Jauhar

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Jauhar, sometimes spelled Jowhar or Juhar, was the Hindu custom of mass self-immolation by women in parts of the Indian subcontinent, to avoid capture, enslavement and rape by any foreign invaders, when facing certain defeat during a war. Some reports of jauhar mention women committing self-immolation along with their children. This practice was historically observed in northwest regions of India, with most famous Jauhars in recorded history occurring during wars between Hindu Rajput kingdoms in Rajasthan and the Muslim armies.

Sultan Alau'd Din put to Flight; Women of Ranthambhor commit Jauhar, a Rajput painting from 1825.

Quotes[edit]

  • The king had heard exceeding praise of her, and he considered how to get possession of her, for he feared lest if he stormed the fort, the RAjA KIrat Sing would certainly make a jauhar, and would burn the girl...
    • TarIkh-i-Sher Shahi of Abbas Khan Sherwani in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, Volume IV, pp. 407-09. Quoted in S.R.Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1999)
  • On the 23rd of the month, the Sultan invested the fort, and ordered the whole army to put forth their best energies to capture it' All of a sudden, by the favour of God, the gale of victory blew on the standards of the Sultan, and the gate was forced open by Malik 'Alau-d din' The Rajputs, retiring within their own houses, continued the contest, and slew their families after the custom of jauhar.
    • Tãrîkh-i-Khãn Jahãn Lodî, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. V, p. 97-101 . Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964.
  • The emperor prayed to the Almighty in the month of Ramzan/March of the same year saying ‘O Allah thou should come to the help of the army of Muslims.’ He further desired that the army should launch a sudden attack on the fort from all sides. The army came up like a huge pack of pigeons and, entered the fort by slaughtering those soldiers, who were guarding its gate. They pierced a group of the enemy by their arrows and killed them. Then they scaled the wall of the fort with much courage and jumped into it. Naturally the fire of battle blazed forth… “Thus the emperor became the owner of the flag of battle, i.e. victorious and the rebels (Kafirs) became the prey of arrows. The breeze of the grace of Allah began to blow. The heart of enemy began to wreathe in pain. By the time of prayer the full volume of sound was blown and delivered the final attack on the Satans. Realizing their helpless condition that wretched race began to slaughter their women and children with their own hands, and set fire to them, reducing (them) to ashes.
    • TArikh-i-Akbari of Muhammad Arif Qandhari, translated into English by Tanseem Ahmad, Delhi, 1993, pp.149-51. Quoted in S.R.Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1999)
  • One report which appeared in The Statesman of April 15, 1947 narrates an event that took place in village Thoha Khalsa of Rawalpindi District. It is a story of tears and shame and also of great sacrifice and heroism. The story tells us how the Hindu-Sikh population of this tiny village was attacked by 3000-strong armed Muslims, how badly outweaponed and outnumbered, the beseiged had to surrender, but how their women numbering 90 in order to “evade inglorious surrender” and save their honour jumped into a well “following the example of Indian women of by-gone days.” Only three of them were saved. “There was not enough water in the well to drown them all,” the report adds.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.

External links[edit]

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