|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
Panchajata (पंचजट) or , meaning "Five Jats", is the common name given to five most ancient Vedic Kshatriya tribes. These were the Rigvedic Aryan Panchajna, also known as Panchajatah, and their allies, the contemporaneous aboriginal tribes, who collectively faced the emergencies on the Ravi River and the Yamuna during the time of the Rigveda. The Panchajna, were racially Panchajatah living on the banks of the Saraswati. 
It is also supposed that Panchajata are all descendants of the five sons of Yayati and are known by that name e.g. Yadava from Yadu, Turvasus fromTurvasu, Druhyus from Druhyu, Anava from Anu, Paurava from Puru and so on. Some scholars believe they were different tribes who came as different waves of immigrants.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes that...the civilized agricultural tribes like the Yadus, Turvasus, Druhyus, Anus and Purus called the Panchajata, whose social organization and grouping is represented by the Jats in the Indian sub-continent today.
Variants of name
Mention by Panini
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes that.....In Rigveda, the Panchajatah are nowhere represented as the descendants of Yayati, but the Mahabharata, not as presented by Vyasa but as inflated by Sauti Ugrasharva describes them as Yayati's progeny. Ever since, they and their successive generations have been popularly known not only as Ailas but also as Yayatas or Yajatas or Yazats or Jajatas- and, ultimately as Jatas or Jats. These names seem to nave suffered obliteration from Sanskrit literature at the hands of the orthodox 'masters of the pen, press and platform' but they have survived in the books of the Zoroastrians as honourable "Zazats" or "Yazats". After the dasharajna wars described by Rigveda, a good number of these vanquished people were driven out of their home- and in Sapta Sindhu by the Deva-worshippers (Bharatas) to north western countries, perhaps for good. Their leader in the migration was known by various names- "Jarat Tvastra" or "Jerath Twastra" or "Zarathushtra" or "Zarat-Ushtra" or "Zoroaster", the 'uncompromising prophet'. For this account we cite the authority of Max Muller and other scholars.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes that ....we can justifiably conclude that the five divisions of the migrants in the Gete region might be the Panchajna or Panchajatah of the Rigvedic Aryans whose236 one section came from the Scythians (Sakas). The Jats are generally identified by modern scholars with Scythians (Sakas-Kushanas) who are said to have come to India from Central Asia about a couple of centuries before Christ237 but unfortunately not with those of the Indus valley mentioned by Waddell, Calvin Kephart, G.S. Ghurye etc. and were thus denied the honorable antiquity which they richly deserve.
236. Ghurye, G.S.; Vedic Ind., Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1979, p. 362. P.L. Bhargava, locates Iksvakus' original home in Swat valley (JRA ::, No.1, 1976, pp. 64-66). G. Tucci, (E.W. Vol. XIV, Nos, 1-2, March-June, 1963, Rome, pp. 27-28) and G. Genna, (1st. Anthro. invest. of the Skeleton Rrmains of the Necropolis of Butkara II (Swat Vall), E.W. (New Series) Vol. XV, Nos. 3-4, Sep. - Dec., 1965, pp, 161-66; confirm that they were Aryans (The Rigvedic of Dani) and their culture was related with Massagetae (Scythians); Chandra, Chakraberty, op.cit., p. 109; he find. Jats in R.V. 1.28.4, cf. RV 7. 19.4 for Cumuri (Scythians) who are described as Dasyu thieves in Index of R.V. by Vishva Bandhu, Hoshiarpur, 1966. .
237. Ibbetson, D; Pb. Castes, p. 97, Tod, op,cit., vol. l. p. 95; Vol. II, pp, 138,180, 279; Elliot, Memo. of Races, Vol .I, p. 135. Bomb. Gaz. Vol. I. Pt.I. p, 2. Vol. IX, pt.I, p. 46f; Qanungo, His, Ess. p. 45, Delhi, 1960. Ibbetson, Pb. Cen, Rpt . Vol.I, pp. 42, 481; JRAS, 1899, p. 534: V. Smith, Ear. His. of Ind. pp, 411. 424. 427. Baden Powell, Ind. Vill. Comm., 1892, p. 141. H.K. Trevaskis, Land of Five Rivers, 1928, p. 87; UjagarSingh Mahil, Anti. of Jat Race, 1955, pp. 9-14; R.V. Russell and Hira lal, Tribes and Castes of Cen. Pro. of Ind. Vol. 3. 226.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) wtites that ....The word Jat is derived by scholars from Jata, which means "union, binding together, federation or Confederation", in the Dhatupaath of the Ashtadhyayi of Panini. This meaning is confirmed by the Siddhanta Kaumudi in its Phrase Jata Jhata Sanghate (जट झट संघाते). G.C. Dwivedi opines that when the existence and independence of the republican tribes of the Panjab and Sindh were threatened after 4th century B.C. by invaders from the West and the imperialistic onslaughts emanating from the east, these tribes, in order to protect their life, property and prestige, formed a Union or federation and gave it an appropriate name i.e. Jata, acceptable to all the federating units234 instead of adopting for the union the name of a particular tribe, howsoever Powerful it was, for the sake of avoiding the possibility of arousing jealously or rivalry among them. Panini, no doubt, compiled his grammar in the post-Vedic period when Sanskrit had ceased to be the language of the masses but Panini did retain Words already in use and traced their etymology. This means that Jat, as a Word ,must have existed prior to Panini.
Further, nearly a couple of centuries before Panini, Yaska mentions the phrase Jatya Atnaro in his Nirukta, a comprehensive treatise on the 'Silence of Etymology'. Some writers complain that this phrase is ambiguous We believe that it Connotes "nomad, with matted hair" and also "in or like the Jat(s)" (Supra). This leads to the inference that during Yaska's time some Jat tribes were nomadic while Others must have settled down. Yaska quotes a still earlier authority, Sakatayana (Shabdanu-Shasana?) to support the view that all nouns are derived from verbs. Consequently it stands to reason that Jata, a root as given by Panini, must have existed at the time of Yaksa and Sakatyana, and probably even earlier. This new seeming "digression" is meant to remove all doubts about the Antiquity of the Jats and to establish their Aryan: identity during the Rigvedic age.
The Word Jat, used by Yaska in his phrase Jatya Atnaro has so far been considered unintelligible. Lists of such rare and obscure Words were prepared and commented on by the fore-runners of Yaska when the dire necessity to understand the texts of the Vedic Samhitas came to felt, for they had become difficult to understand with the lapse of centuries. Their works Unfortunately are lost to posterity 236. The only commentary on such words available to us to-day are Yaska's treatise
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and the "Nighantus" prepared by his precursors. He was the earliest authority to classify the Rigvedic hymns systematically in his Nirukta (VII. 1-2)237.
In the light of the above discussion we can confidently say that the name Jat, as it is used among the so called ambiguous phrase "Jatya Atnaro", was in use in the post-vedic Aryan tribes, mentioned above, who were notorious for their wander-lust. The term Jat, used by Dwivedi and others to mean union or federation of the republican tribes to meet the emergencies arising from foreign invasions from the west and imperialistic forces from the east after 4th century B.C. would obviously apply to the forefathers of the Jats, who as we have shown, were also these very republican tribes. These were the Rigvedic Aryan Panchajna, also known as Panchajatah, and their allies, the contemporaneous aboriginal tribes, who collectively faced these emergencies on the Ravi 238 and the Yamuna during the time of the Rigveda.239
The literary evidence at our disposal on the racial classification of the western Anavas, (Viz. Sivis, Madras, Yaudheyas and their ancestors i.e., Anus, Druhyus and Pauravas, etc.) is extremely confusing and, at times, it may be quite insecure to rely on it. Robert Shaf240 does not insist that the eastern Anavas were Tibeto-Burmans; they may have been Turks, Mongols, or some other people. He further states that the evidence of modern scientists seem to indicate that they were more likely Tibeto-Burmans than Turks or Mongols. More specifically, he241 considers them Iranian-Mediterranean and connects them with Mohanjodaro. S. Chattopadhyaya242 concurs. He243 regards th Ailas as mixed Nordic cum broad-headed and the Anavas with their descendents simply as broad-headed Aryans whose citadel244 was Haryana and Panjab. To Antonio Pagliaro245 they were the Persian-speaking Tajiks. According to Ram Chandra Jain246 the Panchajna , were racially Panchajatah living on the banks of the Saraswati247 and all of them from Ayu down to Puru belonged to the Ahi race, autochthons of the north-western part of India. Shafer appeaars to be confused in deciding the ethnicity of the Anavas. His Tibeto-Burman claim for them is not supported by others. His assertions are, more or less, based on linguistic evidence which has long been discarded by scientists as a sure test of a race. Chattopadhyaya's contention does not
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Jain's hypothesis demands comment. He follows the Jain tradition, which is not acceptable to us in toto. We must first try to determine whether the Panchajna were Ahis or Aryan. There may have been an Ahi249 race in pre-historic India but it has not so far been scientifically identified. The sobriquet, Ahi, must have been used opprobriously like Mleccha and Rakshasa to denounce the Aryan tribes that did not succumb to orthodox Brahmanism. The Rig Veda and other texts state that Indra destroyed the Purus, the Vrtras and the Dasyus250. The Purus were Mrdhrivachah251 and Vadhrivachah252 as well as a-yajnika253. Puru was an Asura-Raksas254, the Yadus and Turvasus were Dasas255 and Vratyas256. The Anavas were known as Mlecchas257, and likewise the Druhyus were declared Mleclthas258. But surprisingly,the Anavas have nowhere been described as Ahis or as their descendents.
In India, down the ages the status of a people has always been dependent on and determined by their relations with the priestly class. When the Anavas etc. fought against the Bharatas led by their priests Visvamitra and Vashistha what more could they expect from the victors except opprobrious appellations? The Anavas etc. bore, consequently, the burden of their mistakes and Bribus (eastern Panis) reaped the reward of their virtues (i.e. by giving their wealth and kine to the followers of Indra). These denunciatory epithets, however, need not be taken too seriously. Such epithets were freely exchanged by rival tribes - even the Aryans did not escape being tarred likewise.
Sometimes it is alleged that the relationship of the Panchajatah, Viz. Yadu, Turvasu, Anu, Druhyu and Puru with Yayati, Nahusa and Ayu is not mentioned in the Rigveda269. Jain considers their genealogy as a later fabrication in the Puranas to suit the Brahmanic purposes. Since these tribes fought against Sudas, it is but natural that their parentage was also obscured by the mentors of the victorious Aryans. It can be equally true that Jain exploited the situation of the genealogical vacuum of these tribes in the Rigveda and fouund it convenient to connect them with the Ahis, a sub-branch of the Iksvakus, the Proto-Australoids of Jain, to suit the purposes of the lain tradition. Be that
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as it may, the Mahabharata and the Puranas show the five tribes, connected with Yayati etc., as well as the Iksvakus, as Aryans and not as Ahis, if at all, the latter were a separate race. Pargiter, R .P. Chanda, Pusalker, N.K. Dutt. Kosambi and a host of other writers also recognise them as Aryans.
It should now be obvious that the two digressions indulged in by us assist in establishing tribes, described by Panini, with those mentioned in the Rigveda, and their link with the Jats of to day. It now remains to compare the anthropometric details of these tribes of antiquity and of today. A vivid picture of the physical features of the former, as noted above, is handy to us from the classical and later writers but regarding the latter, who were, undoubtedly, Aryans, the picture is till not very clear in so far as their anthropological details are concerned, for there were two racial types among the Aryans from the very beginning - the dolichocephalic and brachycephalic. Finally, let us examine some of the recent theories about the identity of these ancient tribes before we come to grips with anthropometric details connected with them.
The method of anthropometry is thought of little use in Indian prehistoric studies260. This is partially true, for, as compared to Europe very little craniological studies and archaeological excavations have been done in India to guide us in this respect. Skeletal remains from Kalibangan and other excavated sites of north-western India, except Burzahom, Harappa, Mohanjodaro, Ropar and Lothal, lie still packed and unstudied. In such a situation we have to have recourse to the following maxim: "The unknown, however, can often be explained by the known and the local by the distant". Further investigations in psychology, para-psychology and heredity, indicating that "our dead ancestors have from generation to generation bequeathed us not merely their thoughts and traditions but have bequeathed their physical constitution also", can serve as our guide.
- Maa par poot, pitaa par ghoraa;
- bahut nahin, to thoraa thoraa. '
We know that the tallest, dolichocephalic, fair skinned, leptorhine, long-limbed people in north-western India are the Aryan Jats, Gujars, and Rajputs whose traditions, physical constitution and gotras, as already described above, indubitably point to their descent from the warrior republican tribes who were, according to the historians of
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Alexander, five cubits or above in height. We have also seen that the most important of those are lineally connected with Puru, Anu etc. of the Rigveda. However, ultimately, it may be remarked that the Ayuddhajivi Ganas and Samghas of Panini, who fought against the Greek invader, inherited their physical constitution (besides their traditions or republican life, of opposition to orthodox Brahmanism, of the spirit of independence, of liberty and equality as well as the spirit of sacrifice in defence of their way of life and their motherland), from their Rigvedic eponymous tribes and passed on the same to their successive descendents, the Jats.
Interestingly, this is confirmed by Weber. According to him, "the races and tribes found by Alexander on this barrier of the Indus appear to stand etirely on a Vedic, and not on a Brahmanical footing. As a matter of fact this is true ... these people of the Panjab never submitted to the Brahmanical order of the things, but always retained their ancient Vedic standpoint, free and independent, without either priestly domination or system of caste. For this reason, too, they were the objects of a cordial hatred on the part of their kinsmen, who had wandered further on (in the eastern lands), and on this account also Buddhism gained an easy entrance among them". He further avers, "later on, however, when the new Brahmanical organisation was completed in Hindustan, and strong element of bitterness was infused into it, the Brahmans looked Upon their old kinsmen who had remained true to the customs of their forefathers as apostates and unbelievers260a". Romila Thapar also further expresses elaborately quite the similar views (1990; 152-192).
Whatever little but, nonetheless, important evidence is readily available to us from the internal and external sources, may be pressed into service for the anthropometrical study of the Rigvedic tribes under review. Recent investigations based on latest techniques, employed by Dr. Partap C. Datta, in the study of skeletal remains from Harappan (Hariyupia) indicate that the mean estimate of the stature of the Harappa males is 1691-87 mm or about 5 feet 8 inches and the females, 155.59 mm or about 5 ft. 2 inches, moderately dolichocephalic and highly mesorrhine, and in taxonomy they are sexually homogeneous261. It may be observed here that the stature of the Harappans dwindled due, probably, to paucity of nutritious food on account of gradually
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increasing desiccation of the domain of the Harappan culture which resulted in its destruction and also because of their deprivation of the male virile force of their ancestors who were consumed up in the Rigvedic wars.
- 234. Dwivedi, G.C., op.cit., pp. 382f.
- 235. Jatya means "In or among or like Jat/s, and Atnaro means nomads or wanderers". Atan the last word of the phrase, is very significant. In Haryanvi, also known as Jatu, language which contains so many Sanskrit words, Atan means hardening and coarsening of skin on the joints of toes due to friction caused by tight footwear in course of wandering from place to place.
- 236. Pusalker, op.cit., p. 482.
- 237. Ibid., p. 314.
- 238. D.D. Kosambi, (Cul. and Civil. Of Anc, Ind. p. 82) says that the cause of the Dasarajna battle was that the Ten tribes tried to divert river Prusni, which the Bharatas, led by Sudas did not allow or agree to.
- 239. History definitely repeats itself. How great is the irony of the Aryan fate in the Indian subcontinent? The Rigvedic Aryans from the east fought against their agnates and cognates from the west of the Ravi, Their descendents were dealt with by Samudra Gupta in this very region. And still more recently in 1947, 1962,1965 and 1971 their latest descendents from India and Pakistan fought on this very river. As good luck would have it, victory always licked the feet of the Aryans from the east in those battles.
- 240. Shafer, op.cit., pp. 15-34.
- 241. Ibid.
- 242. Op.cit., p. 67.
- 243. Ibid., pp. 85-90, 95, 104-06.
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- 244. Ibid., p. 108.
- 245. Ency. Italiana, Milan, 1929, see under (Afghanistan). Elphinstone, Mount-Stuart; An Acct. of the Kingdom of Cabul, London, 1975, pp 309 ff.
- 246. Ethnology of Anc. Ind., Varanasi, 1970, p. 70.
- 247. RV., VI. 5.12.12.
- 248. Jain, Ram Chandra; op.cit., pp. 70-79.
- 249. Ahi means "Snake of the sky" (Monier-Williams, Skt. Eng. Dic. p. 125, It is also used for the demon named Vritra). "Ajgar" is a term still current in north- western India. It also means snake, but earthly one.It is said to have been framed with the first letters of the names of the four dominant communities, viz. Ahir, Jat, Gujar and Rajput living in the region. What an invention. The forefathers were stigmatised as Ahi, their descendents, as Ajgar.
- 250. RV., VI. 4.1.14.
- 251. Ibid., VII. 2.1.13; Mardhravac means speaking injuriously or (contumeliously or insultingly (Monier-Williams Skt, Eng. Dic. p. 831). Vadhrivac means speaking unmanly or useless words of idle talking, Ibid., p. 917). He never states that they were Ahis.
- 252. RV., X. 2.7.6.
- 253. Jain, RC.; Origin of the Kuru Tribes, Jain Bharati Research Number, 1963, p. 11.
- 254. Sat. Br., VI. 1.14. RV. VII, 1.8.4.
- 255. RV. X. 5.2.10.
- 256. Raychowdhari, His. Of Anc. Ind., 1950, p. 142.
- 257. Mbt. (Cr. ED). 1.80.26.
- 258. Law, B.C; op.cit., p. 262. Mlechha means to speak indistinctly (like a foreigner or barbarian who does not speak Sanskrit), non-Aryan, man or an out-caste race who does not speak Sanskrit and does not conform to the usual Hindu institutions, a person who lives by agriculture or by making weapons, a wicked or bad man, sinner, ignorant, Ibid., p. 837). Non-Skt, speaking agriculturist Indians were not necessarily foreigners and culturally they might be rustic and unsophisticated, but they are not stated as Ahi. Mlechha may have been people of Meluha (lower Indus Valley).
- 259. K.edar. T J., Vedasthan, (or the Anc. Home of the Indo-Aryans), Subodh Sindhu Press. Civil Lines, Nagpur (M.P.) n.d., pp. 1-2. According to him the author of the Mbt. seems responsible for connecting Yadu etc. with Yayati who lived in 3102 B.C., Jain. op.cit .. p. 74.
- 260. Kosambi, op.cit, p.40
- 260a. Weber. Albrcrhi His. Of Ind. Lit. Eng. Tr. by John Mann & Theodor Zachariac. 1914, London. pp 4.39.
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- 261. Datta, Pratap, C; The Bronze Age Harappans, Calcutta, 1983, pp. 98-100. Other sources bearing on the subject are mentioned some where else in the text. The mean height does suggest the existence of tall as well as short-statu red Haraprans.
जाटों की प्राचीन निवास भूमि और पंचजना:
ठाकुर देशराज ने लिखा है .... जब हम जाटों की प्राचीन निवास भूमि का वर्णन पढ़ते हैं तो कुभा (काबुल) और कृमि (कुर्रम) नदी उसकी पश्चिमी सीमाएं, तिब्बत की पर्वतमाला पूर्वी सीमा, जगजार्टिस और आक्षस नदी उत्तरी सीमा और नर्मदा नदी दक्षिणी सीमा बनाती हैं। वास्तव में यह देश में आर्यों का है जो चंद्रवंशी अथवा यदु, दृहयु तुर्वसु, कुरु और पुरू कहलाते थे। भगवान श्रीकृष्ण के सिद्धांतों को इनमें से प्राय सभी ने अपना लिया था अतः समयानुसार बेशक जाट कहलाने लग गए। इन सभी खानदानों की पुराणों में स्पष्ट और अस्पष्ट निन्दा ही की है। या तो इन्होंने आरंभ से ही ब्राह्मण वैशिष (बड़प्पन) को स्वीकार नहीं किया था या बौद्ध काल में यह प्राय: सभी बौद्ध हो गए थे।
[पृ.147]: बाहलीक, तक्षक, कुशान, शिव, मल्ल, क्षुद्रक (शूद्रक), नव आदि सभी खानदान जिंका कि महाभारत और बौद्ध काल में नाम आता है इन्हीं यदु, दृहयु तुर्वसु, कुरु और पुरू की उत्तराधिकारी शाखाएं थे। बाहलीक लोग कुरुवंशी राजा शांतनु के भाई बाहलीक के वंशज हैं। शिवी यदुओं में उशीनर के वंशज हैं। यह बात हम पहले ही बता चुके हैं। गांधार, पांचाल यह लोग पुरू वंश में थे।
कृष्ण द्वारा ज्ञातिराज्य का प्रस्ताव - उत्तरोत्तर संख्या वृद्धि के साथ ही वंश (कुल) वृद्धि भी होती गई और प्राचीन जातियां मे से एक-एक के सैंकड़ों वंश हो गए। साम्राज्य की लपेट से बचने के लिए कृष्ण ने इनके सामने भी यही प्रस्ताव रखा कि कुल राज्यों की बजाए ज्ञाति (जाति) राज्य कायम का डालो।
सारे यदुओं का एक राष्ट्र हो चाहे वे भोज, शूर, अंधक, वृष्णि, दशार्ण आदि कुछ भी कहलाते हों। इसी तरह सारे कुरुओं का एक जाति राष्ट्र हो; पांचाल, पौरव, गांधार, मद्र, पांडव सब मिलकर एक संघ कायम कर लें। किन्तु इसको कोई क्या कहे कि कम्बखत कुरु लोग और यादव लोग आपस में ही लड़कर नष्ट हो गए। यदि वेदो के पंचजना: कहे जाने वाले, यदु, कुरु, पुरू, आदि संगठित हो जाते तो आज सारे संसार में वैदिक धर्मी ही दिखाई देते। किंतु ये तो लड़े, खूब लड़े। एक दो वर्ष नहीं, सदियों तक लड़े।
- Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria): The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/An Historico-Somatometrical study bearing on the origin of the Jats,pp.154
- The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The migrations of the Jats to the North-Western countries,p.241
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.502
- The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/Epilogue,p.386
- The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/Jat-Its variants,p.359
- Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria): The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/An Historico-Somatometrical study bearing on the origin of the Jats,pp.153-157
- Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Navam Parichhed,p.146-147