Chapter

Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation

Khushwant Singh

in A History of the Sikhs

Second edition

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780195673098
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080595 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195673098.003.0010
Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation

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This chapter examines various causes of rural indebtedness leading to peasant agitation. It describes the Punjab peasant in both prosperity and debt, the latter being a consequence of the economic changes that modified the social fabric of the Punjabi lifestyle. It discusses the Land Alienation Act of 1900, which protected the agriculturists from moneylenders. The act also prevented the attachment and sale of lands, and provided a five-year lease of lands. Although this act was successful in protecting the interests of the cultivators, it did not solve rural indebtedness. Ravaged by series of calamities and an insensitive administration, passing of another land bill led to immediate unrest. The chapter shows that this bill was heavily criticised by the Punjab Legislative Council and the Indian press.

Keywords: rural indebtedness; Punjab peasant; peasant agitation; economic changes; Land Alienation Act; Punjab Legislative Council; Indian press

Chapter.  3364 words. 

Subjects: Sikhism

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