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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Jangladesh (जांगलदेश) is a region of northern Rajasthan state in India. It includes the present-day districts of Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, and Hanumangarh. These districts are predominant districts of the Jats. It corresponds to the former princely state of Bikaner, which was founded in the 15th century and persisted until shortly after India's Independence in 1947. The principal towns of Jangladesh at present are Bikaner, Churu, Rajgarh, Ratangarh and Reni.


In Mahabharata

K R Qanungo[1] mentions incidence from Mahabharata that there is a town named Sakala and river named Apaga where section of the Bahikas, known as the Jartikas, dwell. Their character is very repressible.He mentions about a Bahika who had to sojourn for a time in Kuru-jungal country sang the following song about the women of his country:

"Though a Bahika, I am at present an exile in Kuru-jangal country; that tall and fair-complexioned wife of mine, dressed in her fine blanket certainly remenbers me when she retires to rest. Oh! when shall I go back to my country crossing again the Satadru (the Sutlej) and Iravati and see beautiful females of fair complexion, wearing stout bangles, dressed in blanket and skins, eye-sides coloured with dye of Manshila, forehead, cheek and chin painted wit collyrium (tatooing ?). When shall we eat under the pleasant shade of Shami, Peelu and Karir, loaves and balls of fried barley powder with waterless churned curd (kunjik), and gathering strength, take away the clothes of the wayfarers and beat them?"

Chittor Victory pillar Inscription of 1460 AD

चित्तौड़ के कीर्तिस्तम्भ प्रशस्ति १४६० ई. [2] में जांगल प्रदेश का उल्लेख है. जहां कुम्भा का वर्णन हमें मिलता है वहां यह उल्लिखित है कि माण्डव्यपुर (मंडोर) से हनुमान की मूर्ति लाया और १५१५ वि.सं. में उसकी स्थापना दुर्ग के प्रमुख द्वार पर की. इसके अनन्तर कुम्भा द्वारा सपादलक्ष, नराणा, वसंतपुर और आबू जीतने का वर्णन है. महाराणा ने एकलिंगजी के मन्दिर के पूर्व की ओर कुम्भ-मंडप का निर्माण कराया. आगे चलकर मालवा और गुजरात की और सेना के प्रयाण का वर्णन मिलता है जो बडा रोचक है. इसी तरह जांगल प्रदेश तथा धुंकराद्रि और खंडेला की विजय के उल्लेख के साथ लेखक ने उस भाग की नैसर्गिक स्थिति पर भी प्रकाश डाला है. श्लोक १४६ में किसी शत्रु के पुर से (?) गणेश -मूर्ति को यहां लाकर स्थापित करने का उल्लेख है. इसी में डीडवाना की नमक की खान से कर लेना तथा विशाल सैन्य से खंडेले को तोड़ना भी उल्लिखित है.


We find mention of Jangladesh in Chirwa Inscription of 1265 AD as a neighbouring state of the Guhilvanshi rulers of Mewar. Chirwa is a village in Pratapgarh tahsil in Chittorgarh district in Rajasthan. [3]

According to James Tod as mentioned in his book "Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829)" the Jangal Desh region was inhabited by Jats or Jits, who had for ages been established in these arid abodes, prior to Bika Rathor annexed these small republics. At every stage of invasion to India the foreign invaders had to encounter with the Jats of this region. At what period the Jats established themselves in the Indian desert is not known. By the 4th century they had spread up to Punjab in India.

The north-eastern and north-western Rajasthan, known by the name Jangladesh in ancient times, was inhabited by Jat clans ruled by their own chiefs and largely governed by their own customary law. [4] Whole of the region was possessed by six or seven cantons namely Punia, Godara, Saran, Sihag, Beniwal, Johiya[5] and Kaswan[6]. Besides these cantons there were several sub-castes of Jats, simultaneously wrested from Rajput proprietors for instance Bagor, Kharipatta, Mohila or Mehila,[7] Bhukar, Bhadu, Chahar. [8] According to History of Bikaner State and by the scholars, the region was occupied by Jats with their seven territories. It is said about Jat territories that Saat Patti Sattavan Majh (means seven long and fifty-seven small territories).[9]

Prof. Dilbagh Singh, a known Rajasthani historian writes [10]

“Even Puratanaprabhandasamgraha and Nainsi’s Khyat attest to the formation of nodal kingdom at the expense of medas and meenas. Their movement was from Ahichhatrapura to Sakambari or Jangaldesh, which one could assume from the name and topography of Jangaldesh led to the colonization of generally unchartered area. [11]
….Nainsi offers some valuable information in respect of the Jats whose migration along with the ahirs and malis in Marwar was induced by successive Rathor rulers during the 14th and 15th centuries. [12] The other Jat clan were Godara who helped Bika in establishing Rathore principalities in Bikaner.
….As for the Jats prior to coming of Rathors in Rajasthan Nainsi refers to Jat settlements at Bhadang which is identified as the Saran Jatan Ra Des or des belonging to the Saran sept of Jats. [13]
….He (Nainsi) mentions two types of des. The first type is perceived as inhabited space identified with a region, sub-region a settlement of a particular caste, clan or tribe who may or may not have exercised political dominance. [14] In contradistinction to first type of des, the term ‘khali des’ is also widely used by Nainsi. It pointed out to unoccupied and uncolonized space. There are references to the occupation and colonization of Phalodi, a Khali des by Nara, the son of Rao Suja of Jodhpur.”

For the general readers it would be important to know about Nainsi. He was the Diwan of Jodhpur Raja Ajit Singh (1645-1666 AD.). He has recorded History of desert region of Rajasthan in the form of various volumes known as ‘Khyat’ and ‘Vigat’ in Rajasthani language, which is the primary source of information about the history of Marwar and Jangal Desh.

Jibraeil writes about Jangala Desh [15]

“When Rathores led an expedition into the region of dry land also known as ‘Jangal Pradesh’, which was occupied by the Jats and various tribes, the Bhatis and Jats of the region wanted to secure their position, they measured sword with him (Bika) and fought bravely against them, but finally defeated and accepted Rathor suzerainty. [16]

Dr Karni Singh, a well known political personality and author, records that Jats had established powerful governments in north India. Prior to 1488 Jats had seven Janapadas of Godara, Saran, Sihag, Beniwal, Puniya, Sahu, Johiya in desert region of Bikaner. Following are the main clans and their heads with capital and number of villages in each territory. [17], [18]

Table of Jat republics in Jangladesh

S.No. Name of janapada Name of chieftain No. of villages Capital Names of districts
1. Punia Kanha Punia 300 Jhansal[19]/Luddi[20] Bhadra, Ajitpura, Sidhmukh, Rajgarh, Dadrewa, Sankhoo
2. Beniwal Raisal Beniwal 150 Raisalana Bhukarkho, Sanduri, Manoharpur, Kooi, Bae
3. Johiya Sher Singh Johiya 600 Bhurupal Jaitpur, Kumana, Mahajan, Peepasar, Udasar
4. Sihag Chokha Singh Sihag 150 Suin/Pallu Rawatsar, Biramsar, Dandusar, Gandaisi
5. Saharan Pula Saran 300 Bhadang Khejra, Phog, Buchawas, Sui, Bandhnau, Sirsala
6. Godara Pandu Godara 700 Shekhsar Shekhsar, Pundrasar, Gusainsar Bada, Gharsisar, Garibdesar, Rungaysar, Kalu
7. Kaswan Kanwarpal Kaswan 360 Sidhmukh

Riri (रीड़ी) - an old town in tahsil Dungargarh of the Bikaner district in Rajasthan. It was capital of Jakhar (जाखड़) Jats. Bigga Ji Jakhar (1301 - 1336) from this village rose to the status of folk-deity of Jangladesh area of Rajasthan.

It is thus clear that out of 2670 villages in the Jangladesh, 2200 villages were under the rule of Jats. Each canton bore the name of the community, and was subdivided into districts.

After Chauhans, Jats completely established their supremacy and hold over administration in their own traditional fashion, which continued till the conquest of the region by Rathores.[21] The Jats claimed their right over the land which was under their possession, before the Rathores occupied it and this claim was inherited by their descendants, who used to divide the land among themselves for cultivation. It appears probable that in the early period of their conquest the Rathores could not exercise any definite claim on the land as landlords. However, it was possible only in the 17th century, [22] due to internal rivalries among Jats, primarily Godaras surrendered, later on all Jat clans accepted Rathor's suzerainty.[23]

Other republics in Jangladesh

  • Bhadu - Bhadus were rulers in Jangladesh where they established an important city Bhadra. Samantraj was a popular ruler of Bhadus. Bhadus had a war with 'Bhagore' people and after capturing it they moved to Marwar area. Bhadus also occupied many villages in Ajmer-Merwara.[24]
  • Bhati - Jat Bhatis ruled Bhatner, presently Hanumangarh, and Bhatinda. Bhatner was historically important because it was situated on route of invaders from Central Asia to India. [25]
  • Jakhar - The king of the Jakhar clan, Jakhbhadra, settled in Jangladesh and made his capital at Reni (modern-day Taranagar). [26] At a later date, the Jakhars established a kingdom, the ruins of which are found at Madhauli, which was in the princely state of Jaipur. [27]
  • Sangwan - The Sangwan jats ruled at Sarsu in Jangladesh region of Rajasthan in 8th to 10th century.
  • Sahu - They have been the rulers of a small republic in Jangladesh. Their capital was at village Dhansia, situated at a distance of 65 km in northwest of Churu town, presently in Hanumangarh district. [28]There were 84 villages in their territory.[29], [30]
  • Nehra - Nehras have been mentioned by James Tod to be living in Jangladesh area of Rajasthan when the Rathores annexed it. [31] According to James Tod, the spot which Bika selected for his capital, was the birthright of a Nehra Jat, who would only concede it for this purpose on the condition that his name should be linked in perpetuity with its surrender. Naira, or Nera, was the name of the proprietor, which Beeka added to his own, thus composing that of the future capital, Bikaner.[32] Nehra jats ruled in Rajasthan over an area of 200 sqaire miles. In fifteenth century Nehras ruled at Narhar in Jhunjhunu district. At Naharpur, 16 miles down below the Nehra Hill, their another group ruled. At the end of 16th century and beginning of 17th century there was a war between Nehras and Muslim rulers. The Nehra chieftain Jhunjha or Jujhar Singh won the war and captured Jhunjhunu town. Later at the time of victory ceremony he was deceived by Shekhawat Rajputs and killed. Jhunjhunu town in Rajasthan was established in the memory of Jujhar Singh Nehra the above Jat chieftain. There were 1760 villages under the rule of Nehras in Rajasthan. About Narhar, Thakur Deshraj writes that it was ruled by Nehra Jats. Nehra jats ruled in Rajasthan over an area of 200 square miles. The Nehra hills of Rajasthan were their territory. To the west of Jhunjhunu town is a Hill 1684 feet above see-level and visible from miles around. [1]. This hill near Jhunjhunu town is still known as Nehra Hill in their memory. [33] Another hill was known as Maura which was famous in memory of Mauryas. Nehra in Jaipur was the first capital in olden times. In the fifteenth century Nehras ruled at Narhar, where they had a fort. At Naharpur, 16 miles down below the Nehra Hill, there another group ruled. [34]The present Shekhawati at that time was known as Nehrawati. [35] At the end of 16th century and beginning of 17th century there was a war between Nehras and Muslim rulers. When Nehras were defeated by nawabs, they used to offer gifts to the Nawabs on special occasions, due to this they were also called 'Shahi bhentwal'. [36]

See also

External links


  1. History of the Jats, Ed Dr Vir Singh, 2003, p.7
  2. डॉ गोपीनाथ शर्मा: 'राजस्थान के इतिहास के स्त्रोत', 1983, पृ.146-147
  3. http://www.jatland.com/home/Chirwa
  4. Dashrath Sharma, Rajasthan through the ages, Jodhpur, 1966, Vol.I, p. 287-288
  5. James Todd, Annals of Bikaner, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, p. 157-159
  6. Ibid., Seventh clan of Jats
  7. James Todd, Annals of Bikaner, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, p. 157-159
  8. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas, Delhi, 2002, p. 269-285
  9. G.S.L.Devra, op. cit., Cf. Dayaldas ri Khyat, Part II, p. 7-10
  10. “Migration and Movement: The Role of Jats in Rural Settlements in Rajasthan during Medieval Period”, The Jats, Vol. 2, Ed Dr Vir Singh, Originals, Delhi, 2006, ISBN 81-88629-52-9, pp. 215-217
  11. BD Chattopadhyaya, ‘The Emergence of Rajputs As Historical Process in Early Medieval Rajasthan’, K. Schomer (ed) The Idea of Rajasthan, Vol. II, Delhi, pp. 163-166
  12. Nainsi Khyat, Vol. II p. 6
  13. Nainsi Khyat, Vol. I p. 12
  14. Vigat, Vol. 2, p. 9
  15. Position of Jats in Churu Region” in “The Jats, Vol. 2”, Ed Dr Vir Singh, Originals, Delhi, 2006, ISBN 81-88629-52-9, pp. 223
  16. G N Sharma, Rajasthan Studies, Agra, 1970, p. 197
  17. Dr Karni Singh (1947): The Relations of House of Bikaner with Central Power, Munsi Ram Manohar Lal Pub. Pvt, 54 Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi.
  18. Dr Brahmaram Chaudhary, The Jats, Vol. 2, Ed Dr Vir Singh, Originals, Delhi, 2006, ISBN 81-88629-52-9, p. 250
  19. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992, p. 617
  20. Ramratna Charan, Itihas
  21. Ibid., p.103
  22. Ibid, p.203
  23. G.S.L. Devra, op. cit., 7-8, Cf. Dayaldas ri Khyat, part 2, p. 4-5
  24. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Delhi, 1934, p. 597
  25. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Delhi, 1934, p. 601
  26. Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 594-95.
  27. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 594-95.
  28. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihas (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998, p.282
  29. GSL Devra, op. cit., Cf. Dayaldas ri Khyat, Part II, pp. 7-10
  30. Jibraeil: "Position of Jats in Churu Region", The Jats - Vol. II, Ed Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2006, p. 222
  31. James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan
  32. James Tod, James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II (With a Preface by Douglas Sladen), First Indian Edition 1983 (Originally Published in 1829-32), Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. 54, Jhansi Road, New Delhi-1100055, Annals of Bikaner, p. 141
  33. Thakur Desraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 614-615.
  34. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 614-615.
  35. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudi, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar, Adhunik Jat Itihas (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998
  36. Thakur Deshraj :Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 page 614-615.

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