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History of Soods

Sood/Sud is, originally, a Rajput community(Descendents of Sodha Rajputs) but, traditionally, some gotras are merchants.And later with the influence of Guru Gobind Singh Ji converted to Sikhism. In India, they are mostly in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and other areas of Northern India.

The word "Sood" "Sudh" stands for "Victor of Enemies" in Sanskrit, according to Amarkosh.

Sood "Sudh" was the name given to the second son of King Parmar, who was given the Kingdom of Amarkot (or Umerkot at that time).After the death of Raja Sood, his son Manjan Rao succeeded to the throne. Manjan Rao was succeeded by Bachira Rao, Reejh Rao, Anirudh and Ana Rao. Nothing significant happened during the period and Soods ruled over Pattan undisturbed. On the death of Ana Rao, there was a war of succession among his sons and relatives. Kin Rao became victorious and occupied the throne. Although apparently the question of succession was decided, but there was great resentment under the surface. Violence and war erupted again headed by Kin Rakha Gandal. A fierce battle followed in which Kin Rao, along with his eight brothers, was killed and Kin Rakha Gandal won the war. On the death of Kin Rao and his eight sons, his remaining family members and some other relatives left Pattan and migrated to Maru Desh. Thus the descendants of Maharaj Sood were divided into two groups— one led by Gandal remained at Pattan and the other left for Maru Desh. Gandal and his sons ruled over Pattan for about 50 years. Rajas of Yadav and Amravali attacked them and they were all defeated and killed and thus Soods lost Pattan. Those who remained alive migrated to the valleys of the Ganges and Yamuna and settled there. Kin Rao’s sons conquered a large territory of Marwar and began to rule there with Amarkot as their Capital. Kin Rao’s son Jachak Rao and grandson Tiri Rao were able to establish their hold in this area. Rana Jagdev, son of Tiri Rao, further extended his kingdom to the whole of Sindh and a great part of Punjab, extending from Punjab to Karachi and from river Sutlej to Sindh, including Kashmir. He shifted his capital from Amar Kot to Alwara.

In 331 BC, after defeating Poras, Alexander's invasion and entry into India at the banks of River Beas was stopped by the superior forces of Rai Shah Sood. This event is recorded in Alexander’s memoirs and also in the Indian history books. Alexander recognized the sterling quality of the Soods and admired their strict adherence to their principles, bravery and practice of Vedic religion. After the death of Alexander, Sood reigned uninterrupted for some time and extended their territory and influence to Alwara, Kashmir, Khandar, Sistan and to Yamuna on the other side. The kingdom was even extended up to Karachi. Indian sailors escorted by Sood forces used to trade with Basara, Istanbul and Greece. There are records of 101 Sood Kingdoms with respective Rajas under Sood Emperor of Alwara.

There are accounts of various Sood queens and in particular Queen Shub Devi Sood, who was educated and took keen interest in the administration of her State. She used to ride horses fully armed like kings and went to battle. 'Sati', 'Jauhar' or self-immolation was prevalent at that time by the Rajput women. In the context of circumstances prevailing at that time, this voluntary act by royal women to save the honour of the Raja after his death was an act of valor. History is charred with several such examples set by brave Sood women.

Sood King Dhar gave refuge to a Muslim from Basara named Ilafi, who later turned into a traitor. He joined hands with the local Buddhists and Lohana Jats and organized a rebellion against the Sood Emperor. After great turmoil and bloodshed this rebellion was initially crushed but later Mohamad Bin Quasim invaded India whilst Dhar was the King. Soods fought fierce guerilla warfare and re-established control of Amarkot under Rana Hameer in 1143 AD.

After the defeat of Humayun by Sher Shah Suri, who was chased out of Delhi to take refuge in Amar Kot with Rana Rai Prashad Sood. This incident is recorded in Tazok-e-Humanyun'. It was here that the famous Prince Akbar was born. Humayun was escorted to Kabul from where he later recaptured the throne of Delhi. He invited Rana Rai Prashad Sood to Delhi and honored him. Akbar was the next Emperor and held high regard for Sood Kings and never came into direct conflict with them. It was only when Dewan Hari Singh Sood assisted Chittor against the forces of Akbar that Amar Kot was attacked with the help of Baluch and Bahawalpur forces and lost. Soods scattered to various parts of Sindh, Marwar and Rajasthan. Rana Chagga went to Chittor and was given a 'Jaghir' known as Soodgarh which was later known as Sirhind. Amarkot was later recaptured by the son of Rana Jagga.

Soods being displaced in Sirhind had their first difficulty to marry their sons and daughter to the royal Rajput families. Their customs, dress and ornaments were different to that of other Hindus of that area. There were signs of bravery on their faces and they mostly took royal estate on contract. They began to be subdivided into various sub castes and started intermarrying. Originally, there were 52 sub castes of Soods which derived their names either from the Raja, Kingdom or village they hailed from. Soods were invariably always rich and successful. They were renowned not to publicize the marriages of their children. Boys did always inherit both their mothers' & fathers’ property. All Soods used to give 10 Rupees and 10 bricks each to the couple at their marriage. Soods always, therefore, lived in brick built houses.

When Raja Man Singh Kachwaha was appointed Governor of Kabul by the Mogul Emperor, he visited Sirhind and soon five thousand Soods armed as Sikh warriors accompanied Raja Man Singh to defeat the Pathans. Upon return the Soods were appointed Governors in Lahore, Agra and Pak Pattan.

Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded India seven times and every time Sirhind was the target as it was an important trade centre and on strategic route to Delhi. So much so that it was known as the cursed city. Disgusted with constant plunder and instability, Soods began migrating to the mountainous regions and created further separate 52 sub castes, usually after the names of the villages they settled in. Therefore there is a large concentration of Soods in the Shimla region today.

History tells that several Hindus were buried alive when they refused to be converted to Islam by the Moghul Rulers. It was in Sirhind that two brave sons of Guru Gobind Singh were buried alive in the wall. Hindu population of Sirhind at that time consisted of many Soods. All the land belonged to the rulers. Soods of Sirhind purchased land at exorbitant prices by collecting gold nuggets to cremate the brave sons of Shri. Guru Gobind Singh. After this was discovered Soods had to flee from Sirhind. Sikhs helped evacuating Soods back to their own villages in Punjab to escape Mughal atrocities and pillage.Later some of the Sub Castes of Soods came under influence of Shri. Guru Gobind Sing and adopted the Sikhism. But still they are following their Rajpoot traditions.

Soods then adopted whatever profession they could earn to their living. Some took to agriculture, money lending and estate management. By this time, the Moghul rule was on its last legs and the British arrived in India.In various books Soods are entitled Kshatriya as they have been a defender for their country India.

Around 1886 some Soods ventured abroad and left for East Africa. In early 1900 many Sood families made their homes in East Africa and other parts of the world. They made a major contribution in the administration and building of East Africa together with the British.

Jallianwala Bagh episode in 1919 cannot go unrecorded, since it was Dr. Gurubux Rai Sood who presided over the meeting, since he was the chief organizer. The British massacre by General Dawyer took place and many Soods gave their lives. The partition of India in 1947 saw another displacement of Soods.

Some people of other castes also use Sood sometimes to improve their social status!!

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