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Huang He

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Huang He or Yellow River is the third-longest river in Asia, following the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km.[1]


Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km. Its total basin area is about 742,443 square kilometers.

Origin of name

Hwang Ha[2] is in the Book of Han written during the Eastern Han dynasty about the Western Han dynasty. The adjective "yellow" describes the perennial color of the muddy water in the lower course of the river, which arises from soil being carried downstream.

In Qinghai, the river's Tibetan name is "River of the Peacock" (Tibetan: རྨ་ཆུ།, Ma Chu; Chinese: s 玛曲, t 瑪曲, p Mǎ Qū).

The name Hwang Ho in English is the Postal Map romanization of the river's Mandarin name.

Jat clans


The Yellow River is called "the cradle of Chinese civilization", because its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed (due in part to manmade erosion upstream), sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, has also earned it the unenviable names China's Sorrow and Scourge of the Sons of Han.[3]

Historical documents from the Spring and Autumn period[4] and Qin Dynasty[5] indicate that the Yellow River at that time flowed considerably north of its present course. These accounts show that after the river passed Luoyang, it flowed along the border between Shanxi and Henan Provinces, then continued along the border between Hebei and Shandong before emptying into Bohai Bay near present-day Tianjin. Another outlet followed essentially the present course.[6]

The river left these paths in 602 BC[7] and shifted completely south of the Shandong Peninsula.[8] Sabotage of dikes, canals, and reservoirs and deliberate flooding of rival states became a standard military tactic during the Warring States period.[9] Major flooding in AD 11 is credited with the downfall of the short-lived Xin dynasty, and another flood in AD 70 returned the river north of Shandong on essentially its present course.[10] Medieval times

In 923 a desperate Later Liang general Duan Ning again broke the dikes, flooding 2,600 km2 in a failed attempt to protect the Later Liang capital from the Later Tang. A similar proposal from the Song engineer Li Chun concerning flooding the lower reaches of the river to protect the central plains from the Khitai was overruled in 1020: the Treaty of Shanyuan between the two states had expressly forbidden the Song from establishing new moats or changing river courses.[11]

Jat History

In India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE. Some of their satraps were Hagamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by the Saca Great Satrap Rajuvula. The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura, and dated to the 1st century CE, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by Queen Nadasi Kasa, the wife of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula. The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura.

According to Thakur Deshraj the Shivi gotra Jats of Shivaliks and lower reaches of Lake Manasarowar left this area after the Battle of Mahabharata and migrated to Uttar Kuru. Some of them settled in Punjab in the area known as "Yadu ki Dung", some settled in Kashmir and the rest moved far north upto Siberia.

The Krishna vamshi people in Sanskrit were called "Karshney" and "Karshniya". Karshniya or Kasaniya is a gotra of Jats found in Rajasthan. These Krishna vanshi people in China were known as Kushan or Yuezhi.

Bhim Singh Dahiya has established that Kushan or Yuezhi were Jats. There were two branches of Yuezhi people. One of the branches was called "Ta-Yuezhi" which means "The great Jat Sangh". The other branch was "Siu-Yuezhi" which means "General Jat Sangh". The Greek historian Herodotus has written Massagetae for Ta-Yuezhi and Thysagetae for Siu-Yuezhi. The Yuezhi people inhabited the Outer Mongolia and Gansu province of China.

Satyaketu Vidyalankar has mentioned that Rishika Jats were inhabitants of western China region near Lop Nur Lake. Tocharian people were settled in between the areas of Sakas and Rishikas (Yuezhi) in the north of Tarim River and Tian Shan mountain. Huns inhabited areas to the north of those occupied by Sakas, Rishikas and Tocharians. Rishikas and Tocharians were friends. They attacked the kingdom of Sakas and captured Bactria (Balkh). Following the settlement of the Yuezhi (described in the West as "Tocharians"), the general area of Bactria came to be called Tokharistan. From the 1st century CE to the 3rd century CE, Tokharistan was under the rule of the Kushans. After that they occupied Camboj situated in northwest Afghanistan.

Rishikas and Tocharians who were earlier defeated by Huns became powerful now. They jointly defeated the Huns and forced them to move towards Mongolia.

Rishikas and Tocharians along with Ta-Yuezhi Jats became Muslims in this region. Later when the pressure of Muslim religion increased these people moved down to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Ta-Yuezhi branch included Rishikas, Tocharians, Kushans, Chahars, Jadons, Sinsinwars, Kuntals, Sogadia gotra Jats. Tocharians and Rishikas were great warriors and they became strong followers of Buddhism. They also helped in spreading the Buddhism religion to far off places.

A branch of Tocharians was Hunga who came to Brij area in India and settled on the fertile banks of Yamuna River. Hunga Jats are believed to get their name from Hungamas satrap who came from the region of "Huang He" river and "hingu" hills in China. The Hunga over a period became "Aga". Aga in Sanskrit became "Agre" meaning advance, since these were the people first to come to Brij area. Kanishka had made the Hunga people the rulers of Mathura. Another branch of Tocharians moved to Afghanistan and upto Iran. Kanishka made these people the rulers of Ghazni.

According to Dharampal Singh Dudee, Agi gotra is different from Aga, Haga or Agre. Agi gotra started from a Jat named Aksha (अक्ष),; they are also considered as descendants of rishi Agastya. [12]

Bhim Singh Dahiya[13] writes that Finally we come to the conclusion that the Chinese name Hiung-nu is correct, after all. These Hiung-nu were a clan dominant at that time. It was this clan which produced emperors like Touman, Maodun, Giya in the first three centuries prior to the Christian era. These Hiung-nu are still existing as a Jat clan in India and are called Heng or Henga. We must remember that the Kang Jat were named by the Chinese as Kang-nu; similarly the Heng were called Heng-nu or Hiung-nu. These were the 'Huna Mandal' rulers who fought with almost all the Indian powers, right up to 10th century A.D.

They have now 360 villages in Mathura district of U.P. The late Har Prasad Singh, Commissioner of Income Tax, was a Henga Jat. As for the word 'Huna' itself, it may be a war cry of these people. In Punjab, it is used in the sense of 'now', i.e., the time for the attack and final kill. Again, Otto Macnchen-Helfen may be right when he says that Hun is a Proto-Germanic adjective, signifying 'High'.131 As already stated, all the Jat clan names mean 'high' or 'top' or 'head', 'crown' or 'king'.


  1. Yellow River (Huang He) Delta, China, Asia
  2. Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction PDF (1.93 MB), p. 41. 2011
  3. New York Times "A Troubled River Mirrors China's Path to Modernity". 19 November 2006 p. 4.
  4. Gernet, Jacques. Le monde chinois, p. 59. Map "4. Major states of the Chunqiu period (Spring and Autumn)". (French)
  5. "Qin Dynasty Map".
  6. Tregear, T. R. A Geography of China, p. 218. 1965.
  7. Gernet, Jacques. Le monde chinois, p. 59. Map "4. Major states of the Chunqiu period (Spring and Autumn)". (French)
  8. Tregear, T. R. A Geography of China, p. 218. 1965.
  9. Allaby, Michael & Garrat, Richard. Facts on File Dangerous Weather Series: Floods, p. 142. Infobase Pub., 2003. ISBN 0-8160-5282-4.
  10. Tregear, T. R. A Geography of China, p. 218. 1965.
  11. Elvin, Mark & Liu Cuirong (eds.) Studies in Environment and History: Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History, pp. 554 ff. Cambridge Uni. Press, 1998. ISBN 0-521-56381-X.
  12. Mahendra Singh Arya et al: Adhunik Jat Itihas,
  13. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/The Jats, p.46

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