'Megh Bhagat' - An article from Wikibin by Rattan Lal Gotra
Brief ancient history
Meghs are linked to Indus Valley Civilization. They were the Mediterraneans belonging to Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Sumer and had permanently settled in the Indus valley area. Like other tribes relating to various races, they came and settled here along with the aboriginals of India. The Mediterraneans in short used to be called Meds and later on as Meghs. Both the words have been used interchangeably at some places in the ancient literature. Lord Cunningham in his book "Archaeological Survey of India" mentioned that Meghs were Pre-Aryans who came to Punjab from Mediterranean countries like Assyria and settled in Sapta-Sindhu area very much earlier than the Aryans. The Meghs played a prominent role in the development of Indus Valley Civilization. These people had good knowledge of the utility of cotton and metals. It was the time when the Aryans used to live nomadic life in Southern Russia or Central Asia. The Meghs had their own language, culture and traditions. They ruled over the 'Sapta-Sindhu' area. It seems that Vritra, a Megh repeatedly mentioned in Rig Veda was their emperor who enjoyed suzerainty over the Sapta-Sindhu city-states. The priest-kings of Harappa culture were the Vritras described as Meghs in the Vedas. Non-Aryans had mostly developed the urban civilization and dwelt in city-state towns. Meghs were Harappans: As stated by Lord Cunningham, the Meghs (weavers) and Takas (fullers, dyers or rangrej, etc.) both have been forerunners in North India. Under Aryan pressure, Meghs migrated to Maharashtra and Vindhyachal region during Megalithic Age and later to Bihar and Orissa.
Buddhism and Meghs
Due to humanistic approach of Buddhadharma and Jainism the Meghs and other Pre-Aryan tribes felt rejuvenated and came under the influence of nonviolence preached by Buddha. Some of the Meghs in J&K even trace their origin from Buddhist King Meghwahan born in Gandhar (Kandahar). After the fall of Buddhist kings, Meghs had again been dealt mercilessly and made to reconcile to their fate.
Due to the Aryan invasions, and other historical reasons, the Meghs were scattered to different locations. Since the Government after 1931 has not conducted caste-wise census, the figures of current population of communities/tribes or castes that constituted the Indus Society are not available. In addition to the term 'Megh', they speak differently stating themselves to be Arya, Bhagats, Kabir-Panthies, Weavers, Bunkars, Meghbansi, Meghowal, Meghwal, etc. However, in addition to J&K, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, there is a good scattering of Meghs in Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Western UP, Gujarat, MP, etc. The blood group analysis (survey) by historians reveals that Meghs belong to the artisan castes of North and Northwestern erstwhile India. Those who call themselves only as Meghs are about 3,50,000 in the Jammu Province, and about 1,25,000 in Himachal. In Punjab (India), their reasonably estimated population including Kabirpanthis is roughly stated to be about 5 Lacs. About 40,000Meghs converted to Islam after the Partition of India are learnt to be living in Pakistan. Total Population of other off shoots of Meghs is yet to be ascertained. However, as per the report of Joshua Project their total population is around 27 lakhs (http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.php)
The Meghs and their associate Pre-Aryan tribes being the permanent settlers naturally resented and resisted the advent of Aryans. The Meghs, after a long tiff with the Aryans, were ultimately defeated. After subjugating them, the Aryans debarred Meghs from doing work pertaining to industrial artisanship, etc. so that they might get annihilated at their own. In Modern India their condition has not improved even to the conservative expectations. Stigma of untouchability is still attached to them which is the worst kind of treatment given to any suppressed class of slaves, castes or Dalits or races in the world. This caste based untouchability in India is worse than racism and aparthied in other countries. Due to this very fact, in independent India, they were included in Scheduled Castes and given reservation in government jobs. It improved their living conditions a bit. They have also been categorized as other backward castes in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, etc. in India. The Government of India, it seems, is persuading private sector to give them reservation in jobs.
Modern History of Meghs and their other nomenclatures
*BHAGAT : In modern times they were admitted to Hinduism through the process of 'Shuddhikaran' by the Arya Samajists and in the process got a new name i.e. Bhagat which is widely accepted in northwest India. It has become quiet popular as it has been derived from the traditions of Santmat (Saintism) of South Asia. This has a reference to Bhaktamala or "The Northern India - Lives of Saints".
*JULAHA : An important artisan class of weavers found more in numbers especially in the Western Districts of erstwhile Punjab. About 92% of the Julahas were converted to Islam during the reign of Aurangzeb. As sectarian groups, They are known as Ramdasias, Kabirpanthis, and lately as Aryas, etc.
*KABIR-PANTHI : Kabir Panthis are the followers of Bhagat Kabir who was said to have born in Benaras and adopted by a Muslim Julaha during the reign of Sikander Shah Lodhi (1488 - 1512 AD). Kabir's doctrine and precepts are embodied in the 'Sukh Nidhan Granth', the 'Bijak' and other books and also incorporated in the holy book Guru Granth Sahib of Sikhs, literature of Radhasoami Mat, literature of Baba Faqir (Dayal Faqir Mat) etc. During the 19th Century, it was said that the Meghs were generally Kabirpanthis, who described themselves as Hindus. However, a few of them considered Kabirpanth as an independent religion.
*MED : Meds were reputed descendants of Ham (Arabs). They dwelt in the Indus Valley from modern Mianwali down to the mouths of the river Sindh. Meds used to be owners of sheep.
*MEDH : Balochi boatmen, who later converted to Islam.
*MEDHO : A Gujar clan found in Amritsar during the 19th century. They had converted to Islam.
*MEG : They used to live in the tract immediately below the Jammu hills. They inhibited the banks of the upper Sutlej at the time of Alexander's invasion. They formed a part of fighting armies of Porus and they gave such a stiff fight to Alexander that ultimately, the latter was compelled to change his further plans of conquest.
*MEGAL OR MEGLA : Agriculturist clan found in Multan (Pak.).
*MEGH OR MIHNGH : They were found mainly in Sialkot and along the Jammu border, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Gujrat (Pak.), and Lahore. The Basith, a sub-caste amongst the Mihnghs lived to the North of Jammu Province in a tract extending for 100 miles. They owned and tilled land and some of them also entered the State services. Another sect among Meghs was the Dhian, that was also found in Jammu hills. By occupation, the Mihnghs were largely weavers. Indeed in Gujrat (Pak), they used to be called as 'Mengh' that appeared to be merely a synonym for Julaha or weaver. They also used to follow various other pursuits like service as field laborers or domestic servants. They remained followers of Kabir.
*MEGHWAL : They are found in Sirsa and Marwar in Rajasthan
*MEGHWAR : They live in India in areas of Gujrat and Rajasthan.
*MENG : In Rawalpindi, the Mihnghs were called Meng.
*MEN : An agricultural clan found in Multan, who used to call themselves as 'Arains'. It appears that the word 'Men' originated from the word 'Mengh'.
*MENGHWAL or MEGHOWAL : The Dhedhs of Bahawalpur preferred to be called as Menghwals. By occupation, they were generally weavers, manufacturing blankets. The term Menghwal is undoubtedly only a variant of Megh. Meghowals claim descent from 'Megh Rishi' who was said to have been created by Narayan.
*METHA : A Balochi fisherman, later converted to Islam. (See Medh.)
*PANGWAL : They included Meghs, Halis, Lohars and Dakis in the Pangi 'Wizarat' of Chamba state. Pangwal is the generic name for them. The family traditions of the Pangwals point to their having emigrated from the lower Chenab, Ravi, Beas valleys, and Lahaul.
*PAOLI & BHAKRI : At Pakpattan in Montgomery, there were two castes of weavers, one called 'Bhakri' whose women weaved and the other was called Paoli.
Their Present Religious Beliefs
Ancestral worship is practiced by many of them at 'Deries' or 'Deras' mostly located in Jammu and other places. They mainly follow Sant Mat i.e. Kabir Panth, Radha Soami Mat, Sant Nirankari Mission, Guru Gaddis etc. inclusive of other minor sects which stand for respect, coexistence and betterment of humanity, and then Arya Samaj and Sanatandharm also. A few of them follow Baba Faqir (a disciple of Shiv Brat Lal) or Dayal Faqir Mat which has been highlighted by David C. Lane in his book 'The Unknowing Sage'.
During the twentieth century, the Meghs in Punjab have adopted new professions in the small-scale industries like sports, hosiery, surgical and metal goods, etc. after learning the requisite skill sets. Since the implementation of land reforms by the J&K government, many of them have become petty agriculturists, but a few are still agricultural laborers. With reservation in the services some of the people among Meghs and their associated communities are engaged in government jobs. A very few among them have been serving in higher positions in the Indian Administrative services (IAS), Indian Police services (IPS) etc., medicine, engineering, bank management and other class-I services. Many of them have glorious achievements due to their highly professional attitude. Recently, some are also placed in the multinational companies and other private jobs. A negligible number of them are running micro-business units or the small-scale manufacturing enterprises.
The Megh women from Jummu and surrounding areas are good looking but rarely participate in cultural activities except religious ones. They wear traditional Punjabi suits and Indian saris as well as modern dresses influenced by western styles. They are becoming socially bold, empowered and culturally vibrant. They wear different types of ornaments as per local traditions, festivals, occasions and conventions. In cities they skillfully prepare sports goods, woolen shawls etc. In villages they work as farm laborers. Their income generating activities include sewing, stitching . They prepare various utility and artistic items using wheat straw. With the advent of modern life styles, women empowerment and education, Megh women have made a beginning in performing arts and politics. At least one of them namely Ms. Suman Bhagat rose to the level of a Minister in the government of Jammu and Kashmir and Ms Vimla Bhagat was the first Megh Bhagat lady to become Class-I officer in Indian Administrative Services (IAS).
1. 16-05-2010 16:57
AN APPEAL TO THE MEGH BROTHERHOOD
(Emancipation from the present Hell lies in our own hands)
In view of the inclusion of a column on caste in the census schedule of Census-2011, an emergent meeting of the representatives of various social and cultural organizations of the Meghs was held in Jalandhar on May 2, 2010. It was unanimously decided that to ensure proper enumeration of Meghs, the heads of families of Megh Brotherhood must mention/state their caste as ‘Megh’ in the relevant column of the census schedule, as this census is going to have wider implications having long-term consequences.
The data on caste was first compiled in 1931 and this exercise is now being done after a gap of 80 years. Although we are against casteism which is basically against all human values and human rights and imposes untold miseries, limitless disabilities, ruthless economic exploitation and social exclusion on the basis of artificial notions of purity and pollution on the lower castes, yet we have to face the ground realities of the monster of caste as existing in India in a bold and intelligent manner.
It is, therefore, appealed to all members of the Megh Brotherhood that they should be aware of the implications of the ongoing Census-2011 in order to meet the future challenges relating to our socio-economic, cultural and political disempowerment and dis-abilities. It will also help us to know our true strengths and weaknesses, create mutual social-networking and organize ourselves to translate the goal of our emancipation into reality.
2. 16-05-2010 17:06
It is a remarkable and timely appeal, which should be adhered to by all Meghs to meet the present challenges being faced by them in all socio-economic, cultural and political fields.
3. 07-07-2010 15:35
very exclusive information. if anybody have more info about megh/bhagat and mandle subcast pls share with me. i will be very thankful.
+91 98150 70059
4. 17-07-2010 10:10
Great information here. Thanks to the writer and comment writers.
5. 10-08-2010 06:28
Emancipation of Meghwal society:
No doubt aricle is giving lot of information about the past of society and show that Meghwal and complete Indian society progressed under the banner of Buddhism.
Buddhism was destroyed from land of its origin and rest is the dark era for majority of Indians. Now, buddhism is getting reestablished in India, a social process initiated by Dr. Ambedkar. Now, it is upto Meghwal brothers to throw their fake identity and symbols of cultural slavery by embrassing their original identity i.e. Buddhism.
6. 11-08-2010 17:36
MASS KILLING OF MEGHS BY ANCIENT ARYANS
Repeated descriptions of Indira and Dasyu/Dasa/Meghs in Rigveda indicate that the Aryans had to struggle for long (about 500-600 years) in order to gain control over the Sapta Sindhu empire ruled by Meghs (who in the Aryan literature also find mention as Dasyu, Dasa, Asur, etc.). Among the Megh rulers, Vritra (known as Megh Rishi) was the prominent emperor. This struggle is mentioned in the hymns (R.V. II-12-4, II-11-4, II-11-5, II-11-19, VI-16-15). In some 100 Hymns out of 10,000 Hymns of Rigveda, it is found that the Aryans prayed to Gods for providing them wealth, women and cows of the enemies. The following Rigvedic hymns reveal the massacre of their enemies who have been addressed as Asuras/ Dasyus/ Dassas or Meghs. In Rigveda, the word Asura has been used atleast of 47 times and refers to Meghs. The word Megh figures for about 38 times, out of which only at two places or so, it refers to the clouds. Scientifically thinking, the clouds are harbingers of rains. The word Megh, in fact, has been frequently used to refer to Vritra or to the people following him or his subjects under his rule. Therefore, Vritra has also been mentioned as 'Pratham Megh'(RV-I/32(4).
MASS KILLINGS IN MENTIONED IN RIGVEDA
R.V. HYMN NO. PERSONS KILLED
IV/30/13 to 15 500,000
VIII/85/13 to 18 010,000
TOTAL No. of Mass Killings= 8,16,196
What is the use of comments, if they thrown into the wikibin?
Kudos to you, Sir, for furnishing rare information and timely appeal. Unity in our community fails to stand the test of time. Now we have enough intellecdtual buffer to be utilised for our unity to exhibit our strength / standing in the society. I am from
Basti Danishmandan, Jallandhar, presently working as Director, SBI Rural Self Employment Training Institute, Korba, Chhatisgarh and going to retire in 2013.
I heave some more inf. about megh, +918826006636
Megh will certainly regain glory with the spread of proper education and resources. The present will not be tomorrow.
यह आलेख श्री Rattan Gottra के एक लंबे आलेख पर आधारित था जिसका प्रयोग मैंने विकिपीडिया पर \'मेघ भगत\' आलेख लिखने के लिए किया था. लेकिन विकिपीडिया की नीति के अनुसार इसे स्वीकार नहीं किया जा सकता था क्योंकि यह आलेख पुस्तक रूप में कहीं प्रकाशित नहीं था और तब मेघ भगत समुदाय इंटरनेट और साहित्य में नोटेबिलिटी की कसौटी पर खरा नहीं उतर रहा था. रतन गोत्रा जा का आलेख केवल एक ब्लॉग पर लिखा गया था. आगे चल कर विकिपीडिया पर उपलब्ध विद्वानों ने खोजबीन करके निष्कर्ष निकाला कि मेघ भगत, मेघवाल और मेघवार समुदाय मूलतः एक ही समुदाय है और उन्होंने \'मेघ भगत\' आलेख को \"मेघवाल\" आलेख में शामिल कर दिया जो बहुत व्यावहारिक था. इस जानकारी के लाभ स्वरूप अब मेघ भगतों, मेघवालों और मेघवारों में आपसी सद्भाव बढ़ा है. भविष्य में इनसे आपसी सहयोग की संभावनाएँ काफी बढ़ गई हैं.
यह आलेख Mr. Rattan Gottra के एक लंबे आलेख पर आधारित था जिसका प्रयोग मैंने विकिपीडिया पर 'मेघ भगत' आलेख लिखने के लिए किया था. लेकिन विकिपीडिया की नीति के अनुसार इसे स्वीकार नहीं किया जा सकता था क्योंकि यह आलेख पुस्तक रूप में कहीं प्रकाशित नहीं था और तब मेघ भगत समुदाय इंटरनेट और साहित्य में नोटेबिलिटी की कसौटी पर खरा नहीं उतर रहा था. रतन गोत्रा जी का आलेख एक ब्लॉग पर लिखा गया था.
आगे चल कर विकिपीडिया पर उपलब्ध विद्वानों ने खोजबीन करके निष्कर्ष निकाला कि मेघ भगत, मेघवाल और मेघवार समुदाय मूलतः एक ही समुदाय है और उन्होंने 'मेघ भगत' आलेख को "मेघवाल" आलेख में शामिल कर दिया जो बहुत व्यावहारिक था. इस जानकारी के लाभ स्वरूप अब मेघ भगतों, मेघवालों और मेघवारों में आपसी संवाद बढ़ा है. भविष्य में इनके आपसी सहयोग की संभावनाएँ काफी बढ़ गई हैं.