|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 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.
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 were influenced by the Sufi traditions of Fariduddin Ganjshakar during the 11th and 12th century, but modern textbooks claim the conversions to have taken place in the 15th and 16th centuries, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
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.
However, the Muley Jats still have many customs that are similar to the Hindu Jat community, maybe because these are Jat rituals, not Hindu. 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.
Muley Jats are also in Pakistan; some immigrated after partition and some were already residing there. They were Hindus earlier, but they more strictly follow Islam than their Muslim brothers.
They comprise a large number 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 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. The most prominent gotras of the Jat community are the Khokhars, Chauhan, and Rana.
The Muley Jat of India
The Muley Jat are found in ASARA (leader of Muslim jats), Kaserwa village, Harsoli, Tavli, Sanjhak, Bilaspur, Nirmani, Shoram, Kabirpur, Kirthal, Sikka, and Rithoda at Muzaffar Nagar.in western UP, the Muley Jat are also known by their surname Choudhary in Muzaffar Nagar, Bhagpat, Ghaziabad, Meerut, and Shahranpur.
The Muley Jat do not believe in castetism systems, but they believe in Islam very deeply.
There are many social workers, teachers, engineers and judges among them in western up. Abid Husain from Kaserwa (Muzaffar Nagar) was the first master's degree holders among the Muley Jat; he got the degree of M.A. English in 1975.
Dada Asraiel from Kaserwa was the leader of the Muley Jat in western UP. His sons were Abrar Husain Choudhary, Julfikar Ali Choudhary, Mohammad Choudhary, and Musharf Chuodhary. Musharf Choudhary is the president of kaserwa Village in Muzaffar Nagar (UP). The upcoming Muley Jat leader may be Ashu Chowdhary.
Outside India, Muley Jat are also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, England, America, Canada, and Bangladesh. 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 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 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.
Muley Jat are a category of Jat, sometimes addressed as Jutt.
List of some Muley Jat:
- Sultan Rahi as Maula Jatt
- Mustafa Qureshi as Noori Natt
- Seema as Mukko
- Aasia as Daaro
- Ilyas Kashmiri
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 AD, 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 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 twentieth century, Hindu and Muslim revivalist religious organisations began targeting the community, trying to convert them to their respective faiths.
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 lakh 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. 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.
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. 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 978-0-19-564101-1
- 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 by T N Madan page 42-43