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For the family name, see Dutta (surname).

Datt or Dutt is a Mohyal Brahmin clan from Jammu, Punjab, and Haryana. Dutt is a warrior clan of Mohyal Brahmins.[1] They are one of the seven clans of the Mohyals who are Saraswat Brahmins. The six other clans are Bali, Bhimwal, Chhibber, Lau, Mohan and Vaid. Most Dutts are Hindus, but like most Mohyals, many follow Sikhism and other religions as well; their gotra is Bharadwaj. Some Datt Brahmins migrated eastward and mingled with Bhumihar Brahmins and became one with them.[2]


Datts claim descent from Rishi Bharadwaja and derive their gotra from his name. Some consider Gaj Bhavan, the grandson of Bharadwaj to be the real founder of their clan. Dutts were classified as Martial Race in the British Indian system .


The word Datt is derived from the Hindi word daata meaning a charitable person. Some interpreted it as a corruption of the word Aditya which means 'sun' in Sanskrit. Traditionally Mohyals of the Datt Clan have the last name 'Datt', whilst the names 'Dutt' or 'Datta' are considered to be a closely related derivative of 'Datt'.

Rahib Datt, Imam Hussain & Son of Hussain Ibn Ali[edit]

At the time of the war at Karbala, fought in 681 AD, which led to a schism amongst the Muslim community into Sunnis and Shias, Rahib Sidh Datt was a highly esteemed figure in Arabia due to his close relations with the family of Prophet Mohammed. When Hassan ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was murdered, his younger brother, Hussain, came out to oppose the new Caliph, Yazid ibn Muawiyah. The vastly superior forces of Yazid, at Karbala surrounded his force consisting of seventy two men. Hussain was fatally wounded by Shamer, the commander of Yazid, and died after Shemr cut Hussain's head off in the desert on the tenth day of Muharram (Today observed as the Day of Ashura. Yazid's army later left the desert with the severed head of Hussain, up to Kufa. Later, the head was carried to Damascus and finally buried with the rest of the body at Karbala. In the revenge war, Rahib fought on the side of Mukhtar and sacrificed his seven sons in the bloody war. [3]

Shiv Datt and Pir Wahun[edit]

On their arrival in India, the descendants of Rihab were received with great hospitality by the native Mohyals. They eventually settled near Nankana Sahib in the district of Sheikhupura in present-day Pakistan. It was here that in the closing decades of the tenth century an interesting incident took place involving a pro-caliphate Pir called Wahun - a trickster chess player, and Shiv Datt - the chief of the Datts. Wahun was known for his knack of invariably winning the games. According to a bet fixed by him, the loser would either pay the price with his head or embrace Islam. In this way, he converted a large number of Hindus to the Muslim faith until he met his match in Shiv Datt. He challenged the Pir to a game of chess and defeated him three times in a row, thereby claiming the heads of his wife and two sons as per the stakes. However out of sheer magnanimity, Shiv Datt pardoned their life. When Wahun came to know that one of the ancestors of Shiv Datt had sacrificed his seven sons for the sake of Muhammad in the battle of Karbala, he took a solemn vow that in the future he would never convert any Hindu by coercion to Islam. It was on this occasion that the Pir echoed the famous words: Wah Datt Sultan, Hindu ka Dharam Musalman ka Iman(Hail, O King Datt for Thou are endowed with the Dharma of the Hindu and the Iman of the Muslim). Many direct descendants of Rahib Dutt use last names such as Dutt, Datt, Sharma, Bharadwaj.

The Datts and Mahmud Ghaznavi[edit]

After some time, Shiv Datt along with a long number of followers left Nankana Sahib and moved to Dipalpur, where they lived in peace and harmony until Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked Dipalpur in 1001 AD and uprooted them from there. The Datts along with other Saraswat Brahmins fought against Ghaznavi's forces but they were vastly outnumbered. There were 5,000 Brahmins fighting against 85,000 soldiers of Ghaznavi. Many were killed and remaining Brahmins (mostly Datts) migrated to the Shahi kingdom of Raja Anandpal in Lahore. When Anandapala and his successor died, Mahmud Ghaznavi captured Lahore.

The Mughal Period: The Massacre of Paniad[edit]

For almost five centuries, the Datts led a maverick life. It was in 1527 AD, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babar, that Rai Pun Dewan, who was an offspring of Shiv Datt, defeated and killed Rai Meen, and after capturing the territory of Pathankot, founded his capital at Paniad, situated between Gurdaspur and Dina Nagar.

Provoked by this daring victory of Rai Pun, Babar incited the governor of Lahore to attack Puniad and provided him with the troops of royal army. The governor had his own grouse against the Datts as he had fallen in love with a Marwah girl and wanted to marry her but she had sought the protection of the Datts. A large force was deployed to attack Puniad, but they were thrice repulsed and routed by the Datt defenders. Ultimately, due to the treachery of a cook who had been bribed by the invaders, the whole Datt garrison was caught unawares. They were taking meals on a cotton field and were completely unarmed when the army swooped on them. In the ensuing battle, the men were slaughtered while the women committed Sati.

In this tragic war, the Datt clan was annihilated to the last man. Only two infant boys named Shah Swarup and Dholan, escaped because they had gone to live with their maternal grandparents at Samba near Jammu.The horrible episode of Paniad so touched the susceptibilities of the Datts that their future generations never touched any food at Paniad, nor spent a night there. As the carnage took place on a Thursday, that day of the week was considered to be inauspicious by the Datts.

When Babar’s son Humayun fell mortally ill in 1530 and the physicians declared him beyond cure, astrologers were summoned to the royal court. They unanimously declared that the prince was under a curse of retribution due to the bloodshed of the Datts of Paniad and his life could only be saved by propitiating the surviving members of the exterminated clan for divine mercy. After a long search, Shah Sarup and Dholan, were traced at Samba. They were brought into the presence of the dying Humayun and implored to pray for his life. In return, they were offered the gift of land covered by their running horses in a period of twenty-four hours. Shah Swarup got thirteen villages in the district of Gurdaspur while Dholan received some villages in the district of Sialkot. In course of time, Kanjrur and Zaffarwal became strongholds of the Datts.

True to the prediction of the fortune tellers, Humayun's life was also saved.

Mai Karmo[edit]

Like the Marathas who had Rani Lakshmi Bai, the Mohyals too had their lady warrior in Karmu Mai Dattani. The Misls were later consolidated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh into the army of the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab, when he became the Maharja of the province after capturing Lahore in 1799. Jai Singh appointed Mai Karmo as the chief of the Katra branch of the Kanhaiya Misl. The intrepid lady held her court in the open, in a jostling market square in Amritsar which is known by her name till today: Karmo Ki Deod. She was a terror to local ruffians and used to administer justice without any fear or favour. She once took part in a battle wearing the coat of arms. The seal of her high office is believed to be still in the possession of her progeny.

Dutt Brahmins in Bihar[edit]

Some Dutt Brahmins migrated eastward and mingled with Bhumihar Brahmins and became one with them.[2] An eminent example was Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh. Sir Ganesh Dutt Singh, who was a freedom fighter, administrator and educationist in which capacity he did a lot for improving education and health services in the state in the pre-independence era.[4][5] Sir Ganesh Dutta made generous donations from his earnings and personal property for the development of educational institutions, like radium institute in Patna Medical College, Darbhaga Medical College, Ayurvedic College and schools for the blind, deaf and dumb, among others.[6] A short film based on the life and works of Sir Dutt has been made by Prakash Jha.[7]

Famous Datts/Dutts[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Toru Takahashi. "'Rajput', Local Deities and Discrimination: Tracing Caste Formation in Jammu". In Judge, Paramjit S. Mapping Social Exclusion in India: Caste, Religion and Borderlands. p. 131. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Ahmad, Faizan (2008-01-21). "Hindus participate in Muharram". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  3. ^ "Hussaini Brahmins" Archived July 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Chaudhary, Pranava K (2003-01-14). "Sir Ganesh Dutt's contributions recalled". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  5. ^ Pranava K Chaudhary (2003-03-03). "Rishis, Maharshis, Brahmarshis...". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ Chaudhary, Pranava K (2003-01-14). "Sir Ganesh Dutta's contributions recalled". The Times of India. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  7. ^ "Sir Ganesh Dutt birth anniversary celebrated". PatnaDaily.com. 2008-01-13. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 

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