[Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal]

Rattan is in Pakhowal block and Tehsil of Ludhiana District in Punjab. It is located 18 KM towards west from District head quarters Ludhiana and 10 KM from Pakhowal. Nearest villages are Jodhan (1 KM), Mansuran (1 KM), Khandoor (2 KM), Pamali (2 KM), Dhaipai (3 KM). Since villages are very close and density of these villages was very high, due to limited land holdings the villagers from this area moved to West Punjab in around 1890s and established new villages. Persons from Rattan village also went out and establshed village Ratan 89 Jhang Branch in Lyallpur district (now known as Faislabad District of Pakistan). Since the story of settlements of Grewals from Ludhiana dstricts in Pakistan and later in Bet area is related it is taken up as an example how the villagers of these villages had to locate and dislocate occasionally.

My grandfather’s great grandfather was Sardar Desu Singh Grewal. He was a strong built, simpleton who was a farmer by profession and character. He had vast spread of lands in village Rattan named after his father Rattan Singh. Rattan Singh had three brothers: Jodh, Mansoor and Sehzad; Rattan being the eldest. All these four brothers came from village Gujarwal; a key Grewal village in the area: got settled in this area and established their own villages on their names. This was the period between the ending of seventeenth century and beginning of eighteenth century AD (1680-1707 AD Approx) when Guru Gobind Singh had baptized Khalsa and fought battles with Mughals and Hill chieftains. After his battle at Chamkaur, the Guru had descended through Machhiwara and Alamgir and stayed in the land of Rattan. He called for the owner; but Rattan being busy somewhere else was not able to turn up. However, the women from village Gujjarwal and Jodhan came to know of Guru’s stay in Rattan’s area and presented food to him with all humility. Guru Gobind Singh stayed for a night in Rattan’s area and was looked after well. In the morning he brushed teeth from a twig from a tahli tree. After brushing his teeth, he planted this twig in to the ground which later grew up into a huge tree. On the name of this tree later Gurdwara Tahliana Sahib and a high school by the same name were constructed. The Guru dug some ground to take out water. Later a water tank also known as Bowli was constructed there. The water of bowli has been considered sacred ever since. This all was in the landed property of Rattan. Now villages Rattan; Jodh and Masoor have spread to merge into one another and the village boundaries are more or less indistinguishable. Rattan’s descendents later followed Sikhism. Sardar Desu Singh Grewal was the eldest son of Rattan Singh.

Life for the farmers in those days was rustic and hard. Farmers had to toil hard in their fields to make their both ends meet despite of their vast landed property because of lack of irrigation facilities and total dependence on rain which  was very scanty and that too only for a month or two. There were no wells or tube-wells for irrigation. The rain was the only source of water. Bullocks were used for ploughing and carrying bullock-carts. These bullock carts were also the source of conveyance in addition to horses. Ploughing the fields; removing the weeds; cutting the crops; thrashing these crops for taking out grains and then selling in nearby markets were all done manually. There were no roads or rail nearby. Sardar Desu Singh Grewal worked hard and lived well. He married and was blessed with four sons named Jeeva Singh, Atar Singh, Juli Singh and Dal Singh. They too adopted the same system of farming. But the problem of excessive dependency on rains created great hardships.

In 1870s the colonial era Punjab government decided to increase the area of cultivated land by making barrages and canals to meet the demand at European markets. This led to the canal based irrigation of the areas of Lyallpur (now comprising the district of Faisalabad and Tobha Tek Singh). They decided to develop Bar lands in Lahore Division of the then undivided Punjab. The soil of the area comprises alluvial deposits mixed with loess having calcareous characteristics, making it very fertile. The villages were planned in architectural styles. The facilities like water, rail and road were provided. The farmers from other districts of Punjab were invited to settle in newly formed villages.

Attracted by the facilities provided, Sardar Jeeva Singh and Dal Singh preferred to go to these Bar lands in 1888 AD. They were allotted vast stretches of undeveloped lands in Chak No. 89 on Jhang Branch (JB) canal in Lyallpur Districts in between Gojra and Sharshmir towns adjoining a 200 feet Kutcha road. Railway line from Gojra to Sharshmir also passed through their lands.  They along with their sons moved to these lands leaving their families behind at their ancestral village Rattan to look after their ancestral land. The new lands known as Bar lands were barren and dry. Though canals had been dug yet the water to the fields could not be planned until the ploughable fields were prepared. Initially, they along with other farmers from their ancestral village Rattan lived in thatched huts in the fields itself and did extreme hard work to make their fields ploughable. They also made the water channels to bring water from subsidiaries to their fields. The days were very hard till the fields were made farmable and water was arranged to these farms. This took two to three years for them to establish initially.

They established a village named 89 Jhang Branch (JB) Rattan on their ancestral village’s name and the canal Jhang Branch originating from Lower Chenab Canal from which they got waters. The maximum residents of the village were from village Rattan while a few were from Dhaipai both villages in Ludhiana. Once the crops turned out to be booming, in about ten years they became very wealthy and had multistoried houses of concrete and their families too joined.

The children started going to Sharshmeer Road Middle School nearby. Earlier to coming to Bar no one had studied in school or got any formal education. With the start of the new century, the education entered Sardar Desu Singh’s family. Gajjan Singh, Anokh Singh, Ajaib Singh, Sher Singh, Gulzar Singh, Mehar Singh and Anup Singh joined Sharshmir Road School 3 kilometer from the village, which had primary and middle classes. Later Sardar Anup Singh studied in DAV school Gojra about 20 kilometers from the village, Sardar Anokh Singh moved to high school and later to a college at Lyallpur. After completing his 12th at Lyallpur he moved to Lahore for higher studies. He joined a bank job after his studies and remained in Lahore till he found his land being usurped by other members of the family. He returned, took his share from ancestral land and started farming of his own for some time. However agriculture not being his font he returned soon to Lahore to join bank service. His colleagues Gulzar Singh and Mehar Singh joined army while Gajjan Singh became an Akali and took part in various activities and morchas of the Akalis since lot of political activity started in reply to the violent activities of Muslim League in the region. Then came the partition of 1947 when these settlers in West Punjab had to fall back to East Punjab.
Grewal villages in Pakistan including Mansooran, Dhandra, Jodhan and the like had to leave their well established villages in Lyallpur Districts and had to fall back in Ludhiana District. They fell back to their ancestral villages initially but there was not enough space for them hence they were allotted lands temporarily in Bet area of Satluj in lieu of lands left in Lyallpur Districts.  Most of these villages were the ones vacated by Muslims who left for Pakistan. This is how over 50 Grewal villages were settled in Bet and other Areas.

Aroud 10 villages in Bet area have links to their ancestor’s village Ratan. These villages are Panj Bhainia, Noorwala, Madewal, Dhaner, Baggu Ke Kothe, etc. Meanwhile ancestral village Ratan developed within but squeezed by Jodhan and Mansooran. Its Coordinates are  30.8015381°N 75.7352352°E. It has a village Panchayat whose sarpanch has been occasionally a Grewal. Punjabi is the spoken language. Telephone code is 0161 and ISO 3166 code is IN-PB.[1] Pin code of Rattan is 142029 and postal head office is Jodhan. As per 2011 census it had 232 houses with a population of 1,223 out of which males are 641 and females 582. Female Population is 47.6%.  Average Sex Ratio of Rattan village is 908 which is higher than Punjab state average of 895. Child Sex Ratio for the Rattan as per census is 1048, higher than Punjab average of 846. The closest airport to the village is Sahnewal Airport.(1) Halwara will become closest once it opens for civil flights. Ludhiana, Ahmedgarh, Raikot, and Jagraon are the near by cities to Rattan. Nearest railway stations are Baddowal- 6 KM,. Bus stop is Jodhan on the village periphery itself. The village has a Govt.Sen.Sec.School Tahli Sahib. (10)

This village is in the Malwa region of Punjab. It belongs to Pakhowal development block of the Ludhiana district. Demographics - Population includes 641 males and 582 female residents. Out of the total population of 1223 residents 423 are registered as scheduled caste. For land use out of the total 234 hectares 195 hectares are cultivated by 195 tubewells.

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