Date: 5/13/2003




Sikhs have left their richest lands in West Punjab. It was their labour which turned the jungles (Bars) of Lyallpur, Montgomery, and Sheikhupura into rich wheat-producing land. The industry and tenacity of Sikhs made them masters of vast cultivated areas, many times those possessed by Muslims in Districts where Muslims were in a majority in population. Take the case of Lahore. Here Sikhs were only 18.32% in the population. Yet according to the settlement report of the Lahore District by Mr. G. H. B. Abell, I.C.S.

“About 66.7% of the cultivated land (in Lahore District) is in the hands of the Jats, the great majority of whom are Sikhs. They are commonly of very fine physique and often blessed with brains as well. They represent a magnificent supply of human material. They could be and upto a point are, a very great asset to the District and the Punjab. The communal majority in the District belongs to the Muslims…… and the typical zamindar of the district is Sikh Jat.”

A glance at the land-revenue paid by Muslims and non-Muslims in some of the Muslim majority districts will show the relative position of Hindus and Sikhs as proprietors, and will totally falsify any notion that Hindus and Sikhs left these districts voluntarily, and not under extreme duress.

District Lahore Sheikhupura Gujranwala Shakargarh (Sialkot)

Total revenue 14,19,455 13,27,783 7,76,164 6,07,379

Sikh share 8,41,921 7,39,588

3,05,357 4,45,000

Hindu share 1,09,745 91,725

1,95,148 - - - -

Muslim share 4,62,448 4,83,241

2,75,659 1,62,379

District Narowal (do)

Total revenue 3,95,716

Sikh share 2,16,408

Hindu share - - - - -

Muslim share 1,79,308

Apart from these facts, the following claims made in the Sikh memorandum to the Punjab Boundary Commission, in June, 1947 will give an idea of the extent of Hindu and Sikh interest in the Western Punjab, which these communities -would not lightly give up, unless compelled by overwhelming factors: I

In the Lahore Division as a whole Sikhs paid 46% of the total land-revenue.

1 “Reference may be made to The Punjab Peasant by Sir Malcolm Darling, formerly Financial Commissioner of the Punjab. At page 41 of this book he observes: “We now enter the heart of the Punjab, the tract from the Jhelum in the north to a little beyond the Sutlej in the south. It contains all that is most characteristic of the Province. It is the cradle of the Sikhs and hundred years ago was the mainstay of Ranjit Singh and his power.” At page l22 of the same book the author observes: “The peasant proprietor is the backbone of the colonies as he is of the Punjab. In the Lyallpur colony he holds about 80% of the land and in Shahpur nearly as much. In the latter he was mainly recruited from Northern Districts but in the former almost entirely from the central Punjab. A colony could hardly have had better material, for Ludhiana, Jullundur and Amritsar represent the flower of the Indian Agriculture. They are the home of the Jat Sikh who has been described as ‘the most desirable of colonists.’

“(In the matter of developing Colony Lands) the Jat Sikh has reached a point of development probably beyond anything else of the kind in India. In less than a generation he has made the wilderness blossom like the rose. It is as if the energy of the virgin soil of the Bar had passed into his veins and made him almost a part of the forces of nature which he has conquered. It is clear that the Jat Sikh from the central districts of the Punjab has been very largely responsible for the building up of the colony areas of Lyallpur and Montgomery in the Punjab, which form the granary of a large part of India. It may further be mentioned that the Sikhs in the central Divisions of the Punjab have largest Agricultural interests of all other communities put together.

“The number of peasant proprietors in Lahore District is 1,46,522 and the cultivable area is 15,78,734 acres. The Muslim peasant proprietors number 41,029 holding 3,78,047 acres. The number of Sikh peasant proprietors, on the other hand, is 83,585 and they hold 10,01,438 acres.


2 “The city of Lahore consisted of the old walled town, Anarkali, Civil Lines and scattered houses here and there along the Lower Mall. Lahore began to expand in 1914 and the house building activity in Lahore received great impetus in the years 1929-37. The new Abadies (settlements) which come into existence since 1913 are Ramgali, Gwalmandi, Nisbet Road area, Rishi Nagar, Sant Nagar, Ram Nagar, Krishan Nagar, Janak Nagar, Qila Lachhman Singh, Qasurpura and Mohammad Nagar. Most of these Abadies are situate to the east and west of Lower Mall, skirting round it from almost Ravi Bridge to Nawankot. The other new settlements of importance are New Mozang, Islamia Park, Chauburji Gardens, Arya Nagar, Muslim Town, Garden Town, Model Town, Canal Park, Wasanpura, Dharampura, Misri Shah, Bharat Nagar, Singhpura and Ramgarh. A prominent feature of the new Abadis around old Lahore is that their growth has been on communal lines and that most of these Abadis are predominantly Hindu and Sikh.

“A survey of Lahore carried out by the Punjab Government Board of Economic Inquiry gives the number of dwellings, their average monthly rent, ownership by communities, and distribution by localities. The survey shows that the total value of all dwelling houses owned by non-Muslims within the Corporation limits amounts to 12,27,64,800 rupees, whereas the total value of dwelling houses owned by Muslims amounts to 8.20,99,200. A complete census of the shops and commercial establishments was also taken by the Board of Economic Inquiry. The percentage of shops owned by non-Muslims in the walled city comes to 63. The percentage of outer Lahore comes to 67. The total number of shops in Greater Lahore, is 5,332 of which non-Muslims own 3.501.

Factories in Lahore

3 “The Survey shows that out of a total number of 218 Registered Factories working in Greater Lahore in the year 1943-44 as many as 173 or 80% belong to non-Muslims. The total fixed capital invested in these factories amounted to a sum of Rs. 2 crores 40.27 lakhs. Of this the Muslim investment amounted only to 58.91 lakhs of rupees. Taking the figures of total capital investment, fixed plus circulating, we find that the total capital invested in the Registered factories in Greater Lahore amounted to Rs. 6.29 crores. The non-Muslim share in this total investment was Rs. 5.12 crores.

“Lahore is an important banking and commercial centre and the money market in Lahore is fairly well developed. The Head Offices of as many as 26 Banks belonging to non-Muslim are located in Lahore. The total number of Bank Offices working in Lahore at present, however, is 90. Of the banks and branches at Lahore, only three belong to Muslims.

“There are 80 offices of Insurance Companies in Lahore, 15 of them are Head Offices of such Companies. Of the Insurance Companies and offices only two belong to Muslims.

“Lahore is an important educational centre of the province. The educational development has been very largely due to non-Muslim enterprise. The non-Muslim share in the promotion and development of educational institutions is stupendous. There are at present in Lahore as many as 270 educational institutions, recognised by the Education Department or affiliated to the Punjab University. Of this about 100 institutions are devoted to female education. The number of male students in these institutions is 64,902 and women students 23,447. Of the 12 Arts and Science Colleges at Lahore, giving education to 10,647 students, only one is run by the Muslims and one by the Government. The other 10 are run by non-Muslims. There are 15 professional colleges imparting education to 2,620 students. Of this number excluding three colleges run by the Government, all are run by non-Muslims. Of the 36 High Schools, imparting education to 26,647 students, only four are run by Muslims.

“The total number of hospitals run on the modern allopathic lines in Lahore is 12. In addition there are four hospitals run on the indigenous methods of medicine. Not a single hospital run on modern allopathic, or on the indigenous lines is run by the Muslims.


4 “As stated above 90% of the colonists who came to colonise this tract in the Sheikhupura district and Lyallpur district hailed from Ambala, Ludhiana, Jullundur, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur districts. The towns of Gujranwala, Lyallpur, Gojra, Samundri and Toba Tek Singh are situate in this tract. There is an overwhelming non-Muslim population in these towns and the market is controlled by non-Muslims.

“The Sikhs played a major part in the development of the rural area of this part and the urban area was built up mainly by the enterprise of Hindus. It would be correct to say that almost the entire trade, commerce and industry of the Lyallpur district and the portion of the Sheikhupura sub-district is in the hands of non-Muslims. In Lyallpur District in the year 1945-46 the non-Muslims paid Urban Immovable property Tax in the amount of Rs. 1,40,300 whereas the Muslims paid Rs. 22,900. The amount of Sales Tax paid by the non-Muslims in 1945-46 was Rs. 3,08,000 as compared to Rs. 17,000 paid by the Muslims. The Income Tax paid by the non-Muslims amounted to Rs. 59,50,000 as compared to Rs. 5,00,000 paid by the Muslims. Of the total number of 72 Registered factories in Lyallpur District, 57 factories are run by non-Muslims and only 15 by Muslims.

“The tract mentioned above, comprising parts of Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Lyallpur district is one contiguous tract and is Popularly known as the Shahidi Bar. In the preceding paragraphs an account has been given of the Sikh share in the development of this tract and there is no gainsaying that but for the Sikh enterprise the rural areas in this tract would not have been developed and but for the Hindu-Sikh enterprise the markets in this tract would not have flourished.

“The peasant-proprietors again play a dominant role in the economic life of Shakargarh Sub-District. Out of the total area of this sub-district the non-Muslims own 1,72,111 acres of land as against 96,958 acres owned by the Muslims. Again the non-Muslims pay Rs. 4,45,000 on account of Land revenue in this sub-District as against a sum of Rs. 1,62,379 paid by the Muslims. The total number of villages of Shakargarh Sub-District is 744 and of this number the non-Muslim villages are 408 as against 311 Muslim villages, the remaining 25 villages are mixed.

“The non-Muslims of Shakargarh Sub-District own the major portion of the urban property in the Sub-District and pay a greater portion of the taxes. As against Rs. 5,485 paid as Hasiyat Tax by the non-Muslims the Muslims pay only Rs. 2,943. The Income Tax figures for the sub-district show that no part of this amount is paid by the Muslims. Kartarpur, a place sacred to the memory of Baba Nanak is situated within the limits of Shakargarh sub-district.


“Adjoining the trans-Ravi tract of Gurdaspur District in the preceding paragraphs is the Narowal Tehsil of Sialkot District. The population of Narowal Sub-District is 2,67,598, and out of this population the Muslims are 1,46,982, the rest being non-Muslims. The cultivable area in this sub-district is 2,61,378 acres and annual land revenue assessed thereon amounts to 3,95,768 rupees. This would show that the economic interests of the non-Muslims in this sub-district of Sialkot District outweigh the economic interests of the Muslims. This argument is reinforced by the voting strength of the Muslims and non-Muslims for the District Board elections. The electoral rolls of the Narowal Sub-District for the District Board elections would show that there are 16,031 non-Muslims voters as against 12,895 Muslim voters. The income-tax figures show a greater disparity, the non-Muslims paying annually Rs. 18,523-4-0 as against Rs. 2,716-1-0 paid by the Muslims.