ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Managing Water

Managing Water

favoured the Punjab by such a policy whereas factually in its implementation there were numerous selfinterests involved. Vast tracts of land were given to loyal agriculturalists who had helped the British in 1857 or were always forthcoming with recruits for the army and police. The pirs, sajjada nishin, and the religious leadeers of Sikh community were made feudal lords overnight and, after some time, the production turned static.Ali, very Iucidly, traces the history of the ruling families of Punjab/ Pakistan under an imperial patronage and their support in the consolidation of the Raj itself by virtue of their emergence as a nighly conservative group. Thus the doling out of the land acted "as the constraint on the emergence of agricultural capitalism" blocking "the process of economic change". The state itself took on a more pronounced and arbitrary role which was evident in all through the subsequent developments in the province. In the name of social stability and order, the state strengthened the religious forces through generous land grants to shrines expecting a complete loyalty and military support from such institutions. The military benefits, among other things, included the maintenance of certain number of horses and camels on the allotted land. The greed for land amongst the proprietors in the name of horse runs became horren- dously insatiable over the years. Though the horse-mounted cavalry was outmoded after the first world war, yet it persisted as an effective means of land allotment. The revenue system, revolving around patwari, was unintelligible for an average agriculturalist and the administrative high-handedness manifested itself frequently in an "intransigent system of assessment". Though initially, Punjab emerged as one of the most prominent areas of commercial farming in Asia, it equally remained an underdeveloped region in socio-political context. The state's policies and objectives contrasted with the development imperatives of the society itself. "The state failed to provide a determined developmental stimulus; the many opportunities for it in the colonics were not utilised. The role of state as an agent of improvement was aborted by the agitation of 1907, after which it became politically expedient for it to withdraw from an intrusive supervision of agrarian affairs.'1 Even agriculture turned static though the political results for the British were 'rewarding'. The state benefited from the revenues which were spent on non-developmental sectors like defence, and official apathy towards agricultural development through mechanisation or by eradication of corruption constantly hindered the growth. To sumup, Pakistan, where all these canal colonies existed, inherited a strong opportunistic feudal class, politically disorganised and segmented masses and a stagnant agricultural economy suffering from serious technical and human problems. India, itself, could not extricate itself from the fall-out of the imperial policies of the Raj in the province where demographic changes compounded the development issues with ethno- communal tensions.

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