Muley Jats

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Muley Jat
Regions with significant populations
• Pakistan • India
Languages
HaryanviKhari BoliPunjabiUrduEnglish
Religion
IslamHinduism
Related ethnic groups
JatMuslim Jat

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 Muslim.

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.

Origin[edit]

The term mulla refers to as Lion ,They are very bold people and believe very much in Islam, There is controversy as to the exact circumstances of their conversion to Islam, which are unclear. Claims that fiercely independent Jats were influenced by the Sufi traditions of Fariduddin Ganjshakar during the 11th and 12th century are less plausible, but modern researchers claim the forced conversions to have taken place in the 15th and 16th centuries, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and Aurangzeb.[citation needed]

The Muley Jat can be roughly divided into two sub-groups, 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.[citation needed]

However, the Muley Jats still have many customs that are similar to the Hindu Jat community. For instance, both communities observe the custom of the 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, in remembrance 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 Ranghar heartland.[citation needed]

Muley Jats are also in Pakistan; some immigrated after partition and some were already residing there.[1] They were Hindus earlier, but they more strictly follow Islam than their Muslim brothers.[citation needed]

They comprise a large number of dispersed intermarrying clans, known as gotras. Along their original Hindu tradition, 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 points 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.[2] The most prominent gotras of the Jat community are the Khokhars, Chauhan, and Rana.

The Muley Jat of India[edit]

They are now found in the western parts of the state of Uttar Pradesh, mainly in the districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Baghpat. In Baghpat District, they are found mainly in several villages near the town of Chaprauli. Important Muley Jat villages include Kaserwa in Muzaffar Nagar District, and Sher Nagar (mussa) in Muzaffarnagar District.[citation needed],

Present circumstances[edit]

The community are mainly owner cultivators, with many being substantial landowners, and inhabit villages that are exclusively Muley Jat. Animal husbandry and poultry are secondary occupations. The Muley Jat have a tribal council, known as a khap panchayat. Offences that are dealt with by the tribal council include adultery, elopement, disputes over land and water, and theft. It is also used to 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.[3]

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 marriage customs are similar to the wider Jat community.[3]

Muley Jat of Pakistan[edit]

Almost all of the Muley 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. Starting in the early 20th century, Hindu and Muslim revivalist religious organisations began targeting the community, trying to convert them to their respective faiths.[citation needed]

In 1947, with the partition of India, the Muley Jat of Haryana were faced with an unenviable choice. Hindu mobs attacked their villages, giving them the choice of converting to Hinduism, or abandoning their lands and fleeing to Pakistan. Over a thousand 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. Most continued being Muslim, in some sense, while a few became Hindu through forced conversions. Some who became outwardly Hindu secretly retained their faith in Islam, but most remained Hindu due to the economical pressure of the majority.[citation needed]

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 to the larger Muslim Rajput community.[4] 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 landowning cultivators, 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.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Rivalry and Brotherhood Politics in the Life of Farmers in North India by Dipankar Gupta Oxford India ISBN 978-0-19-564101-1
  3. ^ a b Rivalry and Brotherhood Politics in the Life of Farmers in North India by Dipankar Gupta Oxford India
  4. ^ a b Muslim Communities of South Asia Culture, Society and Power edited by T N Madan page 42-43