The Chamar Community has a history of military service and are heavily represented in the Sikh Light Infantry.
Many Chamars have played an active role in the Indian War of Independence of 1857. Banke Chamar of Kurarpur, Jaunpur district (Uttar Pradesh) is one noted revolutionary, who was hanged by the British. Chetram (Jatav) and Belluram also died for their role in the Barrackpur revolution.
The 1st Chamar Regiment was an infantry regiment formed by the British during World War II. Officially, it was created on 1 March 1943, as the 27th Battalion 2nd Punjab Regiment was converted. The Chamar Regiment which was involved in the Pacific War Japanese front and was awarded the Battle Honor of Kohima for theirs distinguished role in the Battle of Kohima. The Regiment was disbanded in 1946. Recently, several politicians have demanded that the The Chamar Regiment be revived.
There was a Satnami Kingdom of Narnaul (Haryana). The Satnami sect of Hinduism was founded in 1657 in Narnaul (a town in today’s Indian state of Haryana, situated about 100 km south-west of Delhi), by a saint names Birbhan. They are considered to be an offshoot of the followers of the great saint Ravidas. The name Satnami reflects the major religious activity of the sect-which is the chanting and meditation of the true name (satnam, names of God), especially the names of Rama and Krishna. Fixing the mind devotedly on divine names, the fluctuations of the consciousness are stabilised, which makes one fit to receive higher intuitive knowledge of the divine. The sect is comprised mostly, but by no means exclusively, of the lower strata of Hindu society-particularly theleather working, sweeper, carpenters, and goldsmith communities-and they observe no caste distinctions-judging people only be their actions. They were known to have dressed simply like saints, and keep shaved heads (and were hence also called mundiyas), and abstain from intoxicants and animal foods. These tenets are still practiced by many today. Today the sect numbers over 15 million, and followers are to be found in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar,Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra. This huge spread is because those who survived the genocide following their rebellion against the Moghuls spread out into small units over vast tracts of land.
The Satnami revolt occurred in the reign of the Moghul Emperor Aurungzeb. Many Hindus resented Aurungzeb’s strict Islamic policies-which included reviving the hated Islamic Jiziya tax (poll tax on non-Muslim subjects), banning music and art, and destroying Hindu temples. The revolt began in 1672 when a Moghul soldier killed a Satnami. Other Satnamis took revenge on the Moghul soldier, and in turn the Moghul soldiers went about repressing the Satnamis. The result was that about 5,000 Satnamis were up in arms. They routed the Moghul troops situated in the town, drove away the Moghul administrators and set up their own administration in its place. The uprising gained the enthusiasm of Hindus in Agra and Ajmer also. Though totally lacking in weaponry and money, the Satnamis inflicted several defeats on the Moghul forces. The contemporary Moghul chronicler, Saqi Mustaid Khan, expressed amazement as to what came over this “destitute gang of goldsmiths, carpenters, sweepers and tanners and other… artisan castes that their conceited brains became so overclouded? Rebellious pride having found a place in their brains, their heads became too heavy for their shoulders.” This also shows the thinking of Muslim intelligentsia who regard them as untouchables. Amusingly, in contrast, Hindus have greatly respected the Satnamis throughout for their beliefs like prohibition of intoxicants and meat. The resentment of the Satnami’s against the Moghul persecution meant that they even enacted revenge by destroying mosques in the area. It was only with great difficulty that any Muslim soldiers could be brought to face the Satnamis, such was the wrath of the Satnamis at the time. It was only when Aurungzeb himself took personal command and sent 10,000 troops with artillery that the Satnamis fell. They put up a brave defense. According to Saqi Mustaid Khan they believed that they were re-enacting scenes from theMahabharata war. 2,000 Satnamis were slain on the battlefield and many more were slain in pursuit. What followed was an attempt to slay every remaining member of the Satnamis, and destroy all their homes. The remnants of the Satnamis fled in all directions and for a long time were totally disorganized and leaderless.