The Land of Five Rivers
Origin of the Saka Races
Collapse of the Brahminist Empire
Survivals of Sakas
Based on coins, inscriptions, archeology and early Indian/Buddhist/Chinese/Greek/Persian manuscripts dating back to 500 BC, historians and ethnographers since the 19th century (e.g. Cunningham, Tod, Rapson, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, Sharma, Sinha, Puniya etc.) have shown that the traditional agrarian and artisan communities of the entire northwest (e.g. Jats, Gujars, Tarkhans, Khatris, Ghakkars, Rajputs, Awans, Khambos, Lohars, Yadavs, Ahirs, Meos, etc. including various BC groups) are descended from Scythian (or Saka) tribes of central Asia (an aggressive and expansionist old Iranian speaking culture) who settled western and north-western South Asia in successive waves between 5th century B.C. and 1st century AD. The capital-lion Saka inscriptions at Peshawar and Mathura state "Sarvasa Sakasthanasa puyae" (for the merit of the people of Sakasthana). Inscriptions and coins mentioning `Sakastan' are found all over the Saka core region of Rajasthan-Gujarat and surrounding tracts.
Ethnological information collected in colonial censuses shows that the majority (+65%) of the population of the west ("Sakasthan" including Rajasthan, Gujarat, northern Maharashtra, Punjab and western UP) is of Saka origin. Terms like "Sakasthana" and "Saka" appear on ancient Saka inscriptions and coins found as far as Mathura, Ujjain and Vidharba in western UP (former United Provinces), western MP (Malwa) and Maharashtra, respectively. Other major Saka cities and centers include Jodhpur, Jaipur, Sialkot, Jalandar, Taxila, Moga, Ropar, Patiala, Batinda, Peshawar, Kabul. Peshawar and Mathura were the twin capital of the Kushana Sakas.
The Sakas have left their deep imprint on the ethnic composition, ethos, cultural heritage, political institutions, social customs, dress, kinship patterns, folk dances and cuisine of the Punjab and other provinces of Sakasthan. These include : democratic-republican political systems and institutions, elected panchayat, sarpanch, thok, khaap, sarva khaap; kurta-pajama, uchkin, turban, salwar-kameez, ghagra; bhangra, giddha, dhol, tumbi, thadi-jathas; diet based on wheat, meat, onions, sour-milk (lassi), liqor; an ethos and tradition showing a high affinity for self-sacrifice and heroism, a strong sense of self-honor (ankh) and independence, strong work-ethic; a secular, unorthodox, mystical and humanistic outlook towards religion and spirituality, etc.
Interestingly, in the orthodox Brahmanical culture of the eastern subcontinent, the use of onions, meat and liqor was taboo and the diet based on rice. Moreover, traditional Brahmanical dress consisting of the sari and dhoti are visibly different in appearance and style from the traditional uchkin, turban, kurta pajamas, jodhpurs, salwar kammeez and ghagra worn by the Mughal-Saka populations in the north and west.
If the Sakas or Scythians did not conquer and settle the west and northwest, how does one explain the capital-lion Saka inscriptions at Peshawar and Mathura state "Sarvasa Sakasthanasa puyae" (for the merit of the people of Sakasthana) ?
Saka ruins litter the whole landscape from Peshawar to Ujjain, Multan to Mathura including places like Moga, Ropar, Jodhpur, Sialkot, Jalandar, Taxila and have been archeologically studied by colonial historians and archeologists.
Saka Descent of Rajputs
The earliest Rajput genealogies of the northwest date only to the 9-10th century AD (post-Buddhist period) and arise from Saka (e.g. Jats/Gujars) and Hun (5-6th century invaders) clans who formally accepted Shankarcharya's revived Brahmanism (9th century) after the demise of Buddhism. Cunningham and Tod consider the Hunas to be the "last Scythian wave". Conditions of formal conversion: i) use only Brahmin as priest, ii) ban on widow remarriage and iii) burning of widows (sati). Converted clans/villages who relapsed on these conditions, rejoined "Jathood" or "Gujarhood". Despite popular conceptions of caste rigidity and permanence promoted in modern historical education, a high level of social and occupational mobility existed in Sakasthan even in post Buddhist times as attested by the Director General of the 1881 Indian Census, Sir Ibbetson [p. 8] : "The Sahnsars of Hushyarpur were admittedly Rajput till only a few generations ago, when they took to growing vegetables and now rank with the Arains. Some of the Tarkhans, Lohars and Nais of Sirsa are known to have been Jats or Rajputs who within quite recent times have taken to the hereditary occupations of these castes; and some of the Chauhans of Karnal whose fathers were born Rajputs, have taken to weaving and become Shekhs. . . . The process is going on around us, and it is certain that what is now taking place is only what has always taken place during the long ages".
Political control over the western and northwestern subcontinent post 500 BC (Gandharan period) was primarily in the hands of Sakas (Scythians) and their descendents who mainly patronized Buddhism and Solar cults prior to 9th century AD. Based on analysis of coins, inscriptions, archeological finds and early Indian/Buddhist/Chinese/Greek/Persian manuscripts dating back to 500 BC, historians and ethnographers (e.g. Cunningham, Tod, Rapson, Ibbetson, Elliot, Ephilstone, Dahiya, Dhillon, Banerjea, Sharma, Sinha, Shrava, Puniya etc.) have shown that the traditional agrarian and artisan communities (e.g. Jats/Gujars/Tarkhans/Khatris/Rajputs/Lohars/Yadavs etc.) of the entire northwest are the descendants of Scythian tribes from central Asia.
While the plains facts of history clearly contradict the supremacist and hegemonic claims Poorbia Brahmanists began making on southasia during the 19th century, this historical quackery and the elitist neo-Brahmanist identity (the "superior Aryans") and chauvinistic socio-political doctrines derived from it have been the founding ideology and the "historical consciousness" of the new Indian Brahmanist Order.
The Sakas of the northwest did not accept the supremacy of the Brahmins, did not practise the chaturvarna caste system advocated by their "law givers" like Manu, had their own Saka priests (Magas), and mainly patronized Buddhism mixed with their own religion (sun-worship) prior to 9th century AD. Their ill-disposition to Brahmanism earned them an unending hostility of the frustrated Gangetic priesthood. The post-Buddhist transmission of Brahmanism into Sakasthan required adaption to fit it into the Saka social and political order prevailing in the northwest where Sakas continued to wield political power, run their villages and own the land. The Brahmin livelihood depended on the goodwill and generosity of their Saka employers and patrons. In the Saka social order, zamindari, cultivation, artisanship and soldiering were considered the "noblest" and "highest" professions and way of life. These social ideals and cultural heritage are diametric opposites of eastern Brahmanical social dogma in which those who worked the land and worked for their living were designated "polluted" and "sudras" while those following non-Brahmanical religions were "mlechas" (barbarians). In return, the Sakas considered the Gangetic priests to be little more than soothsayers and palm-readers who begged for their food. With the rise of Sufism by the 11th century, the bulk of the population in Punjab had formally moved away from Brahmanism and the remaining employed Brahmins for ritual and ceremonial purposes while also patronizing Sufis, Fakirs, Yogis and Naths who followed the local secular and unorthodox spiritual traditions.
These two different social, cultural and religious systems and orders represent nothing less than a "Clash of Civilizations": to the southeast of the western ganga river lay the Aryan "Brahmanical culture" while to the west of this frontier lay the "Saka civilization". Subsequently, the extreme North was Islamicised to form a `Mughalstan'. There thus exist the following four broad `nations' in South Asia: Sakasthan in the west centered on Rajasthan and Gujarat, Islamic Mughalstan stretching from Kashmir to Bangladesh, Sudrastan comprising Dalitstan-Dravidistan reaching from Jharkhand to Tamil Nadu, and Hindu Rashtra comprising Maharashtra, Kannauj, Utkal and West Bengal. Moreover, since the advent of the Vedic period in the northwest (1500 - 500 BC) and during its succeeding Saka period (500 BC - 1200 AD), the Sakasthan country was politically separate from the subcontinent over 97% of its 2500 years known history - even this "3% togethorness" of 92 years occurred under the eastward expanding Saka empire of the Mauryas. The Sakasthan core region of Rajasthan-Gujarat was almost never under the occupation of Brahminists in the pre-Gupta age. To the Brahmins, the west and northwest Rajasthan-Gujarat Saka country has always been historically a "foreign land of Barbarians" ("Vahika-desa" populated by "vahikas", "vratyas", "mlechas" and "sudras") as written in their own holy shastras. The Mahabharta, Puranas and Brahmin Law Givers repeatedly "forbid Brahmins" from traveling to these foreign lands where, in turn, their alien religion, priesthood, gods and caste creed was spurned and rejected by the Saka people population. For example, the Mahabharta, verses 2063-2068, Karna Parva, states "one should not go to Vahika-desa in which the five rivers and the Indus . . . where the mlechas live . . ".
As discussed above, the northwest country ("Saptha-Sindhva" in Rig Veda) was politically independent from rest of southasia over 97% of its history from the start of its Vedic period to the Afghan conquest (500 BC - 1200 AD), as was the Sakasthan region surrounding Rajasthan. Between 500 BC-1200 AD, it was under the political rule of Saka tribes and dynasties who form 65% of the present western population based on ethnological information collected in colonial censuses. Saka priests were known as "Magas" (Sun priests who prayed to the sun for bountiful harvests) who, along with Buddhist masters of Sakasthan, found themselves out of work when Buddhism and its institutions declined during 8-10th century. Many of them eventually became recruited into the "Brahmin" fold (e.g. Saraswat, Dakaut divisions) while Gangetic emigrants form the "Gaur" division of Brahmins. These Saka converts to Brahmanism did not intermarry with Brahmins from other regions and divisions, ate meat and were occupationally lax. Although they were indoctrinated into the Gangetic caste ideology, they have always been regarded as a "lower grade" by the easterly orthodox Brahmins. Brahmins as a whole in South Asia are ethnically, culturally and racially a diverse heterogenous group geographically distributed up to Indonesia, Burma and Thailand, while the Saka population is confined to the western regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat ("Khazar-land"), whilst Mughals (Foreign Muslims) dominate the north-west.
The fact is that there have always been two types of ruling classes (Kshatriyas) in South Asia: i) those who patronized the Brahmin priesthood and ii) those who felt no need or desire to do so and patronized other religions (e.g. Saka religion, Buddhism, Islam, Sufism, Sikhism, Christianity). In dateless and placeless revisionist Brahmanical texts (written centuries later when Brahmins gained larger influence; eg. post-9th century Shankarcharya revival), the latter are dubbed "mlecchas", "sudra", and "low castes kings", etc. while the former are glorified with fantastical tales and showered with the blessings of their devtas. The second type form most of the known and verifiable Kshatriyas and ruling orders in the history of South Asia - all in the case of the west and northwest!