Jat Mahasabha (Hindi: जाट महासभा) or All India Jat Mahasabha (Hindi: अखिल भारतीय जाट महासभा) is the premier organization of Jats in India. Its aim is to raise awareness about the social and economic problems faced by Jats. Many of its officers are politically active and influential. The Jat Mahasabha spearheaded the community's struggle for reservation in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 1999. Chaudhary Dara Singh was the president, Shri Hari Prasad Singh Parihar current president. The Mahasabha became a forum for demanding employment and airing Jat grievances over their poor representation in government service. Leaders like Sir Chhotu Ram were closely associated with the Jat Mahasabha and it remained the leading vehicle for advancing the Jat interests, even after the formation of the Unionist Party, which was concerned with agriculturists' interests in Punjab.
The objectives of formation
The All India Jat Mahasabha was founded in Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, India in 1907, as an offshoot of the Arya Samaj. The Mahasabha, a supra-provincial organization, was perceived in southeast Punjab as a symbol of unity in Jat society and as the main catalyst of reform and change. The Jat Mahasabha is a nonpolitical organization in nature. It is a social organisation. It is organised by a community for its uplift, for social reconstruction. The Jat Mahasabha has been functioning from 1993 for social causes. But it is not a registered body, not even as an NGO or social organisation.
Sir Chhotu Ram explained its objectives as under:
- ".... slowly the Jat Kshatriya Sabha in Jamna-par (western UP) came into existence which had its impact in Haryana. This was followed by the formation of panchayats. It breathed a new spirit into the Jat community. In this period, only the Arya Samaj propagated its rules in Haryana and the Jats were greatly influenced by it. This movement was consolidated through its leaders. It led to an awakening among the Jats. The Jat school was opened, the Jat (Maha) Sabha was created and the Jat Gazette was started. .... Earlier the Jats were all fragmented, but now they were brought together. They began to perceive all their institutions as exclusively Jat. The Jats became conscious of their sense of unity."
The Jat Mahasabha was initially founded as All India Jat Kshatriya Mahasabha. The founder members were Chaudhary Mamraj Singh Shamli (Muzaffarnagar), Kunwar Kalyan Singh Varkatpur (Bulandshahr), Thakur Tej Singh Vahpur (Bulandshahr), Chaudhary Hari Singh Kurmali (Muzaffarnagar), Shri Ram Lal Hala Raghunathpur (Badayun), Shri Nathu Singh Pardeshi, Kunwar Hukum Singh Angai (Mathura), Shri Lal Singh and Shri Vahal Singh (Saidpur), Chaudhary Gulab Singh Yadnagar, Chaudhary Nanu Singh Delhi, Shri Shadi Ram editor 'Kshatriya' and Sir Chhotu Ram (Rohtak). Kunwar Hukum Singh Angai (Mathura) took pains to bring all the elite people of the society such as Jagirdars, Thikanedars, Raos, Rais, Rai Bahadurs at one platform.
Later large number of common people from society joined it. Branches were started at Baghpat, Agra, Aligarh, Bijnor, Muradabad, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura etc. in Uttar Pradesh and Sikar, Ajmer, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur etc. places in Rajasthan. Kunwar Hukum Singh Angai (Mathura) expanded its scope from Brij area to All India in character. The first Executive Committee of All India Jat Mahasabha was constituted on 14 March 1907 in Meerut on the occasion of Nauchandi fair.
Annual adhiveshanas from 1908 to 1924
The All India Jat Mahasabha held its annual adhiveshan (Conference) at Delhi in 1908, Meerut in 1909, Garhmukteshwar in 1910, Delhi in 1911, Gwalior in 1912, Rohtak in 1913, Bharatpur in 1914, Pushkar in 1915, Meerut in 1916, Dhaulpur in 1917, Gwalior in 1918. Rana Udaybhanu Singh, the ruler of Dholpur, was the Chairman of the 1918 adhiveshan. Earlier Sir Chhotu Ram had started a newspaper named Jat Gazette in 1916 which became very popular among the farmers of northern India. Sir Chhotu Ram was awarded the title of 'Rao Bahadur' and he founded 'Zamindar Association' to protect the interests of farmers.
From 1918 to 1924, the annual adhiveshans were held at various places. Decisions were taken regarding social uplift, avoiding extravaganza, and opening new schools and hostels to spread education amongst masses. Sir Chhotu Ram was appointed Agricultural Minister in Punjab Government in 1924. He had also started the freedom movement against British Rule in India.
Pushkar adhiveshan in November 1925
The Pushkar adhiveshan in November 1925, organized by All India Jat Mahasabha, was presided over by Maharaja Kishan Singh of Bharatpur and proved to be a turning point in mobilization of Jats in India. Sir Chhotu Ram, Madan Mohan Malviya, Chhajju Ram, etc. farmer leaders attended. This function was organized with the initiative of Master Bhajan Lal Bijarnia of Ajmer-Merwara. The farmers from all parts of Shekhawati had come namely, Chaudhary Govind Ram, Kunwar Panne Singh Deorod, am Singh Bakhtawarpura, Chetram Bhadarwasi, Bhuda Ram Sangasi, and Moti Ram Kotri. 24-year-old Har Lal Singh also attended it. The Shekhawati farmers took two oaths in Pushkar namely,
- They would work for the development of the society through elimination of social evils and spreading of education.
- ‘Do or Die’ in the matters of exploitation of farmers by the Jagirdars.
- Resolution was passed to remove the British rule from India.
The importance of this institution as a pressure group can be realized from the fact that Britishers were highly concerned for the maintenance and protection of traditions of Jats. Between 1930 and 1932, when the civil disobedience movement spread over the country, it is incredible but true that Governor Malcom Haily had to address the Jat Mahasabha in 1930. The 1930 adhiveshan was the 20th and a historical one. It was held at Tishazari ground in Delhi. It was presided over by Rai Bahadur Chaudhary Lalchand Advocate. This was attended by Rana Udaybhanu Singh, the ruler of Dholpur and Chaudhary Sahabuddin, the president of Punjab Legislative Assembly (historical). Sir Chhotu Ram was the coordinator. It was attended by all communities Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs which was the cause of worry for the British Rule. It was also attended by Kunwar Net Ram Singh, Ladu Ram Jakhar, Kunwar Panne Singh, Chaudhary Ram Singh and Swami Baldas from Jaipur.
Jhunjhunu adhiveshan 1932
There was a grand gathering of farmers under the banner of Jat Mahasabha in Jhunjhunu on 11–13 February 1932. 60,000 Jat farmers from all over India attended. Thakur Deshraj camped at Jhunjhunu for 15 days to make it a success. It was presided by Rao Sahib Chaudhary Rishal Singh Rayees, who was escorted from station to the meeting place on elephant accompanied by a caravan of camels. This program was of Jats but all the communities cooperated and welcomed. Kunwar Panne Singh Deorod welcomed this rally whereas Vidyadhar Singh Sangasi did the welcome of ‘Jaipur Prantiya Jat Kshatriya Sabha’ rallies. Though the Jagirdars tried make it a failure, it proved a success. On the appeal of fund collection the participant farmers donated the gold ornaments which they were wearing. This was the first opportunity of awakening the Shekhawati farmers and proved a grand success. Sardar Harlal Singh and Chaudhary Ghasi Ram had traveled a lot for its publicity and spread its message. Some of the competent people were awarded Kshatriya titles. For example, Chaudhary Har Lal Singh was awarded as ‘Sardar’, Ratan Singh of Bharatpur as ‘Kunwar’ and Chaudhary Ram Singh as ‘Thakur’. Thus the Rajput monopoly over these titles vanished.
- Keep your aims high
- Leave the social evils
- Change your dress and put Singh after your name.
The Jhunjhunu adhiveshan brought wonderful changes in the life and culture of the farmers of Shekhawati. Their morals were boosted up and other classes accepted the Jats as noble Aryans and Kshatriyas. The success of Jhunjhunu adhiveshan not only changed the life of Shekhawati farmers but those of Jaipur and Bikaner princely states also. After this there were programmes started to improve the social life of the Jat community.
The Jat Prajapati Maha-Yagya 1934
In 1934, to spread the principles of Arya Samaj and create awakening in Shekhawati, it was decided to hold the Prajapati Yagya (Prayer ceremony for the Lord of Universe). The Jat Prajapati Maha-Yagya took place at Sikar 20–29 January 1934. Kunwar Hukam Singh Rahees Angai (Mathura) was made yagyapati (chairman) of the Yagya. Chaudhary Kaluram of village Kudan was the Yagyaman. Acharya Shri Jagdev Sidhanthi received an invitation for this Yagya at his Gurukul at Kirttal. In that invitation he was requested to attend the Yagya and bring 20 Bhramcharis and disciples with him. Volunteers went to all the households in all the villages in the region and collected material that would be needed. They collected ghee, flour, and gur and invited all the householders to participate. Hundreds of cans of ghee and hundreds of sacks of flour were collected.
During the Yagya 3,000 men and women adopted the Yogyopavit, which was a symbol of "Kisan sangathan" (farmers' organization). Sheetal Kumari daughter of Kunwar Netram Singh adopted yagyopavit. Chaudhary Chimana Ram of Sangasi brought his wife wearing salwar-kurta. The unity of Jat farmers in this Yagya had terrified the Jagirdars of Sikar. The role played by Sardar Har Lal Singh and Thakur Deshraj was unparallel which made this yagya a grand success.
In December 1934, ‘All India Jat Students Federation Conference’ was organized at Pilani; the coordinator of it was Master Ratan Singh. Sir Chhotu Ram, Kunwar Netram Singh, Chaudhary Ram Singh, Thakur Jhumman Singh, Thakur Deshraj and Sardar Har Lal Singh, along with large number of farmers from various states, attended it. This conference gave a great strength to the Jat youth.
Centenary celebrations 2007
The All-India Jat Mahasabha held a convention at Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on 9 March 2007 under the chairmanship of its president, Chaudhary Dara Singh. One of the main issues taken up at the convention, which was attended by several Central and State Ministers and MPs, was reservation for the Jats in State and Central Government jobs. The convention also discussed social evils like female foeticide, dowry and drug abuse. The year 2007 was celebrated as the Jat Mahasabha Centenary Year.
Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad... Jat reservation essential as agricultural land divided into nano-meter level pieces Currently in an era of science and technology, the jats community could not adopt and develop alternative skills for source of livelihood except agriculture. For centuries, the community is totally dependent on agricultural land for growing crops not only for themselves but also for the whole nation. Now the land is divided into nanometer level pieces and there is no scope to earn the livelihood being dependent on agricultural land. The reservation for jats is essential need because the jats community, in larger share, sending their sons and daughters to forces such as BSF, CRPF, RAP, defence services who sacrifice themselves to protect the nation.
- Gyan Prakash Pilania as head of the Jat Mahasabha
- Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998, p. 100
- Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998, pp. 101-102
- N Panigrahi, India's Partition: The Story Of Imperialism In Retreat
- Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998, p. 105
- Jat Mahasabha convention on 9 March 2007
- Yahoo Hindi News