The Gujjars

Shamsher Hakla Poonchi

Gujjar community which inhabit  not only  in India but in countries like Pakistan, Afganistan,Iran and Rassia also.Though in different countries the word “Gujjar”has come to be known differently but yet  it has not changed altogether e.g. “Gurjar”, “Gojar”,” Gorjar”, ” Godar” and kochar or  “Gorj” etc.  Historians have different opinions of their origins and their coming to India. Some historians are of the view  that they were the inhabitants  of India herself long ago  while others say that they had migrated to India  from Central Asia.It is also said that  probably  they might have settled in the Indian green territory during 5th or 6ht century A.D.The historians who take them as aborigines of India , say that the three sects  of  Kshatrias-Suraj Vanshi, Chandra Vanshi and Yadav Vanshi had amalgamated  with Gujjars after the war of  Mahabharta. Prior to the Mahabharta war , kshatrias used to be the sole rulers but their power and influence  declined considerably after war.
Lord Krishan Ji  with some of the kshatrias who survived the  Mahabharta war abandoned  Mathura and went towards the west  to Dwarika.The ancient kshtaria clans  thronged around  Lord Krishna who united them into a class and named it as “Gujjar” and their  Govt. came to be known  as” Gujratar” the first capital of which  was established  at Dwarika.
Pandit Vasudeva  Prasad, a famous  Sanskrit Pandit of banaras, has proved through ancient Sanskrit literature  that the word” Gujjar”used to be spoken after the  names of  antique,Kshatrias Another  Sanskrit scholarRadhakant, is of the  opinion that the word Gujjars was for Kshatrias .Scientific  evidence has  also  proved that  the Gujjar belong to  Aryans.
Before the advent of Muslims from outside India, their Sanskrit history and dialect showed that  they were Gujjars.So much so that the Arab   invaders  also named them  as Gujjars in their writings.
Mr  Baij Nath Puri,a famous historian of India , in his book ‘The history of Gujjars and Pratharas’ and another historian  K.M.Munshi in his book  ‘The glory that was  Gujjar Desh’,Rana Ali Hassan Chouhan, in his book  ‘The history of Gujjars’, Mr. Jatider Kumar Verma in his book  “Gujjar Itihas ” by way of historical records,have fully proved  that they belonged to  Aryan  Dynasty and refuted that they had  come from out side India  and settled here.
In  78 AD they had established  two reigns of two dynasties which were those of  Nagars and Kushans,one of which ruled Patna which included Bengal,Bihar, Orissa,Utter Pradesh and central India of Arya Varta.This was ruled by Gujjar Dynasty of Nagars whose head was Maharaja Sabhao Nagar.
Their  second kingdom was that of Peshawar which spread upto the river Jamuna and Afghanistan. This kingdom was ruled by the  dynasty of Kushan Gujjars whose  king was  emperor Kanishka. One of the edicts revealed that Kushans had named the territory of  Sutlej as Gujrat.During  the reign of king Kanishka the Subhao Nagar,the Aryavatra was  at its peak of glory. These kingdoms had spread their trade upto Europe.
The Gujjar reign of emperor Kanishka had spread upto Central Asia as a result of which  the Gujjars could be seen dwelling in Afghanistan,Russia and Iran even these days.It is believed that the  emperor Kanishka had established his capital somewhere in Kashmir.It would be wrong to say that the  present territorial boundaries of Kashmir are correct,rather it  was far wide spread than what it is  today.The brave kings of those bygone days had subdued the countries like Kabul and Kandhar.Emperor Kanishka ruled between 78 and 130  centuries A.D. After the downfall of the Gujjars,Nagar and Kushan dynasties,the Gujjars again regained power during the 5th   century  A.D.
In the 6th century A.D. when the Gupta Rule was in its last phase and its downfall was imminent the Gujjars overpowered the Guptas and founded a strong  Gujjar kingdom.They began to protect the  country and started to take effective steps for its all-round progress.
After 7th century A.D. the Gujjar rulers established their full authority over the entire Northern  India.Thereafter the Gujjar rulers,named  several provinces,cities,grand buildings,temples and fortresses after the name of Gujjars.The Gujjar kings felt proud of their being called Gujjars.Several edicts found so far bear testimony to this fact. An edict of 1139 AD which was found in  Dohar,Jai Singh Barh Raj,has been stated to be the king  of Gujjar Mandal.
The king Prithvi Raj Chouhan united the kingdoms  of Ajmer and Delhi, when he ascended the Throne.He established a federation by the name of  “Gujjar Mandal ” From the historical evidences,it becomes clear that during the reign of King Meharbhuja the  banner of Gujjar rule was waving all over North India.
During the Gujjar rule, the gojri language was made as an official language and all official work used to be  carried out in it. In 9th  century A.D. and after this period, the Arab travelers who wrote about Gujjar History, presented the fact in distorted manner because at that time only Gujjar community, had opposed the Arabs tooth and nail. Inspite of all this  the Arabs praised them for their  valour. The Arab Historians  recognisd the Gujjar Rule as the most stable   and powerful. After ruling for centuries together over India,their downfall began during the reign of Muslim rulers.In 1697 Al-ud-Din Khilji overran Analwada Gujrat resulting in the end of  Gujjar Rule in India.All the territories that belonged to Gujjara rulers, were taken away from them and they were once again  subjugated by others. They left  their territoriesand took shelter in  mountains and deserts. Gujjars were  ruthlessly suppressed and  presecuted.They were even deprived of the bjobs. Numerous plots began to be hatched against Gujjars.Under these bad and hostile conditions some Gujjars ran away for safety while others disliked to be   called  “Gujjars ” and in a way they  converted themselves  in communities, other than Gujjars.Some went into hiding in mountains and forests, and began to call themselves as Rajputs and not Gujjars. Lateron, some Persian historians  recognized them as Rajputs  as they failed to understand their identity.Even the English rulers recognized them as Rajputs.The name of Rajput became so popular among the historians that the names of Gujjars disappeared from the history.
The Archaeological department during its  research found valuable edicts of the past viz. the period which prevailed before the foreign  Muslim rulers.All  such edicts showed the writings of the Gujjar rulers.No evidence came  forth  which would show a link between  Rajputs and Gujjars.
Experts are of the view  that by their classification,Gujjars are almost  similar everywhere  may it be  India, Pakistan ,Iran, Afganistan or Russia or anywhere.They resemble each other.They have their own mother -tongue which is  Gojri and the interesting thing in it is that how far apart they may be  from one another, their tongue is similar in all countries.
Gujjar community,has a strong internal organization.Different groups of Gujjars living  in bulk numbers feel proud of being called  “Gujjars “. Presently,there are Hindu,Muslims ,Sikhs and Jain Gujjars  in India.They are kind to one another and have no aversion for one another.