An overview of of the origin & history of our community and the progressive role of Sood Sabha, Chandigarh. A book by Mr Surinder Sood, published in 2012 by Sood Sabha Chandigarh, is now available for download.Click here to download
A book by Mr. M.M.Sood, published in 1975 by Sood Sabha Chandigarh, is now available for download.
Late Shri Madan Mohan Sood
(Author of "Origin & History of Soods").
In every community there is always an inherent desire to know about their ancestry. Knowledge of great deeds and honourable conduct of the ancestors acts as an inducement to better deeds. The nobility of ancestry are not mere matters of glorification but they further inspire the posterity to follow in the foot-steps of their forefathers so that they prove themselves worthy inheritors.
The word 'Sood' is of Sanskrit origin and according to Amar Kosh – an authoritative Hindi Dictionary, it means a "courageous and a brave person or a victor of his enemies". It also means a man who can easily make progress. Late Prof. Rulya Ram Kashyap, who was a scholar of Sanskrit and had studied Vedas extensively, after thorough research, published a small book 'Sood Yog'. According to him the word 'Sood' has been mentioned in the Vedas at 23 places – 15 places in Rig Ved, 6 places in Yajur Ved and twice in Atharva Ved. One of the names of Lord Krishna is 'Madhusudan' – (Sudan means 'sanharak' – killer of demon Madhu). Thus, it conclusively proves that 'Sood' is a very ancient fraternity endowed with noble qualities. Muslims invaded India in 700 A.D. whereas our community, as the history tells us, was there since Vedic period.
When we go through the pages of past history of India it is revealed that with the spread of Budhism, the old Vedic Dharma got great set back. Greatly perturbed by this, Brahmin Rishis did everything to revive old Hindu Dharma based on the Vedic traditions. They performed a sacred Yajna at Mount Abu. The sacred flames of Agni Kund, incarnated and baptised four Kashatriyas – the Parmar, the Parihar, the Solanki and the Chouhan. who took a vow to fight against this mass change of faith and establish the ancient glory of Hindu Dharama. These four branches spread all over the country. The second son born to Parmar was named Sood and our community consequently bears that name. The capital of the kingdom of Sood dynasty for eight generations was Patten in Sind, and later it was shifted to Alwar and finally Jai Singh, son of King Dahar shifted his capital to Amar Kot, now in Pakistan. It is recorded in several documents that 101 Sood Rajas were ruling in different States. Reference of 44 descendants of Parmar is also available. After the invasion of Muslims, gradually not only Rajasthan, but entire India came under their rule. Soods who had established themselves in the North and later concentrated at Soodpur (now Sirhind) migrated to different cities and towns in Punjab and Himachal Pardesh. In the changed political and social scenario Soods established themselves in business and other professions.
These incidents have been recorded by renowned historians : Col. James Tod ('Tod's Rajasthan') Vaka-i-Rajasthan, History of Ancient India by Sh. R.C. Dutt and historian Sh. D.C. Ganguli, 'Chajnama' & 'Tabkate Sikandri'. There are references to the term 'Sood' in Bhavishya Puran. Upsarg, Ardhang Adhyaya 6th. Maharshi Dayanand also referred to 'Agnikul' Rajputs in his earlier Satyarth Parkash (of Ten Chapters 'dus samullas').
*Based on "Origin and History of Soods" written by Late Shri Madan Mohan Sood, General Secretary, Sood Sabha, Chandigarh with a Foreward by Justice Tek Chand Sood, President, Sarvdeshik Sood Sabha and published by Sood Sabha, Chandigarh.
Full Text of the book will be available on the website in early December, 2009
Late Shri Madan Mohan Sood
(Author of "Origin & History of Soods")
The other day a Sood gentleman, who is an advocate and a learned and spiritual man, came to see me. Naturally the talk between us was mainly about our community. When I explained to him the activities of Sood Sabha Chandigarh and the zeal with which the young men were trying to organize and serve the community, he felt little uneasy and remarked, "This system is now out of date. We should rise above these things and think in terms of national unity. This is an era not only of nationalism, but of universal brother-hood".
This way of thinking raises many fundamental questions. Is biradri system out of date? Is it narrow-mindedness and sectarianism to think of this system? Some introspection is needed to find suitable and proper answers to these pertinent and relevant questions. This is the very basis on which rests the whole ideology of the system. If this system is really worn out, out of date and useless, as is said, why should be 'waste' our money, time and energy in trying to revitalize it?
To have full background to this system, we will have to go back to the past. After all what is a biradri? It is a combination of some families, the members of which are the descendents of common forefathers. Being from the same blood, they have mutual love, regard and affection and are equal partners in their joys and sorrows. There can be no two opinions about this. This love and affection between brothers is natural and they feel tied to each other with this sacred thread. This love and affection maintains social relations among them.
In the past this system was very strong and effective. As is the case in a family, in the biradri too, the elders used to lay down the code of conduct for social functions, which was strongly followed by all. All the social functions were jointly celebrated by all the members of the biradri in a co-operative spirit under the supervision of elders. By and by, with the passage of time and largely due to the fact that families got scattered to far and wide places, this system became loose.
Now the question is, if we want to bring back that biradri system, are we narrow minded and of sectarian outlook? We are all Indians and being sons and daughters of our motherland, should have love, regard and affection for one another. We should all strive for advancement and betterment of all our country men. Our country will flourish only by political advancement, religious advancement and social advancement. They all have to be tackled separately. They may be inter-connected, but we have to see that they do not intermingle and thus cause confusion. Here we are concerned with only social advancement. The spheres of political and religious advancement are different, with which we are not concerned here. There may be many institutions and organizations working for the social uplift of the Indian society as a whole. Ours is a vast country and the number of members of our community in the country is sizeable. They are part of the great India Nation. Incase we ask this part of the Indian Society to unite socially and work for their social uplift, surely, it is not narrow mindedness or sectarianism. It is not unpatriotic or objectionable. The great Chinese sage Confuicious says:-
"The wise men of antiquity, when they wished to make the whole world peaceful and happy, put their own states into proper order. Before they put their own state into proper order, they regulated their own families. Before regulating their own families, they regulated themselves. Before regulating themselves they tried to be sincere in their thoughts".
Obviously, therefore, before we try to reform the whole Nation, we should reform our families i.e. our community and when we do it, we serve the whole Nation.
Now what is the method of reforming the families? Surely the first pre-requisite will be their unity and what does the unity of families mean? The biradri system.
The system has stood the test of time and was very useful. But unfortunately lately, it has disintegrated. It is the duty of everyone of us to strengthen and revitalize it. This is patriotic, laudable and a noble cause and is not sectarianism at all. The sooner we understand and realise it, the better.
(An informative and well researched article written by Shri P. R. Sud, I.F.S.former Ambassador of India, TUNIS (Tunicia) The article was published in 1992 in two instalments in Sood Sandesh.)
The family name Sud which has different meanings in different languages makes on wonder how exactly a large Hindu Community in North India, mostly in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, came to have this family name with varied sub-castes. In Urdu and possibly persian, the word ‘sud’ means interest on money; in Arabic, it means black; in French, the term is South and so on. The folklore, myths and tales of fabled heroes of the past are some of the historical, cultural and social influences within which any child of a family grows up. The racial myths and folklore hark back deep into the hoary and misty past and is difficult to sift legend from history or myth from reality. I too grew up in my village Jawalamukhi in Himachal Pradesh during the years of second world war when my late father was serving in the army. Our elders recounted ancient tales of bravery and valour and some of them even went as far back as the time of the Vedas to say that the Suds were the part of the original Aryan tribes that migrated from their ancient home in Central Asia to northern India. Some recounted King Porus who fought against Alexander in the Punjab plains was a Sud while others mentioned names of various ancient kings, emperors in Vedic times who were our ancestors. On the other extreme were critics of this theory who ridiculed the idea saying that the Soods were basically a business community and family name was forced upon them by the Muslim invaders since they dealt in trade and money. This is highly unlikely as whenever foreign invasions took place in Punjab, the local population had little social contact with the invaders.
Childhood memories of such folklore’s and myths remain with me even to this day and my interest was once again aroused in the subject a couple of years back when I came across four handbooks written by Shri Ram Rattan Sood, resident of New Delhi, who had taken pains to try to trace the history of Suds and to compile a list of eminent Soods who have contributed to the society and the Nation. One of these books by Shri Ram Rattan Sood carried my father’s photograph as the Army Officer who initiated Sandalwood plantation in Himachal Pradesh. I was happy to see my name also mentioned in the book.
Shri Salamat Rai Sood, the author of Mukamal Tarikh-e-Sudan, has mentioned on Page 48 of his book that Suds were in India since Vedic times. However, Shri Ram Rattan Sood disputes this version and quotes certain other sources stating that such a claim by Salamat Rai is not tenable. So, naturally enough, the only manner in which I could satisfy my curiosity was to go back to the source of this claim and consult the Vedas.
The very first reference to one King Sudas comes in Book I, Hymn 47 of Rigveda dedicated to the God Asvins:-
O'Mighty ones, ye gave Sudas abundant food, brought on your treasure-laden cart; so now vouchsafe to us the wealth which many crave, either from the heaven or from the sea.
Thus, the fact of the Veda mentioning a King by the name of Sudas as mentioned in the Rigveda naturally aroused one’s curiosity as to his Vedic existence and his life account as described in the Rigveda and very briefly in the Atharvaveda. I did not have the chance to consult the Samaveda and Yajurveda.
Before I proceed to dwell deep into Rigveda to find out more about King Sudas, I am digressing concerning the Vedas themselves. My source of information and knowledge about the Rigveda is from the English translation rendered by Ralph T. H. Griffith and published by Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi. In the introduction, Griffith takes no credit for collecting the text of the Vedas but mentions that his translation is based on the work of the great scholar Sayana who was Prime Minister at the court of the King of Vijayanagar in the 14th Century A.D. The Vedas are collection of mantras or hymns and present the conditions of Aryans before their final settlement in India. The Vedas have been handed over through the ages from generation to generation and have accompanied the great army of Aryan migrants in the onward march from the land of some of the rivers to the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Contained in the Vedas is the nature worship of the Aryan ancestors in which they identified all natural phenomena as super beings and worshipped them as such.
THE LAND OF SEVEN RIVERS:
The original home of the Aryans in India was in the north and, according to the Rigveda, the original Aryan tribe had settled down in the region now called Punjab but at that time it was referred to as the Land of Seven Rivers. The first reference to seven rivers is mentioned:
Thou hast won back the kine, hast won the Soma;
Thou has let loose to flow the Seven Rivers. --(Book I Hymn 32 )
The seven rivers, according to Max Mueller, are the Indus, five rivers of Punjab – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlaj and Sarsvati. Numerous references are made to the various rivers describing their nature, their courses and effect it had on the Kings’ armies and conquerors who had to confront the rivers in various seasons in fighting the locals.
ARYAN TRIBES IN INDIA:
According to the Rigveda, the main Aryan tribes, who started settling in North-West India, spread to the East and Central India and controlled other regions, were mainly five. They could be either the five tribes or five major settlements who had a loose confederation amongst them alongwith other smaller tribes. The tribes mentioned are Turvasas, Yadus, Anus, Druhyus and Purus. These five tribes are mentioned repeatedly in various context especially while their chiefs faced the local indigenous rulers in battles for which they sought the blessings of the super-beings like Agni, Indra and hosts of other Vedic Gods. No particular King of any of these five main tribes is given any special place in the Rigveda or their exploits recounted at length. This is reserved for King Sudas who was not from the five main tribes but headed a smaller tribe called TRTSUS. Sudas is the only king in the Rigveda whose life and conquests are enumerated in some detail by two of the ancient Rishies – Vishvakitra and Vashisht, both of whom were purohits at his court. There are accounts of jealousy between Visvamitra who was a non-Brahman and Vashisht, a Brahman, and how ultimately Vashisht managed to ease out Visvamitra from Sudas’ favours.
Although the mention of Sudas occurs in the Book I of the Rigveda, it is in the Book III and Book VII that we find details of his life and his wars and travels. Book III was written by Visvamitra while Book VII by Vashisht. Griffith mentions that according to Sayana, Visvamitra obtained wealth by means of his service as the purohit of King Sudas and left the palace after conflict with Vashisht and came to the confluence of Sutlej and Beas. Others followed him. This also implies eastward migration of Aryans tribes and gives us an idea of the court of King Sudas being situated in land of seven rivers.
Vashisht is the author of Book VII of the Rigveda and it is here that one finds detailed references to Sudas’s ancestry, his life, his rule, his conquests and his progeny. King Sudas was the descendant of one Pijavana or Divodasa who could be the same Pijavana or one of Suda’s forefathers (Book VII Hymn 18 ). In the hymns Vashisht sings praises of Sudas while appealing to Lord Indra to render all help to the king in his battles with his enemies. Vashisht says that the Trtsus tribe, led by King Sudas and helped by other Aryan tribes, defeated the non-Aryan tribes. After the victory, King Sudas bestowed gifts on Vashisht who prayed to Lord Indra to bless Kind Sudas:
"God of the fair helm, give Sudas a hundred succours,
a thousand blessings, and thy bounty" ---( Book VII Hymn 25 )
Sudas victories continued in various fields and at one place, one comes across a reference that Sudas defeated 10 local kings ( Book VII Hymns 60 and 83 ). There are no further references in the Rigveda regarding King Sudas. However, a reference is available in the Atharvaveda where the author reminds Indra for the benediction he has bestowed on King Sudas in the past for his fight against ten kings (Book XX 128 ).
The foregoing account of King Sudas in Rigveda, confirm the definite existence of King Sudas who belonged to a smaller Aryan tribe called Trtsus which settled down in North India in the plains of Punjab. There they established their homes and spread in the East and West and later towards the South. Through the flow of time and ages, the Trtsus tribe multiplied and came to be known as Suds. I have no doubt in the matter as we are a community possessing typical Aryan features and are settled only in the geographical area of Punjab as mentioned in the Rigveda. The fact that a part of the Sud community migrated to the hills in the aftermath of the invasion and destruction of Punjab by Ahmad Shah Abdali after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 is recent history, and the Suds in the hills trace their recent history back to the same area in Punjab, wherein the Sud community has flourished since the time of Rigveda.
Are we Suds here since Vedic times? Difinitely YES. We are descendants of the ancient Aryan Tribe – Trtsus and their King Sudas.
Late Justice Tek Chand Sood
(This article appeared in the Souvenir published on the occasion of Sarvdeshik Sood Conference held at Chandigarh in April 1985)
There is pronounced tendency on the part of individuals, groups and even communities to approach rights and duties differently. By and large, we are prone to be claim conscious, but obligation-oblivious. Right demanding, but duty denying, is too common though commonly improper. There is a French phrase noblesse oblige indicating that the higher the social status, the heavier the burden of obligations.
It is gratifying that our community is alive to its responsibilities. Soods are equally known as a class for their higher sense of self-respect, responsibility and determination to discharge their duties. This noble and general trait has to be maintained from generation to generation.
As members of the Sood community we are known to maintain a high standard of ethics. The instances of unsocial misdeeds such as fraud, breach of trust, graft and other forms of corruption are comparatively rare in comparison to other communities. When it comes to commission of violent crimes such as murders, grievous assaults, robberies, burglaries, embezzlements, bank frauds, rapes and other offences like dowry deaths involving grave moral turpitude and depravity, we are no where in the line. We are hardly ever represented in the prison population. Certain other communities can claim top place in the anti-social conduct, but we can proudly say that we top from the tail, either when judged on pro rata basis or when counted by numbers. This is the negative social side in which we happily count no where.
There is also the positive approach of high achievements. Soods are known for philanthropy and benevolence; they are inclined to be generous and bountiful and are more helpful to the weaker sections among them, when speaking comparatively. Socially and individually, they denigrate what is despicable and degrading. I dare not boast in superlative terms, as no community has attained complete freedom from anti-social behavious, or that we have achieved perfection. It will , however, not be deemed vain-glorious to assert that our share is minimal and our contribution to crime is negligible, if not nil. Soods by their enterprise in business and industry, in the field of higher learning, in honourable and learned professions of law, medicine, engineering, teaching, journalist etc. and in administrative services, in the defense services, have found places of honour and distinction.
In seeking and securing freedom for the nation and in building up solidarity, the earlier generation of Sood Elders has given abundant proof by their services and sacrifices. The Sood young men of today are rendering meritorious service among the armed forces of the country. May I close by an invocation to God and a supplication to my community:
Soods, stay as spearheads of the society with loving loyalty to the home which is fear-free, temptation-free, and which is not marketable commodity.
Sood Sabha Chandigarh was established about five decades ago when City of Chandigarh came into being. We shall be updating this page with detailed information about the functioning of Sood Sabha all these years. However, one important feature of the Sabha was holding SOOD MELA every year when hundreds of Sood Families not only from Chandigarh and surrounding towns but from other States would also participate in this Get Together of SOOD FAMILIES.
45th Annual Sood Milan Mela was held on 4th February, 2007 at Sood Bhawan, Chandigarh and was, no doubt, a great success. It has become a regular activity now and the Sabha feels proud in organizing this Get Together. There is a suggestion, however, that we may hold this function sometime in September-October. There are valid reasons for it. Annual exams usually coincide with it hence most of the youngsters keep away. Another reasons is that during the winter season, the days are short. There is not sufficient time for all the activities. The Executive Committee discussed this issue in detail and has decided that from next year, this Function will be held in September-October. Let us hope that festival spirit prevailing during these months will add more colour to our Annual Function. We are really indebted to the founder members of the Sabha who started the practice of organizing Sood Mela every year. This single activity has enabled the Sabha to grow to its present stature. It has also brought the Community together.
Mrs. Kanta Saroop Krishen wife of Late Shri Saroop Krishen Sood, ICS, was the Chief Guest. She is the founder Secretary of Blood Bank Society, PGI and has been awarded Padam Shree for her contribution to the noble cause of blood donation. After retirement from the PGI, she has established another Blood Bank Society in association with the Rotary Club, Chandigarh. Along with Shri Rewal Chand Sood of Shimla, Air Commodore Manmohan Sud and his wife Mrs. Sangeeta Sud also graced the occasion as Guests of Honour. We are grateful to these dignitaries for sparing time and participate in the Annual Function of the biradari. There is a good news. Soods at difference places have felt the need to organize Sood Sabhas in their cities/towns. About a couple of months back a Sood Sabha has been formed at Dharamsala with the efforts of Shri Bipan Chand Sood, President, Sarvdeshik Sood Sabha. On 26-4-2007 a delegation from Chandigarh led by Shri Kulwant Rai Sood, President, participated in the first meeting of Sood Biradari at Khanna initiative for which was taken by Dr. J.J. Sood, Dr. Hans Raj Sood and other prominent members of Sood Biradari there.
An impressive and entertaining two hour programme was followed by dinner. Mrs. Priya Sood, PCS was the Chief Guest. Sood Community is known for rendering commendable service to the society. It is in our blood and our past history is a testimony to it. Formation of Sood Sabhas at difference places would provide a platform to the community members to do some social work there. If this objective is kept in mind only then the purpose of forming Sood Sabhas would be fulfilled. Sood Sabhas at Chandigarh and Shimla are shinning example of it.
After settling at Sirhind, the first difficulty Soods had to face was that there were no other royal Rajput families near about and it became a problem to marry their sons and daughters. They then divided themselves into Sub Castes and started inter-marriages. On the name of the head of the family or on the name of the village, they settled in, a SubCaste was created – such as Gopal after the name of Gopal-bin-Saru, Raja of Dharan, Mandal after Mandal-bin-Rekh Singh Raja of Urja; Dadan after Dadan-bin-Burgar Raja of Jamer, Ugal after Ugal Singh Raja of Bhakkar, Phassi after Pharsi Raja of Mailsi etc. There were in all following 52 Sub Castes:
Ahmed Shah Abdali invaded India 7 times. Every time the target was Sirhind, as it was an important trade centre. Disgusted with this loot, plunder and political instability, some families migrated from Sirhind to the mountains and settled there. Gradually with the passage of time and due to scant communication channels with the rest of the country, they developed their own Sub Castes mostly after the names of the villages, they settled in such as Bajwaria, Mahdooddia, Jullundhri, Jandrangloo: