(Last Updated on : 14-01-2010)
In the eighteenth century, Gujjar community
during the British rule were in power. At that time, several Gujjar tribal chiefs and small kings were in power. During the reign of Rohilla Nawab Najib-ul-Daula, Dargah Singh, the Gurjar group leader of Dadri possessed 133 villages at fixed revenue of Rs. 29,000. A fort at Parlchhatgarh in Meerut district, also known as Qila Parikishatgarh, is ascribed to a Gurjar Raja Nain Singh. This fort was constructed by Parikshita and it was restored by Nain Singh in the eighteenth century. The fort was dismantled in the year 1857, as it was to be used as a police station.
History suggests that throughout the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Gujjars and Muslim Rajputs proved as the "most irreconcilable enemies" of the British in the Bulandshahr area. A band of rebellious Gurjars ransacked Bulandshahr after a revolt by the 9th Native Infantry on 21st of May, 1857. Further, during the revolt of 1857, the Muslim Gujjars in the villages of Ludhiana
district showed dissent to the British authorities. The British interests in Gangoh
city of Saharanpur district
were threatened by the revolutionary Gujjars. These Gujjars rebels were defeated by the British forces. According to British records, the Gujjar rebels plundered gunpowder and ammunition from the British and their allies. The Metcalfe House was sacked by the Gurjar rebels, in Delhi, from whom the land was taken to erect the building. Moreover, the British records claim that the Gujjars carried out several robberies.
During the British rule, the Gujjars were identified as 'criminal tribal groups' by the Criminal Tribes At, 1871, which was later repealed by the Government of Independent India in the year 1952. Some historians believe that the British classified the nomadic tribes as 'criminal tribes' because they considered these tribes to be prone to criminality in the absence of legitimate means of livelihood, and also because of their participation during the revolt of the year 1857. During the Second World War, several Gujjars served in the British Indian Army.
The Imperial Gazetteer of India once state that the Gujjar community were impoverished because of their 'lawlessness in the Mutiny', and moreover, the Gujjar community during British rule also had a 'bad reputation as thieves'.