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A History of the SikhsVolume 2: 1839-2004$
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Khushwant Singh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195673098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195673098.001.0001

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Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation

Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation

(p.151) 10. Rural Indebtedness and Peasant Agitation
A History of the Sikhs

Khushwant Singh

Oxford University Press

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

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