Jats in the pre-Aurangzeb period


Jats in the pre-Aurangzeb period

The Jats in the pre-Aurangzeb period, according to the historian Qanungo, had little scope for their lawless activity under the strong governments of the Surs and the Mughals down to the accession of Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707). They remained quiet until the religious persecution by Aurangzeb and the misrule of the provincial viceroys goaded them into rebellion. [K.R.qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed. dr Vir singh, 2003, p.19]

After the enchanted sleep of a century, administered successively by the hypnotic spell of Akbar, the genial indifference of Jahangir, and the mild patting of Shah Jahan, Hindu India woke to life again in second half of the seventeenth century, being rudely shaken by the pious activity of the saintly Emperor Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707). Accustomed to look upon the occupant of the throne of Delhi, though of an alien faith, as the shadow of God on earth, the awakened Hindus found to their surprise and sorrow that the impartial ruler of Hindustan had changed into a militant missionary of Islam. [K.R.Qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p.20]

We discuss in this article about the position of Jats, Jat rulers, distribution and migration of Jats and their social conditions in India and Pakistan in the period prior to the rule of Aurangzeb(1658 - 1707). The traditional accounts of the Jats record that on many occasions the Sarva Khap Panchayat of the Jats and others met to express its deep resentment against the administrative oppression, unjust restrictions and humiliating exactions on ground of religious discrimination.

Lack of records

We do not have the means to form an accurate and comprehensive view of Jats in the pre-Aurangzeb period, from the early medieval times to commencement of the reign of Aurangzeb when their brethren of Mathura and Bharatpur step by step rose to political prominence. Our sources contain incidental and meager information about the Jats. [G.C.Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p. 7]

It needs no stress that the mind of the people is better and more correctly revealed by their own writings. In case of the Jat people who generally do not have a respectable tradition of history writing, the paucity of any systematic and complete history from their side causes difficulties to a student of their history. The non-Jat sources do provide facts about the Jat activities. The sources consulted include such as Majmal-ut-Tawarikh, Tabkai-i-Akbari, Kamil-ut-Tawarikh, Tarikh-us-Subuktigin, Malfuzat-i-Timuri,Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi etc.

Jats in Sind

The evidences of anthropometry, linguistics, customs and institutions put together lead us to surmise that in all likelihood the Jats are the progeny of the famous republican people mainly of the Vedic stock – of the ancient Sind and Punjab. [K.P.Jayaswal, Andhakar Yugin Bharat (trans. Ram Chandra Varma), Kashi:Samvat 2014, p.392] , [A.H. Bingley, Sikhs (Simla:1899), p. 12] , [G.C.Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p. 7]

Sind was original home of Jats

The legendary reference about the Jats and Meds in Majmal-ut-Tawarikh, the first Persian account of the 11th century (1026), [Majmal-ut-Tawarikh in Elliot, I, p. 104-105] involving the mythological figures can not be regarded as a historical fact but would imply that the people designated as Jats were present in Sind at the time of war of Mahabharata. [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 7]

Jats and Meds have been the oldest occupants of Sind. The first Persian account of the 11th century Mujmat ut-Tawarikh (1026), originally an ancient work in Sanskrit, mentions Jats and Meds as the ancient tribe of Sind and calls them the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. [Mujmat ut-Tawarikh, Ed. Vol.I p. 104] Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] The Ghaznavid poet, Farrukhi calls the Jats (Zatt in Arabic) as the Indian race. [Ibn Hauqal, Ed. Vol.I, p.40] These Arabic/Persian accounts find support from the early fifth century inscription which documented the Indianized names of the Jat rulers, [Inscription No.1, "Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan". (1829-1832) James Tod and William Crooke, Reprint: Low Price Publications, Delhi (1990), Vol.II, Appendix. pp. 914-917.] such as Raja Jit-Jit Salindra-Devangi-Sumbooka-Degali-Vira Narindra- Vira Chandra and Sali Chandra. Furthermore, the Mujmat ut-Tawarikh also mentions the Indianized name of one of their chiefs of the Jats in remote ancient time as Judrat. [Mujmat ut-Tawarikh, Ed. Vol.I p. 104] Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] These textual references further strengthened the view of O'Brien, who opines that the names and traditions of certain Jat tribes seem to connect them more closely with Hindustan. [O'Brien, Multan Glossary, cited Ibbetson, op.cit., p. 105]

According to Dr. Raza, Jats appear to be the original race of Sind valley, stretching from the mouth of Indus to as far as the valley of Peshawar. Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] Traditionally Jats of Sind consider their origin from the far northwest and claimed ancient Garh Gajni (modern Rawalpindi) as their original abode. [Elliot, op. cit., Vol.I, p.133] Persian chronicler Firishta strengthened this view and informs us that Jats were originally living near the river of the Koh-i-Jud (Salt Range) in northwest Punjab. [Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah Firista, Gulsan-i-Ibrahimi, commonly known as Tarikh-i-Firishta, Nawal Kishore edition, (Kanpur, 1865), Vol.I, p.35] The Jats then occupied the Indus valley and settled themselves on both the banks of the Indus River. By the fourth century region of Multan was under their control.Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] Then they rose to the sovereign power and their ruler Jit Salindra, who promoted the renown of his race, started the Jat colonisation in Punjab and fortified the town Salpur/Sorpur, near Multan. [Inscription No.1, Tod, op.cit., Vol.II, Appendix pp. 914-917.]

Ibn Hauqual mentions the area of their abode in between Mansura and Makran. [Ibn Hauqal, Ed. Vol.I, p.40] By the end of seventh century, Jats were thickly populated in Deybal region. [Encyclopedia of Islam, vol.II, p.488] In the early eighth century, when the Arab commander Muhammad bin Qasim came to Sind, the Jats were living along both sides of the river Indus. Their main population was settled in the lower Sind, especially in the region of Brahmanabad (Mansura); Lohana (round the Brahmanabad) with their two territories Lakha, to the west of Lohana and Samma, to the south of Lohana; Nerun (modern Hyderabad); Dahlilah; Roar and Deybal. In the further east, their abode also extended in between Deybal, Kacheha (Qassa) and Kathiawar in Gujarat. In upper Sind they were settled in Siwistan (Schwan) and Alor/Aror region.Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] [Chachnama, pp. 165-66; Alberuni, Qanun al-Mas'udi, in Zeki Validi Togan, Sifat al-ma'mura ala'l-Biruni; Memoirs of the Archeological Survey of India No. 53, pp.16,72; Abu Abudullah Muhammad Idrisi, Kitab Nuzhat-ul-Mustaq, Engl. translation by S.Maqbul Ahmad, entitled India and the Neighbouring Territories, (I. Eiden, 1960), pp.44,145]

Balhara rule in sindh

According to Thakur Deshraj, the Balhara Jats were the rulers in Sindh from 8th century to 10th century. In 710 AD Muhammad bin Qasim occupied Sindh. Sindhu River had made them good navigators. They had fight with Alexander the great by boats. Brahman Raja Dahir was the ruler of Sindh at that time. Other Jat states in Sindh were not powerful; they were also eliminated by the year 800 AD. This was the early period of Balhara Jat rulers in Sindh. Balharas ruled the area, which can be remembered as Bal Division. The area from Khambhat to Simari was under their rule and Manafir was their capital. Manafir was probably Mandore or Mandwagarh. It is likely that after nagas it was ruled by Balharas. The rule transferred from Balharas to Mauryas to Pawars to Chauhans to Parihars to Rathores. [Kishori Lal Faujdar: Rajasthan ke Madhyakalin Jatvans, Jat Samaj, Agra, June 2001]

Sir Henry Elliot has mentioned that after defeat of Jat Raja Sahasi Rai II, Raja Matta of Shivistan attacked Alore (the capital of Chach) with brother of Raja of Kannauj and his army. The Jat Raja Ranmal was the ruler of Kannauj at that time. He was famous as Rana. After that the other Jat rulers were eliminated except the Balharas. The Balharas were strong rulers from Khambhat to Sambhar. 'Koyala Patan' which is now known as 'Kolia', was a single city from Kolia to 'Kalindi Katkeri' spread over about 36 km in length. There used to be bricks of one cubit long and half cubit thick. There are seven tanks of Balharas, Banka tank in the name of Banka Balhara and Lalani tank in name of Lalaji. There is one village named Balhara in Sikar district of Rajasthan. [Kishori Lal Faujdar: Rajasthan ke Madhyakalin Jatvans, Jat Samaj, Agra, June 2001]

In 900 A D a King of this gotra was a powerful ruler in the Western Punjab. He has been greatly praised by historian Sulaiman Nadwi, who came to India as a trader. According to him this ruler was one of the four big rulers of world at that time in 857 A D. He was a friend of the Arabs and his army had a large number of elephants and camels. His country was called Kokan (Kaikan) 'near river Herat. [Ram Swaroop Joon: History of Jats, India]

The boundaries of this Kingdom extended from China to the Sea and his neighbors were the Takshak and Gujar kings. Their capital was Mankir. [Ram Swaroop Joon: History of Jats, India]

Nehra Jats in Sindh

Nehra clan Jats were rulers of Nehrun state in Sindh at the time of attack on Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 710. Present Hyderabad city was settled on the land of Nehrun. The Hyderabad city was then named Nehrun Kot and was called the heart of the Mehran. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 701. ]

Other Jat rulers in Sind

Thakur Deshraj mentions about rule of other Jat named Chandra Ram of Hala clan. He was ruler of Susthan but he lost it to Muslims. He wandered for some time but later he attacked the fort and occupied it. When Muhammad bin Qasim learnt it he sent 1000 sawar and 2000 footsoldiers to suppress Chandra Ram. He fought bravely but killed. His state was known as Halakhandi. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 702. ] , [Sindh Ka itihas, p.30]

Jat rulers in Kaikan

Kaikan was a province in Sind. Kikania is the name of a mountain. When the Arab invaders first time came to Kaikan mountains, the Jats repelled them. K.R.Kanungo [K.R.Qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed. dr Vir Singh, 2003, p.17] writes that when Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sind, Kaikan country was in independent possession of Jats. The country of Kaikan was supposed to be in south-eastern Afghanistan [Elliot, I, 383] , which was conquered from Jats by the Arab general Amran Bin Musa in the reign of the Khalifa Al-Mutasim-bi-llah, (833-881 AD) [Elliot, I, 448] . During the same reign another expedition was sent against the Jats who had seized upon the roads of Hajar (?)...and spread terror over the roads and planted posts in all directions towards the desert. They were overcome after a bloody conflict of twenty five days. 27000 of them were led in captivity to grace the triumph of victor. It was a custom among these people to blow their horns when Marshalled for battle. [Elliot, II, 247] , Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 702. ] , [Sindh Ka itihas, p.30]

Rai Dynasty

Thakur Deshraj mentions about the Buddhist Mauryan Jats rulers’ Rai Dynasty. He says that Rai was their title and their capital was at Aror which used to lie on the banks of the Indus River. Rai Meharsan II had a war with Badshah Nimroz of Iran in which he was killed. After him Rai Sahasi II became the king. When Rai Sahasi II fell ill, he called his minister to see the letters. The minister sent his "munshi" Chach for this purpose. The wisdom of Chach influenced the king and he appointed Chach to look after the palace. This way he got free entry into the palace. Chach developed illegal relations with the queen Suhanadi. Chach conspired with the Rani Suhanadi and killed Raja Sahsi Rai II and married with the queen and became ruler of Sindh starting a line of Brahmin ruler ship in samvat 689 (632 AD). Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992, p.700-701 ]

Panwar rulers in Omarkot

Umerkot or Omarkot (Urdu: عمرکوٹ) is town in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It is also referred to as Amar Kot as per old histories, "Amar Kot Itehas" by Tej Singh Solanki. Once, it has been Capital of Greater Sindh Province, including some parts of present Rajasthan state of India. According to Thakur Deshraj, Panwar clan Jats were rulers here prior to Mughal ruler Humayun. Jame Todd tells it to be a Rajput state confusing Panwar with Rajputs, but it was denied by Cunningham, who wrote it to be a Panwar Jat state referring to the author of 'Humayun Nama'. [Memoirs of Humayun, p. 45] , [Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas, p.705]

Migration from Sind

As for the migration of Jats from Sind, it may be assumed that natural calamity and increase in population compelled them to migrate from their original abode in search of livelihood.Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] Hoernle has propounded the 'wedge theory' for the migration of most of the ancient tribes. This wedge theory tends us to believe that the Jats were among the first wave of the Aryans, and their first southeast migration took place from the Nort-West, and established their rule at Sorpur in Multan regions. Further they migrated towards east and stretched their abode from Brahmanabad (Mansura) to Kathiawar. As Jataki, the peculiar dialect of the Jats, also proves that the Jats must have come from the NW Punjab and from other districts (e.g. Multan) dependent upon the great country of the Five rivers. [Richard F. Burton, op. cit., p.246] By the end of fifth and the beginning of the sixth century, their southward migration, second in line, took place and they reached Kota in Rajasthan, probably via Bikaner regions. From Kota they migrated further east and established their rule at Malwa under the rule of Salichandra, son of Vira Chandra. Salichandra erected a minster (mindra) on banks of the river Taveli in Malwa. [Inscription No.1, Tod, op.cit., Vol.II, Appendix pp. 914-917.] Probably after their defeat by Sultan Mahmud in 1027 AD, and later hard pressed by the Ghaznavi Turkish Commander, the Jats of Sind again migrated to Rajasthan and settled themselves in Bundi regions.Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] The second inscription found at Bundi probably dates from "circa" samvat 1191 (1135 AD) possibly refers to the Jats as opponents of the Parmara rulers of Rajasthan. [Inscription No.II, Tod, op.cit., Vol.II, Appendix, pp. 917-919 and n. 13]

When Muhammad bin Qasim attacked Dahlilah, a fortified town in between Roar and Brahmanabad, most of the inhabitants (the Jats) had abandoned the place and migrated to Rajasthan via desert and took shelter in the country of Siru (modern Sirohi) which was then ruled by King Deva Raj, a cousin of Rai Dahir. [Chachnama, p.166] However, the third migration took place in early eighth century and Jats of lower Sind migrated to Rajasthan, probably via Barmer regions. By the twelfth century, the Jats settled in western Punjab, as the native poet Abul Farj Runi mentions them along with the Afghans.Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh] Meanwhile, they also extended their abode in the eastern part of the Punjab (now Haryana), as in the end of the twelfth century they resisted Qutb-ud-din Aybak in the region of Hansi. [Hasan Nizami, Tajul-ma'asir, Fascimile translation in ED, Vol. II, p.218]

Jats in Chachnama

Chachnama gives us comparative detailed information about the Jats of lower Sind (especially of Brahmanabad) in relation to Rai Chach and Muhamad bin Qasim. It says that after the subjugation of the fort of Brahmanabad Rai Chach humiliated the Jats and the Lohanas and punished their chiefs. He imposed stern and disgraceful regulations on them. [Chachnama in Elliot, I, 150-151] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 8]

Chachnama does not specify the causes of this unusual treatment but it is not difficult to surmise them. Resentful of loss of their state, external interference, and sensitive to autocracy the self-governing Jats have, from earliest times, mostly showed an instinctive attachment to democratic ways. [ Bingley’s (Sikhs 11-12)] , [U.N.Sharma, Jaton Ka Navin Itihas (Jaipur: 1977), 38] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 8] They were indifferent to the rigidity and exclusiveness in socio-religious structure and generally had a natural apathy to the monarchical form of the government, facts which gradually came to the forefront in the Hindu society under the hegemony of the Gupta Kings and thereafter. [K.P.Jayaswal, Andhakar Yugin Bharat (trans. Ram Chandra Varma), Kashi:Samvat 2014, p.391] , [R.C.Majumdar, Corporate life in India, 165-167] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 8] In such a state of affairs, Chach, a high caste Brahman might have harboured a feeling of abhorrence for the defiant unorthodox Jats. [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 8]

We have a positive knowledge about the prevalence of Buddhism at that period in the Indus Valley, [M.Habib, “The Arab Conquest of Sind”, Islamic Culture Jan,1929] , in which the Jats formed the bulk of the population. Hence it is not unlikely, that the Jats had definite leanings towards Buddhism, which was more agreeable to their ways and practices, which are reflected in the book by Dr. Dharma Kirti, a modern Buddhist. [Dr. Dharma Kirti , Jat Jati prachhanna Baudh hai, 1999 ed. New Delhi] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 8, f.n.]

It is also likely that the years long [Chachnama in Elliot, I, 147] stubborn resistance by Jats and others to Chach during the latter’s siege of Brahmanabad provided him the immediate provocation for adopting the repressive measures. [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 9]

Chachnama refers to the Jats again at the time of Muhammad bin Qasim’s invasion of Sind. Following a query from the conqueror about the position of the Jats under Chach and Dahir, Sisakar, the minister of the fallen King, apprised him of the restrictions imposed upon them. The minister added that it was incumbent upon them to supply escorts and conduct parties and serve as guides. If any injury befell a person on the road they had to answer for it. The minister went on that these people have the disposition of savages and always rebelled against their sovereign....Having heard this, Qasim retained the same regulations against the Jats [Ibid.,187] of the eastern areas but not against those of western, who probably as mercenaries, had joined the invader against the oppressive Dahir. [Mirza Kalich Beg’s translation of Chachnams quoted by Qanungo, Jats, 28] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 9]

Jats in Kamil-ut-Tawarikh

Kamil-ut-Tawarikh notices the Jats seizing upon the roads of Hajar and plundering the corn of Kaskar. They had planted posts in all directions towards the desert. At the orders of the reigning Khalifa, Alif bin Isa marched against them (219 A.H. – 834 AD). He was busy suppressing their chief Muhammad bin Usman for seven months. After killing many of the Jats, Ajif is said to have carried twenty seven thousand of them (including women and children) to Baghdad. [Kamil-ut-Tawarikh in Elliot, II, 247-248] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 10]

Jats in Fatuh-ul-Buldan

Fatuh-ul-Buldan alludes to the Jats having sway over the territory of Kikan. Amran, the governor of Sind, (sometimes after 221 A.H. – 836 AD) attacked and subjugated them. [Fatuh-ul-Buldan in Elliot, I, 128] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 10]

Mahmud of Ghazni (977-1030) and Jats

Mahmud of Ghazni (977-1030) was a Turk. The original rulers of Turkistan were Jats. Then the Mongols ousted them and Turk tribes were gradually compelled to leave Turkistan. Mahmud's ancestors had thus come and settled in Zabulistan and Afghanistan. Alpatgin of this tribe established his kingdom in Ghazni. Subkutgin (977-997), who was born in the third generation of Alpatgin, 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 worshiped 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 Bhati Rajputs, 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 Attock. 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, Itihas, 123-124]

James Todd's Rajasthan mentions that while the Army of Mahmud of Ghazni, with the booty obtained from the loot of Somnath, was passing through the Jat territory of Multan, they were ambushed by Jats in 1025 AD, and all the wealth was recovered. Sultan Mahmud of 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. He did not have the courage to invade India for two years. During this period he prepared to take revenge from the Jats and crush them. [Ram Swarup Joon, Ch. 9]

Tabkai-i-Akbari writes that Mahmud of Ghazni undertook his seventeenth expedition in 417 A.H. against the Jats (of the region of the Jud hills) who had molested his army on its return from Somnath. Mahmud is said to have organized a fleet of 1400 boats, while Jats could gather 4000 boats (or 8000 according to some). A naval fight ensued between the two at Multan, in which the Jats were drowned. The rest were slain. [Tabkai-i-Akbari quoted in Elliot, II, Note D 477-478] Jats were thus defeated in naval battle in 1027 AD by Mahmood Ghazni and their territory ransacked. There are Tak and Dagar gotras in Haryana, whose forefathers migrated from Multan during that Period. [Ram Swarup Joon, Ch. 9]

Tarikh-us-Subuktigin describes that two or three thousand mounted Jats attacked the Ghazanvid commander Tilak (425 A.H. – 1034 AD) “chiefly for the purpose of seizing his property and money”, when he was perusing the rebel, Ahmad Nialtigin in the lower Punjab. They carried away his son and subsequently killed Ahmad also. The Jats returned his son and the head of the deceased only after getting a portion of the promised reward. [Tarikh-us-Subuktigin in Elliot, II, 132-133] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 10]

Muhammad Ghori (1173-1206) and Jats

In zabulistan 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 Mahmud of 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 Gaj had also ruled Sialkot and Quetta. Ruins of a fort Bala-e-Hissar still exist in Afghanistan.

The King Jai Chandra was at daggers drawn with Prithvi Raj Chauhan. He continued a clash between Muhammad Ghori and Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and promised to support Mohammed Gauri with men and material. Muhammad Ghori jumped at the proposal. Unlike Mahmud of 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 Shorom in Muzaffarnagar district, 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 Qutb-ud-Din his regent at Delhi.

Taj-ul-Maasir refers to the rising of the Jats of Haryana (588 A.H. 1192 AD) under their leader Jatwan, following the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Jatwan besieged the Muslim garrison at Hansi. Hearing about it, Qutb-ud-Din hurriedly moved against the Jats. Jatwan raised the siege to confront Qutb-ud-Din, but was beaten after a sanguinary fight. We are told that in samvat 1252 (1195 AD) a meeting of Sarva Khap Panchayat (Federal clan council of the Jats and other kindred people of Upper Doab, Haryana and neighbourng areas) was held in a forest between the villages of Bhoju and Banera under the chairmanship of Rao Vijay Rao of the village, Sisauli. This meeting decided among others to raise a big militia “to defend the Sarva Khap area against a suspected attack by Muhammad Ghori and to protect the area from loot and plunder. [Kanha Ram (Hindi Ms.) in possession of Chaudhary Qabul Singh of Shoram Muzaffarnagar] ] , [Habibullah, Foundation of Muslim rule in India, 62,81 (footnote)] , [G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11]

Muhammad Ghori returned to Lahore after 1200 to deal with a revolt of the Khokhar Jats in the Punjab, who had rebelled under their leader Raisal. He suppressed the revolt but was killed in a fierce battle by Khokhar Jats while he was returning to Ghazni at his camp at Dhamyak near Lahore on the Jhelum River in 1206. After this incidence the Mughal rulers of Delhi could not win these Khokhar Jats till the end of fifteenth century. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.128]

Ala ud din Khilji (1296-1316) and Jats

Ala ud din Khilji was a religious bigot and was deadly against Hindus. He had a trusted chief named Malik Kafur, a Hindu (Saini) convertFact|date=September 2008 , and ex-wrestler. He had married a sweeper womenFact|date=September 2008 . Ala ud din Khilji ruined Chittorgarh in his effort to get Rani Padamni. He levied Jazia on the Hindus and placed restrictions on marriages, restricted horse ride by Hindu zamindars, put a ban on creatng assets by Hindus etc. These acts were worse that death to Hindus. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.132-133] , [Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)]

The Jat Sarv Khap meeting was held in samvat 1354 (1295 AD) in protest against these 'Firmans' at village Shikarpur in Meerut District. 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 Hindaun Rivers. The remaining men and women were detailed on administrative duties. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.132-133] , [Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)]

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. [ Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)]

During his period it was rumored that Mongol invasion was imminent in Punjab. Ala ud din Khilji 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. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.132-133] , [Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)]


= Jat republic at Pirana =

Pirana was a republic of Jats in Tonk in fourteenth century. It was a well-organized state. They used to collect taxes from traders and rich travelers through passing their state. They used to collect one fourth of the goods as tax. There was a system of equal right of all the brothers and castes on the land under their occupation. But in return they used to select 9 soldiers from their people for war. Every child, youth and elderly persons were committed to protect their state and sacrifice their lives.

Once a caravan of Begams of Badsah Jahangir happened to pass through their state. Jat chieftain stopped the caravan and allowed to pass only when they paid taxes. Jahangir when came to know about this incidence he sent his subedar Malook khan to suppress these Jats. Malook khan knew the powers and strategy of Jat rulers so he did not attack them directly. He camped at a village called Sherpur near Ranthambore and started his planning. He allured one Doom and asked details about how he could defeat these Jat rulers. The Doom told him that on "bhadwa badi 12" the Jats celebrate ‘Bachchh baras’ when all are armless. Malook khan attacked on this very date when the Jats were celebrating ‘Bachchh baras’. Jats being unarmed, many of them were killed. This way a Jat republic was destroyed.

Jiwan Singh and Raimal in Pirana were two chieftains who were killed in above attack. The pregnant ladies at the time of above attack got escaped and sent to Sanganer where they founded a town near Sanganer. The boys on their birth were named Jiwan and Raimal as decided prior to war on the name of above warriors killed. Jiwan later chose to live at a place of his ancestors and founded a new village ‘Pirana’ in the name of old village of same name.

Some ladies were killed or chose to become sati after the death of their husbands. There are terraces constructed in the memory of these ladies at Pirana locally known as ‘Satiyon ke chabutre’. The inscriptions on this site bear years up to samvat 1478 (1421 AD). These inscriptions indicate the period of war of Malook khan with Jats was in fourteenth century when Khilji was ruler at Delhi. [Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992, pp. 604-605]

Attack of Timur (1370 – 1405) and Jats

Th Jats rose again when Timur invaded India. Malfuzat-i-Timuri testifies to his satisfaction over killing 2000 Jats of village Tohna near Sarsuti. He found them “demon like”, “robust”, “marauding” and “as numerous as ants, and locusts”. [Malfuzat-i-Timuri and following it Zafarnama in Elliot, III, 248-249, 491] , [ G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11] We learn that in order to hold deliberations over the problem of his invasion, a Sarva Khap Panchayat meeting was held in samvat 1455 (1398 AD) in forest of Chaugama under the president ship of Dev Pal Rana. It passed the resolutions that they should “vacate the villages, sending the children and women to the forests and that the able-bodied persons should take up arms and destroy the army of Timur. [Kanha Ram (Hindi Ms),13] , [ G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11] The Panchayat militia harassed the forces of Timur, while they were advancing from Meerut towards Haridwar. In the process the former lost 6000 men. [Ibid.] , [ G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11]

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 Dev Pal Rana (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: Dr Natthan Singh, Uttar Bharat ke Jaton ki Shasan Vyavastha, page 222]
* All villages would be emptied.
* The elders and women, and children would be taken to safe places
* All able-bodied men would join the army of the SarvKhap
* The young women would also take up arms like the men.
* 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.
* 500 young horsemen would follow Timur and report his whereabouts to the Sarv Khap army.

The Panchayat 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
* Rampiari Gujar,
* Hardai Jat,
* DeviKaur Rajput,
* Chandro Brahmin, and
* Ramdai Tyagi.

All of them took a vow to lay down their lives in defence of their nation. Two Deputy Generals were chosen -
* Dhula Bhangi (Valmiki),
* Harveer 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 Gulia Jat, of the Gulia Clan. He was from the village Badli in Rohtak district, 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 :
* Gaje Singh Jat Gatwala,
* Tuhiram Rajput,
* Nedha Rawa,
* Sarju Brahmin,
* Umra Taga (Tyagi), and
* Durjanpal Ahir.

The names of deputy generals were :
* Kundan Jat,
* Dhari Gadariya, who was a Dhari,
* Bhondhu Saini,
* Hulla Nai (barber),
* Bhana Julaha (dhanak)
* Aman Singh Pundir, Rajput
* Nathu Pardar, Rajput
* Dhulla (Dhandi) Jat, who would lead raids from Hissar, to Dadri, to Multan.
* Mamchand Gujar
* Phalwa Kahaar.

Assistant generals, 20 assistant's generals, were chosen from the various 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.

Some excerpts of Jograj Singh's speech

:"Heroes, reflect on the sermon given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita. For us the door to heaven (moksha) has been opened. That moksha, which the Rishi Munis achieve by doing Yoga, the hero warriors achieve by sacrificing their lives on the battlefield. Save the nation, that is- sacrifice yourselves, the world will honor you. You have chosen me leader. To my last breath I will not withdraw. I salute the Panchayat, and take oath that until my last breath I will defend the soil of Bharat. Our nation has been shaken by the crimes and attacks of Timur. Warriors arise and do not delay. Fight the enemy army and throw them out of the nation."

On hearing this speech a wave of heroism ran through the assembly. 80, 000 warriors and 40,000 maiden warriors kissed their swords and took an oath, ' O General, while we breathe we will obey your orders, and sacrifice our lives for our country'. The Troops. - The Panchayat Army, spread out from Delhi to Meerut, Muzzafarnagar, Saharanpur, and Haridwar. On reaching these places they tangled with the armies of Timur, and using Guerilla warfare, they did not let them sit still. The enemy army had to escape by the route of the hills and the enemy was chased up to Ambala, and expelled out from the land of Haryana.

The battle of Delhi

At the time Timur was looting Delhi, and putting the population to the sword 20,000 warriors of the Panchayat army, made a surprise attack on the 52,000 strong army of Timur in the middle of the night, and killed 9,000 of them, and let their corpses be swept away in the river Yamuna. As soon as dawn came these heroic soldiers of the Panchayat returned to outside the city walls. The battle carried on like this for three days. Timur Lung got frustrated, left Delhi and advanced toward Meerut.

The battle of Meerut

Timur, with his numerous and powerful army, with much weaponry, advanced towards Meerut. In this land, Timur's army was given no space to breathe. The battles continued all through the day. Wherever the Army of Timur would stop for the night, the Panchayat army would attack, and uproot them. The heroic Devis (goddesses- women) would deliver food and war material to their soldiers wherever they were. The warrior maidens would attack and loot the supplies of the enemy. The 500 horsemen were doing their duty by keeping everyone together and bearing information. As supplies were not reaching them, the army of Timur started to go hungry. Whichever village came in its path would be destroyed. Becoming frustrated Timur advanced towards Haridwar.

The battle of Haridwar

Beyond Meerut, to Muzzafarnagar and Saharanpur, the Panchayat armies fought fiercely with Timur and did not let his army take hold (grip). The Supreme General, the Deputy Generals and the Generals were handling their armies well. The army of Timur reached Tuglaqpur - Pathrigarh, which is 15 km south of Haridwar. In this land the army of the Panchayat fought three major battles with the army of Timur.

Harveer Singh Gulia attacked Timur

The Deputy Commander Harveer Singh Gulia (1376 - 1398), a Jat of Gulia clan of village Badli, 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. Dr Natthan Singh,"Jat-Itihas", (Jat History), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004 page-137] (Timur eventually died from this wound when he reached Samarkhand). The spear men and swordsmen of the enemy leap 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 Harveer Singh Gulia and brought him to the camp. But a few hours later, the hero warrior Harveer Singh achieved martyrdom. (See - Harveer Gulia)

Timur after sacking 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.

Invasion of Babar (14831530) and Jats

Bābur (1483 – 1530) founded the Mughal dynasty of India. He was a direct descendant of Timur, and believed himself to be a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother. Following a series of set-backs he succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal Empire in India. Babur after crossing the Sindh River faces the opposition of Gakkhars and the Khokhar Jats in the salt range. There were skirmishes but the Jats being equipped only with bows and arrows could not face the strong artillery of Babur. Even after defeat they rebelled immediately after Babur left the area. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.139]

The invader Babar found the Jats inhabiting a tract between Mil-ab and Bhera mountains. He remarks:

: “If one goes into Hindustan the Jats and Gujars always pour down in countless hordes from hill and plain for loot in bullock and buffalo…When we reached Sialkot, they fell in tumult on poor and needy folks who were coming out of the town to our camp, and stripped them bare. I had the silly thieves sought for, and ordered two or three of them cur to pieces”. [Memoieres of Babar, qaoted by Qanungo, Jats,33] , [ G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11]

Jat militia for Rana Sanga

Although master of Delhi and Agra, Babur records in his memoirs that he had sleepless nights because of continuing worries over Rana Sanga, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Babur was convinced he could overcome the Rajputs and gain complete control over Hindustan.

The two armies fought each other forty miles west of Agra at Khanwa. In a possibly apocryphal tale referred to in Tod's Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Babur is supposed to have sent about 1,500 choice cavalry as an advance guard to attack Sanga. These were heavily defeated by Sanga's army. Babur then wanted to discuss peace terms. Sanga sent his general Silhadi (Shiladitya) to the parley. Babur is said to have won over this general by promising him an independent kingdom. Silhadi came back and reported that Babur did not want peace and preferred to fight. The Battle of Khanwa began on 17 March 1527 and, as Tod puts it, "While the issue was still doubtful" Silhadi and his army left the field. Whatever the truth of this tale, it seems plausible that a treacherous Tomara who led the vanguard of Sanga's army at Khanwa went over to Babur, causing Sanga to retreat and costing him a likely victory.

In response to Rana Sanga’s call of support from Panchayat army, a meeting of Jat Sarva Khap Panchayat, Saurom was held at Sisauli village of Balyan Khap in samvat 1584 (1527 AD) and a resolution was passed to send an army 25000 soldiers under the leadership of Maharana of Dholpur to help Rana Sanga in war against Babur. The records of Panchayat reveal that this army was sent, which fought in favour of Rana Sanga and thousands of soldiers were killed in the war. [Kanha Ram (Hindi Ms),15] , [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.140] G.C. Dwivedi writes that a Jat militia of 5000 from the upper Doab and another from the Brij participated in the battle of Khanwa against Babar. [, G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11]

Sikandar Lodhi (1489 - 1517) and Jats

It is said that land taxes on the farmers were increased during the period of Sikandar Lodhi (1489 - 1517) and Jajiya tax was imposed. He demolished Hindu temples at Mathura. "Sarays" were built in place of new temples. The sculptures were given to butchers who used them as weights to weigh meat. Masjids and shops were constructed on the banks of Yamuna River. To oppose these farmans a meeting of Deshkhap, Sarv Khap Panchayat of Tomaras, was held in 1490 AD at village Baraut under the chairmanship of Ramdev. It was decided not to pay the increased land-tax and the jajiya tax. The records of Panchayat reveal that if the Emperor tried to recover the increased taxes, a Panchayat army of 50000 soldiers would be raised to rebel against the rule. Sikandar Lodhi did not press to recover the taxes in view of fear of rebellion. [Dr Natthan Singh, Jat Itihas, p.141]

Sher Shah Suri (14861545) and Jats

During the period of confusion intervening between the death of Babur and accession of Sher Shah Suri (1486 – 1545) to the throne of Delhi, Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi speaks of one redoubted Jat chief named Fateh Khan of Kot Kobulah devastated the whole country of Lakhi Jungle and kept in ferment the road from Lahore to Panipat. Haibat Khan Niazi, the governor of the Punjab on behalf of Sher Shah Suri, crushed Fateh Khan and his associates after a severe campaign. [Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi in Elliotr, IV, 398-399] , [ G.C. Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Delhi, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p. 11] , [Qanungo, SAher Shah, p. 308-311]

According to the historian Qanungo, Jats had little scope for their lawless activity under the strong governments of the Surs and the Mughals down to the accession of Aurangzeb. They remained quite till the religious persecution of that Emperor and the misrule of the provincial viceroys goaded them into rebellion. [K.R.qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed. dr Vir singh, 2003, p.19]

The tendency to oppose the foreign invaders

The Jats later opposed, to their worth, Nadir shah (at Karnal) and Ahmad Shah Abdali (at Manupur). These examples suffice to show their tendency of opposing the foreign invaders. K.R.Kanungo rightly remarks:

:"They (the Jats) have shown in all times – whether against Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, or against Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali – the same propensity to fall upon the rear of a retreating army undeterred by the heaviest odds, or the terror-inspiring fame of great conquerors. When encountered they showed the same obstinate and steady courage unmindful of the carnage on the field or of the miseries that were in store for them after defeat". [Qanungo, Jats,30] , [G.C.Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p.11-12]

The traditional accounts of the Jats record that on many occasions the Sarva Khap Panchayat of the Jats and others met to express its deep resentment against the administrative oppression, unjust restrictions and humiliating exactions on ground of religious discrimination. In some cases they reportedly resolved to oppose the Muslim administration in case the oppressive measures were not withdrawn. [Kanha Ram (Hindi Ms.), 6,8-9,12,14] , [G.C.Dwivedi, The Jats, Their role in the Mughal Empire, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p.11-12]

See also

* The rise of Jat power
* The Jat Uprising of 1669
* Maharaja Suraj Mal
* Jats in the pre-Aurangzeb period

References


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