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WASHINGTON – Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani has admitted that he helped the United States to station a large number of CIA operatives in Pakistan with the authorization of the then civilian government.
Haqqani, who had served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US from Apr 2008 to Nov 2011 before being ousted in the purview of memo
gate scandal made the disclosure in his piece published in The Washington Post on Friday.
‘Among the security establishment’s grievances against me was the charge that I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army — even though I had acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders’ he wrote in his article.
‘The relationships I forged with members of Obama’s campaign team led to closer cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in fighting terrorism over the 31/2 years I served as ambassador’ said Haqqani.
He expressed that these connections eventually enabled the United States to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military, which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamist militants.
“Friends I made from the Obama campaign were able to ask, three years later, as National Security Council officials, for help in stationing U.S. Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan. I brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved,” he added.
Haqqani expressed that from Obama’s public positions and from his meetings with his aides, it was clear that a democratic, civilian government in Pakistan could join with him to help attain his objectives in Afghanistan in exchange for support of consolidation of democracy with greater U.S. economic assistance.
‘I sent this message to my bosses in Islamabad and told Obama’s campaign team that we would be willing to play ball. Once Obama took office, this is exactly what happened: Civilian aid to Pakistan was enhanced to record levels in an effort to secure greater cooperation in defeating the Taliban’ he stated in his article.
The former ambassador claimed that Pakistan was not apprised of the operation ‘Neptune Spear’ which led to the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
‘Although the United States kept us officially out of the loop about the operation, these locally stationed Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to send in Navy SEAL Team 6 without notifying Pakistan,’ he said.
Haqqani, who is labeled as a controversial personality in Pakistan went on and expressed that unfortunately, the United States did not attain victory in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani government’s behavior toward militant Islamists did not change on a permanent basis but for the period he was in office, the two nations worked jointly toward their common goals — the essence of diplomacy.
The former Pakistani envoy said that he was forced to resign as ambassador after Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus gained the upper hand in the country’s perennial power struggle.
Pakistan has a Caste System Based on History and Economics. There are only two Castes in Pakistan, the Jagirdars/Industrialists (the JINS)
and the 99 percent who make up rest of the people (Junkies).
Junkies are named so, because 99 percent Pakistanis are addicted to poverty. They are fed an opiate of poverty as being “ordained” by Allah Almighty. It is a part of their Kismet. A concept light years removed from the social dynamics; and the emphasis on effort to enhance ones economic condition, as described by Islam. Pakistan’s wealth, economy, political power, and opportunities are controlled by the Jagirdars/Industrialist Axis (the JIN Axis).The JINS preach the gospel of Status Quo. Don’t rock the boat, the big bad wolf from India will come and get you, if you did. So in 65 years, the JIN are the rulers and the Junkies are the ruled. The JINS use their wealth to gain an unfair advantage over the Junkies. Any one person or entity, including a religious scholar turned activist like Tahirul Qadri or a political party like Tehreek-i-Insaf or MQM, tries to act as proponent of parity or equal distribution of wealth are labeled as foreign agents or corrupt. Pakistani media is owned by the JINS, because without it, they could not maintain their hold on wealth and power. But, who laid the foundation of this institution of JINS and Junkies.
Here is the history of how it all began:
This is an in-depth article on the genesis of the curse of Jagirdari in Punjab and Waderas in Sindh. How the likes of the Jatois of Sindh, the Noons, the Tareens, the Mazaris, the Legharis, the Qureshis, the Syeds of Sindh, the Hayats, the Tiwanas, the Daultanas, of Punjab became powerful in Pakistani politics. Their roots date back to a more than a hundred years. These families were collaborators with the British and fought the Freedom Fighters during the 1857 Struggle for Independence.
Rewards for Ghadaars-Noons, Syeds, Sheikhs, Qureshis, Hayats, and Tiwanas: Collaborators of British during 1857 Struggle for Independence
Landowners accounted for over 60 per cent of the Punjab’s restricted electorate. This stood at just over of two and a quarter million voters, just 1 in ten Punjabis. Moreover, non-agriculturalists were still disallowed from contesting rural constituencies. This resulted in men committed to the imperial connection dominating every government which was elected in the new era of provincial autonomy...
Ian Talbot quoted from Khizr Tiwana, The Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Routledge, 1996.
David Page quoted from Prelude to Partition, The Indian Muslims and the Imperial System of Control 1920-1932, OUP, 1982.
The British dependence on Punjab for military manpower after the 1857 mutiny heavily influenced British policies towards land, administration, franchise and demands for self-rule in that province. These quotes provide glimpses of the particularity exercised towards Punjab by the British.
Punjab and the 1857 mutiny
Ian Talbot writes:
John Lawrence, the first Chief Commissioner of the British Punjab favoured the interests of the cultivators rather than the landowners. He fell out with his brother Henry, a fellow member of the Punjab Board of Administration, over the treatment of the jagirdars left by Sikh rule. The debate raged fiercely over the fate of the Sikh jagirdars of the central Punjab. But the British were keen to confirm the landed authority of the Tiwanas and other ‘tribal’ leaders who had supported them against the Sikhs in the conflicts of 1845-6 and 1848-9 in the West Punjab. Such families as the Noons, Tiwanas, and Hayats of Wah were to subsequently play central roles in the future colonial administration to the localities.
The British recognition of such ‘tribal’ leaders paid a rich dividend in 1857. Historians remain divided over the causes and nature of the uprising of that year but agree that this was the supreme moment of truth for the British in India. The crucial support of the Punjab’s chiefs safeguarded the Raj. It ended any doubts concerning the desirability of maintaining the influence of the rural intermediaries.
On 10 May 1857, soldiers of the Bengal Army mutinied at Meerut. News of this event reached the Punjab at midnight two days later. The concentration of European troops in this key frontier region left towns in the Gangetic Plan open to attack. The fabric of Government collapsed in Oudh which had been recently annexed by the British and also in the North Western Provinces. Henry Lawrence was killed in the fighting in Oudh to which he had been recently transferred. John Lawrence organised irregular forces of Punjabi cavalry to snuff out disturbances in the region before mounting an attack to recapture Delhi.
Groups of sepoys mutinied in their Punjabi cantonments of Ferozepore, Jullunder, Ambala and Jhelum. When a body of sepoys massed for an attack on the British district headquarters at Shahpur, Malik Sahib Khan rode over from Mitha Tiwana to parley with the anxious British deputy commissioner. Their meeting entered the Raj’s folklore.
Malik Sahib stood before Mr. Ousley, salaamed and offered him the handle of his sword with the point directed to his own body and said ‘I have fifty horsemen and I can raise three hundred. I can clothe them and feed them, and if no questions are asked, I can find them arms too. They and my life are yours.’ Malik Sahib Khan’s dramatic gesture was the first offer of assistance to the beleaguered authorities in the West Punjab. Moreover, it was proffered at a time when the triumph of British arms was uncertain. The deputy commissioner was well aware that he could have mounted only token resistance, if the Tiwana chief had jointed the ‘rebels’. The British thereafter remembered that the Tiwanas’ loyalty had stood firm when it had been put to the test.
Malik Sahib Khan’s forces defeated the sepoys of the Bengal Army in battles at Jhelum and Ajnala during the course of July. In one episode they captured 200 ‘rebels’ without firing a shot. In August, the Tiwana troops joined the forces which John Nicholson was massing in Amritsar to recapture Delhi. By this stage the Tiwana contingent had been swollen to a thousand sowars with the addition of the forces of his brothers,.. and great nephew.. They joined the British forces on the Ridge outside Delhi. The besieged city finally fell on 14 September. The aged Mughal Bahadur Shah escaped with his life, but the British exacted a heavy retribution on its other Muslim citizens.
Following the siege of Delhi, Malik Sahib Khan with his brothers took part in several other actions including the battle of Kalpu which sealed the fate of the Rhani of Jhansi. Malik Sahib Khan then accompanied General Napier on his campaign in central India. The British were so impressed by the fighting capacity of the Tiwana irregulars that a detachment was incorporated in the regiment of the 2nd Mahratta Horse at Gwalior which was raised for duty in central India. In the military reorganization at the end of the revolt, the unit became the 18th Bengal cavalry.
When the Prince of Wales(the future George V) visited India in 1906 he became Colonel in chief of the regiment which changed its title to the 18th(Prince of Wales’ Own) Tiwana Lancers. Finally in 1921, the 19th Bengal Lancers amalgamated to form the 19th King George V’s Own Lancers. Both Umar and Khizr[Tiwana, Malik Sahib Khan’s descendants] displayed great pride in wearing the regiment’s scarlet uniform and blue pagari in their capacity as Honorary-Colonel. Tiwanas held most of the regular Indian commissions in the regiment, as the British saw their ‘natural leadership’ as vital to discipline in a fighting force recruited entirely from the Salt range.
The creation of the Tiwana regiment climaxed the ‘tribe”s emergence as military sub-contractors of the state. Henceforth military service and their local power as landholders were closely enmeshed. Army pay and pensions enabled Tiwana chiefs to both increase agricultural productivity in their home villages, and invest in land elsewhere. No other Muslim Rajput ‘tribes’ formed their own regiments, but they were heavily recruited in the Indian Army from the late 1870s onwards… The economic multiplier effects of military service enabled the transition from ‘tribal’ chief to West Punjab landlord to be completed. A military-agriculturalist lobby also emerged. Provincial autonomy which was introduced by the 1935 Government of India Act gave it full expression. The Unionist Party became its mouthpiece and fittingly a Tiwana served as the last Unionist Premier.
British policy in Punjab 1857-1920
Ian Talbot writes:
The loyalty of the Muslim and Sikh landowners of the newly annexed Punjab region in 1857 confirmed the school of thought associated with Henry Lawrence. This sought to govern with the assistance of rural intermediaries. The British richly rewarded those who had stood by them in their darkest hour. The Tiwanas were the most successful but by no means the only rural family which embarked at this time on what were to prove lengthy and lucrative ‘loyalist’ careers. The Noons and Hayats shared a similar history.
Officials recognised the need for securing the support of the rural elites, however, not only because they were local peacekeepers, but because they were military contractors. The Tiwanas, as we have noted, exemplified this role, although it was played by many other Rajput ‘tribes’ following the Punjabisation of the Indian Army. This resulted from the thorough overhaul of military organisation after 1857.
By the end of the First World War, the Punjab so dominated the Indian Army that three-fifths of its recruits were drawn from the region. Moreover, they hailed from a narrow range of Hindu Dogra, Sikh Jat and Muslim Rajput ‘martial castes’ which represented less than 1 per cent of the subcontinent’s total population. Punjabis saw action in the mud of Flanders, in the deserts of Arabia and in the bush of East Africa, winning over 2,000 decorations, including three Victoria Crosses. The Punjabi ‘martial castes’ continued to dominate the Indian Army throughout the inter-war years.
At no time did the Punjabi contingent drop below three-fifths of the total strength. The imperative to secure the loyalty of the ‘martial castes’ understandably exerted a profound impact on the Punjab’s political economy.
The British adopted a number of policies to secure rural stability in the sword arm of India. Overriding all other considerations, until it was fatally dislocated by the Second World War, was the imperative to defend the rural power structure. This was achieved by the following methods: first by associating the ‘natural leaders’ of the ‘agriculturist tribes’ with their executive authority; second, by ensuring that the rural leaders politically controlled the economic forces set in train by the colonial encouragement of a market-oriented agriculture; third by using the resources which this produced to reward the agriculturalist population rather than stimulate industrial development; fourth by establishing a framework of political representation which institutionalised the division between the ‘agriculturalist’ and ‘non-agriculturalist’ population.
The British identification of the ‘tribe’ as the focus of rural identity underpinned all of these policy initiatives. Indeed, the maintenance of the tribal structure of rural society became the legitimising principle of British rule, thereby obscuring realpolitik imperatives. However, as David Gilmartin has revealed, the definition of the ‘tribe’ was vague and ‘workable principles of tribal grouping were extremely elusive’. The British therefore created their own around the artificial construct of the ‘agriculturalist tribe’. Although this built on pre-existing social structures, it was a political definition enshrined in the 1900 Alienation of Land Act. This measure not only ‘crystallized the assumptions underlying the British Imperial administration’ but ‘translated’ them into popular politics. Henceforth, both the justification of British rule and the programme of the leading men of the ‘tribes’ and clans who banded together eventually in the Unionist Party was the ‘uplift’ and ‘protection’ of the ‘backward’ agriculturalist tribes.
The British co-opted the ‘natural leaders’ of rural society into their administrative system by means of the semi-official post of the zaildar.This was unique to the Punjab’s local administration…Subordinate to it but serving a similar purpose was the post of sufedposh. ‘Tribal’ chiefs and landowners were also tied to the administrative system by being made honorary magistrates and members of the darbar… Posts were also reserved for agriculturalists in the official ranks of the local administration. Sir Michael O’Dwyer’s governorship witnessed an especially sharp increase in the agriculturalists tribes’ representation in the public services. In the Irrigation Branch of the Public Works Department this rocketed from 29 to 66 per cent of the officials. Such reservation strengthened ‘tribal’ as against ‘communal’ identity.
The Pax Britannica encouraged the commericalisation of agriculture. The British also vastly extended irrigation facilities and slashed transport costs. The West Punjab underwent an agricultural revolution as arid subsistence production was replaced by commercialised production of huge amounts of wheat, cotton and sugar.
The Shahpur district stood at the forefront of this transformation. The Lower Jhelum Canal converted the waste of the Kirana bar into first class irrigated land. This was parceled into 337 colony villages or ‘chaks’. New market towns came into existence where the agriculturalists brought their commercial crops. These were lined by rail to Sargodha from where 500,000 tonnes of wheat were being annually dispatched to Karachi by the 1920s. At this date the Punjab produced a tenth of British India’s total cotton crop and a third of its wheat. The region thus emerged as the pace-setter of the subcontinent’s agricultural development well before independence. At the most conservative estimate, per capita output of all crops had increased by nearly 45 per cent between 1891 and 1921.
The Lower Jhelum was just one of the Punjab’s nine Canal Colony areas. These transformed the endless waste and scrub of the Jhang, Lyallpur and Shahpur districts into flourishing agricultural regions. The Lyallpur district which had been only sparsely populated by nomadic herdsmen possessed a million inhabitants within thirty years of the opening of the Chenab Canal in the 1880s. Three and a half million rupees worth of crops were annually produced from its Lower Chenab Canal Colony. The whole area was neatly laid out into plots of land known as squares, with market places, towns and villages spaced along the roads and railways which criss-crossed the Colony. By thus ‘creating villages of a type superior in civilisation to anything which the region had previously experienced’ the British hoped to establish a model for the Punjab’s development.
The Canal Colonies were also intended to mop up surplus population from the crowded districts of the central Punjab. Large number of Sikh Jats migrated to the Lower Chenab Canal Colony where they eventually owned a third of the land. In all, a million Punjabis moved to the nine Canal Colonies. They not only relieved congestion but formed a market for the produce of other regions, as the colonists specialised in cultivating a narrow range of cash crops. Furthermore, they remitted much of their income to their home villages.
The Canal Colonies’ creation coincided with the Punjab’s emergence as the sword arm of India. Indeed enlistment was encouraged by the British policy of rewarding ex-servicemen with lucrative grants of land in the Canal Colonies. Much land in the Lower Bari Doab Canal Colony was set aside for this purpose. The vast increase in productive land also enabled the British to earmark large areas for breeding horses and cattle for the Indian Army. During the First World War, the Lyallpur Canal Colony provided huge amounts of wheat and flour for the troops and gifts of horses and mules were made to the Army. The Shahpur District was, however, the main areas for Army horse breeding. In all 200,000 acres within it were leased for this purpose….
Although the bulk of the land in the Canal Colonies was sold to peasant proprietors, the Punjab Government reserved areas to reward both the ‘martial castes’ and the ‘landed gentry’. At the end of the First World War over 420,000 acres of Colony land were distributed to just 6,000 Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Army Officers. Under the terms of the ‘landed gentry status’ seven and a half per cent of the Lower Bari Doab Canal Colony alone was earmarked for the landowning elite. It is important to note that such land was among the best in the whole of the subcontinent and was highly valued….
A file picture of 1945 in which viceroy Lord Wavell (left), convener of the conference greeting Malik Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana (centre), premier of Punjab while premier of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) (2nd from left) and Bhulabhai Desai look on, at Simla conference, in Simla.
The Tiwanas like other Punjab chiefs shared in this bonanza. When Umar was a minor, about 90 squares of land in the Chenab Colony was purchased on his behalf at an auction. The main village was called Umarpur. The Government also gave him 43 squares on nazrana terms during his minority.
British rule, however, also swept away the barriers which had previously prevented moneylenders from acquiring land in the countryside. As land prices rose- the result of the Pax Britannica, as well as improved communications and irrigation- it became increasingly tempting for landowners to pledge land in return for easy credit. Moneylenders supported by a westernised legal system foreclosed mortgages on the lands of agriculturalists debtors. In other parts of India, most notably Bengal, following the Permanent Settlement of 1793, land had changed hands dramatically in this way. A similar process in the Punjab, however, would threaten political stability in a region of immense importance to wider Imperial interests. Furthermore, it would strike at the heart of its administration’s strongly held assumptions and beliefs.
S.S. Thorburn in his book ‘Mussulmans and Moneylenders in the Punjab’ sounded the tocsin. Thorburn, a Deputy Commissioner in the Dera Ghazi Khan district highlighted the alarming rate at which land was being alienated to money lenders. The large Muslim landlords of the trans-Indus districts were not, however the moneylenders’ only victims. The Hindu Rajputs of the submontane districts of Ambala Division also suffered at the hands of powerful moneylenders who ‘exact free services and free fuel fodder and ghi and (take their) dues as much in grain as in cash. The Hindu Jat cultivators of the agriculturally poor Rohtak district also suffered from the moneylenders’ exploitation…’
The British first attempted to solve this problem with piecemeal measures. They took a large number of encumbered estates under the wing of the Court of Wards Administration. It soon became apparent, however, that more sweeping action was required. After a sharp internal debate concerning the virtues of intervention against sticking to laissez-faire principles, the Punjab Government implemented the 1900 Alienation of Land Act. It barred the transfer of land from agriculturalist to non-agriculturalist tribes. The former were designated by name in each district. They included not only the Rajput martial caste landowners and Jat, Arain and Gujar cultivators, but the Muslim religious elites-the Syeds, Sheikhs, Qureshis. The measure not only halted their expropriation by the non-agriculturalist commercial castes of Khatris and Banias, but also provided the framework for the structuring of politics around the idiom of the ‘tribe’, rather than that of religious community. The Unionists Party’s agriculturalist ideology was directed rooted in this legislation. ..
The British had in fact earlier prepared the ground for a rural domination of Punjab politics… ..Only members of the agriculturalist tribes, as defined by the 1900 Alienation of Land Act were allowed to stand as candidates for the rural constituencies of the New Legislative Council created by the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms..
1900-1920s British military recruitment in Punjab and allied concerns
David Page writes:
‘..out of a total of 683,149 combatant troops recruited in India between August 1914 and November 1918, 349,688 came from the Punjab….Out of the 250,000 soldiers recruited up till April 1918, the lion’s share had been provided by three main communities, the Muslims of West Punjab, the Jat Sikhs of Central Punjab and the Hindu Jats of the Ambala Division.
The first community provided 98,000 combatant troops, the second 65,000 and the third 22,000. The finest record, however, belonged to the Muslim majority districts of the Rawalpindi division. From Rawalpindi and Jhelum over thirty per cent of the manhood of the district went to the War; in Attock the figure was sixteen per cent, in Gujrat thirteen per cent and in Shahpur ten per cent. These five districts were amongst the eight most heavily recruited districts in the entire Punjab, the other three being Ludhiana and Amritsar, the two main Sikh recruitment areas, which sent fourteen and eleven per cent respectively, and Rohtak, the main Hindu Jat recruitment area which sent fifteen per cent.’
..In the 1920s, the total rural electorate excluding soldiers amounted to 216,324 while 163,085 had the right to vote on account of their military services to Government.
Ian Talbot writes:
By 1928 over Rs. 140 lakhs were being paid annually paid out in pensions. There were 16,000 military pensioners in the Rawalpindi district alone.
David Page writes:
The Governor of Punjab Michael O’Dwyer said this in the Imperial Council in in 1917 : “The great improvement in the pay, pensions and allowances of the Indian army has already given a powerful stimulus to the fighting classes, the earmarking of 180,000 acres of colony land for allotment to men who have rendered distinguished services in the field is a further encouragement, which the recent announcement in regard to the grant of Commission will specially appeal to the landed gentry.”
Next, after casting aspersions on the courage of the urban classes and hinting at further legislation to regulate usury, he laid stress on the importance of the Land Alienation Act. “It is to it[he continued] that we owe the fact that we are appealing today not to be a sullen, discontented and half-expropriated eager perhaps for a change which might restore them to their own, but to a loyal and contented body of men who realise that Government has stood and still stands between them and ruin and who consequently rally in their tens of thousands to its support.”
“But [he continued] we have not only done what legislative and administrative measures could do to maintain the zemindars in possession of their paternal acres, we have also relieved congestion and increased their prosperity by opening up to them several million acres in the great canal colonies. In allotting those lands we have invariably given them priority seeking not so much the profit of the Government as the advantage of the rural population…
Again, take the question of land revenue settlement. The Punjab government has long accepted it as a principle of revenue administration that the peasant proprietors, especially in those districts from which the Indian army is largely drawn, shall receive special favour in assessment. The re-assessment of all the rich districts of the Central Punjab has been completed within the last 5 or 6 years and I am in a position to say that Government has rarely imposed a demand above half of the half net rental which is supposed to be the standard of assessment in the Province. At the same time, where agricultural conditions are fairly stable and fully developed it has raised the terms of settlement from 20 to 30 years. The result of this leniency is to appreciate enormously the value of proprietary rights which 50 years ago sold at from 5 to 10 times by now sell at an average of 170 times the land revenue demand, a figure which excites the envy and admiration of other provinces, even those under permanent settlement.
All these things are done in the interests of our zemindars and especially of those tribes and classes which enlist so freely in the Indian Army…”
Post-World War I British crackdown on Punjab
Encyclopedia Britannica writes:
Politically, as well as economically, the postwar years proved depressing to India’s high expectations. After the war British officials, who in the first flush of patriotism had abandoned their ICS posts to rush to the front, returned to oust the Indian subordinates acting in their stead and carried on their prewar jobs as though nothing had changed in British India. Indian soldiers also returned from battlefronts to find that back at home they were no longer treated as invaluable allies but reverted immediately to the status of ”natives.” Most of the soldiers recruited during the war had come from Punjab, which, with only 7 percent of India’s population, had supplied over 50 percent of the combatant troops shipped abroad.
Indian Support of the British
It is thus hardly surprising that the flash-point of postwar violence that shook India in the spring of 1919 was Punjab province. The actual issue that served to rally millions of Indians, arousing them to a new level of disaffection from British rule, was the government of India’s hasty passage of the Rowlatt Acts early in 1919.
Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus in a United Front
These ”black acts,” as they came to be called, were peacetime extensions of the wartime emergency measures passed in 1915 and had been rammed through the Supreme Legislative Council over the unanimous opposition of its Indian members.
Indian leaders viewed the autocratic enactment of such legislation, following the victorious conclusion of a war in which India had so loyally supported Britain, as a confession of British treachery and duplicity and the abandonment of the promised policy of reform in favour of a new wave of repression. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Gujarati who had returned from South Africa shortly after the war started and was by then recognized throughout India as one of the most promising leaders of Congress, called upon his country to take sacred vows to disobey the Rowlatt Acts, launching a nationwide movement for the repeal of those repressive measures. Gandhi’s appeal received the strongest popular response in the Punjab, where the nationalist leaders Kichloo and Satyapal addressed mass protest rallies from the provincial capital of Lahore to Amritsar, sacred capital of the Sikhs. Gandhi himself had taken a train to the Punjab early in April 1919 to address on of those rallies, but he was arrested at the border station and taken back to Bombay by orders of the tyrannical lieutenant governor of the Punjab, Sir Michael O’Dwyer.
On April 10, in Amritsar, Kichloo and Satyapal were arrested and deported from the district by deputy commissioner Miles Irving, and when their followers tried to march to Irving’s bungalow in the camp to demand the release of their leaders they were fired upon by British troops. With several of their number killed and wounded, the enraged mob rioted through Amritsar’s old city, burning British banks, murdering several Englishmen, and attacking two Englishwomen.
Gen. R.E.H. Dyer was sent with troops from Jullundur to restore order, and, though no further disturbances occurred in Amritsar until April 13, Dyer marched 50 armed soldiers into the Jallianwallah Bagh (Garden) that afternoon and ordered them to open fire on a protest meeting attended by some 10,000 unarmed men, women, and children without issuing a word of warning. It was a Sunday, and many neighboring peasants had come to Amritsar to celebrate a Hindu festival, gathering in the Bagh, which was a place for holding cattle fair and other festivities. Dyer kept his troops firing for about ten minutes, until they had shot 1650 rounds of ammunition into the terror-stricken crowd, which had no way of escaping the Bagh, since the soldiers spanned the only exit. About 400 civilians were killed and some 1200 wounded. They were left without medical attention by Dyer, who hastily removed his troops to the camp.
Sir Michael O’Dwyer fully approved of and supported the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre, and on April 15, 1919, issued a martial law decree for the entire Punjab: The least amount of firing which would produce the necessary moral and widespread effect it was my duty to produce . . . from a military point of view, not only on those who were present, but more specially throughout the Punjab.”
Dyer was relieved of his command, but he returned to England as a hero to many British admirers, who presented him with a collected purse of thousands of pounds and a jeweled sword inscribed “Saviour of the Punjab.”
The Jallianwallah Bagh massacre turned millions of patient and moderate Indians from loyal supporters of the British raj into national revolutionaries who would never again trust to British “fair play” or cooperate with a government capable of defending such action. The following year, Mahatma Gandhi launched his first Indian satyagraha (“clinging to the truth”) campaign, India’s response to the massacre in Jallianwallah Bagh.
British policy towards rural indebtedness in Punjab in the 1930s
Ian Talbot writes:
.. The 1935 Government of India Act and the Communal Award which had preceded it, reflected Fazl-i-Hussain’s powerful influence.
Landowners accounted for over 60 per cent of the Punjab’s restricted electorate. This stood at just over of two and a quarter million voters, just 1 in ten Punjabis. Moreover, non-agriculturalists were still disallowed from contesting rural constituencies. This resulted in men committed to the imperial connection dominating every government which was elected in the new era of provincial autonomy…
[..The 1930s witnessed a growing problem of rural indebtedness, brought on mainly by falling agricultural prices, but also partly by the kind of conspicuous consumption we have noted above. The Batra moneylenders of Sahiwal and Girot, like their counterparts elsewhere in the province, grew fat on the indiscretions of the landowning class. By 1937 rural indebtedness amounted to about Rs. 200 crores and the Punjab’s farmers annually paid back in interest on their loans 4 to 5 times the aggregate amount of land revenue and the water rate. ]
..The Restitution of Mortgaged Lands Act was another retrospective piece of Unionist legislation. Sunder Singh Manjithia introduced the measure in the Assembly in June 1938. It enabled farmers to recover all the land which they had mortgaged before the passage of the 1900 Alienation of Land Act. The Hindu and Sikh moneylenders claimed it was merely a cover for the expropriation of their land. They wanted it to cover transactions involving the agriculturalist money lending class which had grown up after 1900. This demand was of course rejected. The upshot was that over 200,000 Hindus and Sikhs had to return an estimated 700,000 acres to its original owners. ..