Trends After Partition
The partition of Punjab left a very deep mark upon the social and economic
life of its villages. The older patterns gave way to new, and the long
preserved purity of village life was disturbed. Millions of uprooted Sikhs
and Hindus came and settled down here and started afresh. At present almost
every fifth Punjabi is a rehabilitated refugee. The exogamous character
of the villages, the inter-community relationships, the old traditions
of social behaviour and the economic inter-dependence have all changed.
The upheaval caused by the partition also changed the
pattern of trade and agriculture of Punjab. Those who migrated from
the Rawalpindi and Jhelum districts were mostly traders, shopkeepers and
business men by profession. Wherever they settled down in East Punjab,
they set up new trade links and re-oriented the shopping and trade centres.
Even in the most remote villages new shops sprang up, giving a great impetus
to the trade and industry of Punjab.
The Sikhs and the Hindus who migrated from Lyallpur,
Montgomery and Sheikhupura were experienced agriculturists. They were
the people who had cultivated the Bar jungles and made them so rich that
the entire region came to be called the granary of Punjab. They
introduced novel ideas and made them practicable in the new settlements.
Co-operative farming and gardening has been tried over one-fourth of the
total cultivated area in the state. Similarly the work of consolidating
fragmented holdings which was progressing very tardily has gathered momentum.
Condition of tenancy have improved and the adoption of new techniques
in farming has given a fillip to production.
Partition brought about changes in occupational patterns
also. Caste hierarchy, for instance, received a big blow. The so
called law caste people who until now had been continuing in their ancestral
professions suddenly decided to discard them and take to new ones. This
brought about a new awakening among them and they began to make a conscious
effort to raise their status.
The Five-Year plans, particularly the community development
projects and the national extension schemes, have brought about far-reaching
changes in the social and economic life of the village farmer by introducing
many novel ideas in his daily life.
The villages of Punjab have been virtually metamorphosed.
Roads have been constructed to link them with urban areas. Opening of
new schools in pursuance of literacy campaigns has helped the demolition
of blind faith and superstition. Introduction of electricity has opened
up new vistas in agriculture and industry, all adding up to greater prosperity.
The status of women is also undergoing a change. The Purdah system is
dying out and a new social awakening is spreading all over.