History and study of the Jats/Chapter 7

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History and study of the Jats

Prof. B.S. Dhillon

ISBN-10: 1895603021 or ISBN-13: 978-1895603026

Chapter 7:Jat Place Names

Jat Place Names

Jat and Scythian domination, over Central Asia and North-West India of thousands of years, has left its mark in many areas, especially in place names. Jat and Scythian names found throughout these areas only lend support to historical and archaeological studies. In north-western India and in Punjab particularly, the places named after the Jats are so numerous that only a sample of them can be presented to illustrate. All but one of the names I selected are derivations of Jat clan names. In some cases, the history of the places named after the Jat clans may be traced for hundreds of years.

One point to note is that European places are attributable to the nationality or the tribal name, whereas in Punjab almost all of the places are named after their clans. This subtle difference could be explained by the Jats' stronger domination, much larger population base, and longer period of rule in Punjab. The sample of place names presented in this chapter is to be interpreted as a preliminary investigation and includes the names of the places with populations between a few hundred to several million. Some of the places and other items, named after the Jats are as follows:


Delhi: As the capital of India, it is also the country's third largest founded hundreds of years ago, Professor Qanungo [1] wrote, "It is not unlikely that this famous city derives its name from the Dhillon Jats, who are still found in large numbers in Delhi district". Dahiya [2] supports Qanungo's assertion by adding, "Its (Delhi's) old name was Dhillika as is recorded in the inscription of Someswara Chauhan, in 1169 A.D. Later on the suffix "ka" was deleted and the city was named Dhilli". A well known Indian historian, Romila Thapar [3], indirectly said that Delhi in the earlier times was called "Dhillika". However, she wrote, "The city of Dhillika (Delhi) was founded by the Tomaras in 736 A.D. The Tomaras were overthrown by the Chauhans". In order to point out that Tomar and Chauhans are also the clan names of the Jats, Dahiya [2] remarked, "For example, let us take the clan name Dahiya. Dahiyas in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bhilwara area of Rajasthan (Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan are the names of Indian Provinces) call themselves Jats. However, Dahiyas in Jodhpur area (Rajasthan) call themselves Rajputs (historical records show that some of the Rajputs also belong to the Jat background), and Dahiya is also the clan name of Gujars (these people are also related to the Jats). The same is true of other clan names like Tomar, Pawars, Dhanikhads, Bhattis, Johiyas, and so on".

As per Ferishta [4], a Persian writer of the early seventeenth century; "Dehloo (Dhillon in Punjabi is pronounced as "Dhilon" or "Dhilo") the uncle of the young king, aided by the nobles, having deposed him, ascended the musnud. This prince, as famous for his

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justice as for his valour devoted his time to the good of his subjects, and built the city of Dehly". On the naming of the city of Delhi General Sir A. Cunningham [5] Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India, conducted a comprehensive study in 1860s and published his report in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Sir Cunningham wrote, "According to a popular and well known tradition, Dilli or Dhilli (Delhi) was built by Rajah (king) Dilu or Dhilu, whose date is quite uncertain. This tradition was adopted by Ferishta [4] I confess, however, that I have but little faith in the dates of any Hindu untraditional stories, unless they can be supported by other testimony. That the city Dhilli was founded by a Rajah of similar name is probable enough, for it is the common custom in India, even at the present day, to name places after their founders". Taking all of the above factors into consideration, and being aware of the fact that in India, non-Jats never have clan names such as Dhilu, Dhilo, or Dhillon, it is probably safe to conclude that the city of Delhi was built by a Dhillon Jat king and also Dhillon Jats claim their origin from a king as per Rose [5a].

Multan, Sibipura

Multan: This is an ancient city now in Pakistan. The ancient writers such as Diodorus [6] Arrian (95-175 A.D.), [7], and Strabo [8], tell us that during Alexander's invasion of Punjab, the area around Multan was occupied by Malli people. Thus, as per Professor McCrindle [9], "The Malloi (Malli) occupied the district situated between the lower Akesines (modern Chenab river), and the Hydraotes (modern Sutlej river), which in Alexander's time joined the former river below Multan-a city which owes its name to the Malloi (Malli)". Even today Malli or Malhi Jats exist in Punjab. The present Member of Canadian Parliament, G.S. Malhi, also belongs to this Jat clan. In my opinion, "Multan" is the shorter version of the word "Malli-stan". The word "Stan" or "Sthan" in Sanskrit (ancient language of the Hindus) means place. Thus, Mallistan or Multan means a place where Malli live. The very same analogy is applicable for the Hindi (national language of India) word "Hindustan" for India. This word is composed of two words Hindu and Stan or Sthan, thus the word Hindustan means a place where Hindus live.

Sibipura: Today, this town is called "Shorkot" and is located in the Jhang district of Punjab, Pakistan. As per Diodorus [6], Arrian [7] and Strabo [8], the area surrounding Sibipura was occupied by a people called Sibi, during the time of Alexander's invasion of Punjab.

Professor Eggermont [10] said, "J. Ph. Vogel showed that the mound of Shorkot (Jhang district, between Chenab, Indus, and Ravi rivers) represents the site of Sibipura, the town (pura) of the Sibis, which is mentioned in a Shorkot inscription". Even today Sibi or Sibia is a well known Jat clan in Punjab.

Furthermore, Professor Eggermont [10] said, "However, I cannot possibly pass over in silence that in the very Vessantara Jataka the town over which Sanjaya, king of Sibi, ruled is called Jettuttara and not Aritta-pura". It is probably more likely the word "Jetuttara" is "Jetupura" or "Jatupura" which means the place where Jats live. The word "pura" in Sanskrit means "place".

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Moga, Bhatinda, Phillaur

Moga: Well known historical documents such as Refs. [3,11-13] say the Maues or Moga became the first important Saka or Scythian (Jat) King around 90 B.C. in North-West India. This raises a very probable possibility that the modern city of Moga, in Punjab, is very ancient and derives its name from Jat King himself.

Bhatinda: This town in Punjab is named after a Bhatti Rajput (son of king) or Jat clan. A Bhatti can either be a Rajput or a Jat according to historical sources, Rajputs, such as Bhattis, were once Jats anyhow. On the issue of Bhatinda town's name, Garrick [14] wrote, "That Bhatinda owes its name to the Bhatti race we have the authority of tradition. Bhatti-da-nagara, or "the Bhatti city" was, in all probability, the full form of this name, originally from Batti, the tribe, and "da", largely used in the province as the genitive particle in lieu of "sa" or "ka", of which it is merely a dialectric variation. Of the habit of omitting the final word "nagara" or "pura" (which means "town" or "city") and retaining the sign of the genitive case, numerous examples exist; indeed, the word is often pronounced by the people "Bhatida", seldom "Bhatinda" and never". For more details on this issue see Garrick [14] Col. Tod [15] said Bhatinda, "was anciently the chief abode of another Jat community , so powerful as at one time to provoke the vengeance of kings, and at others to succour them in distress".

Phillaur: This town in Punjab is situated on the Grand Trunk Road, between Ludhiana City and Jullundur City. According to British Jullundur District and Kapurthala state Gazetteer-301, 1904, as well other references Hari Ram Gupta[16] wrote, "Tradition traces its (Phillaur) origin to a Jat named Phul who called it "Phul-nagar" or "Phul-city". (Semi-independent states of the British Punjab, such as Patiala and Nabha, were called "Phulkia States", after their founder, a Phul Jat).

Atari, Guru Mangat, Amar Sidhu, Kunjah

Atari: This Punjab village located on the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore (now in Pakistan) and Amritsar (holy city of the Sikhs) was founded by Gaur Singh, a Jat of the Sidhu clan [16].

Guru Mangat: This town, now in Pakistan, owned Punjab and from its name, it may be said that the town was founded by the Jats of Mangat clan. Today, Mangat is a well known Jat clan name, at least among the Jat Sikhs [5a].

Amar Sidhu: This village or town is located on the road from Lahore to Kasur in Pakistan [16]. The very name of this place suggests that it owes its name to a person called Amar Sidhu. Sidhu is a very visible Jat clan name. For example, the royal families of the "Phulkia States" of the British period were the Sidhu Jats. Many Jats name their sons and daughters "Amar" Amar Singh son and Amar Kaur for daughter.

Kunjah: As per Hari Ram Gupta [16] and British Gujarat (Punjab district) Gazetteer -168 (1892-93), this town now located in Pakistan is, 12 kilometers from Gujarat, on the

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road to Phalia. It was founded by a person called Jethu Varaich. It is likely that the word "Jethu" probably is "Jathu" or Jat, "Varaich" is a common current Jat clan name [17].

Bikaner, Jhaj, Bains

Bikaner: Today, this city is situated in the Rajasthan Province of India, adjoining Punjab. The area around Bikaner was Jat country and a Rajput named "Beeka" defeated the Jats and established his rule. Moreover, according to Col. Tod [15], "The spot which he (Beeka) selected for his capital, was the birthright of a Jit (Jat), who would only concede it for this purpose on the condition that his name should be linked in perpetuity with its surrender. Naira, or Nera, was the name of the proprietor Jat, which Beeka added to his own, thus composing that of the future capital, Bikaner". Col. Tod [15] also said, "Even in the name of one of the six communities (the "Asiagh"), on whose submission Beeka founded his new state, we have nearly the Asi, the chief of the four tribes from the Ox and Jaxartes rivers (Central Asia), who overturned the Greek kingdom of Bactria (part of Modern Afghanistan)". Caspian Sea: The name of this Central Asian sea is derived from a Massagetae ("great" Getae or Jats) tribe called Caspii that lived on its western shores. According to General Sir Sykes [18], once this sea was also called sea of Gillan. The Gill clan, is probably the largest among the Jat Sikhs. In Punjabi, the word "Gillan" is the plural form of the word "Gill" "Gillan de Munde" means "Boys of the Gills".

Jhaj: This is a small village in District Hoshiarpur, Punjab and is situated on a road between Mahilpur and Phagwara. Most of the land and its inhabitants, belong to the Jhaj Jat clan. Obviously, this village is named after them.

Bains: A fair sized village in District Jullundur, Punjab, it is close to the town of Banga. Many of the inhabitants of this village are of the Bains Jat clan and almost all of the village land is their property.

Gosal, Kang, Majara Dingarian

Gosal: This is another village in the vicinity of the town of Banga in Jullundur District, Punjab. Many of the inhabitants of this very village are of the Gosal clan Jat. These families own almost all of the village.

Kang: This village is also in the Jullundur District of Punjab and its main occupants are the Kang Jats. Almost all of the village land is owned by them.

Majara Dingarian: This village is situated in District Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Another word for Dhillon Jats in the Punjabi language is "Dingariea". Almost all of the village land is owned by Jats, particularly Dhillon clan.

Manak, Gujarwal

Manak: This village is located in the Kapurthala District of Punjab. The land owning families of this village are the Manak Jats, thus the village is named after them.

Gujarwal: This is a well-known village in the District of Ludhiana, Punjab and almost all of the land owning families of the village are the Grewal or Garewal Jats. Many members (Grewals) of this village held important positions in the British and the independent Indian military, civil and police services, and politics. For example, the Chief Minister of Punjab (probably), Intelligence Chief of the undivided post

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independent Punjab and Kashmir, College Principals, high ranking military officers, and

so on. It appears from the village name that its original name could have been "Grewal", after the land owning Jat families, but over time the name started to be pronounced as "Gujarwal" instead of "Grewal". Hariana Jatan: This village is situated in District Hoshiarpur, Punjab on the road from Hoshiarpur to Phagwara. Also, the village is the birthplace of the famous Sikh historian Professor Ganda Singh [19]. In fact, his mother belonged to this village while his father was from a village called "Purhiran" in the same district. The word "Jatan" in the Punjabi language is the plural form of the singular word "Jat". Thus, the village name simply means "Harana of the Jats".

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7.1 References: Chapter 7 - Jat Place Names

[1]. Qanungo, K.R., History of the Jats, reprinted by the Sunita Publications, Delhi, India, 1987, pp. 173, first published in 1925.

[2]. Dahiya, B.S., Jats: The Ancient Rulers, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India, 1980, pp. 253, 71-72.

[3]. Thapar, R., A History of India, Penguin Books, London, 1969, pp. 228-229, 70-71, 95-96, 337-339, 29.

[4]. Ferishta, M.K. (1612 A.D.), History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, translated by Lt. Col. Briggs, J. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, London, 1829, pp. 1xxiii (Vol. I).

[5]. Cunningham, A. (General and Sir), Archaeological Survey Report for 1863-64 (Communicated by the Government of India): Delhi, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Supplementary Number, Vol. XXXIII, 1864, pp. vii-viii.

[5a]. Rose, H.A., A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, Vol. II, reprinted by Languages Department, Patiala, Punjab, 1970, pp. 237, first published in 1883.

[6]. Diodorus (first century B.C.), Diodorus of Sicilly, translated by C.B. Welles, Vol. 8, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1946, pp. 397, 401, 405.

[7]. Arrian (95-175 A.D.), Anabasis of Alexander, translated by E.I. Robson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, pp. 37, 59, 69-72, 131-139 (Vol. II).

[8]. Strabo (first century A.D.), The Geography of Strabo, translated by H.L. Jones, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1954, pp. 57-58 (Vol. VIII).

[9]. McCrindle, J.W., Ancient India as described in Classical Literature, reprinted by the Eastern Book House, Patna, India, 1987, pp. 40-41, first published in 1901.

[10]. Eggermont, P.H.L., Alexander's Campaign in Gandhara and Ptolemy's List of Indo- Scythian Towns, Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica I, 1970, pp. 89, 86.

[11]. Smith, V.A., The Oxford History of India, Oxford University Press, London, 1967, pp. 173, 162-163.

[12]. Marshall, J. (Sir), A Guide to Taxila, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1960, pp. 24-25.

[13]. Banerjea, J.N. (Professor), The Scythians and Parthians in India, in a Comprehensive History of India, edited by K.A.N. Sastri, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, India, 1957, pp. 872-874 (Vol. 2).

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[14]. Garrick, H.B.W., (under the Superintendence of Gen. Sir A. Cunningham, Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India), Archaeological Survey of India Report of a Tour in the Punjab and Rajasthan in 1883-84, Vol. XXIII, reprinted by Indological Book House Antiquarian Booksellers & Publishers, Delhi, India, 1969, pp. 4-5.

[15]. Tod, J. (Lt. Col.), Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. II, reprinted by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London, 1972, pp. 164-165, 138-139, 141, first published in 1832.

[16]. Gupta, H.R., editor, Panjab or Punjab on the eve of First Sikh War, Published by the Publication Bureau of the Punjab University, Chandigarh, Punjab, 1956, pp. 212, 295, 135, 266.

[17]. Barstow, A.E. (Major), The Sikhs: A Ethnology, reprinted by B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, India, 1985, pp. 132-133, first published in 1928.

[18]. Sykes, P. (Brig. Gen. and Sir), A History of Persia, MacMillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1958, pp. 26-27 (Vol. I), first published in 1915.

[19]. Singh, H., Gerald-Barrier, N., Editors, Introductory: Ganda Singh, in Essays in Honour of Dr. Ganda Singh, Punjab Past and Present, Published by Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab, 1976, pp. xii.

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