Thursday, November 18, 2010

Origin of Jats

Origin of Jats

The 'Indo-Aryan origin of Jats' has been advocated on the basis of ethnological, physical and linguistic standards by many historians like E.B. Havell,[1] Qanungo,[2] C.V.Vaidya,[3] Sir Herbert Risley,[4] Thakur Deshraj,[5] Mangal Sen Jindal[6]etc. 

Vedic Aryans
Jats: Theory of Aryan origin
Ethnological studies to support Indo-Aryan origin
Language in support of Indo-Aryan theory


Arya is related to the Indo-European word "Aristocracy" and was used in the same context in Vedic tradition, as a designation for moral and spiritual heroes. Later this term came to signify anyone of good and noble character. The word Aryan is derived from arya, which meant "exalted" or "noble one" in the Indian and Persian languages. Seventy percent of those living in modern Iran are native speakers of Iranian/Aryan dialects. India is referred to as Aryavarta, which means "Abode of the Aryans". Indo-Aryan speaking people form majority of the population of northern India. This is also the area inhabited by Jats as is clear by comparison of distribution of Jats areas with Aryavarta.

According to Maheswari Prasad of Banaras Hindu University, Jats belong to the Proto-Vedic Aryan stock. But being on the periphery of Madhyadesha, the cradle of vedic culture, they did not undergo the social transformation on the line ofvarna system and monarchial political organizaion. The power of decision-making remained with elders and clan organizations.[7]
== Aryavarta ==
'Aryavarta' (Sanskrit: "Abode of the noble or excellent ones (see ''arya'')" or "Abode of the Aryans") is the ancient name for northern and central India. It is erroneous to give this name to the whole of India, since the borders of Aryavarta have been described differently in sources from different times.


Dr Natthan Singh writes that Jats were the pure Aryans and their original homeland was Sapta Sindhu. On the basis of analysis of the epic of Mahabharata, the Jats are reported to be present in India from 3102 BC[8] [9]

They had to migrate from India on economic, social and political reasons for some period but they returned back to India. In the migration also they did not leave their language and cultural traditions. Due to this reason only Jats do not have linguistic or physical similarities with Huns and Scythians[10] This view is also supported by Thakur Deshraj who writes that on the basis of ethnological, physical, cultural and linguistic standards Jats are pure Aryans who inhabited the areas on the banks of Ganga-Yamuna or Sarswati-Sindhu during Vedic civilization[11] 

Thakur Deshraj[12] Ram Lal hala [13] and Al-Biruni[14] consider Jats to be the descendants of Krishna

Sir Herbert Risley declared the Rajput and the Jat to be the true representatives of the Vedic Aryans. [15] 
Risley has mentioned in 1901 census report that as per their physique Jats are pure Aryans.[16]
Qanungo appeared to rely on Sir Risley's theory. Qanungo wrote, "The European pioneers of Indian antiquities and ethnology apparently started with the presumption that fine and energetic martial peoples like the Rajput and the Jat must have been comparatively newcomer from the north-west into India who overcame the effete descendants of the Vedic Aryans (Hindus)----. [17] 
If popular tradition counts for anything, it points to the view that they (Jats) are an essentially Indo-Aryan (Hindus?) People who have migrated from the east to the west and not Indo-Scythian----and No Hindu has been ever known to claim a Chinese origin, but the people of China----[17]
The Jats has been declared by all eminent authorities, to pass successfully the combined test of the physical type and language of true Aryan.” [17]

Khushwant Singh (A well respected Indian Journalist) wrote, 

"It is now generally accepted that the Jats who made the northern plains of India their home were of Aryan stock. The origin of the Jats has been exhaustively dealt with by K.R. Quanungo, who states emphatically that the Jats are of Aryan stock (Hindus) that came from Rajasthan into Punjab". [20]
Dr. Trump and Beams very strongly claimed a pure Indo-Aryan descent for Jats both in consideration of their physical type and language, which has been authoritatively pronounced as a pure dialect of Hindi, without slightest trace of Scythian.
C.V.Vaidya in History of Medieval Hindu India writes that-
“Lastly we have to speak about the Jats. Their ethnological characteristics also we have already seen, are clearly Aryans. They are fair tall high nosed and long headed. Does their history contradict of their being Aryans ? ….. They are the purest Aryans in India and belong to the first race of Aryans invaders according to our view the solar race of Aryans. …There is not a scrap of historical evidence even to suggest much less to prove such immigration there is neither foreign mention of their coming into India nor have they any tradition of their own sometime coming into India nor is there any historical India record stone inscription or other of their so coming, and we can only ascribe such theories to that unaccountable bias of the winds of many European and native scholars to assign a foreign and Scythic origin to every fine and energetic caste in India.” [21]
E.B.Havell writes based on physical features and the language that Ethnographic investigations show that the Indo Aryan type described in Hindu epic a tall fair complexioned long headed race with narrow prominent noses broad shoulders long arms thin waists like a lion and legs like a deer is how (as it was in the earliest) most confined to Kashmir the Punjab and Rajputana and represented by the Khattris, Jats and Rajputs. [22]
The Jat historian Thakur Deshraj refers to E.B.Havell as above and Mr. Nesfield who said that-
“If appearance goes for anything the Jat could not be Aryans.” He further refers to distribution of races of ‘North Western Provinces of India’ where it has been said that the arguments derived from language are strongly in favour of the pure Aryan origin of the Jats. If they were Scythian conquerors where there Scythian language gone to and how came it that they now speak and have for centuries spoken an Aryan language, a dialect of Hindi”. [23] 
“Jat” approaches closely to that ascribed to the traditional Aryan colonies of India. The stature is mostly tall, complexion fair, eyes dark, hair on face plentiful, head long. Nose narrow and prominent but very long. [24][17]
The original home of Jats is certainly connected with original home of Aryans, since Jat is definitely a tribe of Aryan race[26]


The reputed historian Qanungo writes that the philologists like Dr Trumpp and Beames [27] very strongly claimed a pure Indo-Aryan descent for Jats both in consideration of their physical type and language, which has been authoritatively pronounced as a pure dialect of Hindi, without the slightest trace of Scythian. But they were silenced by the progressive science, which established the unassailable dictum "Language is not a proof of race." [28]
Next, the anthropologists appeared in the field armed with his scientific apparatus to measure the skull and noses of the various peoples of India for the purpose of restoring their lost pedigree. This investigation resulted in the sevenfold classification of the races of India by Sir Herbert Risley, who declared the Rajput and the Jat to be the true representativs of the Vedic Aryans. This was the first scientific assault upon the Indo-Scythian theory. [28]
'Sir Herbert Risley's classification of Indian Races table:'

S.No.Community (Caste)Stature (cm)Cephalic IndexNasal Index
1.Jat169.1 and different79.863.1
13.Kuki Naga156.676.285.0
14.Khasi Naga156.978.686.3

The skull or Cephalic Index is considered very important in the classification of races. The Length-Width ration of the skull expressed in percentage is Cephalic Index. These are classified into three categories the Long-headed (dolichocephalic), Medium-headed (mesocephalic) and Short-headed (brachycephalic). [30]

Cephalic Index are grouped as in the following table:
FemalesMalesScientific termMeaningAlternative term
< 75%< 65%''dolichocephalic'''long-headed'''mesocranial''
75% to 80%65% to 75%''mesocephalic'''medium-headed'''mesaticephalic''
> 80%> 75% (male)''brachycephalic'''short-headed'''brachycranial''

Dr Naval Viyogi in his book 'Nagas, The Ancient rulers of India'[31] discusses in detail Sir Herbert Risley's studies to decide the racial affinities as evidences of anthropology for consideration to prove the affinities of Naga people with other races. Based on his tables the above list has been enhanced.
Sir Herbert Risley as Head of Department of Anthropology in 1901 proved that if we prepare the nasal Index of communities from Bengal, Bihar ,Uttar Pradesh and Punjab then that with least nasal Index would be the most honoured. Jats have the least nasal Index of 63.1. [30]


To unerstand the origin of Jat people we have to first analyse the origin of the word Jat. One theory about the origin of the word, 'Jat' is that it has originated from the Sanskrit language word “Gyat” . The Mahabharata mentions in chapter 25, ''shloka'' 26 that Lord Krishna founded a federation ‘Gana-sangha’ of the Andhak and Vrishni clans. This federation was known as ‘Gyati-sangha’. Dr Natthan Singh, a Jat historian theories, that over a period of time ‘Gyati’ became ‘Gyat’ and it may have changed to Jat.Dr Natthan Singh">Dr Natthan Singh, ''Jat-Itihas'', (Jat History), page-41:Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004
Another theory of the word's origins is that Jat came from the word Gaut tribal name of some Indo-Aryan tribes ofCentral Asia (such as those which later became Gauts/Goths or Jutes and settled in Europe), which was written as Jat according to writer in ''Jattan Da Ithihas''. It has also been mentioned by Jat historian Bhim Singh Dahiya.[33] Jats have many surnames common to German people even today. 
According to Jat historian Ram Lal Hala, the word Jat is derived from word 'Yat'. He theorizes, that there was a Chandra Vanshi king named Ushana (उशना), ancestor of Lord Krishna. Ushana was born after nine generations of Yadu. Ushana performed hundred Ashvamedha Yagyas and got the title of 'yat'. The word 'Yat' later may have changed to 'Jat'.[34]
There are many variations of the term Jat. In the Punjab, the phonetic sound is "Jutt" or "Jatt (जट्ट)."
The nomenclature of the word 'Jat' is variously spelt, in different periods, as Jit, Jat (pl. Jatān), Jat, finally Jāt. The sixth century Pali inscription (dated samvat 597-56 = 541 AD) mentions the race as Jit. Thus the term ‘Jit’ probably derives its nomenclature after the epithet of the founder of the tribe Jit Salindra. [35] According to James Tod, in Rajasthan andPunjab the tribe retained their ancient name Jit. [36][37]
The Persian form of the ancient term Jit is Jat (जट्ट) with short vowel and double short ‘t’. [37]
The Jatt (जट्ट) is generally referred by the Ghaznavid chronicler of the eleventh century (GardeziAlberuni, andBaihaqi); [39][40][41] in the history of Sind (Chachnama and Tarikh-i-Masumi); by the Delhi Sultanate’s chronicler’s Isami;[42] and by the 18th century mystic writer Shah Wali Allah in his political letters. [43] Thus in the Indus Valley up to Saurashtra, the tribes are known as Jat. [37]
The author of Majmulat-Tawarikh tends to believe that the Arabs called the Sind people Jat. [45] In Sindhi dialect, the term is pronounced as ‘Yat’ and means ‘a camel-driver or breeder of camels’ [46] While the author of Dabistan-i-Mazahib (c. 1665) states that ‘Jat’ in the language of Punjab (read Jataki) means ‘a villager, a rustic’ (dahistani, rusta’i). [47][48]
During Mughal period, phonetic and dialectic changes occurred, thus Deccan chronicler Firishta mentions them as ‘Jat (जट)’ with short vowel and hard ‘t’. [48] Finally the term gained the present day phonetic in Ain-i-Akbari, when Abul Fazl mentions the tribe as ‘Jāt (जाट)’ with long vowel ‘a’ and hard ‘t’. It is said that the term derives from middle Indo-Aryan term 'Jata'. [50][48]
In view of O’Brien in Jataki language the ‘Jat (जात)’ – the herdsmen and camel grazer is spelt with soft ‘t’, while the ‘Jat (जाट)’- the cultivator with hard ‘t’. [52] However in present day the tribes, almost all the cultivators, are known as Jāt (जाट) especially in the Yamuna-Ganges Valley. [48]
In Arabian form, the term is mentioned as Zat or Zutt (in Arabic 'J' changes for 'Z') by the Arab geographers. [54][55][56]Thus the nomenclature of the tribe is of post-sanskrit Indian origin and belongs to the Indo-Aryan language[48]


1. E.B.Havell: ''The history of Aryan rule in India'', page 32
2. Qanungo: ''History of the Jats''
3. C.V.Vaidya: ''History of Medieval Hindu India''
4. Sir Herbert Risley: ''The People of India''
5. Thakur Deshraj: ''Jat Itihasa''
6. Mangal Sen Jindal: ''History of Origin of Some Clans in India''
7. Maheswari Prasad:The Jats - Their role & contribution to the socio-economic life and polity of North & North-West India, Vol.I Ed. Dr Vir Singh, ISBN 81-88629-17-0, p.27
8. Dr Natthan Singh: Jat - Itihas (Hindi), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad Gwalior, 2004 (Page 9)
9. CV Vaidya: Mahabharata a criticizm, Bombay 1904 (Page 55-78)
10. Dr Natthan Singh: Jat - Itihas (Hindi), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad Gwalior, 2004 (Page 38)
11. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihasa, Page 64
12. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihasa, Page 65
13. Ram Lal Hala, Jat Kshatriya Itihas 
14. Al-Biruni, India:Trans by Kayamuddin, Published by National Book Trust, India, 1997 page-176 
15. Sir Herbert Risley : The People of India
16. Sir Herbert Risley: Census of India report 1901, Page 500 
17. Qanungo: History of the Jats
18. Qanungo: History of the Jats
19. Qanungo: History of the Jats
20. Khushwant Singh: The History of the Sikhs, 1963 
21. C.V.Vaidya: History of Medieval Hindu India 
22. E.B.Havell: The history of Aryan rule in India, page 32
23. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihasa
24. Risley, H., The People of India
25. Qanungo: History of the Jats
26. Mangal Sen Jindal: History of Origin of Some Clans in India
27. Elliot's Memoirs of the Races of North-Western Provinces of India, I, 135-137
28. Qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p.4
29. Qanungo, History of the Jats, Ed dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2003, p.4
30. Dr Atal Singh Khokhar, Jāton kī Utpati evam Vistār (Jarta taranginī), 2002, p.322
31. Dr Naval Viyogi:'Nagas, The Ancient rulers of India',2002
32. Dr Atal Singh Khokhar, Jāton kī Utpati evam Vistār (Jarta taranginī), 2002, p.322
33. Bhim Singh Dahiya, ''Jats the Ancient Rulers'', Dahinam Publishers, Sonepat, Haryana.
34. Ram Lal Hala, Jat Kshatriya Itihas 
35. James Todd, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol. I, inscription No. I,, pp. 622
36. Ibid., op. cit., p.88

37. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 54
38. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 54
39. Abd al-Hayy b Abd al Zahhak, Zain ul-Akhbar ed. Hayy Habibi, (Iran, 1347), p.191-192
40. Abu Railian Ibn Ahmad b. Muhammad Al-Beruni, Kitab fi Tahqiq mali’l-Hind, text ed. by E.C. Sachau (London, 1887), Vol. I, p. 336
41. Abu Fazl Muhammad b. Hussain Baihaqi, Tarikh-i- Baihaqi ed. Q. Ghani and A.A. Fayyaz, (Tehra, 1946), p. 434
42. Abd al-Malik Isami, Futuh us-Salatin, ed. M.Usha, (Madras 1948), p.139
43. K.A. Nizami, Shah Waliullah Ke Siyasi Hutut, Aligarh, 1954
44. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 54
45. Majmulat-Tawarikh in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historian, (London:1867), Aligarh rep. Vol.I, p. 104
46. Richard F. Burton, Sind and the Races that inhabit the valley of the Indus with notices of the Topography and History of Province (London, 1851), 1992, p. 411
47. Muhsin Fani Kashmiri, Dabistan-i-Mazahib , Nawal Kishore ed., (Kanpur:1904), p. 224
48. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 55
49. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 55
50. Encyclopedia of Islam, S.V.Djat, Vol. II, (Leiden, 1965), p. 488
51. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 55
52. O’Brien, Multan Glossary, cited by Ibbetson, op. cit., p. 103
53. Dr S. Jabir Raja (AMU), “The Jats of Punjab and Sind”: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th AD)”, The Jats, Vol. I, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, 2004, p. 55
54. Ibn Hauqal, Kitab Masalik Wa al-Mamalik, in Elliot and Dowson, op. cit., I, p.40


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