The Jat people are a historical Aryan-Scythian tribal group native to the Punjab, Kashmir, Jammu, Uttarkhand, Balochistan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The total population of the Jats is 33 million. The regions with significant populations are India and Pakistan. The main languages spoken by the Jats are Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Haryanvi and Gujrati. Jats follow three main religions; Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism.
Their related ethnic groups are other Indo-Aryan people. On demographics, the Encyclopedia Brittanica states that: “In the early 21st century the Jat constituted about 20 percent of the population of Punjab, nearly 10 percent of the population of Balochistan, Rajasthan, and Delhi, and from 2 to 5 percent of the populations of Sindh, Northwest Frontier, and Uttar Pradesh. The four million Jats of Pakistan are mainly Muslim by faith; the nearly six million Jats of India are mostly divided into two large castes of about equal strength: one Sikh, concentrated in Punjab, the other Hindu.
The name Jat has frequently been connected to the names of the Getae and Massagetae, beginning with James Tod in 1829. This suggests that the ultimate origin of the Jat tribal group was in the Indo-Scythian period of about 200 BC to AD 400. G. C. Dwivedi writes in his book ‘The Jats, their role in the Mughal Emprie’, that the Persian Mojmal al-tawarikh mentions Jats and Meds as the descendants of Ham (son of Noah), living in Sind on the banks of the river Bahar. Origins: The Jats have apparently formed during the centuries following the collapse of the Kushan Empire, during the early medieval period.
They are said to be the product of an admixture of Indo-Scythian elements to local Indo-Aryan groups. “An international collaboration led by Manir Ali of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, first identified the ‘Jat’ mutation in one of four Pakistani families. Further study amongst Roma populations in Europe showed that the same mutation accounted for nearly half of all cases of PCG [Primary congenital glaucoma] in that community.
Manir Ali’s research also confirms the widely accepted view that the Roma originated from the Jat clan of Northern India and Pakistan and not from Eastern Europe as previously believed. There is some evidence connecting the Jats and the Romani people, the descendants of Indo-Aryan groups which emigrated from India towards Central Asia during the medieval period. There are serological similarities shared with several populations that linked the two people in a 1992 study. History There are very few records concerning Jats prior to the 17th century. There are records of Jat states in Rajasthan (the north Rajasthan region, then known as Jangladesh). It is not known when Jat people established themselves in the Indian desert.
By the 4th century they had spread to the Punjab. After this, foreign invaders had to encounter with the Jats of this region. The whole of the region was composed of seven cantons namely Punia, Sihag, Godara, Saran, Beniwal, Johiya and Kaswan. Besides these cantons there were several clans of Jats, simultaneously wrested from Rajput proprietors for instance Bagor, Kharipatta, Mohila or Mehila, K. R. Qanungo writes that when Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, the Kaikan region in Sindh was an independent possession of the Jat people.
In addition to frequent interaction with Jats (who for them represented Indians), the first Arab invasions of Persia and Sindh were met by the Jat people. According to Thakur Deshraj and Cunningham, Jat people of the Panwhar clan ruled Umerkot in Sindhprior to Mughal ruler Humayun. The Susthan region in Sindh was ruled by Chandra Ram, a Jat of Hala clan. Chandra Ram lost his kingdom (known as Halakhandi) to the Muslim invaders sent by Muhammad bin Qasim. There is no information of any important Jat state during the two centuries following Kushan rule.
However, in the beginning of the fifth century, there is evidence of the Jat ruler Maharaja Shalinder ruling from “Shalpur” (the present-day Sialkot); his territory extended from Punjab to Malwa and Rajasthan. This is indicated by the Pali inscription obtained by James Tod from village Kanswa in Kota state in year 1820 AD. Jat uprising and aftermath In 1699, the Jat people of the Gokula region around Mathura rebelled against the powerful Mughal rulers. The rebellion resulted from political provocation aggravated by the economic discontent, and further aggravated by the religious persecution and discrimination.
In the disorder following Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, the Jat resistance resumed, organized under the leadership of Churaman (1695–1721). Churaman’s nephew, Badan Singh (1722–1756), established a kingdom centered at Deeg, from which he extended his rule over Agra and Mathura. Badan Singh’s eldest son and successor, Maharaja Suraj Mal (1707–1763), extended his kingdom to include Agra,Mathura, Dholpur, Mainpuri, Hathras, Aligarh, Etawah, Meerut, Rohtak (including Bhiwani), Farrukhnagar, Mewat, Rewari and Gurgaon. He has been described as one of the greatest Jat rulers.
Suraj Mal moved the capital from Deeg to Bharatpur in 1733. Rustam, a Jat king of the Sogariya clan, had previously laid the foundation of the modern city of Bharatpur. During the British Raj, the princely state of Bharatpur covered an area of 5,123 km2, and its rulers enjoyed a salute of 17 guns. The state acceded to the dominion of India in 1947. Jat states of the 18th century The city of Gohad was founded in 1505 by the Jats of Bamraulia village, who had been forced to leave Bamraulia by a satrap of Firuz Shah Tughluq. Gohad developed into an important Jat state, and was later captured by the Marathas.
The Jat people of Gohad signed a treaty with the British and helped them capture Gwalior and Gohad from the Marathas. The British kept Gwalior and handed control of Gohad to Jat people in 1804. Gohad was handed over to the Marathas under a revised treaty dated 22 November 1805 between the Marathas and the British. As a compensation for Gohad, the Jat ruler Rana Kirat Singh was given Dhaulpur, Badi and Rajakheda; Kirat Singh moved to Dhaulpur in December 1805. In the 10th century, the Jat people took control of Dholpur, which had earlier been ruled by the Rajputs and the Yadavs.
Dholpur was taken by Sikandar Lodhi in 1501, who transferred it to a Muslim governor in 1504. In 1527, the Dholpur fort fell to Babur and continued to be ruled by the Mughals until 1707. After the death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Raja Kalyan Singh Bhadauria obtained possession of Dholpur, and his family retained it until 1761. After that, Dholpur was taken successively by the Jat ruler Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur; by Mirza Najaf Khan in 1775; by the Scindia ruler of Gwalior in 1782; and finally, by the British East India Company in 1803.
It was restored by the British to the Scindias under the Treaty of Sarji Anjangaon, but in consequence of new arrangements, was again occupied by the British. In 1806, Dholpur again came under the Jat rulers, when it was handed over to Kirat Singh of Gohad. Dholpur thus became a princely state, a vassal of the British during the Raj. Ballabhgarh was another important princely state established by the Jat people of the Tewatia clan, who had come from Janauli village. Balram Singh, the brother-in-law of Maharaja Suraj Mal was the first powerful ruler of Ballabhgarh.
Raja Nahar Singh (1823–1858) was another notable king of this princely state. Other Jat states of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries included Kuchesar (ruled by the Dalal Jat clan of Mandoti, Haryana), and the Mursan state (the present-day Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh) ruled by the Thenua Jats. The Jat people also briefly ruled at Gwalior and Agra. The Jat rulers Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana (1707–1756) and Maharaja Chhatar Singh Rana (1757–1782) occupied the Gwalior fort twice, Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana from 1740 to 1756, and Maharaja Chhatra Singh Rana from 1780 to 1783.
Maharaja Suraj Mal captured Agra Fort on 12 June 1761 and it remained in the possession of Bharatpur rulers till 1774. After Maharaja Suraj Mal, Maharaja Jawahar Singh, Maharaja Ratan Singh and Maharaja Kehri Singh (minor) under resident ship of Maharaja Nawal Singh ruled over Agra Fort. Sikh States Patiala and Nabha were two important Sikh states in Punjab, ruled by the Jat-Sikh people of the Siddhu clan. The Jind state in present-day Haryana was founded by the descendants of Phul Jat of Siddhu ancestry. These states were formed with the Military assistance of the 6th Sikh Guru, known as Guru Har Gobind.
The rulers of Faridkot were Brar Jat Sikhs. The princely state of Kalsia was ruled by Sandhu Jat Sikhs. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839) of the Sandhawalia Jat clan (other historians assert a Sansi Caste lineage to Maharaja Ranjit Singh though it is dubitable given that his mother can definitely be traced to coming from a Jat family) of Punjab became the Sikh emperor of the sovereign country of Punjab and the Sikh Empire. He united the Sikh factions into one state, and conquered vast tracts of territory on all sides of his kingdom. From the capture of Lahore in 1799, he rapidly annexed the rest of the Punjab.
To secure his empire, he invaded North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) (which was then part of Afghanistan), and defeated the Pathan militias and tribes. Ranjit Singh took the title of “Maharaja” on April 12, 1801 (to coincide with Baisakhi day). Lahore served as his capital from 1799. In 1802 he took the city of Amritsar. In the year 1818, Ranjit Singh successfully invaded Kashmir. Conversion of the Jats to Islam The earliest mention of Jats can be found in the Arabic book Chach Nama also known as the Fateh nama Sindh and Tarekh-e-Hind wa Sindh.
During the Arab invasion of Sind by Muhammad bin Qasim the Jats belonged to the Buddhist faith and were suffering severe hardships under the Brahman ruler Chach. It is recorded that the Jats at first fought against Muhammad bin Qasim but later joined his forces against the then ruler Dahir (Raja) and this also lead to the conversion of the Jats to the Islamic faith. But most of the Punjabi Muslim Jats trace their conversion to Islam at the hands of Sufi saints like Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar in the 12th century. The total Muslim Jat population as per statistics is 32,705,000.
The common languages spoken by Muslim Jats are Punjabi, Siraiki, Urdu, Sindhi and English. Muslim Jat Folklore Muslim Jats gave birth to romances such as Heer Ranjha and Mirza Sahiba which are sung by all Jats and have been immortalised in Waris Shahs poetry book Heer that tells the story of the love of Heer and her lover Ranjha. Distribution Historically, Muslim Jat clans predominated in western Punjab, in areas which now are found in Pakistan. Traditionally, the districts of: Gujranwala, Shaikhupura, Lahore, Sialkot, Jhang, Bahawalpur, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal, Sargodha, and Gujrat were seen as strongholds of the Jats.
Major Jat clans predominated in this region, including the Bajwa, Basra, Malhi, Goraya, Heer, Chahal Jats, Cheema,Chatha, Dudhra, Sandhu, Gill, Janjua, Ghuman, Khera, Kahloon, Dhillon, Dawana, Dhudhi, Bhangu, Virk, Lodhra, Gondal, Sidhu, Sulehria,Hundet, Sial, Randhawa, Nanda, Daha, Noon, Khar, Manes, Naich, Pansota, Waraich, and Jajja. The Ghuman Daha and the Noon would sometimes call themselves Rajputs, sometimes Jat. The Pothohar region is home to many tribes with multiple identities.
For example, Dhamial, Janjua,Langrial, Chhina and Bangial would in some instances call themselves Rajputs, and other instances call themselves Jats. In Jhelum District, Jat identity was fairly strong, and these tribes tend to consider themselves Jats. In the Bar regions, i. e. , the plains between Ravi and Chenab rivers (the Sandal Bar, Kirana Bar and Neeli Bar), the term Jat referred to any nomadic pastoralist, and the Kharal, Wattu, Manes, Sials, Kathia and Johiya would sometimes call themselves Rajputs, sometimes Jat. TheWaseer, Dhami and Wahiniwal clans were the only ones who only called themselves Jats.
In the 19th century, the British settled several Jats from central Punjab, including many from Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar, into the Bar region, creating the modern canal colony districts of Faisalabad and Sahiwal. In the south of Punjab, there were several Saraiki-speaking Jat clans, such as the Jakhar, Khar, Daha, Dhandla, Makwal, Bohar, Ghallu,Kanju, Samtia and Sandhila. Eastern Punjab (Indian Punjab) was also home to a number of Muslim Jat clans, and almost all the major clans (such as the Sandhu, Sidhu,Heer, Maan, Dhami, Dhillon, Gill and had Muslim branches, although these clans were predominantly Sikh.
After independence of Pakistan in 1947, nearly all Jat Muslims of East Punjab, Haryana and other parts of northern India migrated from India and settled in Pakistan. The Muley Jat, who originate from Haryana also form a distinct group. Districts of Punjab Most of the Jat clans are concentrated in particular districts, with the exception of the Jat clans that came as refugees after independence of Pakistan in 1947.
Major Jat clans Below are brief descriptions of the main Jat clans in Punjab. * Aheer * Ahlawat * Arar * Arnyal * Assoun * Athru * Atwal * Aulakh * Bachal * Badhan * Baghar * Baidwan * Bains Bajwa * Bal * Bandecha * Bangial * Baryar * Basra * Batth * Bhachar * Bhadiar * Bhagwal * Bhalli * Bhangu * Bhidwal * Bhinder * Bhukar * Bhullar * Bhutta * Bohar * Boparai * Buttar * Chadhar * Chahal * Chatha * Chattar * Chohan * Cheema * Chhachhar * Chhajra * Chhina * Dab * Daha * Dahba * Daher * Dandiwal * Dawana * Deo * Dhaliwal * Dhamial * Dhandla * Dhandu * Dhanoa * Dharni * Dhoot * Dhotar * Dhudhi * Dosanjh * Duggal * Ghallu * Ghuman * Gill * Godara * Gondal * Goraya * Grewal * Gujjral * Hal * Hamooka * Hanjra * Hans * Heer * Hundal * Hunjan * Jai * Jajja * Jakhar * Jandral * Jandran * Jhammat Jhawari * Jhujh * Johal * Juta * Kadher * Kahlon * Kallu * Kalhora * Kalyal * Kalyar * Kang * Kanyal * Kathia * Khaira * Khar * Khatarmal * Khatri * Khingar * Khoti * Kianth * Kohja * Korotaneh * Lak * Lalli * Langrial * Lehal (also spelled Lehel, Lahal, Lehl, Lel or Lahil) * Lidhar * Lodhra * Lodike * Lohanch * Lurka * Makhdoom * Maan * Mahil * Mahra * Maitla * Majoka * Makwal * Mallana * Malhi * Malik * Mamyal * Manda * Mangat * Manjotha * Marath * Marhal * Marral * Marrar * Matharu * Mathyal * Mekan * Nanda * Nagra * Nagyal * Naich * Nain * Narwa/Narma * Naswana or Nissowana * Nathyal * Natt Naul * Nonari * Noon * Padda * Pannun * Pansota * Parhar * Phogat * Randhawa * Ranjha * Ranu * Ranyal * Sagla * Sahi * Sahotra * Samra * Samtia * Sandhal * Sandhila * Sandhu * Sangha * Sarai * Saroya * Sial * Sidhu * Sikhana * Sipra * Sohal * Soomra * Takhar * Talokar/Thalokar * Tatlah * Tatri * Thaheem * Thathal * Tiwana * Toor * Tulla * Uppal * Uttera * Utra * Ves Jats * Virk * Wahiniwal * Waiha * Wahla * Waraich * Waseer Jat
Culture and Society
The life and culture of Jats is full of diversity and approaches most closely to that ascribed to the traditional Central Asian colonists of South Asia.
The Jat lifestyle was designed to foster a martial spirit. Whenever they lost their kingdoms, Jat people retired to the country-side and became landed barons and the landlords with their swords girded round their waists. They would draw the sword out of the scabbard at the command of their panchayat to fight with the invaders. Jat people have a history of being brave and ready fighters. They are fiercely independent in character and value their self respect more than anything, which is why they offered heavy resistance against any foreign force that treated them unjustly.
They are known for their pride, bravery and readiness to sacrifice their lives in battle for their people and kinsmen. In the government of their villages, they appear much more democratic. They have less reverence for hereditary right and a preference for elected headmen. Jat OBC demand Hindu Jats have been given Other Backward Class in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttrakhand and Delhi. But had been excluded from the list in Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana. Jats especially from Haryana wants OBS status given to them as they feel that they are lagging behind other castes like Yadavs.
Jat Marriages The Jat people are required to marry within their community. The joint family system was popular amongst the Jats and large families use to share the same house and hearth. With the advancement of modern civilization, as people are becoming less dependent upon and less tolerant toward each other, the joint family system is going out of vogue. It was still prevalent in the less advanced areas in the 1930s. Jat marriage ceremonies are traditionally conducted in according with Vedic rituals. Widow marriage is not only permitted and practiced, it is also a social obligation.
Historical records show from 1000 AD, when the population of Jats was small, marrying within ones own gotra was not encouraged. However, from about 1650 AD onward marrying within same gotra became more common. Scholars have reasoned this had to do with the size of the Jat population becoming much bigger and the chances of being related to someone in the same gotra became very small. Jat people who are Hindu Jat people who are Hindu differ in two traditions from Rajput community. First, they do not wear the sacred thread janeu. Second, Jats permit the remarriage of widows.
Famous Jat Rulers over the years: Maharaja Swarup Singh of Jind * Maharaja Kharak Singh, Maharaja of Punjab * Maharaja Nau Nihal Singh, Maharaja of Punjab * Nawab Kapur Singh Virk, leader of Singhpur Misl. * Hari Singh Dhillon, leader of the Bhangi misl, Ruler of Lahore ; Amritsar. Famous Jat Religious Scholars: * Dhanna Bhagat (Dhaliwal Jat) – a Hindu Bhakti saint and disciple Ramananda, worshiper of Rama, whose poems are in the Guru Granth Sahib * Imam Abu Hanifa an-Numan ibn tabit – Founder of most important of the sunni schools, was a jat from sind. His forefathers shifted to Iraq before his birth. * Pror. Dr.
Tahir ul Qadri – founder of Minhaj ul Quran international Lahore, he is Jatt Sial of Jhang Pakistan. Jat Folklores: * Jagga Jat (Jagga Daku) – famous Dacoit of ‘British India’ known as “The Robin Hood of Punjab” * Jyani Jat/Mor- One of “the most famous, popular and widely sung folklores Hero” in Haryana and Punjab * Heer Ranjha – One of the four popular tragic romances of the Punjab, ‘Heer’ was of the Sial Jat clan and ‘Ranjha’ was of the Ranjha Jat clan * Mirza Sahiba – One of the four popular tragic romances of the Punjab, ‘Mirza’ was born in the Kharral Jat clan and ‘Sahiba’ was born in the Sial Jat clan.
Judiciary: * Muhammad Javed Buttar – Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. * Justice Mahavir Singh – Former Justice. Cinema: * Arjan Bajwa * Dara Singh * Simi Garewal * Dharmendra * Sunny Deol * Bobby Deol * Arjun Rampal * Esha Deol * Poonam Dhillon * Randeep Hooda * Sushant Singh * Minissha Lamba * Mahek Chahal * Mangal Dhillon * Himanshu Malik * Mallika Sherawat * Neeru Bajwa * Abhay Deol * Parvin Dabas * Jimmy Shergill * Kirron Kher * Gurdas Mann * Mahima Chaudhry * Vindu Dara Singh * Pravesh Rana * Rajat Tokas * Kulraj Randhawa Shafqat Cheema Punjabi Films Villon * Hema Malini * Raja Chaudhary Sports: * Virender Sehwag – cricketer * Saina Nehwal – badminton player * Yuvraj Singh – cricketer, Boparai Jatt. * Sushil Kumar Solanki – Wrestler, World Wrestling Champion. * Vijender Singh Beniwal – boxer, Olympic bronze medalist * Dara Singh – wrestler * Navjot Sidhu – cricketer * Rakshit Dalal – cricketer * Aaqib Javed – cricketer * Wahab Riaz – Pakistani cricketer * Shahid nazir bajwa – Pakistani cricketer * Rizwan Cheema – cricketer * Ashish Nehra – cricketer Sanjay Bangar – cricketer * Vijay Dahiya – cricketer * Sunny Soha – cricketer * Krishna Poonia – Discus thrower * Balwinder Sandhu – cricketer * Manpreet Gony (Manpreet Singh Grewal) – cricketer * Pradeep Sangwan – cricketer * Ravi Bopara – cricketer * Jyoti Randhawa – golfer * Arjun Atwal – golfer * Gaganjeet Bhullar – golfer * Rajiv Tomar – wrestler * Gadowar Singh Sahota – wrestler * Geetika Jakhar – wrestler * Sqn Ldr S. P. Singh – kabaddi, Asian Games gold medalist * Seema Antil – athlete * Krishna Poonia – athlete Devendra Jhajharia – Gold Medalist Paralympics 2004 * Bajranglal Takhar – silver medalist in rowing, at Doha * Balbir Singh Dosanjh – hockey player * Baljit Singh Dhillon – hockey player * Ramavtar Singh Jakhar – volleyball player * Ravi Shankar Godara – memorizer * Mamta Kharb – hockey player * Usman Gondal – football player * Paramjeet Samota- Famous Indian Boxer- * Waqar Younis- World outclass fast Bowler- (Cricket) * Asif Bajwa- Ex-Pakistani Hockey Player Politicians: * Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Malhi – Leading member of the Muslim League during Pakistan movement. Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi – Prominent leader of PML. * Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi – former Chief Minister of Punjab * Ch. Moonis Elahi – MPA OF PML, grandson of Ch. Zahoor Elahi and son of Ch Pervaiz Elahi. * Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain – MNA of PML, Known as “Commander of Gujrat”. * Chaudhry Shafaat Hussain – Former Nazim of Gujrat district and younger brother of former PM Ch. Shujaat Hussain. * Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan – Former speaker of the Punjab Assembly from 2002-2008. * Sardar Fraz Wahlah – President Pakistan Peoples Party Youth, Punjab. Zulfiqar Ahmad Dhillon, former Minster of Education for Punjab and Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. * Aitzaz Ahsan – Ex- President Supreme Court Bar and Ex- Minister. * Hamid Nasir Chattha – Former Speaker of the National Assembly. * Ch. Imtiaz Safdar Warriach – federal minister of communication. * Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan – Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister. * Ch. Nazar Muhammad Gondal – federal minister of food and agriculture. * Dr. Khalid Ranjha – Former Senator * Sardar Muhammad Arif Nakai – Former CM of Punjab. * Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai – MPA from Punjab Assembly, and son of Sardar