The Punjab Under Imperialism, 1885-1947

The Punjab Under Imperialism, 1885-1947

Copyright Date: 1988
Pages: 276
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    The Punjab Under Imperialism, 1885-1947
    Book Description:

    The Punjab--an area now divided between Pakistan and India--experienced significant economic growth under British rule from the second half of the nineteenth century. This expansion was founded on the construction of an extensive network of canals in the western parts of the province. The ensuing agricultural settlement transformed the previously barren area into one of the most important regions of commercial agriculture in South Asia. Nevertheless, Imran Ali argues that colonial strategy distorted the development of what came to be called the "bread basket" of the Indian subcontinent. This comprehensive survey of British rule in the Punjab demonstrates that colonial policy making led to many of the socio-economic and political problems currently plaguing Pakistan and Indian Punjab.

    Subordinating developmental goals to its political and military imperatives, the colonial state cooperated with the dominant social classes, the members of which became the major beneficiaries of agricultural colonization. Even while the rulers tried to use the vast resources of the Punjab to advance imperial purposes, they were themselves being used by their collaborators to advance implacable private interests. Such processes effectively retarded both nationalism and social change and resulted in the continued backwardness of the region even after the departure of the British.

    Originally published in 1988.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5958-0
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. [Maps]
    (pp. xii-2)
  7. CHAPTER ONE A New Agrarian Frontier
    (pp. 3-7)

    This is the story of agricultural colonisation in the Punjab during the period of British rule. The Punjab, a province lying in the northwestern part of the British Indian empire, experienced rapid and extensive economic growth from the late nineteenth century onward. This resulted from the development of canal irrigation, accompanied by a process of migratory settlement in its western parts, in the area that came to be known as the “canal colonies.” This part of the Punjab did not benefit, as did the eastern parts of the province, from monsoonal rains of sufficient strength to support settled agriculture. Cultivated...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Colonisation
    (pp. 8-61)

    The process of agricultural colonisation commenced in the western Punjab from 1885, and it was to continue into the final years of British rule. The nine canal colonies developed in this period were situated in the interfluves west of the Beas-Sutlej and east of the Jhelum rivers. These tracts—the Bari, Rechna, and Jechdoabs,lay between the Beas-Sutlej and Ravi rivers, the Ravi and Chenab rivers, and the Chenab and Jhelum rivers, respectively (see Table 2.1). The colonisation projects were based on the construction of a network of canals that took off from the rivers, with branches and distributaries...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Entrenchment
    (pp. 62-108)

    Agricultural colonisation had a profound impact on the position of both state and people in the Punjab. The state, for one, enjoyed special authority in a hydraulic society such as the canal colonies. Not only did it control the source of agriculture—canal water—but it had complete rights over the manner in which the land was to be disposed, to whom land was to be allotted, and the type of tenurial rights that were to prevail. This position of strength accrued essentially from its ownership of land in the canal colonies, these areas being categorised as crown or state...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Militarisation
    (pp. 109-157)

    The military figured prominently as a recipient of land in the canal colonies, and, indeed, the absorption of landed resources for military purposes is a process that stretches back to remote antiquity. Perhaps no factor has been more constant in human history than the efforts made by governing authorities to ensure a viable military organisation. In feudal society, for example, the nexus between the military and the land was a central institutional feature. In industrial society, and especially in the twentieth century, the expenditure of society’s resources on the military has reached unprecedented levels. The results for society have not...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Extraction
    (pp. 158-205)

    The income generated by agrarian growth in the western Punjab was distributed among a number of claimants. This income arose from the efforts of the agricultural labourers, the subtenants, thejajmaniservitors, and the self-cultivating peasant grantees. Though proprietorial, supervisory, and distributive functions were appropriated by other classes, the new wealth generated through canal colonisation emerged squarely from the efforts of the rural work force. Yet those physically responsible for the task of production invariably found themselves at the lower end of the social spectrum. These groups were placed at the bottom of a pyramidicai structure of extraction that seemed...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Production
    (pp. 206-236)

    The extension of canal irrigation to the western Punjab provided a real opportunity for the economic development of this region. New resources were made available which, if utilised properly, could have led to sustained agricultural progress. That structures did not emerge to exploit this potential adequately is evident from the foregoing chapters.¹ The impact this had on agriculture in the canal colonies needs to be examined more closely, as does the notion that major constraints remained on agrarian development, though not necessarily on agrarian change. The discussion here will focus first on specific attempts at agricultural improvement, and second on...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Growth and Underdevelopment
    (pp. 237-244)

    Agricultural colonisation produced significant economic growth in the Punjab. An assessment of agriculture in the canal colonies, measured with such indices as cultivated area, output, marketing, and trade, would indicate an impressive process of growth. In the space of fifty years, human settlement spread over the hitherto barren and sparsely populateddoabsof the western Punjab. The process transformed this region into one of the most important areas of commercial farming in Asia. Agricultural produce was marketed not only in other parts of South Asia, but commodities such as cotton, wheat, and oilseeds were exported overseas. The rural population of...

    (pp. 245-248)
    (pp. 249-256)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 257-264)