History of the Jats/Chapter IX

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History of the Jats

Ram Sarup Joon

1967 (Eng Tr by Lieutenant Colonel Dal Singh)

Printed at the Jaitly Printing Press, 147, Lajpat Rai Market,Delhi-6

Chapter IX: Jats during Muslim rule in India

The advent of Islam

The advent, of Islam in Arabia began in 610 A.D. during the rule of Raja Harsh Vardhan.

The founder of Islam, Prophet Hazrat Mohammed, proclaimed himself as the son of God when he was 40 years of Age. He claimed that he had 'Ilham' (Divine message) the preaching of which is called 'Islam'. He preached that idol worship was sin and there is only one God. He stressed on equality and fraternity amongst all human beings and condemned discrimination. Islam implicitly forbids drinking wine and outraging the modesty of women.

Partly due to the effective preaching of Prophet Hazrat Mohammed, and partly by force, Islam spread rapidly in Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and Baluchistan etc. But its advance got stemmed towards the boundaries of India. There were two main reasons for this. Firstly the countries in which Islam succeeded were engaged in internal wars, and secondly the Gujars, who became a power in India after the death of Harsh Vardhana did not allow the Muslim invaders to penetrate in this country. The sheet anchor of Gujar force was the Pratihars and Parmars. The Solanki Kings had also joined them. They had driven away the Kauls? From Lath (Gujarat) territory.

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The creation of the Agni Kul Rajputs and the advent of the Puranic Mat sowed the seeds of dissension amongst the Indians.

The Kings of one Gotra considered it a disgrace to have matrimonial relations with other gotras. Bhats were persuaded to change the dynastic histories to claim comparative superiority. Kings reveled in listening to the concocted glory from these bards. Every King lived in an imaginary world of glory, considered himself invincible and supreme within his own territory and looked upon alliance unnecessary and below dignity. The ruling Rajputs looked down upon others as inferior beings and thus alienated them. Drinking became the fashion of the day. Morals descended.

Idol worship became popular and heaps of wealth were accumulated in the temples. India was called 'Bhuri Gae' (Brown cow) or 'Sone Ki Chirya' (Golden sparrow). Muslim merchants and travellers exposed this social and political weakness of this country to Muslim rulers who turned their covetous eyes towards India. Aggression met a disunited India. Mahmood, a daring young ruler of Ghazni, on appreciating this condition swarmed towards the Indian frontiers and unhinged the Indian gates. He invaded this country 17 times with the purpose of looting the wealth of the temples and to spread Islam by terrorizing Indian population. He ransacked the whole of India, plundered all the wealth from temples and raised these to the ground- The Rajput Kingdoms due to mutual jealousy were not in a position to rally under banner to check the advance of the Muslim invaders. Individually none of them was strong enough for the task. Once this state of affairs was exposed, further invasions followed. Muhamad Gauri invaded India after Mohammad Ghazni.

India was in a state of religious instability. It was certainly not difficult to spread Islam with its belief in Oneness of God, which appealed to the people.

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It would have spread even faster but for certain shortcomings which were not acceptable to the Hindus e.g. cow slaughter, marriage amongst first cousins and lack of hygiene in Muslim household. One thing, which helped Islam, was the inflexible attitude of Hindu priests. The slightest breach of the prevalent Hindu religious customs was unpardonable. If a chop of Beef touched the lips of a Hindu accidentally or even forcibly, it was sufficient cause for his degradation from Hinduism. Such outcasts naturally became an easy prey to Islam. They longed for generations to conjoin with their Hindu brethren, but alas, the adamant Pandits never relaxed the rigid social order and never allowed those outcasts to fulfil their dreams.

The Jats living in Northern India have always been the corner stone of Jat arch. The Rajputs could never subdue them. Nor did they provide recruitment to the army of Rajputs. As the Jat territory was a corridor through which every invader passed, some Jats did get converted to Islam. Still most of them never bowed and continued giving resistance and trouble to the oppressors.

The significant role played by Jats at the time of Mahmood Ghazni's and Mohammed Gauri's invasions is described in detail in this chapter.

Sultan Mahmood Ghazni

Mahmood Ghazni was a Turk. The original rulers of Turkistan were Jats. Then the Mongols ousted them and Turk tribes were gradually compelled to leave Turkistan. Mahmood's ancestors had thus come and settled in Zabulistan and Afghanistan. Alpatgin of this tribe established his kingdom in Ghazni. Subkutgin, who was born in the third generation of Alpatgin, invaded India. His son Sultan Mahmood was aware of his father's battles with Raja Jaipal and India's weaknesses.

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It has been mentioned in Indian History that Mahmood Ghazni had given a vow to the Khalifa to invade India every year, demolish the idols they worshipped and spread Islam. He invaded India 17 times.[1] 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. The Rajput kings of those days did not offer any appreciable resistance against his invasions. Once it was rumored that an attack on Somnath temple was imminent and it would be looted and devastated. All the Rajput Kings assembled there to save Somnath temple from this anticipated disaster, but had no mutual confidence among themselves. They had no heart to fight, but presented themselves only as a matter of prestige. The Head priest of this temple, however, assured them that there was no need to fight as the idol of Somnath would curse the devils to blindness, and they would perish moaning and screaming.

The rumor came true. The Muslim force laid siege of the temple and the battle ensued. At that time a dance of beautiful girls (devdasis) was going on in temple to appease the idol and all Rajput chiefs who had come to defend the temple were busy in enjoying the function. When the Muslim invaders attacked, the Rajputs took to their heels. The priests, however, fought bravely and were killed in large numbers at the altar. Sultan Mahmood demolished the idol of Somnath and started towards Ghazni with a Caravan of Camels laden with gold, silver and precious jewels.

It is mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan that while the Army of Mahmood Ghazni with the booty was passing through the Jat territory of Multan, they were ambushed by Jats, and all the wealth was recovered. Sultan Mahmood Ghazni collected the remnants of his force, and managed to slip away with it. This was the first occasion when he met defeat in

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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. With a fresh force he entered Punjab. He found the Jat territory surrounded by turbulent river which made him halt for seven months. He feared that the Jat would intercept him. while he tried to cross the river. He hit upon a brilliant idea to get the bows of his boats fitted with sharp spears. He also raised the height of the bows with holes to enable free firing towards Jat boats. The river battle ensued but the Jats were surprised when the hulls of their boats were pierced by these contraptions. They lost the battle without much resistance. Jats were thus defeated by Mahmood Ghazni and their territory ransacked. There are Tak and Dagar gotras in Haryana, whose forefathers migrated from Multan during that Period. [see also note-1]

Mohammad Ghauri

In Jabulistan 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 Mahmood 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.

King Jai Chand was at daggers drawn with Prithvi Raj. He continued a clash between Mohammed Gauri and Prithvi Raj, and promised to support Mohammed Gauri with men and material. Mohammed Gauri jumped at the proposal. Unlike Mahmood Ghazni his aim was not more plunder. He wanted to capture the throne of Delhi and to establish his empire there. He invaded in 1192.

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Prithvi Raj was a brave Rajput ruler but after a marriage in his old age he had also became indolent. His army consisted of staunch supporters of Brahmanism and was therefore well united. He, however, knew that his army could not stand against the fanatic Army of Mohammed Gauri infused with the doctrine of Islam.

Prithvi Raj, therefore, wisely appealed to the public, including Jats, for help. It has been mentioned in the chronicles of Jat 'Sarv Khap', which are still reserved with Chaudhry Qabul Singh Shoron Distt Muzaffarnagar, 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. Mohammed Gauri was determined, and after making up his shortcomings attacked Prithvi Raj again in 1192, with a mighty force. The Jat Sarv Khap again offered 18,000 Jats to Prithvi Raj who positioned them on one flank of his force. When the battle started they pushed Gauri's army for 15 miles and almost turned his flank. But the centre of Prithvi Raj's Army was unable to withstand the attack and allowed Gauri to penetrate. Mohammed Gauri won. While he was triumphantly returning to Ghazni, the Jats again hurled themselves against him with 15,000 brave and furious Khokar Jats, who defeated and beheaded Mohammed Gauri near Multan, (Sindh).

Qutabuddin Aibak And Razia Sultana

In 1205 AD, during the reign of Qutabuddin Aibak, the Jats attacked Hansi and overwhelmed the Faujdar of that place, On hearing this, Qutabuddin made his forces march and quickly reached Hansi. Todd writes that a fierce battle took place in which Jats were repulsed after heavy losses.

After 14 years of the establishment of Muslim Rule on Delhi, Qutabuddin Aibak declared his daughter

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Razia Sultana as heir to the throne because all sons were considered incapable. These neglected brothers of Razia conspired against her by winning over all courtiers, in their favour. She was forced to run from Delhi and had to take shelter with the Subedar of Bhatinda.

She was confident that only Jats could encounter the Royal Army. She formed an army of Jats. It has been mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan that a large royal army was despatched to Bhatinda to capture Razia. Jats fought bravely. But being much smaller and not as well organized as the royal army, they were defeated. Razia was captured, but at a very heavy price. The Jats could not have hoped to defeat the Royal Army but the very fact, that they stood up against it, speaks of their valour.

Jats and Ala-Uddin Khilji

Alauddin Khilji was a religious bigot and was deadly against Hindus. He had a trusted chief named Malik Kafur, a Hindu (Saini) convert, and ex-wrestler.

He had married a sweeper women.

Ala-Uddin ruined Chittor in his effort to get Rani Padamni. He levied Jazia on the Hindus and placed restrictions on marriages, so that beautiful Hindu virgin girls could be given to Muslims. These acts were worse that death to Hindus.

The Jat Sarv Khap meeting was held in protest against these 'Firmans' at Khanpur, District Meerut.

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 4o years of age should be ready to sacrifice themselves. They assembled at the confluence of the Kali (Nadi) and Hindon Rivers.

The remaining men and women were detailed on administrative duties.

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.

During his period

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it was rumored that Mogul invasion was imminent in Punjab. Ala-Uddin 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.

Jats And Amir Timur

It has been mentioned in Malfuzat Temuri that is the time of Temuri's invasion of India, Jats were the first to intercept him many Jats were killed in the encounter. Timur had for long harboured an animosity against the Jats. Timur was from Chughtaiya (Saktaya) the capital of which was in Trans Oxiana. A great Jat king Kokaltas invaded Khurasan and occupied it. After that he invaded Trans Oxiana. The king fled away. But the nephew of that Amir Timur was a clever and far sighted man. He offered due apologies on behalf of his uncle and admitted the suzerainty of Kokaltas, who had one Lakh (100,000) brave Jats in his army. King Kokaltas died issue less in 1380. Timur occupied the throne and also married a Jat Rajkumari. But Jats did not accept the rule of Timur. A mutiny flared up and continued for long time. Finally Timur managed to suppress it, carried out a mass massacre of the Jats and drove out the remnants from the country. By 1349 he succeeded in finally establishing himself, but still he was not free from Jat troubles. He writes in Timur Nama, that he did not intend to kill so many Jats, because they were handsome, stalwart people, but he had to do so. It is written in MulfuZai Temur P 429 that when he invaded India, he was interrupted by the Jats who took a heavy toll of his army. It is also mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan with reference to Tazke-babri that at the time of Babar's invasion of India a large number of Jats resisted him at Thanesar and most of them were slain.

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The Moghul Chief Humayun, Shershah Suri And Jats

Jats never became faithful and royal subjects with Moghul Emperors and were a constant source of trouble.

It has been mentioned in Todd's Rajasthan that a chief of Humayun named Mulla Shakebi once laid siege of a Jat village Dhandras, in tehsil Gohana, Distt Rohtak (Haryana) and wanted to wipe out the village but Jat Khap attacked him so fiercely, that he had to beat a retreat.

Sher Shah Suri succeeded in getting the help of Jat Khap and overthrew the Moghul ruler.

Rule Of Emperor Aurangzeb

Rule Of Emperor Aurangzeb: His Religious History And Resistance By Jats, Rajputs And Marathas

The Muslim rulers ruled by oppression and the Jazia levied on Hindus continued, till Akbar came to the throne. He appreciated the drawbacks of this policy and planned to win the loyalty and confidence of the Hindus who after all formed the major part of the Empire. He also bestowed high ranks upon Hindus. He married Jodha Bai, a Rajput Princess and won the obedience and loyalty of the Rajputs. This liberal policy continued till the reign of Shah Jehan. The Hindus remained happy and satisfied during this period.

When Aurangzeb came to power he changed the prevalent policy. He again levied Jaziya on Hindus to satisfy his religious fervour. This was bitterly opposed by Rana Raj Singh who sent a note to the Emperor that he should be prepared for the consequences. When Raja Jaswant Singh was killed, his queen and son were ordered to be detained in Delhi by the Moghuls. This order was not carried out and Rathore Rajputs unsheathed their swords for a fateful fight. Chief Durga Dass sounded the clarion call and unfurled the flag of rebellion against Muslim rule. With these incidents Aurangzeb lost faith in Rajputs and their loyalty to the throne became suspect. He used to detail a Muslim Chief as an observer in every

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campaign to report on the Rajputs activities, on the battle field.

This was resented by most of the Rajput 'Chiefs in the'Moghul Army except Sawai Raja Jai Singh Kachhawaha of Jaipur who continued " his unflinching loyalty' to Moghul rule.

Aurangzeb did not like 'Shiya' Muslims and was desirous of ending the Shia Kingdom of Ahmednagar. The Deccan being a hilly country, was a hard nut to crack and the annexation of Ahmednagar was not an easy task. Aurangzeb therefore waited for a favourable time. The Shiyas of Ahmednagar smelt this danger and became more vigilant. They, however, neglected to tighten up the internal administration which cracked in the wake of continuous threat from Moghuls.

Chhatrapati Shiva Ji, who was a daring and courageous youth exploited this sift between Muslim rulers. He organised a well disciplined army and started a guerilla warfare. He succeeded in capturing several forts in Deccan and established an independent kingdom.

Aurangzeb was witnessing these Maratha raid(s) calmly, because he was interested in the weakness of Ahmednagar, and its annexation by him. But Shivaji did not spare even Aurangzeb and started raiding Moghul territory. Aurangzeb had no recourse except to come forward and battle. By this time , Shiva Ji had gained much reputation and popularity amongst the Hindus. Aurangzeb had a tough time for 30 years at the hand of the Marathas till Shiva Ji died in 1680.

In spite of strong opposition from all quarters, Aurangzeb continued his ignoble deeds of demolishing temples and breaking idols, imposing restrictions on Hindu merchants and giving a fillip to Muslims to Have a brisk trade in his rule. The Jats kept opposing him and he continued his oppression towards Jats, he tried to subjugate them but never succeeded in any appreciable measure.

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