They are Mohyal Brahmin clan from Punjab and Haryana. Dutts are the only warrior clan among the Brahmins. Majority of Dutts are Hindus but many follow other religions as well. They are 1 of the 7 clans of Mohyals who are Sarawat the 6 other clans are Bhimwal, Bali, Lau, Vaid, Chhibber and Mohan.
Gotra – Bhardwaj
They are descent from Rishi Bharadwaj, hence they derive their Gotra from his name. Dutts/Datts were classified as Martial Race in the British rule in India.
According to Pune’s hussaini Brahmins Punjabi immigrants, their ancestors fought alongside Imam Hussein in the battle of Karbala (now in modern Iraq).
Their community still observe Muharram with Muslims to remember the sacrifices of their ancestors who fought with Imam Hussein in the Battle of Karbala.As per the Punjabi Brahmin immigrants, since the Karbala battle in 680 AD, this community of around 500-member has taken the prefix of ‘hussaini’, and call themselves the Hussaini Brahmins.
As per the community members of Hussaini Brahmins 1 of their ancestors named Rahab dutt travelled all the way to Arabia to help his friend Imam Hussain. He fought war against Yazid along with his sons, all of his son were killed in the fierce battle of Karbala
The Imam, seeing Rahab dutt’s love for him, conferred upon him the title of Sultan and told him to return to India.
Rahab dutt came back and the community to which he belonged adopted the name, Hussaini Brahmins, signifying his close bond with Imam Hussain and the fact that they were Hindu Brahmins.
The Hussaini Brahmins, also known as Mohiyals came here from distant Punjab centuries ago and settled down to a quiet existence, most of them continuing the warrior tradition of their ancestors and joining the Army.
Colonel Ramsarup Bakshi (retd), a member of this community, told Pune Mirror that there certainly is an “element of surprise” when he introduces himself as a Hussaini Brahmin. “The employees in the factory I run now were taken aback when I told them about my community. ‘Asapan asta ka?’ (Is it so?) They exclaimed.” Bakshi said his community remains proud of its ancestral links to Imam Hussain, and they recall this bond on Ashura with great reverence. “We are a very, very small community in Pune, but this single piece of history is of seminal significance in our lives and binds us together, both Hindus and Muslims.”
Most importantly, Bakshi emphasised, “We symbolise the centuries-old bond shared by Hindus and Muslims in this part of the world.” Noted lawyer-activist Netraprakash Bhog, also a Hussaini Brahmin, said he is proud of his community. “Hussaini Brahmins hold a special place in the history of Islam. Our ancestors fought alongside Imam Hussain for the cause of truth and justice. We still cherish those sacrifices made by our community.”
Pune Mohiyal Samaj president, Jitendra Mohan, said, “Those like us who are Hindu Brahmins continue the martial tradition of our ancestors. Most of us are strongly built, with straight noses and face, and join the Army.”
Battle of Karbala
The battle of Karbala took place on the 10th day of Muharram in 680 AD in Karbala, now located in present day Iraq. On one side were supporters and relatives of Prophet’s grandson Hussain ibn Ali, while on the other side was a military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad Caliph. The Battle of Karbala is commemorated during an annual 10-day period held every Muharram by the Shi’a as well as many Sunnis, culminating on its tenth day, Ashura.
Imam Hussain and Rahib Datt
681 AD, The great battle of karbala (Iraq) was fought over the fate of Islamic Caliphate. The grandson of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima and her husband Imam Ali, came to help people of Kufa who invited him to save them from the oppressor Caliphate. The fierce battle was fought at Karbala where Hussein, his friends and his family members were encircled and left without food and water for days. This battle eventually led to the great schism in Islam between the Sunnis and the Shias.
Rahib Sidh Datt, a Hindu Saraswat Brahmin (a potentate of Datt sect )had close relation with the family of Muhammad & was was a highly respected figure in Arabia. He sacrificed his seven sons in the war of karbala.
o Ram Singh
o Haras Rai
o Rai Pun
o Sahas Rai
o Sher Khan
Hindu Brahmins Fought for Imam Hussain in the Battle of Karbala
When Ali ibn Abu Talib the son-in-law of Muhammad and 4th Caliph was murdered, later his elder son Hassan was murdered,The younger son of Ali, Hussain came out to stand against Yazid ibn Muawjyah (the new caliph).
The army of Yazid surrounded the force of Hussain consisting of mere They were a part of the entourage of 200 men and women, including 72 members of Hussain’s family (40 on foot and 32 on horseback).In the war where hardly any muslim came to help him Rahib Sidh Datt fought taking side of hussain and sacrificed his 7 sons in the ferocious war’ on the bank of river Euphrates and surrounded by a hostile desert. On the 7th day of Mohurrum, all hell broke out when 30,000 strong army sent by the tyrant Yazid from Mecca and other places, attacked them. 6,000 soldiers guarded the river bank to ensure that not a drop of water reached the Hussain’s thirsty innocents. By sunset of 10th (Ashoor), a Friday, all were dead including his son Ali Akbar (22), his step brother Abbas (32), daughter Skeena (4) and 6 months old infant Ali Asghar who was killed by an arrow while perched in his lap. Imam Hussain himself was slain with thirty three strokes of lances and swords by Shimr, the hatchet man of ignominious Yazid. Hussain was slaughtered in the desert on the 10th day of Muharram (Day of Ashura) along with his band of disciples in a bloody battle.
Rahib datt chased the murderers as they ran with the severed head of Hussein, up to Kufa. He retrieved the holy man’s head, washed it reverentially and then carried it to Damascus. According to legend, he was overtaken by Yazid’s men during his overnight shelter on the way. They demanded Hussain’s head from him: Rahab executed the head of one of his sons and offered to them. They shouted that it was not the Hussain’s head, then he beheaded his second son and they again yelled that it was not his. In this way Rahab executed the heads of his seven sons but did not part with the head of Imam Hussain. Later, after one year, the head was carried to Damascus and he was finally buried in karbala with rest of the body.
The valiant dutts and shia disciples of Imam Hussein did not lay down their arms till they saw the end of Yazid who could rule just for 40 days.
The intrepid Datts rallied round Amir Mukhtar, the chief of the partisans of Imam Hussain, fought with extraordinary heroism and captured and razed the fort of Koofa, seat of Yazid’s governor, Obaidullah, the Butcher. After scoring a resounding victory on the battlefield, they beat the drums and yelled out that they had avenged the innocent blood of Hussain shed at Karbala.
It is also significant to note that even before the Karbala incident, Hazrat Ali had entrusted the public exchequer to the regiment of the valiant Datts, at the time of the Battle of Camels fought near Basra.
The above provides impeccable evidence about the pragmatic role played by the Datt Mohyals in the catastrophe of Karbala.
Later on, when Sunnis let loose an orgy of vendetta on Shias and Datts (the followers of Rahib), who were mostly Hindu Saraswat Brahmins. Rahib was overwhelmed with grief due to the slaughter of his 7 sons, migrated to Afghanistan via Iran and Turkistan.
The datts left Arabia in 728 AD and returned to their motherland to settle at Dina Nagar, District Sialkot (vide Bandobast Report of Gujarat by Mirza Azam Beg page 422 and folk songs) and some drifted to as far as the holy Pushkar in Rajasthan.
Later descendants of Rahib had many clans (Kabilas) in modern day Afghanistan and NWFP. The clans were called Mohdaa. To this day, a group of Brahmins called Hussaini Brahmins claim ancestry from Rihab Sidh Datt and participate in Muharram celebrations in India.
After returning to India the descendants of Rahib Datt received grand welcome by the native Mohyals. They eventually settled near Nankana Sahib in the district of Sheikhupura in present-day Pakistan.
Many direct descendants of Rahib Dutt use last names such as Dutt, Datt, Sharma, Bharadwaj.
Interesting Stories Related to Datts/Mohyals/Dutts
Pir Wahun and Shiv Datt
• Shiv Datt – The chief of the Datts.
• Pir Wahun – a trickster chess player
Pir Wahun was known for his knack of consistently winning the games. According to a bet fixed by him, the loser would either pay the price with his head or embrace Islam. In this way, he converted a large number of Hindus to the Muslim faith until he met his match in Shiv Datt. Shiv Datt challenged the Pir to a game of chess and defeated him three times in a row, thereby claiming the heads of his wife and two sons as per the stakes. However out of sheer generousness, Shiv Datt pardoned their life. When Wahun came to know that one of the ancestors of Shiv Datt had sacrificed his 7 sons for the sake of Muhammad in the battle of Karbala, he took a solemn vow that in the future he would never convert any Hindu by coercion to Islam. It was on this occasion that the Pir echoed the famous words: Wah Datt Sultan, Hindu ka Dharam Musalman ka Iman Adha Hindu Adha Musalman (Hail, O King Datt for Thou are endowed with the Dharma of the Hindu and the Iman of the Muslim Half Hindu, half Muslim).
The story seems less reliable as per this story one of the wives of Imam Hussain, the Persian princess Shahr Banu, was the sister of Chandra Lekha or Mehr Banu, the wife of an Indian king called Chandragupta. When it became clear that Yazid was adamant on killing the Imam, the Imam’s son Ali ibn Hussain rushed off a letter to Chandragupta asking him for help against Yazid. When Chandragupta received the letter, he dispatched a large army to Iraq to assist the Imam. By the time they arrived, however, the Imam had been slain. In the town of Kufa, in present-day Iraq, they met with one Mukhtar Saqaffi, a disciple of the Imam, who arranged for them to stay in a special part of the town, which even today is known by the name of Dair-i-Hindiya or ‘the Indian quarter’.
Some Dutt Brahmins, under the leadership of one Bhurya Dutt, got together with Mukhtar Saqafi to avenge the death of the Imam. They stayed behind in Kufa, while the rest returned to India. Here they built up a community of their own, calling themselves Hussaini Brahmins, keeping alive the memory of their links with the Imam.
According to Jang Nama, written by Ahmed Punjabi, pages 175-176, it was ordained on the Shias to recite the name of Rahab in their daily prayer. At the time to the Karbala, fourteen hundred Hussaini Brahmins lived in Baghdad alone.
Interestingly, in the Preface of his famous historical novel, titled Karbala, published in 1924 from Lucknow, Munshi Prem Chand has stated that the Hindus, who fought and sacrificed their lives in the holy war of Karbala, are believed to be the descendants of Ashvathama. This clearly establishes their link with the Datts who consider Ashvathama as an ancestor of their clan.
An ancestor of Rahab named Sidh Viyog Datt assumed the title of Sultan and made Arabia (old name Iraq) his home. He was a tough and tenacious fighter. He was also known as Mir Sidhani. He was a worshipper of Brahma. He was the son of the stalwart Sidh Jhoja (Vaj) who was a savant and saint and lived in Arabia (Iraq) around 600 AD.
The lady warrior among Mohyals
Karmu Mai Dattani the lady warrior, shortly before the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1783–1839), Jai Singh, a saraswat Brahmin, was the head of the Kanhaiya Misl in Amritsar. The Misls were later consolidated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh into the army of the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab, when he became the Maharja of the province after capturing Lahore in 1799. Jai Singh appointed Mai Karmo as the chief of the Katra branch of the Kanhaiya Misl. The intrepid lady held her court in the open, in a jostling market square in Amritsar which is known by her name till today: Karmo Ki Deod. She was a terror to local ruffians and used to administer justice without any fear or favour. She once took part in a battle wearing the coat of arms. The seal of her high office is believed to be still in the possession of her progeny.