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Joon, Dahiya and Mahil

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  • Vinod Sangwan
    Hi, I recently read 3 books on Jat history and wanted to share views on them. Will write detailed reviews later. History of Jats by R S Joon It s a decent
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2006
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      Hi,

      I recently read 3 books on Jat history and wanted to share views on them. Will write detailed reviews later.

      'History of Jats' by R S Joon

      It's a decent introductory book. Joon wrote the original text in Hindi during 40s inspired by other Army officer who showed dissatisfaction over existing literature on Jat history. English translation makes easy read (generally Hindi to English translation renders short sentences) and is available in yahoo group, which Ravi ji had got typed by someone. There are numerous typographical and formatting mistakes in text but it can be overlooked. Joon mainly deals with origin of Jats (central Asian as well as from Puranic fables), offshoot communities (Aheers, Gujjar and Rajputs), Jat gotra history, Jats during mughal and English period and a short review on Sikh Jats. It doesn't go into as much detail as Dahiya but is good starting point. Genealogy of Puranic kings (Yayati dynasty) is given and various claims are made about origin of clans. Vedic references are not mentioned much and Joon tend to carry usual anti-Brahmanical attitude (which lots of Jat historian carry except Qanungo), which is something that comes naturally from history. Descriptions of offshoot communities might not be comprehensive but is very good for beginners.

      'Aryan Tribes and Rigveda' B S Dahiya

      This is so far the best book I found on origin of Jats. Lot of research is carried out in identifying Aryan tribes and their correspondence to present Jat clans. Around 60 clans are claimed to be mentioned in Rgveda and claims aren't made by just linguistic name matching but by cultural similarities too. Even if reader doesn't believe all claims he can't get away without being convinced of a definite correlation and continuation of clans and culture of north-west population of India. Etymology of Jata/Sujata word might look little overdone but some claims are also verified by other central Asian sources. Some of the Pancha-Jata tribes of Rigveda are also central Asian tribes as is evident from other sources. Along with that, Dahiya also gives pretty convincing picture of Aryan Invasion theory and overall, the claims seem to be in more balanced tone than other book "Jats the Ancient Rulers". Several evidences of Indo-Ayrans in Harappa civilization (these arguments are also wrongly used by some people to justify Autochthonous Aryans) like of fire altars, can be attributed to earlier Indo-Aryan people which were later joined by later wave of Rigvedic Aryans. In this context it important to distinguish related but slightly distinct groups of people like Indo-European, Indo-Ayran and Indo-Iranian etc. The last chapter about traditions and culture of Jat society is also pleasant read.

      'Antiquity of Jat Race' by U S Mahil

      This is the worst book on origin of Jats that I came across. I respect Mahil for his efforts for writing about glorious past of Jats and would give benefit of doubts too because it was written long time back. But book is all about Medes, Goths, Gauls, Jutes, Anglo-Saxon and Hunes. No reference is being made to Jats currently living in India. Mahil makes widest generalization in considering all this races of same stock. When we talk about similarity of races we are in muddy grounds and context becomes very subjective; various factors need to be considered. Philological, cultural similarities extend over large scale of time. One can't say that just because the response of Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetae to Cyrus was "very Jat-like", she was of Jat clan. Well, there is no Jat-like habit that they have exclusive right to practice. All nomadic people tend to share similar traits. Massagetaes may relate to Jats but claim needs sounder proof than that. In book, all war-like nomadic tribes are portrayed in one way or other related to Jats. Well, in that sense we all are "related". But the question is how far the relation goes in past? Detailed analysis shows White Huns (of India) and Red Hunes were not related to proper Huns of Europe. European Hun clans disintegrated soon after Attila's (whom Mahil calls as Jat) death and it were Visigoths and Ostrogoths (people distinguish them from Huns) who ruled over Italy and Spain. Jutes are more related to Schythians (which is different from Indo-Schythian) than Gauls even though being geographical closer to later. Anyway, its short enough book to be read in one sitting and quotes other books heavily, like H G Well's and Cambridge History of the World. So it's ok to read.


      -Vinod
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