From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ajit Singh , Pagri Sambhal Movement
Mains level : Farmers agitation since colonial times
As a part of the ongoing farmers’ protest, groups across the country have celebrated February 23 as ‘Pagri Sambhal Diwas’.
Try this PYQ:
Q.What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement?
(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.
(b) A sentence of 18 months rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.
(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab Colonization Bill.
(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekar brothers.
Pagri Sambhaal Movement
- Pagrhi Sambhaal Jatta was a successful farm agitation that forced the British government to repeal three laws related to agriculture back in 1907.
- Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh was the force behind this agitation, and he wanted to channel people’s anger over the farm laws to topple the colonial government.
What were the ‘three laws’?
- The three farm-related acts at the centre of the storm in 1907 were the Punjab Land Alienation Act 1900, the Punjab Land Colonization Act 1906 and the Doab Bari Act.
- These acts would reduce farmers from owners to contractors of land, and gave the British government the right to take back the allotted land if the farmer even touched a tree in his field without permission.
- Amid resentment against the laws, Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh, with their revolutionary friend Ghasita Ram, formed the Bharat Mata Society.
- It worked to mobilise this unrest into a revolt against the British government.
Repeal of the laws
- Ajit Singh persuaded Congress leader Lala Lajpat Rai to come on the stage during a rally in Lyallpur on March 3, 1907, to protest against the laws.
- On sensing the popular resentment, the British made a minor amendment to the laws.
- The agitation couldn’t remain non-violent. Ajit Singh was booked for sedition after his speech at a public meeting in Rawalpindi on April 21, 1921.
- Violence erupted soon afterwards and the British government repealed the three controversial laws in May 1907.