Who are the Gujjars?
According to Vincient A Smith’s ‘The Early History of India,’ Gujjars are “allied in blood” to the Huns who poured into the Indian subcontinent after attacking the Kishan Kingdom of Kabul.
Majid Hussain’s Geography of Jammu and Kashmir State argues that the Gujjars used to be inhabitants of Georgia (Gurjia), who crossed Central Asia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass to reach Gujarat probably in the 5th and 6th centuries.
Another theory claims that Gujjars are related to the Rajputs who converted to Islam after losing in the wars with Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and yet another that Gujjars are descended from Isaac himself.
In India, Gujjars are mainly concentrated in the north, across the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Overall, they form 10 per cent of India’s population.
Although the Gujjar diaspora is found across the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan have significant Gujjar populations. In Pakistan, they comprise as much as 20 per cent of the population.
Hindu Gujjars usually belong to the kshatriya varna, although some communities are classified as Brahmin. Gujjars can also be Muslim, Sikh, Christian and presumably Buddhist.