(c) RELIGIONS AND CASTES

            Principal Communities.-The total population of the district, according to the 1961 Census was 1534916. The Sikhs form the majority and the Hindus come next. In the urban areas, however, the Hindus form the majority and the Sikhs come next. The majority of the Sikhs reside in rural areas. The religion-wise break-up of the population in the district may be given as under :

 

Religion

Persons

Per 1000

Males

Females

Buddhists

251

0.16

174

77

Christians

33739

21.98

18144

15595

Hindus

506170

329.77

276861

229309

Jains

1987

1.30

1119

868

Muslims

2401

1.57

2125

276

Sikhs

990344

645.21

529376

460968

Other religions

4

N

2

2

Religion and stated

20

0.01

20

-

            The persons belonging to the various Scheduled Castes in the district numbered 305162 (161702 males and 143460 females) and formed 19.88 percent of the total population.

            Casteism is not a problem amongst the Hindus alone. Christians, Muslims and Sikhs are also no exceptions. In this respect the Christians and Muslims residing in the country are different from their co-religionists in other countries.

            Buddhists.-Buddhists number 251 in the district where they have their separate entity. They are mostly from Lahul and Spiti or are refugees from Tibet and are engaged in the woollen trade.

            Buddhism enjoins upon its followers ahimsa and believes in the transmigration of the soul. Its ultimate object is to attain nirvana. Its theology, philosophy and mythology seem to have been inspired by the Upnishdas. Its founder was Gautam, the Buddha. Buddhism is almost silent about the existence of God. This religion did make notable progress during the reign of Ashoka in northern India also, but its influence declined after harsha Vardhana and, thereafter, it never regained its previous popularity. The Buddhist population in the district is almost entirely either from Lahul and Spiti, or from Tibet.

            The sacred books of the Buddhists are Tripatakas which are also of immense value from the historical view-point.

            The Buddhists do not believe in the caste-system. Their important festival is Buddha Jayanti.

            Christians.-They number 33739 (18144 males and 15595 females) in the district. The Amritsar Mission dates back to 1852 when T.H. Fitzpatrick and Robert Clark, the first missionaries of the Church of England appointed to the Punjab, arrived there. The principal mission in the district was conducted jointly by the Church Missionary Society and the Church of England Zanana Missionary Society. Substations of the Mission were also opened in important towns of the Majha tract such as Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Jandiala Guru4.

            At present, the different missions functioning in the district are : Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Salvation Army, Methodists and Seventh-Day Adventists.

            4Article entitled “The Singh Sabha Anniversary” by Professor Harbans Singh, published in The Sikh Review, February 1972, Vol. XX, No. 219, pp. 37-44

            Robert Clark, The Missions in the Punjab and Sindh (revised edition of 1904)

            Hindus.-Out of the total population of the district, 506170 are Hindus (276861 males and 229309 females). They are mostly settled in towns. They also hold land and in certain villages they are also engaged in cultivation. The Scheduled Castes amongst the Hindus, settled in the villages, work as tenants or agricultural labourers.

            Hindus are divided into various groups, viz. Brahmins, Khatris, Aroras, Banias, Suds, Rajputs, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes. These groups are further subdivided into castes and subcastes5. The persons belonging to each group generally make matrimonial alliances within their own castes and sub-castes. Though by and by the caste-system is getting relaxed, yet it retains considerable hold over the society. Inter-caste marriages are, however, not so uncommon as they used to be a few decades back. Untouchability, the most deplorable feature of the caste-system, has been abolished by law. Hence, caste is no longer any insurmountable hindrance in contracting marriages and is no longer a hallmark of social status.

            The distinguishing featues of the different social groups are described as follows :

            5. In his book entitled Political and Social Movements in Ancient Punjab, Dr. Buddha Prakash has identified modern castes of the Punjab with ancient tribes that came from Centrl Asia settleled in India, as under :

Aroda

Aratta, Arastraka

Bagga

Bhagala

Badhwar

Bhadra

Bedi

Do

Bahl

Balhika

Behl

Do

Bhalla

Do

Bhalka

Do

Bhallar

Do

Bhallowana

Do

Chawla

Jaula

Gujar

Gurjara, Khazar Wu-sun

Gujar

Huna

Huna

Jarta-Jatioi

Jat

Yavanaja-Ionian

Joneja

Kamboja

Kamboh

Kamboja

Kang

Kang-kiu

Kapur

Arjunayana (?)

Khanna

Khyon (Khionite)

Kharoti

Kharostha

Khosla

Kusulaka

Khokar

Karaskara

Madan

Madra

Malava

Malava-Malloi

Mehra

Maga

Osahan

Sahi (Saka)

Pathan

Paktha

Puri

Paurava

Saluja

Salvaja-Salva

Sahni

Sahanusahi-Kusana

Sikka

Saka

Soi

Sai-Wang (Saka)

Sondhi

Saundika

Sud

 

Sulka

Sulik-Sogdian

Suri

 

Tokhi

Tukhara

Thakar

Tukhara

Vishnoi

Tukhara

Vishnoi

Vaisnava-Vasudevaka

Wadev

Do

 

Brahmins

            There are ten groups amongst Brahmins. Of these, the Sarsuts, Kankubjas, Gaurs, Utkals and Maithals are called Panjgaur ; and the Darbara, Tailang, Maharashtras, Gurjars and Karnataks are called Panjdarbaris. The Brahmins residing in the district are Sarsuts. They are of more amiable nature than their Gaur counterparts. They are also more tolerant and freely mix up with the people of other castes, e.g. Khatris, Banias, Suds and Aroras.

            Sarsut Brahmins are further divided into subcastes. Bahris (twelve) have twelve subcastes within which they contract marriages. Baunjais (fifty-two) have fifty-two subcastes and they also contract marriages among themselves. Another group, Asht-bans (eight subcastes), namely, Sand, Shori, Pathak, Mahrur, Joshi, Tiwari, Kural and Bhardwaj, marry their daughters only in these subcastes. Mohyal Brahmins have five subcastes, viz. Datt, Bali, Mohan, Lau and Chhibber. They own land and do not practise priestly duties. They also contract marriages amongst their own five subcastes. After the partition, the restrictions in respect of marriage, etc., within different Brahmin castes and subcastes, have mostly disappeared.

            The Brahmins in the district are usually handsome and well-built like other residents. They are engaged in public services, business, industry and agriculture. They also perform priestly duties-their hereditary profession. The number of those mainly engaged in priestly duties is, however, on the wane.

Khatris

            The word Khatri is derived from the Sanskrit word Kashatriya. Like Brahmins, they are also divided into various groups. The Baunjais (fifty-two) have fifty-two subcastes and contract marriages within these Khatri subcastes. It is said that the Baunjais form that group of Khatri subcastes of the West Punjab, particularly Multan, who submitted a memorandum to Ala-ud-Din Khilji against his order or widow remarriage. Another group of Khatris of the eastern Punjab, who refused to sign the said memorandum, were called ‘Shara-ain’ (law-abiding), which later became corrupted to be called Sarin. Sarins also contract marriages among the subcastes falling under the Sarin group. Another group, called Khokhrain, is said to consist of the descendants of certain families of Khatris who were believed to have joined Khokhars in a rebellion and the other Khatri families were loath to have matrimonial relations with them. Khokhrain khatris are Sethi, Kohli, Chadha, Bhasin, Suri, Sabharwal, Ghai, etc. The group bahri among Khatris does not mean twelve, but groups of those subcastes whose ancestors went to Delhi in attendance upon one of Akbar’s Rajput wives and who, separated from other Khatri subcastes, married only within the said groups of subcastes. The prominent subcastes among Bahris are Mehrota or Mehra, Khanna, Kapur and Seth. There is another group of subcastes, called Dhaigharas, who contract marriages within their own group.

            Before the partition (1947), the Khatris residing in the Amritsar District were mainly Baunjais. The Khatris who had come here from the eastern Punjab were generally Sarin. The Khatris of Amritsar, engaged in business, are mainly those of Lahore and Multan. They had shifted to this place when Guru Ram Das founded the town and made it a great religious and commercial center. These Khatris contracted marriages among the Khatris of the city who are from all the Khatri groups. However, in recent times, they have made a departure from their old practice and have started contracting marriages outside the district also. They are easily distinguishable on the basis of their peculiar dialect and dress. They are very handsome and of good disposition. They physical features indicate considerable similarity with those of the people of Kashmir. It is likely that they contracted marriages in Kashmir since, being engaged in the woollen trade, these trading classes remained in contact with that area for a considerable period.

Aroras

            Aroras trace their orogin from the Khatris. It is said that Khatris are Khatris of Lahore and Multan, whereas Aroras are Khatris of Aror, modern Rori and Sukkar (Sind) in Pakistan. There is a street in Amritsar named as ‘Arorianwali Gali’. The Aroras seem to have settled in Amritsar during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh or even earlier. It is presumed that they migrated to Amritsar from Lahore to which place they might have originally migrated from Sind or Multan. This is inferred from the fact that, after a very long stay in the central Punjab, they ceased to speak their Lehndra dialect. After the partitition also, the Aroras migrated from Pakistan and mostly settled in the towns. They differ in physique and disposition from the local Aroras.

            Aroras are very energetic and intelligent. They are mostly engaged in trade and industry. They are superior in business acumen to their counterparts settled in the district. A good number of them have also joined public and private services.

            Aroras are divided into three groups, viz. Uttradhi, Gujrati and Dakhna. Previously, they contracted marriages within their own groups but, after the partition, they have started mixing with other groups also.

Banias

            The word Bania is derived from the Sanskrit word banijya or trade. Banias are essentially a commercial class, and can be easily recognized from their peculiar dress. They are of soft disposition. Banias of all subcastes are found in the district as a whole but they are settled mostly in Amritsar. Their number in the district is, however, not considerable.

Suds

            In the district, the Suds are mostly settled in Tarn Taran. Their origin appears to be the same as that of the Raikwals of Delhi and Agra, but they do not intermarry. They are divided into two groups, viz. those belonging to the hilly areas (Uchanda) and plains (Niwanda), socially khara (pure) and gala (inferior) respectively. Previously they did not intermarry, but now such distinctions have disappeared. The Suds settled in the district belong to the former group. They are fair-complexioned and of mild-disposition. they are engaged in business and public and private services.

Scheduled Castes

            The number of Scheduled Castes in the district is 305162. They belong to various groups. Their caste-wise, religion-wise and rural and urban break-up is given in the following statement :

Castes and Religions of the Scheduled Castes in the Amritsar District


Name of the Scheduled Caste

Rural/Urban

Total

Name of Religion

Population

Males

Females

Hindu

Sikh

Males

Females

Males

Females

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Total

Rural

255781

134740

121041

67260

60237

67480

60804

 

Urban

49381

26962

22419

17687

14608

9275

7911

Ad Dharmi

Rural

2047

1125

922

1098

903

27

19

 

Urban

144

71

73

69

68

2

5

Bangali

Rural-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

6

5

1

3

1

2

-

Barar, Burar or Barar

Rural

46

38

8

36

5

2

3

 

Urban

236

148

88

148

88

-

-

Batwal

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

140

79

61

77

61

2

-

Bauria or Bawaria

Rural

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

 

Urban

158

97

61

97

61

-

-

Bazigar

Rural

2602

1306

1296

1227

1219

79

77

 

Urban

135

64

71

64

70

..

1

Balmiki, Chuhra or Bhangi

Rural

13620

7534

6086

7502

6065

32

21

 

Urban

16478

8907

7571

8783

7489

124

82

Bhanjra

Rural

4

-

4

-

4

-

-

 

Urban

7

6

1

5

1

1

-

Chamar, Jatia Chamar, Rehgar, Raigar, Ramdasi or Ravidasi

Rural

5672

2973

2699

2659

2465

314

234

 

Urban

5870

3323

2547

2242

1756

1081

791

Dhanak

Rural

6

6

-

6

-

-

-

 

Urban

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dhogri, Dhangri or Siggi

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

1

-

1

-

1

-

-

Dumna, Mashasha or Doom

Rural

1106

570

536

567

529

3

7

 

Urban

2858

1611

1247

1604

1247

7

-

Gagra

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

3

1

2

1

2

-

-

Kabirpanthi or Julaha

Rural

3785

1981

1804

1874

1696

107

108

 

Urban

3713

2067

1646

1785

1311

282

335

Khatik

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

355

182

173

182

173

-

-

Korior Koli

Rural

11

8

3

8

3

-

-

 

Urban

620

420

200

418

200

2

-

Mazhabi

Rural

217282

114261

103021

47512

42806

66749

60215

 

Urban

14507

7876

6631

160

84

7716

6547

Megh

Rural

93

80

13

80

13

-

-

 

Urban

3046

1565

1481

1543

1460

22

21

Nat

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

4

3

1

3

1

-

-

Pasi

Rural

13

-

13

-

13

-

-

 

Urban

165

132

33

132

33

-

-

Sanhal

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

1

1

-

1

-

-

-

Sansi, Bhedkut or Manesh

Rural

9424

4828

4596

4674

4476

154

120

 

Urban

816

341

475

340

471

1

4

Sapela

Rural

23

2

21

2

21

-

-

 

Urban

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sarera

Rural

-

2

7

2

7

-

-

 

Urban

-

/

1

8

1

-

-

Sikligar

Rural

24

12

12

12

12

..

-

 

Urban

93

43

50

11

25

32

25

Sirkiband

Rural

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Urban

14

10

4

10

4

-

-

Unclassified

Rural

14

14

-

1

-

13

-

 

Urban

2

2

-

1

-

1

-

(Census of India, 1961, Punjab District Census Handbook No. 13, Amritsar District, p. 317)


            For centuries, the Scheduled Castes have remained downtrodden and have been treated as untouchables. After independence, untouchability was made a penal offence, and the Government has taken necessary steps to ameliorate their lot. In Government services, 25 per cent of the posts are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 5 per cent for the Backward Classes. Land is being given to the landless Harijans. Loans and grants are given to enable them to start small-scale and medium-scale industries.

            Hinduism, as practiced in the Amritsar District, does not materially differ in main postulates from that practiced in the other districts of the Punjab. At best, Hinduism may be described as a way of living with certain variations in beliefs and modes of religious worship. Hinduism varies from animism (the belief that everything has a soul) to pantheism (identity of God with everything that exists). It is also cynically branded as a conglomerate of heterogeneous beliefs. Religion stands for a broad catholic outlook and tolerance for others’ beliefs.

            Hindus include the followers of various sects, e.g. Sanatan Dharm, Arya Samaj and Radhasoami. Among Sanatan Dharmis, the worship of various avtars, like Ram and Krishan, and of devis (goddesses) e.g. Vaishno Devi, Chintpurni, Jawalaji, Naina, Devi and Shitla, is quite common. Of late, Bhajan kirtans, i.e. recitations of devotional songs in praise of gods and goddesses, have become popular. Jagratas (recitation of devotional songs throughout the night) are also held.

            People also worship animate and inanimate objects, e.g. the cow, the peepal-tree and the tulsi plant. They also believe in phallic worship.

            Superstitions and belief in witchcraft, sorcery, etc. are common among illiterate persons.

            Radhasoamis.- The Radhasoami Sat Sang, Beas, was founded by Baba Jaimal Singh in 1891. At the instance of his guru, Swamiji Maharaj of Agra, he founded the Dera, situated on the western bank of the River Beas. These headquarters of the sect are known as Dera Baba Jaimal Singh and are situated about 8 km from the Beas Railway Station (in the Amritsar Tahsil). By the end of the nineteenth century, there were only a few huts. Baba Jaimal Singh was succeeded by Baba Sawan Singh. During his pontificacy for nearly 40 years, the sect progressed, and more and more of satsangis were enrolled. He was succeeded by Baba Jagat Singh. The present Guru, Baba Charan Singh – the fourth in the line – is the grandsom of the second Guru, Baba Sawan Singh. In 1957, he transferred the entire Dera property, valued at about 6-7 lakhs of rupees, to the corporate body of the satsangis. Up to that time, the Guru was its legal owner. The Guruship is not hereditary, but is bestowed by the living Guru an another, keeping in view his merit, sense of duty and dedication. The word Radhasoami, though well known to the Hindus, has a different meaning for the Radha-soamis. ‘Radha’ they interpret as the soul (atma) and ‘Soami’ (the owner), i.e. Parmatma. The name of the sect was probably selected to make it appear most attractive to the Hindus and the Sikhs alike. The sect, popularly known as Sat Sang (congregation), does not require its disciple to renounce his religion. A follower of any faith can become a ‘satsangi’. A person is, however, called upon to abstain from the use of liquor, meat and eggs. The satsangi is required to follow the special moral and religious code. The Guru preaches bani in the form of sayings from different religions. The sect has imbibed the good points of every religion. The Guru gives discourses at Beas – the headquarters – and at other important stations, as and when invited by a sizeable group of devotees. The present Guru has also started giving discourses abroad. He, however, initiates new satsangis into the sect at Beas. The initiation given by him to his satsangis is supposed to be kept secret. In his teachings, his main emphasis is on discovering oneself from within-dasamdwar-the name given to the forehead. He preaches that a living guru or enlightener is absolutely essential for the salvation of a devotee. Satsangis are found all over the world, though their number is small. About 200 foreigners from about 70 countries annually attend the Satsang at Beas. The sect also attaches importance to submission and humility. To curb one’s ego, one is required to perform mitti ki sewa, i.e. to throw mitti (earth) from highlands into ravines washed by the river and Kai ki sewa, i.e. to collect reeds from the bank of the river to be used as fuel for the langar (free kitchen). On the occasions of congregations, outsiders are served food from the langar, whereas the satsangis usually take meals from the canteen on payment.

            The total number of satsangis who have received initiation is over 4 lakhs. Since the statistics are not maintained by the Dera district-wise, it is not possible to give the number of satsangis residing in the Amritsar District. A detailed description of the Dera is given in the chapter ‘Places of Interest’.

            Jains.-The Jains number 1987 (1119 males and 868 females) in the district and have settled mostly in Amritsar, Patti and Jandiala Guru. They are essentially a peace-loving, law-abiding and commercial community. They are engaged mostly in business and industry. They are of medium stature and intelligent and possess special business acumen.

            The Jains are divided into two main groups : Digambara and Shvetambara. The former group roams unclothed and the latter puts on white robes.

            Jains are strictly vegetarian. They even abstain from the use of garlic and onion.

            Muhammadans.-According to the 1961 Census, the number of Muhammadans in the district was 2401 (2125 males and 276 females). They include very few local Punjab Muhammdans. They are usually from Ludhiana or Malerkotla (Sangrur District) and visit Amritsar on business. A good number of the Muhammadans from Kashmir are engaged in shawl-embroidering, and in the darning of woollen garments. There are also a few Muhammadans from the northern Uttar Pradesh, who reside in Amritsar and are engaged in miscellaneous occupations, e.g. tailoring, cobblery, cotton-carding and rickshaw-driving. They are also of the migratory type.

            The Muhammadans have two notable sects, viz. Sunnis and Shias. Before the partition of 1947, the Khoja Muslims, belonging to the Shia faith, were residing in large numbers in Amritsar, but, on the partition of the country they migrated to Pakistan. Presently, the Muslims residing in the district are mostly Sunnis.

            The most important festivals of the Muhammadans are Id-al-Fitar, following the close of Ramzan; Id-al-Azha held on Zu’l Haj 10-the last day of the Haj Pilgrimage and Id-al-Milad, i.e. the celebration of the prophet’s birthday. The Shias observe Muharram, a period of mourning extending over ten days, to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussan and Hussain. The Muslims also celebrate Shab-I-Brat with great pomp and show. Like Diwali among the Hindus, they display fireworks and distribute sweets while celebrating this festival.

            Before the partition, the principal Muhammadan gathering used to be at Kotli Shah Habib, the shrine of the saint near Ramdas in the Ajnala Tahsil. After the partition, there has uccurred neither such a gathering, nor a fair has been held at the shrine of any other Muslim saint in the district.

            Sikhs.-Sikhs number 990344 in the district. They include the Khatri Sikhs, the Arora Sikhs, the Jat Sikhs, the Kamboh Sikhs and the Scheduled Castes Sikhs.

            The Khatri Sikhs have castes and subcastes like the Hindu Khatris. They are divided into different groups, viz. Sarin, Baunjais, Khokarian Bradari, Jumman and Josan. Previously, the Khatri Sikhs used to marry among their respective groups but, after partition, they have started contracting marriages with other Khatri groups as well. The Khatris Sikh contract marriages even with Hindu Khatris.

            The Khatri Sikhs even hold land in the district. They, however, do not cultivate it themselves, but give it on batai. Normally, they are settled in business and industry. They are very apt in business. They are of good disposition like their Hindu counterparts. They have also started joining public and private services. They Hindu counterparts, who have migrated from the N.W.F.P. (Pakistan), are generally engaged in business, including the running of hotels and restaurants.

            The Arora Sikhs are mostly found in big towns, especially in Amritsar. They were living there even before the partition. Their Hindu counterparts, who have migrated from Pakistan, are also very intelligent and hard-working. They believe in the dignity of labour. After the partition, they took up petty jobs and gradually have established themselves well. The local Arora residents are also doing well in business. They have also started joining public services. They are sturdy and of good disposition.

            The Arora Sikhs, too, are divided into sub-castes and groups like those of their Hindu counterparts. They contract marriages with Arora Sikhs and with Arora Hindus. There was a practice among Aroras in Pakistan to make the eldest son in the family a Sikh. Since the district constituted the headquarters of the Sikh religion, this practice was quite common among the local residents as well. Thus many Arora families in the district are a happy blend of Hindus and Sikhs.

            Jats.-The Jats constitute the most important section of the Sikh population. The stronghold of the Sikh Jats is that part of the district, which is known as Majha. This term is sometimes loosely used to denote the whole of the upper part of the Bari Doab, as distinguished from the Malwa, the country lying south of the Satluj, and including most of the Ludhiana, Patiala and Firozpur Districts and part of the Jullundur District. But a Sikh Jat of Amritsar, while speaking of Majha, refers more particularly to that part of the Tarn Taran Tahsil which lies below the Badshahi Road from Atari to Govindwal and to kasur and part of the Chunian Tahsil of Lahore. Ajnala Tahsil is not counted as in the Majha, nor, properly speaking, is the Amritsar Tahsil. Now that the old Badshahi Road has been superseded by the Grand Trunk Road, the limits of Majha have, in common speech, been extended, and the whole of that part of the Amritsar District which lies on the right of a traveler going towards Jullundur on the Grand Trunk Road, is spoken of as Majha. Jullundur and Kapurthala are spoken of as Doaba ; anything beyond that is vaguely termed Malwa ; and different parts of the Amritsar Tahsil are referred to by mentioning the names of some central village, such as “Majitha-ki-taraf” or “Mahta-ki-taraf”. In short, the Sikh Jat of Amritsar, in speaking of Majha, may be understood to exclude the Bangar of the Amritsar Tahsil, the jandiala sand ridge, the naihri (canal-irrigated) country around Amritsar (where Kambohs and miscellaneous tribes become most numerous) and the Ajnala Tahsil where there is a strong admixture of migrants from Pakistan and the Jats, who are so migrants numerous in the riverain tract. The Sikh Jats of whom the Majha Sikhs are the pick, are the finest of the Amritsar peasantry. In physique, they are inferior to no race of peasants in the region, and among them are men who in any country in the world would be considered fine specimens of the human race. The Sikh Jat is generally tall and muscular, with well-shaped limbs, erect carriage, and strongly marked and handsome features. They are frugal and industrious, though not intellectual; they have considerable shrewdness in the ordinary affairs of life, and are outspoken and possessed of unusual independence of character. They are certainly litigious ; their natural stubbornness leading them to preserve in a case long after all chances of success are gone ; but, at the same time, they are perhaps as honest and simple a race as any is to be found in India. They make admirable soldiers, when well led. They are inferior to no Indian troops. They have more dogged courage than dash ; they are steady in the field, and trustworthy in difficult circumstances. In private life, they are not remarkable for chastity, and they are largely addicted to the use of intoxicating drugs or spirits. The women are inferior in physique to the men, and age sooner, probably from the effects of early marriages, and are not remarkable for beauty. But they have the same industrious habits as the men and make excellent housewives, frugal and careful in management, and enjoy a very considerable amount of influence in the family. That the basic characteristics of the race have not changed is evident from Macfarquhar’s sketch in his assessment reports : “Shrewd and assertive, yet ignorant and easily led, every enterprise finds in him a potential recruit. At his best abroad, he is a dullard at home. His lusty brutality sees nothing attractive in spending its energy on improved farming and reacts from the monotony of the rural round in individual violence or as the instrument of mass agitation morcha, and murders are endemic in the Majha. But the turbulent qualities, for which the village offers no safety-valve, serve very well discipline in other spheres. As a fine soldier and a successful pioneer, the Jat is widely known. And, in the evening of life, he returns home from foreign countries or from the army, to exercise his pitiless commercial instincts and invest his earnings for further profit at the expense of his untravelled brothers”. In the Amritsar Tahsil, the Jat “is more sensible and solid fellow than his cousin in the Tarn Taran Majha. His mind is more his own and less the property of every agitator. He is readier to direct his energies into profitable channels and has made a considerable success of commercial enterprises far beyong the borders of the district”.

 

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