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Map showing Scythia, including the Indo-Scythian region (modern name Punjab region).
Map of Scythian location

Scythians, also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sacae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were a large group of Iranian.[1][2][3][4] Eurasian nomads who were mentioned by the literate peoples surrounding them as inhabiting large areas in the central Eurasian steppes from about the 9th century BC until about the 1st century BC.[5]

Herodotus reveals that the Scythians as far back as the 5th century BC had political control over Central Asia and the northern subcontinent up to the river Ganges. Later Indo-Scythic clans and dynasties (e.g. Mauryas, Rajputs) extended their control to other tracts of the northern subcontinent. The largest Saka imperial dynasties of Sakasthan include the Satraps (204 BC to 78 AD), Kushanas (50 AD - 380), Virkas (420 AD - 640) while others like the Mauryas (324 - 232 BC) and Dharan-Guptas (320 AD - 515) expanded their empires towards the east.[6]

Many DNA Scientists have expressed the view that the presently known asJat people were originally Indo-Scythians. However, without proper study conducted by taking DNA tests they have not succeeded in conclusively proving this point so far. DNA Scientists have done a DNA study and tests and have proved Jats are Indo-Scythian in origin and lineage.

According to Ethnographers and historians like Cunningham, Todd, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, etc., the agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, Rajputs, Lohars, Tarkhans etc.) of the entire west are derived from the war-like Scythians;[6] who settled north-western and western South Asia in successive waves between 500 BC to 500 AD.

Trevaskis put the date of Scythian migrations into India approximately from 600 BC to 600 AD. Trevaskis wrote, "Their (Scythians') successive onslaughts proved the ruin of Assyria, and soon after the fall of Nineveh, B.C. 606, a vast horde of them burst into Punjab."[7]

The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica says that a Scythian horde was seated at Pattala on the Indus, in 625 BC; this may have been the Sibi.

It is worth noticing that as early as Pāṇini's (पाणिनि) era, the places in-and-around Sialkot are known to have Sakian etymology i.e. ending in "kantha" — — Chihankantha, Madarakantha, etc. Even the Archaeological Survey Report of India unearths the fact that the ancient name for Sialkot was Sakala.[8][9] Also, Sakala is thought to be "Saka" town by Przyluski and Tarn.[10][11]

Expansion of Scythian culture

Route of Silk Road

The expansion of Scythian culture stretching from the Hungarian plains and the Carpathians to the Chinese Kansu Corridor and linking Iran, and the Middle East with Northern India and the Punjab, undoubtedly played an important role in the development of the Silk Road. Scythians accompanied the Assyrian Esarhaddon on his invasion of Egypt, and their distinctive triangular arrowheads have been found as far south as Aswan. These nomadic peoples were dependent upon neighbouring settled population for a number of important technologies, and in addition to raiding vulnerable settlements for these commodities, also, encouraged long distance merchants as a source of income through the enforced payment of tariffs. Soghdian Scythian merchants played a vital role in later periods in the development of the Silk Road.

Jat People Genetics

The Jat People Genetic DNA Profiles

A recent study of the people of Indian Punjab, where about 40% or more of the population are Jat people, strongly shows that the Jat people are Indo-Scythians.[12] The study involved a genealogical DNA test which examined single nucleotide polymorphisms (mutations in a single DNA "letter") on the Y chromosome (which occurs only in males). Jats share many common haplotypes with Ukrainian people, Germanic people, Slavic people, Baltic peoples, Iranian people, and Central Asian groups.[13] This strongly indicates they originate from near or in Ukraine.[14] It found Jat people share only two haplotypes, one of which is also shared with the population of present-day Turkish people, and have few matches with neighbouring Pakistani populations.[15] This haplotype shared between the two Jat groups may be part of an Indo-Aryan (or Indo-European people) genetic contribution to these populations, where as the haplotypes shared with other Eurasian populations is due to the strong DNA contributions of Indo-European Scythians (Saka, Massagetae) and White Huns.[16] The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) female DNA, Jats contain haplogroups typical of Northern India, Pakistan, and West Asia. This indicates that for the female mtDNA, there is very little connection with Central Asian and northwest European populations, even though Jats share many Y-SNP markers with these populations. Therefore, this DNA Study proves that there has been male DNA into the Jat people from Ukrainian Scythians (Saka, Massagetae) and White Huns.[17]


The highlighted DNA Study proves that there has been male DNA into the Jat people from Ukrainian Scythians (Saka, Massagetae) and White Huns.[18]

IMPORTANT POINT: The Jat people's FATHERS were Scythians (Saka, Massagetae) and White Huns.

Scholars who view Jats' origin from the Indo-Scythians

A Scythian Warrior horseman from 300 BC.
Animation highlighting the Ancestral ethnic Scythian Migration component of the Jats of South Asia.
The Jat People Genetic DNA Profiles
Map of area around the Oxus River valley (modern name Amu Darya)
Asia in 323 BC, showing various Central Asian tribes including the Massagetae, Scythians, Dahae and their neighbors.
Scythian King - Azes II Drawing.
Scythian Gold - Bimaran Casket.
This is a Gold arm from a throne belonging to a Scythian King (the father of the Jats). It is a world famous beautiful Gold masterpiece
A Scythian Warrior Orlat Plaque
The Sindh valley is at the base of the Zojila Pass

James Tod[19] writes that the tribes here alluded to are the Haihaya or Aswa, the Takshak, and the Jat or Getae; the similitude of whose theogony, names in their early genealogies, and many other points, with the Chinese, Tatar, Mogul, Hindu, and Scythic races, would appear to warrant the assertion of one common origin.

Professor B. S. Dhillon states that Jat people are mainly of Indo-Scythian lineage with composite mixing of Sarmatians, Goths & Jutes in History and study of the Jats.[20] Historian James Tod agreed in considering the Jat people to be of Indo-Scythian Stock.[21] Moreover, Sir Alexander Cunningham, Former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, considered the Jat people to be the Xanthii (a Scythian tribe) of Scythian stock who he considered very likely called the Zaths (Jats) of early Arab writers.[22] He stated "their name is found in Northern India from the beginning of the Christian era." These people were considered by early Arab writers to have descended from Meds and Zaths.[23][24] Sir Cunningham believes they "were in full possession of the valley of the Indus towards the end of the seventh century.[25] The Kipling Society has certified and advocated that, "The Rajputs proper were of mixed origin – pre-Muslim invaders such as Scythians, Bactrians, Parthians, Hunas and Gurjaras who came in before, say, the end of the 7th century."[26]

  • Sir Alexander Cunningham, (Former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India) wrote: The Xanthii (a Scythian tribe) are very probably the Zaths (Jats) of the early Arab writers. As the Zaths were in Sindh to the west of the Indus, this location agrees very well with what we know of the settlement of the Sakas (Scythians) on the Indian frontier.[27]

  • Sir John Marshall, (Former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India) wrote: "These Scythian invaders came principally from the three great tribes of Massagetae (great Jats), Sacaraucae, and Dahae (still exists as a Jat clan of Punjab)[28], whose home at the beginning of the second century B.C. was in the country between the Caspian sea (sea) and the Jaxartes river (Central Asia).[29]

  • Arthur Edward Barstow wrote: "Greeks of Bactria (partly modern Afghanistan), expelled by the hordes of Scythians, entered India in the second and first centuries BC and are said to have penetrated as far as Orissa (an Indian province in south-east). Meanwhile the Medii, Xanthii, Jatii, Getae and other Scythian races, were gradually working their way from the banks of the Oxus (River valley in Central Asia) into Southern Afghanistan and the pastoral highland about Quetta (a Pakistani city), whence they forced their way by the Bolan Pass, through the Sulaiman Mountains into India, settling in the Punjab about the beginning of the first century AD. It is from these Scythian immigrants that most of the Jat tribes are at any rate partly descended."[30]

  • A. H. Bingley wrote: "It is from these Scythian Immigrants that most of the Jat tribes are at any rate partly descended."[31]

  • Professor Joyce Pettigrew wrote: "Another view holds that the Jats came from Asia Minor and Armenia in the successive invasions during the period 600 B.C. to A.D. 600."[32]

  • Professor Henry Smith Williams wrote: "The extent of the Scythian invasion has been variously estimated. Some scholars believe that they virtually supplanted the previous population of India (means Punjab), and there seems little doubt that by far the most numerous section of the Punjab population is of Scythian origin."[33]

  • Professor Pritam Singh Gill wrote: "There is a general concensus of opinion that Jats, and with them Rajputs and Gujjars were foreigners who came from their original home, near the Oxus, Central Asia."[34]

  • Professor Tadeusz Sulimirski wrote: "The evidence of both the ancient authors and the archaeological remains point to a massive migration of Sacian (Sakas)/Massagetan ("great" Jat) tribes from the Syr Daria Delta (Central Asia) by the middle of the second century B.C. Some of the Syr Darian tribes; they also invaded North India."[35]

  • Horace Arthur Rose wrote: "Many of the Jat tribes of the Punjab have customs which apparently point to non-Aryan origin. Suffice it to say that both Sir Alexander Cunningham and Colonel Tod agreed in considering the Jats to be of Indo-Scythian Stock. The former identified them with the Zanthi of Strabo (Greek Geographer of the ancient times) and the Jatii of Pliny (Roman writer) and Ptolemy (Another Greek Geographer of the ancient times); and held that they probably entered the Punjab from their home on the Oxus (in Central Asia) very shortly after the Meds or Mands (still exist as one of the Jat clans of the Punjab), who also were Indo-Scythians, and who moved into the Punjab about a century before Christ."[36]

  • Sir Henry Miers Elliot wrote: "These ignorant tribes (Jats) pointing to the remote Ghazni (Afghanistan) as their original seat, the very spot we know to have been occupied by the Yuechi, or, as Klaproth says, more correctly, Yuti, in the first centuries of our era, after the Sakas (a Scythian tribe) were repelled back from the frontiers of India, and left the country between India and Persia open for their occupation. The Jat tribes not doubt emigrated, no at all once, but at different times, and it is probable that those in the North-West are among the latest importations."[37]

  • I. Sara wrote: "Recent excavations in the Ukraine and Crimea. The finds points to the visible links of the Jat and Scythians."[38]

  • C. J. Daniell wrote: "Jats, who describe their ancestors as being immigrants from the west."[39]

  • Ujagir Singh Mahil wrote: "Jat were called Scythians; because they were the inhabitants of the ancient country of Scythia. The Jats who invaded the Punjab and conquered India up to Benares were called Indo-Scythians."[41]

  • James Francis Katherinus Hewitt wrote: "Further evidence both of the early history and origin of the race of Jats, or Getae, is given by the customs and geographical position of another tribe of the same stock, called the Massagetae, or great (massa) Getae."[42]

  • Sir George Fletcher MacMunn (Sir and Lt. General) wrote: "Alexander came to India in his capacity as the holder of the Persian throne. From his camp near Kabul (Afghanistan), the Macedonian (Alexander) summoned those chiefs whom Skylax (Persian general) had conquered in the old time afore, to come and renew their homage to their ancient Persian overlord in the person of himself. Several obeyed his summons, others did not, and it has been surmised that those who did were later arrivals, of Jat or Scythian origin, outside the normal Aryan fold as later comers to India."[43]

  • Syed Muhammad Latif wrote: "A considerable portion of the routed army of the Scythians settled in the Punjab, and a race of them, called Nomardy, inhabited the country on the west bank of the Indus (river). They are described as a nomadic tribe, living in wooden houses, after the old Scythian fashion, and settling where they found sufficient pasturage. A portion of these settlers, the descendants of Massagetae, were called Getes, from whom sprung the modern Jats."[44]

  • Dr. Gopal Singh wrote: "The Jats of the Panjab, are Scythians in origin and came from Central Asia, whose one branch migrated as far south in Europe as Bulgaria. "[45]

  • N. Singh wrote: "The Scythians appear to originate from Central Asia. They reached Punjab between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50. It seems probable that the Scythian ancestors of the Jats entered the Sindh Valley (presently in Pakistan Kashmir) between 100 B.C. and A.D. 100."[46]

  • Satya Shrava wrote: "The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe.... a fact now well-known."[47]

  • B. S. Nijjar wrote: "The Jats are the descendants of Scythians, whose kingdom's capital was Scythia, in the present Ukraine (Ukrainian), Soviet Social Republic, is the constituent Republic of the European USSR (Population 49,757,000) in 1947. Now Ukraine's capital is Kiev, the third leading city in Russia. Before the invasion of the golden herd, 13th century B.C. Scythian, ancient kingdom of indeterminate boundaries, centered in the area north of the Black Sea."[48]

(ख) सीथिया देश -

इस देश का कुछ भाग यूरोप में तथा कुछ भाग एशिया में स्थित था। देन्यूब नदी (Danube) से लेकर ठीक दक्षिणी रूस के पार तक, कैस्पियन सागर के पूर्व में अमू दरियासिर दरिया की घाटी तक, पामीर पहाड़ियों की शृंखला तक तथा पूर्वी तुर्किस्तान की तारिम नदी की घाटी तक यह सीथिया देश फैला हुआ था।[49]

Identification of the Jats as Massagetaeans

  • Arnold Joseph Toynbee, also wrote: "It had been carried from the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin into the Indus Basin by the Massagetae themselves, together with their tribal name (the Jats), in their Volkerwander- ung in the second century BC"[55]

Origin and Etymology of Indo Scythians


The ancestors of the Indo-Scythians are thought to be Sakas (Scythian) tribes, originally settled in southern Siberia, in the Ili river area.

Legendary Origins of the Scythians

N. S. Gill writes:

"A rightly skeptical Herodotus says the Scythians claimed the first man to exist in the region -- at a time when it was desert and about a millennium before Darius of Persia -- was named Targitaos. He was the son of Zeus and the daughter of the river Borysthenes. Targitaos had three sons from whom the tribes of the Scythians sprang. Another legend Herodotus reports connects the Scythians with Hercules and Echidna."[63]


N. S. Gill writes:

"The Greek epic poet Hesiod called the northern tribes hippemolgi 'mare milkers'. The Greek historian Herodotus refers to the European Scythians as Scythians and the eastern ones as Sacae. The name Scythians and Sacae applied to themselves was Skudat 'archer'. Later, the Scythians were sometimes called Getae. The Persians also called the Scythians, Sakai. Scythians, who attacked the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia, were called Ashguzai or Ishguzai by the Assyrians. The Scythians may have been the Biblical Ashkenaz."[64]

"The first to describe the life style of these tribes was a Greek researcher, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Although he concentrates on the tribes living in modern Ukraine, which he calls Scythians, we may extrapolate his description to people in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and possibly Mongolia, even though Herodotus usually calls these eastern nomads 'Sacae'. In fact, just as the Scythians and the Sacae shared the same life style, they had the same name: in their own language, which belonged to the Indo-Iranian family, they called themselves Skudat ('archers'?). The Persians rendered this name as Sakâ and the Greeks as Skythai. The Chinese called them, at a later stage in history, Sai."[65][66]

Jat History connections

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[67] writes that The Russian archaeologists discovered innumerable graves of the Saka Kings and chieftains in the Kuban, north of the Caucasus (7th-6th century B.C.), in the Crimea, in south Russia, in the Taman peninsula, in the Dnieper Valley as far up as Kiev, as well as in the Don, Donetz and Volga basins as far westwards as the Urals, in the Dunube basin as far west as Hungary and in what used to be East Prussia and is now Western Poland (6th-5th century B.C.)107. Excavations of the Royal Scythian tombs by M.P. Gryazhnov, S.I. Rudenko and others at Pazyryk and other sites in the Western Altai and nearer to lake Baikal (6th-4th century B.C. contemporary of Herodotus's Royal Scythians of South Russia) were most interesting and informative[68].

Ram Sarup Joon[69] writes....In the eight generation of Krishna was King Ushinar whose son was Shavi, more popularly known as Shiv Ji. He married Sati and Parbati and had two sons Ganesh or Ganpati and Somi Kartik. Ganesh or Ganpati are not names but titles meaning head of a tribe. Jats have a big Gotra called Shavi. Iran was once known as Shavi Desh as mentioned by Huen Tsang and Fa Hein in the account of their travels to India. They have stated that through Tartar, Kashgar and Pamir they reached Shavi Country. Shavi is even today remembered in Iran as Prophet Shish. A shrine on his name is situated on the bank of River Tigris. A province of Iran was called Shavisthan now known as Seistan. These Shavi

History of the Jats, End of Page-29

People came to be known as Shavisthani, Shavisthans or Scythians. A great Scythian writer Abul Ghazi has called himself a Jat of Chandravanshi dynasty. He also writes that the mother of Scythians was the daughter of Ahilya Devi.

Ram Sarup Joon[70] writes that.... Uchis got divided into two groups. One of these settled down On the borders of Tibet. The other settled on the banks of Sihun River and was known as Scythians. They defeated the Saka tribe and passed through Afghanistan. When exactly they did so is not known. They advanced through the Bolan Pass, crossed the River Indus and occupied the area upto the river Ganga. They got integrated with the local population to such an extent that they ceased to be called Scythians. This event has given rise to the historical ambiguity that Jats, Ahirs and Gujars are of Scythian descent. No Jat, however claims this honour bestowed on him by some historians who have looked only that for and no further.

On the other hand, there is sufficient evidence to prove that these Scythians themselves were Jats and so easily amalgamated with their kith and kin. These very Scythians had named their territory in Turkistan as Jug Jats and a province in Iran as Jatali. The Khisans of Khamrian were known as Jat i-Iran. [71]

List of Indo-Scythian rulers (c. 90 BC – 45 AD)

Northwestern India (c. 90 BC – 10 AD)

Mathura area (c. 20 BC – 20 AD)

Apracharaja rulers (12 BC – 45 AD)

Minor local rulers


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  62. Burton, Richard Francis (Sir) (2008). The Book of the Sword. Cosimo, Inc. p. 90. ISBN 1605204366, 9781605204369.
  63. Scythians - Who Were the Scythians
  64. Scythians - Who Were the Scythians
  65. Scythians - Livius
  66. Scythian (Skythian) : Etymology
  67. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The identification of the Jats,p.318
  68. Artamonov, M.I.; 'Frozen Tombs of the Scythians', in the Scientific American, May, 1965, Vol. 212, No.5, pp. 100-109.
  69. History of the Jats/Chapter II,p. 29-30
  70. History of the Jats/Chapter III,p.37
  71. Todd's Rajasthan - Urdu edition

See also

External links

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