Department of History & Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore
The Colonial expansionist policy reached it natural limits in India annexing Punjab on 29 March, 1849. It not only ushered an era of political stability after a long gap but new developmental activities were also taken up that were advantageous to colonial interests.
This article explores, investigates and analyses the origins and development of the Lyallpur with the view to understand its historical significance. Regarding historical analysis of Lyallpur, it is impossible to study it in disassociation with Canal colonization in Punjab in late 19th century. Studies already have been made on the economic and political dimensions of the Canal colonies which, to a great extent, are important to understand political economy but the social dimensions particularly of social engineering of the British Raj is yet to looked in depth to have broader picture of history of Lyallpur, Punjab and India. In this regard, in the article is an effort to bridge the gap in the existing literature on the colonial history of Lyallpur. Earlier writings have pointed out that the project of Canal colonies served biggest pride of the British Raj as it proved successful in mobilizing communities, exploring new resources and generating land revenues. It helped the Raj to introduce multiple reforms and to protect and promote feudal aristocracy of the Punjab. Slowly but surely it transformed the barren land into productive agricultural tracts Therefore, it is of great importance to revisit the historical background of the emergence of Lyallpur as part of mega project of Canal colonies.
It is believed that all great civilizations thrived because of their underlying geography. This is because geography is said to determine the actions, responses, pressures and social needs based on natural changes. It is rightly mentioned by the historians like Ian Morris that all great empires have established themselves andtheir rule based on giant projects. In context of Punjab, the Great Britain established its authority based on tactful planning and circumstance. The perennial canal system started in 1882 and managed to stay afloat until the last few years of the British Raj in the subcontinent.
The historical debate leads to infer that the project served the manifest function of agricultural revolution, raw material, and revenue generation; and the latent function of population rationalization, military supply lines, and modern control of population through urbanization. Historians like Imran Ali claim that even when the province of Punjab was under the direct rule of the British in mid 1880s, it experienced major transformations and growth because of irrigation projects. These projects led to the cultivation of the Doabs of Southwestern Punjab, which turned out to be some of the most fertilized farming lands in British India that constituted famous cities like Lyallpur (Faisalabad), Montgomery and Jhang that are now part of Pakistani Punjab. 3 The importance of these cities can be better evaluated based on the vast area that they occupy that is equivalent to 1/3rd of Punjab especially after the establishment of canal colonies. However, in this article, the factors evolving in the development of canal hydrology in Punjab which transformed nine canal colonies as major productive areas of sub-continent and then the settlement process is discussed. Moreover, necessarily it also intends to investigate the British policy of water engineering including its impact on regions and how the Chenab Colony gained the status miracle of Punjab?
Establishment of Canal Colonies:
Way to the Development After annexation in 1849, the British followed an ambitious plan of canal colonization in Punjab intending to meet manifold objectives. For this, nine canal colonies were established in Punjab during 1885-19474 . Amid the settlement of the nation, instantly after the extension in 1849, the state had doled out the greater part of the then uncultivated land and declared it “crown squander.” The canal colonization included the development of trenches to bring the “crown squander” the designation of land in the “crown squander” particularly to migrants from the denser areas and their settlement around the “crown squander”, including the portion of private plots, migrants and arrangement of some open merchandise in the towns in the territory uninhabited then made. According to Imran Ali, “canal colonization transformed this region (i.e. Punjab), from desert-waste, or at best pastoral savanna, to one of the major centers of commercialized agriculture in South-Asia”. In the 1880s the Colonial state in India started one of its most prominent undertakings of social building. It kept on concretizing her fantasy of making a perfect agrarian space inside the settlement. From the earliest starting point of the pioneer administer, in Punjab and somewhere else, Colonial authorities were driven by the longing to enhance space and modernize agrarian ranges, even if they needed to augment salary proportions. Notwithstanding, they thought that it was difficult to concretize their dreams practically speaking, to change pictures into substances. They needed to think about an approach that was reasonable, plausible and practicable in the given settings.
Conceptually, late 19th century turned out to be the time when social engineering was at its best in British India. However, this project meant taking abstract images and turning them into lavish realities which itself was not an easy task. This vastland beyond the Sutlej was practically occupied by no one other than the usual nomadic pastoralists that moved between the riverine tracts and the highlands from time to time. In early 1880s, the colonizers measured these vast tracts and they decided to established new settler colonies in these areas. By 1900, a total of Rs. 92,000,000 had been invested on the perennial canals in Punjab, and by 1926 over Rs. 158,600,000 were spent in just five of the major canal projects. Western Punjab‟s canal irrigation system turned the region round from an initially deserted area to one of the main agricultural centers globally and around South Asia. According to Ian Morris, the development of successful societies rests on the sole factor concerning the harnessing of the land‟s true potential and in this case, the British government was able to adequately do this by installing an excellent irrigation system in the region, which multiplied the agricultural output of the region.
The canal colonies that came along with the canal irrigation system provided the world with the biggest land settlement ever along with 6 million acres of fertile land in Asia that came to be known as the colonizer‟s most famous achievement as well as contribution to the Indian Subcontinent. It was the benefit of the canal colonies that made the rich revenue to the British and also made the canal colonies as rich and well developed regions. The migrants were the main beneficiaries of these schemes and all the development was the direct outcome of the untiring efforts of the migrants which resulted into the emergence of India as trade center and economically prosperous country.
The Purposes of the Establishment of the Colonies:
Historians have investigated establishment of canal colonies in terms of their processes of development and objectives. They have debated the concept of British canal hydrology and their intentions and purposes for the establishment of the canal colonies which further extended to emergence of extra ordinary urban trade centers and agricultural hubs in the colonies. These were the canal colonies which took the barren plains into highly productive plains. Researchers believe that canal colonization was a commendable contribution to the land reforms since it helped making it fertile and wholesome as well as turning it into one of the world‟s main agricultural centers.
There was a massive increase in the irrigated area and estimates conclude an approximate million acres of irrigated land between 1885 and 1947. While Great Britain enjoyed many benefits of the irrigated canal colonies, the socioeconomic conditions of the region also drastically improved. While most canal colonies were located in central Punjab, only one was located in South-West district of Multan. However, after much discussion the most important question that arises is that why did the British choose the province of Punjab as their major agricultural hub? However, to understand this question, one needs to ponder over the importance of canals to the British in the first place. Did it intend to drive London‟s market or there was any other regional significance?
Among various objectives of formation of canal colonies, population rationalization was a major objective. The Raj government considered the growing population in some districts as a potential challenge to their governance.
Many scholars have put forth many explanations such as famine control, better dispersion of population and even goodwill of the British rule. However, Islamcredibly disapproves of these reasons while Imran Ali believes that agricultural development, land revenue extraction, political support and encouraging military recruitment are the primary reasons for canal colonization. Although Islam agrees with Ali, his theory goes on many levels deeper. According to him, the primary reason for the construction of the canals and railway works was to increase the production and hence the export of agricultural produce to Great Britain.
Moreover, Islam further establishes the fact that the canals were also an important mode of revenue income for the government in terms of maintaining and managing the Indian Army, which was subsequently, used outside of the Subcontinent as well. Another source for the objectives behind the canal colonization comes from Paustian who also claims that revenue generation and agricultural export were the two primary reasons. However, based on a thorough analysis on earlier canals, Paustian finds out that revenue could be generated through a number of avenues like, selling the Crown wasteland, water rates or through mill sites used as toll highways or waterpower concerning canal transportation for agricultural produce. About exports, the canals were used for navigating agricultural produce across the ocean alongside the irrigation project. While the canals were not very deep, flat bottom boats were used to transfer the produce across the river Ravi and then on to the ocean to be loaded for export till the concept of canal colonies erupted in the mid-19th century.
These Canal colonies were the upcoming bread baskets of India and capable to sustain their stature. These bars or areas to be inhabited and irrigated were nearly empty of its fertility and shallow of its granary. The policies of the administration embarked upon agrarian revolution in the agro history of the Subcontinent. However, one of the challenges before officials, who were interested in rural development, was to create villages of a type that is superior in comfort and civilization to anything which previously existed in the Punjab. The canal colonies around the canals made sure that they spread the underlying message about the absolute power and control of British over the land and people. At the same time, these perennial canals silently insinuated the British Raj‟s ability to perform infrastructural miracles. These canals by Western technology made historic transformation of the areas from rural or even uninhabited to urban centers of economy. The economic revolution enhanced the taxes up to 75% between 1870-71 and 1901-92. Through wise and calculated policies, the Great Britain came to control around one-fifth of the world‟s commerce collectively.
The Chenab Colony was the first major attempt to develop a vast area entirely comprising arid wasteland with an extremely small population, which was mostly of nomadic character. The original proposals (1882) for this scheme were to construct a smaller canal to irrigate some 58,275 ha (144, 00 acres), but as the work progressed its scope was greatly extended to cover an area of over 445200 ha (1,100,000 acres). Practically the whole area coming under this scheme was Crown land not claimed by local inhabitants as private property. Initially an uncultivated waste land inhabited by nomadic cattle grazers, the Chenab Colony was formed by the British between 1892 and 1905 and added with extensions in the late 1910’s to 1930’s. It was the largest colony among othercanal colonies and it later bore the burden of two major settlements and migration. The journey from Sandal Bar to Chenab Colony, the development from barren lands to the fertile lands keeps history. The very region was known as Sandal Bar before having name of Chenab Colony. Sandal Bar was one of the important regions that they focused to agriculturally develop. The Sandal Bar, from which the colony was framed, consisted of a vast rolling plain or upland lying between the River Chenab and River Ravi. It is situated in the districts of Gujranwala, Lahore, Jhang, Montgomery, Lyallpur and Multan.
In all the canal colonies, Sandal Bar was the prominent and it enjoyed central place in the colonial history. Sandal Bar is situated in between the two rivers, River Ravi and River Chenab and having fertile land. The headquarters of this large colony were established at the new town of Lyallpur. Up to 1904 the colony tracts were constituents of Gujranwala, Jhang and Montgomery districts when a district of Lyallpur was carved out embracing a major area of the colony. Major colonization work was over by the year 1906, but subsequent extensions were made in 1908-09 and later. By the year 1920 an average of more than 1,000,000 ha (250000 acres) were actually irrigated by the Lower Chenab Canal(LCC), out of which over 607,000 h. (1,500,000 acres) comprised government wastelands . Moreover, the urban centers were developed in this very colony and these urban centers produced a large quantity of raw material which resulted into great revenue collection and development of the area.
Settlement Process: Migration and Allotment
The seven heavily populated districts of central and eastern Punjab, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Tambala and Sialkot, were where around four fifth of the colonists came from32. Moreover, in spite the fact that migration took place from Northern Punjab districts; it also occurred from the districts of Gujrat, Sharkargrah, Norwal and Rawalpindi. The Chenab colony was responsible for this fall in population in Sialkot, no less than 103,000 persons having left to take land in the newly irrigated tracts. The argument comes that the movement for new opportunities in Lyallpur, the example of Gujjar Chaks (Chodan Chaks) lies in the East of Sammundri. In addition, some colonists came from the marginal districts of Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan. Some of the reclaimed land was allotted to the native displaced groups. Furthermore, of the four fifths, two thirds were Jats, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu while Arains and Sikh Hindus, Kamboh and Rajputs were also involved.
Settlement of Migrants: Planned Structure
The Colony towns and rural settlements that came later are a direct product of the development and extension of irrigation. They exhibit a new style, associated with new towns built where none had stood before; thus representing a massive change unparalleled in concept and boldness. Since 1880, when the first colonization schemes were inaugurated until present day development projects, planning of settlements has been an important assignment for the developers of wastelands. The government settled these migrants in the planned Chaks. These planned settlements are of two categories Chaks (rural settlements) and Mandi Towns (Market town). The British further established Chaks; those were also founded with proper planning. The immigrants were fixed or settled in these Chaks on theDuring interview Mr. Malik Ali Ahmad has given an account: “After establishing Lyallpur City, villages were founded around the city. The government allotted lands to the settlers and numbers were given to these villages. Three perennial canals were made and the villages were given number as per of the names of the canals irrigating the lands attached to them like on the name of Rakh branch, it was (R.B), on the name of Gogera Branch, it was G.B, and on the name of Jhang branch, it was J.B”. Every Chak had a main Chowk in the center of all the bazars and every Chak had a pond of water which served the human and animal both. . The bazars were open and wide. The house allotment was made at equal footing. While establishing new Chak, the settlement authorities planned even the residential colonies of menials at the eastern side of the Chaks. At both the northern and southern sides, there were ponds of waters too. In the central Chowk, there were shops and markets at both sides of the bazars. Later on, the rural to urban migration resulted from the colonial development of towns as centers of trade and commerce as agricultural markets like Lyallpur.
Allotment of Land Holdings:
The colonists were categorized based on the size and function of the reclaimed land allotted to them. The settlers were of various casts, tribes, regions and religions but later they developed a sense of association with each other. The Raj government had classified these migrants in various categories and the process of land allotment was made on the measures of classification. There were three main groups who were settled down in the Chenab colony. There were Jat Hindus who were mainly from Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Sialkot, Gurdaspur and Gujrat districts. They all were the best cultivators. The Muslims were mainly from Julludhar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Lahore and Sialkot too. The majority of the Muslims belong to Arain cast but other groups were too. The third major group was the Sikhs who were very famous because of their valor and bravery. They were also refined farmers too. They were allotted military grants in this region as well. They (Migrants) were allotted land as per the below mentioned categories:-
Other than these three prominent categories of grantees, land allotment was also done on the basis of auction where bids were made in the open market. This allowed the colonists to easily generate capital, become aware of the value of the Colony lands‟ worth and value in the market and allowed non agriculturists an equal chance of purchasing land. Although these lands were free of all conditions viable on non-capitalist grants, the allottees did not get a choice when it came toexchange of lands. Ch. Atta Muhammad said that: The land allotment policy was: – Rais got 20 squares of lands, 5 squares of lands were given to the Sufaidposh and yeomen were given 2 squares of land. It was their allotment policy:
Impacts of Canal Colonies: Development of Mandi Towns
The prosperity of the colony is prominently emphasized by the remarkable development of the Mandi town and Lyallpur was established as Chenab Colony‟s Mandi headquarter. Lyallpur was established in 1896 after the LieutenantGovernor of Punjab at the time, Sir James Lyall. After a few years, in 1904, a new district named Lyallpur was established within the already existing city of Lyallpur. A new administrative districts also known as Tehsils were formed within the new district known as, Lyallpur, Jaranwala, Sammundri and Toba Tek Singh. Ch. Atta Muhammad said while an interview that “When the British establish Lyallpur, it was the area with complete forests and barren lands. They worked hard and made it the city of lights”. Each of these Tehsils or towns were well planned and structured to represent the British flag, hence comprised of four colony squares and eight bazaars in all that connected with each at the central Chowk. This Chowk was well known for a clock tower that was surrounded by eight main roads all connecting a main town bazaar. Initially known as Lyallpur, today, at 5,856 Sq. Faisalabad district, located in Punjab and is known as the Manchester of Pakistan because of its industrial significance. It has natural boundaries towards the south because of River Ravi, while touches Hafizabad and Sheikhupura in the north while Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot and Jhang district in the west. Today, Faisalabad district is split into six Tehsils, known as Faisalabad City; Faisalabad Sadar; Sammundri; Jaranwala; Tandlianwala; and Chak Jhumra. It was highly planned project having eight main bazars and one central Chowk named as clock tower. Lyallpur was the main Mandi at which all the trade of the nearby areas was done. The British administration planned three main towns of Lyallpur, Sargodha and Montgomery in three colonies of Lower Chenab, Lower Jhelum and Lower Bari Doab colony. Lyallpur was connected with other small Mandis through railways, metal roads and other ways of communication. Lyallpur was important and headquarters of all these Mandis. In 1904, Lyallpur was given the status of district. From 1887 to 1892, Lt. Governor Sir James Broad wood Lyall supervised the city development plan. It was given the name of Lyallpur because of his services, which he rendered. In 1896, proper settlement was started here 55 . Sir Pomp Young, settlement officer made the map of Lyallpur as like the map of Khartoum on the lines of Union jack. Eight bazars were made and in the center there was clock tower. The administrator was called Deputy Commissioner and Lyallpur had 4 tehsils, Lyallpur, Sammundri, Jarranwala and Toba Tek Singh respectively. The names of eight bazars are: – Rail Bazar, Kachehri Bazar, Chiniot Bazar, Aminpur Bazar, Bhowana Bazar, Jhang Bazar, Montgomery Bazar, and Karkhana Bazar.
These eight bazars were also the main business centers as described by Ali Ahmad: Main centers of business were eight bazars of Lyallpur. Every necessity of life was found over there. Jhang Bazar was the busiest of all. Commonly, Bhuwana Bazar, Montgomery Bazar, and Aminpur Bazar were the bazars where doctors and Hakeems had shops. Majority of the business men were Sikhs and Hindus. All the business was in their hands. Majority of the British were used to go to kacheheri bazar. There was a London house and they bought things from there. In 1911, its population was round about 4 lakhs fifty thousand but in the census of 1914, it was round about 6 lakhs and seventy thousand. It increased of 14 percent in 1921 census, although there were not as such fresh allotments or new settlement. The increase varied greatly from circle to circle with the fecundity of the prevailing tribes and was at height in Gugera branch and its extensions. As it was the major Mandi and all the raw material was collected over to export to U.K. Wheat was one of the major exports to U.K. The export was made via rail to Karachi for Europe. There were also cotton ginning factories in the district especially in Lyallpur city. The Hindus and the Sikhs were economically well and they were controlling nearly all the business of Lyallpur. They were even more educated than that of Muslims. They were more influential than Muslims as well.
Establishment of Mandis Towns:
The main Mandi of the colony was Lyallpur and the government also established other minor towns or Mandis, in Chenab Colony, were Chak Jhumra, Mandi Rajana, Gojra Mandi, Tandlianwala Mandi, Buchiana Mandi, Jarranwala Mandi, Jhang, Sammundri and Toba Tek Singh. These Mandi towns or urban trade centers were connected to each other via railways, metal roads and link roads. The primary focus of the British authorities to establish these Mandi towns was that they tried to set up these urban centers on railway lines and connecting roads. These were the main centers of collecting of raw material and revenue generation. Dost Muhammad narrated in interview: We use to sale our products in the main grain markets of Lyallpur. There was no residence for the farmers in grain market. We took our products to the Mandis using bull carts and mule carts. The British authorities gave proper ways to reach Mandis. They established two major moods of communication, in Chenab colony in order to facilitate the farmer to bring their products to Manids; rail links and roads (metaled and unmated). The transportation of raw material form fields to mandis by roads on carts usually. Mostly these mandis were linked with other part of country via railway. After the establishment of Lyallpur district, the railway line extended up to Hafizabad, Lahore, Karachi and Bombay. The colonizing officers also paid attention towards the development of road. Some were metal roads but majority were the link roads. They also made roads alongside of the canals. There are four main roads: – From Satiana Bangla to Lyallpur, From Lyallpur to Dijkot and Koro Bangla, From Chiniot to Lyallpur and then toJarranwala, and from Sammundri to Gojra. There are many minor link roads are also there. There was not common phenomenon of post office but for the settlers it was also. The area of district Lyallpur was three thousand one hundred square mile. In the census report of 1901, its population was round about four lakhs and fifty thousand but in 1901, some villages of district Montgomery were merged into district Lyallpur. The village settlement plan was also well planned and the Chaks were found after early settlement of 1892. There were 233 miles metal roads maintained by the Public Works Department. There were 117 miles un-metaled roads which were not direct under the control of public works departments. These were to be managed by the district board. Some of the other major road links were:
Despite allotting land and providing water, the colonial objective of maximizing revenue and export was not sufficient but in fact the transportation of the final produce from farm to the market was going to help achieve the colonial object adequately. The last years of the nineteenth century saw the colonial deliberate domineering of rural stability by the transformation arising from the commercialization of the colony‟s agriculture. The sources suggest that Chenab colony served as the richest agricultural hub in Punjab and it may be called „agricultural miracle. Moreover, agricultural production was increased incredibly as expected by the British Policy maker. This was additionally on the grounds that the monetary change of the territory relied upon the division and type of agrarian change. Toward the start of British lead in Punjab, the rural hardware, the nature of the seeds, the animals rearing, the arrangement of yield turn, the advertising of horticultural items and so forth were described practically by stagnation and out of date quality. Different innovative enhancements, for example, the utilization of high return assortments of seed, more effective gear and apparatus, enhanced water system framework, better animals, new methods of development, for example, a superior arrangement of pivot of harvests, utilization of more manure, control and keeping away from yield maladies and a superior Marketing framework for agrarian items were presented methodically. New cash crop culture, for example, wheat, tobacco, sugar stick and cotton were presented. Changes in the generation techniques prompted to changes in the social and monetary establishments in the territory. M.L. Sweetheart speaks quickly about the new hardware and seeds presented by the British government and the development of exchange and marketing spirit in agribusiness.
More contemporary strategies of agriculture, for example, a superior yield turn,the utilization of compost and the control of reaping illnesses were presented. The rural agriculturalists of Lyallpur were advised to avoid monotony in cultivation and prefer crop cultivation. The development of grain, which gathered nitrogen with its underlying foundations, was taken up into the pivot. Likewise, the advancement of water system has created isolate pivots of yields for the different land classifications. The approach of the administration was exhaustive as in it was the advancement of the most recent gear for a bigger agrarian creation. The undertaking to advance the enhanced gear was supplemented by the town rural unions composed in 1911-12. The cultivators shaped the affiliations and attempted to take after the guidance and suggestions of farming in all matters associated with agrarian enhancements. They maintained the contact with agriculture office to keep it updated with needs of farmers.. In 1920-21 these unions were essentially functional in each area. Likewise, the farmer week in the administration was seen in many circles. The cultivators were conveyed to these focuses from everywhere throughout the area, so they could benefit from the presentation of the most recent improvement and revelations in farming practices.
The Agronomy Department had a few trials on which the examination business related to the testing of relative benefits of various sorts of yields, seed determination, advancement and testing of new analyses, research for crop rotation, work on the proficiency of excrement, Etc. , was completed. In 1920, the Agricultural Department had 7 trial organizations, 15 horticultural ventures for the elaboration of nearby issues, and 9 seed organizations for the engendering of immaculate seeds.78 In the 1920s, Punjab delivered one tenth of the aggregate British cotton harvest and 33% of its wheat. Wheat, which had beforehand been decayed when a grain guard had been created; it was traded in substantial amounts on the new railroad arrange. While different areas, for example, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa saw a developing agrarian emergency, Punjab had risen as the pacemaker of Indian rural advancement. Per capita generation of all products expanded from 1891 to 1921 about 45 percent. To the assumed average annual acreage of each crop, various rates of outturn were applied in the different circles, based on crop experiments conducted in the ordinary course by the agricultural department and during settlement operations by the settlement staff. The farm of produce estimate was, however, simplified by reducing to a minimum the number of crops for which separate calculations was made, a course which was unlikely to affect its accuracy when different crops account for so small a portion of the total area.
The outturns were:- Sugarcane was round about 21 munds per acre in Jhang branch, 28 munds per acre in Gugera branch circle I and II. Same was the example of wheat which was 13 munds per acre in Jhang branch and 15 munds per acre in Gugera branch and extensions respectively.
For transporting the produce road and rail way networks that ran from central markets all the way up to the Karachi ports were required. The government was very keen in the agricultural produce of the land and hence an Agriculture college and research institute was established at Lyallpur in 1909. Despite the initial failure faced by the Agriculture College, they were still able to successfully establish the high quality American cotton. In college, many experiments weremade for new seeds and highly producing seeds were invented. After such a successful break, 7500 acres of land was set aside to be allotted via grants for the production of finest cotton of the colony and subsequent export of high quality cotton to the Lancashire mills in United Kingdom. Although the costs for every product were determined by the government, they were easily transferred and transmitted to other canal colonies through telegraph such as in the case of Bombay. Furthermore, for the farmers own protection from the malpractices of the middle man, the government established a cooperative shop in the region that is known as the largest producer of cotton- Lyallpur. Over the years interest in the sufficient marketing and export of cotton and other crops increased and to address this interest, transport infrastructure was set up. The best part of this infrastructure was that it easily carried the produce right from the farmer‟s house to Karachi port and other markets.
Farmers with larger landholdings obviously had better infrastructural and marketing opportunities hence also had a better income. Researchers like Islam point out that after a while, the farmers started producing on a commercial level rather than producing to cater to their own needs. This stance is also supported by who found out that eventually over time the production of food grains reduced while the production of crops like wheat and cotton increased in the province of Punjab. In support of the colonization process, Darling claims that before the canal colonies were formed, the average farmer would not be able to manage increased price in the market because he would be unable to produce enough according to the requirement of the market and would most definitely be a net buyer than a net producer. Moreover, even if they were able to produce enough, most of it would go to waste because of the lack of proper marketing and transport facilities. By providing the farmers with larger land tracts, proper infrastructural facilities along with marketing endeavors, he was able to transform from the meager buyer to the stocky seller which proved quite beneficial for him in the long run.
The colonial agricultural development1 of the region led to the introduction of a number of new crops including cotton which culminated intrinsically with Lyallpur city’s textile industry. Being known for the best market of Punjab, bearing surplus raw material, there emerged little industry relating to ginning, oil and agriculture in Lyallpur. it emerged as a Mandi town that transformed it major trade centre. The agro policies of the authorities throughout from the establishment of the canal colony helped the farmers to be the best agricultural producers. The products boost gave way to the nourishment of the urban trade and commerce centers and finally in Chenab colony, Lyallpur emerged as main market town of Chenab Colony as well as sub-continent. It became the main industrial hub of cotton related business as well agro-business. Immediately after the First World War, the main priority of the British was to develop a substantial industrial infrastructure in India. Britain‟s industrial decline was becoming apparent as to why this development was essential as it couldtransform India. It could alleviate Indian capitalists who might otherwise direct towards congress with their expertise and capital. This development was said to be of economic use as it would provide employment and administer some efficacy into the Indian economy. In order for their empires to flourish, the British had to develop the Indian economy. On the other hand, industrial development, specifically as in the case of cotton textiles gave rise to competition. There was a high chance that the rapid advancement of capitalism might deteriorate the basis of the agrarian social order. Nationalist criticism targeted the performance of the industrial economy and the effects of imperial rule upon it. The gathering of large masses of workers in the cities gave rise to restlessness and uncertainty about social conditions and their political repercussions. The role of British investment and entrepreneurship has been emphasized in the literature on early industrial development. Some scholars are of the view that these factors are crucial in the development of an economy that is scarce in capital, entrepreneurial skills and technology. Contemporary historian like Imran Ali has viewed Chenab colony and Suhagpara, indefinitely produced finest cotton. Ian Talbot suggests that Colonial policy privileged the Punjab‟s agrarian development at the expense of industrial growth. Idrees Khawaj called canal colonies a chief industrializing agent of the province. Pippa Virdee has mentioned the pre partition industrial growth that linked with agriculture in Lyallpur. According to her:
“Once the Chenab Colony development began to make an impact, some industry started. In 1912, there were only 11 factories located in Lyallpur, all of which specialized in cotton ginning and pressing. By 1935, however, the number of factories had increased to 25, and while the majority still specialized in cotton ginning and pressing, there were a number of saw, oil and sugar Mills. It is clear from this that industry in pre-partition Lyallpur was dominated by the production of cotton in the district, a feature that has continued in the post- partition period”.
It is difficult to find actual figure of factories in Lyallpur as the common narrative about the industry in Lyallpur District is 25, 71 72 factories which failed to mention the figures whether it was located in Lyallpur City or District. such kind of debate has spelled over during the partition process as difference claims were made. The Government sources demonstrations a very detail information about the industries in district and work force. Prior to the partition, there were 64 main cotton ginning factories who were mainly related to the agricultural products and other relevant things. Before colonization, almost every farmer used to be in debt to the traditionally exploitative moneylender. The debt due to the traditional money lender was considerably lower in the canal colonies due to the increase in income. While it was only 4 times the land revenue in canal colonies, and in 5 out of 8 tehsils of Lyallpur it was only 0.5 times the revenue and in non-colony districts in the South-West, like Mianwali it was 28 times the land revenue and in Muzaffargarh it was 22 times the land revenue .
Canal colonization is a wonder of irrigation engineering motivated by British‟s economic, governance, and strategic interests. Lyallpur served to be headquarter of Chenab colony that constituted largest share of newly established nine canalcolonies. Canal colonization transformed 6 million acres of barren land into productive agricultural land. This progress was accompanied by development of integrated communication system and Mandi towns that contributed in development of the region and ensconcing its economic base. The transformation of crown waste in productive agricultural land and hub of industrial raw material can be classified into following stages. There is debate regarding motives of colonial masters behind such an ambitious plan. It is debated either it meant for serving monetary and strategic interests of colonial master or it objectified welfare of people and development of the region. Leaving intention surmises apart, it is obvious with respect to its impacts that it provided a win -win situation for the agriculturalists of the area. The development of Chenab colony (Lyallpur as it‟s headquarter) is resultant of impeccable planning and effective management of colony officers and second to none hard work of the migrants who rehabilitated the land. Due to this land mark development, canal colonies and especially Chenab Colony witnessed great changes. It was Chenab Colony that served as great factor in the partition that it was inculcated in the Sikhs Azad Punjab Scheme.
The Chenab Colony, right from its establishment was an important base for the raj government as well as for the migrants. The British canal hydrology scheme and establishment of canal colonies helped them a lot in revenue collection and raw material too. The role of migrants that is equally significant in terms of making the barren bushy land into miracle of united Punjab.