Mewat

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For other uses, see Mewat district.
Nuh district of Haryana

Mewat historically was the region in North-west India between the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur comprising the modern Indian states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The boundaries of Mewat were not precisely determined but generally include present Mewat district (recently renamed Nuh) of Haryana and parts of Alwar, Bharatpur, and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan.[1]

The Gazetteer on Gurgaon District 1883-84 says In Tod‘s Rajasthan, Vol II, page 76, Mewasso is a name given to the fastnesses in the Aravalli Hils to which tribes like Meos retreat. Pal is, on the same authority, the term for a community of any of the aboriginal mountain races; its import is a defile or valley, fitted for cultivation and defense; and Pal is the term given to the main sub-divisions of the Meos. (p. 60)

There are various theories about the Meos and their inhabiting the area called Mewat

1) Mythological Origins

Colonel James Skinner(1825) illustrated Tashrïh-ul-Aqwãm (an account of origins and occupations of some of the sects, castes, and tribes of India) is a part of the collection of the British Library. The text, a summary of the Vedas and Shastras, translated into Persian is a survey of both Hindu and Muslim occupational groups and religious mendicants in the Delhi region. The book describes the Meo-Mewati origin. As per his account, the fallen semen of the raja-renouncer Basu, descendent of the god Brahma and the moon and a ksatriya woman impregnates a fish. The fish, in reality is the courtesan Maneka of Indra‘s court, gives birth to a human child from who descend the Matsyas, the ancestors of the Mewatis.

2) Historical 1: The Indo-Scythian Origin

[[Elliot, H.M.(1877). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period. In J.Dowson(ed.). 1867–1877 Vol I-VIII. London Trubner Company|Elliot]][2] (1877) citing the Cunningham Report of 1863-64 traces the genealogy of the Meo migration to an Indo-Scythian group settled beyond the Danube that is mentioned by Herodotus. Meds or Mands were representatives of the Mandrueni who lived beside the Mandrus River to the south of the Oxus in Central Asia. They accompanied the forced Jat migration from Oxus to the Indus. Both the Meds and Jats are said to be descendents of Ham, the son of Noah. According to Virgil and Ptolemy, the Meds were present in Punjab around AD 30-40. From upper Punjab they are said to have moved southwards to Sind around Minnagara (possibly Thath) and Saurashtra (as cited Mayaram, 2004, p. 260). The Meos could be Mids, a pastoral-nomadic migratory group of North-west India between the seventh and eleventh centuries. Arab writers make a mention of this group inhabiting Sind, along with another migratory group called the Jats, when Arabs, under Mohammad Bin Qasim, attacked and conquered Sind in AD711. One reason that has been given for the aforementioned Arab attack was the frequent Mid and Jat raids on seaports and the effect that had on the maritime trade in the Persian Gulf and the western Indian Ocean. Some scholars accept this version though doubts remain, considering that the Arabs were expanding their empire and all the preceding Khalifas had sent expeditions to prospect the conditions in Sind. After conquering Sind, the Arabs enforced discriminatory practices like a tax on non-Muslims, which led to greater hostility being displayed by the Mids. Persian writings of that time clearly show that the Arabs were never able to permanently subjugatethe Mids (ibid). Arab geographic-history works like Chachañama describe the Mids as sailors of the coastal regions of Makran, Sind and Kathiawar. The argument of Mids being pirates as the reason for the Arab invasion cannot be accepted with certainty, as scholars maintain that there was a close relation between trade and piracy in that era.

3) Historical Origin: The Medes

Ahmad [3] quotes historian Herodotus and his work Histories or Historica. According to him, around the 6-7th century BC, the Medes, formerly Arians, changed their name to 'Medes‘ when the Colchian woman Medea came from Athens to Arians. The region Media gets its name from the Medes (comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and parts of Kermanshah). The Greek conqueror Alexander occupied Media in 330BC after defeating the Persian ruler Darius. Alexander then went on to conquer Sind with an army of Medes. Russell (1914) describes, in Alexander the Great, how Alexander, upon his return to Macedonia, left an army under his governor Seleucus Nicator to guard the conquered Indian territory of Sind. These Medes settled over the region occupied by the Greeks, particularly the coastal and hilly areas of Sind. Later, it was from here that they offered stiff resistance to the Arab invasion.

Meos were displaced from the Doab by the Rajput clans of Dors, Tomars, Bargujars and Chauhan as enumerated in the Gazetters of the United Provinces (UP) (Mayaram[4]).

When the original builders of the north Indian city of Delhi, the Tomar Gurjars, were displaced by the Chauhan Gurjars, large swathes of Meo-inhabited areas were taken over by the new Chauhan rulers. This area remainedlost to the Meos forever. Meo lands in Aligarh, Bulandshahr and Meerut were taken over by the Gurjars, squeezing the Meos towards the Aravalli Mountains. This squeeze was accelerated by the attack of the Turkish invader, Mahamud Gaznavi, and later by the Turks led by Qutab al-Din. Qutab al-Din occupied Delhi after defeating the Chauhans and that sealed the fate of the Meos for all time. There is no written record of and for the Meos (except during Qutabal-Din‘s period) and, as a result, their above mentioned displacement has been a subject of conjecture among scholars (ibid).

Maybe this was the reason they were always a problem for Delhi, as from their perspective, it was their land which had been occupied, and the usurper was the all-mightyDelhi Empire. The first documented information on Meos was Minhaj Sirj Juzjani‘s Tabaqãt-I-Nãsirï that gives a contemporary account of Balban‘s policy towards his Meo subjects. Subsequently Ziya‘ al-Din Barani‘s Tarïkh-I Fïruz Shãhï, Fririshta‘sTãrikh-I Fïrishta, Nizam al-Din Ahmad‘s Tabaqãt-iAkbarï, Yahya bin Ahmad‘s Tãrikïh-I Mubãrak Shãhï, Abd-ul-Qadir Badauni‘s Muntãkhabut-Tawãrïkh, Babur‘s Tuzak-I Bãbarï all tell how the Meos were constantly viewed as a problem by the Delhi state.

Details of Balban‘s campaign are given in Tabaqat-e-Nasiri written by Minhaj-ud-din Juzjani, according to which it was twice that Mewat was raided, first in January 1259 and again in December 1259. The second invasion was more brutal and lasted for twenty days in which ―the inhabitants who were thieves, robbers, and highwaymen were all slain. A silver tanka was offered for every head, and two tankas for every man brought in alive.‖ Thousands were killed and, ―Two hundred and fifty of the chiefs of the rebels were captured‖. They were brought to Delhi and presented to the Sultan. Later they were mercilessly killed (Eliot, 1867).

Meo and Mewati[edit]

Main article: Meo

The Muslim inhabitants of Mewat region in Rajasthan are called Meo (मेव). Most of the population of Mewat are Meo Muslims. They converted from Jat Hindu under Sufi influence in the 13th century. Meos follow the clan culture of Pals and Gotra like Hindus Kshatriyas. Meos are divided into 13 pals and 52 gotras. Even Meo and Jat used to be counted in single column in the census registers during British period. (ref Imperial tables-1933).

Even after conversion to Islam they retained their Mahabharata culture by creating Gotras and Pals for marriages and social interaction. They can still trace back their brotherhood and links with, Rajputs, Ahirs and Jats in the nearby villages in the region.

Meos speak Mewati dialect, a slight variant of the Haryanvi and Rajasthani dialects, of Hindi and live in a tribal culture. The culture and gotra of meos is same as Meena tribe in Rajasthan. The majority is uneducated and is currently classed under Other Backward Class (OBC). Mewati Gharana is well known Gharana of Indian classical music. Mirasi singers keep a wonderful tradition of oral history of their Meo patrons.

Recent developments[edit]

The district is in the National Capital Region (NCR) and just 45 km from Delhi airport. It was carved out from Gurgaon in year 2004. In recent few years The Delhi-Alwar Road passing through Sohna, Nuh and Ferozepur Jhirka has been upgraded to National Highway. An express way connecting Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Express way is under construction which pass through the northern fringe of Mewat. It bypasses Delhi while coming from just north of Delhi by National Highway 1 (NH 1) and connects to NH 10, NH 248-1, National Highway 2 (NH 2) near Palwal. The Delhi Alwar Road and District Headquarters Nuh has witnessed fast paced development including setups like Govt. Medical and Engineering Colleges, ITIs,Polytechnic Institute, Model Schools, Mini Secretariat, Police Lines and District Court and Community Radio Station.On industrial front, Industrial Model Township (IMT) is being developed by Haryana State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) in Rojaka Meo. All Major District Roads connecting towns of Nagina, Pinangwan, Punahana to National Highways have been widened up to four lanes.

Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has proposed to develop residential neighbourhoods in Nuh, Tauru, Rangala and Pinangwan.

A new railway line connecting Delhi-Sohna-Nuh-Alwar has been proposed in Union Rail Budget 2013-14.

The Haryana government plans to create two artificial lakes in the state to recharge ground water. The first of these lakes —Kotla Lake — would be created over 178 acres in Mewat by reviving a dried lake bed spread across Haryana and Rajasthan.

See also[edit]

Pinangwan

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mewat" The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 17, p. 313.
  2. ^ Elliot, H.M (1877). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period, J.Dowson(ed.). 1867–1877 Vol I-VIII. London Trubner Company. 
  3. ^ Ahmad, Aijaz (2013). Mewat: A Retrospective. Gaziabad, India: SahityaSansthan. p. 29. 
  4. ^ Mayaram, Shail (2006-01-01). Against History, Against State. Permanent Black. ISBN 9788178241524. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gulati, G.D (2013) Mewat : Folklore, Memory, History. Dev Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi <devbooks@hotmail.com>
  • Mayaram, Shail (2004). Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins. Permanent Black.
  • Powlett, P. W. (1838). Gazetteer of Ulwur (Alwar). London : Trübner & co. 

External links[edit]