From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ajit Singh , Pagri Sambhal Movement
Mains level : Peasants movements in colonial India
Sardar Ajit Singh Sandhu, the brain behind the ‘Pagri Sambhal Jatta’ movement is now being remembered in the ongoing agrarian resentments in Punjab.
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 Sambhal Jatta’ Movement
- In 1879, the British constructed the Upper Bari Doab canal to draw water from the Chenab river and take it to Lyallpur (now in Pakistan and renamed Faisalabad) to set up settlements in uninhabited areas.
- Promising to allot free land with several amenities, the government persuaded peasants and ex-servicemen from Jalandhar, Amritsar and Hoshiarpur to settle there.
- In 1907, in Lyallpur, Ajit Singh Sandhu also Bhagat Singh’s uncle headed the movement that articulated this discontent.
- The catchy slogan, Pagdi Sambhal Jatta, the name of the movement, was inspired by the song by Banke Lal, the editor of the Jang Sayal newspaper.
- The agitated protestors ransacked government buildings, post offices, banks, overturning telephone poles and pulling down telephone wires.
Who was Ajit Singh?
- He was a revolutionary and a nationalist during the time of British rule in India.
- With compatriots, he organised agitation by Punjabi peasants against anti-farmer laws known as the Punjab Colonization Act (Amendment) 1906 and administrative orders increasing water rate charges.
- He was an early protester in the Punjab region of India who challenged British rule and openly criticized the Indian colonial government.
- In May 1907, with Lala Lajpat Rai, he was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.
- Due to great public pressure and apprehension of unrest in the Indian Army, the bills of exile were withdrawn and both men were released in November 1907.