Indian Economic & Social History Review Conformity and conflict: tribes and the 'agrarian system' of Mughal India
Chetan Singh Indian Economic Social History Review 1988; 25; 319 DOI: 10.1177/001946468802500302 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Conformity and conflict: tribes and ’agrarian system’ of Mughal India
Chetan Singh
Himachal Pradesh University


I Over the past twenty-five years or so, substantial contributions have been made by numerous scholars to our understanding of medieval Indian history. In keeping with the significance that has often been attached to socio-economic factors in historical processes, a considerable part of this relatively recent work has been directed towards examining the economic base of the medieval Indian state and society. It is, in turn, the predominantly agrarian aspect of the medieval Indian economy that has been subjected by scholars to the closest scrutiny. What has emerged on account of this effort is an appreciably improved perception among historians about the rural society of that time.’ More specifically, it is the image of agrarian society during the Mughal period that has apparently become sharper than ever before and which is also reflected in many related works on Indian

1 It is the earlier work of W.H. Moreland, Agrarian System of Moslem India (first published 1929), that seems to have acted as an example and many scholars have subsequently built upon it. For instance, Irfan Habib, Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556-1707 (Bombay, 1963); N.A. Siddiqi, Land Revenue Administration under the Mughals, 1700-1750 (Bombay, 1970); Satish Chandra, Medieval India; Society, the Jagirdari Crisis and the Village (New Delhi, 1982); S. Nurul Hasan, Some Thoughts on Agrarian Relations (New Delhi, reprint, 1983); Harbans Mukhia, ’Was There Feudalism in Indian History?’, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress (Waltair, 1979; separately printed text used.) 2 In this respect it is Irfan Habib’s Agrarian System which seems to mark a sort of turning point. See Harbans Mukhia, ’Peasant Production and Medieval Indian Society,’ in Harbans Mukhia and T.J. Byres, eds., Feudalism and Non-European Societies (London, 1985), p. 239. 3 M. Athar Ali, The Mughal Nobility under Aurangzeb (Bombay, reprint 1970); see also Ratnalekha Ray, Change in Bengal Agrarian Society, c 1760-1850 (Delhi, 1979) pp. 13-24. This image of the Mughal system is used as a beginning and a kind of reference point for

Downloaded from at Yale University Library on May 18, 2010

been made by Irfan Habib. 115. is only too familiar now to require repetition.’ The strength of the peasant’s rights was. but some of them are: B. These rights would differ somewhat in zamindari areas. 1978). the magnificient structure of the Mughal state and the continued dominance of its ruling elite rested upon the state’s ability to appropriate a major part of the surplus generated by this agrarian society.’ IESHR. Nurul Hasan.5 Two features seem to have been almost essential to the village-community. 2.R. ’Nature of Dehat-i-Ta’aluqa: Evolu). eds. called the Mughal ’agrarian system’.. its considerably stratified nature and the pivotal role of the peasant in agricultural production. 239. 2010 .320 To repeat what now appears a truism.’ Indian Historical Review (hereafter ). Vol. pp.’ in Satish Chandra. 1. and so on.. pp. Equally well aquainted are historians with the medieval Indian peasant. Ibid.’ The picture of the village community consisting of dominant zamindars. Satish Chandra. tion of the Ta’alluqadari System during the Mughal Age. Agrarian System. Irfan Habib. 111-35. No. 6-22. Grover. probably. and so on) together constituted much of what is now.’ Enquiry. IHR Vol. 8 Downloaded from http://ier. ’Nature of Land-rights in Mughal India.’ Indian Economic and Social History Review (hereafter IESHR Vol. 1984) Vol. The production of agricultural surplus. 1.4 and some other researches have engaged in examining its details and variations.’ and the inviolability and salability of these rights. ’Potentialities of Capitalistic Development in the Economy of Mughal India. ’Role of the Local Community. Grover. 3 (1965). 48-75. ’Some Aspects of the Village Society in Northern India during the 18th 5 Century (Position of the Khud Kashta and Pahi Kashta). 6 See Harbans Mukhia. artisans and landless labourers. Another monograph that is influenced by this widely accepted picture of the ’agrarian system’ of Mughal India is Indu Banga. Vol. 4 These researches are too numerous to all be mentioned here. 3. madad-i-maash holders. B. 1. One of the earlier expositions of the classical village-community as a whole under Mughal rule has. its systematic appropriation by the dominant zamindars and the Mughal state apparatus and subsequently its distribution amongst sections of the governing class (jagirdars. 214-25. quite acceptably. however. Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib. 166-83. matched by his inescapable obligation to cultivate the land over which he raid claim. S. namely. Agrarian System. Mukhia sees the emphasis on these two features as Habib’s principal contribution towards altering the perception of medieval Indian rural society as ’an egalitarian structure by virtue of the absence of property in land’. No.R. Medieval India. its internal dynamics and response to forces and factors around it. p. 3 (1971). No. 1 (1963).sagepub. 4 (1964). Vol.’ IESHR. 114-15. 1 (1974). ’The Position of the Zamindars in Mughal India.x explaining the manner in which agrarian society in Bengal differed. though they would be enjoyed to their fullest in the raiyati villages. pp.’ p. No. pp. No. pp. has provided to this picture a more general at Yale University Library on May 18. Irfan Habib. ’Peasant Production and Medieval Indian Society. 7 Irfan Habib. Contributing to the emergence of this system and important to its functioning was the structure of the village-community. Cambridge Economic History of India (New Delhi. 1. Satish Chandra. cultivating peasants. with his ’title to permanent and hereditary occupancy of the land he tilled. the Zamindars and the State in Providing Capital Inputs for the Growth and Expansion of Cultivation. Agrarian System of the Sikhs (New Delhi. 235-48.

1980)..321 . 2010 . pp. See. See Irfan Habib. There arises. 2 Vols). 241. R.S. Many such areas were. 21. undoubtedly. admits the importance of tribes in the formation of the ’menial proletariat’ in rural society and suggests that the first millennium ’saw the completion of the great division between the peasantry and landless labour’. One such aspect was the continued participation of tribal populations in the socio-economic ’I processes that had been fundamental to the stabilisation of agrarian society. Sharma and Vivekanand Jha.’ These tribal people were unlikely to have become completely irrelevant with the crystallisation of the medieval village-community and nor were their economic activities absolutely unrelated to the interests of the Mughal ’agrarian system’. 1975). &dquo.N.S. the significance of this process as a continuing phenomenon in medieval India is not very seriously considered. How much territory did the Mughal ’agrarian system’ represent even within the Mughal empire? A very recent work of a statistical nature concludes that the gross cultivated area during the reign of Akbar was unlikely to have been more than 55 per cent of the gross cultivation in 1909-10. c 500-1200 (Delhi. was probably only an apparent one. c 1595: A Statistical Study (New Delhi. pp. 65. too. at this point. 1967.’ in at Yale University Library on May 18. Sharma. Social Change in early Medieval India. and the Indian countryside under Mughal rule had not yet been disinfected from such socioeconomic ’impurities’ as tribal societies. 1965). in geographical terms.S.&dquo. Downloaded from http://ier.S.19 per cent.D. 245: ’even a grand state of imperial dimensions was able to establish its overarching system in the region only with considerable degree of variation’. ’The Peasant in Indian History. for example.. 1977).’ Proceedings of the Indian History Congress (Kurukshetra. Such a framework has. in all probability. pp. Large portions of the empire. ’Peasant Production and Medieval Indian Society. Yet it leaves out certain significant aspects of rural life in medieval India. This in a nutshell is the framework within which the rural society of Mughal India is understood by scholars today. it is quite possible that even within the cultivated area there existed not only variations of the ’agrarian system’. nonetheless. but also 9 Monographs on ancient Indian history repeatedly refer to the significant role of the tribes in this respect. Social and Rural Economy of Northern India (Calcutta. Moreover. inhabited by societies for whom settled agriculture had not yet become a primary means of livelihood. see also Irfan Habib. would represent an even smaller proportion when placed against the territorial extent of the Mughal empire. This incongruity. 31. Irfan Habib. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History (Bombay. On the contrary. 10 Shireen Moosvi. The Economy of the Mughal Empire. 1982. R. 276-77. were however unlikely to have been totally devoid of human population. ’Social Distribution of Landed Property in Pre-British India. Sharma. 1987). a significant question. Indian Feudalism (Calcutta. gone a long way in eliminating misconceived notions about the egalitarian structure of society. 115. Bose. appear incongruous with the image of rural society in medieval India that has so far been projected. separately printed text used). D. R. however.’ p. 1969). Sudras in Ancient India (Delhi.’ This. 11 Harbans Mukhia.sagepub. Indian Society: Historical Probings (New Delhi. Tribal people do. though uncultivated. In Punjab (which was one of the zabti [measured] areas of the empire) the gross cultivation in 1595 as compared with 1910 was 39. eds. Kosambi. However. 149. p. the village-communities of Mughal India probably lived in reasonable proximity to such societies. A. Sharma.

Denzil Ibbetson’s. the Mughal control over their territory was probably of a nominal nature.). Khokhars. In fact. Certain Awan. Perspectives in Marxist Anthropology (Cambridge. Gujjars. 151. in the first place. Bayly. Khokhar and Kharral groups returned themselves as Jats during the census. It. tribes such as the Wattus. cit. See also Chetan Singh. p. 172.sagepub. pp. something upon which any substantial number of scholars can be easily united. however. 13 See Shireen Moosvi. ’Biloches. was obvious. 140-41. probably. Rulers. Bhattis and Janjuhas have been shown either as Jats or as Rajputs. Karl Marx. This. is an impression that even modern historians have perpetuated. 153-54. appear to have been inextricably intermeshed. reprint. Awans. however. based upon the Census Report of 1881. 174. The latter’s primacy. particularly in areas that were largely under the close administrative control of the Mughals. quite considerable both in terms of population and socio-economic importance. 62. Panjab Castes (Patiala. C. 70. it may be mentioned that in the British province of Punjab. pp.’ Panjab History Conference (Patiala. Dogars. op. in fact. For more recent times. 70-98. Pathans and allied races’ constituted 56 per thousand of the total population. 128-38. 169. Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion 1770-1870 (Cambridge. probably.144. numbered 67 per thousand of the total population. and so on. while ’minor dominant tribes’ such as the Ghakkars. 133-34. at Yale University Library on May 18. therefore. on the basis of available data. were 12 A definite and Downloaded from http://ier. therefore.A. 106-7. provides some information. 1977). Kharrals. 38-39.cit. (Harmondsworth reprint. Moreover. 14 An interesting discussion in this context is Maurice Godelier. 1977). 30. pp. ’Interaction Between Divergent Social Formations: A Possible Explanation For Some Instances of Unrest in 17th Century Panjab. possibly arose from Abul Fazl’s attempt to make social diversities appear in conformity with the ’system’ that had evolved. and the arazi figures provided for it in the Ain-i-Akbari were not calculated on the basis of any survey. 12 Such seems to have been the case with the tribal Ghakkars and Janjuhas of the Salt Range in suba Lahore. the tribal societies of medieval Punjab were. Grundrisse (Martin Nicolaus tr. op. pp. Even more difficult is the task of distinguishing. 1983). which capable of influencing considerably the Mughal ’agrarian system’. which may have been only marginally agricultural were. The tribal and non-tribal elements of Punjab society. Small points of disagreement. Even tribal territories. 1970). 64. at the onset. By way of interest. represents that ’one specific kind of production which predominates over the rest whose relations thus assign rank and influence to the others’.&dquo. the tribal pastoral sections of the Jats from those that had for long been settled agriculturists. 1980). See Denzil Ibbetson. is not The purpose here is to suggest that there existed other systems within the empire.322/ socio-economic systems that were remarkably different from it. It is rather difficult to arrive at any definite conclusion regarding the size of the population that might be classified as tribal. 2010 . regularly assessed and in no way different from those regions of the empire that were indeed agriculturally developed. . The need to provide these figures. tend to grow into major areas of confrontation as scholars proceed to elaborate their respective perceptions of what essentially characterises tribal formations Even without entering into detailed definitional complexities. comprehensive explanation of what constitutes a tribe. 145-46. represented as areas which were properly measured. To put it briefly. pp.

Aspects of Caste in South India. with a predominantly pastoral economy’. ’Tribalism to Feudalism in Assam: 16001750. This phenomenon. To add to this difficulty is the problem of establishing a working relationship between the concepts of tribe.D.. Kosambi. have chosen to underplay the distinctiveness of tribes and attempted to accommodate them in social categories which are more easily explainable in the context of the commonly accepted notion of Mughal agrarian society. 1977). also relied considerably upon pastoralism. Another exception is that of A. Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (Verso Edition. Terms such as ’zamindars. Both are.’ IHR. Khan. For a sociological analysis of all three concepts see Andre Beteille. 17 It is hardly possible to examine here this intricate and awkward question. the emphasis is more on the political aspects of tribal formations in their interaction with the Mughal state. pp. ’A Study in State Formation Among Tribal Communities. Modern scholars of medieval Indian history. Khan. however. Leach.16 at Yale University Library on May 18. 91. Suresh Singh. which lies at the very foundation of the most striking Indian social feature. is also the great basic fact of ancient Indian history’. p. 29. See also. in E. Panjab History Conference (1981).sagepub. pp. caste and peasant. His definition of peasantry is a ’more or less homogeneous and undifferentiated community of families characterised by small holdings operated mainly by family labour’. pp. pp. whereas a caste is by its nature a part of a larger whole’. 204. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History.A.’ ’chiefs. however. 1. These definitions. ’Presidential Address’ (medieval section). See also A.’ and ’caste’ have been used for describing different 15 Quite interestingly. 16 Among the exceptions are Amalendu Guha. C. which although in many cases sedentarised. Regarding the comparison of tribe and caste.&dquo.R. 1979). ’What Should We Mean by Caste?’. generally been inclined either to ignore or to minimise the contribution of tribal societies to socio-economic processes.D. however. In this case. that there existed during that period certain social formations. to be viewed as a continuum. Rulers. 363-64). Downloaded from http://ier. even though all too briefly. Bayly. do not in any way simplify our task. it does appear from an examination of some of the medieval Indian sources. Ceylon and North-West Pakistan (Cambridge. 40-74. 20-21. Vol. 47-60. the task of harmonising the existence of tribal societies with a view of medieval India that is dominated by the stratified village-community and the state proves to be an inconvenient one.’ and argues that ’a tribe is a world within itself having few external social ties. caste. 317-36.R. Worth mentioning here is the view of D. 15 This reliance upon pastoralism seems to have been integrated with a sense of social or communal cohesion that was characteristically distinct from the socio-economic hierarchy that normally marked the primarily agricultural village-communities of Mughal India so graphically depicted by modern researchers. ed. he emphasises the ’relative isolation of tribes as compared with castes.323 however. Kosambi that ’The entire course of Indian history shows tribal elements being fused into a general society. the Germanic tribes encountered by the Roman Legions in the time of Caeser were of a similar nature. 65-76. 1969). Leach. 107.’ ’peasants.’ in Indian Society: Historical Probings. E. who writes that these Germanic tribes ’were settled agriculturists. No. however. 27. Scholars of medieval Indian history have. comes closest to showing the true significance of tribal-pastoralism to the larger socio-economic context. pp. ( Townsmen and Bazaars. Chieftains in the Mughal Empire During the Reign of Akbar (Simla. D. K. 2010 . 1978). Six Essays in Comparative Sociology (Delhi. See Perry Anderson.R. 1. however. p.

(Poona. Downloaded from http://ier. for instance. 2010 . Land Control and Social Structure in Indian History (Delhi. ’The Peasant in Indian History. but the tribe and jati were still only loosely differentiated. were tribal strong tribal societies societies have received at n Despite the limitation of scarce contemporary information on tribal formations. Tarikh-i-Sind. idem. thereby giving the impression that the society being referred village-community -‘free peasantry’ kind that constituted the classic Mughal ’agrarian system’ . pp. 69-70. (Delhi. Daudpota. It ignores the possibility that the very existence of tribal formations in certain parts of the Mughal empire would result in the social distribution of power and property in a manner that corresponded with the tribal structure. See Muhammad Masum Bhakkari. Zafar Hasan. M. This approach seems to dissolve these tribal societies into the two categories in which the Mughal emperors found it most convenient. While at one end of the picture certain tribes (Jud. Janjuha and Ghakkar) are classified as ’zamindars. 323. namely. an attempt is made here to understand the structural dynamics 18 Though scholars are not averse to using the term ’tribe. "excellent as well as low". such an approach oversimplifies an otherwise complex situation. Irfan Habib does lay emphasis on the distinctiveness of a tribe. which is of a more general nature. we begin to hear of jatis. See Sujan Rai Bhandari. zamindars and peasants. But even here the reference is to ancient India. cit. cannot be so easily wished away. op. ’Zamindars under the Mughals. however. and that this in turn would affect the nature of the Mughal state in those areas where to was of the differentiated to be found.’ they do not give to it any distinct socio-economic significance. ed. and needless to say. 332. Nurul Hasan. p. Wattus and Gujjars are clubbed under the terms ’peasant’ and ’caste’.’ in Robert E. The original word used by Muhammad Masum is mardum. uses the term ’peasants’ to describe the Mangecha tribals of Bhakkar. 63. pp. p. however. 1988). Irfan Habib. ed. While referring to social change on account of changes in agriculture. for their own purposes. 161. the significance of the tribal societies is indirectly represented as lying more in their ability to carry out quick and effective military mobiiisation rather than in any substantial contribution that they may have made to their larger social and economic environment. U. 17-32. 245. 62. Agrarian System. See also Irfan Habib. 13. 346. The original word used by Sujan Rai to refer to these tribes is ’quam’. 345. These very casual and indirect references to tribal societies in medieval Indian sources makes it somewhat difficult to provide contemporary evidence on every single point. 19 In one instance.’ p. 1979).18 Tribal societies. Frykenberg. .324 people. pp.& at Yale University Library on May 18. Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh. 1938). See Irfan Habib. 1983).M.’ at the other the Dogars. the Buddha could be said to belong to the Sakya jati where it surely enough means the trite’ (emphasis added). Even in these passing references.sagepub. to view most of their subjects. Thoughts on Agrarian Relations in Mughal India (New Delhi. See also S. Shireen Moosvi. The cursory treatment that tribal the hands of historians appears to have been moulded and further fostered by the equally casual manner in which tribal formations are mentioned by medieval Indian sources. he writes: ’In the Buddha’s time.

92-103. and while their link with pastoralism remained strong. in the first instance. The region of Punjab has been specifically chosen for this study.. 42). 21 This has been discussed in greater detail in Chetan Singh. 1976). Vol. however. Different tribes. responded divergently to their surroundings. ’The Jatts of the Panjab and Sind. 20 The existence. pp. 21 Pastoralism was. See also. ’The Nature of Peasantry in Mughal Panjab. In this respect. Ganda Singh (Patiala. This effort is prompted by the existence of a reasonable possibility that tribal interaction with the ’agrarian system’ of Mughal Punjab was fundamentally more significant for long-term developments in the region than it would appear from the manner in which tribal societies have been pushed towards the fringes of historical consciousness by medieval chroniclers and modern scholars alike. come to be accepted. The period discussed is. 227-39. Pastoral people. Nos. The case of the Jats presents an interesting example. Their tribal origin has now.D. 1984). 7. Barrier. many of the so-called tribal villages in India are in fact communities of peasants’. probably. be agricultural. These variables depended considerably upon the region which the tribe inhabited.’ in Harbans Singh and N. are more likely to have a tribal social organisation.. it is quite possible thai direct or indirect references to the latter phenomenon in contemporary sources are likely (not inevitable) pointers to the existence of tribal formations in the region.22 On the other hand. there were other variables in their economy which existed in dissimilar proportions in different tribes. by and large. Essays in Honour of Dr. quite possible that the name by which a social group (or tribe) was known did not necessarily reflect its socio-economic similarity with other groups using the same tribal name.’ Social Science Research Journal (Panjab University. the primary source of sustenance for many of the tribes in Punjab during the Mughal period. the divergent manner in which the Jats developed in different areas of Punjab up to the Mughal period. It was. Chandigarh). however. ’Socio-Economic Conditions in Panjab During the Seventeenth Century’ (unpublished Ph. but located in different parts of Punjab. fact. nevertheless. Peasantry in India. 1-2 (1982). Downloaded from http://ier. pp. p. Considering the closp association that tribal societies normally have with pastoralism.G. Special Number. thesis. eds. a long-term examination of the history of these tribes reveals an almost imperceptible process towards the sedentarisation of those which were nomadic and to a great stratification amongst those which had already sedentarised. cit. Chetan Singh. pre-Mughal. 22 A very convincing argument in this context is provided by Irfan Habib. of pastoral populations is somewhat implicitly borne out by medieval historical sources. argues that ’while the non-tribal village is often too highly stratified to merit the name University. 2010 . 75-76. Jawaharlal Nehru 20 Tribal societies can also. in at Yale University Library on May 18. by and large. Delhi.sagepub. Andre Beteille (op.325 underlying the changes which seem to have occurred in the tribal societies during the medieval period. pp. nevertheless. makes it difficult for us to study them as a in of peasant community.

whom Babur referred to.&dquo.. This socio-economic transition could hardly have been sudden. Lowe tr. certain sections of the Jats appear to have moved into Punjab. their pastoral nature finds mention in some of the early accounts pertaining to Sind. if not complete pastoralism itself. (New Delhi. That they were also engaged in agriculture is made clear by Babur’s statement that the ’Ghakkars governed the Jats and Gujjars in the same manner as the Juds and Janjuhas ruled over the population subordinate to them’. Ranking tr. Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh. Gujjars and others were ’seated in villages everywhere on every rising ground among the mountains of Nil-ab and Bhira’. 379. Vol. wild animals and birds’. curds and such like refreshments’. W. though not fundamental.&dquo. 3. region. The Chachnama describes the same people and mentions their name as ’Jatt’. 24 Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur. 23 which agriculture Downloaded from http://ier.. Upon being told that the purpose of his journey was to meet the Shaikh.sagepub. 80. In the time of Hiuen Tsang. Baburnama. probably. 1973). while relating some historical episodes of the Delhi sultanate period.326 and integrated group. 52. 25 Ibid. they were inclined to retain animal husbandry as an important. Woleseley Haig. About the Juds and Janjuhas we learn that they took from the cultivators ’one shahrukhi for each yoke of oxen and seven for headship’. A. 50. resided in the mountains between NilAb and Bhira. The fact that they did have permanent residences is gleaned from Babur’s comments that the Jats. at Yale University Library on May 18. All these comments of Badaoni. the Jats and Gujars always pour down in countless hordes from the hills and plains for loot in bullocks and buffaloes. The mention of ’yoke of oxen’ makes the link with agriculture quite obvious. the tribal nature of the Jats in some regions can be also surmised from a few of our sources. 1970). The stray references that we find to the Jats in works pertaining to the period preceding Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari. also seems to suggest that the Jats of the area represented a kind of transitory stage between pastoralism and settled agriculture. . The description that Badaoni gives of his journey during the reign of Akbar. the Jats abandoned their hostility and entertained him with ’milk. p. It was Babur who observed that ’if one goes into Hindustan. are pointers to a society in Abdul Quadir Badaoni. and it appears that despite becoming settled agriculturists. do give some passing hints to their pastoral habits. in the region of Multan.’ In addition to their pastoralist inclinations. . Vol. p.S. he was passing through an uncultivated area (’perilous desert’) and was stopped ’by Jats and highwaymen’. refers single Ibid. when juxtapositioned and seen in the context of the geography of the was not the primary productive activity. George S. 2. tr. and even in areas where the change did occur it seems doubtful that it could have been a complete negation by the tribe of its pastoral heritage. Shergarh is mentioned as being half-way between Multan and Pattan. See Vol. 3 Vols. 26 To begin with he tells us that the ’desert around Dipalpur’ was ’the dwelling place of beasts of prey.H. pp. 387. 94. Beveridge. part of their economic and social system. pp... and wherever the geo-climatic situation permitted they. tr. abandoned (in part or as a whole) their predominantly pastoral habits in favour of settled agriculture. To begin with. 1. Vol.’24 These Jats and Gujjars. 2010 .A. 454. Subsequently. Badaoni. the Jats appear to be living in the region of Sind.. (Patna. He further says that on his way to Shergarh to visit Shaikh Daud.

On the other hand. Vol. p. (Calcutta. is the integrated nature of their society which causes this group to be referred to under the single name of ’Jat’.sagepub. What seems clearer. See Abul Fazl. See Jouher.. not a primary economic activity. another side to this picture.. p. agriculture was unlikely to have been of an extensive nature. therefore. 1948-49). Ain-i-Akbari. tr.’ See Alexander Burnes. Refer Irfan Habib. the impression gained is that neither the Jats nor the Khokhars are included by Badaoni among the zamindars or landholding group. of any other castes being as predominant among the peasantry as them. and fit into all these vessels. Major Charles Stewart. p.z9 It appears very likely. Lahore and Delhi. In the Dabistan-i-Mazahib. 27 Vol. 45. Refer Mohsin Fani. 331-35. 30 There was. Cabool (London. 29 Niccolao Manucci. 31 The Jats are shown in the Ain-i-Akbari as zamindars in many of the parganas of the subas of Multan. Much of the peasantry in many of these parganas was likely to have been Jat. the Jatt (or Jat) is called a villager and a rustic. Storia Do Mogor.11 Manucci’s depiction of the Jats as a ’race .S. This description of the Jats. ’Jatts of the Panjab and Sind. that under the tribal name of ’Jat. 1965). He writes that ’they are industrious and very expert in reed or basket work. Jarrett. 1842). even in later times. surmising from the nature of the area where Manucci says that the Jats (or Gett as he calls them) were located. there would hardly be the need to mention them separately.’ further strengthens this possibility. (Delhi. pp. Vol. 1972). we have the account of Alexander Burnes who says that there was tribe of Jats in the region of Thatta. (Calcutta. as there is little mention. tr. which they weave from the twigs of the tamarisk. thus rendering them dry and comfortable. Dabistan-i-Mazahib. besides Agra.27From this statement. if this ’body’ of Jats and Khokhars were merely the retainers of these zamindars. where there is much jungle. 28 Furthermore. and probably even earlier. writing about the time of at Yale University Library on May 18. David a 30 Downloaded from http://ier. p. for it remains beyond doubt that by at least the sixteenth century. 1. for the very act of military mobilization by a zamindar explicitly drew upon their retainers from all to sources. 2. 95.’ p. giving their association with boats. Even in this case. It is not clear whether these Jats were agriculturists who lived within the Rana’s territory or derived sustenance primarily from other sources. 2010 . 8. four hundred leagues from Lahore. 428. probably. 121. William Irvine. 321-25. however. For a much later date. one of which was military service.’ there were to be found in Punjab certain social entities which maintained a strong tribal identity and for whom the cultivation of land was.327 Ikhtiyaruddin Altuniyah of Tabarhinda’ (Bhatinda). who was supporting Sultan Razia and who ’having gained over certain of the Amirs and a body of Jats and Khukhars and all the landholders brought an army towards Delhi’ .31 It has been very Ibid. 2. which lived in close proximity to the river Indus. the Jats were also classified in Punjab as agriculturists. their separate mention by Badaoni seems to imply a distinct social organisation. we learn that the Rana of Amarkot had Jat troops in his employ. H.. ’Malik Even if we assume that these Jats and Khokhars were in a politically subordinate position to the zamindars. tr. however. The Tezkerah-al-Vakiat or Private Memoirs of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. from Jouher. seems to recreate the centuries-old situation as described by chroniclers and travellers of the eleventh century.

&dquo. See be found. where he suggests that ’a kind of tribal nationalism animated them [i. Vol.32 This is undoubtedly true of those areas of Punjab where climate and topography facilitated and even encouraged such a process of sedentarisation. see Irfan Habib. the sedentarisation of a large section of the Jats had probably occurred at a fairly early date. 2010 . Agrarian System. Vol. it may be justifiable to suggest that evan as late as the seventeenth century the process of transition among the tribal convincingly argued by Irfan Habib centuries. Downloaded from http://ier. by taking into consideration only those Jats who had become settled agriculturists within the ’agrarian system. Regarding the Persian-wheel as a factor contributing to the sedentarisation of the Jats. p.&dquo. the breeders. Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism. p. chooses to call it ’the ties of caste’.com at Yale University Library on May 18. 1972. This being the case. In the agriculturally prosperous areas of the region. and ed. ’Technological Changes and Society: 13th and 14th Centuries. In the light of even the stray remarks of contemporary sources. 1. numbering 77.A. p. name of Jokha and Nomree. the Jat villages may not have been of the highly differentiated kind. 130-31 regarding ’communal enclaves of the medieval village’ being a ’Germanic inheritance’. the Jats] rather than a nice calculation of caste difference’. the pastoral habits of some Jat groups continued to survive in certain areas outside Punjab as late as the early twentieth century. 96. however.’ IESHR. 22. therefore. ’Well-Irrigation Methods in Medieval Panjab: The Persian-Wheel Reconsidered.e. 73-88. tr. it is difficult to visualise the Jat tribe independent of the area 34 where its different sections were to According to the 1901 census. The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in India (Cambridge. and are found mixed with Belouches throughout the south-west of Belochistan In Belochistan they are called Jugdalls as well as Juts and the tribe of them which inhabits Lus is called by the . ’Jatts of the Panjab and Sind. the Jats had converted from pastoralism Shea and Anthony Troyer. Townsmen and Bazaars. An Accouni of the Kingdom of Caubul (Karachi. therefore. 1978). 2. p. however. 413. But. 1 (1985). 1843). pp.’ Indian History Congress (Varanasi. 332.920 in all. The natural environment prevailing in the varying geographical areas which were inhabited by different sections of the Jats did. Quite interestingly.328 that between the eleventh and sixteenth to agriculture. Irfan Habib. 22.. 252.. Perry Anderson. It is noted by him that ’the provinces in the eastern bank of the Indus are generally peopled by a class of Hindkees called Juts.’ p. first published in 1815). ’Jatts of the Panjab and Sind. Vol. See Eric Stokes. 33 The wide area in which people classified as Jats (Juts) were to be found in the early nineteenth century is shown by Elphinstone. See also C. 1969). form the principal population of Sind. Rulers. (Paris. No. whose situation is very similar to that of the Juts. 32 Irfan Habib. While the Jats had become settled peasants in the agricultural areas of Punjab. 82-83. in all likelihood prompt structural changes in their society that made many of these sections fundamentally and characteristically different from each other. pp. For a different view see Chetan Singh.’ p.sagepub.’ See Mountstuart Elphinstone. who also compose the Mussalman peasantry of the Panjaub. Bayly.. they continued to remain partially or wholly pastoral in the more inhospitable parts of the region. The great extent to which the Juts are scattered excites the same curiosity with the Taujiks.. 96.’ Irfan Habib is able to minimise the tribal significance of the Jats. Jats in Sind are mentioned as being a caste of cattle Irfan Habib. Even here. pp.

op. In fact. Vol. however. Vol. Vol. tr. 121. pp. reprint 1970). whose chieftains were incorporated into the Mughal imperial structure by the grant of mansabs. This was a development which was. were only one among the many such tribal societies of medieval Punjab. the chief of the Ghakkars was granted a mansab of 1000/1000. The tribal and unsettled nature of Bhatti social organisation in southern Punjab is borne out by some incidental references in our sources. The emergence of the town of Gujrat is. 2010 .&dquo. See Abul Fazl. p. The Jats. Tuzuk-iJahangiri. (Delhi. probably. See H. See Abul Fazl. perhaps. During the reign of Jahangir too. at varying transitional stages even during the seventeenth century. 13. 161.P. 1. 2. p. 327. 335. 325. 38 L. judging from the evidence available. Abul Fazl. 320. conducted during the reign of Akbar. The other tribes. p. No. 322. p.329 pastoralists of Punjab to a typically hierarchical agricultural society was by no means complete. the greater part of which had already sedentarised and integrated with the agriculture based socio-economic system that Mughal Punjab was better known for. in the Roman armies and the ’client chiefs’ who were kept in independence beyond the Roman borders.’ in Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 1972). Beveridge. In many parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh they are still pastoralists. Ain-i-Akbari. See Nuruddin Muhammad Jahangir. was that of the Bhattis. Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and the NorthWest Frontier Province (Patiala. 91. This is amply illustrated by the case of the Ghakkars. Another tribe whose different sections were. Alexander Rogers tr. (Delhi. too. had over time been in the process of integrating in this manner. 110 for the inclusion of ’Germanic warriors’. As we have already seen. 2. cit. continued throughout the later period for we know that the Gujjars survived as pastoralists right into the twentieth century. The particular song mentioned refers to the reign of Kalyan Mal of Bikaner. Rajputs. Vol. pp.18 The turbulent nature of the Bhattis and their lack of connection with agriculture seems to be a 35 The inclusion of the Ghakkars in the imperial structure took place during the reign of Akbar. Vol.A. pp. 2. still in process during Mughal times. The bardic tradition of Rajasthan recalls the expeditions of the rulers of Bikaner. The fact that towards the end of the nineteenth century. 539. 4 (1917). one Downloaded from http://ier. 37 Abdul Qadir Badaoni. This process. See also Perry Anderson.sagepub. 2. at Yale University Library on May 18. Vol. 297-300. the Khokhars were classified by Badaoni in the same category as the Jats. ’Bardic and Historical Survey of Rajputana. probably.’ points significantly to the incorporation of the tribe into the hierarchical society at varying social levels. against the Bhatti ’raiders’ who inhabited the northern borders of their territory. 195-252. p. and Henry Beveridge. the son of Jalal Khan. Vol.. 1968). 1. one might even say with some confidence that the Jats were among those tribes. ed. probably. the Khokhars were a ’tribe found among Jats. 334.35 The town of Gujrat was established by Akbar in order to enable the Gujjars to abandon their pastoral ways Even the case of the Khokhars was likely to have been similar. Akbar Quli Khan. only of the numerous instances of the sedentarisation process during the sixteenth century. Akbarnama. H. 36 Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri. Tessitori. Rose. Arians and Chuhras. Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism. has also mentioned them as zamindars in some mahals of both subas of Lahore and Multan.

be taken as a description of a tribe in transition. 43 Such a possibility would be in keeping with the loose manner in which the term zamindar was used during the Mughal period.45 Arising out of the circumstances elaborated in the foregoing was a situations wherein different sections of a single tribe were to be found at varying levels of integration with the agrarian society that has traditionally feature also of the 39 In an order to Sur Singh of Bikaner. Janjuhas and Khattars in the Sindh-Sagar Doab of suba Lahore or the Junah. 71. 2. Manshurs and Nishans Addressed by the Imperial Mughals to the Princes of Rajasthan (Bikaner. Regarding the sections of this tribe in the uplands of Gujranwala. there were other sections of this tribe which had already undergone the structural changes which enabled them to become very much part and parcel of a sedentarised and stratified agricultural society. ’keep numerous herds of cattle which graze over the pasture lands of the bar. 42 Abul Fazl. It was observed by the author of Ma’athir-ul-Umara that the Bhatti tribe made its ’livelihood in the Punjab by zamindari and by robbery’.39 Even the picture that Manucci paints of the Bhattis of this area is very much the same. Ibbetson says that historically they traced their pastoral life-style to the area of Bhatner and. since the complete extermination or routing of cultivators would hardly be a punishment that the emperor would recommend to the raja. Vol. op. H. 40 Manucci. p. for example. Jahangir states that it is in his notice that ’Bhatti and other rebels of Lakhi Jangal etc. only plough just sufficient to grow food for their own necessities’. Vol. Niccolao 41 D. 430. p. 44 Ibid. 1911-41 and 1952). It is possible that the Bhatti rebels in this case were not cultivators. This order is reproduced in A Descriptive List of Farmans. Batala in sarkar Bari Doab. Beveridge. as it was always possible for non-agricultural but dominant tribal groups to appear in the Ain-i-Akbari as zamindars. Vol. They also appear in Khizrabad in sarkar Sirhind of Delhi. 2. Townsmen and Bazaars.42 Their appearance in this list of zamindars would not by itself prove conclusively that the Bhattis were part of the differentiated village-community system. are committing lawlessness and brutality. This was apparently the case. p. suba 45 Shahnawaz Khan. at Yale University Library on May 18. Ibbetson. 2010 .43 What asserts their participation in the ’Mughal system’ is the fact that many Bhatti dominated mahal. p. Once again we can mention the Ain-i-Akbari’s listing of the Bhatti caste among the zamindars of Punjab. however. Downloaded from http://ier. ’Socio-Economic Conditions in Panjab during the Seventeenth Century’..&dquo. cit. 52-53.41 As in the case of the Jats.A. For example. Ain-i-Akbari. The Ma’athir-ul-Umara. even at the time of writing. 1. Bayly..&dquo. Rulers.. Multan and Delhi. This pertains to the reign of Aurangzeb. among the mahals of suba Lahore. 333-36. cit. 320-23. This argument has been elaborated in Chetan Singh. however. This may also. pp. 467. 145. with the Ghakkars. op. See also C.sagepub.330 reign of Jaharigir.’ and the raja should ’punish those rebels in such a way as to leave no trace of them in those parganas and mahals. the pastoral nature of the Bhattis in some parts of Punjab appears to have survived almost undisturbed. (Calcutta. 1962). 300-1. Bhattis are noted as zamindars in Sultanpur in sarkar Bet Jalandhar Doab. Bhim and Kharral in suba Multan. pp. They appear in all three subas of Lahore. even until more recent times. tr. In fact.s (revenue districts) were located in areas well known for intensive and commercialised agriculture.

’ pp. Like all other societies. 12. have exchanged their tribal identity for some kind of a caste status in a multi-caste hierarchical society. December. ’from the movement of the whole population through a series of stable settlements in Indus Kohistan. but which was simultaneously affected by developments in its socio-economic environment. as Fredrik Barth observes. when it did occur. Satish Chandra. 342. however. This social change. pp. 1962). Transhumance. In the term ’nomadism. Irfan Habib. ’Peasant Production and Medieval Indian Society. nomadism is found alongside pastoralism. 1978). See also Akbar S. as has been observed by anthropologists. developments that. ’The Peasant in Indian History. Problems of the Arid Zone (Proceedings of the Paris Symposium.’ See Fredrik Barth. to merely a month’s residence in tent camps less than ten miles from the permanent villages in parts of Kurdistan. 243-44.’ p. ’and in part even semi-nomadism are a result of passive adaptation of food-producing societies in ecological niches favouring their adaptation. 94. 17. ’Pastoral at Yale University Library on May 18. UNESCO. R. 285. for the political factors for nomadism. can either be wide-ranging or confined to small areas.’ p. XVII.&dquo. Therefore. 15. ’Social Distribution of Landed Property in PreBritish India. Ahmed. Irfan Habib refers to this process basically in connection with ancient India.S. Vol. 47 A.M. Delhi (Post Conference: The Study of the State. 1101-6. 2010 . No. and these options were in turn limited by the rationality that governed them. pp. 13. whatever the peculiarities. Though it is somewhat difficult to say with any degree of certainty the extent of nomadism practised by the tribes in medieval Punjab. Khazanov. Social Change in Early Medieval India.’ Economic and Political Weekly. necessitated change m its social organisation. Harbans Mukhia.’ mimeo. even the tribal-pastoral (or marginally agricultural) people had certain options according to which they could operate. 16.D. much of what Khazanov and Barth say about ’pastoral nomadism’ seems to be of striking relevance to our present concern. p.’ p.331 been described by historians as one being typical of Mughal India. p. There was a permanent need for additional agricultural products and handicrafts. ’Nomadism as Ideological Expression: The Case of Gomal Nomads. in turn. 141 The most marked feature of the pastoral-nomadic economy was its instability and consequently its inability to produce a regular surplus so as to fulfil the requirements of the whole society.’ we can also venture to include transhumance. ’Nomadism in the Mountain and Plateau Areas of South-West Asia. 27 (1982). Sharma. ’The Early State among the Eurasian Nomads. where he suggests that the ’tribes [ disintegrated to be replaced by jatis [castes]’. probably.’ in Arid Zone Research. 27. 75. Medieval ] janapadas India. is the position of that part of the population which retained its tribal character even at the height of Mughal power.’ observes Khazanov. 19. Kosambi. the nature of their links with the adjoining 46 See D. Amalendu Guha. was not haphazard and disorganised as might be imagined. More often than not. 13. Xth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. It could range. See also Irfan Habib. An Introduction to the Study of Indian History. What concerns us here. and the two phenomena have almost invariably been examined together by scholars. Downloaded from http://ier. p.sagepub. Those sections that had already merged successfully with this agricultural society would. ’Tribalism to Feudalism in Assam.

cit.sagepub.332 sedentary society. 50 There are some indications that interactions of this nature were to be found in medieval Punjab. 345. Vol. 1160.&dquo. cit. In many parts of western Asia. was likely to influence significantly their social values and economic calculations. 49 This argument has been expanded in Chetan Singh. op. ’Autonomy and Nomadism in Western Asia. aromatic roots.’ Orientalia. The course likely to generate the least social friction was. the Lohani Afghans carried merchandise from India to Kabul. too. Babur writes: ’During the stay there.. the grazing lands visited by the nomads constituted enclaves partly or completely within the sedentary zone’.other occupational groups are adapted to an economic system which contains pastoral herders as one of its basic elements’. this interaction and exchange with sedentary society can be seen as taking some specific forms. therefore. masses of sheep and cattle and from Afghan traders met on the roads. op. 346. See M. too. 42 (1975). op. placed in a similar situation. cutting off and bringing in his 51 head’. white cloths. 3. 345. tipuchaqs. Around the region of Bannu in 1505. ’Socio-Economic Conditions in Panjab during the Seventeenth Century’. and probably even earlier. we are told. See also Fredrik Barth.M. p. Vol. Many of the tribal-pastoralists of Punjab (irrespective of whether they were truly nomads or not) were. Akbarnama. wherein social and economic differences with the agriculturists. Khazanov. the best known of the ’tribal traders’. Downloaded from http://ier. 2010 .. either partly or completely. be regarded merely as specialised occupational groups within a single economic system’. Insofar as the question of mediation in trade is concerned. p. that of mediation by these tribes in trade between different sedentary societies or actual participation in exchange with neighbouring agricultural as well as urban areas. cit.52 Though little is known about the trading activities of the Lohanis in the subsequent Fredrik Barth. Barth has further argued that ’As far as the economic concerned. their culture is such as to presuppose the presence of such communities and access to their products’ . p. the nomads became tied in relations of dependence and reciprocity to sedentary communities in the area . though existent. nomad and villager can. p. If anthropological research is methodologically acceptable to historians. p.&dquo.. mentions in passing that ’the Lohani tribe practised buying and selling in Ghaznin’ . probably. Barth observes here that not only are the nomads ’adapted to an environment containing villages and markets and specialised craftsmen&mdash. Rowton. we have the example of the Lohanis. 52 Abul Fazl... op. it has been asserted that ’throughout the south-west Asian region . the foragers brought in from the villages in the at Yale University Library on May 18. and horses bred for trade. Regarding the more recent condition of these people. 50 A. 235. were contained within a network of expanding economic relations. sugar. Babur’s army plundered the goods of these Afghans. Baburnama. ’pastoral lands were encircled by urban settlement. cit. at least in our region of study.B. Hindi Mughal unhorsed Khwaja Khizr Lohani.. See also Fredrik Barth. Both of them observe the prevalence of these methods of interaction amongst nomadic tribes and sedentary structure of an area is 48 populations. probably. 51 Abul Fazl.. a well-known and respected Afghan merchant. As early as the time of Babur.

which consists of between six hundred and seven hundred camels. exclusive of those carrying the tents and baggage of the people.’ Proceedings of the Indian Historical Records Commission. 56 B.. p.000 camels’. with smaller stakes. and adds that ’entering the Dera Ismail Khan district. 54 Alexander Burnes. 2010 . he has observed that some of them ’purchased and sold petty articles enroute their seasonal movements’. it is possible that some of the smaller tribes migrated within a smaller circle. 55 D. About the Gujjars. Cabool. Lahore. and are engaged in the carrying trade between India and Afghanistan. Grover. 57 Alexander Burnes. Cawnpore and Benaras and even Patna’. 76-77. the ’Hindoo merchants and travellers. they leave their families. though we find mention only of the Lohanis in our sources. 57 We have already seen that the Panjab tribes were generally only semi-nomadic and their pastoral roaming was not very extensive in nature.’ who travelled with the Lohanis in their migrations. which show that 5. He says that the tribe of Pathan warrior-traders are included in the term Parwindah. He further elaborates upon the branches of the tribe and the route which they followed in their migrations. pp. which are rated at the enormous number of 24. Cabool. 65. Ibbetson. This is also noted by Mohan Lal Kashmirian. p. He writes: ’Trade has enriched the city of Kabul beyond any other capital in Afghanistan. They come through Multan and Ghaznin’. they pass into Khorazan’.53 This seasonal migration of the Lohanis was likely to have been not only very regular but also closely linked. at Yale University Library on May 18. never really characterised the pastoral tribes inhabiting Punjab proper. reprint 1971). and many of them proceed annually into India to purchase merchandise.R. op. and yet performed the same function as the Lohanis. 5. and assembling here towards the end of April. to the trading pattern of the settled population. 77-79.sagepub. 393).333 period. Among others benefiting from this were. furnish it once a year with English and Indian goods. probably. Travels in Panjab. there were perhaps other lesser known ones which followed a similar method of interaction with sedentary society. the Jats and Bhattis about 53 Downloaded from http://ier. stocks and some two-thirds of their fighting men in the great grazing grounds which lie on either side of the Indus and while some wander off in search of employment. Rajputana. The latter feature. either coincidentally or intentionally. albeit in a smaller way. and being joined by their families who have wintered on the banks of the Indus. ’An Integrated Pattern of Life in the Rural Society of North India during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Elsewhere he says that ’the trade of Bokhara to Multan is generally conducted by Lohanis and Shikarpuris’ (p. however. cit. Afghanistan and Turkistan (Patiala. others pass on with their laden camels and merchandise to Multan. there is sufficient reason to believe that these continued into more modern times and that their field of operation included many parts of Punjab. The caravan of Lohanis. Amritsar.56 Mediation in trade to any great extent. for example. 55 While movements of the Afghans encompassed a very large area outside Punjab. Delhi. nevertheless. he notes that ’the extensive nature of the traffic is proved by the custom-house books. Supporting such a possibility regarding this area in the early nineteenth century is the observation of Alexander Bumes that ’the Lohani Afghans are a pastoral and migratory people.140 camels laden with merchandise passed up this year. 78. Ibbetson elaborates upon their annual circle of migration. required a fairly large field of operation co-extensive with an equally wide-ranging migratory pattern. p. pp. 54 Among the Afghan tribes.

however. 1634-36. See Niccolao Manucci. cit.58 The region of Sind..g.. ’Pastoralism. Cunningham. 63. 1. Quite possibly. Foster (ed. 127. see Vols. 2010 . Ain-i-Akbari. Nomadism and Social Anthropology of Iran. very recently. History of the Sikhs (New Delhi. The Juns and Kattias of Punjab provided butter to many of the towns. therefore. These tribes were. p. 61 Considering the whom Manucci informs us appear to have resided permanently in the Lakhi Jangal and to have held sway over this block of territory. pp. Fisher.sagepub. Wattus and Dogars resided and where jowar and wheat were mentioned as the crops grown. The most important of these subsidiary 59 likely Downloaded from http://ier. p. It is in that context that Sind is here mentioned.D. 1972). 430. in addition. See Sujan Rai Bhandari. maize and milk are exchanged for each other in equal volume)’.59 In this case too.334 More convenient for these tribes. 649. pp. one is tempted to argue that the surplus quantity of butter-oil purchased from the Sind region by merchants of the English East India Company was. the large quantities of pastoral products procured during Akbar’s reign from sarkar Hisar-Firoza. He says that though money had entered into the transactions in most areas. standard exchange equivalents prevail (e. ’some of the subsidiary aspects of certain forms of nomad adaptation are at the bottom of far more of the conflicts between nomads and the settled world than are the primary aspects of nomadism.. however. cit. 60. where money is still little known. Sunderland. 346. 2. procured its essentials partly by agriculture and partly by pastoralism. in the ultimate analysis. p. There also existed.B. 60 English Factories in India (EFI). See E. was also rich in such products. op.60 So important to social stability was this kind of exchange between the societies concerned. would have been to actually participate in the trade by exchanging their pastoral products with the neighbouring agriculturists for non-pastoral essentials. 61 This pastoral-sedentary exchange could also. for consumption in the imperial kitchen. W.) (London).. therefore. the possibility of the tribals carrying out periodic raids into the areas of sedentary at Yale University Library on May 18. Sunderland. 1968). Barth observes. 62 Ibid. while still in the process of becoming sedentary. 61 See Fredrik Barth. Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh. 428. 346. It has been noted that the Petlu community in the Shah Savan region of Azarbaijan in Iran. still exist. 119. probably.’ in W. Vol. that it quite successfully continued to survive well into the twentieth century in some areas adjoining north Punj ab. 58 Abul Fazl.. a product of the pastoralists who probably entered into an exchange with the settled population of Sind. The same might be equally true of those parts of sarkar Dipalpur where the Gujjars. p. with both aspects of the economy attempting to meet the balanced requirement for subsistence. Vol. it is quite that the two regions had comparable socio-economic conditions. which adjoined this sarkar. adds that ’it is difficult to assess the relative contribution of the two main types of occupations to the total income’. op. ed. take a more political form in which the pastoralists either subordinated themselves to agricultural or urban societies. Cambridge History of Iran (Cambridge. See also J. were obtained in this manner. 14. p. Due to certain obvious geographical similarities of Sind with southern Punjab. neither completely pastoral nor totally agricultural but had a mixed economy. ’in some areas such as parts of North Pakistan. The need for exchange with completely sedentary agricultural society would. or conversely conquered and dominated them. p.

’ See also A. A. The most significant reason for this was that an expanding and vigorous Mughal state took upon itself the task of safeguarding the sedentary society on account of the land revenue that it obtained from the latter. on more than one occasion. 391. In its initial stages.sagepub. 65 Ibid. 387. pp. although sometimes painfully and completely. Downloaded from http://ier. pp. migration. does seem that this was a more likely possibility. to resort to some other means of fulfilling their non-pastoral requirements. landlord’s rents. Khazanov. cit. 379-80. however. of the ’various flocks and herds belonging to the countrypeople. the Ghakkars come to mind as do the Juds and the Janjuhas. While considering the possibility of tribal domination over an agricultural population. cit. as Babur mentions some sown fields while recounting his campaign against the Ghakkars who were led by Hati Ghakkar. a likelihood that some and perhaps even all of these alternatives were adopted at particular places or at particular points of time in this region. 64 Baburnama. nevertheless. it would have been extremely difficult for nomadic tribal groups to subordinate agriculturists. Such subordination could entail the participation of the pastoralists as seasonal labour in agriculture or even require them to offer their services as a of non-pastoral wares have been. 387. 379-80. but accelerated the development sources of nomads’. probably. and are. the p-storalists would have had.~ By the late sixteenth century. Babur says that the villages of the Jats and Gujjars were governed by headmen of the Ghakkar at Yale University Library on May 18.M. 63 Baburnama.. Thus faced with the formidable Mughal state apparatus. specifically mentioned the supremacy established by these two tribes over the other people of the region and found in their methods of domination certain similarities. by and large.M. op. Though we have little recorded evidence to prove that pastoralists in medieval Punjab were subordinating themselves to the agriculturists it. agriculture appears to be a feature of this region.’ on the other hand. even if the Ghakkars sedentarised with the passage of time. 2010 . pp. there is indeed. Khazanov. The process of synthesis may have a negative impact on the development of sedentary societies. appeared in this form. op.335 contrasting geographical divisions of Punjab and the wide area over which the tribal groups were scattered. ’the early class relations attained by nomads in the course of conquest were beginning. the practice of agriculture in this area has been noted earlier. warfare. The levy of a tax by the Juds and Janjuhas based upon the number of ploughs has also been mentioned here. the establishment of Ghakkar supremacy over Jat and Gujjar villages in north-west Punjab. robbery. tenancy agriculture. labour and trade.’ The practice of pastoralism on the one hand is implied by his mention. to merge with more developed class relations of the conquered. It has been argued that even in those parts of the world where the nomads enjoyed a superior political position as conquerors. in fact. 63 The same may be said of the Juds and Janjuhas who were located in the adjoining region. between ) ulus Bhira and Nil-ab.64 Babur. Babur writes that ’These two from of old have been the rulers and lawful commanders of the peoples and hordes ( of the country. Apart from the frequent raids by these subservient tribes for cattle.

Though only one instance is given here.’ p. probably linked these tribes to the market. See Descriptive List of Farmans. Vol. being a cash crop. the most explicit from our point of view is the comment of Manucci regarding the Bhattis of Lakhi Jangal that ’they enter the faujdars service on small pay’. 42.. See Niccolao Manucci. 1. at Yale University Library on May 18. which was by nature more labour intensive than subsistence farming. p. C.. See also Fredrik Barth.’ p.sagepub. with a Narrative of a Voyage on the Indus (Oxford. were being influenced by it. 130. 219-22. pp. This seems to have continued even after the great Mughals.. cit. cit. 68 Refer B. It is not entirely improbable that this extra labour was forthcoming from the neighbouring tribal area. This commercialisation of agriculture. probably meant that a labour force larger than ever before would now be required. 2. Townsmen and Bazaars. op. 467. 70 Mention is made of them in the reign of Jahangir. 1. 253. 2010 . Such a requirement would become even greater with the expansion of the area under cultivation. ’Social Mobility in PreMughal India. S. op. Downloaded from http://ier. Tobacco. 68 We might now also consider the final possibility of the Punjab tribes procuring their requirements by carrying out periodic raids into the agriculturally settled areas. Rulers.’ Keeping in mind that during this period commercialised and intensive agriculture was becoming a common feature of the region. ’Robbery’ is reported to be one of the means of ’livelihood’ of the Bhattis. cit. Misra. these raids of the Bhattis were. Vol. even the needs of the pastoralists (notwithstanding the commercialisation or otherwise of agriculture) could of their own volition draw them into the dominant agricultural society as seasonal cultivating tenants or as mere agricultural labourers. p. influence their activities is shown by the more recent examples of the Kattia and Jun tribes which inhabited the lower reaches of the Ravi in the early nineteenth century. it is difficult to provide definite contemporary evidence to prove their participation in Punjab as agricultural labourers on this account. p. a common feature. 247. however.P. That commercialised agriculture could. 1.’ IHR. It shows quite clearly the poverty of the tribe and its need for an additional source of income. Bayly. and of these a few examples have already been mentioned. 2.C. Vol. too. the Bhattis are known to have been raiders into the territory of the raja of Bikaner The reigns of all subsequent great Mughals witnessed these maraudings by the Bhattis into the neighbouring territories Most explicit. See Shahnawaz Khan. is Manucci’s description 66 The references to the participation of tribal organisations in the military campaigns of the rulers and nobles of Delhi and Lahore are very frequent in the sources of medieval India. It has already been noted that as early as the time of Akbar. A Manshurs and Nishans addressed by the Imperial Mughals to the Princes of Rajasthan. 71. 67 Considering the almost complete absence of information regarding the economic life of these tribals. ’Bardic and Historical Survey of Rajputana. Burnes observed that these pastoralists also cultivated tobacco with the help of irrigation. Travels into Bokhara. 69 L. Grover. it was possible that the geographically peripheral areas. ’An Integrated Pattern of Commercial Life in the Rural Society of North India. Their marauding habits appear to have been a characteristic which survived through centuries. 1973) Vol. p. probably. However. Those appearing most frequently in our sources as a cause of turbulence are the Bhattis. indeed. 430. p.A.336 military body to the more powerful state apparatus. op. p.67 On the other hand. See Alexander Burnes.R. 5. No.

Ibbetson. too. Regarding the Bhattis of the Gujranwal uplands. they are bad agriculturists extravagant in their habits. cit.’2 Another tribe of Punjab about which we find similar evidence is that of the Jats. 2. etc. 71 Downloaded from http://ier. p. See also at Yale University Library on May 18. to any great extent. p. ’74 The other tribes which are mentioned as being inhabitants of Lakhi Jangal. keep hawks and horses.. who practised robberies and dacoities. and whatever they had taken from anyone restored’. the characteristics that they exhibited as recently as the end of the nineteenth century may provide reason enough to suggest that even in medieval times they obtained their essential non-pastoral goods through periodic raids into sedentary society. op. 1014.&dquo. and appear .A.’ Later sources. See also C. op. Regarding the Khattars.sagepub. he states that one of this noble’s victories was over: ’Jang Panah of the Bhati caste. p. suggest that the Bhattis continued to be known as thieves till more modern times and this was. 428. Supporting this description of the seventeenth century is the more recent observation of Ibbetson. 72 Shahnawaz Khan. cit. p. we learn that Jahangir. that the Dogars ’like Gujars and Naipals are great thieves and prefer pasturing cattle to cultivating’. p. was approached by its inhabitants who complained ’against the Khattars. and are often backward in paying their revenue. Vol. apart from the Bhattis and Jats. the glossary quotes Col. 74 Shahnawaz Khan. cit. cit.. and it was unlikely that they were marauding for high quality goods. a method of meeting their non-pastoral requirements. 2. Wattus and Dogars. 1.. be removed to Lahore. and that on account of the inhospitable nature of the terrain that they inhabited. 430. 2010 . About the Khattars residing near Attock in the north-west. 1029. he says they ’keep numerous herds of cattle which graze over the pasture lands of the bar.&dquo. pp. op. and that their headmen should be imprisoned. who was a seditionmonger and held sway from Hasan Abdul to the banks of the Ravi’. These men are great thieves and plunderers of the roads and villages. 29. 532-34. Rulers.337 of the Bhattis of Lakhi Jangal.. See also H. in the biography of Zakaria Khan. while encamped at the village of Ahrohi (near Attock fort).A. probably. op. He further notes that: ’The Dogars of Lahore and Firozpur are essentially a riverside tribe. Their tact has always been one in which heavy crime has flourished. op. 145.. op.. 2.. Vol. op. pp. It is further noted that ’Zafar Khan was granted Attock as fief in place of Ahmed Beg Khan and he was ordered that the Khattars should by the time of the return of the Emperor.. were the Gujjars. in trade or manufacture. and are famous cattle-lifters and notorious thieves’. Vol. Vol. when he informs us that they ’can place in the field six thousand cavalry and much infantry .. p. The nature of their raids seems to be mainly for essential commodities. Vol. Rose. who Manucci says ’were forever plundering the king’s territories’. 2. 63. Bayly. 15 Another Niccolao Manucci. Though contemporary evidence to this effect regarding the other tribes is lacking. It should come as no surprise to be told by a contemporary writer that these tribals were notorious for highway robbery.. cit. 428. being found only on the river banks to have retained till quite lately some at least they bear the worst reputation. cit. cit. 75 Sujan Rai Bhandari.. regarding Bhatti ’herdsmen-marauders’ in the Haryana area. . The region which they inhabited does not appear to have been involved. Cracroft who says ’the Khattars enjoy an unenviable notoriety in regard to crime. only plough just sufficient to grow food for their necessities. 73 Niccolao Manucci. Townsmen and Bazaars. they usually escaped unpunished.

Their categorisation as a ’caste’ is equally tribe of questionable. when the size of their flocks exceed the capacity of the grazing land available. See D. Further the argument that their tribal and pastoral system of organisation survived well into the nineteenth century is the observation that the Kharrals were being deprived of the refuge they sought after plunder. the sanitary and climatic conditions under which the nomads live are far better. which has indeed been conspicuous throughout the history of the Middle East. Agrarian Irfan Habib. Rowton. p. 177-78. the influence of which combined with expanding agriculture to encroach upon their traditional life-style.. it would appear that in the face of the economic and political developments occurring in the region under Mughal at Yale University Library on May 18. 42 (1975). op. He argues that ’A process of continuous sedentarisation has to be recognised as a normal aspect of nomadism. Moreover. cit. System.. Rose. Vol. Downloaded from http://ier. Judging from the various alternatives that the pastoral-tribals in Punjab were likely to be faced with. 145-46. 76 See H. . and most such groups in the past. their social organisation as recently as the late nineteenth century is a likely indicator of their earlier condition. p. Though we do not have any contemporary evidence to support this. have been the Kharrals.sagepub. the odds were weighed more in favour of the agricultural sedentarised society. from its junction with the Chenab to the boundry between Lahore and Montgomery The Kharrals have ever been notorious’. however.’ The argument of Barth can also be quoted here to further clarify this process. often placed them in direct confrontation with the powerful Mughal state apparatus. then. In this context. this implies a continual population imbalance between nomads and sedentary society and a flow of migrants from nomadic to settled life-process. 77 See M. Ibbetson.’ See Fredrik Barth. the poorest. 495-96. op. 254.. there is reason to argue that even in a situation where pastoral-nomadism thrives.338 marauding pastoralists may. on account of the extension of cultivation into jungle areas. and lower density makes the nomad population less susceptible to epidemics there can be little doubt that other groups today. Barth observes that ’The diet of nomads is better balanced.&dquo.A. the net flow of population has been consistently from areas of low density to areas of high density and congestion. p. 2.. pp. possibly. It is noted that ’the Kharrals are found in large numbers along the valley of the Ravi. there continues simultaneously a movement in the direction of sedentarisation. are characterised by a strong positive balance between birth-and-death rates’. supporting .. 323. cit. refers to ’peasants’ belonging to the ’refractory caste of Dogars’ in Lakhi Jangal.’ About the Wattus. it is noted that ’the tribe was formerly almost purely pastoral and as turbulant and as great marauders as other pastoral tribes of the neighbourhood’. ’In any period of total population stability.. though adopted by many of the tribes.B. 350.. cit.’ Orientalia.. containing a larger fraction of proteins than that of the villager. 2010 . op. Vol. Our suggestion here is that these Dogars were not completely sedentarised agriculturists and their status as ’peasants’ is debatable. ’Autonomy and Nomadism in Western Asia. In the Punjab context in of the habits of a wild tribe. Paradoxically. when the loss of livestock reduces their flocks below the minimum needed to support a family. pp. The richest and the poorest among the nomads tend to sedentarise: the richest. the long-term movement towards the sedentarisation of the pastoralists themselves seems to have been the most natural and logical course of change.’6 This last method of fulfilling nonpastoral requirements.

640. 79 Though a return to pastoral-nomadism would be very difficult. in fact. Nomadism and the Social Anthropology of Iran. It has been argued that in the event of harsh treatment by the central government or exploitation. and the monetary income obtained by their sale in the market subsequently utilised for the import of the food-grain requirement of the much larger labour force now engaged in commercial agriculture. probably rests upon a continuous process of economic expansion in the society concerned. in a position to accommodate and even absorb them. it could not have been entirely impossible. However. see Chetan Singh. therefore. The establishment of this cash-nexus encouraged the emergence of a more complicated system of interaction between economically different sub-regions as well as organisationally different social sections. in the event of an agricultural/trade recession or economic crisis of a retrogressive nature. ’Socio-Economic Conditions in Panjab during the Seventeenth Century’. If pastoral people were gradually moving into sedentary society in medieval Punjab. ’Pastoralism.&dquo. The more rapid the economic growth. Edit. The reason for this is that in the first period settlers chose the best land. In such a situation.sagepub. indeed. Sunderland. more occur from the second wave of settlements and by far the most from subsequent periods. the third far worse according to what is left. It may be further argued that the monetisation of the economy. the newly settled areas and people on the fringes would be most precariously placed. provides an indirect scale of assessing age’.&dquo. the villagers could be ’induced to leave their villages and endeavour to resume a nomadic existence’. ’Some Observations on the Role of Geography and History in the Development of Methodology for the Analysis of 78 Downloaded from http://ier. From the oldest period of settlements there appear to be the fewest out settlements. the lower the number of abandonments. the growth of commercialised agriculture under the Mughals likely to have encouraged and facilitated the absorption of previously pastoral people into the ’agrarian system’. the faster this process of amalgamation of the formerly pastoral population was likely to be.’ Under the For the commercialisation of agriculture and the growth of trade and handicraft in Punjab. quite likely that the Mughal ’agrarian system’ actually required them in order to replenish its ever-growing agricultural labour force. enabled a larger population to subsist on the same amount of cultivated land. it is possible that the position of the newly incorporated sections of society (such as the recently sedentarised pastoralists) would be rather tenuous.’ p./ 339 was particular. along with the growth of internal trade. a larger area could be brought under cash crops while food requirements were obtained by import from areas producing surplus food-grain. On account of these developments. See Robert C. 2010 .com at Yale University Library on May 18. the ability to support a natural population increase as well as to absorb new social sections. See E. Even land that was not conducive to double-cropping could be devoted completely to commercial crops. The number of abandonments for each settlement type. However. 80 It has been observed with regard to village settlement that ’the older a class of places is. it must be assumed that the latter society was. It is. in the second period they have to choose less good land.

e. 81 for a somewhat similar argument.L. Kharrals and Gujjars were very turbulent. too. could not have been a matter of concern for tribals alone. our attempts to understand the structure of agrarian society in medieval India. Prince Muhammad Muizzuddin. To view these societies as constituting two separate worlds in themselves would. Agrarian System. Akhbarat (Sitamau Transcripts). See also Asrar-i-Samadi. Geographic Dimensions of Rural Settlements. ed. 139. op. See Chetan Singh. p. Asrar-i-Samadi. Irfan Habib. 247. 4th Zi-al-Hijja p.. Moreover. Towards the end of Aurangzeb’s reign the Wattus. It might even be suggested that at least part of the unrest which Punjab witnessed in the eighteenth century was in some manner linked to friction generated by processes that had been altering the structure of tribal societies in the region during the preceding period. (Lahore. be unfair to say that on account of the manner in which medieval Indian tribes have been disregarded by scholars. that fundamental shifts in the structure of any one of these societies could hardly have left the other unaffected. Though hardly in a position to withstand the growing pressure of the powerful Mughal state apparatus and the socio-economic system that it represented. pp.. pp.sagepub. What remains important in the larger context is the significant part that tribal societies were likely to have played in the making of medieval Indian history. al. however. be quite far from the truth. 641-43. p. In 1700. pp. 235. seem to have constituted an economically palpable and militarily influential element within the geographical boundaries of the Mughal empire. our knowledge today of the agrarian economy of medieval India might not only be more incomplete than we have so far imagined.8’ Structural change in the tribal societies. 687-88. eds. 1. There was also the rebellion of Isa Khan Munj in sarkar Sirhind and Husain Khan Khweshgi in Qasur. So close a relationship did tribalpastoralism bear with the sedentary and commercialised agrarian society of Mughal Punjab.Y. Downloaded from http://ier. cit. 317(a). Vol. 9. 20-21. M. R. were as integral to the economy and society of adjacent agricultural societies (i. probably. op. Townsmen and Bazaars. G. these tribal societies. the Bhattis. who had been appointed Nazim of Multan. Would it. had to personally lead the imperial forces against the rebels. Dogars and Gujjars are known to have rebelled in the sarkar of Dipalpur.. and so inextricably linked were its economic interests with those of the latter. existed the possibility of considerable social tension. indeed. cit. it would hardly be possible to ignore them without jeopardising.. 346. 1965). but in certain ways. 19. In the Rachna Doab region of Punjab. also more incorrect? Settlements. pp. 17. 7-18. 128-38.’ Proceedings of the I.. pp. Aurangzeb 44th R.A. p. see C. Varanasi Symposium (1975). Bayly. 17th Zi-al-Hijja p. Muzaffar Alam.U. nevertheless. See Shahnawaz at Yale University Library on May 18.340/ circumstances there. 245(a). to a fair extent. 23rd Zi-al-Hijja p.’ Panjab History Conference (1980). Singh et. ’Interaction between Divergent Social Formations: A Possible Explanation for some Instances of Unrest in 17th Century Panjab. Rulers. if tribal-pastoral populations in other parts of the subcontinent. the Mughal ’agrarian system’) as appears to have been the case in Punjab. 3rd Rabi Ii p. 75. 329-330. 21st Rabi II pp. Shujauddin. therefore.. 2010 ..

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