Ornaments

 

            Right from the ancient times, the Indian women have been using ornaments to enhance their beauty. Nose ornaments have Muslim origin but are now widely used. The most coveted metal for ornaments is gold, next to which comes silver.

                      

            The women use ornaments for the head, ear, nose, neck, wrists, fingers and ankles. The hair-clip, ear-rings, necklaces, nose-ring, bangles, karas and rings are very common. The phul chauk, an ornament used by rural women, is fast becoming obsolete. Amritsar is a very big market for ornaments of the latest designs. Hence all types of ornaments in vogue all over India are available. The women of the commercial community, being rich, are loaded with ornaments. The giving of ornaments on marriages in dowry is a must. Widows do not put on ornaments. The major portion of the savings of middle classes is spent on ornaments

 

            Nowadays, women widely use artificial jewellery. The poorer classes use it out of economic necessity.

           

            Men generally do not use ornaments, except rings. Some old persons may be seen wearing ear-rings, called murkian or nantian. The Jats wear kanthas on marriages and fairs to show off their opulence. The well-to-do Sikhs also wear a kara of gold.

 

            Food.-The climate of the area and the availability of certain cereals determine the dietary habits of the residents. The Amritsar District is one of the most fertile areas in the State. Fodder and grass are available in abundance. People breed cattle. Milk is available in huge quantities and it is consumed to the maximum in the district. The district has ample irrigation facilities, e.g., canals, tube-wells and wells. Millets and gram are not commonly grown and, for the same reason, these are consumed sparingly.

           

            The people in the rural areas mostly take wheat as their staple food. Pulses locally grown, viz. moong, mash and gram, are consumed. Vegetables, mostly leafy ones and grown locally, e.g., methi, mustard, bathu, are taken. Carrots, turnips, etc., are also consumed. Potatoes are nowadays used in abundance. Brown sugar is mostly used instead of sugar. Sweet dishes comprise halwa, khir, zarda, etc., which are prepared onf estive occasions. Chhah or lassi (buttermilk), once the most coveted beverage in the district, is now no longer consumed in abundance. Milk fetches a high price and it is taken to the urban areas and sold there. The agriculturists have made it a business and have started selling milk. They keep the minimum quanityt at home for preparing tea. During the last decade or so, tea has become the most important beverage. It is prepared with brown sugar and taken in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Gram-flour (besan) is used mostly for preparing pakoras and curry. The latest trend is that the people have started taking chillies in large quantities. The cooking medium is generally vegetable-oil and mustard-oil. Ghee is occasionally used by the well-to-do persons. Meat is consumed on special occasions. Alcohol is consumed by men in large quantities, expecially on festive occasions, like Baisakhi, Diwali and Lohri. Smoking is also common amongst the non-Sikhs.

           

            The people in the urban areas also use wheat as the staple food. All types of pulses and vegetables are used. The cooking medium is mostly vegetable oil. The well-to-do families, however, also use ghee. The people of Amritsar have a special liking for milk and milk products.They take milk, curds, lassi, cheese, and other milk products in large quantities. The sweets prepared from milk, e.g., barfi, pera, rasgulla, gulab-jaman, are in great demand. Throughout the city, halwais sell boiled milk having a thick layer of malai (cream), a speciality of Amritsar and of the surrounding area. The residents, of the towns have a special liking for fried vegetable pakoras, popularly called talia hoia. These are sold on rehris throughout the city to the great liking of the people. The residents of Amritsar have special liking for kulcha and bhatura, sold with cooked grams to which a bit of curd is also added. This is certainly a speciality of Amritsar. All kinds of sweets are taken by the people. They have a special liking for Punjabi and Bengali sweets. The consumption of liquor has increased much during the last two decades or so.

            Tea and coffee have become quite popular these days. Tea is taken by all high and low. Coffee is taken by the elite in modern cafes and hotels. In summer, people use aerated water, syrups and shakanjvin. To stimulate the appetite, they also use jalzira and kanji. Cakes, biscuits and pastries are also consumed in abundance by well-to-do people. Children are becoming more and more fond of toffees, etc.

(iv) Communal Life

            Fairs and Festivals.-Fairs and festivals reflect the cultural heritage of the people of the area. They cover religious, social and economic fields and some of them glorify the change of season. A few of them are also held in commemoration of anniversaries of incarnations, gurus, saints and notable persons.

            Amongst the Hindus, there is a continual chain of religious functions, fairs and festivals all the year round. Shivratri is celebrated in February, Guru Ravi Das’s birthday is also celebrated in this month and processions are taken out. Holi is celebrated in Phalgun (March). The festival is observed for almost a week. Men, women and children take part in it. In Amritsar, it is celebrated enthusiastically. In the villages, however, the festival does not carry much significance. Janam Ashtami commemorates the birthdayof Shri Krishan. The people keep fast and visit temples which are specially decorated on the occasion.

            Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th Navratra in Asauj (September-October) in honour of the victory of Ram over Ravan, i.e. victory of virtue over vice. This notable traditional festival is celebrated with marked enthusiasm at Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Patti, Khem Karan, Majitha, Ajnala and Ramdas. A big mela is held in Amritsar in the spacious Govindgarh grounds where the effigies of Ravan, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran are burnt amidst great public rejoicing.

            Diwali, the festival of lights, is associated with the worship of Laxmi – the goddess of wealth, and with the return of Ram to Ayodhia after his long exile. The houses are cleaned and whitewashed. There are large-scale illuminations, play of fireworks and jubilations. Sweets are distributed amongst relations and friends. On the occasion, goddess Laxmi is worshipped. The Sikhs attach special importance to Diwali, as on this day Guru Hargobind was released from the Gwalior Fort. Instead of Holi, the Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla on the day following Holi.

            In addition to the above festivals, the Sikhs also celebrate Baisakhi (in April), the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (in May/June) and of Guru Tegh Bahadur (in December/January). Langar is usually served on these occasions in the gurudwaras. On Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom day sweetened water mixed with milk (kachchi lassi) is served to the people in the bazaars and streets. The Baisakhi has a special significance, as on this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. Many other noteworthy events in the history of the Punjab also took place on this auspicious day which marks the New Year’s Day in northern India.

            Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by the Jains by taking out processions of huge portraits of Lord Mahavira. The Jains fast on this day. The festival falls in Chaitra (March). Purushan is celebrated in Bhadra (August-September) when the Jains go on fast for purifying their souls. Samatsari marks the end of Puryushan. The Jains beg others’ pardon for any wrong they might have consciously or unconsciously done them.

            Noteworthy among the Muhammadan festivals and fairs are Moharram, Bara Wafat, Shab-I-Brat, Ramzan, Id-al-Fitar and Id-al-Azha. Moharram is celebrated on the 10th of Ramzan in the memory of Hazrat Imam and Hussain who laid down their lives fighting against the tyranny of Yazid. Bara Wafat is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi-al-Awal. On the birthday of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad, the teachings of Islam are explained to the people and the holy Koran is recited. On Shab-I-Brat, which is celebrated with the display of fireworks, the Muhammadans distribute food among the poor and offer prayers after ablutions to their deceased forefathers. Ramzan is taken as the holy month and throughout the month purificatory fasts are observed by the faithful. Id-al-Fitar marks the en dof the fasts on the expiry of Ramzan. Prayers are offered in mosques. People exchange presents among friends and relations and rejoice. Id-al-Azha falls on the 9th-10th Zil-Haj. On this occasion, people go on the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina.

            The Christians observe the festivals of Christmas, New Year’s Day and Good Friday. On Christmas day, they hold services in the churches and exchange presents amongst relatives and friends.

            There are some festivals signifying the change of season, viz. Lohri, Basant and Bisakhi. Lohri signifies the climax of winter, Basant the end of winter and the beginning of spring and Baisakhi the beginning of summer and the harvesting season.

            The list of other fairs, held in the district, is given below :

 

S. No.

Name of fair

Place where held

Date

 

 

Village/Town/

Place

Tahsil

 

1.

Baisakhi Fair

Chohla

Tarn Taran

13 April

2.

Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev

Dehra Sahib

Tarn Taran

In November

3.

Bir Sahib Buddha Ji

Bir Sahib Buddha Ji

Tarn Taran

6-7 October

4.

Massia

Tarn Taran

Tarn Taran

Every month

5.

Death anniversary of Guru Amar Das

Kot Data

Patti

At every new Saradh

6.

Guru Angad Dev

Khadur Sahib

Tarn Taran

4 days after the fair at Govindwal

7.

Death anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev

Kot Data

Patti

At every new Saradh

8.

Baba Vir Singh7

Naurangabad

Tarn Taran

21 Chaitra

9.

In memory of Baba Sher Shah Walli

Gharyala

Patti

13-14 Chaitra

10.

Martyrdom day of Baba Vir Singh

Rattoke

Patti

27 Vaisakha

11.

Fair of Jogi

Manochahal

Tarn Taran

On 4th Navratra

12.

Baba Vir Singh

Naurangabad

Tarn Taran

On Maghi

13.

Baba Bidhi Chand Ji

Sur Singh

Patti

8 Jyaishtha

            7Baba Vir Singh is the same saint of Naurangabad (Tahsil Tarn Taran, District Amritsar) who is mentioned in chapter ‘Places of Interest’ as Bhai Vir Singh. He is popularly known as Baba Bir Singh.

 

S. No.

Name of fair

Place where held

Date

 

 

Village/Town/

Place

Tahsil

 

14.

Guru Gobind Singh

Manhala

Patti

7-8 Asadh

15.

Chet Amavas

Guru-ka-Bagh

Ajnala

Chaitra

16.

4th Saradh Fair

Ramdas

Ajnala

On 4th Saradh

17.

Baba Bakhar Ali Shah

Khutril Kalan

Ajnala

Phalguna

18.

Fair Ram Tirth

Ram Tirth

Ajnala

About a fortnight after Diwali

19.

Rakhar-Punia

Baba Bakala

Amritsar

Every Amavas

20.

Radhasoami

Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas

Amritsar

March-April

21.

Fair Gop Ashtami

Jandiala Guru

Amritsar

8 days after Diwali

22.

Fair Kotha Sahib

Valla

Amritsar

Basant Panchami

23.

Fair of Verka

Verka

Amritsar

25-26 March

24.

Fair of Baba Rora

Village Bhoma Vadala

Amritsar

8-10 Chaitra

25.

Basant Panchami

Chheharta

Amritsar

January-Fehbruary

26.

Guru-ki-Vadali

Vadali

Amritsar

Jyaistha

27.

Sanh Sahib Fair

Near Basarke Gillan

Amritsar

Bhadra

28.

Sangrana Sahib Fair

Chabba

Amritsar

Asadh

            Folk-Songs and Cultural Life.-Folk-songs are poetical expression of the ideas and sentiments of the people in the varied fields of life. On account of the intensity of feelings and emotions, they appeal more to the heart than to the wits. They are simple and smooth-running. They have neither been composed by any reputed poet nor were they ever collected and compiled until the recent past.

            The origin of the folk-songs cannot be traced district-wise. For this purpose, Punjab, as such, forms a compact unit and also includes West Punjab (Pakistan). Punjabi classics, Hir Ranjha and Sassi Pannu, have greatly influenced the Punjabi folk-songs.

            Feudalism exercised the most powerful influence on marriage songs, i.e. ghoris. The sisters sing ghoris, keeping inmind the old feudal days and with their brothers to have matrimonial alliance in the feudal lord’s family. Even in other spheres, feudalism has left a significant impression.

            Folk-songs depict different facets of life. There are folk-songs on marriage, sithnis, ghoris, love, separation from husband, quarrels with the sister-in-law (nanad), brother-in-law (dewar) and mother-in-law (sas), remembering her husband who is away, and also remembering her mother, brothers and father.

            The folk-songs bearing on the freedom movemebt depict vividly the intense feeling of the people for freedom. These also reflect the reaction of the people to the contemporary political developments, even though these are couched in not very refined language and may not be recognized as high-class or sophisticated poetry.

            Except those bearing on the freedom struggle and Community Development Schemes, the folk-songs depict the life of the nineteenth century and even earlier. The extracts from a few folk-songs (along with their English rendering), depicting the various aspects of lilfe, are given below :

DHOLAK GIT

Lai gai phul motiai da tor gawaya

Ve sutta ein te jag Ranjhana.                                                                                                                              

Sadi janj patnan te aai                                                                                                     

Ve berian sutade babla.

Sanu bania langhan nahin denda                                                                                    

Te ladduan da bhara mangda.                                                                                                                

Doli chuk lao kaharo meri                                                                                               

Ke main sohni Mahiwal di.

Doli rakh dao amban di chhanwen                                                           

Sahelian nu mil lain de.                                                                                                                           

Tainu sahelian Milan na aaiyan                                                                                       

Kikran nu pa lai japhian.

Sohni aap dubbi jind tardi                                                                                               

ke wich dariawan de.                                                                                                                                          

Mera mas machhio na khayo                                                                                                       

Ve main sohni Mahiwal di.

. . . . . . . . . . .

They have taken me away as a motia flower is plucked off,                                                  

O dear, wake up if you are asleep.                                                                                                             

Our marriage party has reached the river bank,                                                                    

O father, arrange boats for them.

The banian does not allow us to pass,                                                            

And demands charges in the form of laddus (a kind of sweetmeat).                                                             

O litter-carriers, carry my litter,                                                                                           

I am the beloved of Mahiwal.

Place the litter in the shade of mango-trees,                                                                         

And let me meet my friends.                                                                                                                      

Friends have not come to meet you,                                                                                     

Embrace the kikkar trees (acacia) instead.

Sohni herself is drowned but her life floats In the rivers.                                                                                                      

O fish, don’t eat my flesh,                                                                                                   

I am the beloved of Mahiwal.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Mangi saan main Fatehgarh                                                                                                        

Lawan lai gia Chambe da raja.                                                                                                               

Chhanwen chhanwen tor beliya                                                                                       

Sade doriae da agge rang kala.

Mapian ne tor ditti                                                                                                            

Gal pa ke janjiri wala kurta.                                                                                                                              

Lai ja chhalian bhuna laeian danen                                                                                            

Dhiae tere dur sauhre.

Asan dane ki karne                                                                                               

Agge aan ge Singha tere nanke.                                                                                                              

Vekhe Singha tere nanke                                                                                                  

Chulhe agg na ghare vich pani.

Vekhin Singha mere nanke                                                                                               

Talan purian te bhujan batere.                                                                                                                

Vekhe Singha tere nanke                                                                                                  

Tutti manji ate van purana.

Vekhin Singha mere nanke                                                                                               

Ratta plang sunehri pave.                                                                                                                        

Babala dein us ghare                                                                                                                   

Man jithe dhi da hove.

Us vehre ki wasna                                                                                                 

Jithe gharian ne nit nit tutna.                                                                                                                              

Tere ve saher babla                                                                                                          

Sathon hai nindia na jave.

. . . . . . . .

I was betrothed in Fatehgarh,                                                                                   

But wedded to the Chamba Raja.                                                                                                               

Move me unto the Shade O companion,                                                                               

The colour of my doria (head-wear) is already dark.

The parents sent me off,                                                                                                     

Having put on me a shirt with chain (fastener).                                                                                            

Take with you maize ear and get its grains parched,                                                              

O daughter, your in-law’s house is far off.

What have we to do with grains,                                                                              

On the way will come your maternal parents’ home, O Singh.                                                           

I have seen your maternal parents’ home, O Singh,                                                               

There is neither fire in the hearth nor water in the pitcher.

You will see my maternal parents’ home, O Singh,                                                               

Puris will be fried and quail will be roasted there.                                                                                        

I have seen your maternal parents’ home, O Singh,                                                               

There is a broken cot with old ban (strings with which woven).

You will see my maternal parents’ home, O Singh,                                                               

There is a red bedstead with golden legs.                                                                                                    

O father, marry your daughter in such a family,                                                                    

Where regard may be paid to her.

Why to live in such a street,                                                                                     

Where there are to be clashes all the time.                                                                                                  

O father, the person you have wedded me to,                                                           

Cannot be condemned by me. 

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Bolian

 

Sittian wichon sona chamke                                                                                  

Sone chon khushhali.                                                                                                                                          

Bol bohal da pura hove                                                                                                    

Akhan hal panjali.

Sone ne ajkal bhar dene                                                                                       

Kul bharole khali.                                                                                                                                   

Nan hi rainhni bhukh dhiddan di                                                                                     

Nan thur, soch, kangali,

Waje wanjhali chhiran lagoje                                                                                          

Tur pai hali pali.                                                                                                                                      

Bhangra pa mundia                                                                                                          

Kankan mari lali.

. . . . . . . . .

 

In corn ears, there is a glitter of gold,                                                                        

And gold begets prosperity.                                                                                                                        

Aspirations of the heap of corn have been fulfilled,                                                               

As testified by the plough and yoke.

The gold will these days fill                                                                                      

All empty (earthen) containers.                                                                                                                  

Neither the hunger of the bellies will remain,                                                             

Nor deficiency, anxiety and poverty.

The playing on of pipes and flutes has started,                                               

The ploughmen and graziers have left (home for work).                                                                               

O boy, play bhangra (country dance in the Punjab),                                                             

The wheat crop has grown reddish.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Har har ve har ve                                                                                                             

Mere bhole babla                                                                                                  

Sade sak na kar ve.                                                                                                                                 

Sade te jat bure suninde                                                                                                   

Gutton lainde phar ve.

Mera udde doriya                                                                                      

Maihalan wale ghar ve.

. . . . . . . . . .

O God, O God, O God,                                                                                            

My innocent father,                                                                                                            

Don’t engage us.                                                                                                                

Our Jats are said to be misbehaved,                                                                                     

They catch hold of their wives by the pigtails.

My doria (scarf) flies,                                                                                 

Towards a palatial house.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Sue naihran chare pase                                                                                        

Khetan vich hariali,                                                                                                                                 

Banjar dharti vah ke biji                                                                                                  

Aj sanjhe ne hali.

Jis dharti vich jammi pohli                                                                                                

Oh aj ae narmian wali,                                                                                                                            

Jat di mehnat ne                                                                                                               

lai andi khushhali.

. . . . . . . . .

Distributaries and canals are on all the four sides,                                                      

And greenery in the fields.

Fallow land has been tilled and sown,                                                                       

The ploughmen are working jointly today.

The land which grew pohli (a thorny plant),                                                             

Now grows cotton.

The farmer’s labour                                                                                                            

Has ushered in an era of properity.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

            Games and Recreations.-Games are a potent factor in the physical development of the people. Moreover, this is the healthiest way to spend time. Khido-khundi, wrestling, kabaddi, etc. are indigenous games. The children play gulli-danda in the rural as well as in the urban areas. Kite-flying is very popular in the district, particularly in Amritsar.

            There is a sports stadium, known as Gandhi Ground, at Amritsar. Games, like cricket, hockey, volley-ball, tennis, badminton and football, are played. Much impetus was given to these games by the establishment of the Amritsar Games Association in 1924. The association provides playing-grounds for different games, holds tournaments and arranges important matches. For the first time in 1933, the association invited the Melbourne Cricket Club for playing a match. In the last few years on account of an increasing shortage of open space and increased cost, volley-ball has become very popular.

            The Amritsar District High School Tournament, which is held every winter under the auspices of the Headmasters’ Association, includes competitions in different games and sports. Such competitions create great interest for games among the school boys. In the district, hockey, football rugger-touch, volley-ball, tug-of-war, kabaddi, jumps and races are very popular.

            The cheapest recreation these days is the cinema. People rush to the cinema-houses and enjoy the movies. Dramas and cultural shows are also held by the local dramatic and cultural societies. In the Amritsar city, there are 15 cinema-houses. Besides, there are 5 clubs for games and recreation. In summer, the residents of Amritsar flock to the canal and enjoy picnic-parties.

            In the rural areas, the cheapest recreations are bards and dhadhis. They recite ballads (wars) and popular love romances and provide the people with ample recreations. The rural people also have nice time at the melas. They perform bhangra and enjoy themselves on the occasions of marriages. Sometimes, professional singers are engaged and they recite songs.

(e) Rehabilitation

            The independence of the country in 1947 brought in its wake the partition of the Punjab and Bengal – an unprecedented event. Out of the 29 districts of the pre-partition Punjab, 16 were left behind in Pakistan and, with the remaining 13 districts, the new State of East Punjab was carved out. This, by itself, was not the end of the story. Another unprecedented catastrophe, i.e. the exodus of the minority communities from the West Punjab to the East Punjab and vice versa, abruptly developed. The communal riots, which had started early in 1947, had compelled the minority communities on both sides to reconcile themselves to the idea of migration against their wishes. After 15th August, 1947, people started migrating in trains, motor-vehicles, bullock-carts and even on foot as caravans, bringing with them the portable and absolutely essential equipment together with some ready and available cash and valuables. At many places, the trains were looted and the helpless migrants were killed. The caravans were also not spared and, at some places they were even deprived of drinking water, not to talk of food, etc.

            As Amritsar is situated on the Grand Truck Road and forms a gateway to India on the Pakistan border, refugees from the Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Lyallpur and Lahore districts came here in the first instance. Though Amritsar was the first notable station where the migrants could be provided with food and shelter, yet it could not accommodate their mounting numbers. Even the normal capacity of accommodation in Amritsar was considerably reduced, since most of the evacuee houses were burnt during riots or had collapsed owing to exceptionally heavy rains. The contingency was met by opening a big refugee camp at Amritsar in the Khalsa College building. An infirmary was also opened for widows, destitutes and orphans. All the educational institutions were closed for an indefinite period for providing these refugees with residential accommodation. The students studying in these institutions were called upon to perform social service to the migrants and also to assist the Government in settling their problems.

            The camps started in Amritsar provided shelter for the refugees temporarily. The inmates were later on shifted to other camps for making room for other migrants. Moreover, the refugees themselves were not very keen to settle in this border district. The lack of sufficient number of houses in Amritsar also made their settlement at the place difficult. They wanted to settle in such districts as could give them greater security after the harrowing experiences of the partition and political upheaval.

            During their stay in the camps, the refugees were provided with free rations. Milk was also issued to the convalescents. Multi-vitamin tablets were distributed to avoid malnutrition and infections. Dispensaries were opened where the sick were looked after. Care was taken to guard against hardship caused by disease and scarcity of food.

            Since the influx of refugees appeared to be an unending stream as an aftermath of the partition of the country, steps were taken to settle the rural population on evacuee lands where kharif crops were ripe for harvesting. The energetic refugee peasants and cultivators were eager to stand on their own legs and willingly preferred hard work (to earn their livelihood) to remain idle and live on Government doles. They gladly accepted temporary resettlement on land. To start cultivation, they were advanced loans for purchasing bullocks, repairing wells, purchasing seeds and repairing their dilapidated houses. Similarly, in the urban areas, the available residential houses were allotted to those who were eventually to be settled in the district and, in pursuance of the policy, evacuee commercial sites and industrial units were allotted to migrants to enable them to resettle and earn their livelihood.

            According to the 1941 Census, there were 657695 Muslims residing in the district, whereas their number in 1951 was found to be 4585 only. The district accommodated only 332260 refugees (vide Appendix on pages 126-27), leaving a gap of 320850. This gap was further widened to 421093 if the number of Muslims of 186 villages of the Patti Subdivision transferred to the Amritsar District in 1947, which is estimated to be 100243 is taken into consideration. This resettlement of the non-Muslim refugees in place of Muslim migrants not only affected the rural areas but also the urban areas, especially Amritsar and Patti. The newcomers resettled in the district far less in number than the outgoing Muslims who were residing in the district.

Rural Resettlement

            Quasi-permanent Allotment of Land.-About 66412 hectares of land was available in the district for allotment. The temporary allotment of land made before April 1948, was replaced by quasi-permanent allotment. The temporary allotment was done on group basis. The cultivators were asked to submit applications in groups along with the persons with whom they sought allotment. This was done for maintaining the traditions and customs of the people of a particular area and also on security grounds. The quasi-permanent allotment was made with a view to imparting a sense of permanence to the cultivators and alluring them to develop their land further. The cultivators belonging to the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District, and the Narowal Tahsil of the Sialkot District and the colonists of Amritsar were intended to be resettled in the district.

            The next step to resettle the migrants in the rural areas was to allot them land permanently. For this purpose, the temporary allottees and those having agricultural lands in Pakistan were required to submit their claims. For the verifiction of the title, records from the Pakistan Government were requisitioned on reciprocal basis. After the verification of claims, the next stage was to allot the land.

            The next stage was to standardize the claims. In order to standardize the claimants’ rights, the tenures of lands in different kinds of soil and in different tracts of Pakistan were classified and evaluated. The area of every claimant was then converted into the newly evolved term ‘Standard Acres’. As a result of this conversion into standard acres, a piece of land on one side of the border could be easily balanced against a piece of land on the other side of it.

            The allotment of land on quasi-permanent basis could not by itself be sufficient for the rehabilitation of the migrants. They were advanced loans for ‘purchasing bullocks, agricultural implements, fodder and seeds and for repairing wells and houses. To eliminate misuse, the loans were, as far as practicable, advanced in kind. The amounts of loans, advanced during the period from 1947-48 to 1953-54, are as follows :

 

Kind of loan

Amritsar Tahsil

Ajnala Tahsil

Tarn Taran Tahsil

Patti Tahsil

Purchase of bullocks

135300

253000

217902

210100

Purchase of seeds

187706

191000

155124

94920

Purchase of fodder

40000

66000

7000

4000

Purchase of agricultural implements

45000

41000

35245

29250

Purchase of power pumps

257280

135828

73140

10773

Purchase of tractors

26000

34000

16000

28000

Boring of wells

43300

10000

7250

-

Construction of houses

9600

3000

3000

1400

Repair of houses

270045

317250

195500

102211

Repair of wells

-

5000

13721

-

            The payment of agricultural loans was stopped after 1953-54.

            The land left by the Muslims in the East Punjab was barely about 62 per cent of the area left by the non-Muslim migrants in Pakistan. The proportion of irrigated land in Pakistan was much higher. The Government decided to allot land to all the cultivators. A formula of graded cuts was evolved, whereby the small landholders were less affected and the bigger landlords were subjected to drastic cuts. The scheme of graded cuts in terms of standard acres was as under :

 

Up to 10 acres

25 per cent

More than 10 acres but not more than 30 acres

30 per cent

More than 30 acres but not more than 40 acres

40 per cent

More than 40 acres but not more than 60 acres

50 per cent

More than 60 acres but not more than 100 acres

65 per cent

More than 100 acres but not more than 150 acres

70 per cent

More than 150 acres but not more than 200 acres

75 per cent

More than 200 acres but not more than 250 acres

80 per cent

More than 250 acres but not more than 500 acres

85 per cent

More than 500 acres but not more than 1000 acres

90 per cent

More than 1000 acres

95 per cent

            Conferment of Proprietary Rights.-The work of transferring permanent rights to the allottees was started in 1955-56 and was completed by 1963-64. These rights were conferred on the allottees who were allotted land on the quasi-permanent basis.

            Rural Housing.-Exceptionally heavy rains and floods caused havoc in 1947. Consequently, a large number of rural evacuee houses were badly damaged and became unhabitable. Moreover, these houses were disproportionately distributed in villages. In certain villages, these were more than the requirements of the allottees whereas in certain other villages the houses were far fewer than the requirements of the allottees. On the basis of the quantum of land, the allottees were given houses according to merit. The big land-holders were allotted better houses and the remaining ones were given to the rest. The Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes were also allotted houses which were transferred to them on nominal payment. Those who could not be allotted any accommodation were compensated for the loss of this facility by payment in cash.

Urban Resettlement

            Immediately after the encampment of the urbanite displaced persons, the Government undertook to rehabilitate the displaced persons, particularly those belonging to the Kasur Tahsil of the Lahore District, and those of the Narowal Tahsil of the Sialkot District. The urban properties left by the Muslims in the district were mainly in Khem Karan, Patti, Tarn Taran, Majitha, Jandiala Guru, Ajnala, Ramdas and Amritsar. A good number of houses, shops, industrial establishments and dilapidated houses or shops were available for allotment. The abandoned properties left in the district were taken over as evacuee properties under the Punjab Evacuee Ordinance IV of 1947, later replaced by the Administration of Evacuee Property Act, 1950. The available houses shops etc. were allotted to the displaced persons on termporary basis. The permanent allotment and disposal began in 1953-54. The properties of the value of less than Rs 10000 (Rs 50000 in case of industrial establishment) were allottable, whereas properties above Rs. 10000 were disposed of by auction.

            Since the number of displaced persons proposed to be resettled in the urban areas of the district fell far behind that of the Muslims who migrated, no necessity of setting up new colonies and model towns in the district was felt.

            Another important work before the Government was to grant compensation to displaced persons in the urban areas. Steps were taken under the Displaced persons Claims Act, 1950, to verify claims in respect of properties left behind by them in Pakistan.

            To avoid unnecessary delay, an Interim Compensation Scheme was sanctioned and, under the scheme, payments were made to certain high-priority categories of displaced persons. The high-priority categories included persons drawing maintenance allowance, disabled persons and T.B. patients. The compensation actually started from 1954. The claimants, entitled to priority both in respect of cash payment and finalization of their cases, were divided into several categories, the details of which are as follows :

Category

Number of cases registered

Number of cases settled

Number of cases pending

I MA

102

96

6

IV (NTCH)

60

53

7

VII (W)

721

700

21

VII (WA)

203

197

6

VIII (MT)

95

91

4

XI

10

8

2

XII (RB)

183

178

5

XIV (M)

153

150

3

XV (ST)

120

117

3

XVI (TB)

51

49

2

XVII (D)

95

93

2

XXI (L)

1012

1004

8

XXII (A)

4

4

Nil

XIII (EUP)

14

13

1

RFA

1

1

Nil

XXIV (Cosh)

550

538

12

XXVI (EP)

1

1

Nil

Total

3375

3293

82

            By 1964, 97½ per cent of the cases had been settled.

            The Interim Compensation Scheme was later replaced by the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954. Under the Act, a final scale for the payment of compensation was approved. This scale had certain important features and was so devised as to pay proportionately more to the smaller claimants and less to the bigger claimants. The compensation to be paid included an amount of rehabilitation grant. The rehabilitation grant was paid out of the Government contribution to the pool and had normally been confined to those claimants whose claims were below Rs. 50000.

            Under the final scale of payment of compensation, the lowest categories of claimants, i.e. those up to Rs 2000, would get 66.6 per cent of their verified claims, those with claims between Rs 5000 and Rs 10000 from 51 per cent, to 41 per cent, those between Rs 40000 and Rs 20000 from 39 per cent to 33 per cent those between Rs 20000 and Rs 50000 from 33 per cent to 20 per cent and those between Rs 50000 and Rs 100000 would get 20 per cent. Thereafter, the percentage would decrease progressively down to 11.11 per cent on verified claims worth 18 lakhs of ruppes. Beyond 18 lakhs, irrespective of the value of the verified claim, the ceiling of Rs 2 lakhs would operate.

            The final scheme sanctioned by the Government in 1955 replaced the Interim Compensation Scheme which had come into effect in 1953. Under this final scheme, applications for compensation were invited in 1955 from all the remaining claimants who were not given any compensation on priority basis. The total number actually registered in the district under this category, popularly known as the ‘general category’, was 16664. Out of these, 16188 cases were finalized. There were then only 558 cases – 82 cases from priority cases and 476 cases from the general category, which were pending and were settled in 1964.

           

District of origin (Pakistan / Bangladesh)

Total

Males

Females

Lahore

51820

46291

Sialkot

21913

17701

Gujranwala

9156

6704

Sheikhupura

12129

10252

Gujrat

3001

3708

Shahpore

7877

3686

Jhelum

976

766

Rawalpindi

2775

3226

Attock

604

496

Mianwali

705

452

Montgomery

7785

8143

Lyallpur

33794

32672

Jhang

1584

825

Multan

3518

3960

Muzaffargarh

348

209

Dera Ghazi Khan

248

222

Baluch Frontier Track

. .

32

Gurdaspur

2907

1896

Hyderabad

1345

512

Karachi

788

295

Nawab Shah

33

780

Sukkur

679

48

Tharparker

17

8

Upper Sind Frontier

17

8

Hazara

565

130

Mardan

250

384

Peshawar

2522

1263

Kohat

188

216

Bannu

823

599

Dera Ismil Khan

198

153

Quetta

478

186

Bulan

12

2

Baluchistan

. .

11

Bahawalpur

1396

343

East Bengal (Bangladesh)

20

4

Unclassified Districts

137

95

Total

170975

146768

Burnt Slips

10278

4239

Grand Total

181253

151007

            (Census of India, 1951, Punjab, District Census Handbook, Volume 12, Amritsar District, D-V, p.xxix)

 

CHAPTER IV

AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION

 

(a)

Land Utilization

(b)

Irrigation

(c)

Agriculture including Horticulture

(d)

Animal Husbandry, Poultry and Fisheries

(e)

Forestry

(f)

Floods

(g)

Famine

 

(a) Land Reclamation and Utilization

            (i) Land Utilization.-The utilization of land in a region or in a particular area depends largely on its physical, cultural and economic environment. In other words, it is governed by such factors as the configuration of land, the amount and distribution of rainfall, the fertility of soil, the density of population and the dietary habits of the people, the number and types of draught and domestic animals, the agricultural practices followed, the stage of industrial development, the transport facilities and the demand for its produce. Since most of these factors are changeable, there is a corresponding change in land utilization.

            Amritsar is a thickly populated district, covering approximately 506 thousand hectares, as ascertained in 1970-71. The following table gives the classification of area according to land use in the district during 1950-51, 1955-56 and during 1960-61 to 1967-68 :

 

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