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Maharaja Suraj Mal (1707?763) was ruler of Bharatpur in Rajasthan in India. He is known as "Plato" of Jat caste in India. His exact date of birth is not known. He was born in the month of February 1707. He was one of the eighteen living sons of Thakur Badan Singh. Maharaja Suraj Mal created Raja Brajendra Bahadur, married 14 wives, including, (a) Maharani Kishori, (b) Rani Lakshmi, (c) Rani Hansia, (d) Rani Ganga, (e) Rani Kavaria, (f) Rani Khet Kumari.

In the early 17th century, the peasant folk of Bharatpur were being terrorized and ill treated by the Mughals. At this point of time Churaman, a powerful Jat village headman rose against this tyranny but was defeated harshly by the Mughals. This did not remain for long, since the Jats once again came together under the leadership of Badan Singh, and controlled a vast expanse of territory. The Mughal emperor recognized him and the title of ‘Raja?(king) was conferred upon him in 1724.

Deeg was the first capital of the Bharatpur state with Badan Singh being proclaimed its ruler in 1722. He was responsible for conceiving and constructing the royal palace on the southern side of the garden, now called Purana Mahal or old palace. Because of its strategic location and proximity to Mathura and Agra, Deeg was vulnerable to repeated attacks by invaders. In 1730, crown prince Suraj Mal is reported to have erected the strong fortress with towering walls and a deepwater moat with high ramparts about 20 feet wide in the southern portion of the town. In the same year he built the fortress at Kumher.

Raja Badan Singh’s heir, Raja Suraj Mal, was the most famous of the Bharatpur rulers, ruling at a time of constant upheaval around him. Raja Surajmal used all his power and wealth to a good cause, and built numerous forts and palaces across his kingdom, one of them being the Lohagarh (iron) Fort, which was one of the strongest ever built in Indian history. The inaccessible Lohagarh fort could withstand repeated attacks of British forces led by Lord Lake in 1805 when they laid siege for over six weeks. Having lost over 3000 soldiers, the British forces had to retreat and strike a compromise with the Bharatpur ruler. Of the two gates in the fort, one in the north is known as Ashtdhaatu (eight metalled) gate while the one facing the south is called Chowburja (four-pillared) gate.

Maharaja Suraj Mal conquered the site of Bharatpur from Khemkaran Sogaria, the son of Rustam, in the year 1733 and established the Bharatpur town in the year 1743. He fortified the city by building a massive wall around the city. He started living in Bharatpur in year 1753. Maharaja Suraj Mal attacked Delhi on May 9, 1753. He defeated Nawab of Delhi Ghazi-ud-din (second) on May 10, 1753 and captured Delhi. The Nawab of Delhi, in revenge of the defeat, instigated Marathas to attack Suraj Mal. The Marathas laid siege over the Kumbher fort on January 1, 1754. Suraj Mal fought with bravery and gave strong resistance. The Marathas could not conquer the Kumbher fort.

The Marathas were defeated by Afghan armies at the Third Battle of Panipat and a hundred thousand Maratha survivors reached Suraj Mal’s territory while returning south, sans arms, sans clothes and sans food. Maharaja Suraj Mal and Maharani Kishori received them with tender warmth and hospitality, giving free rations to every Maratha solder or camp follower. The wounded were taken care of till they were fit to travel. Thus, Maharaja Suraj Mal spent no less than three million rupees on their sick and wounded guests.

Maharaja Suraj Mal died on 25 December 1763 in war with Najib-ud-dola. At the time of his death Maraja Suraj Mal’s Empire included Agra, Dholpur, Mainpuri, Hathras, Aligarh, Etah, Meerut, Rohtak, Faruqnagar, Mewat, Rewari, Gurgaon and Mathura. He was succeeded to the throne by his son, Jawahar Singh.

Veer Teja Ji (1074- 1103) was a Jat folk-deity who lived in the state of Rajasthan in India. The history of Rajasthan is filled with lots of heroic stories and instances where people have put their life and families at risk and kept the pride and values like loyalty, freedom, truth, shelter,social reform etc intact. Veer Teja Ji was one of these famous people in the history of Rajasthan.

Veer Teja Ji is considered to be folk-deity and worshiped in entire Rajasthan by all communities. He was born on Bhadrapad Shukla Dashmi, dated 29 January 1074, in the family of Dhaulya gotra Jats. His father was Chaudhary Tahar, a chieftain of Khirnal in Nagaur district in Rajasthan. His mother’s name was Sugna. Mother Sugna is believed to have got son Teja by the blessings of Naag-deity.

Teja was married to Pemal, daughter of Rai Mal Jat, of village Paner in early childhood at Pushkar. After marriage there was a dispute between two families in which mama of Pemal and father of Teja were killed. Teja did not know that he was married. His bhabhi, one day, taunted that his wife was in her father’s home and it was same on his part. This prompted him to go to bring his wife from in-laws.

Lachhan Gujari of village Paner helped Pemal to meet with Teja. For this Lachhan rode on camel and went to Teja facing many clashes with Meenas sardars en route. Lachhan reached Teja and gave Pemal’s message that if Teja does not come she will die. Parents of Pemal decided to re-marriage her with some other person. At this time Pemal was going to die but saved by Lachhan. Teja came to Paner and after war with meena sardar did gona with Pemal at Lachhan’s residence.

Meanwhile Teja found that some dacoits had stolen the cows of Lachhan Gujari. Teja, who was made for helping others, decided to bring those cows. The myth is that he encountered a snake burning in fire that was saved by Teja. That snake cursed Teja and wanted to bite Teja. He promised to come back after bringing his wife Pemal. He was badly wounded in the process to bring Gujari’s cows back from dacoits. Veer Teja Ji was man of words. While returning he kept his words and produced himself before the snake. The snake did not find unwounded place on the body of Teja so he offered to bite on tongue. The snake bite was on tongue of Teja. Teja Ji died due to snake bite on 28 august 1103.

Veer Teja Ji was a great saint. A large number of temples of Veer Teja Ji  have been built in entire Rajasthan. It is believed that if a person suffering from snakebite goes to samadhi of Teja or puts a chord (tanti) in Tejaji’s name, he is cured.

A large fair, Mela Tejaji, Takes place on the eleventh lunar day of Bhadrapad Shukla Paksh (Aug.-Sept.) every year in village Parbatsar, District Nagaur in Rajasthan. Veer Tejaji Cattle Fair at Parbatsar near Makrana is also organized every year.

It is primarily a cattle fair but routine things are also bought & sold. Veer Tejaji is known as the protector against snakes, scorpions. It is said that during the 15 days of this fair these reptiles are not to be seen anywhere in the mela. On sacrifice day of Veer Tejaji thousands of people come to Tejaji's Temple for worship.

Jat Origins

According to the ancient literature, Jats are the progeny of Aryaputra Bharat. Jats are inherently very hardworking people, and they are considered to be the backbone of Indian agriculture; known for their valor and religious fervor. Jats claim to be the descendants of Chandravamsha, but there are various Jat castes, which claim to be the descendants of Suryavamsha and Agnivamsha. Historically Jats mixed up with the foreign invaders like Sakyas and Huns; but there are exceptions to prove the point against it; the kingdoms of Bharatpur and Dhaulpur are the live examples.

Under the ‘Karna Parva?of Mahabharata, there is mention about ‘Jarta? which is indicative of Jats. Panini also used the word ‘Jatta? which again is indicative of Jats clan. According to historians, approximately 1500 years ago Jats were an affluent class in the northwest frontiers being the ruling class. When Yaduvamshi Bhatis were forced out of Shalivahanpur, the Jats were also compelled to take refuge under the protectorate of Joshya Rajputs. The first know kingdom established by Jats was ‘Derewal?under Jaisalmer. The land was divided among Jats and Rajputs, but in due course, Rajputs annexed the entire land and Jats were reduced to gypsies; consequently, Jats kept wandering from place to place and their off springs, thus, remained illiterate. They, however, gained expertise in agriculture, which was the mainstay of their livelihood. Leading their life as tribals, the climate had its effect on their nature, thinking, and physical structure. The got mixed up with the local population adopting their customs and religion. Earlier, Jats were confined to Punjab and Sindh only; later, they spread over the Ganges region and Rajasthan. In 1505 AD, Jats supported the invasion by Sikander Lodi in Vamrauli. In reward to their support, Jats were given the kingdom of Mohad, which was later renamed as Dhaulpur in 1806 AD. The second kingdom ruled by Jats was Deem; which later came to be known as Bharatpur in 1723 under the rule of Sinsinvar Jats. Jats fought many battles to maintain their superiority in these kingdoms.

Physically, Jats are well built and sturdy like Rajputs; they are tall, sturdy, having wheatish complexion with a broad forehead and strong arms and broad shoulders. Jats are by nature adamant if they are treated with contempt or injustice; they are more amenable to love and affection; they are independent by nature, self-conscious, and never hesitate to give their life for their self-respect, when needed. They value their self-respect more than anything else.

List of Jat Gotras (clans)

A : Abusaria, Achara, Aftab, Ahlawat, Agre, Ajmeria, Andhak, Antal, Asiagh, Atri, Atwal, Aulakh, Aujla

B : Bachhal, Badesha, Badyal, Bhatoa, Bains, Bajwa, Bajya, Balhara, Balyan, Bamraulia, Bana, Barjati, Barola, Baswan, Bassi, Batar, Beniwal, Benning, Bhadare, Bhadiar, Bhadu, Bhalotia, Bhambu, Bharhaich, Bhari, Bhati, Bhatti, Bhela, Bhichar, Bhind, Bhukar, Bhullar, Billing, Budania, Budhwar, Burdak, Buttar

C : Chahal, Chahar, Chauhan, Chandel, Cheema, Chhillar, Chheena, Chowdhury, Chaitha

D : Dabas, Dagur, Dandiwal, Dalal, Dangi, Deo, Deol, Deshwal, Dhariwal, Dhesi, Dhaliwal, Dhankhar, Dhanoa, Dhama, Dharan, Dharni, Dhatarwal, Dhaulya, Dhaurelia, Dhillon, Dhindsa, Dholia, Dhoot, Dosanjh, Dudi, Duhan

F : Fageria, Fandan, Faugat, Faujdar

G : Garcha Gahlot, Gandhar, Ghatwala, Garewal, Ghumman, Gill, Gauria, Gehlawat, Godara, Ghick, Gora, Goraya, Gosal, Grewal, Gulia, Guram, Gurm

H : Hala, Hanga, Hayer, Hundal

I : Indolia

J : Jakhar, Jaglan, Janghu, Janu, Jatasra, Jatrana, Jatri, Jawanda, Jhajharia, Jhammat, Jhutti, Johal, Johiya, Joon

K : Kahlon, Kadian, Kajala, Kakran, Kaler, Kalkhande, Khalia, Kang, Karhwasra, Kisana, Kaswan, Kataria, Katewa, Kehal, Khainwar, Khakh, Kharb, Khehra, Kherwa, Khichad, Khirwar, Khinger, Khokhar, Khoye Maurya, Kooner, Kuhar, Kular, Kularia, Kulhari, Kundu, Kuntal

L Lalli : Lakra, Lamba, Lather, Langrial, Lakhlan, Lakhan

M: Manes, Maan, Madra, Malik, Mandiwal, Mangat, Mede, Meel, Mehria, Mohar, Moond, Motsara

N : Naga, Nagra, Nagauria, Nain, Nauhwar, Nehra, Nijjar, Nitharwal

O : Ohlan, Ola

P : Pachar, Pachehra, Palsania, Parihar, Pannu, Panwar, Phogat, Pilania, Punia, Punial, Punian, Purwar, Purewal, Potaysir

R : Rajawat, Rajian, Rajaura, Rana, Ranu, Ranwa, Rathi, Rasoda, Rawala, Rehal, Repswal, Riar, Romana, Rulania, Randhawa

S : Sahota Saharan, Samra, Sandhu, Sangwan, Sanghera, Saroha, Sehrawat, Seen, Sehwag, sejwal, Sekhon, Seoran, Sheoran, Shokeen, Seokhand, Sidhu, Sikarwar, Singh, Sinsinwar, Sansanwal, Sirohi , Sial , Sunda, Soban, Solanki, Sohi

T : Tanwar, Tarar, Tatla, Tatran, Takshak, Tevatia, Thenua, Thathiala, Thori, Tiwana, Tokas, Tomara, Tomar, Tungs

U : Uppal, Udar

V : Vanar, Virk, Vaince, Vijayrania

W : Wahla, Waraich, Wainse

Jat Bandhu - 2005

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