|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India|
|• Haryanvi • Khari Boli • Punjabi • Urdu • English|
|Islam • Hinduism|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Muley Jat, or sometimes pronounced as Mola/Mula Jat are a community of Jats found mainly in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, and the province of Punjab in Pakistan. They are predominantly Muslims. Some converted to their ancestral faith-Hinduism in the partition era, but they are still referred as Muley Jats.
The Muslim Muley Jats are converts from the Hindu Jat community of North India who converted to Islam during the Muslim rule, but not every Muslim convert is referred to as a Muley, the term being restricted to those Jats who inhabit western Uttar Pradesh and were once found in Haryana, and speak dialects of Urdu and Hindi such as Haryanvi and Khari boli. Those Muley Jat who inhabited the state of Haryana moved en masse to Pakistan, after the partition of India.
The term mulla refers to Muslim converts from the Jat tribe, who were historically found in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. There is controversy as to the exact circumstances of their conversion to Islam which are unclear. It is believed that many Jats where influenced by the Sufi traditions of Fariduddin Ganjshakar during the 11th and 12th century, but modern textbooks do claim the conversions to have taken place in the 15th and 16th Century, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Muley Jat can be roughly divided into two sub-groups, conveniently divided by the Yamuna river. Those to the west of the river remained as pastoralists much longer and had much in common with neighbouring Muslim Rajput and Muslim Gujjar communities. The partition of India further divided these two groups, with the trans Yamuna Mulley Jat emigrating to Pakistan, while those living east Of the Yamuna river of the Doab remaining in India. However, the Muley Jats still have many customs that are similar to the Hindu Jat community, may be because these are Jat rituals not Hindu. For instance, both communities observe the custom of pagri rasam ritual which consecrates a new head of a family, lineage or clan. The worship of Goga Pir, a local saint is common among both communities, remembering of ancestors. But like other Sunni Muslim communities in western Uttar Pradesh, they have been influenced by the reformist Deobandi sect of Sunni Islam, as the famous seminary of Deoband is located in the Muley Jat heartland. Muley jats are also in Pakistan, immigrated after partition and also some were residing prior to partition there. However they were Hindus earlier but they strictly follows Islam than their Muslims brothers. There most prominent gotras are Khokhars, Chauhan, Rana, etc. of Jat community.
They comprise a large numbered of dispersed intermarrying clans, known as gotras. These exogamous groups are made up of myriad landholding patrilineages of varying genealogical depth, ritual, and social status sometimes also called biradaries or brotherhoods scattered in the various districts of western Uttar Pradesh. The biradari, or lineage is one of the principal point of reference for the Mulley Jats, and all biradaris claim descent from a common ancestor.Historically the Muley Jat also belonged to the khaps, who comprised a number of biradaries, and marriages within the khap were not allowed, but this is no longer practiced.
The Muley Jat of India
In India, the Muley Jat are now found in the western parts of the state of Uttar Pradesh.The Muley Jat are found mainly in the districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh. In Baghpat District, they are found mainly in several villages near the town of Chaprauli. Important Muley Jat villages include Asara (more than 25000 population) in Baghpat District, and Sher Nagar(mussa) in Muzaffarnagar District. The Hindu Muley Jats (also known as Naye Jat), who had recently converted to their ancestral faith (Hinduism), were not accepted by the larger Hindu Jat community for making marital relations and hence they intermarry within themselves.
The community are mainly owner cultivators, with many being substantial landowners, and inhabit villages that are exclusively Muley Jat. Animal husbandry and poultry are also secondary occupations. The Muley Jat have also have a tribal council, known as a khap panchayat. Offences that are dealt by the tribal council include adultery, elopement, disputes over land, water and theft. Its is also used maintain a system of social control over members of the community, particularly with regards to marriage. They speak Khari Boli among themselves, and Urdu with outsiders.
The Muley Jat are mainly a community of owner cultivators, and have much in common with the other neighbouring Muslim agrarian castes, such as the Ranghar and Tyagi Muslim. Like the Ranghar, the Muley Jat are strictly endogamous, and practice the custom of gotra and village exogamy. Their marriages customs are similar to the wider Jat community.
Nawabs of Karnal
While most Muley Jat were small and medium sized families, the prominent Marhal/Mandhan family, which produced the family of the Nawabs of Karnal, played an important role in the history of post Mughal western Uttar Pradesh. They first appear in history in 1780 A,D, when the family was residing at Samana, and Nawab Majid-ul-daula granted to Nawab Sher-ul-din Khan, their ancestor, the parganas of Muzaffarnagar, Shoran and Chatrawal in the Muzaffarnagar District on condition that he furnished for Government service 200 horsemen fully equipped ; on the death of the grantee in 1789 the grant was continued on the same terms to his brother Mahomdi Khan by Daulat Rao Scindia. This family produced the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan. A good number of Marhal still reside in the town of Jarauda in Muzaffarnagar District.
Muley Jat of Pakistan
Almost all of the Mulley Jats of the Ambala Division, which now forms the state of Haryana moved to Pakistan after partition in 1947. They historically followed both Hindu as well as Muslim customs and could not easily be classified as either Hindu or Muslim. Starting in the early twentieth century, Hindu and Muslim revivalist religious organisations began targeting the community, trying to convert them to their respective faiths.
Then, in 1947 (the partition of India), the Muley Jat of Haryana were faced with an unenviable choice. Hindu mobs attacked their villages, giving the choice of conversion to Hinduism, or to abandon their lands and flee to Pakistan.Scores of Muley Jats were killed in the partition violence. Many more fled across to the newly created Pakistan. But a small number of remained in their ancestral land. Many of them converted to Hinduism through the Arya Samaj. Some continued being Muslim, in some sense. Some of those who became outwardly Hindu retained their faith in Islam secretly while others lost completely their association with Islam. And there were others who became Hindu for a while and, after peace was restored, turned Muslim again after a few years, such as those of Shahpur Jat in Delhi.
They are found in Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah Districts of Sindh. Recent studies of the Muley Jat communities in Pakistan have confirmed that they maintain a distinct identity. The Muley Jat continue to speak a Haryanvi dialect which is often called Ranghari, and culturally close the larger Muslim Rajput community. They have maintained the system of exogamous marriages, the practice of not marrying within one's clan, which marks them out from neighbouring Punjabi Muslim communities, which prefer marriages with first cousins. In districts of Pakpattan and Okara, which have the densest concentrations of Muley Jat, they consist mostly of small peasants, with many serving in the army and police. They maintain an overarching tribal council known as a panchayat, which deals with a number of issues, such as punishments for petty crime or co-operation over village projects. The institution of the khap has disappeared in Pakistan.
- A Glossary of the tribes and Castes of Punjab by H. A Rose page 136
- pages 25 to 27 in The political system of the Jats of Northern India by M. C Pradhan Bombay : Oxford University Press, Indian Branch, 1966
- Rivalry and Brotherhood Politics in the Life of Farmers in North India by Dipankar Gupta Oxford India ISBN 0 19 56401 9
- Tribes and Castes of North Western Provinces and Oudh Volume III by William Crook
- Jat History by Dilip Singh Ahlawat pg234
- Rivalry and Brotherhood Politics in the Life of Farmers in North India by Dipankar Gupta Oxford India
- The annals of Karnal (1914) by Cecil Henry Buck
- Muslim Communities of South Asia Culture, Society and Power edited T N Madan page 42-43