the army of horsemen. Harveer Singh Gulia charged ahead like a lion, and hit Timur on his chest with a spear, and he was about to fall under his horse, when his commander Khijra, saved him and separated him from the horse. (Timur eventually died from this wound when he reached Samarkhand). The spearmen and swordsmen of the enemy leapt on the Harveer Singh Gulia, and he fainted from the wounds he received and fell. At that very time, the Supreme Commander Jograj Singh Gujar, with 22,000 Mulls (warriors) attacked the enemy and killed 5000 horsemen. Jograj Singh himself with his own hands lifted the unconscious Harveerr Singh Gulia and brought him to the camp. But a few hours later, the hero warrior Harveer Singh achieved martyrdom. He was from the village Badli; district Rohtak in Haryana, India. He was 22 years old when fought war with Timur. He was a strong and brave warrior. His attack on Timur led to Timur's death. See for details article Harveer Gulia. [1]

Timur after the battle of Delhi, on his way to Haridwar was confronted, harassed and plundered on his way retreat so much by the Jat Panchayat armies that he retreated via Saharanpur to avoid Muzaffarnagar. Timur describes

"Jats as a robust race, demon-like in appearance and as numerous as ants and locusts, a varitable plague to the merchants and wayfarers" (Mulfuzat-i-Timuri, elliot, III, 429)

Role of Jats in freedom movement

The contribution of the Jats to the India's independence movement is often misunderstood. This is partly due to the fact that the as agriculturists, the Jats were never a part of the Congress. Their political loyalties lay with organizations such as the Unionist Party which represented rural interests. Yet Jats played important role in the freedom movement. The persons who took part in India's freedom movement can be seen here

Jat freedom fighters

See also


  1. Provided by Ajay Singh<asingh71@gmail.com>

Further reading

  • Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)
  • Prof. Raghuvir Singh Verma (Balyan), Toronto, Orntario, Canada :Glimpses of Jat History, SOUVENIR-1998 of Parivar Parichay, page 19-29 , Published by – The souvenir sub committee of Parivar Parichay, 4/28, Lodi Colony, New Delhi – 110003

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