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Gujjar child

Aru Valley, Kashmir

 

Gujjars (also known as Gurjars) entered India along with White Huns in 5th century A.D. from central Asia. Some of their clan names such as Hun, Aftali, etc. indicate that they were a part of the Hun tribe. They established their rule in present day Rajasthan by the name Gurjaratra in the 7th century A.D. Mihr Bhoja became their great emperor, who expanded the Gujjar ruled area to almost the entire northwestern part of India.There are several places in India and Pakistan named after their caste name as well as their different clans names such as Gujarat, Gujjaranwala, Gujjarkhan, Gujargarh, Gujarpur, Basigujjaran, Chachian, Khatanian, Kharian, Hunwara and many others. Three states ruled by Gujjar kings were even present at the time of Independence Day of India in 1947, which got merged into India along with other states later on.

 

In Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal areas, Gujjars are mostly pastoral nomads, having no villages or other permanent settlements. They roam behind their herds of cattle on carts and horses and make their temporary settlements under tents in forest areas. They move to high altitude hills in summer and come back to the pastoral grounds of the lowlands in winter. In Haryana and Rajasthan and Gujarat a very small section of Gujjars is semi nomadic while the rest of them in these areas and other areas are well settled people participating in animal husbandry and agriculture. Gujjars of some areas are also viewed by other people as a community of criminals such as cattle thieves, horse thieves and looters. However, this is a misconception. Some of them are very well-to-do and rich landlords. Generally Gujjars are tall, strong and sturdy people with fair skin color and sharp features. They are considered wrestlers from birth in some areas while their other favorite sport is to lift huge, heavy stones. They are also good horse riders.

 

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Taken on June 17, 2011