|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India|
|• Haryanvi • Khari Boli • Punjabi • Urdu • English|
|Islam • Hinduism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Jat • Muslim Jat|
The Muley Jat, also Mola Jat and Mula Jat, are a community of forcibly circumcised and converted 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.
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. The term Mula and Muley, was applied to the Muslim converts from the Jat caste only, frequently being used for those whose "ancestors were forcibly circumcised by the (muslim) Emperors, and not converted by persuasion", they called themselves Sheikhs, and intermarried and smoked with the Hindu Jats.
Muley Jats are also in Pakistan; some immigrated after partition and some were already residing there.
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.
In india, 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.
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.
They are found in Mirpur Khas and Nawabshah Districts of Sindh, Pakistan. 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. 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.
- Nonica Datta, "Forming an identity", The Tribune, 3 July 1999.
- Nonica Datta, 1999, "Forming an Identity: A Social History of the Jats, Oxford University Press, page 12.
- Vīrasiṃha, 2006, "The Jats: Their Role & Contribution to the Socio-economic Life and Polity of North & North-west India, Volume 2", page 305, ISBN 8188629529.
- 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 978-0-19-564101-1
- Rivalry and Brotherhood Politics in the Life of Farmers in North India by Dipankar Gupta Oxford India
- Muslim Communities of South Asia Culture, Society and Power edited by T N Madan page 42-43