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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Map of Sialkot
Location of Sialkot
Map of Sialkot
Location of Sagala

Sialkot or Syalkot (स्यालकोट), She-kie-lo, is a city in Pakistan, located in the Punjab province. Sagala (Ancient Greek: Σάγγαλα), Sangala or Sakala was the name of the ancient predecessor of Sialkot.[1][2][3][4][5]

Variants of name

Tahsils in the District

In Mahabharata

Sagala is likely the city of Sakala mentioned in the Mahabharata as occupying a similar area as Greek accounts of Sagala.[7] The city may have been inhabited by the Saka, or Scythians, from Central Asia who had migrated into the Subcontinent.[8]

The city was located beside a river of the name of Apaga, and a clan of the Vahikas known by the name of the Jarttikas (Mbh 8:44). Nakula, proceeding to Sakala, the city of the Madras, made his uncle Shalya accept from affection the sway of the Pandavas (Mbh 2:31).

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 29 narrates the Western Countries which Nakula subjugated. Sakala is described in verses 13-14.

And the mighty hero, proceeding thence to Sakala, the city of the Madras, made his maternal-uncle Salya accept from affection the sway of the Pandavas. The illustrious Pandava prince deserving the hospitality and entertainment at his uncle's hands, was well entertained by his uncle. And skilled in war, the prince, taking from Salya a large quantity of jewels and gems, left his kingdom.[9]

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 writes that There is a town of the name of Sakala, a river of the name of Apaga, and a clan of the Vahikas known by the name of the Jarttikas. (VIII.30.14) [10]

Mention by Panini

Sankala (संकल) is a place name mentioned by Panini under Sankaladi (संकलादि) (4.2.75) group. [11]

Shakala (शकल) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [12]

Shakala (शाकल) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [13]

Shakalaka (शाकलक) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [14]

Shakala-Sunakah (शाकल-सुनका:) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [15]

Shakalika (शाकलिक) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [16]

Shakalya (शाकल्य) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [17]

Sankala (सांकल), Sangalawala Tiba (सांगलावाला टीबा), is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [18]


V. S. Agrawala[19] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Madra (मद्र) (IV.2.131), which was a part of Vahika country with its capital at Sākala = Sialkot. Mahabharata mentions Sākala as the chief city of Vahikas on the Āpagā River. Panini does not explain the derivation of Vahika but Katyayana derives it from Bahis, outside, with the sufiix īkak (IV.1.85.5). This seems to agree with the epic description of Vahika as the country of five rivers but lying outside the pale of Aryan society, devoid of religion and impure (Karnaparva, 44.7.32).

Sialkot Fort in Ruins

The Archaeological Survey Report of India unearths the fact that the ancient name for Sialkot was Sakala.[20][21] Also, Sakala is believed to have meant "Saka"-town by Przyluski and Tarn.[22][23]

It is believed that the name of the city means "Fort of the Sia"; the Sial being a particular gotra of Jats who founded the city in ancient times. The city has the biggest caste of Jats. It was capital of Madrak Jat rulers in ancient times.

King Shalya, the maternal uncle of the Kauravas was from the Madrak gotra. Colonel James Tod found a rock inscription during the excavations of Shakla Nagri (Modern Sialkot), which he sent to the Asiatic society. In this inscription King Shalya has been called a Madrak Jat. Alexander's army had a fierce battle with the forces of the Madrakas at Sialkot.

In Mahabharata (Karna Parva) King Shalya has been called Jatit.

Maharaja Shalendra was a Jat king of Sialkot in fifth century AD, and alongwith literature, the fact is further attested by the Pali inscription obtained from village Kanswa at Kota in Rajasthan state, in year 1820 AD, which is now preserved by The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan.[24] His territory extended from Punjab to Malwa and Rajasthan.

The ancient inscriptions in the Pali Buddhist character have been discovered in various parts of Rajasthan of the race of Taxak or Tak, relating to the tribe Mori and Parmara are their descendants. Taxak Mori was the lord of Chittor from very early period. [25][26]

The Huna Kingdom of Sialkot (of Mihir Kula 515-540 AD), destroyed by Yashodharman, was subsequently seized by a new dynasty of kshatriyas called Tak or Taxaka. The Taxak Mori as being lords of Chittor from very early period and few generations after the Guhilots supplanted the Moris, this palladium of Hindu liberty was assailed by the arms of Islam. (725-35) we find amongst the numerous defenders who appear to have considered the cause of Chittor their own the Tak from Asirgarh. This race appears to have retained possession of Asirgarh for at least two centuries after this event as its chieftain was one of the most conspicuous leaders in the array of Prithvi Raj. In the poems of Chandar he is called the "Standard, bearer, Tak of Asir." [27]

Sagala or Sangala, the ancient Greek name for the modern city of Sialkot in present day Pakistan, was a city of located in northern Punjab, Pakistan. Sagala was known as Sakala to the natives of the Indian sub-continent during ancient times. Sagala (alias "Sakala") is mentioned as the capital of the successor Greek kingdom when it was made the capital by King Menander I, son of Demetrius.

Ram Sarup Joon[28] writes that ....Samudra Gupta conquered the whole of Punjab and a major part of India. The clans defeated by him included

Greek History

The Sangala city was razed by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE. In the 2nd century BCE, Sagala was made capital of the Indo-Greek kingdom by Menander I. Menander embraced Buddhism after extensive debating with a Buddhist monk, as recorded in the Buddhist text Milinda Panha.[29] Sagala became a major centre for Buddhism under his reign, and prospered as a major trading centre.[30]

Destruction by Alexander: Sagala is in eastern Punjab, close to the extreme eastern limit of Alexander's campaigns in Asia(Pakistan).

The city appears in the accounts of Alexander the Great's conquests of Persia's eastern colonies in Asia. After crossing the Hydraotes (River Ravi) Alexander, joined by Porus with elephants and 5,000 local troops, laid siege to Sagala, where the Cathaeans had entrenched themselves. The city was razed to the ground, and many of its inhabitants killed:

"The Cathaeans... had a strong city near which they proposed to make their stand, named Sagala. (...) The next day Alexander rested his troops, and on the third advanced on Sangala, where the Cathaeans and their neighbours who had joined them were drawn up in front of the city. (...) At this point too, Porus arrived, bringing with him the rest of the elephants and some five thousand of his troops. (...) Alexander returned to Sangala, razed the city to the ground, and annexed its territory". [31]

Sagala was rebuilt and established as an outpost and incorporated into Alexander's vast empire. It was the easternmost outpost established by Alexander and remained a center of Hellenistic influence for quite some time after.

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

Arrian[32] 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.


Visit by Xuanzang in 630 & 633 AD

Alexander Cunningham[33] writes that The Sangala of Alexander has long ago been recognized in the Sakala of the Brahmans and the Sāgal of the Buddhists; but its position would still perhaps have remained undetermined, had it not fortunately been visited by the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang in

1 I take Hairat to be only an aspirated form of Aratta.

[p.180]: A.D. 630. Both Arrian and Curtius place Sangala to the east of the Hydraotes, or Ravi ; but the itinerary of Hwen Thsang shows that it was to the west of the Ravi, and as nearly as possible in the position of the present Sangla-wala-Tiba, or " Sangala Hill." I first became acquainted with this place in 1839, when I obtained a copy of Mogal Beg's manuscript map, compiled by Wilford, who has three times described its position in the ' Asiatic Researches.'1 But I was not able to obtain any account of the place until 1854, when I heard from Colonel G. Hamilton, who had visited it, and from Captain Blagrave, who had surveyed it, that Sangala was a real hill with traces of buildings, and with a sheet of water on one side of it. During my tour through the Panjab, I was able to visit the hill myself, and I am now satisfied that it must be the Sangala of Alexander, although the position does not agree with that which his historians have assigned to it.

In the time of Hwen Thsang She-kie-lo, or Sakala, was in ruins, and the chief town of the district was Tse-kia, or Chekia, which may also be read as Dhaka or Taka. The pilgrim places this new town at 15 li, or 2½ miles, to the north-east of Sakala; but as all the country within that range is open and flat, it is certain that no town could ever have existed in the position indicated. In the same direction, however, but at 19 miles, or 115 li, I found the ruins of a large town, called Asarur, which accord almost exactly with the pilgrim's description of the new town of Tse-kia. It is necessary to fix the position of this place, because Hwen Thsang's measurements, both coming and going,

1 Vols. V. 282 ; vi. 520 ; ix. 53.

[p.181]: are referred to it and not to Sakala. From Kashmir the pilgrim proceeded by Punach to Rajapura, a small town in the lower hills, which is now called Rajaori. From thence he travelled to the south-east over a mountain, and across a river called Chen-ta-lo-po-kia, which is the Chandrabhaga, or modern Chenab, to She-ye-pu-lo, or Jayapura (probably Hafizabad), where he slept for the night, and on the next day he reached Tse-kia, the whole distance being 700 li, or 116 miles. As a south-east direction would have taken the pilgrim to the east of the ravi, we must look for some known point in his subsequent route as the best means of checking this erroneous bearing. This fixed point we find in She-lan-to-lo, the well-known Jalandhara, which the pilgrim places at 500, plus 50, plus 140 or 150 li, or altogether between 690 and 700 li to the east of Tse-kia. This place was, therefore, as nearly as possible, equidistant from Rajaori and Jalandhar. Now, Asarur is exactly 112 miles distant from each of these places in a direct line drawn on the map, and as it is undoubtedly a very old place of considerable size, I am satisfied that it must be the town of Tse-kia described by Hwen Thsang.

In AD. 630 the pilgrim found the walls of Sakala completely ruined, but their foundations still remained, showing a circuit of about 20 li, or 3⅓ miles. In the midst of the ruins there was still a small portion of the old city inhabited, which was only 6 or 7 li, or just one mile, in circuit. Inside the city there was a monastery of one hundred monks who studied the Hinayana, or exoteric doctrines of Buddhism, and beside it there was a stupa, 200 feet in height, where the four previous Buddhas had left their footprints.

[p.182]: At 5 or 6 li, or less than 1 mile, to the north-west, there was a second stupa, also about 200 feet high, which was built by King Asoka on the spot where the four previous Buddhas had explained the law.

Sanglawala Tiba is a small rocky hill forming two sides of a triangle, with the open side towards the south-east. The north side of the hill rises to a height of 215 feet, but the north-east side is only 160 feet. The interior area of the triangle slopes gradually down to the south-east till it ends abruptly in a steep bank 32 feet above the ground. This bank was once crowned with a brick wall, which I was able to trace only at the east end, where it joined the rock. The whole area is covered with brick ruins, amongst which I found two square foundations. The bricks are of a very large size, 15 by 9 by 3 inches. During the last fifteen years these bricks have been removed in great numbers. Nearly 4000 were carried to the large village of Marh, (1 miles to the north, and about the same number must have been taken to the top of the hill to form a tower for the survey operations. The base of the hill is from 1700 to 1800 feet on each side, or just 1 mile in circuit. On the cast and south sides the approach to the hill is covered by a large swamp, half a mile in length, and nearly a quarter of a mile in breadth, which dries up annually in the summer, but during the seasonal rains has a general depth of about 3 feet. In the time of Alexander this must have been a fine sheet of water, which has been gradually lessened in depth by the annual washings of silt from the hill above. On the north-eastern side of the hill there are the remains of two large buildings, from which I obtained old bricks of the enormous size

[p.183]: of 17½ by 11 by 3 inches. Close by there is an old well which was lately cleared out by some of the wandering tribes. On the north-western side, 1000 feet distant, there is a low ridge of rock called Munda-ka-pura, from 26 to 30 feet in height, and about 500 feet in length, which has formerly been covered with brick buildings. At If mile to the south, there is another ridge of three small hills, called Arna and little Sangala.

All these hills are formed of the same dark grey rock as that of Chanyot and of the Karana hills to the west of the Chenab, which contains much iron, but is not worked on account of the want of fuel. The production of iron is noticed by Hwen Thsang.

In comparing this account with the description of the Chinese pilgrim, I only find two places that can be identified. The first is the site of the modern town, which was about a mile in circuit, and was situated in the midst of the ruins. This I take to be the hill itself, which accords exactly with the description, and which would certainly have been occupied in preference to any part of the open plain below, on account of its security. The second is the stupa of Asoka, which was situated at rather less than 1 mile to the north-west of the monastery inside the town. This I would identify with the low ridge of rock on the north-west called Mundapapura, of which the highest point at the north-western end is 4000 feet, or more than three-quarters of a mile distant from the central point of the triangular area of the town. The plain on the north and west sides of the hill is strewn with broken pottery and fragments of brick for a considerable distance, showing that the town must once have extended in both of those directions. But the

[p.184]: whole circuit of these remains did not appear to be more than 1½ or 1¼ miles, or about one-half of Hwen Thsang's measurement.

The Brahmanical accounts of Sakala

The Brahmanical accounts of Sakala have been collected from the Mahabharata by Professor Lassen in his ' Pentapotamia Indica.'1 According to that poem, Sakala, the capital of the Madras, who are also called Jartikas and Bahikas, was situated on the Apaga rivulet to the west of the Iravati, or Ravi river. It was approached from the east side by pleasant paths through the Pilu forest,

" Sami-pilu kariranām vaneshu sukhavartmasu." (शमी पीलु करीराणां वनेषु सुखवर्त्मसु) (VIII.30.24)

which Professor Lassen translates " per amcenas sylvarum tramites ambulantes." But the Pilu, or Salvadora Persica, is the commonest wood in this part of the Panjab, and is specially abundant in the Rechna Doab. In these "pleasant paths" of the Pilu forest, the traveller was unfortunately liable to be despoiled of his clothes by robbers. This description by the author of the Mahabharata was fully verified by Hwen Thsang in A.D. 630, and again by myself in 1863. On leaving Sakala, the Chinese pilgrim travelled eastward into a forest of Po-lo-she trees, where his party encountered fifty brigands, who robbed them of their clothes.2 In November, 1863, I approached Sakala from the east through a continuous wood of Pilu trees, and pitched my tent at the foot of the hill. During the night the tent was three times approached by parties of robbers who were detected by the vigilance of my watch dog. M. Julien has properly rendered Hwen Thsang Po-lo-she by Palasa, the Butea frondosa,

1 Pentapot. Ind., pp. 73, 74. 2 ' Hiouen Thsang,' i. 97.

[p.185]: or Dhak tree ; but as the forest consisted of Pilu trees, both before and after the time of Hwen Thsang, I would suggest the propriety of correcting Pi-lo-she to Pilo ; I conjecture that the Chinese editor of the pilgrim's life, who was most probably ignorant of the Pilu, substituted the well-known Palasa, which is frequently mentioned by Hwen Thsang, under the belief that he was making an important and necessary correction.

The country is still well known as Madr-des, or the district of the Madras, which is said by some to extend from the Bias to the Jhelam, but by others only to the Chenab. Regarding the Apaga rivulet, I believe that it may be recognized in the Ayak Nadi, a small stream which has its rise in the Jammu hills to the north-east of Syalkot. After passing Syalkot the Ayak runs westerly near Sodhra, where in the rainy season it throws off its superfluous water in the Chenab. It then turns to the south-south-west past Banka and Nandanwa to Bhutala, and continues this same course till within a few miles of Asarur. There it divides into two branches, which, after passing to the east and west of Asarur, rejoin at 2½ miles to the south of Sangalawala Tiba. Its course is marked in the revenue survey maps for 15 miles to the south-west of Sangala, where it is called the Nananwa canal. An intelligent man of Asarur informed me that he had seen the bed of the Nananwa 20 kos to the south-west, and that he had always heard that it fell into the Ravi a long way off. This, then, must be Arrian's "small rivulet" near which Alexander pitched his camp, at 100 stadia, or 11½ miles, to the east of the Akesines, below its junction with the Hydaspes.1 At

1 ' Anabasis,' vi. 6.

[p.186]: that time, therefore, the water of the Ayak must have flowed for a long distance below Sangala, and most probably fell into the Ravi, as stated by my informant. Near Asarur and Sangala, the Ayak is now quite dry at all seasons ; but there must have been water in it at Dhakawala only 24 miles above Asarur, even so late as the reign of Shah Jahan, when his son Dara Shekoh drew a canal from that place to his hunting seat at Shekohpura, which is also called the Ayak, or Jhilri canal.

The Buddhist notices of Sakala

The Buddhist notices of Sakala refer chiefly to its history in connection with Buddhism. There is the legend of the seven kings who went towards Sagal to carry off Prabhavati, the wife of king Kusa.1 But the king, mounting an elephant, met them outside the city, and cried out with so loud a voice, " I am Kusa," that the exclamation was heard over the whole world, and the seven kings fled away in terror. This legend may have some reference to the seven brothers and sisters of Amba-Kāpa, which is only 40 miles to the east of Sangala. Before the beginning of the Christian era Sagal was the capital of Raja Milinda, whose name is still famous in all Buddhist countries as the skilful opponent of the holy Nagasena.2 The territory was then called Yona, or Yavana, which might refer either to the Greek conquerors, or to their Indo-Scythian successors ; but as Nagasena is said to have lived either 400 or 500 years after Buddha, the date of Milinda is uncertain. Milinda himself states that he was born at Alasadda, which was 200 yojans, or about 1400 miles, distant from Sagal. He was therefore undoubtedly a foreigner ; and, in spite of the

1 Hardy, ' Manual of Buddhism,' 2G3, note. 2 Ibid., 513.

[p.187]: exaggerated distance, I would identify Ms birthplace with. Alexandria Opiane, at the foot of the Indian Caucasus, about 40 miles to the north of Kabul. At a somewhat later period, Sakala was subject to Mahirkula, or Mihirkula, who lost his kingdom by an unsuccessful campaign against Baladitya, king of Magadha. But being afterwards set at liberty by the conqueror, he obtained possession of Kashmir by treachery. I know of no other mention of Sakala until A.D. 633, when it was visited by Hwen Thsang, who describes the neighbouring town of Tse-kia as the capital of a large kingdom, which extended from the Indus to the Byas, and from the foot of the hills to the confluence of the five rivers.

The classical notices of Sangala

Alexander Cunningham[34] 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.

Distribution of Jat Gotras in District Sialkot, Pakistan

According to 1911 census, the following were the principal Muslim Jat clans[35]:

Aulakh (614), Awan (714), Bains (626), Bajwa (13,727), Basra (3,583), Cheema (7,446), Deo (855), Dhariwal (524), Dhillon (2,758), Dhindsa (265), Ghumman (7,579), Gill (3,468), Heer (73), Hanjra (1,744), Kahlon (6,285), Kang (173), Lidhar (614), Maan (169), Nagra (299), Pannun (357), Sahi (1,786), Sarai (1,041), Sidhu (404), Sandhu (5,054), Virk (1,670) and, Waraich (5,917).

Jats are found all over the district and form the backbone of the agricultural community. They are divided into numerous clans and profess different religions, but a strong family likeness pervades the whole tribe. The Muhammadan is sometimes said to be less energetic than his Hindu or Sikh brother, but it is very doubtful whether any such distinction exists. The Sikh sometimes indulges a taste for liquor and a certain amount of illicit distilling occurs in the district. All are patient, hardworking cultivators without much enterprise but tenacious of their rights and proud of their position as zamindars or landowners, even if their holding be but an acre or two. The Sikhs are freely recruited for the army, but until the War few Mussalmans were taken. In physique the Jat is generally of medium height with fairly regular features and a lean but wiry frame.

Description of the principal clans

We discuss here major Gotras: Bajwa, Naru, Basra, Chima, Ghuman, Kahlon, Malhi, Goraya, Sahi, Sandhu

Bajwa Jats

Bajwas are found in all tehsils except Daska. In the Sialkot tehsil they inhabit the Bhagowal zail only. In the Zafarwal tehsil they are grouped round Chawinda, in the Raya tehsil round Narowal, while in Pasrur they are found mainly in the north-west with head quarters at Kalaswala. The Baju Rajputs of Bajwat admit their relationship with the Bajwas. The clan is almost entirely confined to this district. The Bajus and Bajwas are singularly unanimous about their origin. They claim to be descended from Ram Chandar of the Surajbansi line. Their common ancestor was one Shalip, who lived in the time of Sikandar Lodi at Uch in Jhang, which was then part of the Multan Suba. Shalip was a man of some position, as he enjoyed a large jagir and paid tribute to Delhi. He quarreled with the Governor of the Suba, and owing to the intrigues of the latter fell into disfavor. The imperial troops marched against him, and when his fort at Uch fell he poisoned himself. He had a large number of sons, some of whom were killed with their father. Two of them KALS and Yas or Sis, however, escaped, disguised as falconers. Kals took refuge with a Sindhu Jat of Ban in the Pasrur tehsil, and married a Jat wife. Yas took service with the Rajput chief at Jammu and settled down at Gol, a village on the left bank of the Chenab opposite Hundal in Bajwat. Shortly afterwards he crossed the river and settled down in the Bajwat, where his descendants, the Bajus, live to this day. He put his brother Kals out of caste, as the letter had married beneath him. But Kals was strong enough to found a flourishing family of his own, which has now grown into the powerful Bajwa clan. The words Baju and Bajwa are derived from the word "Baz," meaning falcon. The Bajus, partly owing to the unhealthy climate of Bajwat, are an inferior race, but the Bajwas, especially the Sikhs among them, are as good as any of the JATS in the district.

They have three divisions.

The descendants of Manak inhabit Pasrur.

Those of Manga cluster roun Chawinda.

And Narowal is the head-quarters of the children of Naru.

The Bajwas have an interesting verse explaining the origin of their clan. There are various forms of it and probably the Kolu mentioned in the version below should be "Kalas"

"Unche Pindon ayon Mehal Dhis."

"Kolu ton Parnayon jian Ram Chand Sati."

"Tenun Manak, Manga, Nar Singh Narain die"

"Bas Bas bhi die."

"Oh Mehal, daughter of Dharu, who have come from Uncha Pind."

"Kolu has bought you in marriage as Ram Chabd did Sita."

"God will give you three sons-Manak,Maugh and Nar Singh."

"He will give you four others."

"Mehal said "Bas" (stop). He will give you Bas also."

Bas was a daughter of the bajwa, and Hindus of the clan may not mention her name so that at the end of a meal they say "Anand hogia" where others would say "Bas hogia" "I have had enough."

The Bajwa JATS are represented by two distinguished branches of the clan. The respective heads both live in Kalaswala, a large village near Pasrur. The first member of the family who made himself famous was Sardar Jodh Singh, who was first the favorite of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and then the object of his hate. After three years of an unequal struggle he submitted, and the Maharaja conferred jagirs on him and married his daughter to Prince Kharak Singh. On the latter's death his widow adopted sardar Bhagwan singh, the son of her second cousin. His grandson, Sardar Randhir singh, who has been educated at the Aitchison College, is the present (1920) head of the family.

The other side of the clan came into prominent at a later stage, but the authenticated history of its members presents a noble record. They were consistently distinguished by personal bravery, while one or two have displayed no small military capacity. The first member of the family of whom an accurate account is obtainable was Sardar Khushal Singh. He was by choice a scholar, but his descendants have all bennn soldiers. His son, Dula Singh, was one of the most dashing cavalry leaders of the Maharaja's army. Dula Singh's eldest son, Jiwan Singh, was a remarkable character. He commanded the famous Sher Dil Paltan and during the second Sikh war he remained thoroughly loyal. His elder son, Sant Singh, did good service in the Mutiny and the younger, Sardar Jagat Singh, also did much to emulate the brilliant career of his father. He was appointed Subadar of the 29th Punjab Infantry when quite a lad, in 1857, and served in that regiment till his retirement in 1882. He saw much war service, and won the Order of Merit at the Paiwar Kotal in 1878 and later received the Order of British India. On his retirement from military service he was appointed Honorary Magistrate and Civil Judge, and Chairman of the District Board. He was also granted the Order of C.I.E. His eldest serving son, Sardar Autar Singh is an Extra Assistant Commissioner, while a younger son, Sardar Upar Singh, who represents the family in the district, is a Zaildar and President of the Notified Area, Kalaswala. A third son, Sardar Piyar Singh, was a Subadar in the 29th Punjabis, and the fourth, Datar Singh, is Jemadar in 107th Pioneers.

Basra Jats

Basra Jats are found mainly near Kali or Gharial Kalan in the Pasrur and Raya tehsil. They claim Phagwara in the Jullundar district as their home. Famine drove them with their herds to the jungles of Sialkot and they settled at Kali and in the neighborhood.

Chima Jats

Chimas are found, so far as this district is concerned, mainly in the Daska tehsil where they hold many of the rich estates which enjoy irrigation from the Aik stream. They claim relationship with Chauhan Rajputs as their ancestor, Chima, belonged to that clan. They have the reputation of quarrelling amongst themselves but combining against strangers.

"Chima aur Chatha Khan pin nun vakho-o-vakh Larai nun ikhatta"

(Chiman and Chathas separate for eating and drinking, but combine for fighting.)

Musulman Chimas still (1920) call in the Brahmin at their weddings.

Ghuman Jats

The Ghuman Jats are chiefly settled in the Sialkot tehsil to the west and south of the city and around Sambrial in the Daska tehsil. They are an offshoot of the Janjua Rajputs, and so claim descent from Raja Dalip of Delhi. One of his descendants, Sanpal, married out of cast, took service in Jammu, and founded this clan, which has 21 sub-divisions, each representing an alleged son of Sanpal. They intermarry with all the leading JATS, with the exception of the Mans. They have a few peculiar wedding customs, such as the worship of an idol made of grass tied up with red cloth, and the pouring of water on a lambs head. They are good agriculturists.

Kahlon Jats

The Kahlon Jats claim descent from raja Vikramajit, through Raja Jag Deo of Daranagar, of the lunar dynasty. The home of the clan is Batala in the Gurdaspur district. There are three divisions of the clan corresponding with the three sons of Soli, their founder. The first division inhabits Dhamthal, the north of the Raya tehsil, and a small part of the Shakargarh; the second, the remaining villages in Zafarwal; and the third, the rest of Shakargarh. Their marriage ceremonies differ somewhat from those of the western JATS, and they have special names for the various members of the marriage party. They intermarry with the ther JATS. They are a quiet, industrious people, and make good soldiers.

Malhi Jats

The Malhis of this district are found mainly around Baddomalhi in the Raya tehsil. The following interesting account of the tribe is supplied by one of its members. Ram Chanderji was of Surajbansi family, and it is through him the Malhis trace their descent. According Bard Chand (as Major Todd tells us) Malhi, Malhi or Mohil is one of 36 Royal racs of Rajhasthan. Malhi was then holder of the Malwa estate, the capital of which was Udunth Kot, the ruins of which are to be found up to this day in the Multan district. From Greek History also we learn that Alexander the Great in his conquest of India met and fought with the warlike tribe of Malhi, the holder of Multan(Mohilsthan). Prithviraja, the king of Delhi(12th century A.D.); the son of Bumhi, the son of Pisal, was of the same tribe of Rajputs and was one of the greatest Malwa princes. He was conquered by Shahab-ud-din Ghouri and from that time the Malhis have been scattered all over the Punjab, founding villages wherever they settled. There is however even now a small state in Rajputana by the name of Srobi, the ruler of which is a Malhi.

In loyalty the Malhis are second to none. In the reign of Shahjahan, Rai Jani (being converted to Islam, called Muhammad Jani), an ancestor of the Badhomalhi family and a descendent of badho, was granted a Jagir by that monarch. This Jagir extended from Eminabad(Gujranwala district) to Naurangabad (tehsil Raya). It was reduced to a few villages in tehsil Raya of those few villages the family has lost four or five, viz., Kotli Hathu Malhi, Panjgirayan Gidhian, Rathian, etc.

The Malhis have a Sidh or Pir. He was the great-grandson of Prithviraja and his name is Lakshman Jati Sidh Bala Korshi. From his early days he was given to the worship of God, and therefore having given up the world and its pleasures he became a Jogi and being a prince soon came to be known as one of the greatet of the Jogis. He was so esteemed for his wonderful works that people have founded shrines in his honor all over the Punjab and fairs are held there to commemorate the memory of Sidh Bala Korshi. He is erroneously confused with Lakshaman, the brother of Ram Chandarji, who indeed was no Jogi at all.

The customs of Malhis are mostly those of the Hindus except for the observance of Muhammadans and among these too, the most important customs such as marriage are mainly Hindu, although the ceremony of nikah is adopted from the Muhammadans, the jehaz and many other ceremonies connected with marriage are Hindu. Brahmins attend at the marriages of Mussulman and Christian Malhis, and the pecular Bahi marriage customs are observed by the Hindus.

The people of this clan are also found in 12 or13 villages round about Badiana, a village midway between Pasrur and Sialkot. One of the rising families in this tract is that Risaldar Pal Singh of Bathe, who joined the 25th Cavalary ( F.F ), served in the Afghan War, 1878-80, and Tirah Campaign, 1897, rose to commissioned rank in1900 and retired in 1912 after serving for 34 years. At the outbreak of the present Great War he, along with his brother Ishar Singh, again joined the regiment and is still serving (1920). Two of his nephews also joined the army. One died in France while with the 15th Sikhs, and the other is still (1920) overseas with th 19th Lancers. His son, Iqbal Singh, is an Extra Assistant Commissioner in the Punjab (1920).

Goraya Jats

The Goraya clan is found mainly in the north-east of the Pasrur Tehsil and in the neighboring villages of Daska. They are said to be descended from the Saroha family of the Lunar Rajputs and are closely connected with the Dhillon, Melti and Saroha Jats. The ancestor to whom they trace their origin, Rana, came from Sirsa to Jammu and thence to this district in the time of the Emperor Akbar.

Sandhu Jats

Sandhu Jats are found round Satrah in the Pasrur Tehsil and Wadhala Sandhuan in Daska. In this district they call themselves Sandhus, not Sindhus. They claim Solar Rajputs origin and believe that they came here from Ghazni, but whether Ghazni in Afghanistan or in the Deccan or Bikaner is not certain. Hindu Sandhus revere their ancestor Kala Pir or Kala Mehr of whom various wonderful tales are told. There is a shrine at Satrah to his memory.

Sardar Shiv Deo Singh is the present (1920) head of the Sandhu Jat family of Siranwali in the Pasrur Tehsil. The family rose to position and power under the early Sikh rule, and the grand-aunt of the present(1920) Sardar married into the Royal family at Lahore. Her brother, Sardar Mangal Singh, attached himself to Prince Kharak Singh, whose chief favorite he was, and received large Jagirs. On the death of the Prince most of the Jagirs were resumed. After annexation he was allotted a cash pension of Rs. 1000 a month. He died in 1864. In 1870 his only son, Richpal Singh, married the nice of Rani Jind Kaur, widow of Prince Kashmira Singh, and had one son, Shiv Seo Singh, who was born in1875. In 1884 Sardar Richpal Singh was nominated President of the District Board Sialkot. In the same year he was entrusted with civil and criminal powers as an Honorary Magistrate with his Court at Siranwali.He died in 1907. His son has succeeded him as Honorary Magistrate at Siranwali where he lives a quiet studious life and is much respected by all who know him. He is a Provincial Darbari.

The Sanihus of Wadbala in Daska emerged fom obscurity during the Mughal ascendancy, but Sardar Mahtab Singh was the first to strike out a course for himself. He threw in his lot with two of the Bhangi leaders, and became connected by marriage with the father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The latter, however, soon broke with him, and a fierce quarrel ensued. After much desultory fighting the heads of the family took service in Kashmir. They returned to the Punjab in 1814, and in the two Sikh wars some members took one side and some the other. Sardar Sahib Singh, had a distinguished career. He rendered valuable assistance in1857 both in Sialkot and Oudh, and in 1873 went to the Andamans as Assistant District Superintendent of Police. He retired in1884 on a well-earned pension and with the title of Rai Bahadur.

Sardar Baghel Singh's son Hakim Singh had an honorable career, serving with the 18th Lancers in Afghanistan and later as a Subedar in the Burma Police. After his retirement he became Honorary Magistrate and Civil Judge at Daska. He died in 1915.

The most prominent representative of the family at present is Risaldar Sardar Hira Singh, son of Sardar Thakur Singh, who served in the 30th Lancers. He is a Provincila Darbari.

Maan Jats

The Man Jats do not properly belong to the Sialkot district, but any mention of the tribe would not be complete without a reference to this famous clan. With the Bhular and Her clans it forms the "two-and-half houses" witch claim to be the oldest and best of the Jat clans. The leading representative of the tribe in the Sialkot district is Sardar Harnam Singh, Honorary Magistrate of Kila Sardar Harnam Singhwala in the Raya tehsil. His grandfather, Sardar Budh Singh, was an exceptionally gallant and faithful adherent of the British throughout the chequered period which preceded and followed annexation. He died in 1856

Distribution in Punjab, India

Villages in Moga district

Villages in Rupnagar district

Notable persons

  • Balu-panthi (बालू-पंथी) was A small Bairagi sub-sect. Bala Thappa or Bala Sahib was a Bairagi sadhu of Jat birth who lived in the Daska tahsil of Sialkot.[36]


  1. Kumar, Raj (2008). Encyclopaedia of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval and Modern. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 9788178356648.
  2. McEvilley, Thomas (2012). The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781581159332.
  3. Cohen, Getzel M. (2013-06-02). The Hellenistic Settlements in the East from Armenia and Mesopotamia to Bactria and India. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520953567.
  4. Kim, Hyun Jin; Vervaet, Frederik Juliaan; Adali, Selim Ferruh (2017-10-05). Eurasian Empires in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: Contact and Exchange between the Graeco-Roman World, Inner Asia and China. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107190412.
  5. Congress, Indian History (2007). Proceedings, Indian History Congress.
  6. History of Alexander the Great’s Campaigns by Arrian, Ch.5
  7. Wilson, Horace Hayman; Masson, Charles (1841). Ariana Antiqua: A Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and Coins of Afghanistan. East India Company.
  8. Society, Panjab University Arabic and Persian (1964). Journal.
  9. ततः शाकलम अभ्येत्य मद्राणां पुटभेथनम, मातुलं परीतिपूर्वेण शल्यं चक्रे वशे बली (II.29.13) स तस्मिन सत्कृतॊ राज्ञा सत्कारार्हॊ विशां पते, रत्नानि भूरीण्य आथाय संप्रतस्दे युधां पतिः (II.29.14)
  10. शाकलं नाम नगरम आपगा नाम निम्नगा, जर्तिका नाम बाह्लीकास तेषां वृत्तं सुनिन्थितम (VIII.30.14)
  11. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.507
  12. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.231
  13. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.52, 302, 319
  14. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.302
  15. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.319
  16. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.231
  17. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.16, 341
  18. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.70
  19. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.52
  20. Archaeological Survey Report of India, Vol II, Vanaras, Page 193
  21. Kumar, Raj (2008). Encyclopaedia Of Untouchables Ancient, Medieval And Modern. Gyan Publishing House. p. 144. ISBN 8178356643, 9788178356648
  22. Przyluski
  23. Tarn
  24. The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Rajasthan
  25. James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, p.126
  26. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.171
  27. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.148
  28. History of the Jats/Chapter IV ,p. 58
  29. McEvilley, Thomas (2012). The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781581159332
  30. Khan, Ahmad Nabi (1977). Iqbal Manzil, Sialkot: An Introduction. Department of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Pakistan.
  31. Arrian, Anabasis of Alexander, V.22-24
  32. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/5b, Ch.22
  33. The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.179-191
  34. Alexander Cunningham:The Ancient Geography of India/Taki,pp.187-191
  35. Census Of India 1911 Volume xiv Punjab Part 2 by Pandit Narikishan Kaul
  36. A glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province By H.A. Rose Vol II/B , p.56


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