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Location of Kath on Map of Ancient Jat habitations

Kathi (कठी) Kath (कठ)[1] Kathya (कठ्य) [2] is a Jat clan. Kati clan is found in Afghanistan.[3] James Tod places it in the list of Thirty Six Royal Races.[4] The region from Muradabad to Badayun was known as Kathhar. Kathed (काठेड़) is region of Bharatpur and Bayana, the name given by Kathi people.

Variants of name


There is mention of rishi Kath in Kathopanishada as its author. Kath was the apical person of this clan. The capital of Kath people was at Sankala/sangala. [6]

Mention by Panini

Kathi (कठी) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [7]

Kathaka Samhita (काठक संहिता)is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [8]

Prachya-Katha (प्राच्य-कठ) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [9]


Migration of Jats from Sindh to Rajasthan

Some historians suggest that the Kathi people are basically Scythians (Jats) who migrated to Surashtra (referred to as Saraostus as well, by Greeks) around second century B.C.

Kati is the name of an ancient tribe, which in Afghanistan has given its name to the Katawaz district of Ghazni ; they are the same people, apparently, as the Kathi of the Punjab, whose ancestors opposed Alexander, and whose posterity afterwards spread southwards and gave their name to an extensive country, the modern Kathiawad or Kathiawar. [10]

James Tod writes that We can scarcely refuse our assent to the belief, that the Kathi, or Katti tribe, here mentioned, is the remnant of the nation which so manfullly opposed Alexander. It was then located about Multan, at this period occupied by the Langas. The colony attacked by the Bhatti was near the Aravalli, in all probabihty a predatory band from the region they peopled and gave they peopled and gave name to Kathiawar, in the Saurashtra peninsula. [11]

The classical notices of Sangala

Alexander Cunningham[12] writes...The classical notices of Sangala are confined to the two historical accounts of Arrian and Curtius, and a passing mention by Diodorus.

Curtius simply calls it " a great city defended not only by a wall, but by a swamp (palus)"1 But the swamp was a deep one, as some of the inhabitants afterwards escaped by swimming across it (paludem transnavere).

Arrian calls it a lake, λίμνη but adds that it was not deep, that it was near the city wall, and that one of the gates opened upon it. He describes the city itself as strong both by art and nature, being defended by brick walls and covered by the lake. Outside the city there was a low hill, Ύήλοφος, which the Kathaeans had surrounded with a triple line of carts for the protection of their camp.2 This little hill I would identify

1 Vita Alex., ix. 1: "Ad magnam deinde urbem pervenit, non muro solum, sed etiam palude munitam."

2 ' Anabasis,' v. 22 : <greek>

[p.188]: with the low ridge to the north-west, called Mundapapura, which would certainly appear to have been outside the city walls, as the broken bricks and pottery do not extend so far.1 I conclude that the camp on the hill was formed chiefly by the fugitives from other places, for whom there was no room in the already crowded city. The hill must have been close to the city walls, because the Kathaeans, after the second line of carts had been broken by the Greeks, fled into the city and shut the gates. It is clear, therefore, that the triple row of carts could only have surrounded the hill on three sides, and that the fourth side was open to the city. The hill was thus connected with the city as a temporary out-work, from which the defenders, if overpowered, could make their escape behind the walls. As the number of carts captured by Alexander was only 300, the hill must have been a very small one ; for if we allow 100 carts to each line, the innermost line, where they were closely packed, at 10 feet per cart, could not have been more than 1000 feet in length round the three sides at the base. Placing the middle row 50 feet beyond the inner one, its length would have been 1200 feet, and that of the outer row, at the same distance, would have been 1400 feet, or little more than a quarter of a mile. Now this accords so well with the size of the Mundapapura hill, that I feel considerable confidence in the accuracy of my identification. As these carts were afterwards used by Ptolemy to form a single line of barrier outside the lake, we obtain a limit to its size, as 300 carts would not have extended more than 0000 feet, or about 17 feet per cart, if placed cud to

1 See Map No. VIII.

[p.189]: end ; but as there may have been numerous trees on the bank of the lake, the length of the barrier may be extended to about 6000 feet. Now it is remarkable that this is the exact length of this outer line according to my survey, which shows the utmost extent of the lake in the rainy season. I could find no trace of the rampart and ditch with which Alexander surrounded the town, but I was not disappointed, as the rains of two thousand years must have obliterated them long ago.

The Kathaeans made an unsuccessful attempt to escape across the lake during the night, but they were checked by the barrier of carts, and driven back into the city. The walls were then breached by undermining, and the place was taken by assault, in which the Kathaeans, according to Arrian, lost 17,000 slain, and 70,000 prisoners. Curtius, however, gives the loss of the Kathaeans at 8000 killed. I am satisfied that Arrian's numbers are erroneous, either through error or exaggeration, as the city was a small one, and could not, at the ordinary rate of 400 or 500 square feet to each person, have contained more than 12,000 people. If we double or triple this for the influx of fugitives, the whole number would be about 30,000 persons. I should like, therefore, to read Arrian's numbers as 7000 slain and 17,000 prisoners. This would bring his number of slain into accord with Curtius, and his total number into accord with probability.

Both Curtius and Arrian agree in stating that Alexander had crossed the Hydraotes before he advanced against Sangala, which should therefore be to the east of that river. But the detailed measurements of

[p.190]: Hwen Thsang are too precise, the statement of the Mahabharata is too clear, and the coincidence of name is too exact to be set aside lightly. Now, the accounts of both Arrian and Curtius show that Alexander was in full march for the Ganges when he heard " that certain free Indians and Kathaeans were resolved to give him battle if he attempted to lead his army thither." Alexander no sooner heard this than he immediately directed his march against the Kathaeans, that is, he changed the previous direction of his march, and proceeded towards Sangala. This was the uniform plan on which he acted during his campaign in Asia, to leave no enemy behind him. When he was in full march for Persia, he turned aside to besiege Tyre ; when he was in hot pursuit of Bessus, the murderer of Darius, he turned to the south to subdue Drangiana and Arachosia ; and when he was longing to enter India, he deviated from his direct march to besiege Aornos. With the Kathaeans the provocation was the same. Like the Tyrians, the Drangians, and the Bazarians of Aornos, they wished to avoid rather than to oppose Alexander ; but if attacked they were resolved to resist. Alexander was then on the eastern bank of the Hydraotcs, or Ravi, and on the day after his departure from the river he came to the city of Pimprama, where he halted to refresh his soldiers, and on the third day reached Sangala. As he was obliged to halt after his first two marches, they must have been forced ones, of not less than 25 miles each, and his last may have been a common march of 12 or 15 miles. Sangala, therefore, must have been about 60 or 65 miles from the camp on the bank of the Hydraotes. Now this is the exact distance of the Sangala

[p.191]: hill from Lahor which was most probably the position of Alexander's camp when he heard of the recusancy of the Kathaei. I believe, therefore, that Alexander at once gave up his march to the Ganges, and re-crossed the Ravi to punish the people of Sangala for daring to withhold their submission.

Jat History

Kishori Lal Faujdar writes that There was a tribe named Kath in Punjab. Brahma's one son named vaishampayan was preacher of Yajurveda. His son was named Kath who was author of kathopanishada. He quotes some author Raja Ram who has written about the kath tribe as ruler near river Irawati. The capital of Kath people was at Sankala/sangala when Alexander attacked. These Jats oppossed Alexander very bravely. Some 17 thousand kath kshatriyas died in this war. The kath people were defeated but they impressed Greeks. The Greek authors have written about many traditions of this tribe. One of the rites mentioned is that a child was inspected after birth by these people and if not found strong and handsome he was killed. Probably this tradition of kath people finds reflection in the story of Nachiketa in Kathopanishada where Nachiketa was handed over to Yama. [13]

The Kataria clan of Jats are considered to be descendants of Kath people. [14]

Kathed region

Main article: Kathed Kathed (काठेड़) is region of Bharatpur and Bayana. Ram Chandra Pura Inscription of Maharaja Kartik mentions it as Cathida/Kathida[15]Jat Kathida[16] or Jāṭ Kāṭhiḍā[17].

Some historians suggest that the Kathi people are basically Scythians (Jats) who migrated to Surashtra (referred to as Saraostus as well, by Greeks) around second century B.C. The ruling family of Bharatpur of Sinsinwar clan are associated with the Kathi people. The Kathi people had war with Alexander the Great at Sangala in 326 BC.

Alexander's invasion

Alexander invaded India in 326 BC and came upto the River Beas. After crossing the River Indus at Attock, he had to fight with a series of Jat kingdoms. Alexander's historian Arrian writes that Jats were the bravest people he had to contest with in India.

Alexander's first encounter was with Porus who was defeated. Alexander was impressed with his dignified behavior even after defeat and reinstated him on the throne.

According to Arrian, Alexander had to fight with two Porus -es, the other one on his return journey. This is because Porus was not a name but a title as both belonged to Puru dynasty.

Next, Alexander had to fight the Kath (Gathwal) kingdom on the Eastern, banks of River Ravi. Their capital was Sangla. The Kaths had the pride of having defeated Porus a number of times. [18]

Dr Pema Ram writes that after the invasion of Alexander in 326 BC, the Jats of Sindh and Punjab migrated to Rajasthan. They built tanks, wells and Bawadis near their habitations. The tribes migrated were: Shivis, Yaudheyas, Malavas, Madras etc. The Shivi tribe which came from Ravi and Beas Rivers founded towns like Sheo, Sojat, Siwana, Shergarh, Shivganj etc. This area was adjoining to Sindh and mainly inhabited by Jats. The Jats of Gotra Rad and Kath came to Marwar. [19]

Ram Sarup Joon[20] writes that ....Alexander invaded India in 326 BC and came upto the River Beas. After crossing the River Indus at Attock, he had to fight with a series of Jat Kingdoms. Alexander's historian Arrian writes that Jats were the bravest people he had to contest with in India......Next, Alexander had to fight the Kath (Gathwal) kingdom on the Eastern, banks of River Ravi. Their capital was Sangla. The Kaths had the pride of having defeated Porus a number of times. ....Names of tribes described above by Arrian as having fought Alexander viz., Maliha, Madrak, Malak, Kath, Yodha and Jatrak exist today as Jat gotras.

Ch 5.22: Invasion of the Land of the Cathaeans by Alexander

Arrian[21] writes.... MEANTIME he received information that the tribe called Cathaeans and some other tribes of the independent Indians were preparing for battle, if he approached their land; and that they were summoning to the enterprise all the tribes conterminous with them who were in like manner independent. He was also informed that the city, Sangala by name1, near which they were thinking of having the struggle, was a strong one. The Cathaeans themselves were considered very daring and skillful in war; and two other tribes of Indians, the Oxydracians and Mallians, were in the same temper as the Cathaeans. For a short time before, it happened that Porus and Abisares had marched against them with their own forces and had roused many other tribes of the independent Indians to arms, but were forced to retreat without effecting anything worthy of the preparations they had made. When Alexander was informed of this, he made a forced march against the Cathaeans, and on the second day after starting from the river Hydraotes he arrived at a city called Pimprama, inhabited by a tribe of Indians named Adraistaeans, who yielded to him on terms of capitulation. Giving his army a rest the next day, he advanced on the third day to Sangala, where the Cathaeans and the other neighbouring tribes had assembled and marshalled themselves in front of the city upon a hill which was not precipitous on all sides. They had posted their waggons all round this hill and were encamping within them in such a way that they were surrounded by a triple palisade of waggons. When Alexander perceived the great number of the barbarians and the nature of their position, he drew up his forces in the order which seemed to him especially adapted to his present circumstances, and sent his horse-archers at once without any delay against them, ordering them to ride along and shoot at them from a distance; so that the Indians might not be able to make any sortie, before his army was in proper array, and that even before the battle commenced they might be wounded within their stronghold. Upon the right wing he posted the guard of cavalry and the cavalry regiment of Clitus; next to these the shield-bearing guards, and then the Agrianians. Towards the left he had stationed Perdiccas with his own regiment of cavalry, and the battalions of foot Companions. The archers he divided into two parts and placed them on each wing. While he was marshalling his army, the infantry and cavalry of the rear-guard came up. Of these, he divided the cavalry into two parts and led them to the wings, and with the infantry which came up he made the ranks of the phalanx more dense and compact. He then took the cavalry which had been drawn up on the right, and led it towards the waggons on the left wing of the Indians; for here their position seemed to him more easy to assail, and the waggons had not been placed together so densely.

1. Sangala is supposed to be Lahore; but probably it lay some distance from that city, on the bank of the Chenab.


Kathi caste in Gujarat

The Kathi (Gujarati: કાઠી) are a Darbar caste of Saurashtra found in the state of Gujarat in India.[22] Kathi are popularly referred as Kathi Darbar.[23]

History and origin: The Kathi are said to have given their name to the Kathiawar region. They are said to be descended from the Sura, an ancient race of sun worshipers found in western India. According to their traditions, they are descended from Kush, the son of the Hindu God Ram. Colonial British historians consider the Kathi to be a Scythian tribe that settled in the Kathiawar region in the second century B.C.[24]

The Kathi have two divisions, the Sankhyavat and Auratia. These divisions are hierarchical in nature, with the former considered royalty. There are three clans found among the Sankhyavat, namely the Vala, Khachar and Khuman. These clans are further divided into smaller lineages called attaks. Strict exogamy is maintained between the Auratia and Sankhyavat. They are found in both Kathiawar and Kutch divisions of Gujarat.[25]

People: A person from Kathiawar is called a "Kathiawadi". Kathis migrated from the Rajasthan to Kutchh and then to Saurashtra and made treaty with the Wala rajputs of Suarastra and started matrimonial relations with the local rajputs, most probably the Walas, thus today's Kathi community is a mix of Kathis from Rajasthan and the pre-existing rajputs of Saurashtra. The list of Kahiawadis include the Savji community which is present in current day Maharastra and Gujarat, the Katwe khsatriyas of Gujarat and the Katwa or Katwe (from the name Kathiawadi) in Maharastra.

Kathis were the ones from whom Marathas experienced the strongest opposition.[26]

James Tod on Kathis

James Tod is a pioneer historian on Jats who thoroughly scrutinized the bardic records of Rajasthan and Gujarat and also brought to light over a dozen inscriptions on the Jats. We reproduce the Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races from Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Publisher: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press 1920, p. 133-134:


[p.133]: Of the ancient notices of this people much has been already said, and all the genealogists, both of Rajasthan and Saurashtra, concur in assigning it a place amongst the royal races of India. It is one of the most important tribes of the western peninsula, and which has effected the change of the name from Saurashtra to Kathiawar.

Of all its inhabitants the Kathi retains most originality : his religion, his manners, and his looks, all are decidedly Scythic. He occupied, in the time of Alexander, that nook of the Panjab near the confluent five streams. It was against these Alexander marched in person, when he nearly lost his life, and where he left such a signal memorial of his vengeance. The Kathi can be traced from these scenes to his present haunts. In the earlier portion of the Annals of Jaisalmer mention is made of their conflicts with the Kathi ; and their own traditionsfix their settlement in the peninsula from the south-eastern part of the valley of the Indus, about the eighth century. The late Captain Macmurdo, whose death was a loss to the service and to literature, gives an animated account of the habits of the Kathi. His opinions coincide entirely with my own regarding this race. [27] Under the Mahrattas Kathiawar, the name of the Kathi tract, was extended to the whole of Saurashtra. [28]

In the twelfth century the Kathi were conspicuous in the wars with Prithwiraja, there being several leaders of the tribe attached

[p.134]: to his army, as well as to that of [112] his rival, the monarch of Kanauj.1 Though on this occasion they acted in some degree of subservience to the monarch of Anhilwara, it would seem that this was more voluntary than forced.

The Kathi still adores the sun,2 scorns the peaceful arts, and is much less contented with the tranquil subsistence of industry than the precarious earnings of his former predatory pursuits. The Kathi was never happy but on horseback, collecting his blackmail, lance in hand, from friend and foe.

We will conclude this brief sketch with Captain Macmurdo's character of this race, " The Kathi differs in some respects from the Rajput. He is more cruel in his disposition, but far exceeds him in the virtue of bravery ;3 and a character possessed of more energy than a Kathi does not exist. His size is considerably larger than common, often exceeding six feet. He is sometimes seen with light hair and blue-coloured eyes. His frame is athletic and bony, and particularly well adapted to his mode of life. His countenance is expressive, but of the worst kind, being harsh, and often destitute of a single mild feature."4

1 It is needless to particularise them here. In the poems of Chand, some books of which I have translated and purpose giving to the public, the important part the Kathi had assigned to them will appear.
2 [In the form of a symbol like a spider, the rays forming the legs (BO, ix. Part i. 257).]
3 It is the Rajput of Kathiawar, not of Rajasthan, to whom Captain Macmurdo alludes.
4 Of their personal appearance, and the blue eye indicative of their Gothic or Getic origin, the author will have occasion to speak more particularly in his personal narrative.

Expedition of Salivahan II against the Catti or Kathi

James Tod[29] writes that Salivahan II, a name of celebrity in the Bhatt annals, renewed in the of Jaisal, succeeded in S. 1224 (A.D. 1168). His first expedition against the Catti or Cathi tribe, who, under their leader, Jogbhao, dwelt between the city of Jalore and the Aravulli.2 The Cathi Rao was killed, and his horses and camels were carried to Jessulmer. The fame of this exploit exalted the reputation of Salivahan II. He had three sons, Beejir, Banar, and Hasso.

कठ या कठारिया

दलीप सिंह अहलावत[30] के अनुसार कठ-कठारिया-कटारिया जाट लोगों का राज्य रावी तथा व्यास नदियों के मध्यवर्ती क्षेत्र पर था। इनकी राजधानी का नाम सांकल-सांगल था। सिकन्दर ने रावी नदी पार करके कठ लोगों पर आक्रमण कर दिया। इन लोगों ने सिकन्दर की सेना का बड़ी वीरता से मुकाबला किया। सिकन्दर को इनको जीतने के लिए बड़े पोरस से 5000 जाट सेना मंगानी पड़ी जिनके युद्ध में शामिल होने पर उसकी विजय हुई। इस युद्ध में 17,000 कठारिया जाट सैनिक वीरगति को प्राप्त हुए तथा 70,000 के लगभग कैदी बना लिये गये। इन लोगों ने सिकन्दर से इतना अडिग लोहा लिया जिससे वह बड़ी कठिनाई से जीत प्राप्त कर सका। इसी कारण उसने क्रोधित होकर इनके सांकल के किले की नींव उखड़वा दी और सांकल नगर को सब प्रकार से उजड़वा दिया। कठ-कठारिया लोग हार तो गये किन्तु उनकी वीरता की गहरी छाप यूनानियों पर पड़ी। यूनानी लेखकों ने इनके विषय में लिखा है कि

“इनमें स्वयंवर प्रथा से विवाह होते थे और सती प्रथा का भी चलन था। अदम्य साहसिकता और प्रचण्ड वीरता इनमें कूट-कूट कर भरी थी।” (जाटों का उत्कर्ष, पृ० 382-383, लेखक योगेन्द्रपाल शास्त्री; हिन्दुस्तान की तारीख उर्दू पृ० 161)।

ठाकुर देशराज[31] ने लिखा है ....अलवर राज्य में जाटों की आबादी लगभग चालीस हजार है। पंजाब में 2500 ईसा पूर्व कठ लोगों का एक गणराज्य था। जिनके यहाँ बालकों के स्वास्थ्य और सौन्दर्य पर विशेष ध्यान दिया जाता था। सिकन्दर महान से इन लोगों को कड़ा मुक़ाबला करना पड़ा। उसके बाद उनका एक समूह बृज के पश्चिम सीमा पर आ बसा। वह इलाका काठेड़ के नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुआ। अलवर के अधिकांश जाट जो देशवाशी नहीं हैं उन्हीं बहादुर कठों की संतान हैं।

Distrbution in Punjab

Villages in Patiala district

Notable persons

See also


  1. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Parishisht-I, s.n.18
  2. Dr Pema Ram:‎Rajasthan Ke Jaton Ka Itihas, p.296
  3. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.17,103,106,112,119,120,145,168
  4. James Todd, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I,: Chapter 7 Catalogue of the Thirty Six Royal Races, pp.133-134
  5. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/5b, Ch.22
  6. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998, p. 229
  7. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.87, 89, 287, 300
  8. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p. 103, 176, 276, 300
  9. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.323
  10. An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan By H. W. Bellew, The Oriental University Institute, Woking, 1891, p.17
  11. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.222,fn.2
  12. Alexander Cunningham:The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.187-191
  13. Kishori Lal Faujdar, Rajasthan ke madhyakalin jat vansh, Jat Samaj Patrika, Agra, March 2002, p.6
  14. Kishori Lal Faujdar, Rajasthan ke madhyakalin jat vansh, Jat Samaj Patrika, Agra, March 2002, p.6
  15. History of the Jats:Dr Kanungo/The theory of the Indo-Scythian Origin of the Jats
  16. James Todd Annals/Index Vol III, i. 128, ii. 917
  17. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats
  18. History of the Jats/Chapter IV
  19. Dr Pema Ram:Rajasthan Ke Jaton Ka Itihas, First Edition 2010, ISBN:81-86103-96-1,p.14
  20. History of the Jats/Chapter IV,p. 49-50
  21. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/5b, Ch.22
  22. Folk Tales Of Gujarat By Alaka Shankar Page 23
  23. People of India Gujarat Volume XXI Part Two edited by R.B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan & M Azeez Mohideen, p.614
  24. People of India Gujarat Volume XXI Part Two edited by R.B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan & M Azeez Mohideen, pp.614-619
  25. People of India Gujarat Volume XXI Part Two edited by R.B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan & M Azeez Mohideen, pp. 614-619
  26. Wilberforce-Bell, Capt. H. The History of Kathiawad from the earliest times. p. 1.
  27. See vol. i. p. 270, Trans. Soc. of Bombay. [For accounts of the Kathi see BG, ix. Part i. 252 ft'., viii. 122 ff.
  28. Wilberforce-Bell, Hist, of Kathiawad, 132 f.
  29. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.222
  30. जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठ-362
  31. Thakur Deshraj:Jat Jan Sewak, 1949, p.74

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