28 February 2004
The Times of India
Jat’s the way: Clansmen talk peace
By Siddharth Varadarajan
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: South Asia’s largest clan of soldiers and farmers, the Jats, are set to become the latest recruits to the cause of peace between India and Pakistan.
The Second World Jat Convention, to be held in Talkatora stadium on Saturday, will take up greater interaction between about 50 million Jats on this side of the border and their 15 million-odd clansmen on the Pakistani side. The aim: to ensure ‘‘Jat blood’’ — as well as of any other type, presumably — will no longer be spilt in war.
‘‘The Jats are a massive chunk of the Indian and Pakistani army, and for 50 years we have been slaughtering each other. You have a clan on both sides which is basically the same,” says Amit Dahiyabadshah, the brain behind the meet.
Poets to interact
The Jat convention will feature Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, former interior minister of Pakistan, as a keynote speaker.
Ahsan, a prominent Jat leader from Gujrat in West Punjab, held the key interior portfolio in Benazir Bhutto’s first government from 1988-90 and is currently a member of National Assembly on a Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) ticket.
Also on the convention’s agenda is an interaction with Jat poets from Pakistan.
‘’When Alexander attacked India, he made a truce with our ancestors, the Dahiyas and Kangs, and then attacked Porus, who was also a Jat. Jat blood was spilt on both sides. Since then, we’ve learnt nothing,’’ he says.
Anxious to dispel the myth that Jats are ‘’backward’’, Dahiyabadhshah will move a resolution at the convention ‘’recognising that female foeticide is a dangerous trend that will eliminate the Jat kaum by eliminating the Jat woman’’.