It was 2011 when I came in contact with many Kashmiris who later became friends, shared neighborhood, developed social bonding with many intellectuals, businessmen, journalists, educated govt. employees and much more. Most awkward thing I noticed and faced among them was their attitude toward the peoples of Rajouri-Poonch whom they call Gujjars in whole. In case they find Kashmiris begging on streets in India these social networking heroes of Kashmir label them as Gujjars. If a police man is killed despite knowing his name which includes the surname of Mir, Bhatt, Dar etc, he is labeled with Gujjar title followed by a word traitor. The one who favors India from Kashmir is labeled as Gujjar. My disappointment deepened when recently in winters I tried a wholly solely conversation with a group of educated Kashmiris. When I declared myself a Gujjar they were not accepting it.
O bhayaa kya bolte ho hum apko jante hain aap padhe likhe ho aap Gujjar ho hi nhi sakte!!
One can usually listen to following phrases spoken by Kashmiris if he/she understand Kashmiri.
1. Kol gujjar yi kya chut logmut barabar ha chuk gujjar bhai basan
( gujjar kahega yeh kya lagaya hai bilkul gujjaru jese lag gaye ho)
2.Yi kya chut kormut kihin chuyi ni rothmut barabar chak gujrian de’n hich basan
(Yeh kya kiya huwa hai kuch b ni raha hai bilkul gujjar dayan jesi lg rahi ho)
3.Kem gujir balayi legmit atas as ‘
( kese gujjar humare sar lag gaye hai)
4.Gujjarian ayi kyaz chuk khewan/ chewan/beyhwan …
(Gujjaru ki tarah kyu khate(khewan) pite(chewan) bethte (beyhwan) ho)
5.Gujjar khaslat cheyi tsamis
( Gujjar khaslat agayi hai ap mein
And many more .
They generally think that they belong to higher caste and Gujjars are low caste. Today in this age of modernization and digitalization one who is still rooted with this type of mentality is really curb to society, but unfortunately it has become important to describe them who belongs to which community or caste.
Who are Gujjars?
Gujjars are from a ruling class of medieval India ie Pratihars, Hunas etc, the one who ruled for 250 years, one who are known as defenders of India from the Arab invasion. (Read history of Gujjars)
Gujjars have also references in ancient Indian history as in Ramayana. A war was fought between the gods and the evil spirits. The Gujjars fought against the devils under King Dasharatha. In Mahabharata also, there are references to Gujjars. They were found along with Krishna who migrated from Mathura to Dwarka, Gujarat.
Hence Gujjar is a ruling class in history and belongs to Kshatriya clan (Fighters & Kings).
Nowadays Gujjars are 6 million in population in India and expanded across a sub-Asian continent. 35 Lakhs (approx) in Jammu Kashmir. Two sects of Gujjar residing in Jammu & Kashmir are Gujjars and Bakarwals. Bakarwals are mainly nomadic who rear sheep and goats. An average Bakarwal owns 200 to 500 sheep and goats including 10 to 20 horses in average. You may calculate his wealth. Most of the prophets were nomads as they used to rear sheep and goats.
Keeping in view nomadic culture, surviving on high altitudes with lack of basic necessities and struggle (which doesnt mean that the person is of low moral or social value) Govt. of India gave a Scheduled Tribe status to Gujjars and Bakarwals on 19 April 1991.
May it be Dr. Ruveda Islam (First women IPS from Jammu & Kashmir), Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary (IAS), DR. Masud Choudhary (Ex.ADGP), Minister CAPD Zulfikar Ali Choudhary and many much more Gujjars lead from the front in every social aspect of life and in the upbringing of society. Every year 30 to 40 % of qualifiers of UPSE in J&K are Gujjars. (Population percentage of Gujjars in J&K is 25%).
No culture, no creed, no class or caste is wrong the person may be right or wrong, his deeds may be good or bad. Lets move toward a progressive and modernized way of life.
Is daur ki zulmat main har qalb e preshaan ko
Wo daag e muhabbat de jo chand ko sharma de
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