|Maharaja Churaman • Bhagat Singh • Gurdas Mann • Bobby Deol
Bhagat Dhanna • Foolabai • Maharaja Kishan Singh • Simi Garewal
|Regions with significant populations|
|• India • Pakistan|
|Related ethnic groups|
other Indo-Aryan peoples
The Jats rose to prominence following the 1669 Jat uprising against Mughal rule, and they ruled various princely states throughout the 18th century. After 1858, under the British Raj, the Jats were known for their service in the Indian Army, being categorized as a "martial race" by the British, specifically in the Jat Regiment , the Punjab Regiment and the Sikh Regiment.They were considered one of 36 royal races of India.
The name Jat has frequently been connected to the names of the Getae and Massagetae, beginning with James Tod in 1829. This suggests an ultimate origin of the Jat tribal group in the Indo-Scythian period of roughly 200 BC to AD 400. Alexander Cunningham connected it with the name of the Xanthii.
The tribal name Jat is first mentioned in the Mahabharata. Jat historian Thakur Deshraj suggested that Jat is a Prakrit derivation from Sanskrit jñāta, based on Panini's mention of Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट सङ्घाते jat jhat sanghate.
Jats are further mentioned in a 5th century grammar treatise by Chandra, in the phrase अजय जर्टो हुणान ajaya jarto huṇān”, which refers to the defeat of Huns by two Jat rulers under the leadership of Yasodharman.
G. C. Dwivedi writes that the Persian Majmal-ut-Tawarikh mentions Jats and Meds as the descendants of Ham (son of Noah), living in Sind on the banks of the river Bahar. S.M. Yunus Jaffery believes that the Jat people have been mentioned in Shāhnāma, a well-known Persian epic.
The Jats have apparently formed during the centuries following the collapse of the Kushan Empire, during the early medieval period. They are assumed to be the product of admixture of Indo-Scythian elements to local Indo-Aryan groups.
In 2007 a limited medical survey of haplotypes frequently found in the Jat Sikhs and Jats of Haryana, and the Romani populations resulted in no matches. However, the recent discovery in 2009 of the "Jat mutation" that causes a type of glaucoma in Romani people. The press release from Leeds University states:
"An international collaboration led by Manir Ali of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, first identified the ‘Jatt’ mutation in one of four Pakistani families. Further study amongst Roma populations in Europe showed that the same mutation accounted for nearly half of all cases of PCG [Primary congenital glaucoma] in that community. Manir Ali’s research also confirms the widely accepted view that the Roma originated from the Jatt clan of Northern India and Pakistan and not from Eastern Europe as previously believed."
There is some evidence connecting the Jats and the Romani people, the descendants of Indo-Aryan groups which emigrated from India towards Central Asia during the medieval period. There are serological similarities shared with several populations that linked the two people in a 1992 study.
There are very few records concerning Jats prior to the 17th century. Some Jat states in Rajasthan (the Bikaner region, then known as Jangladesh)  can be established for the 15th century, and with less certainty for the medieval period from about the 10th century.
K.R. Qanungo writes that when Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, the Kaikan region in Sindh was in independent possession of the Jat people. In addition to frequent interaction with Jats (who for them represented Indians), the first Arab invasions of Persia and Sindh were met by the Jat people. According to Thakur Deshraj and Cunningham, Jat people of the Panwhar clan ruled Umerkot in Sindh prior to Mughal ruler Humayun.
Thakur Deshraj also mentions that the Susthan region in Sindh was ruled by Chandra Ram, a Jat of Hala clan. Chandra Ram lost his kingdom (known as Halakhandi) to the Muslim invaders sent by Muhammad bin Qasim.
There is no information of any important Jat state in a period of two centuries following Kushan rule. However, in the beginning of fifth century, there is evidence of the Jat ruler Maharaja Shalinder ruling from "Shalpur" (the present-day Sialkot); his territory extended from Punjab to Malwa and Rajasthan. This is indicated by the Pali inscription obtained by James Tod from village Kanswa in Kota state in year 1820 AD.
In 1699, the Jat people of the Gokula region around Mathura rebelled against the powerful Mughal rulers (see 1669 Jat uprising). The rebellion resulted from political provocation aggravated by the economic discontent, and further aggravated by the religious persecution and discrimination.
In the disorder following Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Jat resistance resumed, organized under the leadership of Churaman (1695–1721). Churaman's nephew, Badan Singh (1722–1756), established a kingdom centered at Deeg, from which he extended his rule over Agra and Mathura. Badan Singh's eldest son and successor, Maharaja Suraj Mal (1707–1763), extended his kingdom to include Agra, Mathura, Dholpur, Mainpuri, Hathras, Aligarh, Etawah, Meerut, Rohtak (including Bhiwani), Farrukhnagar, Mewat, Rewari and Gurgaon. He has been described as one of the greatest Jat rulers. Suraj Mal moved the capital from Deeg to Bharatpur in 1733. Rustam, a Jat king of the Sogariya clan, had previously laid the foundation of the modern city of Bharatpur. During the British Raj, the princely state of Bharatpur covered an area of 5,123 km2, and its rulers enjoyed a salute of 17 guns. The state acceded to the dominion of India in 1947.
According to Cunningham and William Cook, the city of Gohad was founded in 1505 by the Jats of Bamraulia village, who had been forced to leave Bamraulia by a satrap of Firuz Shah Tughluq. Gohad developed into an important Jat state, and was later captured by the Marathas. The Jat people of Gohad signed a treaty with the British and helped them capture Gwalior and Gohad from the Marathas. The British kept Gwalior and handed control of Gohad to Jat people in 1804. Gohad was handed over to the Marathas under a revised treaty dated 22 November 1805 between the Marathas and the British. As a compensation for Gohad, the Jat ruler Rana Kirat Singh was given Dhaulpur, Badi and Rajakheda; Kirat Singh moved to Dhaulpur in December 1805.
In the 10th century, the Jat people took control of Dholpur, which had earlier been ruled by the Rajputs and the Yadavs. Dholpur was taken by Sikandar Lodhi in 1501, who transferred it to a Muslim governor in 1504. In 1527, the Dholpur fort fell to Babur and continued to be ruled by the Mughals until 1707. After the death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Raja Kalyan Singh Bhadauria obtained possession of Dholpur, and his family retained it until 1761. After that, Dholpur was taken successively by the Jat ruler Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur; by Mirza Najaf Khan in 1775; by the Scindia ruler of Gwalior in 1782; and finally, by the British East India Company in 1803. It was restored by the British to the Scindias under the Treaty of Sarji Anjangaon, but in consequence of new arrangements, was again occupied by the British. In 1806, Dholpur again came under the Jat rulers, when it was handed over to Kirat Singh of Gohad. Dholpur thus became a princely state, a vassal of the British during the Raj.
Ballabhgarh was another important princely state established by the Jat people of the Tewatia clan, who had come from Janauli village. Balram Singh, the brother-in-law of Maharaja Suraj Mal was the first powerful ruler of Ballabhgarh. Raja Nahar Singh (1823–1858) was another notable king of this princely state.
Patiala and Nabha were two important Sikh states in Punjab, ruled by the Jat-Sikh  people of the Siddhu clan. The Jind state in present-day Haryana was founded by the descendants of Phul Jat of Siddhu ancestry. These states were formed with the Military assistance of the 6th Sikh Guru, known as Guru Har Gobind. The rulers of Faridkot were Brar Jat Sikhs. The princely state of Kalsia was ruled by Sandhu Jat Sikhs.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839) of the Sandhawalia Jat clan (other historians assert a Sansi Caste lineage to Maharaja Ranjit Singh) of Punjab became the Sikh emperor of the sovereign country of Punjab and the Sikh Empire. He united the Sikh factions into one state, and conquered vast tracts of territory on all sides of his kingdom. From the capture of Lahore in 1799, he rapidly annexed the rest of the Punjab. To secure his empire, he invaded Afghanistan, and defeated the Pathan militias and tribes. Ranjit Singh took the title of "Maharaja" on April 12, 1801 (to coincide with Baisakhi day). Lahore served as his capital from 1799. In 1802 he took the city of Amritsar. In the year 1802, Ranjit Singh successfully invaded Kashmir.
Other Jat states of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries included Kuchesar (ruled by the Dalal Jat clan of Mandoti, Haryana), and the Mursan state (the present-day Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh) ruled by the Thenua Jats.
The Jat people also briefly ruled at Gwalior and Agra. The Jat rulers Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana (1707–1756) and Maharaja Chhatar Singh Rana (1757–1782) occupied the Gwalior fort twice, Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana from 1740 to 1756, and Maharaja Chhatra Singh Rana from 1780 to 1783. Maharaja Suraj Mal captured Agra Fort on 12 June 1761 and it remained in the possession of Bharatpur rulers till 1774. After Maharaja Suraj Mal, Maharaja Jawahar Singh, Maharaja Ratan Singh and Maharaja Kehri Singh (minor) under resident ship of Maharaja Nawal Singh ruled over Agra Fort.
Today, the largest population centre is located in the Punjab region,Haryana, Rajasthan and there are smaller distributions across the world, due to the large immigrant diaspora. In the immigrant diaspora major populations centres include the U.K., U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Russia, Belgium and Australia.
The census in 1931 in India recorded population on the basis of ethnicity. In 1925, according to Qanungo the population of Jatts was around nine million in South Asia and was made up of followers of three major religions as shown below.
|Religion||Jat Population %|
Dhillon (1988), states by taking population statistical analysis into consideration the Jatt population growth of both India and Pakistan since 1925, Quanungo's figure of nine million could be translated into a minimum population statistic (1988) of 30 million.
According to earlier censuses, the Jati or Jat people accounted for approximately 25% of the entire Sindhi-Punjabi speaking area, making it the one of "largest single socially distinctive group" in the region.
Hukum Singh Pawar (Pauria) states, adequate statistics about Jat people population are available in the Census Report of India of 1931, which is the last and the most comprehensive source of information on the Jat people, who were estimated to be approximately ten million in number at that time. From 1931 to 1988 the estimated increase in the Jat people population of the Indian subcontinent including Pakistan respectively is 3.5% Hindu, 3.5% Sikh and 4.0% Muslim. Sukhbir Singh estimates that the population of Hindu Jatts, numbered at 2,210,945 in the 1931 census, rose to about 7,738,308 by 1988, whereas Muslim Jatts, numbered at 3,287,875 in 1931, would have risen to about 13,151,500 in 1988. The total population of Jatts was given as 8,406,375 in 1931, and estimated to have been about 31,066,253 in 1988.
The region-wise break-up of the total Jatt people population (including the Jat Hindu, Jat Sikh and Jat Muslim) is given in the following table. The Jat people, approximately 73%, are located mainly in the Punjab region:. Here Punjab region also include Haryana.
|Name of region||Jat Population 1931||Approx
|Punjab region||6,068,302||73 %|
|Uttar Pradesh||810,114||9.2 %|
|Jammu & Kashmir||148,993||2 %|
|Bombay Presidency||54,362||0.7 %|
|Central Provinces and Berar||28,135||0.3 %|
Jat people are considered a forward class in all the states of India with those of Punjabi or Haryana origin. Some specific clans of Jat people are classified as OBC in some states, e.g. Jat Muslim in Gujarat and Mirdha Jat people (except Jat Muslims) in Madhya Pradesh. Land reforms, particularly the abolition of Jagirdari and Zamindari systems, Panchayati Raj and Green revolution, to which Jat people have been major contributors, have immensely contributed to the economic betterment of the Jat people.
The Jat people are one of the most prosperous groups in India on a per-capita basis (Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat are the wealthiest of Indian states)..Haryana has the largest number of rural crorepatis in India,all of whome are Jats.
Traditionally Jats have dominated as the political class in Haryana and Punjab. A number of Jat people belonging to the political classes have produced many political leaders, including the 6th Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Adult franchise has created enormous social and political awakening among Jat people. Consolidation of economic gains and participation in the electoral process are two visible outcomes of the post-independence situation. Through this participation they have been able to significantly influence the politics of North India. Economic differentiation, migration and mobility could be clearly noticed amongst the Jat people.
In addition to the Punjab, Jat communities are also found in Pakistani administered Kashmir, in Sindh, particularly the Indus delta and among Seraiki speaking communities in southern Punjab, the Kachhi region of Baluchistan and the Dera Ismail Khan District of the North West Frontier Province.
The life and culture of Jats is full of diversity and approaches most closely to that ascribed to the traditional Central Asian colonists of South Asia. The Jat lifestyle was designed to foster a martial spirit. Whenever they lost their kingdoms, Jat people retired to the country-side and became landed barons and the landlords with their swords girded round their waists. They would draw the sword out of the scabbard at the command of their panchayat to fight with the invaders. Jat people have a history of being brave and ready fighters. They are fiercely independent in character and value their self respect more than anything, which is why they offered heavy resistance against any foreign force that treated them unjustly. They are known for their pride, bravery and readyness to sacrifice their lives in battle for their people and kinsmen. In the government of their villages, they appear much more democratic. They have less reverence for hereditary right and a preference for elected headmen.
There's a old saying about Jats that "If a Jat runs wild, it takes God to hold him back" and it was famously quoted by Herbert Risley. Jats were considered one of 36 royal races of India. A large number of Jat people serve in the Indian Army, including the Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Rajputana Rifles and the Grenadiers, where they have won many of the highest military awards for gallantry and bravery. Jat people also serve in the Pakistan Army especially in the Punjab Regiment, where they have also been highly decorated. The Jat Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, it is one of the longest serving and most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. The regiment has won 19 Battle honours between 1839 to 1947 and post independence 5 Battle honours, eight Mahavir Chakra, eight Kirti Chakra, 32 Shaurya Chakra, 39 Vir Chakra and 170 Sena medal Major Hoshiar Singh of Rohtak won the Param Vir Chakra during Indo-Pak war of 1971. Rohtak district in Haryana, which has a high density of Jat people, has the distinction of producing the highest number of Victoria Cross winners of any district in India.
The Jat people were designated by British officials as a "Martial Race". "Martial Race" was a designation created by officials of British India to describe "races" (peoples) that were thought to be naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, and to possess qualities like courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, hard working, fighting tenacity and military strategy. The British recruited heavily from these Martial Races for service in the colonial army.Moreover, there have been many Jat Kings and warriors throughout history.
In 1925, the population of the Jat people was around nine million in South Asia, made up of followers of three major religions as shown below as per Kalika Ranjan Qanungo:
|Religion||Jat Population %|
Most Jat Gotras (which also have the most population) fall under the Hindu Jat Gotra list according to various books on Jat History. During the early 1900s four million Jats of present-day Pakistan were mainly Muslim by faith and the nearly six million Jats of present-day India were mostly divided into two large groups:Hindus concentrated in Haryana and Rajasthan and Sikhs, concentrated in Punjab.
In accordance with the Hindu varna system the Jats mainly belong to Kshatriya(Warrior caste) varna. The alternate view of a writer Carol Ember is that Jats are degraded-kshatrias or sudras , because they did not follow Brahmanic rites and rituals . Also because they tend to be mostly farmers in Punjab and Haryana, they could be termed as Vaishya. Some historians consider Jats, along with Kayasthas and Gujars, out of purview of varna system.
It is speculated that Jats were Sakas (of Scythian origin) or republic kshatriyas, like the Khatris, Tarkhan people, Rajputs, Lohars, Gujjars and Kambojas . Rajput, Ror and Gujjar communities are closely (genetically) related to the Jat community.
Those of the Punjabi areas of India and Pakistan are more often landlord farmers. Numerically, Jat people form the largest percentage of the Sikh community.
The Jat Muslims in the western regions are organized in hundreds of groups tracing their descent through paternal lines. Jat Muslims were converted from Jat Hindus during middle ages.
All Jats, irrespective of their official or financial positions in life, have equal social status .
The only criterion of superiority is age. The Jat people are ethnically and culturally required to marry within their community. With the advancement of modern civilization, as people are becoming less dependent upon and more tolerant towards each other, the joint family system is going out of vogue; it is still prevalent in the less advanced areas.
Jat people usually speak Punjabi Urdu, Gojri, Dogri, Sindhi, Hindi and its dialects (Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Malvi). Hindu Jats from Haryana and Rajasthan mostly speak Haryanvi and Rajasthani specially their dialects Bangaru or Jatu(literary meaning the language of Jats) and Bagri language. Sikh and Muslim Jat people from the Punjab mostly speak Punjabi and its various dialects (such as Maajhi, Malwi, Doabi, Saraiki, Pothohari, and Jhangochi).
The Jat people have always organized themselves into hundreds of patrilineage clans, Panchayat system or Khap. A clan was based on one small gotra or a number of related gotras under one elected leader whose word was law. The big Jat clans now are so big that many individuals in them are only related to each other by individuals that lived typically hundreds of years ago. Mutual quarrels of any intensity could be settled by orders of Jat elders. In times of danger, the whole clan rallied under the banner of the leader. The Jat Khap or Panchayat system is territorial and highly democratic. A number of Khaps form a Sarva Khap embracing a full province or state. Negotiations were done at Sarva Khap level.
In addition to the conventional Sarva Khap Panchayat, there are regional Jat Mahasabhas affiliated to the All India Jat Mahasabha to organize and safeguard the interests of the community, which held its meeting at regional and national levels to take stock of their activities and devise practical ways and means for the amelioration of the community.
The Jat people clan names are unique in South Asia. However, some of their clan names do overlap with the Rajputs and Gujjars. List of Jat Clans have been compiled by many Jat historians like Ompal Singh Tugania, Bhaleram Beniwal. Mahendra Singh Arya and others, Thakur Deshraj, Dilip Singh Ahlawat, Ram Swarup Joon etc. The above lists have more than 2700 Jat gotras. Thakur Deshraj, Ram Swarup Joon and Dilip Singh Ahlawat have mentioned history of some of Jat gotras. Some websites of Jats have also prepared list of Jat Gotras with details of history and distriburion.