04:36 pm - Monday 17 June 2013

Gujjar History- Disscussion

History
The Gurjara clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. Some scholars, such as V. A. Smith, believed that the Gujjars were foreign immigrants, possibly a branch of Hephthalites (“White Huns”). D. B. Bhandarkar (1875-1950) believed that Gujars came into India with the Hunas, and the name of the tribe was sanskritized to “Gurjara”. He also believed that several places in Central Asia, such as “Gurjistan”, are named after the Gujars and that the reminiscences of Gujar migration is preserved in these names. General Cunningham identified the Gujjars with Yuezhi or Tocharians.

In the past, Gujjars have also been hypothesized to be descended from the nomadic Khazar tribes, although the history of Khazars shows an entirely different politico-culture ethosThis argument is chiefly based on the assumption that the word “Gujjar” is derived from the word “Khazar”; the Indo-Aryan languages lacked the sounds “kh” and “z”, converting them respectively into “g” and “j”. In Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, the British civil servant James M. Campbell identified Gujars with Khazars.

Some Gujjars also claim that the Gujjar caste is related to the Chechens and the Georgians, and argue that Georgia was traditionally called “Gujaristan” (actually Gorjestan).[7][8] Some of them also claim that Germans are Gujjars. However, there is no evidence for such claims. The word “Georgia” derived from the Arabic and Persian word Gurj, and not Gujjar or Gurjar.

Gujjar rulers

The Gurjara-Pratihara kingdom and other contemporary kingdoms.
According to some historical accounts, the kingdom with capital at Bhinmal (or Srimal) was established by the Gujjars. A minor kingdom of Bharuch was the offshoot of this Kingdom. In 640-41 CE, the Chinese traveller Xuanzang (Hieun Tsang) described the kingdoms of Su-la-cha (identified with Saurashtra) and Kiu-che-lo (identified with Gurjara) in his writings. He stated that the Gurjaras ruled a rich and populous kingdom with capital at Bhinmal (Pilo-mo-lo).According to his expositor, M. Vivien de St. Martin, Su-la-cha represents the modern Gujarat, and Kiu-che-lo (Gurjjara), “the country of the Gujars”, represents the region between between Anhilwara and the Indus River.

Vincent Smith believed that the Pratihara dynasty, which ruled a large kingdom in northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries, and has been mentioned as “Gurjara-Pratiharas” in an inscription, was certainly of Gurjara origin. Smith also stated that there is possibility of other Agnikula Rajput clans being of same origin.Dr. K. Jamanadas also states that the Pratihara clan of Rajputs descended from the Gujjars, and this “raises a strong presumption that the other Rajput clans also are the descendants from the Gurjaras or the allied foreign immigrants”. D. B. Bhandarkar also believed that Pratiharas were a clan of Gujjars. In his book The Glory that was Gujardesh (1943), Gurjar writer K. M. Munshi stated that the Pratiharas, the Paramaras and the Solankis were imperial Gujjars.

However, some other historians believe that although some sections of the Pratiharas (eg. the one to which Mathanadeva belonged) were Gujjars by caste, the imperial Pratiharas of Kannauj were not Gujjars and there was no Gurjara empire in Northern India. H. A. Rose and Denzil Ibbetson stated that there is no conclusive proof that the Agnikula Rajput clans are of Gurjara origin; they believed that there is possibility of the indigenous tribes adopting Gurjara names, when their founders were enfiefed by Gurjara rulers.

Over the years, the Gurjars were assimilated mainly into the castes of Kshatriya varna, although some Gurjar groups (such as Gaur Gurjars of central India) are classified as Brahmins. During the Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent, many of the Gurjar Hindus converted to Islam.

British rule

In the eighteenth century, several Gujjar chieftains and small kings were in power. During the reign of Rohilla Nawab Najib-ul-Daula, Dargahi Singh, the Gujjar chieftain of Dadri possessed 133 villages at a fixed revenue of Rs. 29,000. A fort at Parlchhatgarh in Meerut District, also known as Qila Parikishatgarh, is ascribed to a Gujjar Raja Nain Singh. According to a legend, the fort was built by Parikshita and restored by Nain Singh in the eighteenth century. The fort was dismantled in 1857, to be used as a police station.

The Imperial Gazetteer of India states that throughout the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Gujars and Musalman (Muslim) Rajputs proved the “most irreconcilable enemies” of the British in the Bulandshahr area. A band of rebellious Gujjars ransacked Bulandshahr after a revolt by the 9th Native Infantry on May 21, 1857. The British officers initially left for Meerut but later sent a small force to retake the town. The British forces were able to retake the town with the help of Dehra Gurkhas, but the Gujars rose again after the Gurkhas marched off to assist General Wilson’s column in another area. Under the leadership of Walidad Khan of Malagarh, the British garrison was driven out the district. Walidad Khan held Bulandshahr from July to September, until he was expelled after an engagement with Colonel Greathed’s flying column. On October 4, the Bulandshahr District was regularly occupied by the British Colonel Farquhar and measures of repression were adopted against the armed Gujars.

During the revolt of 1857, the Muslim Gujars in the villages of the Ludhiana District showed dissent to the British authorities. The British interests in Gangoh city of Saharanpur District were threatened by the rebel Gujars under the self-styled Raja Fathua. These Gujars rebels were defeated by the British forces under H. D. Robertson and Lieutenant Boisragon, in June 1857. The Gujars of Chundrowli rose against the British, under the leadership of Damar Ram. The Gujars of Shunkuri village, numbering around three thousand, joined the rebel sepoys. According to British records, the Gujars plundered gunpowder and ammunition from the British and their allies. In Delhi, the Metcalfe House was sacked by the Gujjar villagers from whom the land was taken to erect the building. The British records claim that the Gujars carried out several robberies. Twenty Gujars were reported to have been beheaded by Rao Tula Ram for committing dacoities in July 1857. In September 1857, the British were able to enliist the support of many Jats and Gujars at Meerut.

The British classified the Gujjars (and around 150 other Indian communities) as “criminal tribe” through the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 (later repealed by the Government of independent India in 1952). Some believe that the British classified the nomadic tribes as “criminal tribes” because they considered these tribes to be prone to criminality in the absence of legitimate means of livelihood, and also because of their participation in the revolt of 1857.The Imperial Gazetteer of India stated that the Gujars were impoverished due to their “lawlessness in the Mutiny”, and that the Gujars in Delhi had a “bad reputation as thieves”.

During the World War II, several Gujjars served in the British Indian army. Kamal Ram, a Gujjar sepoy, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry.

Demographics

Gujjars are mainly concentrated in the Indo-Gangetic plains, the Himalayan region, and eastern parts of Afghanistan, although the Gujjar diaspora is found in other places as well. A majority of Gujjars follow Hinduism and Islam, though small Gujjar communities following other religions exist.

Gujari (or Gojri), classified under Rajasthani[32], has traditionally been the primary language of the Gujjars. But, Gujjars living in different areas speak several other languages including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Pothohari , Pahari languages (such as Dogri and Kangri), Pashto language, Dardic languages (such as Kashmiri and Khowar), and Balti.

Gujjars in India

In India, Gujjar populations are found mainly in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, northern Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The semi-nomadic Gujjar groups are found in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and north-western Uttar Pradesh.The name for the state of Gujarat has derived from “Gurjar”.

Gujjars in North India are now considered as a vote bank by some political parties. Rajesh Pilot was a major Gujjar leader in North India. The Gujjars were classified as a Scheduled Tribe in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, and as Other Backward Class in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Delhi

Gujjars are mainly found in delhi: that includes [Tanwar] [8 Villages],MAVI 5 Village [ambavata](4 villages), Bhati (24 Villages) [dedha](24 villages),[basoya](6 villages),[vidhudi],[rexwal] Bosatta(2 villages)

Haryana

The main gotras of Gurjars found in the Faridabad District of Haryana include Bhadana (14 villages), Mavi (10 Village) in Badka Teh PalwalNagar (84 villages), Baisla (10 village), Phagna(1 Village) and Poswal (3 village). The Bhadana gotra in Faridabad District launched an anti-dowry campaign in 2002. The community set elaborate guidelines for solemnizing marriages and holding other functions.[36] In a mahapanchayat (“the great panchayat”), the Gujjar community decided that those who sought dowry would be excommunicated from the society. Brigadier Hem Chan Nagar, born in village Tigaon in Ballabhgarh Tehsil of Faridabad district was the first brigadier among the Gurjar Community.

Jammu and Kashmir
In Jammu and Kashmir, the concentration of Gujjars is observed in the districts of Rajouri and Poonch, followed by, Ananatnag, Udhampur and Doda districts.[38] It is believed that Gujjars migrated to Jammu and Kashmir from Gujarat (via Rajasthan) and Hazara district of NWFP.[39] Another group called Bakarwal (or Bakerwal or Dhangar) belongs to the same ethnic stock as the Gujjars, and inter-marriages freely take place among them.

The Gujjars and the Bakarwals in Jammu and Kashmir were notified as the Scheduled Tribes vide the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1991.According to the 2001 Census of India, Gujjar is the most populous scheduled tribe in J&K, having a population of 763,806. Around 99.3 per cent population of Gujjar and Bakarwal in J&K follow Islam.

In 2002, some Gujjars and Bakarwals in J&K demanded a separate state (Gujaristan) for Gujjar and Bakerwal communities, under the banner of India Gujjar Parishad.

Van Gujjars
The Van Gujjars (“forest Gujjars”) are found in the Shivalik hills area of North India. The Van Gujjars follow Islam, and they have their own clans, similar to the Hindu gotras.[41] They are a pastoral semi-nomadic community, practising transhumance. In the winter season, the Van Gujjars migrate with their herds to the Shiwalik foothills, and in summer, they migrate to pastures high up in the mountains. The Van Gujjars have had conflicts with the forest authorities, who prohibited human and livestock populations inside a reserved park, and blamed the Van Gujjar community for poaching and timber smuggling. After the creation of the Rajaji National Park (RNP), the Van Gujjars in Deharadun were asked to shift to a resettlement colony at Pathari near Hardwar. In 1992, when the Van Gujjars returned to the foothills, the RNP authorities tried to block them from the park area. The community fought back and finally the forsest authorities had to relent Later, a community forest management (CFM) programme aiming to involve the Van Gujjars in forest management was launched.

Indian Punjab

Gujjars of punjab are mainly found in Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Patiala, Fatehgarh, Mohali and Anandpur District. In this area, their villages are In heavy concentration. They are both hindu as well as sikh by religion. Their main profession is agriculture and business. They are called as chaudhary in the area. The last names of the Punjabi Gujjars include Kasana, Khepar, Kataria, Chaudhary, Bjarh, Chauhan, Bhumbla, Chandpuri, Chechi, Meelu, Hans, Bagri, khatana and others. The tradition of buffalo milk in Punjab can be attributed to the nomad Gujjars arriving in the Punjab plains with their live stock. There are old folk songs about Gujjar women selling milk in Punjabi villages and the nomad Gujjars displaying their livestock of buffaloes for sale. There are many Gujjar villages in Punjab (India) and most of these Gujjars are Sikhs. Even now, the nomad Gujjars come from Kashmir and sell their artifacts and livestock in Punjab. These nomad Gujjars are mostly Muslims just like their counterparts in Pakistan.

Rajasthan

In Rajasthan, some members of the Gujjar community resorted to violent protests over the issue of reservation in 2006 and 2007. During the 2003 Election to the Rajasthan assembly the BJP had promised the gujjars ST status as they had included the Jats as the OBC’s. This promise was not kept. In September 2006, the Gujjars organized violent protests, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to keep its promise of including the community in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. In May 2007, during violent protests over the reservation issue, the members of the Gujjar community clashed with the police twenty six people (including two policemen). Subsequently, the Gujjars protested violently, under various groups including the Gujjar Sangarsh Samiti, Gujjar Mahasabha and the Gujjar Action Committee The protestors blocked roads and set fire to two police stations and some vehicles.[48] Presently, the Gurjars in Rajasthan are classified as Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

On June 05, 2007 the Gujjar rioted over their desire to be added to the governments of India list of tribes who are given preference in India government job selection as well as placement in the schools sponsored by the states of India. This preference is given under a system designed to help India’s poor and disadvantaged citizens. However, other tribes on the list oppose this request as it would make it harder to obtain the few positions already set aside.

In December 2007, the Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha (“All-India Gurjar Council”) stated that the community would boycott BJP, which is in power in Rajasthan.

In early 2000s, the Gujjar community in Rajasthan was also in news for the falling sex ratio, unavailability of brides and the resulting polyandry.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, the Gurjar populations are found mainly in the western U.P. region i.e. Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Bijnor, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bulandshahar, and Bareilly. To a fewer extent, they are also found in Rampur, Agra and Bundelkhand. The most common gotras are Adhana, Chaudhry, Mundan, Khubbad, Chhokar, Kalsiyan, Chauhan, Poswal, Rathi, Chechi, Panwar, Bhati, Baisla, Tomar, Kasana, Karhana, Bhadana and Nagar, Harshaiana,Payale{,Chawda { Hukam Singh{} . Generally, the Gurjars in western U.P. and N.C.R. are well-off; their economy depends on agriculture, milk trade and production, and to a minor extent, real estate.

Madhya Pradesh

According to the British records, the Gujjar population in Central India was around 56,000 in 1911. Most of these Gujjars were concentrated in the Nimar and Hoshangabad regions of the Narmada vallery. Most of these were migrants from the Gwalior region, while some of the Gujjars in Nimar area were immigrants from Gujarat.Presently, the Gurjars in Madhya Pradesh are classified as Other Backward Classes (OBCs)..

Gujarat and Maharashtra

A few scholars believe that the Leva Kunbis (or Kambis) of Gujarat, a section of the Patidars, are possibly of Gujjar origin.[55][. However, several others state that the Patidars are Kurmis or Kunbis (Kanbis).; the National Commission for Backward Classes of India lists Leva Patidars (or Lewa Petidars) as a sub-caste of Kunbis/Kurmis. Dode Gujar and Dore Gujar are listed as separate caste in Maharastra and Gujjar are included in OBC list in Gujarat but Patidars are not. Most of Patidar associations clearly mention in their history that they are the part of Kurmi Samaj.

Among Marathas, one of the major clans is called "Gujar"[68]. Prataprao Gujar was the third royal Sarnaubat (Commander-in-chief) of Maratha ruler Shivaji’s army. Sidhoji Gujar was a notable admiral in Shivaji’s navy. The Khandesh region in Maharashtra has a sizable Gujjar population, the major sub-castes being Dode Gujar, Leva Gujar, Bad Gujar etc.

A community using Gurjar and Gurjarpadhye as their surnames resides in the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra, inhabiting Pangre, Hasol, and other villages in Ratnagiri District. Originally bearing the name “Gurjarpadhye”, many now prefer to call themselves Gurjar. The community may have been living in the Konkan region for at least three centuries, although this estimate may be inaccurate. The community is a sub-caste of the larger Karhade Brahmin group and speaks the Marathi language. This community might be a part of the bigger Gujjar community. However, it is difficult to explain how they settled down in the Konkan region and are Brahmins rather than Kshatriyas. Local pandits claim that the Gurjars are essentially a priestly community and that it is only the subcastes that assumed Kshatriya status in order to earn a livelihood in other more practical professions.

Gujjar are also found in some clans of Kshtriya Dhangar. Dode Gujar and Dore Gujar are listed as separate caste in Maharastra and are included in OBC list in Maharashtra.

There are also one another separate caste in Maharashtra called as “Reve Gujars” Dode Gujars and Reve Gujars speaks a special kind of language called as “Gujari”.

Gujjars in Pakistan
Gujjars have given their names to several places in Pakistan, including Gujranwala, Gujjar Nallah, Gujar Khan, Gojra and Gujrat. Stephen M. Lyon of University of Kent has written about what he calls “Gujarism”, the act of Gujars seeking out other Gujars to form associations, and consolidate ties with them, based strictly on caste affiliation.

Pakistan Administered Kashmir

There are many prominent Gujjar families in the Pakistan Administered Kashmir region, in the following places: Dadyal, Mirpur, Bhalot (Mirpur), Mandi Village (Ddayal), Saliyeh Village (Ddayal), Kund (Dadyal), Kotli (Khoi Ratta, Anderla Kothera, Shaheen Abad, Dakkhana, Phalini, Khor, Ghayeen, Kerjai, Barali Gala, Nidi Sohana, Nakyal, Chooroi, Sehnsa), Bagh (Haveli), Bura Jungle, Muzaffarabad and Neelum District.

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