CHAPTER III

PEOPLE

 

(a)

Population

(b)

Languages

(c)

Religions and Castes

(d)

Social life

(e)

Rehabilitation

 

 

(a)       Population

(i)       Total Population:

           According to the 1971 Census, the total population of the Hoshiarpur District was 10,52,153 (comprising 5,53,946 males and 4,98,207 females).  Of these 9,24,930 were rural people (comprising 4,85,853 males and 4,39,077 females) and 1,27,223 were urban people (comprising 68,093 males and 59,130 females).

           Growth of Population. –The net increase in the population in 1971 compared to that of 1961 Census was 20.78 per cent, the highest in the last 70 years.  The population of the district increased from 7,25,953 in 1901 to 10,52,153 in 1971.  The variation in the population during the 70 year period is shown in the following table: -

           Decennial Variation in population of the Hoshiarpur District, 1901-1971

 

Year

 

Persons

Decennial variation

Percentage decennial variation

Males

Females

1901

..

7,25,953

..

..

3,86,513

3,39,440

1911

..

6,73,540

-52,413

-7.22

3,68,399

3,05,141

1921

..

6,80,194

+6,654

+0.99

3,66,448

3,13,746

1931

..

7,57,041

+76,847

+11.30

4,05,584

3,51,457

1941

..

8,58,971

+1,01,930

+13.46

4,57,103

4,01,868

1951

..

7,94,879

-64,092

-7.46

4,23,577

3,71,375

1961

..

8,71,130

+76,251

+9.59

4,57,755

4,13,375

1971

..

10,52,153

+1,81,023

+20.78

5,35,946

4,98,207

           (Census of India, 1971, Series 17-Punjab, Part II-A, General Population Tables, p. 72).

           The decade 1901-11 was marked by virulent epidemics of plague and malaria which took a heavy toll of human lives.  The next decade 1911-21 also experienced a severe outbreak of plague in 1915, followed by three years during which the people were afflicted with many common ailments, but the last of them viz., 1918, had the severest epidemic influenza within living memory.  The low rate in the increase of the population in the district was also partly due to the migration of the people to other places.  Its population increased at a faster rate during 1921-31 then that of the Punjab Province as a whole.  The decennial birth-rate was 4 per thousand in contrast with the death-rate of 28 per thousand.  During the decade, the people on the whole did not suffer from many diseases, except from the worst epidemic of plague during 1925-26.  Malaria broke out in an epidemic form in 1928, but the district does not seem to have affected by it.  The excess of births over deaths, calculated at 427 per thousand in the Hoshiarpur District, placed it among the few districts of the Punjab which enjoyed a high rate of natural increase in population.  Whereas during 1931-41, the population of the province increased by 17.08 per cent, that of the district increased by a relatively low percentage of 13.46, though the increase in respect of this district was the highest among the seven decades under consideration.  It was, however, lower than that in the Punjab as a whole.  The decennial birth-rate had increased to 42 per thousand and the death rate had come down to 27 per thousand in the district.  The relatively low increase in population can also be attributed to the migration of the people to other parts of Punjab.  The decade 1941-51 witnessed an unprecedented holocaust of communal frenzy, leading to the mass exodus of the Muslim population to Pakistan.  Most of the non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan did not choose the district as a proper place for their rehabilitation, as it did not offer them good trade and industrial facilities.  This decade, accordingly, registered a 7.5 per cent decrease in population in contrast with only 0.2 decrease in the whole of the Punjab State.  Owing to heavy rains and floods in 1950, the deaths per thousand from fevers, especially malaria, were recorded to be the highest (19.3) in the district.  The decennial birth-rate too declined during this period.  The decade 1951-61 was almost free from any major disease.  The various health measures taken by the Government reduced the death-rate, whereas the birth-rate almost remained unchanged.  During 1961-71 the population in the district increased by 20.78 per cent, whereas the total increase in the State was 21.70 per cent.  During this decade, the district compared favourably to the State owing to the facilities in the fields of trade, commerce and industry.

           Emigration and Immigration. –According to the 1961 Census, out of 12,33,493 persons enumerated in the district, as many as 7,54,681 or 61.2 per cent were born at the place of enumeration.  Among the rural population, this percentage works out to 64.8 and in the urban areas to 34.6, denoting a higher rate of migration to the towns.

           Another interesting feature is the difference between the two sexes in this respect.  Among the males, as many as 75.3 per cent were born at the places of enumeration, against 45.5 per cent among the females.  The low figure for females in the result of their leaving the ancestral places after marriage.

           As much as, 22.9 per cent of 2,82,616 persons of the population were born at places other than those of enumeration.  This percentage is 10.8 in the case of the males and as high as 36.4 in the case of the females because of the factor of marriage.  Persons born in the Punjab districts other than Hoshiarpur numbered 80,356 or 6.5 per cent of the population.  Even in this group, the percentage of the females was higher than that of the males.

           The Punjab-born persons formed 90.6 per cent of the district population.  The remaining 9.4 per cent hailed from areas shown below:

 

Place of Birth

 

Number

Percentage to total Population

Other States of India

..

17,563

1.4

Pakistan

..

95,022

7.7

Other Countries

..

1,760

0.2

Information not available

..

1,495

0.1

 

(Census of India, 1961, Punjab District Census Handbook No. 9, Hoshiarpur District, p. 43).

          

Persons born in other Indian States were mostly from Uttar Pradesh (5,186), Jammu and Kashmir (3,094), Himachal Pradesh (3,092), Delhi (1,904) and Rajasthan (1,165).  With the exception of migrants from Delhi, most of these persons were enumerated in the rural areas.

           The Pakistan-born persons (95,022) were mostly those who migrated to the district in the wake of the partition of the country in 1947.  The persons reported to have been born in countries other than Pakistan were mostly the children of the Punjabi who, in their youth, had gone abroad and had now come back or had sent their children home.

           Density of Population. –The following table shows the density of population in the district from 1901 to 1971: -

Year

 

Density of Population per sq. km.

1901

..

173

1911

..

161

1921

..

162

1931

..

180

1941

..

205

1951

..

189

1961

..

214

1971

..

271

 

           According to the 1961 Census, the density of population in the State was 269 per square kilometer as compared to 271 in the Hoshiarpur District1.  Despite the transfer of hilly areas to Himachal Pradesh and certain other areas to the Rupnagar District on the re-organization of the former Punjab State on November 1, 1966, the district fared favourably, in density among the other districts of the State.

 

           The tahsil-wise density of population of the Hoshiarpur District, according to the 1971 Census, is given in the following table: -

Tahsil/District

 

Density of population per sq. km.

Total

Rural

Urban

Dasuya Tahsil

..

299

263

2,182

Hoshiarpur Tahsil

..

264

215

5,639

Garshankar Tahsil

..

271

263

5,294

Balachaur Tahsil

..

203

203

..

Hoshiarpur District

..

271

240

3,430

           (Census of India, 1971, Series 17 –Punjab, Part II-A, General Population Tables, p. 22)

 

           Sex Ratio. –According to the 1971 Census, out of the total population of 1,052,153 of the district, 498,207 were females and 5,53,946 were males, i.e., a ratio of 47.3 : 52.7.

           In the Punjab, there were 865 females per 1,000 males.  The figure in respect of females was the lowest among the States of India, the corresponding figure for the Indian Union being 930.  The Hoshiarpur District had a female population of 899, against 1,000 males, the proportion being the highest in the State.

 

           During the last seventy years, there has been an overall improvement in favour of females in the district, as the following figures show: -

Females per thousand Males

Year

 

Hoshiarpur District

Punjab

Total

Rural

Urban

Total

Rural

Urban

1901

..

878

877

891

832

836

804

1911

..

828

828

828

780

785

740

11921

..

856

859

804

799

808

750

1931

..

867

871

814

815

832

721

1941

..

879

885

825

836

855

750

1951

..

877

885

819

844

854

807

1961

..

903

910

845

854

865

817

1971

..

899

904

868

865

868

856

(Census of India, 1971, Series 17 –Punjab, Part II –A, General Population Tables, p. 69)

 

           The sex ration in the rural areas of the district in 1971 worked out at 984 and in the urban areas at 868: the corresponding figures in 1961 were 910 and 845 respectively.

 

           Age Composition. –In the following table, the population of the district, according to the 1961 Census, is put into various age-groups.  With a view to comprehending the comparative strength of these groups, the totals have uniformally been taken as 1,000.

 

Distribution of 1,000 Persons of each Sex by Age Groups, according to 1961 Census, in the Hoshiarpur District

Age Group

Total Population

Rural

Urban

Persons

Males

Females

Males

Females

Males

Females

All ages

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

0-9

288.0

290.0

285.8

295.5

285.2

252.2

290.8

10-14

127.7

128.5

126.7

131.4

127.0

109.0

124.3

15-19

89.9

87.7

92.1

87.1

91.3

91.6

98.7

20-24

89.8

69.5

78.1

63.3

75.0

111.7

103.4

25-29

69.0

64.1

74.5

59.1

72.8

98.7

88.2

30-34

58.8

55.1

62.0

52.2

62.6

74.8

65.6

35-39

52.1

49.3

55.2

48.1

55.6

57.5

51.2

40-44

48.0

47.7

48.7

46.9

49.3

50.7

43.9

45-49

40.2

40.6

39.7

40.7

40.4

40.2

33.9

50-54

40.2

42.9

37.2

43.9

37.8

36.0

32.6

55-59

25.7

28.0

23.2

28.9

23.9

21.6

17.6

60-64

32.4

36.2

28.0

38.1

29.1

23.5

19.7

65-69

16.9

19.9

13.7

21.2

14.2

10.6

9.3

70+

36.8

39.8

33.5

42.5

35.1

21.6

20.2

Age not stated

0.8

1.0

0.7

1.1

0.7

0.3

0.6

(Census of India, 1961, Punjab District Census Handbook No. 9, Hoshiarpur District, p. 40).

 

           Much reliance cannot be placed on the references drawn from the figures gives in the above table, since a district is a small geographical area and the inflow and outflow of the population may camouflage the true position.

           With this reservation, some general remarks on the age-composition in the district are made below:

           The age pyramid has a broad base and tapers rather obliquely; 288 persons per thousand are below the age of 10, and only 113 are 55 years old, and above.  Roughly speaking, out of one hundred persons in the district, 41 are below the age of 15 ; 23 are between 15 and 29 years; 16 are between 30 and 44 years; 11 are between 45 and 59 years, and 9 are past 60 years.  Males below 15 years are 418 per thousand males, the corresponding figure for females is 413.  In the age groups between 15 and below 55 years, the males number 457 per thousand and the women number 488.  Among persons 55 years and above, the males number 124 in contrast with the females which number only 98 per thousand.

           It is common phenomenon that a large number of people shift from villages to the towns for education and for earning their livelihood.  The low-paid among them leave their families in their village homes and they themselves live in the towns.  When past the age of useful work, some from among them return to their villages.  The effect of this type of movement is reflected in the statistics of the rural and urban age-composition.  For the age-groups below 15, those between 15 and less than 55, and 55 years old and above, the distribution among the males those is 427,441 and 131 per thousand males in the rural areas and 361, 561 and 78 in the urban areas.  The corresponding figures for the females in the rural areas are 412, 485 and 102 and those for them in the urban areas are 415, 517 and 67.

           Marital Status. –In the following table, persons in different age groups in the district, according to the 1961 Census, are further classified, according to their marital status.  To comprehend the significance of these figures, one thousand males and one thousand females, for the district as a whole and for the rural and urban areas are distributed according to the marital status:

 

One thousand males and 1,000 females, according to 1961 Census in the Hoshiarpur District, classified according to Marital Status

 

Marital Status

 

Total

Rural

Urban

Males

Females

Males

Females

Males

Females

Total

..

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

Never Married

..

587.2

465.4

590.4

459.9

565.1

511.1

Married

..

354.8

445.9

348.3

448.6

399.0

423.9

Widowed

..

56.4

87.4

59.6

90.3

34.8

63.9

Divorced or Separated

..

1.1

0.8

1.2

0.8

0.6

0.6

Unspecified Status

..

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.5

0.5

(Census of India, 1961, Punjab District Census Handbook No. 9, Hoshiarpur District, p. 40).

 

           The above table shows that in 1961 in the district as a whole, about 59 per cent of males and about 47 per cent of females were unmarried.  The higher number of unmarried males was due to fewer females.  Correspondingly, there was a higher proportion of the married among females than among males.

 

(ii)      Distribution of Population between Rural and Urban Areas:

           The following table shows the tahsil-wise distributions of population between the rural and urban areas in the district, according to the 1971 Census: -

 

District/Tahsil

 

Persons

Males

Females

Total District

..

10,52,153

5,53,946

4,98,207

Rural

..

9,24,930

4,85,853

4,39,077

Urban

..

1,27,223

68,093

59,130

Dasuya Tahsil

..

3,73,560

1,95,007

1,78,553

Rural

..

3,22,133

1,67,267

1,54,866

Urban

..

51,427

27,740

23,687

Hoshiarpur Tahsil

..

3,55,258

1,87,853

1,67,405

Rural

..

2,86,344

1,51,145

1,35,199

Urban

..

68,914

36,708

29,206

Garshankar Tahsil

..

2,19,902

1,16,648

1,03,254

Rural

..

2,13,020

1,13,003

1,00,017

Urban

..

6,882

3,645

3,237

Balachaur Tahsil

..

1,03,433

54,438

48,995

Rural

..

1,03,433

54,438

48,995

Urban

..

..

..

..

(Census of India 1971, Series 17 –Punjab, Part II-A, General Population Tables, p. 36).

 

(iii)     Displaced Persons:

           The partition of the country in 1947 led to unprecedented migration of the minority communities from either side of the border.  The Muslim population from the Hoshiarpur District migrated to Pakistan from where the displaced Hindus and Sikhs migrated and settled in this district.

           In 1941, the population of the district was 8,58,971 and it decreased to 7,94,879 in 1951.  In this district, there were 3,80,759 Muslims in 1941, but in 1951 their number was reduced to 1,359.  The displaced persons who settled in the district numbered 1,46,935.  Despite the transfer of 24 villages of the former Bhunga Tahsil of the Kapurthala District, the population of the district decreased.  All the tahsils in the then district (1951) were evenly populated.  The density of population in all the tahsils was affected with the migration of the Muslims.  The rehabilitation of the migrants from Pakistan was the highest in the Dasuya Tahsil as compared to other parts of the district.  It was 65,048 in Dasuya, 51,906 in Hoshiarpur, 22,562 in Garshankar and 7,419 in Una (Himachal Pradesh) tahsils.  It may be of interest to know the areas of Pakistan from where people migrated to this district.

           The table given in Appendix on pages 99-100 shows the details of the refugees who settled in the Hoshiarpur District (on the basis of 1951 Census) according to the district of origin in Pakistan.

 

 

(b)       Language

           According to the 1961 Census, as many as 46 languages were reported to be the mother tongues in the district.  The relative importance of the more important ones is shown below:

 

Distribution of 1,000 Persons according to their Mother Tongues

           Hindi                                                         ..                    526

           Punjabi                                                      ..                    470

           Pahari-Unspecified                                      ..                        2

           Urdu                                                          ..                        1

           Others                                                       ..                        1

           The Jullundur Doab, lying between the rivers Satluj and Beas, includes the districts of Jullundur, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala.  The Punjabi of this tract spoken by the people is called Doabi.  It has all the traits of the Punjabi language spoken in the Ludhiana District.  In the hills to the north and east of Hoshiarpur, the dialect spoken by the people was called Pahari.  This dialect is also based on Doabi, with the admixture of certain words.  Certain people inhabiting these hilly tracts also spoken Kahluri or Bilaspuri.

           Thus we have both the words vich and bich, “in”; hunda and Honda, “being”.  The lettrey is often inserted after i  before another vowel, or else substituted for the i.  Thus hola or hoya becomes hondiya, being (fem. Plur.).  In many cases, short i is substituted for long i, as in hola for hoya (fem. Pl.).  Cerebral letters are employed capriciously.  Thus bald, a bullock, but nal not naal, “with”.  So hona, not houna, “to be”; ana ‘to come”; bijena, “to sow”.  Double letters at the end of a work are simplified.  Thus vich, not vichch, “in”, but vichcho, from “in”; gal, not gall, a thing, a word, plur.  gallan; hath, “a hand”; ghat for ghatt, “decrease”.

           In Kamin-kan, we have kan used as a sign for the dative.  Compare the Lahnda kan.  Kuj is ‘anything’, not kujh.  As in Amritsar, ‘these’ is ina, not inha.

           The form hai for the first person singular of the present of the very substantive is peculiar to this part of the Punjab.

           The contracted form gaiyya, “gone” (plur. fem.) may be noted.

           On April 13, 1968, under the Punjab Official Language Act, 19672, Punjabi in Gurmukhi script was introduced as the official language of the State.  The Act provides that Punjabi shall be used for such official purposes of the State and from such dates as may be specified by notifications to be issue3d from time to time.  From official work at the district level and below, Punjabi has replaced English in almost all matters, except accounts technical, etc.

2.           The Act of 1867 repealed the Punjab Official Languages Act, 1960.

 

 

(c)       Religion and Caste

 

Principal Communities

           The total population of the district, according to the 1971 Census, was 10,52,153.  The Hindu account for 59.25 percent of the total population, which incidentally is the highest figure for any district in the State.  The Sikhs are 39.38 per cent of the total population.  The Hindus are in a majority in all the tahsils of the district.

           The Christians from the third religious community, found mostly in the villages of the Dasuya Tahsil.  Their number, according to the 1971 Census, was 8,594.

           At the time of the 1941 Census, the Muslims in the district numbered 3,80,759, but in the wake of the partition (1947) they migrated en bloc to Pakistan.  In 1961, there were 7,207 Muslims in the district and in 1971, their number decreased to 3,456.  The religion-wise population of the district according to the 1971 Census, was as under:

 

Religions

 

Percentage to the total population

Persons

Males

Females

Hindus

..

59.25

6,23,413

3,29,359

2,94,054

Sikhs

..

39.38

4,14,323

2,16,924

1,97,399

Christians

..

0.82

8,594

4,561

4,033

Muslims

..

0.33

3,456

1,847

1,609

Jains

..

0.15

1,602

835

767

Buddhists

..

0.02

220

112

108

Religion not stated

..

0.02

196

109

87

Others

..

0.03

349

199

150

Total

..

100.00

10,52,153

5,53,946

4,98,207

(Census of India, 1971, Part II-C (1) and Part V-A, Distribution of Population by Religion and Scheduled Castes p.18).

 

           Hindus. –The number of Hindus in the district, according to the 1971 Census, was 6,23,413 (3,29,359 males and 2,94,054 females), which formed 59.25 per cent of the total population.

           Hinduism essentially means the whole of Indianism.  It is an experience, and an attitude of mind.  It is consciousness of the Ultimate Reality and not merely a theory about God.  The basic tenets of Hinduism are; belief in the transmigration and reincarnation of should (samsara); and belief in an inexorable law of cause and effect which operates upon the determines the direction of successive reincarnations (karma).  Through most of Hindu ideology, Samasara karama, and caste have been three facets of a single world view.

           The Shakti cult, a part of Indian culture, is very important.  Shakti means power.  People worship goddesses (devis).  There are many temples of devis in the district.  The important shrines of Jawala Mukhi and Chintpurni now fall in Himachal Pradesh.  Still other important shrines, such as Dharampur, Rajni Devi, Kamaha Devi, are situated in the district.  People worship these shrines.  Devi Puja, primarily a cult of cultural importance, has assumed the shape of a religion.

           Caste is a distinctive feature of the Hindus.  The castes and sub-castes found in the district are: Brahmans, Khatirs, Jats, Rajputs, Sikhs, Banias, Suds, Bhatias, and Aroras, mostly settled here after the partition.  The population of the Scheduled Castes in the district is quite noteworthy.  They form 28.85 per cent of the total population of the district.

           The Brahmans in the district are mostly from the Saraswat stock.  They derive this name from the River Sarasvati.  Gaurs are another section of he Brahmans who originally migrated from Uttar Pradesh.  The Sarawats inhabit the district in general.  They are divided into Dhai Gharas, Athwans and Baunjais.  The distinction among these groups has now disappeared and they now intermarry.  The other notable groups are Munjhal Brahmans.  They are mostly non-vegetarians and own lands. Previously, they married within their own caste.  But now they have started intermarriages.  The Brahmans are a handsome, and literate community and are engaged in Government and private services, business and agriculture.  A small number of them perform priestly duties.

 

           Khatris. –Next come the Khatris –essentially a trading class –who inhabit mostly the Hoshiarpur Tahsil and parts of the Dasuya Tahsil.  They trace their origin from the Kashatriyas.  The are divided into many groups and sub-groups such as, Dhai Gharas, Char Gharas, Bara Gharas, Sarins, Banujais and Khukhrain biradari.  Whatever be their origin, their customs, taboos, etc. of the pastimes are no longer there.  In short, they intermarry within the group or outside the group, but within their sub-caste like other Hindus.  They are of good disposition and generally literate.  Avocations are no bar to them but rather a matter of convenience.  They are engaged in trade, commerce, industry, in private and government services, and also join the army.

 

           Aroras. –Before independence, the Aroras did not constitute a sizeable population in the district.  With the migration of the non-Muslim population from Pakistan to India in 1947, they settled here, though in small numbers.  The Aroras were generally settled in West Punjab (Pakistan) and in the Firozepur District.  Their representation in the eastern districts of the Punjab was not notable.  According to Ibbetson, the Aroras are the Khatris of Ror (Rori Sukkur, Sindh, in Pakistan).  Whatever be their origin, the fact is that they resemble Khatirs in certain traits.  In certain respects, they are even superior to them.  They are also divided into many groups and castes, Uchanda, Nichanda, etc., but in social life, these groups are of no importance.  They intermarry in their groups like others.  They also intermarry among Khatirs.  In the All-India meeting in 1936, held by the Khatris at Lahore (Pakistan), it was decided that the Aroras, Soods and Bhatias were Khatri for all intents and purposes.  And, as such, they should be admitted to the Khatri stock.  This interpretation did not find much favour then, but with the lapse of time, it has almost been accepted.

           Soods. –Soods, as such, need not find special mention.  They are however, migrants from the hilly tracts of the Kangra District (Himachal Pradesh).  They are engaged in trade, commerce and industry, private and government services.  They are, however, adept in business.

           Banias. –The work ‘Bania’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘banijya’ or trade.  As the name implies, they are primarily a trading class.  They have deep-rooted links in trade, commerce and industry.  Since they are able to carve out enviable fortune in business, they generally desist from the temptation of joining services.  They are traders par-excellence, as this class is engaged in business for generations.  Their main sub-castes are Aggarwals, Oswals, Maheshri, Saralia or Dasa.  They trace their origin from Agroha in the Hissar District and claim to be the descendants of Raja Ugarsen.

           Sheduled Castes and Backward Classes.  –The number of Scheduled Castes persons in the district, according to 1971 Census was 3,03,521 (1,61,859 males and 1,31,662 females), which formed 28.85 per cent of the total population.  They are divided in groups, sub-groups, castes and sub-castes.  Previously, like others, they did not marry in other groups but this rigidity is on the wane these days.  A list of their castes and sub-castes is given in Chapter XVII, ‘Other Social Services’.  Formerly, their avocations were restricted and they could not change them.  After independence, however, things changed.  The Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes are now at liberty to adopt any profession they like.  They are engaged in trade, commerce, industry, private and government services, and even in the army.  Since 25 per cent of the civil posts are reserved for them, the literate Scheduled Castes find it more lucrative to join civil services, which avenue further ensures them accelerated and out-of-turn promotions.  Illiterate Scheduled Castes are generally engaged in agriculture.  Before independence, they did not own land but, according to government policies, the surplus land with the government is being allotted to them at a nominal price.

           Gujjars. –Both the Hindus and Muslim Gujjars are found settled on the alluvial land of the Beas and at the foot of the Shiwalik Hills.  Their main avocation was grazing and rearing of cattle.  They used to sell surplus butter and ghee.  In summer they migrate to the Chamba Hills and in winter retreat to the foot of the Shiwalik Range, mostly in the Una Tahsil (Himachal Pradesh) and other parts of the district.  With the shrinkage of pastures, their gipsy character is disappearing.  Moreover the lucrative rates of mile and its high demand have persuaded them to settle in the plains and follow the milk trade in the urban areas.

           There are Dhai gots of the Gujjars-Kasna Gursi and Barkat but there is no restriction in respect of marriage within these gots.  A Gujjar can marry within his own got or in any other.  Other chief gots in this district are Chechi, Bhubhe, Pajar and Chauhan.

           Rajput. –The Rajputs form a major portion of the population in the district.  Previously, they were mostly found in the Kandi area, in the Una and Garhshankar tahsils.  Since the Balachaur Tahsil has been carved out of the Garhshankar Tahsil, their representation is now very notable in the new tahsil.  The areas of Hariana and Sham Chaurasi of the Hoshiarpur Tahsil were mainly populated by the Muslim Rajputs who migrated to Pakistan after the partition.  The population statistics have not been collected caste-wise after independence.  However, the previous Census Reports (upto 1941) indicate that the Rajputs constitute a major portion of the Hindu population in the district.  In the past, they were divided into many grades and each grade had many castes.  A Rajput of the first grade would marry the daughter of a Rajput of the second grade, but would feel degraded in marrying away his daughter to a person belonging to the lower grade.  There were other grades also, such as Mians, Ranas, and Tikas.  It cannot be said with certainly how these grades came into existence.  It is probable that a Rajput’s offspring from golis (slave-girls) might be downgraded along with his wife.  These golis were not their wives but they were all out to please their masters in whatever way they liked.  In other words, they were their concubines.  These golis had many offspring who could undoubtedly not compete with the legal children in respect of social status.  Such offspring might have fallen into the lower grades without any fault of theirs.  There could be other instances in which a certain Rajput was defeated by another.  The victor would look down upon the vanquished and demand a daughter in marriage either for himself or for his brother or son.  This system put the vanquished in a lower grade.  There are certain castes of the Rajputs whose origin is not very old.  For instance, the Bhanot sub-caste is a nomenclature of those who lived in the woods (ban) or away from others (ot).  When they exercised some influence in and around the areas they lived, they proudly liked to be called ‘Bhanots’ though they are the brethren of the Naru Rajputs.

           The rigid gradation among the Rajputs has waned.  It might carry some conviction with the older generation, but is of no avail among the younger generation.  At present, the Rajputs of all grades contract marriages in their own as well as in other grades.  Rajputs were essentially from the ruling class.  They held their sway in the Kangra Hills and in the lower, Shiwaliks.  They had their principalities in this mountain range.  They wielded great influence in the hilly tracts of the district.  Since they thought they were from the royal stock, their standard of living, expenses on marriages and other rituals were very high.  Their superiority complex would prevent them from cultivating land.  Even if circumstances forced them to resort to farming, they would not perform many agricultural operations themselves.  Their women would never come out to assist their menfolk, would never fetch water from the wells, and would not attend to menial jobs.  Consequently, the Rajputs had to part with a sizeable portion of their produce to others, leaving hardly a sufficient portion for them to subsist on.  Their condition was going from bad to worse.  Anyhow, their sound physique and martial spirit have provided them with suitable posts in the army.  There, they could show their worth and were able to maintain their position as a martial race.

           In these days, the Rajputs are like other people.  They are engaged in agriculture, government service, and are mostly in the army.  They have little or no aptitude for trade and commerce.  They still cling to their past glory and like to add ‘Mian’, ‘Rana’, ‘Tikka’, etc., as prefixes to their names.

           Sikhs. –According to the 1971 Census, the number of the Sikhs in the district was 4,14,323 (2,16,924 males and 1,97,399 females).  They formed 39.38 per cent of the total population.

           Sikhism was founded by the first Sikh Guru, Baba Nanak.  The Granth Sahib is the holy book of the Sikhs.  It contains the poetical compositions of the Sikh Gurus.  The tenth Guru Gobind Singh, put his composition in a separate book, in the Dasam Granth.  Sikhism regards God as the Supreme Being endowed with omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.  The Sikhs believe that it is only through a true guru (teacher of enlightener) that the truth about God can be reveled.  By word and deed, the ten Sikh Gurus have demonstrated great humility and have regarded themselves as the lowliest of the lowly.  The Sikhs have no faith in the theory of incarnations of God, but they believe in the karma and the transmigration of the soul.  Sikhism attaches great importance to the institution of langar or free kitchen, according to which the high and the low have to sit side by side and dine together, thereby annihilating all distinctions of caste and creed.  Every Sikh to become a “Singh” (lion) has to receive Amrit, the baptism of the sword (khanda).  After baptism, he has essentially to wear the five K’s, viz.  the keshas (unshorn hair), the kachha (short drawers), the kangha (comb), the kara (iron bangle) and the kirpan (sword).  Guru Gobind Singh, the creator of the Khalsa, put a stop to the tradition of personal guruship and transferred this great honour to the Adi-Granth and enjoined upon all Sikhs to regard the Holy Book as the true guru.

           The Namdharis constitute an important sect of Sikhism.  Although they have full faith in the ten Sikh Gurus, they believe that personal guruship is necessary and will continue.  The headquarters of the Namdharis are at the village of Bhaini Sahib in the Ludhiana District and the present guru is Baba Jagjit Singh.  A branch of the main headquarters has been opened recently at Jiwan Nagar in the Sirsa District.  They wear white turbans, tied in a conspicuous and distinctive manner and keep a rosary around the neck.  They cook and take their meals in iron utensils.

           The peasants of the Punjab State in Majha, Doaba and Malwa are mostly Sikhs and are known as Jats.  A special mention is to be made of the Jats inhabiting this district.  After partition, the non-Muslim cultivators mostly Sikhs, belonging to Pakistan, settled here.  They belonged to different gots (sub-castes) which are described in detail in the account that follows.

 

Jats

           The Jats inhabit the plains of the district although they have their principal village of Pubowal, in Bet Manaswal.  The vast majority of them are either Hindus or Sikhs.  The principal clans, by position and influence, are the Bains Jats of Mahalpur, the Sahotas of Gardhiwala, and the Khungas of Budhipind.  The heads of the first two clans are called Chaudhri, and all three and called Dhaighar Akbari, i.e., the 2-1/2 Akbari families, Mahalpur 1, Garhdiwala 1, and Budhipind 1/2.  The story goes that when Emperor Akbar took in marriage the daughter of Mahr Mitha, a Jat of Majha, 35 principal families of Jats and 36 of Rajputs countenanced the marriage and sent representatives to Delhi.  Three of these Jat families reside in this district; the remainder reside in Amritsar and other districts.  They follow some of the higher castes in not allowing widow remarriages and in having darbara, i.e., giving fees at marriage to the mirasis of other Akbari families.  It is also a custom for the Parohits to place on them, at their marriages, the janeo (the sacred thread) and to remove it a few days afterwards.  Below the Akbari Jats are the Darbari Jats, the descendants of those who gave their daughters to Emperor Jahangir, just as the Akbaris gave daughters to Akbar.  Thus, some of the Mann Jats of Tuto Mazara are Darbaris, but they will take brides for their sons from non-Darbaris, provided the dowry (dahej) is ample.

           The principal Jat clans, in point of numbers, are the Bains who have a barah of 12 villages near Mahalpur; the Gills of Kuk Muhin who have a baiya of originally 22 villages near Khararawal Bassi, Achharwal, Rajput (a hamlet in Kukumatpur) and Lakhsian; the Mann Jats are near Dhada; the Sanghe Jats are near Mugowal, and the Pote Jats near Barian Kalan.  There are many other clans, but their numbers are insignificant, and they do not own clusters of villages, situated close together, as in the case of those mentioned above.

           The Jats rank among the best agriculturists.  The Sainis may be better for small plots of land and garden cultivation, but considering all points as farmers and growers of cereals, sugarcane, and other crops on extensive areas, few are so industrious and careful as the Jats, and they have the great advantage of getting the help of their women in field operations.  Ploughing and reaping are carried out by men, but their women help them to weed the fields, watch the crops, and take the daily meals to them in the fields. 

           Sansis. –The ancestors of Sansis were once stated to be called “Sursenas” and the Yadu Rajputs of Mathura.  From the Yadus descended the Bhatti Rajputs.  The Bhattia Rajputs flourished in Rajasthan for some centuries before the invasions of Muslims and particularly before the invasion of Alla-ud-Din Khilji, who ransacked Chittor, and drove away some recalcitrant Rajputs.  Of them, the Bhatti Rajputs wandered towards the Punjab.  Of this stock, among others, there was a Sansi tribe named after its leader “Raja Sansmal of Sansi.”  This tribe kept wandering about for five centuries.  Some of them settled in the Firozepur and Bhatinda districts and in other parts of the Punjab.  Kirtu Sansi and Raja Sansi of the Sansi Tribe were very prominent and powerful.  The latter founded ‘Raja Sansi’ in Amritsar-the ancestral house of Sindhawalia-a Misl which was closely related to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

           Before partition, the Sansis were governed under the Criminal Tribes Act (VI) of 1924.  In villages, they were required to intimate their whereabouts to the police, should they decide to leave at any time.  They were engaged in petty jobs.  Even the independence could not improve their status.  The Criminal Tribes Act (VI) of 1924 was repealed in 1952, i.e., five years after independence.

           Sansis are both Hindus and Sikhs.  They speak their own dialect.  The have their own customs, though they are now adopting fast the Hindu and Sikh customers.  In the district, they are mostly Sikhs.  They, however, inter-marry with Hindu Sansi.  The notable Castes of the Sansis inhabiting the district are Chohan and Niramala.

           Christians. –According to the 1971Census, the number of the Christians in the district was 8,594 (4,561 males and 4,033 females) which formed only 0.82 per cent of the total population.  The Christians are mostly concentrated in the City of Hoshiarpur.  A few of them are also found in Hariana, Garhdiwala, Mukerian, Dasuya and Gohrawaha.  A Church was, in the first instance, built in the Hoshiarpur Cantonment area in 1852.  Later on the shifting of the Cantonment from the district obviated the necessity of containing the Church there.  The Church was, as such, closed and the building dismantled.  In 1862, a Presbyterian church-a branch of the Ludhiana Church-was started.  Christianity has been able to get a foothold in India on account of the social services performed by its dedicated missionaries, who also started educational and medical institutions.  They were able to play with the emotions of and cater for the needs of the population by opening a Zanana Hospital and a Girls School.  Before independence, the Christian converts could also seek better employment from the then rulers.  Despite all this preferential treatment, they were not  in a position to make adequate progress in the district.  The converts were mostly from the lower classes of Hindus and Muslims.  Some Muslim Rajputs, quite influential in their area and holding the title of Zaildar and Lambardars embraced Christianity, but they could not bring their brethren into its fold.  With the passage of time, certain converts reverted to their original faiths.  After independence, the circumstances changed radically.  Any man can embrace any faith without coercion.  The trend of the Christian missionaries now has changed.  They have started assimilating the India Culture.

           At present, there is a Church at Hoshiarpur.  A hospital named Joseph Hospital, and a school have been opened by the Jullundur Mission in the Camp Colony on the Hoshiarpur-Garhshankar Road.  The noteworthy festivals among the Christians are the New Year Day, the Easter Day, the Good Friday, and the Christmas Day.

           Islam. –According to 1971 Census, the number of Muslims in the district was 3,456 (1,847 males and 1,609 females).  They formed only 0.33 per cent of the total population.

           Islam is the Arabic proper name of the Muhammadan religion.  It means surrender to God’s will and includes the acceptance of the articles of faith, commands and ordinances, revealed through Prophet Muhammad.  The essential aspects of Islam are a vivid belief in the Last Judgement, along with the requirements of prayer (namaz) five times daily, attendance at religious services in a mosque, giving alms for the care of the poor, fasting during day time in the holy month of Ramzan, and, if possible, making a pilgrimage to Mecca sometime during one’s lifetime.

           The Muslims comprise two main groups, viz.  Sunni and Shia.  Before the partition, the Muslims inhabiting the district were Sunni, but their singular character has undergone changes as the Muslim population is extremely thin in the district and those settled here have come from different parts of the country.

 

           Jainism. –According to the 1971 Census, the number of Jains in the district was 1,602 (835 males and 767 females).  They formed only 0.15 per cent of the total population of the district.  Jainism is essentially a faith of India origin and is still popular in the country.  It had twenty-four leaders called Tirthankaras.  The first of these was Rishabha and the last was Mahavir who was a senior contemporary of Lord Budha.

           Jainism preaches the doctrine of ahinsa (non-violence) in the most systematic manner.  Accordingly, violence is of three kinds, i.e., physical violence which covers killing, wounding and causing any physical pain; violence in words which implies the bearing of ill feeling towards others.  Besides, there are seven vows which help to develop in a person the good qualities of self-restraint, self-denial, and self-renunciation.  In addition, there are five ordinary vows for layman, viz. not to kill, not to lie, not to steal, to abstain from sex and to renounce property.  These vows are called Annvratas in the ideology of the Jains.

           The Bhabras are Jains and are an interesting community.  They have two temples in the City of Hoshiarpur.  Their other temples are at Jaijon and Miani in the District.  Jaijon is undoubtedly an ancient Jain settlement.

 

 

(d)       Social Life

 

           The social life in the district is not very different from that prevalent elsewhere in the Doaba, but the special circumstances, warrant an inevitable change.  Hoshiarpur is primarily a land of chos (the rainy-season brooks).  The chos have damaged the agricultural land to a considerable extent.  The pressure of population on the land had been significant, Vis-à-vis the growing population, the only alternative left for the uneducated persons was to go in for petty jobs and for the educated ones to seek employment elsewhere.  This economic factor gave a great set-back to the institution of joint family.  The younger generation had to live separately from the joint families.  It cannot be said that the institution of joint family has disappeared totally.  In certain cases, the younger generation keep their families with their parents or otherwise extend financial help to them in the time of need e.g. at the time of marriages, while repaying the outstanding debts, purchasing land, and building houses.  They would often send their families to their parents or would keep the parents with them for a period convenient to both sides.  In a proper sense, the link of the joint family did not break but strengthened.  The younger generation had the benefits of both, i.e., single-family system and joint-family system.  Also, those who had immovable property in the villages would retire to the villages when they could not earn more in the urban areas.

           The purdah (veil) system is fast disappearing in the district.  There are some cases in the remote corners of the district where certain women still observe purdah, but this custom is on the wane.  After independence, the position of women has considerably improved, and they have gained substantially in status.

 

(i)       Property and Inheritance

           The property and inheritance were governed by the customary laws in the district.  With the passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, things have, however, changed.  Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists inherit property under this Act.  The property of the deceased is distributed equally among his sons, daughters, widow, mother, etc.  However, during his life time, a person may dispose of by will or other testamentary disposition, any property, which is capable of being so disposed of by him in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, or under any other law in force at that time and applicable to a Hindu.  In case a person dies intestate, his sons, daughters, widow, and mother inherit the property equally.  The adoption of children and the maintenance allowance to the wife are governed by the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.  Among the Muslims, the propery of the deceased is inherited in equal shares by his sons, daughters and wife under the Shariat Act, 1937.  The wife is the sole owner of the mehr given to her at the time of marriage.  The inheritance among the Christians is governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

 

(ii)      Morals and Marriage

           Morals. –Morals do not differ in the district in any way from those in other districts of the State.  With the migration of the Muslim population, the age-old institution of prostitution ended.  No new licences were issued in the Punjab State.  The institution was subsequently banned in the whole of India.  The other moral offences of enticing away girls or women for immoral purposes are governed under the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956.  Since the district is industrially backward and the number of persons working in it and who leave their families back is negligible, no moral problem is acutely felt.

           Marriage. –Marriage is an important institution in India.  The district is inhabited mostly by Hindus and Sikhs and the custom of marriage among them is almost a religious obligation.  It is held that if a Hindu dies without a male child he would not attain salvation.

           Manu made many gradations in marriages, such as, Brahama, Dava, Arsa, Praja, Patya, Asura, Gandhrava, Piksas and Paisaon.  Of these, the first four are classified as good.  These classifications are only of academic interest these days.  Many Hindus and Sikhs perform arranged marriages.  Rajputs among the Hindus constitute a substantial majority.  Previously, the system of hypergamy, i.e. marriage to a person of equal status for their daughters.  It entailed serious implications.  IN the event of a suitable match not being available the Rajput girl could not be married.  Under such painful circumstances probably hid the idea of infanticide.  All these things have now changed, and the Rajputs, like others, marry away their daughters among Rajputs, without sticking to the age-old idea of hypergamy.

           In the arranged marriages, the parents of the girl themselves, or through their friends or acquaintances, approach the parents of the boy.  After the acceptance of the proposal, a brief religious ceremony is performed and the boy stands engaged.  With the rise in the standard of living, the ways of obliging the boy’s parents have increased manifold.  For instance, affluent persons, rokai, thaka, mangni, etc, are performed before marriage.  The date of marriage is fixed after mangni (betrothal ceremony) in consultation with a Brahman, who fixes the date after comparing the horoscopes of the boy and the girl, if available.  On the scheduled date, the brat (marriage-party), leaves for the girl’s house.  After milni, sumptuous food is served to the brat.  The marriage ceremony is performed mostly at midnight among the Hindus.  The brat returns next morning along with the bride.  Under the Punjab Dowry prohibition Amendment Act, 1976, the number of the members of the marriage party has been limited up to 25, exclusive of the minors and the members of the band.  This Act has not been able to curtail the marriage expenses.  The use of liquor and the performance of Bhangra (folk dance) by the members of the brat is almost an accepted norm.  Marriage among Sikhs is similar, except that a bhai (uaually a gurdwara priest) replaces the Pandit and the marriage ceremony is performed before the holy Granth in the morning instead of at night.

           Marriage among the Jains is also similar to that among the people of other religions except that a Jain Muni replaces the Brahman to perform the religious rites.  Marriages among the Christians are performed in a Church.  One notable thing in the case of marriages among all the people at present is that in arranged marriages, the boy and the girl have generally seen each other, meaning thereby their mutual acceptance.  Some conservative people and the rural folk, however, are against this practice.

           Marriage among the Muslims is a mutual contract.  The preliminary ceremonies are almost similar.  At the time of marriage, a vakil from the boy’s side asks the girl if she accepts the boy as her husband.  She conveys her concurrence through her friends.  At the time of marriage the bridegroom is supposed to announce a certain guarantee in the form of money, called mehr. Mehr becomes the personal property of the bride and no one can misappropriate it.

           Although the practice of giving dowry in marriage has had been much prevalent among all castes and sub-castes, it is being discarded slowly and slowly after the passing of the Punjab Dowry Prohibition Amendment Act, 1976.

           Widow remarriage is not banned among the Hindus and the Sikhs, but in practice it is rarely solemnized.  Many progressive institutions run by the Hindus and the Sikhs are in favour of it, but no tangible progress has been made in this direction.  Among Jats, the custom of chadarandazi prevails and according to the customary laws, the elder or the younger brother of the deceased marries his widow.  He places a chaddar (a white sheet of cloth) over the widow in a very simple ceremony and the remarriage materializes.  Widow remarriage is common mostly among Muslims and Christians.

 

 

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