1940s Punjab Politics: Sir Chottoo Ram’s Zamaidara Party, renamed the anti-Pakistan and Anti-Quaid Jinnah “The Unionist Party” was adamantly opposed to the creation of Pakistan and they were aligned with Mr. Gandhi’s Indian National Congress supporting Akhand Bharat.
Sir Chottoo Ram’s Zamaidara Party, renamed the anti-Pakistan and Anti-Qauid “The Unionist Party” was adamantly opposed to the creation of Pakistan and they were aligned with Mr. Gandhi’s Indian National Congress supporting Akhand Bharat. Mr. Ahmed fails to mention that the so called “communal harmony” was imposed by Sir Chotto Ram and Sir Sikandar Hyatt by keeping the Muslim serfs in abject poverty and bondage.
Historic revision cannot hide the fact that Sir Chotto Ram’s establishment institutionalized the abduction and rape of Muslim girls and held them in captivity in Heera Mandi. In fact, Heera Mandi one of the few Muslim majority areas in Lahore. These were the horrors which forced the Punjabi Muslim to rally around Punjab/Karnal born Liaqat Ali Khan and Quaid-e-Azam.
Because The Quaid was sick, it was his able lieutenant Liaqat Ali Khan who destroyed the Unioninst Party in the Punjab. For this crime, he had to pay for his life. Pakistan was born as rebellion against the excesses of the Zamindars of Punjab. feudalism continues, and is still horrible, but the intensity has decreased. As Agri-business and Horticulture-business takes off, Pakistani agriculture will transform the plight of the farmers.
Vacuity of ideas and lack of historical facts create personal insults. I will ignore the hubris and condescending attitude of the author who clearly is a supporter of Akhand Bharat. Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmed chauvinistic assertions in parochial defense of Sir Chottoo Ram (various spellings used by different authors) and his Zamindara Party (Zamindara League–renamed Unionist Party) which was aligned with the Indian National Congress is not surprising because his thesis supports the thesis of opposition to Pakistan, the Pakistan ideology, the Quaid-e-Azam, and Quiad-e-Millat. Sir Chottoo Ram, his Zamindara League and the “Jat Gazette” clearly articulated the interests of the Hindu Jats.
David Gilmartin on Page 125 says “Some local officials saw little difference between the Zamindara League and the Congress”. Mr. Ahmed’s assertions are in direct contradiction to the historical records of Ira Lapidus (History of Islamic Societies), Zeba Zubair (From Mutiny to Mountbatten), David Gilmartin (Empire and Islam), D.A Low (The Political Inheritance of Pakistan), Stanley Wolpert (Jinnah), Ikram Ali (History of the Punjab), Maharaja Ranjit Singh (History of the Punjab), Francis Robinson (Islam and Muslim separatism), and Wilfred Canwell Smith (Modern Islam in India). Neither the Muslims of Punjab, nor the Mussalmans of the Subcontinent supported Sir Chotoo Ram or his protégés Sir Sikandar Hyatt.
David Gilmartin says “To control the cities the British focused initially on the same types of structures they used to establish control in the rural areas.” Sir Sikandar’ claimed to be a representative of the Arain clan. He and his clan were the recipients of British largesse and got their knighthoods for supporting the British Raj in suppressing the war of independence of 1857 and successive serf revolts in the Punjab.
Their other accomplishments were to provide cannon fodder of Muslim bodies to the Empire. Feroze Khan Noon had a tree stump in his house where heads of insolent serfs were chopped off. Heera Mandi as an institution was created by the likes of Sir Chottoo Ram before independence and is prominently mentioned in many historical records. The primary purpose of the Zamindara Party (as the name suggests) was to secure the rights of the Zamindars of the Punjab.”
David Gilmartin says….these officials convinced the lieutenant governor in 1919 to adopt a definition of “Zamindara” that included all “hereditary proprietors” The Land Alienation Act,” P.J. Fagan wrote “was intended to be used for the purpose of defining or constituting privileged classes’ (Muslim Outlook, Lahore 30 July 1924). Malcolm Darling testified to the Royal Agriculture commission in 1927, the act had conferred “a very valuable privilege upon the strong, for with the great increase in rural prosperity many agriculturalists are now in a position to buy land and as purchasers are placed in a privileged position by the Act.
In her biography of Sir Chottoo Ram, Prem Chaudhy argues…that Sir Chottoo Ram preferred the interests of substantial landowners to tenants, untouchables, or petty cultivators (Prem Chaudhry, Punjab Politics: the Role of Sir Chotu Ram-new [Delhi: vikas, 1984, 216-25. The depression of 1930s provided intense hardship on the poor serfs. As a result of this type of exploitation "the Punjabis responded to the pressures of economic change in the countryside,"] David Gilmartin on Page 189 of his book “Empire and Islam” says “the Unionist Party, Jinnah and his supporters declared, was a creation of the British”.
Jinnah and Sikandar were at odds and tried to make peace with each other by signing the Jinnah-Skindar pact. The Unionists tried to channel Muslim communal concerns through the Muslim League. “To leaders like Iqbal” Sikindar’s action after his return from Lucknow only confirmed their worst fears about Unionist plans to turn the League into Unionist ends”.
However Sikandar suddenly died in 1942. Jinnah was emboldened by insurrection within the Unionist Party and he expelled Khizar Hayatt Khan from the Muslim League in 1944. Khizar Hyatt and Tiwana were unable to resist the growing tide of the Muslim League led by Liaqat Ali Khan. The defection of Noon and Tiwanas weakened the Unionists and their Gandhi backers.
The elections of 1946 were a watershed in Punjabi politics-the election triumph of the Muslim League proved critical in 1946 because it made the ultimate establishment of Pakistan inevitable. “After the elections, Malik Khizar Hyat and the remaining rump of the Unionist Party formed a coalition with the Akali party and the Congress ..to keep the Muslim League out of power.
Pakistan was formed in spite of and despite the wrangling of the Zamindara and the Unionist Parties. Pakistan Zindabad.
Sources: History of the Punjab, David Gilmartin, The Book of Reading on The History of the Punjab Ikran Ali Malik, Sir Chottoo Ram by Prem Chaudhy (Prem Chaudhry, Punjab Politics: the Role of Sir Chotu Ram-new [Delhi: vikas, 1984, 216-25.), Ira Lapidus (History of Islamic Societies), Zeba Zubair (From Mutiny to Mountbatten), David Gilmartin (Empire and Islam), D.A Low (The Political Inheritance of Pakistan), Stanley Wolpert (Jinnah), Ikram Ali (History of the Punjab), Maharaja Ranjit Singh (History of the Punjab), Francis Robinson (Islam and Muslim separatism), and Wilfred Canwell Smith (Modern Islam in India), and Wilfred Canwell Smith (Modern Islam in India).