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Books On Jatt Sikhs


There are at least four books which are fully or partially devoted to the subject of Jat Sikhs. All of those books were written by western authors: Captain Falcon (A.D. 1896), Captain Bingley  (A.D. 1899), Major Barstow  (A.D. 1928), and Professor Pettigrew  (A.D. 1975).

Captain Falcon

Under the orders from the British India Government, Captain Falcon [1] prepared his handbook on Sikhs for the use of regimental officers. This is a 142 page book and is divided into six chapters: Introductory and explanatory (Chapter 1), The Sikh religion (Chapter 2), on Race as affecting Sikhs (Chapter 3), Manners and Customs (Chapter 4), Districts (Areas), Race, and Tribes, with relation to their value for military purposes (Chapter 5), and Notes on recruiting (Chapter 6). All the chapters of the book cover substantial amount of material on Jat Sikhs and in particular Chapter 5 encompassing about one third of the book, is devoted to Jat Sikhs and provides information on Jats in all the districts of Punjab. The information covers Jat clan names and their location, population, a number of villages belonging to specific clans, and so on.

Captain Bingley

In 1899 Captain Bingley  compiled, under the orders of the Government of India, another handbook for the Indian Army on Sikhs. The book is made up of 121 pages and is divided into five chapters plus an appendix: History and origin (Chapter 1), classification and geographical distribution (Chapter 2), Religion customs, sects, festivals, and fairs (Chapter 3), Characteristics (Chapter 4), Recruiting (Chapter 5), and List of districts and tehsils (sub-districts) with their relative value as recruiting grounds and the principal tribes (Jat clans) found there in (Appendix A), and List of the principal fairs held in the Sikh recruiting area (Appendix B).
Throughout the book, the emphasis is on Jats and also traces the history of the Jats from their forefathers, the Scythians of the Central Asia. Also the book provides information on over thirty principal Jat clans (Gill, Mann, Her, Bains, Dhillon, Virk, Bhullar, Bal, Bath, Chima, Chahil, Deol, Dhaliwal, Grewal, Chaman, Goraya, Hinjra, Hundal, Khaira, Kang, Malhi, Khosa, Pannun, Randhawa, Sahi, Sahota, Sohal, Sansi or Sindhanwalia, Sidhu, Sandhu, Tarar, Varaich, Chung, Bajwa, and Aulak) and names of Punjab districts occupied by various Jat clans.

Major Barstow

In 1928, Major Barstow  revised the handbook on Sikhs by Captain Bingley  upon the request of the Government of British India. Major Barstow’s book is composed of ten chapters plus an appendix divided into six parts. This is certainly a comprehensive book on Sikhs and again its emphasis is on Jat Sikhs.
The chapters of the book are entitled Introductory (Chapter 1), Origin of Sikhism and its history (Chapter 2), Distribution of Sikhs: ethnological and ethnographic glossary of castes (Chapter 3), Salient features of the lives of the Gurus (founders of the Sikhism) (Chapter 4), The Sikh religion (Chapter 5), Sikh sects and sub-divisions of the Jat Sikhs (Chapter 6), Customs (Chapter 7), Characteristics and Matters pertaining to village life (Chapter 8), Agricultural (Chapter 9), and Recruiting (Chapter 10). Similarly, the appendices are entitled List of districts, etc., showing relative value of Sikh recruiting grounds (Appendix 1), Description of the “Adi Granth” (Sikh holy book) and “Daswen Padshah ka Granth” (holy book written by the tenth Guru of the Sikhs) (Appendix 2), Rites of initiation in Sikhism (Appendix 3), The Sikh Gurdwara (Church) Act, 1925 (Appendix 4), The Caste System (Appendix 5), and The Tankha Nama, or letter of fines or restrictions on Sikhs (Appendix 6).
The book covers briefly the history of the Jats from their Scythian origin, Jat clans of various districts of Punjab and their population in each district as per the Census returns of A.D. 1911, Jat characteristics, etc. The districts covered are Ludhiana, Ambala, Patiala state, Nabha state, Ferozepore, Faridkot State, Hissar, Amritsar, Lahore, Sialkot, Gurdaspur, Gurjarnwala, Jullundur, Kapurthala State, Hoshiarpur, and Jind State.

Professor Pettigrew

The book by Professor Pettigrew  published in 1975 is totally devoted to Jat Sikhs. It contains 272 pages in seventeen chapters, and an appendix divided into eight sections. The chapters are grouped into three parts: Part I: The environment (Chapter 1), Part II: Sikh Jats (Chapters, 2-5, and Part III: Factionalism (Chapters 6-17).
The titles of the chapters are Introduction (Chapter 1), Perspective on community studies (Chapter 2), Significant events in Jat history (Chapter 3), Patterns of allegiance I (Chapter 4), Patterns of allegiance II-Sikh Jat families (Chapter 5), The Structure of coalitions-factions at all levels (Chapter 6), Vertical links of a state leader with a national leader (chapter 7), The relationships of the Chief Minister (of Punjab) at state level (Chapter 8), The Kairon-Rarewala (two powerful Jat politicians) rivalries (Chapter 9), The general nature of factional rivalries in rural areas (Chapter 10), Factional participants in the local area (Chapter 11), Vertical links between leaders of the faction in the local area and those at state level (Chapter 12), The factional attachments of village participants (Chapter 13), Relationships between village participants and local area leaders (Chapter 14), Factions in competition (Chapter 15), Assessment (Chapter 16), and Personal postscript: real people and images (Chapter 17).

Noted Historical Jat Sikhs of the Punjab

Some of the well-known Jat Sikhs of the Sikh history are Baba Deep Singh (a Sandhu Jat), Bhai Bala (a Sandhu Jat), Baba Buddha (a Randhawa Jat), Bhai Dharam Singh (a Jat), Bhai Mani Singh (a Jat) and Mehtab Singh (a Bhangu Jat). Two of the well known Jat Sikhs of the early part of the twentieth century were Shahid Bhagat Singh (a Sandhu Jat), Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon (a Dhillon Jat) and General Mohan Singh of the Indian National Army (INA).

All but one or two Chief Ministers or Premiers of the Punjab state have been Jat Sikhs: Partap Singh Kairon (a Dhillon Jat), Gurnam Singh (a Grewal Jat), Lachhman Singh Gill (a Gill Jat), P.S. Badal (a Dhillon Jat) and etc. Examples of the Jat Sikhs who held important portfolios in the federal government of India are Baldev Singh (first defense minister of the independent India), Sawarn Singh (a Purewal Jat and served as Foreign and Defense Minister of India), Dr G.S. Dhillon (a Dhillon Jat and served as speaker and Transportation Minister of India).

Jat Sikhs in Western Countries

Over the last hundred years, many Jat Sikhs have settled in various Western countries: Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, etc. In fact, at least 80 per cent of the Sikhs settled in these countries belong to the Jat background. Some of the Politicians belonging to the Jat Sikh background in Canada and the United States are Moe Sihota (a Cabinet Minister of British Columbia), H. Dhaliwal (Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Member of Parliament of Canada), G.S. Mahli (Member of Parliament of Canada), Dr. G.S. Cheema (former member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly), U.S. Dosanjh (Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly), H.S. Lalli (Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly), H.S. Sohal (Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly), and I.S. Dhillon (former Assistant Secretary of Transportation of the United States and now a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives).

Rebuttals to “Jatt as a Caste” Theory

The biggest Misconception regarding the term “Jatt” is defining it as a “Caste” as per the standards set by the Indian Caste System. Nothing can be far away from truth as this misconception. The fact that Jatt is a Race has been widely supported by both historians and raciologists working in this field and has been discussed in detail. Here are some negations and rebuttals to the false claim that Jatt is a so called “Caste”. These rebuttals have not been and cannot be negated and the truth lies in the fact that Jatt is a Race and not a Caste as traditionally thought. Here are five rebuttals that will prove this point.

  • Rebuttal 1 – ETHNIC NATURE: If you look at the Nature of a “Caste”, you will notice that its spread throughout India. Eg Caste consists of professions divided into four Categories called Varnas. The Caste System, in its present form, is further based solely upon birth. Thus, as per Caste Rules, Farmer Profession is categorized under Vaisya Category (Varna). And Remember that as per Caste SYSTEM in its present form, this is to be based upon Birth i.e. Farmer’s son MUST ONLY be Farmer if Caste System has to be maintained. This point will further be used as a rebuttal in proving how Jatt is not a Caste. Now talking about Ethnicity, you will notice that Caste is not Ethnic in nature at all. Eg a Priest living in North of India will belong to a Brahmin Caste and a Priest living in South of India will also belong to Brahmin Caste. THERE IS NO ETHNIC SIMILARITY HERE. In the same way, NOTE VERY CAREFULLY that a Farmer of North India will be a Vaish and a Farmer of South of India will also be a Vaish. This Logic leads us to conclude that IF Jatt is a Caste (assuming the proposition that Jatts are Farmers) then Jatts must also be Present uniformly throughout India, (just like Brahmins) the land where Caste System is present. But observation tells us that Jatts are only present in Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pardesh. This gives an Ethnic Nature to Jatt Identity strongly proving the case that assumption “Jatt means Farmer” is false and thereby further concluding assumption that Jatt is a Caste is False too. FIRST REBUTTAL OVER.
  • Rebuttal 2 – RACE PRESENCE: It should be noted that this discussion is yet not concerned with Historical viewpoint and raciological and archaeological study of Jatt History. Its just about rebuttals to how Jatt is not a “Caste”. What it is then, is a matter of study that will be made in further papers.
Caste is present in different Races. Eg Priestly Caste Brahmins are present in South Indian Dravidian Race as well as in North Indian Races. If its assumed that Jatt is a caste, why then are there no Jatts in, lets say, Dravidian Races? Again, the Ethnic Nature Rebuttal further strengthens this point and further helps this rebuttal in making yet another point in how Jatt is not a Caste.
  • Rebuttal 3 – FUNDAMENTALS OF CASTES: All the fundamentals, rules and regulations of Castes are goverened by Religious Law Books such as Manusmriti written by a man called Manu. All of these books are part of Hinduism, written by Hindu Mystics. Two thirds of Jatt Community does not follow Hinduism and thereby Manusmriti, that defines and regulates the basic backbone of Caste System holds no relevance for this two thirds of Jatt Community who are not Hindus but are Jatts. Yet another strong rebuttal as how Jatt is not a Caste.
  • Rebuttal 4 – PROFESSIONAL NATURE OF CASTES: Castes are professional in nature. Though Caste System further makes it a compulsion to make it based upon birth. But Jatts can be found in just any profession: Business, Politics, Sports and so on. Proving further Jatt is Not a Caste.
  • Rebuttal 5 – CASTE-EXCOMMUNICATION: This is yet another important point. As a punitive measure, the Caste of a person can be degraded if some pre-defined rules are not set i.e. a person who is a Brahmin can be degraded to a Shudra Caste and so on. Thus Caste follows the rule of Ex-Communication. But a Jatt born among the Jatts can, under no condition, be ex-communicated. Good or Evil, a Jatt shall always remain a Jatt.

Together, the above five points of rebuttals thereby confirm the fact that – without doubt that Jatt is not a Caste.