Mewat

place in India

Mewat is a historical region of Haryana and Rajasthan states in northwestern India. The loose boundaries of Mewat are not precisely determined but generally include Hathin tehsil and Nuh district of Haryana, Alwar (Tijara, Kishangarh, Bas, Ramgarh, Laxmangarh tehsils and Aravalli hills tract) and Bharatpur districts (Pahari, Nagar and Kaman tehsils) of Rajasthan, and Chhata Tehsil of Mathura district in Uttar Pradesh. The region roughly corresponds to the ancient kingdom of Matsya, founded in the 5th century BCE. Mewati dialect, a slight variant of the Haryanvi and Rajasthani dialects of Hindi, is spoken in rural areas of the region. Mewati Gharana is a distinctive style of Indian classical music.

QuotesEdit

  • Particularly the Delhi Sultanate was hardly a functioning empire... In the Mewat region south of Delhi, the Shudras led the unrelenting resistance against the Sultans, waging a guerilla operation from hide-outs in the forest. Sultans Nasiruddin and Balban had to clear away the forest before they could hunt down and forcibly convert a substantial part of this population....
    • K.S. Lal, Epigraphica Indica, J. Ramayya, E. Hultzsch, K. Rama Sastri; Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 402-404
  • In 1256 Ulugh Khan Balban carried on devastating warfare in Sirmur, and ‘so many of the rebellious Hindus were killed that numbers cannot be computed or described.’ Ranthambhor was attacked in 1259 and ‘many of its valiant fighting men were sent to hell.’ In the punitive expedition to Mewat (1260) ‘numberless Hindus perished under the merciless swords of the soldiers of Islam.’ In the same year 12,000 men, women and children were put to the sword in Hariyana.
    • K.S. Lal. Indian Muslims: Who Are They (1990)
  • It was at this place that he [Ilyas] first came into contact with the Mewatis… These uncouth and illiterate people had converted to Islam on a mass scale as a result of the efforts of the well-known sufi Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and his descendants, But in practical life they were far from Islam… They kept their Hindu names,… they celebrated all the Hindu festivals and made sacrifices to the pre-Islamic gods and goddesses… In 1921 new problems arose when Arya Samaj preachers resolved to reconvert the Indian Muslim to their ancestral religion. Thanks to the religious and cultural poverty of the Meos, the large-scale activities of the Aryan missionaries met with great success. The solution of this problem was to impart to them religious education so that they did not yield to any malign influence
    The only solution to this problem, as the Maulana saw it, lay in separating them from their milieu… They changed their way of dressing and grew beards, shaking off one by one almost all their pre-Islamic customs that they had retained after their conversion…
    • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Tabligh Movement, Al Risala Books, The Islamic Centre, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Second Reprint, 1994 p. 5-12
  • A dislike for Hinduised garments was created and people began to dress themselves according to the specifications of the Shariat. Bracelets got removed from the arms and rings from the ears of men…
    • Describing the changes in the Mewat region that came as a result of the efforts of Maulana Ilyas and the Tabligh workers.
    • Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Life and Mission of Maulana Mohammad Ilyas, Lucknow, 1983, p. 40. Quoted in Shail Mayaram, Resisting Regimes: Myth, Memory and the Shaping of a Muslim Identity, OUP, Delhi, 1997, p.226; and in Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R. (1997).
  • Another tablighi, Muhammad Abdul Shakur, was more vituperative against the prevalence of Hindu customs among the Muslims. He raved against the barbarous (wahshiana) dress of the Hindus like dhoti, ghaghra and angia and advocated wearing of “kurta, amama, kurti, pyjama and orhni (or long Chadar)”. He attacked Hindu marriage customs practised by Muslims and warned women against participating in marriages with their faces uncovered. He insisted on women observing parda and was shocked to find that even after a thousand years of their conversion during the expeditions of Mahmud of Ghazni, Indian Muslims were living like Hindus. In the end he exhorted the senior Mewati Muslims thus: “Oh Muslims, the older people of Mewat, I appeal to you in a friendly way, doing my tablighi duty, to give up all idolatrous and illegal (mushrikana) ways of the Hindus… Islam has laid down rules for all social and cultural conduct… follow them.”
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
  • Ulugh Khan Balban marched with a large force on a campaign in the region of Ranthambhor, Mewat and Siwalik. He made a proclamation that a soldier who brought a live captive would be rewarded with two silver tankahs and one who brought the head of a dead one would get one silver tankah. Soon three to four hundred living and dead were brought to his presence.
    • Minhaj; Elliot and Dowson, II, 348, 367, 371, 380-81, Farishtah, I, 73. Farishtah, I. 73. As quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5

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