Jat people

king of India
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The Jat people are a traditionally non elite peasant community native to the Indian subcontinent, comprising what is today Northern India and Pakistan. They originated among "pastoral Chandala-like tribe" in Sindh during the 8th century.Later moved to fertile plains of Punjab.

‘Jat’, a peasant untouchable tribe spread over much of north-west India.

Quotes

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  • "Jata-Rajah Juseunt, above adverted to, had an illegitimate child, named Jutteo by a slave of the Barianah country, and from this Juttoo are the Jats descended. The Jats went towards Agra, subjugated the country adjoining thereto, and set tiled there. Hence we find large numbers of dats in those places."
  • A historically singular case is that of the Jatts, a pastoral Chandala-like tribe in eighth-century Sind, who attained sudra status by the eleventh century (Alberuni)[..]The shift to peasant agriculture was probably accompanied by a process of 'sanskritization'.
    • Iran Habib
  • The Jatts or Jats seem to have a similar history . ... and were treated as an outcaste jāti , practically at level with the Chandalas.
  • The ancestors of the Bharatpur dynasty were Jats of Sinsinwar gotra, who followed a non-Vedic god Shin.
  • According to a legend common to the erstwhile royal courts of Bharatpur and Karauli State, their claimed ancestor was a Yadav Rajput named Balchand. From one of his plundering raids, he brought a captured Jat and his wife to Sinsini. As Balchand's wife was infertile, he had two sons from the imprisoned Jat woman, whom he had made his concubine. His sons became Jats after being rejected as Rajputs, and, based on their village Sinsini, they made Sinsinwar as their gotra.
  • It was again brought to my knowledge that these turbulent Jats were as numerous as ants or locusts and that no traveler or merchant passed unscathed from their hands. They had now taken flight, and had gone into jungles and deserts hard to penetrate. My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus, and it now appeared to me that it was necessary for me to put down these Jats. On the 9th of the month I despatched the baggage from Tohana, and on the same day I marched into the jungles and wilds, and slew 2,000 demon-like Jats. I made their wives and children captives, and plundered their cattle and property. On the same day a party of saiyids, who dwelt in the vicinity, came with courtesy and humility to wait upon me and were very graciously received. In my reverence for the race of the prophet, I treated their chiefs with great honour.
    • Malfuzat-i Timuri (tr.Abu Taleb Hosayni), Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 429
    • This book claims to be the autobiography of Timur, however the actual authorship of this work is disputed.
  • From the seventh century onwards and with a peak during Muhammad al-Qasim's campaigns in 712-713 a considerable number of Jats was captured as prisoners of war and deported to Iraq and elsewhere as slaves.
    • André Wink, Al Hind, Vol. I, p. 161
  • The agriculturists in this part of the country were Jats, and they made their submission and were granted protection. When all these circumstances were communicated to Hajjaj [Muhammed bin Qasim's uncle], he sent an emphatic answer, ordering that those who showed fight should be destroyed, or that their sons and daughters should be taken as hostages and kept. Those who choose to submit, and in whose throats the water of sincerity flowed, were to be treated with mercy, and their property secured to them...
  • In the countryside between Delhi and Agra, the Jat community used to till the land. In the reign of Shahjahan, this community had been ordered not to ride on horses, or keep muskets with them, or build fortresses for themselves. The kings that came later became careless, and this community has used the opportunity for building many forts, and collecting muskets…
    In the reign of Muhammad Shah, the impudence of this community crossed all limits. And Surajmal, the cousin of Churaman, became its leader. He took to rebellion. Therefore, the city of Bayana which was an ancient seat of Islam, and where the Ulama and the Sufis had lived for seven hundred years, has been occupied by force and terror, and Muslims have been turned out of it with humiliation and hurt… We who are the servants of Allah and who recognise the Prophet as our saviour, appeal to you in the name of Allah that you should turn your holy attention to this direction and face the enemies, so that a great merit is added to the roll of your deeds in the house of Allah, and your name is included in the list of mujãhidîn fi Sabîlallah (warriors in the service of Allah). May you acquire plunder beyond measure, and may the Muslims be freed from the stranglehold of the infidels. I seek refuge in Allah when I say that you should not act like Nadir Shah who oppressed and suppressed the Muslims, and went away leaving the Marhatahs and the Jats whole and prosperous.
    • Shah Waliullah Dehlawi Letter to Ahmad Shah Abdali, Ruler of Afghanistan. Translated from the Urdu version of K.A. Nizami, Shãh Walîullah Dehlvî ke Siyãsî Maktûbãt, Second Edition, Delhi, 1969, p.83 ff.
  • Your solemn letter has reached (me)…
    At the ‘hidden level’ (occult word), the downfall of the Marhatahs and the Jats has been decided. Now, therefore, it is only a matter of time. As soon as the servants of Allah gird up their loins and come out with courage, the magic fortress of falsehood will be shattered…
    • Shah Waliullah Dehlawi To Najibuddaulah, the Ruhela Ally of Abdali in India. Translated from the Urdu version of K.A. Nizami, Shãh Walîullah Dehlvî ke Siyãsî Maktûbãt, Second Edition, Delhi, 1969, p. 103.
  • …There are three groups in Hindustan which are known for the qualities of fanaticism and zeal. So long as these three are not exterminated, no king can feel secure, nor any noble. The people (read Muslims) also will not be able to live in peace.
    Religious as well as worldly interests dictate that soon after winning the war with the Marhatahs, you should turn towards the forts of the Jats, and conquer them with the blessings from the hidden (occult) world. Next is the turn of the Sikhs. This group should also be defeated, while waiting for grace from Allah.
    …I appeal to you in the name of Allah and his Prophet that you should not cast your eye on the property of any Muslim. If you take care in this regard, there is hope that the doors of victory will be opened to you one after another. But if this caution is ignored, I fear that the wails of the oppressed may become obstacles in the way towards your goal.
    • Shah Waliullah Dehlawi To Najibuddaulah Translated from the Urdu version of K.A. Nizami, Shãh Walîullah Dehlvî ke Siyãsî Maktûbãt, Second Edition, Delhi, 1969, pp.104-05.
  • These words are being written in reply to the verbal message sent by you. I have been asked (by you) to tell (you) about suppression of the rebellion of Jats in the environs of Delhi.
    The fact is that this recluse (meaning himself) has witnessed in the occult world the downfall of the Jats in the same way as that of the Marhatahs. I have also seen it in a dream that Muslims have taken possession of the forts and the country of the Jats, and that Muslims have become masters of those forts and that country as in the past. Most probably, the Ruhelas will occupy those Jat forts. This has been determined and decided in the most secret world. This recluse has not the shadow of a doubt about that. But the way that victory will be achieved is not yet clear. What is needed is prayers from those special servants of Allah who have been chosen for this purpose.
    …But keep one thing in your mind, namely, that the Hindus who are apparently in your’s and your government’s employ, are inclined towards the enemies in their hearts. They do not want that the enemies be exterminated. They will try a thousand tricks in this matter, and endeavour in every way to show to your honour that the path of peace is more profitable.
    Make up your mind not to listen to this group (the Hindu employees). If you disregard their advice, you will reach the height of fulfilment. This recluse knows of this (fulfilment) as if he is seeing it with his own eyes.
    • To Najibuddaulah Translated from the Urdu version of K.A. Nizami, Shãh Walîullah Dehlvî ke Siyãsî Maktûbãt, Second Edition, Delhi, 1969, pp. 106-07.
  • Your honoured letter regarding suppression of the Jats has arrived. Allah is merciful, and it is hoped that he will crush the enemy. You should rest assured… You should forge unity with Musa Khan and other Muslim groups, and put to use this friendship and unity for facing the enemies. I hope for sure that on account of this unity among Muslims and their nobility, victory will be achieved.
    The reason for the rise of enemies and the fall of Muslims is nothing except that, led by their lower nature, Muslims have shared their (Muslims’) concerns with Hindus. It is obvious that Hindus will not tolerate the suppression of non-Muslims. Being farsighted and practising patience are praiseworthy things, but not to the extent that non-Muslims take possession of Muslim cities, and go on occupying one (such) city every day… This is no time for farsightedness and patience. This is the time for putting trust in Allah, for manifesting the might of the sword, and for arousing the Muslim sense of honour. If you will do that, it is possible that winds of favour will start blowing. Whatever this recluse knows is this that war with the Jats is a magic spell which appears fearful at first but which, if you depend fully on the power of Allah and draw His attention towards this (war), will turn out to be no more than a mere show. Let me hope that you will keep me informed of developments and the faring of your arms…
    • To Taj Muhammad Khan Baluch Translated from the Urdu version of K.A. Nizami, Shãh Walîullah Dehlvî ke Siyãsî Maktûbãt, Second Edition, Delhi, 1969, pp. 150-51.
  • Besides these Arab troops, we find the Jats and Meds enlisting under Muhammad Kasim's banners, which, independent of its moral effect in dividing national sympathies, and relaxing the unanimity of defence against foreign aggression, must have been of incalculable benefit to him, in his disproportionate excess of cavalry, which could be of but little service in a country intersected by rivers, swamps, and canals. This desertion of the native princes was doubtless occasioned by the severity with which they had treated the Jats and Lohanas upon the capture of Brahmanabad. The inhibition of riding on saddles and wearing fine clothes, the baring the head, the accompaniment of a dog, the drawing of and hewing wood for the royal kitchen, were more suited to Musulman intolerance than the mild sway of Hinduism ; and accordingly, after the conqueror's first acquisitiona, we find him so indifferent about retaining the good will of his allies, that he imposed the same conditions upon them, which he enforced with even greater stringency than his predecessors.
    • Elliot Dowson, I, [2] also in Lal, K. S. (1995). Growth of scheduled tribes and castes in medieval India.
  • In the autumn of this year Mahmud made his last incursion into India, a punitive expedition against the Jats who had harassed his retreat He marched to Multan and there prepared a fleet of 1400 boats, each armed with an iron spike projecting from the prow and similar spikes projecting from the gunwale on either side and carrying a crew of twenty men armed with bows and arrows and hand grenades of naphtha. The Jats launched four, or, according to some authorities, eight thousand boats and attacked the Muslims, but their boats were pierced or capsized by the spikes and the victory was so complete that the Jats, almost to a man, were drowned or slain. The Muslims then disembarked on the islands where the Jats had placed their wives and families for safety and carried off the women and children as slaves.
    • "The Cambridge History Of India Volume III" [3] also in Lal, K. S. (1995). Growth of scheduled tribes and castes in medieval India.
  • [In 1688 Aurangzeb appointed Prince Bedar Bakht...] who with the troops remaining in the subah , or government , was to undertake to master the chiefs of these peasant thieves , raze their villages and to extirpate once and forever this malicious race and plague of public tranquility .
    • About Jats during Aurangzeb reign. Wendel's Memoirs on the Origin, Growth and Present State of Jat Power in Hindustan (1768) quoted from Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857. 126
  • On the 8th of the month I marched from Ahruni, through the jungle to a village called Tohana. In answer to the inquiries I made about the inhabitants, I learned that they were a robust race, and were called Jats. They were Musulmans only in name and had not their equals in theft and highway robbery. They plundered caravans upon the road, and were a terror to Musulmans and travellers. They had now abandoned the village and had fled to the sugarcane fields, the valleys, and the jungles. When these facts reached my ears I prepared a force which I placed under the direction of Tokal Bahadur, son of the Hindu Karkarra, and sent it against the Jats. They accordingly marched into the sugarcanes and jungles. I also sent Maulana Nasirud din in pursuit of them. When these forces overtook the Jats they put 200 to the sword and made the rest prisoners. A large stock of cattle was captured, and my soldiers returned to camp.
    It was again brought to my knowledge that these turbulent Jats were as numerous as ants or locusts, and that no traveller or merchant passed unscathed from their hands. They had now taken flight, and had gone into jungles and deserts hard to penetrate. A few of them had been killed, but it was my fixed determination to clear from thieves and robbers every country that I subdued, so that the servants of God, and Musulmans and travellers might be secure from their violence.
    My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus, and it now appeared to me that it was necessary for me to put down these Jats and to deliver travellers from their hands. I consequently placed the care of the baggage and of all the plunder which had been gained in my victories in the charge of Amir Sulaiman Shah, to convey it with the heavy baggage to the town of Samana.
    On the 9th of the month I despatched the baggage from Tohana, and on the same day I marched into the jungles and wilds, and slew 2,000 demon-like Jats. I made their wives and children captives, and plundered their cattle and property. Thus I delivered the country from the terror it had long suffered at the hands of the marauding Jats.
    • Timur. in: Elliot and Dowson, vol. III, pp., 428-429 quoted in Jain, M. (editor) (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. New Delhi: Ocean Books. Volume II Chapter 2
  • Soon after, in 1665, Aurangzeb imposed a pilgrim tax on the Hindus. In 1668, he prohibited celebration of all Hindu festivals, particularly Holi and Diwali. The Jats who rightly regarded themselves as the defenders of Hindu hounour were no longer in a mood to take it lying.
    • Shourie A. et al. (1993). Hindu temples : what happened to them.
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