Is JATT a caste or an ethnic group?

ranjit singh

New Member
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308
People often label Jatt as a caste, but is this really the case? Is the term Jatt-Sikh really an oxymoron?
As someone who comes from a Jatt family, I have always wondered this.
I am aware that Guru Nanak sought to abolish the caste system and that Sikhs shouldn't engage in casteism. But if Jatt is not a caste, then would it be acceptable for a Sikh to label themselves as a Jatt?
Wikipedia lists Jatts as an ethnic group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jats) and the following article from jattworld.com argues that Jatt is not a caste:

Rebuttals to "Jatt as a Caste" Theory

The biggest Misconception regarding the term "Jatt" is defining it as a "Caste" as per the standards set by the Indian Caste System. Nothing can be far away from truth as this misconception. The fact that Jatt is a Race has been widely supported by both historians and raciologists working in this field and has been discussed in detail. Here are some negations and rebuttals to the false claim that Jatt is a so called "Caste". These rebuttals have not been and cannot be negated and the truth lies in the fact that Jatt is a Race and not a Caste as traditionally thought. Here are five rebuttals that will prove this point.

Rebuttal 1) ETHNIC NATURE: If you look at the Nature of a "Caste", you will notice that its spread throughout India. Eg Caste consists of professions divided into four Categories called Varnas. The Caste System, in its present form, is further based solely upon birth. Thus, as per Caste Rules, Farmer Profession is categorized under Vaisya Category (Varna). And Remember that as per Caste SYSTEM in its present form, this is to be based upon Birth i.e. Farmer's son MUST ONLY be Farmer if Caste System has to be maintained. This point will further be used as a rebuttal in proving how Jatt is not a Caste. Now talking about Ethnicity, you will notice that Caste is not Ethnic in nature at all. Eg a Priest living in North of India will belong to a Brahmin Caste and a Priest living in South of India will also belong to Brahmin Caste. THERE IS NO ETHNIC SIMILARITY HERE. In the same way, NOTE VERY CAREFULLY that a Farmer of North India will be a Vaish and a Farmer of South of India will also be a Vaish. This Logic leads us to conclude that IF Jatt is a Caste (assuming the proposition that Jatts are Farmers) then Jatts must also be Present uniformly throughout India, (just like Brahmins) the land where Caste System is present. But observation tells us that Jatts are only present in Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pardesh. This gives an Ethnic Nature to Jatt Identity strongly proving the case that assumption "Jatt means Farmer" is false and thereby further concluding assumption that Jatt is a Caste is False too. FIRST REBUTTAL OVER.

Rebuttal 2) RACE PRESENCE: It should be noted that this discussion is yet not concerned with Historical viewpoint and raciological and archaeological study of Jatt History. Its just about rebuttals to how Jatt is not a "Caste". What it is then, is a matter of study that will be made in further papers.
Caste is present in different Races. Eg Priestly Caste Brahmins are present in South Indian Dravidian Race as well as in North Indian Races. If its assumed that Jatt is a caste, why then are there no Jatts in, lets say, Dravidian Races? Again, the Ethnic Nature Rebuttal further strengthens this point and further helps this rebuttal in making yet another point in how Jatt is not a Caste.

Rebuttal 3) FUNDAMENTALS OF CASTES: All the fundamentals, rules and regulations of Castes are goverened by Religious Law Books such as Manusmriti written by a man called Manu. All of these books are part of Hinduism, written by Hindu Mystics. Two thirds of Jatt Community does not follow Hinduism and thereby Manusmriti, that defines and regulates the basic backbone of Caste System holds no relevance for this two thirds of Jatt Community who are not Hindus but are Jatts. Yet another strong rebuttal as how Jatt is not a Caste.

Rebuttal 4) PROFESSIONAL NATURE OF CASTES: Castes are professional in nature. Though Caste System further makes it a compulsion to make it based upon birth. But Jatts can be found in just any profession: Business, Politics, Sports and so on. Proving further Jatt is Not a Caste.

Rebuttal 5) CASTE-EXCOMMUNICATION: This is yet another important point. As a punitive measure, the Caste of a person can be degraded if some pre-defined rules are not set i.e. a person who is a Brahmin can be degraded to a Shudra Caste and so on. Thus Caste follows the rule of Ex-Communication. But a Jatt born among the Jatts can, under no condition, be ex-communicated. Good or Evil, a Jatt shall always remain a Jatt.

Together, the above five points of rebuttals thereby confirm the fact without doubt that Jatt is not a Caste.
------------------------------------

What do you all think??? What does it really mean to be a Jatt???
 

Jeeti

New Member
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974
http://bhangrateamsforum.com/discuss/index.php?topic=1005.0

If you go in depth into the discussion above, a few people go into quite a bit of detail about it including Summy.
 

pluthra

Member
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296
1) i gotta say the way u outlined an arguement and did the whole if-then arguement was greattttt (i dont understand logic in words like that-and the fact that i understood that was amazing) ive always wanted to write like that

2) i like the professional nature claim.....i never realized how impaired the lower caste is in hinduism yet as a jatt there is no caste that impairs u to become wat u want to be...every1 is at an equal playin field

3) so now i was just wondering.....is this idea of being a "jatt" a mentality (not in a bad way)....like people develop mentalities that influence them....ex. 3rd world nations have the mentality that they will produce to just survive and produce only enough to live...do not think further than that thus it impairs them.....here the "jatt" mentality is somethin that well i think from the people who do claim to be jatt it pushes them to be a stronger person and stand up for their beliefs...i dont see anythin wrong in people saying that their jatt and backin it up w/valuable reasons y they r as long as they keep up w/the values that it emphasizes

but just wonderin like bak to ur question wat is "jatt" we kno its not a caste and wat do u mean by jatt as an ethinic group?
 

Rohit

New Member
Messages
163
I always assumed Jatt meant a Farmer. And as far as I know that has no association with religion?
 

Jeeti

New Member
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974
Parul said:
1) i gotta say the way u outlined an arguement and did the whole if-then arguement was greattttt (i dont understand logic in words like that-and the fact that i understood that was amazing) ive always wanted to write like that

2) i like the professional nature claim.....i never realized how impaired the lower caste is in hinduism yet as a jatt there is no caste that impairs u to become wat u want to be...every1 is at an equal playin field

3) so now i was just wondering.....is this idea of being a "jatt" a mentality (not in a bad way)....like people develop mentalities that influence them....ex. 3rd world nations have the mentality that they will produce to just survive and produce only enough to live...do not think further than that thus it impairs them.....here the "jatt" mentality is somethin that well i think from the people who do claim to be jatt it pushes them to be a stronger person and stand up for their beliefs...i dont see anythin wrong in people saying that their jatt and backin it up w/valuable reasons y they r as long as they keep up w/the values that it emphasizes

but just wonderin like bak to ur question wat is "jatt" we kno its not a caste and wat do u mean by jatt as an ethinic group?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being Jatt and being proud and stand up for their beliefs (religiously, we have the same as any other supposed ethnic group in the Sikhism religion)....that being said...the only problem is when Jatts look down upon other castes and we tend to do that, it is a serious fault, but one that I am not only accusing others of doing, but I know that I tend to do it myself...so this is where the problem lies with it...I believe it is possible to be proud of your ethnic group without looking down upon others...it is difficult, I'm trying to do it, but most Jatt Sikh parents of old will tend to deviate a bit and speak of other castes in a demeaning manner and its not necessarily their fault either...its the way they've been brought up, but its up to our generation to recognize the problem with this and change our ways...We must all realize that we are Punjabis (can't say Sikhs because there are Jatt muslims, hindus) and must stand together before we go any further..especially now that most of us have migrated here, we must stick together and help each other out..instead of using divisive ethnic groups of old to seperate...

again theres nothing wrong it, unless you begin to talk down of other ethnic groups. having a "jatt" mentality of being a hard worker or tough is a goood thing...but having a "jatt" mentality in which somehow makes u superior to others is probably wrong...but who am I kidding, I am not perfect....I often have a jatt sikh ego going on, but its most important to recognize it and try and change this.
 

sumeet515

Member
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56
neither
its a traditional team who talked alota smack on POL but then ended up stealing their whoel set from youtube
 

Summy

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11
Interesting discussion and absolutely right there needs to be more education about the downfalls of castism and how Jatt is an ethnic group.

Having said that, I never understood why people took pride in being a jatt. Actually I understand why, but I never agreed with it. Firstly, because the posting I put when Guru Nanak Dev Jee said dont be proud to be a jatt. Secondly, because where does the pride in being a jatt stand? Hard work, our compassion right? Brahmins took pride in their ability to be religiously superior. Ramgharia take pride in their own individual chararestistics. But how many people actually know what it means to be a jatt? Or the history assoicated with being a jatt?

In sikhism, we are told to abandon all ties and assoications. We have one assoication, waheguru. So, do I take pride in being Punjabi? Yeah. Should I be, probably not. These are socially constructed variables that change over time. Who knows the meaning of a jatt could change from 100 years from now, but one thing that will always remain consistent will be the meaning waheguru/allah/brahma.

I think, like I said, its okay to have some pride, but I think there are better assoications we should be proud about no matter what your religion might be.
 

ranjit singh

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308
Summy said:
Interesting discussion and absolutely right there needs to be more education about the downfalls of castism and how Jatt is an ethnic group.

Having said that, I never understood why people took pride in being a jatt. Actually I understand why, but I never agreed with it. Firstly, because the posting I put when Guru Nanak Dev Jee said dont be proud to be a jatt. Secondly, because where does the pride in being a jatt stand? Hard work, our compassion right? Brahmins took pride in their ability to be religiously superior. Ramgharia take pride in their own individual chararestistics. But how many people actually know what it means to be a jatt? Or the history assoicated with being a jatt?

In sikhism, we are told to abandon all ties and assoications. We have one assoication, waheguru. So, do I take pride in being Punjabi? Yeah. Should I be, probably not. These are socially constructed variables that change over time. Who knows the meaning of a jatt could change from 100 years from now, but one thing that will always remain consistent will be the meaning waheguru/allah/brahma.

I think, like I said, its okay to have some pride, but I think there are better assoications we should be proud about no matter what your religion might be.
Great points Summy.
A lot of people have false pride (ahankar) in being Jatt.
My pride in being Jatt comes from our warrior tradition, the work ethic which helped make Punjab prosper (even after it was virtually destroyed post-partition), and the fact that all the best Bhangra dancers and singers are Jatt (haha jp).
 

musafir12

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Messages
210
Rohit said:
I always assumed Jatt meant a Farmer. And as far as I know that has no association with religion?
same here but most people dont think or assume that. people have just started to call jatts a caste now i guess.
 

COMTONDAJATT

mint gumri
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302
Okay so, I will try to talk about this off the top of my head and hit some main points from theories I have read and talked to people about.

Jat/Jatt is a community of people who are supposed to be descended from the Massagatae of the Caspian Steppes in Cent. Asia. Others say they descended from the Schythian warriors which could be plausible but the genetics do not really point there.

Since they were not originally of the Indo-European stock that migrated into North India they fell outside of the social stratification known as the caste system. They were labeled shudras on the account they worked in the fields and were interested in livestock husbandry and agriculture.

Eventually man Jat clans married into different communites around the area, and did a number of different types of work from being merchants to being warriors. At this point the religion they followed was a type of local folk religion that combined Vedic beliefs, ancestor worship and local saint worship.

With the advent of Islam and the invasions of Mohammad Bin Qasim into Sindh many Jats fought against the invaders as they did before against Persian rule. Social dynamics changed with some clans converting to Islam because of the social mobility and equality it afforded to them. The bulk though still followed the old ways.

As time went more and more Jats became big fuedal land lords and gained large amount of power, the land owners had titles like Chowdary. They intermingled with other groups even more like the Rajputs, Gujjars and Khatris. That is why you will get an overlap in gotra/clan names between different communittees.

Many Jats became followers of Guru Nanak, since they made up a bulk of the population of Punjab they flocked en masse to his message of equality and love. As Sikhs took up the sword it was the Jats who made up many misls and gained more and more land through conquest. At this point there were Hindu Jats, Muslim Jats and Sikh Jats in that order in regards to numbers. They all got along with each other for the most part, and developed a sense of pride and identity from their enterprising in the fields of agriculture and war.

Many Jat kingdoms such as the Phulkian Dynasty of Patiala, Nabha, Jind and places like Bharatpur in other parts of North India changed the social level for some Jats, yet most were still living in farms and had land and worked on it.

Genetically though, there is not that much difference today between Jats and other communities of the Punjab and North India.

Ok kewl.
 

Mukandpuria

New Member
Messages
1,413
COMTONDAJATT said:
Okay so, I will try to talk about this off the top of my head and hit some main points from theories I have read and talked to people about.

Jat/Jatt is a community of people who are supposed to be descended from the Massagatae of the Caspian Steppes in Cent. Asia. Others say they descended from the Schythian warriors which could be plausible but the genetics do not really point there.

Since they were not originally of the Indo-European stock that migrated into North India they fell outside of the social stratification known as the caste system. They were labeled shudras on the account they worked in the fields and were interested in livestock husbandry and agriculture.

Eventually man Jat clans married into different communites around the area, and did a number of different types of work from being merchants to being warriors. At this point the religion they followed was a type of local folk religion that combined Vedic beliefs, ancestor worship and local saint worship.

With the advent of Islam and the invasions of Mohammad Bin Qasim into Sindh many Jats fought against the invaders as they did before against Persian rule. Social dynamics changed with some clans converting to Islam because of the social mobility and equality it afforded to them. The bulk though still followed the old ways.

As time went more and more Jats became big fuedal land lords and gained large amount of power, the land owners had titles like Chowdary. They intermingled with other groups even more like the Rajputs, Gujjars and Khatris. That is why you will get an overlap in gotra/clan names between different communittees.

Many Jats became followers of Guru Nanak, since they made up a bulk of the population of Punjab they flocked en masse to his message of equality and love. As Sikhs took up the sword it was the Jats who made up many misls and gained more and more land through conquest. At this point there were Hindu Jats, Muslim Jats and Sikh Jats in that order in regards to numbers. They all got along with each other for the most part, and developed a sense of pride and identity from their enterprising in the fields of agriculture and war.

Many Jat kingdoms such as the Phulkian Dynasty of Patiala, Nabha, Jind and places like Bharatpur in other parts of North India changed the social level for some Jats, yet most were still living in farms and had land and worked on it.

Genetically though, there is not that much difference today between Jats and other communities of the Punjab and North India.

Ok kewl.
Nabha....my Mothers' father is the prince of Nabha...or was actually....long story but had to mention it when i saw Nabha
 

COMTONDAJATT

mint gumri
Messages
302
Abhi said:
Nabha....my Mothers' father is the prince of Nabha...or was actually....long story but had to mention it when i saw Nabha
Ok this is kinda creepy because we might be relatives then. My nana's family were the great grandkids of the Maharaja. :D
 
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