Jats History Overview
The Jats are a historically non-elite group of herders and peasants in Northern India. Following their rebellion against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the establishment of a powerful kingdom at Bharatpur, the Jats developed in the 17th century. The Mathura region saw the beginning of the Jats’ first great uprising against Mughal imperial soldiers in 1669.
The several Jat tribes were merged into a single vast empire under the leadership of Suraj Mal, the only Jat leader. You can use this article to learn about Jat history as you study modern Indian history for the UPSC Civil Service Exam.
The Jats started fighting the Mughal Empire in the late 17th and early 18th century. The organisation was crucial to the creation of Sikhism’s military Khalsa panth. The Hindu Jat kingdom was ruled at its height by Maharaja Suraj Mal (1707–1763). The land-owning Jats became a dominant force in Punjab, Western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi by the 20th century.
Throughout the years, a number of Jats have given up farming in favour of urban employment, asserting higher social standing as a result of their prevailing economic and political strength. These nascent peasant-warrior societies weren’t well-established Indian castes; rather, they were new, lacked clear status distinctions, and had the capacity to incorporate earlier peasant castes, numerous warlords, and nomadic tribes that were living on the periphery of settled agriculture.
Even at its height of power, the Mughal Empire never had direct control over the rural grandees. Instead, authority was distributed. These zamindars gained the most from the uprisings, strengthening their control over the region. Even lesser kings, like Badan Singh, the Jat ruler of the princely state of Bharatpur, were elevated to positions of power by the winners.
Jats History and Jats Rise
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, the Jats increased their authority. Under Churaman’s direction, they enlarged their lands to the west of Delhi. They had gained dominance over the area between Delhi and Agra, two imperial towns, by the 1680s. They served as the city of Agra’s de facto guardians for a while.
The Jats were skilled farmers, and while they were in power, towns like Panipat and Ballabgarh developed into significant trading hubs. Suraj Mal led the kingdom of Bharatpur to become a powerful state.
Jats History and Jats Leader During Mughal
He was the Tilpat zamindar and gave the Jats leadership during their insurrection in 1669 AD. The Mughal governor, Hasan Ali, killed him.
He led the Jat insurrection in 1685 AD while serving as the zamindar of Sinsana. Raja Bishan Singh Kachwaha of Amber killed him.
He was Rajaram’s nephew, who in AD 1704 seized Sinsani and overthrew the Mughals. In addition to creating the state of Bharatpur and assisting the Mughals in their campaign against Banda Bahadur, Bahadur Shah handed him Mansab.
4. Badan Singh
He was Churaman’s nephew. Ahmed Shah Abdali bestowed upon him the title of “Raja.” He was regarded as the true founder of Bharatpur’s Jat state.
5. Suraj Mal
He was Badan Singh’s adopted son. Because he establishes the Jat kingdom at its pinnacle, he is known as “the Plato of the Jat tribe” and as “Jat Ulysses.” He was in charge of the expedition in the Agra, Mewar, and Delhi provinces when the Marathas requested his assistance in the third Battle of Panipat. He was killed by the Pathans close to Delhi.
Jats History and Maharaja Suraj Mal
The Hindu Jat ruler of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, India, was Sujan Singh, also known as Maharaja Suraj Mal. All of the following cities were ruled by the Jats: Agra, Aligarh, Alwar, Bharatpur, Bulandshahr, Dholpur, Etah, Etawa, Faridabad, Firozabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hathras, Jhajjar, Kanpur, Mainpuri, Mathura, Mewat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Palwal, Rewari, and Rohtak.
He was called the “Jat Odysseus” by a contemporary author and “the Plato of the Jat tribe” by a historical historian for his “political sagacity, steady intelligence, and clear vision.” The Jats were led by Suraj Mal to victory at Agra over the Mughal garrison. On the evening of December 25, 1763, Rohilla soldiers ambushed Suraj Mal along the Hindon River in Shahdara, Delhi, and he was killed.
In addition to the soldiers manning his forts, he possessed an army of 25,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry at the time of his death. Lohagarh Fort was constructed in the 18th century by Raja Suraj Mal. It is the sole unconquered fort in all of India. One of the most potent forts in India is Lohagarh Fort, which the British repeatedly tried to capture.
In 1805, Lord Lake surrounded the fort for six weeks, but despite his best efforts, he was unable to take it. Suraj Mal built a number of further forts and palaces.
Jats and Types
1. Hindu Jats
In Mathura, in 1669, the Hindu Jats led by Gokula rose up in rebellion against Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor. The neighbourhood started to rule Delhi’s south and east around 1710. Few Brahmins lived in this society, and male Jats married into a wide range of lower agricultural and commercial castes. They were driven by a type of tribal nationalism rather than a precise calculation of caste imbalances presented within the context of a Brahminical Hindu state.
2. Muslim Jats
When Arabs entered Sindh and other southern regions of modern-day Pakistan in the seventh century, the main tribal groups they encountered were the Jats and the Med people. These Jats were known as Zatts in early Arab writings. Large Jat populations were also noted in Lower and Central Sindh cities and strongholds, according to Muslim invasion records. Today, Muslim Jats can be found in both India and Pakistan.
3. Sikh Jats
While Baba Buddha was among the earliest notable historical Sikh saints, other important Sikh figures like him came later. Although significant numbers of Jats were converted as early as Guru Angad (1504–1552), it is generally accepted that the first widespread Jat conversions took place under Guru Arjan (1563–1606).
He established numerous significant cities while exploring the eastern Punjab region, including Tarn Taran Sahib, Kartarpur, and Hargobindpur. Together with the community-funded completion of the Darbar Sahib, which housed the Guru Granth Sahib and served as a gathering place and centre for Sikh activity, these served as social and economic hubs and helped establish the beginnings of a self-contained Sikh community, which grew with the area. They were at the vanguard of Sikh resistance to the Mughal Empire starting in the 18th century.
Jats History UPSC
The Mughals fell apart in the 17th century, which saw the rise of a new warrior class known as the Jat. The Jat claim lineage from the Indo-Scythians who came to India from Central Asia, however others go farther and connect them to the ancient Getae and Scythian Massagetae.