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Political Economy of Idenity Formation, 1890-1910: Class and Community in Colonial Punjab.

Byline: Haider Ali Agha


This paper analyses the rise of Muslim communal consciousness from the perspective of class conflict between different religious communities of this region. Punjab, being a Muslim majority province of British India, had agricultural and pastoral economy, notwithstanding the fact that colonial projects such as building of railways and canal colonies later radically altered pre-capitalist economic structure. British political and legal institutions along with these projects played a role in shaping and formation of group identity although it could not transform the consciousness which was distinctive of agrarian-pastoral society. The kind of nationalism which originated and developed on soil of the Punjab was professedly of religious nature. In the social milieu, rival religious communities vied for political and economic dominance. This paper seeks to explore the relation between class interest of landed elites and Muslim nationalist consciousness.

The idea of religious nationalism, both among Hindus and Muslims, was developed and exploited by powerful elites representing economic interests of different classes to strengthen their political position in the Punjab. The paper also analyses how economic structure built by colonial state sharpened the antagonism between social classes of Muslim and non-Muslim communities which eventually led to idea of Muslim separatism in the Punjab.


This rise and growth of consciousness of Muslims as a distinct community in the Punjab has been a focus of researches by eminent native and foreign historians. Most of those, who conducted the research on this area, have either studied this phenomenon as the product of pre-existing communal fault lines or from a perspective of colonial policy of divide et impera. There are some studies like Empire and Islam by David Gilmartin, Punjab under Imperialism by Imran Ali and Punjab and the Raj and Ian Talbot and Punjab Divided: Politics of the Muslim League and Partition 1935-1947 by Amarjit Singh which take into account the formation of elites and their quest for identity. This paper suggests that communal fracture lines between Muslims and Hindus appeared as Muslims had small developing urban middle class and large landed aristocracy and non-Muslims, predominantly Hindus, had large trading, urban moneyed and middle classes.

The moneyed classes, composed of merchants and moneylenders, aspired to have economic and political ascendancy.

The struggle between landed aristocracy and moneyed classes assumed religious complexion because of agrarian-pastoral character of Punjab economy. The class conflict between landed and mercantile elites was translated into communal antagonism and religion became symbol for both landed and mercantile classes around which they constructed their group identity to pursue economic interests.

Muslim nationalism found its theoretical elaboration in 1930 Allahabad Address which Allama Iqbal delivered as the president of All India Muslim League (AIML). The address has assumed a great significance in the annals of history of Pakistan and is regarded as the first philosophical formulation of Muslim nationalism in India. In Ayesha Jalal's view, Muslim nationalist consciousness in Punjab emerged as communitarian response to Indian nationalism of the Congress which claimed to be inclusive as Muslims landed classes pursued different political interests from those of mercantile and money-lending classes which the Congress represented.1

It was neither inflexibility of 'Hindu nation' in the face of conciliatory attitude of the Muslim, as the traditional narratives of official Pakistani historians maintain, which defined nationalism in India generally and in the Punjab particularly nor was it the result of British stratagem to divide and rule policy as post-partition official Indian historiography holds. The argument which this research seeks to build is that the separatist consciousness among Punjab Muslims was not a sudden development but evolved gradually as landed elites sought to consolidate their political position vis-a-vis emerging urban mercantile elites and educated classes which happened to be pre-dominantly Hindus. When the elites' conflict of interest could not be resolved, the vision of separate Muslim state was articulated. The ideologues of separatist course interpreted this conflict as 'given' as though fracture lines between religious communities pre-existed in Indian social structure.

The Punjab, being the gateway of India, was the first to bear the brunt of the invasions from its northern frontiers. The invading armies, which mostly originated in pastoral societies of Central Asia and Afghanistan, integrated into agrarian life style of the Punjab people. The Muslim landed aristocracy was born out of this long process of integration and assimilation. Mughal-Sikh conflicts, inter-Sikh feuds and Anglo Sikh wars had torn apart the political fabric of the Punjab and no single power was capable of restoring order and unity to it. The only relic of the past stability in this grim time was village as a self-sustaining unit which too was badly affected by the prevailing turmoil in the province.

When the British annexed Punjab in 1849 and began to entrench themselves into its fertile soil, the first task, they set themselves to accomplish, was to make the Punjab governable by restoring order and stability to it so that the Punjab's pre-capitalist agrarian economy could be turned to the advantage of British ruling class. Given the chaotic state of affairs prevailing in the Punjab, it was inopportune for the new rulers to significantly change the production relations to supplant the established socio-cultural order. The successful governance of this fertile and productive province required accommodation of the native magnates and extraction of the largest possible wealth from it. The administrative order enforced by the colonial authorities in the Punjab included the blend of co-optation and coercion. The British rulers involved the native landed gentry in its low-level revenue and police administration by appointing them as lumbardars and zaildars.

This paper views the emergence of consciousness of Muslim as a distinct cultural community in interrelationship with class interest of Muslim landed aristocracy. The narrative is premised on 'material conditions' under which 'real individuals' lived and conducted their activity.2

In the colonial Punjab the interests of class and community were interwoven. The colonial state apparatus and dominant social groups created new structural alignments. As the colonial apparatus was largely military and bureaucratic in nature, it radically altered pastoral-agrarian structure of the society. The landed gentry and mercantile class arose as a result of this socio-economic transformation brought about by colonial state. The study employs category of class to understand the phenomenon of communal consciousness which arose from the conflict between two classes. Marx delineates the features of a class as it evolves in relation to other social groups: "The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors."3

The Muslim middle class which was born out of working of colonial political economy remained on hostile terms with non-Muslim predominantly Hindu middle class and did not carry on its battle with landed gentry. The 67 per cent of Punjab Muslims were engaged in agricultural pursuits and only 6.57 per cent and 1.1 per cent carried on urban professional and commercial pursuits respectively.4 The Muslim middle classes were not strong enough to assert their independent entity vis-a-vis Muslim landed classes. This nature of group consciousness in pre-capitalist society is treated by Georg Lukacs, a Hungarian Marxist, says:

Was it possible at all objectively---for the classes in such a society to become conscious of the economic basis of these conflicts and of the economic problem with which the society is afflicted? Was it not inevitable that these conflicts and problems should assume either natural, religious forms or else legal and political ones, depending on the circumstances?5

The decade of 1930s was thus marked by conception of communitarian politics in Punjab which envisaged ideals of cultural nationalism as distinct from secular nationalism espoused by Congress leadership. It furnished a redefinition of cultural distinctiveness for national regeneration of Muslim by contesting the majoritarian nationalist discourse with an ambiguous yet a significant Hindu content. Punjab, the sword arm of British Empire, witnessed intense communal rivalries in the early twentieth century due to socio-economic changes and introduction of representative institutions by the colonial rulers.

The allegiance formed by a people and identities created by them in the historical process become the bases on which the nationalist consciousness is built. The nature of allegiances and identities, thus formed, vary from ethno-linguistic, territorial to religious-cultural. The rise of phenomena of nationalism6 in general and Muslim nationalism in particular owe their origin to modernization project of British colonialism in India. The Hindus and Muslims had lived together for centuries, and are still living in South Asia. As peoples they had formed social, cultural and economic bonds over a period of many centuries and contributed to development of syncretic Sufi traditions wahdat-ul-wajud. But what made them discover that they were more unlike than like each other was their political learning and peculiar experience of representative institutions under British tutelage.

The Muslim landed elites, largely in Punjab needed 'historical pedigree' which was provided by ethnicity but defined by religion. Islam and Hinduism furnished the grounds for a sense of group affinity by constructing linkages among 'we' as distinct from 'them'. Mostly, these linkages among 'we' did not go much beyond not being 'them' and thus were of largely negative value. This also partly explains the blood bath which followed the partition of the Punjab, though this theme is not to be dealt with here. Some historians trace the existence of these linkages to the perennial cultural distinctiveness of Muslim and Hindu, that is to say, communal identities could be recognized in pre-colonial times. C A Bayly is an exponent of the primordialist approach to South Asian history.

He holds that pre-colonial Indians had an acute sense of religious difference which created essentializations of social types as their successors, the colonial rulers, did. ... India was thus 'essentialized and othered' during subjection by Asian depots.7 This view also argued that both Hindu and Muslim society had an intense sense of all-India community, already in evidence, though this was not actuated into an aggressive 'communalism' and waited for colonial modern institutions to be realized.8 He finds the 'continuity between old cultural zones' and modern nation state quite 'persuasive' argument.9 He reinstates the role of indigenous societies and their culture so much that he implicitly scales down the impact western power and colonial rule by undermining the idea of transformation and ensuing periodization of Indian history into pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial epochs.10

The Indian Muslims had always existed as a separate and identifiable community. This primordialist explanation considers category of nation 'given'.11 There are, however, other historians like Paul Brass who view the construction of communal identities as a result of the dynamic of elite competition. In his profound study Language, Religion and Politics in North India, Paul Brass has elaborated the factors which play a role in translating the 'objective differences' between groups into 'group consciousness.'12 The present study applies the instrumentalist approach to account for formation of communal identities and social stratification among the people of the Punjab.

This papers argues that the material conditions of productions, profoundly altered by British colonial economy, determined the communal consciousness in the Punjab.13 The framework employed in the papers seeks to de-mystify the primordialist views of religious nationalism by exploring the materialist basis of Muslim nationalism in the Punjab. The traditional narratives based on belief in perennial division between Hindus and Muslims is seen in the light of new perspective furnished by the class conflict paradigm. The rise of Muslim nationalist consciousness in the Punjab dates back to the efforts of Muslim landed classes to preserve their economic ascendancy. The Muslim landed elites arose as British developed political and economic structures to integrated Punjab into world capitalist market.

The two measures, namely monetization and individual ownership of land, profoundly altered the agrarian structure of the Punjab society which afterwards paved the way for conflict between Muslim rural elites and moneyed classes into colonial politics.

Formation of Muslim Landed Elites

When British annexed Punjab in 184914, the pre-capitalist agrarian mode of production prevailed here. The British colonial rule brought with itself techniques and methods of governance of advanced capitalist state to an agricultural society. The politically ungovernable Punjab had one relic of its past stability which was its self-sustaining village life.15 Trevaskis, an eminent writer of colonial political economy, is of the view that the contribution which Punjab made to economy of the Indian subcontinent was 'out all proportion to its population, its productive capacity and even its size.'16 The western and south western districts, or what Thorburn describes as 'Western Punjab the home of Musalman subjects' was largely pastoral-agrarian society. The districts of Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Muzafargarh, Jhang, and Montgomery received scanty rainfall.17.

The Hindu majority sub-montane districts of Ambala, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, located in eastern Punjab, received 'unusually bountiful' rainfall which diminished the need for perennial canals. The land here was fertile with 'sea of wheat' and dense population.18 In the whole expanse of Jalandhar, there was nothing but one sheet of rich cultivation and in the Bari doab from Lahore eastward, villages were numerous and cultivation was extensive.19 The lower part of this doab, predominantly Muslims, was reverse of the former tract being under cultivated and covered by jungles or brushwoods.20 Most of the population in Rechna and Jetch doabs was pastoral and the towns were located at significant distance. The crops of fodder and grasses in good seasons afforded 'invaluable pastures to the cattle of pastoral nomads. B. A. Chaudhuri has identified three major types of pastoralism in Punjab, namely, powinda, alpine, and pastoralism that prevailed in semi-arid south-east Punjab.21

At the time of annexation of Punjab, the vast area was covered with jungles and bushes. Even District Karnal was 'pre-eminently pastoral country22 but building of canals had significantly reduced the grazing grounds. The animals used for draught and plough were locally bred. The canal colonies projects brought about cultivation of large areas, yet pastoralism remained one of the major means of peoples' subsistence.

There was no surplus produce except the cattle and sheep which again needed fast-withering pastures to be fed on.23 Such refractory and migratory mass was incapable of forming any allegiance to a homeland as they were constantly on the move with their encampments.24 An allegiance to a territory or a community required sharing of common bonds stretching over a long period of time. When some pastoralists settled down in the wake of agricultural colonialization, the group allegiance began to take shape. After occupying the Punjab, the British turned their attention to exact revenue so that they could meet the expenditure incurred in the administration of the province. In order that structure of colonial administration could be effectively maintained and process of recruitment of soldiers from Punjab villages for military security of the Raj against Russia and internal rebellions could be ensured, the British developed new policies for the collection of land revenue and political control.

After the occupation was complete, Henry Lawrence was appointed the Resident of trans-Sutlej districts of Jullundur, Hoshiarpur, and Kangra by Lord Hardinge. Henry Lawrence saw the old aristocracy as 'natural leaders' who could work as links between people and the government, a view which Lord Dalhousie was suspicious of.25 Henry Lawrence gave in and his younger brother John Lawrence executed Lord Dalhousie's policy by confiscating jagirs of 25 Sikh chiefs and taking away their ranks for their part in Second Anglo-Sikh war in 1848.26 The Punjab was 'non-regulation' province which meant here the rules were loosely interpreted to suit the immediate interests of colonial state. The lax interpretation of rules gave rise to Cronyism and paternalism. The loyalist native aristocracy was accommodated by being appointed as Assistant Commissioners and Extra Assistant Commissioners in the Punjab administration.

In 1852, the landlords who managed to get the office of Extra Assistant Commissioner numbered nineteen out of thirty whereas in 1855 they numbered twenty-four out forty-two.27 In addition to these jobs, the landed elites were involved in the government administrative machinery by being granted the offices of Tehsildar, clerks, zaildars, lambardars, patwaris and qanungo. The British rulers erected administrative structure to collect maximum revenue and export wheat and cotton into the world market on the one hand and strategic interests to defend British Indian in the north against Russia-Afghan alliance. The Muslim landed gentry provided recruits which helped British defeat the mutinous forces in 1857. The mercantile urban classes were helpful largely in taking the agrarian produce to the market and finally to the port but could not raise the troops and horses for the battles which British waged against the forces in other parts of India.

The British demolished Sikh administrative apparatus and restructured their own in its place. The Muslims or Sikhs who collaborated with the British were rewarded with important offices in the police as deputy inspector. British dismantled the structure on which Sikh landed aristocracy and military elite rested. Instead, they turned to Muslims who had taken part in the war against the Sikhs. Some of the leading prominent Muslim chiefs were recruited as police deputy inspector. The Tiwana and Noon chiefs were favourably rewarded with jagirs in Shapur district.28 Griffin and Massy have given an exhaustive account of prominent families of Muslim landed aristocracy in their classic work Chiefs and Families of Note in Punjab. They have described at length social background of more than 70 Muslim landed families and how they assumed political eminence in British Punjab.

The book also tells that these families were rewarded with jagirs and offices of Honorary and Jagirdari Magistrates, Extra Assistant Commissioner, Tehsildar, patwari, qanungo., zaildar and lambardar in return for their loyalty for the Raj in spite of the fact, the majority of Muslim population was living in abject poverty and in inferior position to other communities.

The table 1 signify the fact the Muslim made up the majority of the population and constituted about fifty three per cent of the population.

Table 1 Population of three Main Communities

District or State###Total Population###Hindu###Sikh###Muslim

British Territory###22,455,819###8,008,665 1,545,110 14,141,122



###20,330,339###7,874,413 1,517,019 10,825,698

British Territory


NWF Province)###4,424,398###2,470,056###585,877###1,357,647

Native States

Table 2 shows that Muslims lagged behind all religious communities in education. Thanks to low literacy level among Muslims, a small and feeble urban middle class developed among them that could found it hard to compete with mercantile and educated professional classes for jobs in the new administrative and revenue system. The Muslim landed gentry which was received paternalistic treatment at the hands of British rulers had access to educational institutions established by the British.

Table 2 Literacy proportion by religions


###British territory###Native states

###Jains###1 in 4###1 in 4

###Buddhist###1 in 8###1 in 25

###Sikhs###1 in 15###1 in 27

###Hindus###1 in 15###1 in 44

###Muhammadan###1 in 69###1 in 98

The table 3 shows that majority of Punjab Muslims was rural and were slowly getting urbanized compared with other two communities. Majority of village menials and lower class artisans belonged to Muslim community. The Muslim empire in India brought forth aristocracy of largely Muslim character as a result of Mansbadari system. The lower social echelons in Hindu society converted to Islam and continued their former trades. This does not minimize the importance of the fact that Muslims had large number of landholdings in Western Punjab and some in Central Punjab. The Sikhs were largely agricultural by profession but also found military service an honourable profession. The large number of recruits were supplied by Sikh rural elites and colonial authorities depended on low-paid local army men to serve the imperial establishment. The colonial economic system, as has been seen earlier, produced debt bondage and market tyranny.

The Punjabi Sikh cultivators sought to fight these challenges went to North America, Hong Kong, South-East Asia and Singapore for wage labour where they worked as watchmen and law enforcement personnel.29 In Canada and the USA they also adopted their native work of agricultural labourers and lumbermen. These Sikhs who went out of India found it quite hard to become petty commodity producers due to insufficiency of land.

The Sikhs who settled in North America formed Ghadr Party where The Sikh aristocracy of native states in the Punjab which fought on the side of the British in two Anglo-Sikh war remained loyalist and issued Sikh loyal manifesto from Golden Temple on 18 May 1907.30 Raja Gajjan Singh of Nurpur, Raja Balbir Singh of Mankot, Sardar Bikram Singh, Sardar Jiwan, Singh, Shahzadpur, Sardar Sundar Singh, Majithia, Nawab, Baba Gurbakhsh Singh Bedi of Rawalpindi, Sardar Narain Singh of Anandpur, Kanwar Charanjit Singh, Sardar Bahadur Harnam Singh, Raja Fateh Singh of Lahore, Shahzada Hamdam formed loyalist Punjab Chiefs Association on 23 February 1909 against rising merchants and trading classes under colonial pateronage.31

Sirdar Partap Singh, member of Imperial Legislative Council was the driving force behind this Association. Akali Movement or Gurdawara Reform Movement challenged the loyalist Chief Khalsa Diwan.

Class Origins of Hindu Communal Consciousness:

Malcolm Darling, a British civil servant of Punjab, writes: "The Punjab is agriculturally the most prosperous province of India and it is probably also the most indebted."32 The Punjab became 'the most indebted' as a result of social engineering of agrarian-pastoral economy. The colonial government in Punjab was an extension of capitalist state of Great Britain. It was natural that institutions it established in the Punjab should conform to the requirements of laissez fair principle of capitalist economy. The agricultural sphere was commercialized so that Punjab economy could be integrated with world capitalist market. The colonial authorities imposed heavy taxes and devised efficient machinery by co-opting native landed classes into this job. The land revenue system under Sikh rule put light burden on village communities but imposed severe conditions on ancient landed nobility whose influence Sikh Maharaja feared.33

The colonial officials' claims that British system of taxation was humane' and 'less harsh' than that of Ranjit Singh is not supported by the evidence.34

Table 3 General Character of three Religious Communities

Professions###Hindu (%)###Sikh (%)###Musalmans (%)




Artisan and village menials###36.19###25.60###29.86

Vagrants, minor artisans,

performers etc###1.98###1.22###1.67

Literate males

(age 15-24)


The colonial government deemed the tax collected from land as rent liable to be paid to the state. The tax or rent was taken in cash from the producers or cultivators. Sikh Durbar practices of collection of revenue differed sharply from those adopted by colonial administration in which tax was taken in kind and did not exceed one-fourth of the produce.35 The village accountant and headmen were instrumental in this process as there was 'little money' in circulation' most payments including land revenue were collected in the form of agricultural produce.36 In the pre-colonial times, most of the Punjab rural social structure was composed of collective cultivating units in which proprietary rights were vested in family of many individuals or in 'coparcenary community of cultivating individual' where each one cultivated his own land or some portion of it using his own cattle and plough.37

Thorburn tells that only 'rights of tribe or village collectively' over land were comprehended by the Punjab people at the time of occupation. This system of 'collective and pastoral units' in the rural Punjab had survived many bloody upheavals.38 The agrarian classes did not fall a prey to 'serious indebtedness' as there was 'neither credit nor money or civil courts.'39 The concept of 'individual rights' was quite unusual for them. He described the measure which colonial state adopted in this regard:

We retained the cattle tax and abolished all other cesses and dues, substituted individual for collective ownership of land and converted the share of each harvest paid by the cultivators, which he had generally paid in kind, into a fixed cash assessment. The assessments had to be very rapidly conducted - each English officer having to make a settlement with the headmen of from 1,000 to 3,000 different villages in the course of one cold weather's tour.40

The British introduced the element of cash money economy into the land revenue system and collection in kind was substituted with collection in cash hence fixing the revenue for some years. The element of money facilitated the business of mercantile classes who could lend more easily now. It also integrated Punjab economy into world economic system and building of railways and construction of canals multiplied the revenue and the cesses which were paid to new foreign rulers. In the Punjab. The land revenue exacted from the agricultural classes was to be source of colonial government's income, expenditure and savings in the form of capital. The project of building colonial state with huge administrative and military structure, and transfer of the surplus from colony to English ruling classes required radical alterations in the pre-colonial socio-economic structure.

The colonial authorities took measure to monetize the agricultural production and the peasants were constrained to sell the crop to pay the revenue demand in cash. The surplus wheat, produced by landholders, was sold to moneylenders to pay the land revenue and later exported through the port of Karachi. Table 3 gives the population of trading classes in Punjab who were mostly Hindus. The percentage of education among these classes was much >landowning classes. According to Ibbetsson, with seven percent of the population of the Punjab, they practically held 'the whole commerce of the Punjab in their hands.' They were not pastoralists and did not 'traffic in the cattle."41 The Muslims on the other hand were mostly rural and much less educated. The natural economy of bartering was replaced with money-economy in which market assumed the significant role for exchange and distribution of agricultural produce.

Wheat was a chief export commodity and its price was settled seeing its monetary value in the world market.42 The export crops of wheat and cotton required high level of investments which the poor strata among peasants could not afford. The uncertainty of harvest and prices made the situation worse for them. The moneylenders provided them with short-term relief in such need of hours. As the profit or saving of the peasants depended on the money value of agricultural produce, the depreciation of money could lead to reduction of prices of agricultural prices from 50 to 100 per cent.43 One of the reasons why landed classes fell a victim to increasing indebtedness at the hands of moneylenders was their inability to deposit the amount of revenue to be collected (asal) by the colonial authorities in response to land revenue demand (jama).

Table 3 Mercantile Classes in Punjab44

###Mercantile classes###Population in Punab














The Table 4 shows increase of export of wheat in the first decade of twentieth century in Punjab. In 1898-99, both imports and exports increased considerably by ten and fifty-nine percent with money-value of thirty-two percent. The major exports were wheat and raw cotton.45 The crops were raised more from the viewpoint of trade than from that of immediate satisfaction of population. The cash crops motivated the peasant proprietors to invest in cattle, implements of ploughing and pressing sugarcane.

Table 4 Net Exports of Grains, Pulse, Wheat, Cotton and Oilseed (in Hundreds of Thousands maunds).46

Year ending at 31st###Grain and Pulse###Raw###Oilseed


###Total###Wheat and flour









Average of four

years 1904-5

Average of four

years 1908-9###666###515###213###133


Colonial Punjab witnessed steady rise in the revenue collected despite the fact that harvest and production were adversely affected by calamitous factors like drought, famines, epidemics, poor rainfall, floods and others. The coercive methods used by the colonial authorities to collect revenue included the issuance of warrants and arrests of those who failed to meet the prescribed requirements. Thorburn attributes some causes of debt to 'collectors and subordinates' who had far too much become 'mere machines for grinding revenue' out of landholding classes.47

Trevaskis has also pointed to 'inelasticity of British fixed assessment for increasing indebtedness of landholding classes.48

The moneylenders remained cultivators' last hope in this dismal situation. The poor peasant would go to him and contract loans to pay land revenue and secure his subsistence. The colonial administration made its utmost effort to get the wheat out of the villages and to transport it to the world market. The native urban classes of money lenders and merchants made this task easier for their foreign rulers out of their own self-interest. The monetization of land revenue, fluctuation of prices of agricultural produce, bad harvests, devaluation of money, motivation to spend on export crops, increasing trend among the landed elites to spend money on buying British goods and price-rise of manufactured goods combined together to lead to the necessity of business of trade and money lending. Nevertheless, the rich zamindars made some monetary gains out of their investment on sowing export crops.

They used their money on purchasing the commodities produced in the British industries thus augmenting British capital but leaving little at home for promoting business activity. The agricultural classes got loans on pledging their crops or land or surrendering their right to sell the land to money lenders. British policies aimed at accumulation of capital could not be carried on without the presence of indigenous classes of merchants and moneylenders who took their share out of the agrarian surplus as interest on borrowed money.

British ruling classes needed clerks, teachers, pleaders and doctors, and low-level revenue officials, "the human underpinnings of the Raj" to work in the newly created administrative and legal system in the Punjab.49 As Punjab had yet to produce such men, the need was met by the Bengali educated and professional classes. The opportunities available in Punjab attracted educated Bengali Bramamos, Baidyas, UP Kayasthas and Christian missionaries.50 This new social grouping created a link between British and local populace of Punjab which did not have its own western-educated elite. Brahmo Samaj was formed in Lahore in 1863 by Babu Novina Chandra Roy, a Bengali Brahmo, with the help of other educated Bengali Brahamo Samajis and it was soon extended to other cities of Punjab.51 Professor K Mukerji sees Brahmo Samaj's appearance on Bengal socio-intellectual horizon as a result of the rise of urban bourgeoisie that was 'sustained by trade and foreign commerce'.52

Chritophe Jaffrelot too sees Brahmo reform movement as a result of connections between East India Company and new elite of upper caste Brahmans composed of 'local literati and compradors'.53

One of the most prominent activist of Brahmo Samaj in Punjab was the well-known educationist, Sardar Dayal Singh who established Dayal Singh College, Lahore. He also started weekly The Tribune which became daily after his death in 1888. In 1876, Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose, activist of Brahmo Samaj, founded Indian Association and its Punjab branch was set up as Lahore Indian Association in 1877. The money lenders, traders, and urban middle classes found the expression of their material interests in conceptual formulation of Arya's revivalism. Brahmo Samaj, being mildly opposed to colonial rule, could not long speak for the class of merchants, traders and money lenders of the Punjab as these social groups needed more aggressive representation of their economic interests-a need that was satisfied by revivalist Arya Samaj. Swami Dayanand Sarswati (1824-1883) founded this movement in Punjab in 1875.54

The anti-Brahmanic tones of his messages found favour with merchant castes of Khatri, Aroras, and Banias who flourished in Punjab as a result of expansion of business activity, yet could not have the social prestige enjoyed by Brahmans. The agriculturist classes borrowed money on very high interest rate which sometimes exceeded 50 per cent but in the Punjab, the average rate of interest was probably not <15 per cent.55 The produce and land of peasant served as security against which loan was advanced. The professional money lenders, merchants and zamindars who advanced loans on high interest rates were mostly Hindus. The usurious capital augmented merchant capital enlarging the class of traders. The wealth of the village community shrank, though part of the revenue remained in the hands of village staff working for the colonial regime.

The institutional structure of the village as a 'collective cultivating unit' under the pressure of competition came to the verge of collapse. The monetization of revenue brought its attendant ills with it.

Punjab Alienation of Land Act 1900-Manifestation of Communal Cleavage

The non-cultivating moneyed classes expropriated agriculturist tribes in the Muslim-dominated western districts which 'was 'jeopardizing the stability of colonial hold on the affection' of landholding classes in Punjab.56 In Mughal and Sikh period, 'the Bania'57 or moneylending classes were mostly 'poor and cringing creatures' except in the towns of Lahore, Amritsar, and were looked down on by landed classes. A Bania used to serve as accountant or humble servant of landed classes and used to expropriate 'surplus out of first good yield' on the amount of money he lent to landholders because he knew that usurious amount would not be paid.58 In the same vein, Chief Court Judge Justice Melville argued that peasant without land 'becomes a disaffected and disloyal subject."59

The British authorities sought the solution to the problem of indebtedness of hereditary landholding classes and alienation of land at large scale because it was threatening colonial state with prospects of serious agrarian unrest.

The object of British revenue system and laws was to secure easy access of surplus produce to markets by converting it into money and then exporting it to world market. The moneylending classes, the Banias, were instrumental in achieving economic objective of colonial administration.60 Those peasants or landowners who borrowed money from Banias mortgaged their land surrendering their right to sell it or its crop till the money with usury was paid. This state of affairs caused 'the existing owner to sink to the positon of tenant' and suffer from its evil-effects.61 In consequence, land passed from cultivators to those who farmed it much less efficiently or did not cultivate it at all to exploit its full productive potential. A large number of owners alienated part or whole of their lands which confronted the British government with a major problem to tackle with in the last part of nineteenth century.

Thorburn persuasively argued that colonial interest could best be pursued by protecting the interest of landholding classes. He advised the British rulers to frame laws and administer revenue system in such a way as to identify colonial interests with those of landholding classes.62

The 'prolonged official anxiety' finally led to the passage of Punjab Alienation of Land Act in 1900 which came into force on 8 June, 1901.63 This Act prohibited non-agriculturist classes from buying land from the 'agriculturist tribes' whose list was notified in a subsequent government notification and Financial Commissioner's standing order.64 The urban traders and moneylending classes considered it a serious disability and curb on laissez fair who later became 'inclined to convert it into political grievance.'65 The urban trading and professional classed were not permitted even to pass a resolution of protest against what they called discriminatory measure at the annual session of Indian National Congress.66

The table 5 suggests that landed magnate and rich farmers owned about forty-six percent of whole cultivated area in Punjab. The small peasant proprietors who were in majority owned much less cultivated areas and, as discussed above, had to depend on moneylenders to pay their revenue dues. In order to compensate for their low income and to make both ends meet, small cultivating classes sought to be recruited as soldiers in British army.

Table 5 Agricultural Holding in Punjab

###Holding###Percentage###Estimated###Percentage to

###(Area in acres)###of total###no. of###total area



Below 1 acre###17.9###313,000###1

Between 1-3###25.5###1,268,000###4.4

3 to <5###14.9###1,935,000###6.6

5 to <10###18.0###4,400,000###15.1

10 to <15###8.2###3,353,000###11.5

15 to <20###4.3###2,444,000###8.4

20 to <25###2.7###1,967,000###6.8

25 to <50###4.8###5,787,000###20.4

50 and more###3.3###7,452,000###25.8

The formation of Indian National Congress in 1885 and political awareness in Bengal and Bombay due to rise of bourgeois and petit bourgeois classes became the cause of rallying around Muslim landed nobility to preserve their interests. They began thinking of various ways to deal with the problem which, as they perceived, arose from hegemonic designs of Hindu urban classes.

Genesis of Muslim Nationalist Identity

Muslim landed gentry was concerned about the growing economic power of moneylenders, merchant and urban petty bourgeois in Punjab. Indian Council Act, 1861 had provided for the establishment of a local legislature in the Punjab. However section 44 left it to the discretionary power of Governor-General in Council to put it into effect. The provinces which became the part of the British Empire earlier were granted this privilege, but it took 36 years for the Punjab to benefit from this colonial 'privilege' after the Indian Council Act, 1892 had modified the previous Act. The first ever legislature of the Punjab was constituted in 1897 which had total ten members including five official and five non-official and all were nominated. The members, both official and non-official, were invested with the power to legislate. The five non-official members included two Muslims, one Hindu, one Sikh and one Christian.67

The Muslim members belonged to landed gentry and changed during decade-long life of the Council. The Council's seven Muslim members during 1897-1909 were from landed gentry. They included: Sir Nawab Amir-ud-Din Ahmed Khan of Loharu, K.C.I.E., Nawab Fateh Ali Khan Qazilbash, Nawab Imam Bakhsh Khan, Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan, Khan Bahadur Muhammad Husain, Khan Bahadur Mian Muhammad Shafi, Muhammad Shah Din and Umar Hayat Khan Tiwana.68 The first Legislative Council lasted for eleven years and passed 23 laws. The most important piece of legislation it passed was Land Alienation Act, 1900 which became the defining moment in the history of construction of communal identities in the Punjab.69 As a result of 1901 Land Alienation Act, land business was adversely affected and small landowners did not get the competitive prices for their lands as restrictions were placed on non-cultivating mercantile classes to purchase land.

The big landlords enlarged their estates at the expense of small landowners.70 In the following years, the position of agriculturist tribes was strengthened as they replaced mercantile classes for lending money and indebted cultivators surrendered right to sell land or its produce to them until the lent money was repaid. During 1902 and 1906, about 70.2 percent of mortgaged land went to agriculturist tribes compared with 29.9 percent to non-cultivating classes which showed significant reduction in the business of money-lending classes. The share of percentage of mortgaged land remarkably rose in favour of agriculturist tribes in the following years.71

The Muslim landed elites made formal entry into party politics in the Punjab with the formation of Punjab Muslim League in 1906. The imperial patronization of Muslim landed gentry through constitutional reforms enabled this class to gain access to the Punjab legislative council initially through the nominations and later through the votes of inadequately enfranchised agricultural socio-economic groups and landholding classes. Civil and Military News72, usually supporting pro-Raj views of the Muslims aristocracy set the idea of Muslim political association afloat 'to obtain anything from the government they must ask for it'73 The administration of both Lord Minto and newspapers like daily Paisa Akhbar (Lahore) and bi-weekly Vakil (Amritsar)74 sympathetic to the Muslim landed elites were expressing their criticism of Swadeshi nationalist movement launched to put pressure on the government to annul the partition of the Bengal.

Paisa Akhbar advised Muslims to have nothing to do with agitation and Vakil regarded agitation as an offense and justified the government in 'bringing the offenders to book.75

Muslim landed aristocracy was motivated by these factors to form a Muslim political organization. Shah Din, his cousin and Mian Muhammad Shafi were among the first Muslim leaders to move towards founding Muslim political organization.

Mian Shah Din (1868-1918) was a Lahore advocate whose ancestors had founded village of Baghbanpura and were appointed as 'hereditary custodians' of Shalamar Gardens by Emperor Shah Jahan.76 He followed Sir Sayyid's advice to take separate path from that of Indian National Congress (henceforth INC). In 1891, he wrote article The Money-Lender and Zamindar, he severely criticized 'grasping and unscrupulous village money-lender' for exploiting 'unlettered agriculturist'.77 His eldest brother Mian Zahur-ud-Din formed Anjuman-i-Islaha-i-Zamindaran about the year 1881 for uniting the Punjab landholders to improve their conditions.78

Shah Din in 1904 thought of forming 'Central Political Organization' for Muhammadans.79 Sir Shafi's daughter, Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz, later claimed that her father had established Muslim League in Lahore in June 1906, seven months before the birth of All India Muslim League on 30 December 1906.80 Interestingly, the same claim is made by Azim Husain in the political biography of his father, Mian Fazl-i-Husain who was rival of Mian Shafi in Punjab Muslim politics and held slightly different views from him at that time.81 Be that as it may. When Viceroy Lord Minto announced British government plan to introduce new constitutional reforms, Muslim leaders decided to convey their viewpoint to Viceroy on the method of representation. In 1906, being an active member of All India Muhammadan Deputation, Shah Din organized by Nawab Viqar-ul Mulk and headed by Sir Agha Khan.

The deputation waited on Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla on 1 October, 1906 to discuss demands for separate electorate for election of Imperial and provincial legislative councils and reservation of seats for Muslims in courts and other government services. The members of the Deputation took up the cause of the Muslim community at all-India level and formed a political party. A meeting of All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference was held at the Ahsan Manzil Palace, Shahbagh, Dacca (Dhaka) in December 1906. The meeting was hosted by Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah, himself a member of Bengal landed gentry. The Muslim notables founded a political party which came to be known as All India Muslim League (henceforth AIML). Choudhry Khaliquzzaman, one of the key figures in the pre-independence AIML describes the composition of the party:

The Muslim league ...was dominated by the titled gentry, Nawabs, landlords and Jee Huzoors [yes men] ... Since its very birth in 1906, the Muslim League's activities had always been confined to indoor political shows. Even its annual sessions were held either in well-decorated pandals or in big halls where a few honourable visitors were allowed by special cards. Mass public meetings were unknown to the Muslim League organization. From 1906 when it was founded in Dacca [Dhaka], its central office remained in Aligarh till 1910, where it was adjunct of an educational institution and could hardly be said to be separate Muslim organization."82

It was a time when the agitation the partition of Bengal was going on with the active support of the Congress. The British needed a counterweight to the growth of nationalist sentiments in Bengal. The statement made by Secretary of State of India Lord Morely indicates the direction of British policy in this regard. Lord Morley, considering the demands of Muhammadan deputation, had endorsed their logic of separate register in a speech in the House of Lords on 4 March, 1909: "Only let us not forget that the difference between Mahomedanism and Hinduism is not a mere difference of articles of faith. It is a difference in in life, in tradition, in history, in all the social things as well as articles of belief that constitute a community."83 A famous Pakistani historian K. K Aziz says: "The All India Muslim League was founded, run and controlled by very rich or middle-sized landlords...... It was the taluqdars, the big zamindars, and the jagirdars, the Rajas and the Nawabs who dominated it."84

After the formation of AIML League on December 30, 1906 at Dacca (Dhaka), the Punjab branch of AIML was organized by Mian Shad Din on 30 November, 1907 as its first president and Mian Shafi as its general secretary. Mian Shafi was Mian Shah Din's cousin.85 Shah Din in his letter to Civil and Military Gazette expressed his sharp disagreement with the Congress in these words: "for now more than ever the cleavage between Muhammadans and forward Hindu school, represented by Congress and kindred bodies is definitely and irrevocably marked."86

According to Azim Husain,87 his father Fazl-i-Husain belonged to middle class family, though he also boasts of aristocratic background of his maternal ancestors, namely Gen. Ilahi Bakhsh, Col. Fateh Khan and Col. Sikandar Khan who served as high-ranking officers in Sikh Army and survived as relics of Muslim aristocracy.88 The title 'Khan Sahib was conferred on Mian Fazl-i-Husain's father, Mian Husain Bakhsh by the British.89

He retired as the District Judge, had very warm friendship with James Lyall, Lt. Governor of the Punjab and his family.90 Azim Husain claims that the name 'Muslim League' was coined by Fazl-i-Husain who was later elected from the constituency reserved for Muslim landholders in the Punjab Legislative Council elections held in 1921.91 He continued to represent the Muslim landed elites' interest from then onward in the council.

When British appointed Shah Din as a judge of Punjab Chief Court on 6 October, 1908, his two lieutenants, Fazl-i-Husain and Mian Shafi became involved in a tussle for leadership of Punjab Muslim League. The split among the leaders of Anjuman-i-Islamia led Fazl-i-Husain to take an independent path from that of Mian Muhmmad Shafi and organize his group of Punjab Muslim League whereas Mian Shafi founded Muslim Association.92 When All India Muslim League (AIML) was formed at Dhaka on 30 December 1906, Mian Shah Din and Mian Shafi, associated with AIML leader Viqar-ul-Mulk and established provincial Muslim League in November 1907. Shafi's stance was supported by the Paisa Akhbar, a daily from Lahore.

The constitutional reforms and principle of election were being demanded in the provinces Bengal and Bombay where bourgeois and petit bourgeois classes were beginning to assert their newly acquired power. The Punjab political elites, mainly composed of the landed nobility and represented by Partap Singh, Tiwanas and Tilop Chand, showed their loyalty to the Raj by voicing their support for status quo. It was a time when All India Muslim League led by Agha Khan, Nawab Viqar ul Mulk, made a demand for communal electorate for members of Legislative councils and District boards. Mian Shafi, who was from local landholding family of Lahore, opposed 'elective system' and demanded 50 per cent seats non-official seats for Muslims in legislature and local bodies on the basis of communal electorate.93

The Muslim landed class was aware, given the electoral qualifications and strong socio-economic position of Hindu professionals, traders and money-lenders, that they would be under-represented and the rival communities would become stronger.94 A sizeable section of Punjab Muslim landed gentry like Mehdi Shah, G Husain, Makhdum Hasan, Fazl-i-Husain Ch, Hayat and S. M. Husain supported the demand already made. Shafi used his good offices with Dunlop Smith, the private secretary of Viceroy, to get this demand across to the British administration based in Calcutta. He suggested to him that Muslims should be allotted six or at least five out of ten seats of Legislative Council in which three members might be nominated and out of remaining three one might be elected by electoral college of Muslim landholders, one by Punjab Muslim League and one by Muslim municipal commissioners.95

Shafi also assured Dunlop that the interests of his community were in line with British interests and while they were not only separate from but also antagonistic to those of Hindu mercantile classes.96

Smith gave a serious hearing to Shafi's request. The British government in India had seen political turmoil on the issue of partition of Bengal. It had come under pressure from Congress to involve the Indians in the business of the government through enlargement of representative institutions. Punjab Provincial Muslim League held its meeting at Muhammadan Hall, Lahore on 22-23 October, 1909. The demands for communal electorate for Muslims and their adequate representation in all legislative local and district bodies were made by Muslim landed classes who dominated the proceedings. The swaraj was the last thing they wanted because they saw their survival in the continuation of British rule. Muhammad Shafi summed up objectives of the Punjab League meeting as 'loyalty, fraternity and patriotism.' British rule rather than swaraj was considered necessary by landed classes for their community's survival.

Shah Din and Mian Shafi held conservative political views and preferred method of nominations to that of elections of Muslim for membership of the council. They demanded six Muslim seats out of twenty-six Council seats in which three were nominated and three elected. The electoral qualifications were based on payment of taxes, revenue and education. Fateh Ali Qizilbash, a loyal landed magnate, suggested membership of five Muslims for the council out of which two should be elected and three nominated. It seemed as though Muslim landed elites had more faith in nomination and separate electorate than in mixed electorate. The demands made by Muslim notables could be seen against the background socio-economic conditions of Punjab. The Muslims were conspicuous both by their largest percentage of population and low rate of literacy in Punjab. The Minto-Morley Reforms were announced in 1909.

The figures given in Table 6 leave out Lieutenant Governor and two experts who were appointed from time to time by him.97 The figures in Table 6 were extracted from the Morley Papers. The maximum number of the Punjab council reached 30.

Table 6. Distribution of Seats in Punjab Legislative Council under Minto-Morley Reforms or Indian Councils Act, 1909.

###Category of Constituency###Max no. of Seats

###Punjab Council###24

###Elected (Total)###5

###Commercial Community###1

###Punjab University###1

###Larger Cities###3

###Nominated (Total)###19



###Muslim (non-official)###2

###Hindu (non-official)###1

###Sikh (non-official)###1

###Other interests###3

The elections were held in December 1909 under Indian Councils Act, 1909 also called Minto-Morley Reforms. The Punjab Provincial Muslim League announced its candidates for three municipal and cantonment and Punjab University seats. The three Municipal seats were won by Punjab League but its stalwarts like Mian Shafi and Fazl-i-Husain lost to Shadi Lal in the contest for Punjab University seat.98 In the three Municiapl seats, Khawja Ahad Shah and his opponent Siri Kraish Das got equal votes, 32 and Ahad Shah was declared successful by lot. The other successful candidate was Khan Bahadur Khawaja Yusuf Shah who got 24 votes and won only by one vote over his rival Rais-i-Lahore Ram Sirandas. The third candidate was Khan Bahadur Seth Adamji got 27 votes and defeated his rival Hari Chand by one vote.99


The view that Hindus and Muslims exited as irreconcilable ethnic 'categories' did not exist at the time of British occupation of Punjab in 1849. This view gradually developed when the interests of elites of both communities came into conflict under new revenue and trade system. British administration, as an extension of British capitalist state, integrated agrarian-pastoral Punjab with the world capitalist market. Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs had been living in Punjab with distinct religious identity, but communal consciousness developed when forces of economic competition under laissez fair principle played their role. The British policies were not biased against or for any religion. The colonial rulers framed laws and established administrative institutions with a view to securing land revenue by expropriating peasant proprietors.

The strict revenue laws compelled the landowning classes to borrow from Hindu mercantile classes on the conditions of surrendering their rights to sell land or produce until money was repaid. The land was alienated at large scale from agricultural classes to non-agricultural moneylenders. On the other hand, the unrestricted freedom given to moneylenders in initial phase of their rule aimed at ensuring continuous trade of agricultural commodities to world market. As a result new powerful urban classes of moneylenders, traders, and educated professionals grew who came to own most of the wealth of the Punjab. The British educational system brought them into contact with liberal political ideas of utilitarian philosophers and these classes gave their own meaning to the western notion of freedom. The urban educated and trading classes began to explore the new arenas of power and prestige at the expense of landholding classes.

The discontent spread among expropriated agriculturist and British administrators sensed a danger that their disaffection could jeopardize the stability of agricultural life in Punjab and divest them of their most loyal subjects. The colonial ruling elites revised their policies and adjusted them to changing conditions. The legislation on land alienation placed a curb on burgeoning non-cultivating urban traders and educated petit bourgeois. They were prohibited from acquiring land from agriculturist tribes. The British administrators like Thorburn firmly advocated Muslims claims for posts as a way of ensuring loyalty of western Punjab agriculturist tribes. There was perceptible shift in British policy. When representative institutions were introduced on limited scale in Punjab on the basis of communal electorate, the elites of both major communities used religion as a main symbol to give subjective meaning to objective economic differences to construct group identity.

Notes and References

* Haider Ali Agha, Ph.D. Scholar, G.C. University, Lahore Assistant Professor, Government Shalimar College, Lahore

1 Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asia Islam Since 1850 (Lahore: Sange-e-Meel Publications, 2007), 265.

2 Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, The German Ideology, 3rd ed.,(Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), 37.

3 Ibid., 85.

4 Report on Census of India, 1891: The Punjab and its Feudatories, vol. XIX, Part I, (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing of India, 1892), 86 and 247

5 Georg Lukacs, History and Class Consciousnes: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge: Merlin Press Ltd., 1971), 56.

6 E. J. Hobsbawm and David J. Kertzer, "Ethnicity and Nationalism," Anthropology Today 8, no. 1 (Feb. 1992): 3-8. Hobsbawm, a Marxist historian, differentiates between ethnicity and nationalism by describing nationalism as 'political programme which holds that 'groups defined as nations have the right to, and therefore ought to, form territorial states. Without this programme realized or not, nationalism is meaningless term.... Ethnicity, on the other hand is not programmatic and even less is it a political concept. In other words, nationalism belongs with political theory, ethnicity with sociology and anthropology." Ibid. 4.

7 C. A. Bayly, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 28-29.

8 Ibid., 369.

9 C.A Bayly, The Birth of Modern World 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 202.

10 Summit Guha, review of Origins of Nationality in South Asia: Patriotism and Ethical Government in the Making of Modern India, by C. A. Bayly, The Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 1 (2001): 256-58

11 Paul Brass treats primoridialist theory about the creation of separate state for Muslims thus: "Historians of Muslim politics in north India have a list of significant dates and events that go back to 1857 or even earlier that represent steps on the road to Pakistan.... The further back the date is placed, the more likely it is that the historian providing the date accepts the view that there was an underlying problem or fault line of Hindu-Muslim relations running throughout the subcontinent that required a solution, failing which the creation of two separate nation-states, one predominantly Muslim, one Hindu, was inevitable." See Paul Brass, "The Partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946-47: means, methods and purposes," Journal of Genocide Research 5, no. 1 (2003): 73. Ayesha Jalal deals with primordialist theory in her book: "The Indian Muslim were always separate and identifiable community.

India always contained the seeds of two nations; the Muslims were never assimilated into their Indian environment and had their own distinctive tradition." Ayesha Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (1985; reprint, Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2010), 1.

12 Paul Brass, Language, Religion and Politics in North India (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 43-44.

13 Paul R. Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1991), 16. The argument advanced by Brass falls into 'instrumentalist' rather than 'primordialist' view of identity formation. Primordialist view considers ethnic division as 'given' and permanent feature of Indian society whereas the instrumentalist view considers the ethnic identity formation as the process created in the 'dynamics of elite competition.'

14 The British acquisition of the Punjab territories began with Lord Lake's Maratha campaigns which led to their control of south eastern districts of the Punjab, namely, Delhi, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Karnal, Hissar and Sirsa tehsil of Firozpur by the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon (Dec. 30, 1803). The chiefs of Faridkot, Patiala, Jind and minor states of Maler-Kotla and Kalsia, fearing attack from Ranjit Singh, signed Protection Treaty with the British in 1809 and became the feudatory chiefs. The cis-Sutlej territories of Firozpur, Ludhiana, Ambala and tran-Sutlej territories of Hushiarpur, Kangra and Jallundhar were annexed after the first Sikh war in 1845. The Resident was appointed to administer these territories by Lord Dalhousie. Then the whole of the Punjab was annexed in the wake of the second Anglo-Sikh war in 1849. See Baden Powel, Land-Systems of British India, vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 43-44.

15 George Campbell, Modern India: A Sketch of the System of Civil Government (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1852), 86.

16 Hugh Kennedy Trevaskis, The Land of Five Rivers, (London: Oxford University Press, 1928), xv.

17 Septimus Smet Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders in Punjab (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1886), 3.

18 Malclom Lyall Darling, Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt (London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1928), 22.

19 Culcutta Review XXI, no. XLII (Culcatta: Sanders, Cones and Co., 1853), 226.

20 Ibid.

21 Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri, Peasant History of Late pre-Colonial and Colonial India Chaudhuri (New Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2008), 788.

22 A. M Stowe, Settlement Report of the Karnal District, 1909 (Lahore: Punjab Government Press, 1912), 20. Para 26.

23 Trevaskis, Land of Five Rivers, 13.

24 Ibid.,14.

25 J J McLeod Innes, Sir Henry Lawrence: The Pacificator (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898), 117, 120.

26 Rekha Sood, "Punjab Politics 1937-1947: Role of Joginder Singh, Ujjal Singh and Baldev Singh" (PhD diss., Punjab University Patiala, 2010), 15.

27 Judicial Department Proceedings (JDP) 4 August, 1855, nos. 15-17. Punjab Secretariat Record Office, Lahore.

28 Lepel H Griffin and Charles Francis Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab, revised ed., vol. 2 (1910; repr., Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2004), 189-196.

29 Richard. G. Fox, Lions of the Punjab: Culture in the Making (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 42.

30 Satish Chandra Mittal, Freedom Movement in Punjab (Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1977), 68.

31 Sirdar Pirtap Singh, The Punjab Chiefs' Association (Lahore: The Tribune Press, 1911), 17.

32 Malcolm Lyall Darling, The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, 2nd ed. (London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1928), 235.

33 Trevaskis, Land of Five Rivers, 183.

34 Mridula Mukherje, Colonizing Agriculture: The Myth of Punjab Exceptionalism (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2005), 2.

35 G.C Walker, Settlement Report of the Lahore District (Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette, 1893), 3.

36 Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders, 12.

37 Calcutta Review, 1853, 231.

38 Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders, 10.

39 Ibid., 12.

40 Ibid., 46.

41 Sir Denzil Ibbetson, Punjab Castes (Lahore: Superintendent Government Printing Press, 1916), 237.

42 James Wilson, Recent Economic Developments in the Punjab (London: R. Clay and Sons, 1910), 15. James Wilson, civil servant, was a settlement commissioner in colonial Punjab. His administrative skill was appreciated during Triple Project comprising Upper Jhelum, Upper Chenab and Lower Bari doab canals. Earlier, he had served as Deputy Commissioner of Shahpur district during the 1890s. See John.W. Cell, Hailey: A Study in British Imperialism, 1872-1969 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 19-20.

43 Thorburn, Musalmand and Moneylenders, 47.

44 Imperial Gazetteer of India Provincial Series Punjab: The Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan Divisions and Native States, vol. 1 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1908), 49. Census of India , 1901: Punjab British Territory and Native States and North-West Frontier Province, vol, XVII-A, Part II (Tables) (Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press, 1902), TABLES XIII-ii--XIII-xxvi.

45 Nina Puri, Political Elite and Society in Punjab (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1985), 14.

46 Net Exports are computed by subtracting Punjab imports from export of grain, pulses and wheat. A maund equals 82.28 lbs

47 Thorburn, Musalmand and Moneylenders, 67.

48 Trevaskis, Land of Five Rivers, 267. Thorburn points out that nearly 60 lacs Muslims were being subjected to harassment by moneylending castes of Banias due to 'operation of laws and revenue system created by us' (British) within the last thirty six years. See Thorburn, Musalmand and Moneylenders, 39.

49 K.W. Jones, "Bengali Elite in Post-annexation Punjab: An Example of Inter-regional influence in the 19th Century India," The Indian Economic and Social History Review 3, no. 4 (November 1966): 376-395

50 Kayastha (also referred to as Kayasth or Kayeth) is a caste or community of Hindus originating in India. Kayasthas are considered to be members of the literate scribe caste, and have traditionally acted as keepers of records and public accounts, writers, and administrators of the state.Kayasthas have historically occupied the highest government offices, serving as ministers and advisors during early medieval Indian kingdoms and the Mughal Empire, and holding important administrative positions during the British Raj. Vaidya or Baidya is a Hindu caste community of Bengal. The Baidyas have generally claimed Brahmin status,but some have been associated with the Ambashtha caste or sub-caste. In the pre-colonial era of Bengal, Vaidyas were regarded as the highest Hindu castes along with Brahmins and Kayasthas..

51 Brahmo Samaj was Hindu monotheistic movement which emphasized the necessity of modern education. It also tried to purge Hindu society of inhuman customs and beliefs like satti, caste distinction, child marriage, idolatry. It sought accommodation with other religions like Christianity and Islam. It was basically a reform movement which stressed the rational interpretation of Vedas in the light modern knowledge. Ram Mohan Roy was rightly regarded as the pioneer of Hindu renaissance.

52 K Mukerji, "The Renaissance in Bengal and Maharashtrian Thought from 1850 to 1920," Artha Vijnana: Journal of Gokhale Institue of Politics and Economics 4, no. 4 (Dec. 1962): 333.

53 Christophe Jaffrelot, ed. The Hindu Nationalism: A Reader (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 7.

54 Jaffrelot, Hindu nationalism, 29.

55 Malcolm Lyall Darling, The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, 2nd ed. (London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1928), 18

56 Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders, 35.

57 Thorburn employs general term 'Bania' (sic Bubbiah) for moneylending classes which also included Arora, Khatris and Bhatia commercial castes and classes.See Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders, 36.

58 Ibid., 37.

59 Norman G Barrier, "The Formulation and Enactment of the Punjab Alienation of Land Bill," Indian Economic and Social History View 2, no.2 (April 1965): 147.

60 Ibid., 38.

61 H. C. Calvert, The Wealth and Welfare of the Punjab (Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press, 1922), 7.

62 Thorburn, Musalmans and Moneylenders, 40.

63 Governor-General of India in Council passed Act No. XIII of 1900. This Act received the assent of the Governor General of India Lord Curzon on 19 October, 1900. This Act amended the law relating to agricultural land in Punjab and was called Punjab Alienation of Land Act, 1900. It extended to all territories for the time being administered by Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab. The Act No. XIII of 1900 was brought into force by Punjab Government notification No. 20 S dated 22 May, 1901 from 1 June, 1901. By a subsequent notification of Governor-General in Council no. 1243 dated 8 June, 1901, the date of coming into force was declared to be 8 June, 1901 and by Punjab Government notification No.178 S.dated 11 June, 1901. The first notification of Punjab government was thus cancelled. See for details. Nihal Chand, The Punjab Alienation of Land Act No XIII of 1900 (Lahore: Amrit Electric Press, 1924).

64 Nihal Chand, The Punjab Alienation of Land Act No XIII of 1900 (Lahore: Amrit Electric Press, 1924), 30. Mr. Chand has given entire list of the agriculturist tribes in book.

65 Malcolm Lyall Darling, The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, 2nd ed. (London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1928), 186.

66 Neeti Nair, Changing Homelands: Hindu politics and Partition of India (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2011), 13

67 Home Department (Political-B), GOI Proceedings, November, 1909, Nos. 32-41.

68 The Punjab Parliamentarians 1897-2013 (Lahore: Provincial Assembly of Punjab, 2015), 8-10

69 Ibid.

70 Mukherje, Colonizing Agriculture, 150.

71 Ibid., 84.

72 Civil and Military News, a pro-government Urdu Weekly form Ludhiana, was published by Sayid Muhammad It had a circulation of 1,325 copies. Selections from the Native Newspapers Published in the Punjab upto 6 April, 1907, Confidential vol. XX no. 14. 87.

73 Civil and Military News Ludhiana, 24 December, 1906.

74 Paisa Akhbar, a daily from Lahore, was published and edited by Mahbub Alam and it had a circulation of 700 copies. Vakil, Bi-weekly from Amritsar, was published and edited by Ghulam Muhammad with a circulation of 1,150. Selections from the Native Newspapers, 87.

75 Paisa Akhbar , Lahore, 31 December, 1906. Vakil, Amritsar, 9 May, 1907.

76 Bashir Ahmad, Justice Shah Din, His Life and Writings (Lahore: Ferozsons, Ltd., 1962), 16. Mian Muhammad Yusuf, known as Mehr Mahenga, was appointed as the first custodian of Royal Gardens and was granted the site where he founded village Baghbanpura. Mian Qadir Bakhsh, the grandfather of Mian Shah Din, served in the court of Ranjit Singh as expert of gunnery and physician. His eldest brother Mian Zahur-ud-Din formed Anjuman-i-Islaha-i-Zamindaran about the year 1881 for uniting the Punjab landholders to improve their conditions.

77 Ibid., 131. Shah Din's article "The Money-Lender and the Zamindar" was published in The Punjab Patriot dated 2 February, 1891.

78 Ahmad, Justice Shah Din, 19

79 Ibid., 344.

80 Jahanara Shahnawaz, Father and Daughter: A Political Biography (Lahore: Nigarishat, 1971), 2. Mian Shafi is said to have proposed the name 'Muslim League' for Muslim political party in his article published in the London Observer.

81 See Azim Hussain, Fazli-i-Hussain: A Political Biography (Bombay: Longsmand, Green and Co. Ltd., 1946), 96. It is interesting to note that the Muslim League established by Fazl-i-Hussain precedes the establishment of All India Muslim League that was formed on 30 December, 1906 at Dacca. This was first time the name Muslim League was used for a Muslim organization in Indian subcontinent. Azim Hussain, Fazl-i-Hussain's son, mentions it in biography of his father: "Fazl-i-Husain coined the name "Muslim League" and held a meeting in February 1906 at Lahore of leading Punjabi Muslims, excluding those of the rival party. In retaliation, some months later Mian Muhamad Sha founded with the support of his friends a "Muslim Association". The organization created by Fazl-i-Husain was the rst organization in India to call itself the"Muslim League."

82 Choudhry Khaliquzzaman, Pathway to Pakistan (Lahore: Longmans Green and Co., 1961), 137.

83 Panchanadas Mukherji, comp., Indian Constitutional Documents 1773-1915 (Calcutta: Thacker Spinx and Co., 1915), 295.

84 K. K. Aziz, "Pakistan's Political Culture," Essays in Historical and Social Origins (Lahore: Vanguard, 2001), 22.

85 Shah Din's daughter Asghari Beghum, was married to Mian Rafi who was son of Mian Muhammad Shafi. Ibid., 20 and 73.

86 Civil and Military Gazette, 8 October, 1907.

87 Azim Husain was the son of Sir Fazl-i-Husain who served in the Indian Foreign Service as a high official while his brother Nasim served in Pakistani Foreign Service. Fazl-i-Husain's nephew. Mian Arshad Husain also became Foreign Minister under Ayub Khan's regime. See Craig Baxter, People's Party Vs. the Punjab "Feudalists," in Contemporary Problems of Pakistan, ed. Henry Korson (Leiden: E J Brill, 1974), 10.

88 Azim Husain, Fazl-i-Husain: A Political Biography (Bombay: Longmans, Green and Co. 1946), 11.

89 IOR: MSS. Eur, E 325/1. Sir Fazl-i-Husain Collection. Sanad to Mian Husain Baksh, Extra Assistant Commissioner in North-West Frontier Province.

90 Ibid., 22.

91 Ibid., 96.

92 Ibid. See also Qalb-i-Abid, Muslim Politics in the Punjab 1921-47,(Lahore: Vanguard Book Ltd., 1992), 14. It is interesting to note that the Muslim League established by Fazl-i-Hussain precedes the establishment of All India Muslim League that was formed on 30 December, 1906 at Dacca. This was first time the name Muslim League was used for a Muslim organization in Indian subcontinent. Azim Hussain, Fazl-i-Hussain's son, mentions it in biography of his father. See Azim Hussain, Fazli-i-Hussain: A Political Biography (Bombay: Longsmand, Green and Co. Ltd., 1946), 96. S M Ikram says that Azim Hussain's claim finds support in the words of Muhammad Noman who referring to different Muslim associations says that one of them was Muslim League of the Punjab. See foot in Ikram, Modern Muslim India, 226.

93 S. Qalb-i-Abid, Muslim Politics in the Punjab (1921-47) (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1992), 15.

94 Ikram Ali Malik, A Book of Readings on the History of the Punjab, 1799-1947 (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, 1970), 283.

95 Muhammad Shafi to Dunlop Smith, 30 April 1909, Minto Papers (157).

96 Muhammad Shafi to Dunlop Smith, 18 June 1909, GOI, HD, Public A August, 1909, Nos. 182-184.

97 Sir Courtenay Ilbert The Government of India: Supplementary Chapter on Indian Councils Act, 1909 (London: Oxford at Clarendon Press, 1910), 415.

98 J.S. Rakkar, Muslim Politics in the Punjab (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1985), 125.

99 Paisa Akhbar, 31 December 1909. The Muslim newspaper gave the names of the successful Muslim landed elites in elections.
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Publication:Journal of Pakistan Vision
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Date:Dec 31, 2016
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