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Hun (हुण/हूण) (alsocalled Ephthalites or Hiung-nu) is a Jat Gotra in Rajasthan. James Tod places it in the list of Thirty Six Royal Races.[1]


Ram Sarup Joon[2] writes that ...Abdul Malik Mashirmal, author of Gujar History writes that according to General Sir A Cunningham, the author of Gujar and Rajputs history, the rulers of Kanauj were Gujars (History of Gujars P-213 to 218). Their Gotra was Tomar and they are the Descendants of Hun Chief Torman.

Tej Ram Sharma[3] writes about Huna clan:

They are mentioned in the Bhitari Stone Pillar inscription of Skandagupta (L. 15: हूणैर्य्यस्य समागतस्य समरे दोर्म्यां धरा कम्पिता भीमावर्त्करस्य- ) in which Skandagupta (A.D. 455-467) is stated to have inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Hunas : "By whose (Skandagupta's) two arms the earth was shaken, when, the creator (of a disturbance like that) of a terrible whirlpool, joined in close conflict with the Hunas....".107 The defeat inflated upon the Hunas proved so decisive that for near half a century the Gupta empire was immune from their depredations.108

Hunas, also known as Ephthalites or Hiung-nu were a Central Asian tribe.

Uigur109 transcribes the name of the tribe in ancient Chinese in two phonetic forms : one of which is 'xunu or xunu', the other 'xunux, xunuo,xunu' The first part (xun) of the last form is not in doubt and neither is the u of the last part, the only question is about the change of the initial i' of ancient Chinese into y in Uigur before u and in Sandhi, and about the pronunciation of the final consonant.110

The first of the above Chinese forms which comes as close to the Hunu as to the Sanskrit Huna is very similar to the

p 132 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Chinese "transcription" Xunu or Xunu, and Avesta Hunu, except the Sanskrit has substituted for the final root vowel V the stem final a characteristic of the names of peoples in that language. "The Puranas have a form Urṇa which together with Epic Skr. Huna suggests Indic Hūrṇa Turk, Xūrnu".111

We may note here the Tibetan Hor, which corresponds with the first syllable of the reconstructed form Hūr-ṇa. The difference of vowels may indicate a back dipthong or back vowel between o and u, as Ptolemy's Xoūnoi suggests, since the Greeks wrote u (y) for Indic w.112

Though all the above forms go back to one primitive form, we cannot say the same for the people to whom they were applied. The general opinion is that the Hsiung-nus, Huns, Hunas etc., were Turks. Some scholars consider them to have been a mixture of many tribes, Iranians, Mongols, and Paleosibirians (ancestors of the Yenissei-ostyaks). Whatever may have been the dominant race or speech was, it can be seen that there must have been several subject people and subject armies in such far-flung empires, necessitating some mixture and mutual influence ethnic, linguistic and cultural. 113 Otto Maenchen-Helfen has discussed the whole question on the is of the evidence of language, history, ethnology, archaeology114 and has pointed out that the greater part the Hsiung-nu vocabulary pointed to Mongol 115 Later Peliot considered the same vocabulary and established that the Hsiung-nu and Huns were Turks. 116

Louis Bazin117 and Von Gabain118 also reached the conclusion that in language of the Hsiung-nu there was a high percentage of Turkish words.119

In the second century B.C. the Hiung-nu (Huns) started a movement near the Chinese frontier and succeeded in destroying the Greco-Bactrian empire, in strongly menacing the existence of the house of Arsakes, and in landing crowds of Central Asian invaders within the borders of India. In the latter half of the fourth century A.D., a branch of them, the White Huns, or Ephthalites, flooded the South of Asia; and 'about the time when the last legions of Rome shattered on the plains of Chalons, the motley hordes of Attila, the White Huns had begun to tread Sassanian Persia under the hoofs of their

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions p-133

horses, and were soon to smash the Indian empire of the Guptas into pieces'.120

In A.D. 484 the Hunas killed the Sassanian ruler of Persia. Towards the close of the fifth century A.D. they ruled over a vast empire with their principal capital at Balkh.121 We know of a Huna-desa placed to the South of the Kama-giri and to the North of Maru-desa, i.e., the desert called the land of heroes. The Harshacharita places the Huna country in the Punjab region practically suggesting the same area. 122

In the middle of the sixth century A.D., the Sassanian king of Persia made an alliance with Western Turks against the Hunas and smashed their rule from the Oxus by killing their king sometime between A.D. 563 and 567. 123

We know of Toramana from his Eran Boar Inscription 124 and of Mihirakula from his Gwalior Inscription. 125 These two are generally taken to have been Huna chiefs. There is another inscription found at Kura (Salt range in the Punjab) referring to Rajadhiraja Maharaja Toramana-Sahi-Jau (bla), whom some scholars identify with king Toramana mentioned in the Eran Inscription,126 but others regard the two as quite different.127 Here it must be pointed out, none of these inscriptions describes any of these kings as Hunas nor contains any reference to the Hunas.

We find an interesting account of Toramana in the Jain work, Kuvalayamala, composed to 700 Saka (A.D.778).128 Here Toramana is stated to have lived on the bank of the Chandrabhaga (Chenab river). His guru Hari-gupta, who himself was a scion of the Gupta family, also lived there.129

Both Toramana and Mihirakula are referred to in the Rajatarangini, but there is no mention of their being the Hunas.

It is doubtful whether Toramana and Mihirakula were Hunas or Kushanas. Sir Aurel Stein, Jayaswal 130 and Fleet 131 held that Toramana was a Kushana. But Sten Konow 132 holds that Tora- mana was, in all probability, a Huna, as is generally assumed, and not a Kushana. It is not unlikely that the Hunas and the Kushanas were ethnically allied and were later merged into a new nation, which came to be known as Huna in India.133

There are several stray references to the Hunas in Indian literature. D.C. Sircar 134 opines that the Indian names Huna,

134 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Harahuna (हारहूण) or Hārahūra, supposed to be associated with the Chinese name Hiung-nu and 'the White Hun' of the European writers, are mentioned in a few late passages of the Mahabharata and in the geographical sections of the early Puranas, can be roughly assigned to the 4th century A.D. A sūtra-vṛtti in the Chandra Vyakarana has the sentence ajayad-gupta (or Japto or Jarto) Hunan (अजयद जर्तो हूणान) as an illustration of the use of the imperfect to express an event which occurred within the life-time of the author.135

In the Mandasor inscription of Yasodharman 136 a reference is made to the chiefs of the Hunas, but they are not named. The inscription simply says that Yasodharman possessed countries which not even the Guptas and the chiefs of the Hunas could subdue.137

The inscription also refers to Mihirakula "who had earlier bowed only to the god Sthanu (Siva) and whose forehead was pained through being bent low down by the strength of the arm of Yasodharman in the act of compelling obeisance".138

With the fall of Yasodharman, which probably took place not long after, Mihirakula again came to the forefront. In the early part of the sixth century A.D. Sakala become his capital.139 The Gupta king who then occupied the imperial throne was probably Narasimha-Gupta Baladitya. He was temporarily over-whelmed by the victorious raids of Yasodharman, and Mihirakula evidently took advantage of this imperial crisis to extend his power. Narasimhagupta, according to Hiuen Tsang, was forced to the humiliating position of paying tribute to Mihirakula but finally triumphed over his rival.140

The defeat of Mihirakula appears to have finally crushed the political supremacy of the Hunas in India who ceased to be even a disturbing element in Indian History.141 The Puranas place the Hunas in the extreme west, with the Sauviras, Saindhavas, Sakalas and Madras.142

In the Raghuvamsa, Kalidasa mentions Raghu defeating the Hunas on the banks of the Vanksu or the Oxus 143 ,the (pale) faces of whose wives spoke of the bravery of their husbands (who died in the battle).144

Varahamihira145 mentions them under the jurisdiction of Ketu and places them in the North.146 Dr. Upendra Thakur 147

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 135

remarks that about the sixth century A.D., the Hunas almost lost their original name of Hiong-nou or Huns. Later the powerful Turks give its name to the entire Huna nation by which they were further known in the neighbouring nations. After wards they were submerged in the Mongols under the influence of the powerful Mongol Chief Chengiz Khan. Thus, the Hiong-nou or Huns received different names in different periods beginning with their origin to their advancement in other countries. In spite of the copious references to the Ephthalites in the accounts of the different countries, it is very difficult to determine their exact origin and ethnic affinities.

We can partly agree with Dr. Thakur as regards their merger in the area later dominated by the Turks and Mongols but the Hunas find their mention in the Harshacharita of Bana (a seventh century work) and they remained a potent force in the social and political life of the Punjab-Rajasthan-Malwa-Gujarat region during the early medieval period as evidenced by a large number of epigraphical and literary records, and also proved themselves as a source of danger to the Pala kings of Bengal.148

107. Bhitari Stone Pillar Inscription of Skandagupta (=A.D. 455-67). L. 15 : हूणैर्य्यस्य समागतस्य समरे दोर्म्यां धरा कम्पिता भीमावर्त्करस्य-
108. R.B. Pandey, Historical and Literary Inscriptions by R. B. Pandeya. p. 101, f.n. 3.
109. Uigur transcriptions of Chinese, Chinese terms from J.J.M.De Groot 'Die Hunnen der vorchristlichen Zeit' (Berlin, Leipzig, 1921), Vol. I, pp. Iff.
110. Robert Shafer, Ethnography of Ancient India by Robert Shafer. p. 155, f.n.l.
111. Ibid., pp. 155-56
112. Ibid., p. 156.
113. Ibid.
114. "Huns and Hsiung-nu", Byzantion 17 (1944-45), pp. 222-243
115. Ibid., p. 224.
116. La haute Asie (1931), p. 6.
117. Oriens 1 (1948), pp, 208-219.
118. In Der Islam 29 (1949), pp. 244-246.
119. See Robert Shafer, Ethnography of Ancient India by Robert Shafer. pp. 156-57.
120. Jarl Charpentier, "The original Home of the Indo-Europeans", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Vol. IV, 1926-28, p. 165.
121. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. p. 194.
122. D.C. Sircar, Oz. p. 101.
123. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. p.194.
124. Corpus Inscripionum Indicarum, Vol. III by John Faithful Fleet , p. 158.
125. Ibid., p. 161.
126. Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta. LXIII. 186; JJ. XII, 531.
127. The Periplus of the Erythraen Sea by W. H. Schoff I. 239.
128. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Patna. XIV, 28ff.
129. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. p. 136.
130. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Patna. XVIII, 203.
131. Indian Antiquary, Bombay. XV, 245.
132. Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, Varanasi. XII, 532.
133. The Classical Age. p. 59.
134. Upendra Thakur, The Hunas in India by Upendra Thakur. Foreword, p.v.
135. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar . p. 197; l.Systems of Sanskrit Grammar by S. K. Belvalkar. p. 58.
136. Corpus Inscripionum Indicarum, Vol. III by John Faithful Fleet pp. 142 if.
137. Ibid : ये भुक्ता गुप्तनाथैर्न्न सकल-वसुधाक्क्रान्ति-दृष्ट-प्रतापैर्नाज्ञा हूणाधिपानां
138. Ibid., pp! 146-147, L. 6.
139. R.C. Majumdar, The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. 196 : V. pp. 549-50; B.C. Law, Tribes in Ancient India by B. C Law. p. 58.
140. Ibid., The Vakatka-Gupta Age by R. C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar. p. 199.
141. Ibid., pp. 184-85.
142. B.C. Sircar, Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India by D. C. Sircar. pp. 24, 36-37, 38.
143. Raghuvamsa, IV. 68.
144. Ibid : तत्र हूणावरोधानां भर्तृषु व्यक्तविक्रमम् । कपोलपाटलादेशि बभूव रघुचेष्टितम् ।।
145. Brhatsamhita, XVI. v. 38, p. 136.
146. Ibid., XIV. v. 27, p. 122.
147. Upendra Thakur, The Hunas in India by Upendra Thakur. p.46.
148. Ibid., See Foreword by D.C. Sircar, pp. v-viii.

Jat People Genetics

The highlighted DNA Study suggests that there has been male DNA into the Jat people from Ukrainian Scythians (Saka, Massagetae) and White Huns.[4]

Villages founded by Hoon clan

Distribution in Rajasthan

Villages in Bhilwara district

Hooniya Khera,

Distribution in Gujarat

Balad, santokpura, vav, thana,

Notable persons

External links


  1. James Todd, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I,: Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races, pp.131
  2. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/ChapterVIII,p. 137
  3. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,pp.132-136
  4. YHRD - Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database

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