Jat Sikh, also known by the more conventional endonym Jatt Sikh, is a sub-group of the Jat people, and the Sikh ethnoreligious group from the Indian subcontinent. They are one of the dominant community in the Punjab, India owing to their large land-holdings. They form an estimated 21%-25% of the population of the Indian state of Punjab. They form at least half of the Sikh population in Punjab, with some sources estimating them to be about 60% to 66% of the Sikh population.
According to censuses of the British Raj period, most Sikh Jats were converted from Hindu Jats. The relationship between the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities of the Punjab region, and between communities such as the Jats and the Rajputs, has been ambiguous over many centuries. The various groups often claim similar origins while asserting their distinctiveness.
Some Jats started to follow the teachings of Guru Nanak in small numbers and these swelled after the formation of the Khalsa. They formed the vanguard of Sikh resistance against the Mughal Empire from the 18th century onwards. W. H. McLeod, basing his work on the martial race theory, says that the Jats began to join Sikhism in large numbers during the period of the sixth guru, Hargobind,[full citation needed] but this theory has been rebutted by Jagjit Singh, a Sikh historian.
At least seven of the 12 Sikh Misls (Sikh confederacies) were led by Jat Sikhs.
Influence of Sikhism on Jats
Irfan Habib has argued that Sikhism did much to uplift the social status of Jat people, who were previously regarded in the Punjab as being of Farmer or Vaishya status in the Hindu ritual ranking system of varna. Kishan Singh says
A serious contradiction afflicts the Jat farmer of the Punjab. He has unflinching faith in Guru Gobind Singh, yet at the same time he is imbued with traits typical of a Jat. There are two sides to the Jat’s known traits. One has a positive effect in the sense that it saves him from feeling inferior; and the other side is negative. It makes him overbearing and arrogant which is a disease. A Jat’s negative traits can be suppressed only through the true spirit of Sikhism.
Jat Sikhs, according to Major A. E. Barstow, were very good soldiers due to the influence of Sikhism, and possessed more of a martial quality than their non-Sikh Jat brethren. Barstow further comments, that due to their diet and their fondness for wrestling (something encouraged and taught by Guru Angad to the Sikh people) and weightlifting, they possessed good physical attributes for soldiery. According to R. W. Falcon, Jat Sikhs (alongside other Sikhs) were seen as a good source for recruitment. According to Captain A. H. Bingley they were particularly loyal soldiers.
In Punjab (India), Jat Sikhs are associated with agricultural pursuits and land ownership. They own more than 80%, and possibly as much as 95% of available agricultural land in Punjab. They often reside in the rural areas, and are economically influential in the state.
- Nicola Mooney (1995). "The Yeoman Jats of Punjab: Time, Expertise and the Colonial Construction of Jat Sikh Identity". Anthropologica. Anthropologica, vol. 55, no. 2, 2013, pp. 277–290. 55 (2): 277–290. JSTOR 24467328.
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- The transformation of Sikh society — Page 92 by Ethne K. Marenco - The gazetteer also describes the relation of the Jat Sikhs to the Jat Hindus ...to 2019 in 1911 is attributed to the conversion of Jat Hindus to Sikhism. ...
- Social philosophy and social transformation of Sikhs by R. N. Singh (Ph. D.) Page 130 - The decrease of Jat Hindus from 16843 in 1881 to 2019 in 1911 is attributed to the conversion of Jat Hindus to Sikhism. ...
- Dhavan, Purnima (2011). When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799. Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780199756551.
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- Perspectives on Sikh Studies and The Development of Sikh Militarisation by Jagjit Singh Page 92 onwards courtesy http://www.globalsikhstudies.net/pdf/per-sikh-studies.pdf
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The Jats have long been distinguished by their martial traditions and by the custom of retaining their hair uncut. The influence of these traditions evidently operated prior to the formal inauguration of the Khalsa.
- Singh, Jagjit (1 January 1998). The Sikh Revolution: A Perspective View. New Delhi: Bahri Publications. p. 262. ISBN 8170340411.
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- Barstow, A. E., (Major, 2/11th Sikh Regiment-Late 15th Ludhiana Sikhs), The Sikhs: An Ethnology (revised at the request of the Government of India), reprinted by B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, India, 1985, pp. 62–63, first published in 1928.
- Barstow, A.E., (Major, 2/11th Sikh Regiment-Late 15th Ludhiana Sikhs), The Sikhs: An Ethnology (revised at the request of the Government of India), reprinted by B.R. Publishing Corporation, Delhi, India, 1985, pp. 155, first published in 1928.
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- Ratan Saldi (6 June 2009). "Caste System Among Sikhs In Punjab". Asian Tribune.
- Multiple sources:
The Sansis of Punjab; a Gypsy and De-notified Tribe of Rajput Origin, Maharaja Ranjit Singh: The Most Glorious Sansi, p 13, by Sher Singh, 1965, Original from the University of Michigan
Tribalism in India, p 160, by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Edition: illustrated, Published by Vikas, 1978, Original from the University of Michigan
Sociological Bulletin, p 97, by Indian Sociological Society, Published by Indian Sociological Society, 1952
Indian Librarian edited by Sant Ram Bhatia, p 220, 1964. Item notes: v.19–21 1964–67, Original from the University of Michigan
The Sikhs in History, p 92, by Sangat Singh, Edition: 2, Published by S. Singh, 1995, Original from the University of Michigan
Some Aspects of State and Society Under Ranjit Singh, p 5 By Fauja Singh, Published by Master Publishers, 1981, Original from the University of Michigan
Preminder Singh Sandhawalia (1999). Noblemen and Kinsmen History of a Sikh Family: History of a Sikh Family. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 81-215-0914-9
Jean-Marie Lafont, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord of the Five Rivers. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
- Mooney, Nicola (2011). Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity Among Jat Sikhs. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0802092571. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
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