India is a country full of people belonging to various religions and beliefs, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, etc. And each of these groups’ customs, traditions, and beliefs also differ from region to region. If we consider the Muslim community, for instance, most people are not aware that even the brand of Islam followed by Indian Muslims varies from region to region. Just outside the boundaries of Delhi lives a community of “Meo Muslims”, who profess Islam, but knowingly or unknowingly, through their customs and culture, remain heavily influenced by the local Hindu ethos.

muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

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Following a fascinating composite culture that accommodates many Hindu customs, they trace their origins to Hindu figures such as Rama, Krishna, and Arjuna, and celebrate several Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Dussehra, and Holi! The Meos are extremely famous across the Mewat belt for their narration of folk epics and ballads. This tradition of theirs is a valuable source for studying and understanding the community’s rich and varied history. Among the epics and ballads sung by the Meos, most of which are derived from Hindu lore, the most popular is the Pandun ka kada, the Mewati version of the Mahabharata.

muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

 

Tracing their own origins through the epic, a large number of them even describe themselves as descendants of Arjuna. Separated from both mainstream Hindu and Muslim society, the Meos have a distinct identity of their own. Even their marriages combine the Islamic Nikaah ceremony with a number of Hindu rituals – like maintaining exhaustive gotras, a distinctly Hindu practice.

muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

Picture Source muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

One of the most fascinating traditions still preserved by the Meos is the tracing of their genealogy by Hindu genealogists known as “jaggas”. The “jaggas” form an essential part of most ceremonies in the Meo community. Believed to have gradually converted to Islam between the 12th and the 16th centuries, the Hindu origins of the Meos are also evident from their names, since most Meos still keep the title “Singh”, with names like Ram Singh and Til Singh being typical Meo names.

muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna
Picture Source muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

Fateh Singh, a Meo balladeer in a village on the outskirts of Alwar, along with his fellow villagers believe that they are Kshatriyas descending from Arjuna, who slowly converted to Islam under the influence of Sufi Pirs.

muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

Picture Source muslim descendants of krishna and arjuna

However, the Meos are gradually giving up their Hindu traditions, and celebration of Hindu festivals. And it isn’t too difficult to understand why, either. Political and cultural discriminations coupled with the persecution of Muslims has been slowly but steadily driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere, forcing them to give up their influences from other cultures and religions.

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