About Sir Chhotu Ram (1881-1945)
- In the early 19th century India witnessed immense agricultural indebtedness.
- With 2.3 million acres under agriculture in 1901-1902, Punjab was primarily an agricultural economy.
- Chhotu Ram is regarded as the champion of peasantry.
- He sought to empower peasantry politically, socially and economically.
- He also served as a distinguished lawyer, a publicist, a legislator and a minister.
- As a member of the Arya Samaj, he also worked as a social reformer.
Political Ideology and Contribution
- Although a Gandhian, he did not see a bright future for the peasantry in Gandhi’s philosophy of non-cooperation and thus resigned as the President of the Rohtak District Congress Committee in 1920.
- Politically, his goal was complete independence of India without being bifurcated.
- He was the principal architect of the Unionist Party formed in 1923 and Zamindara League under it which worked for the cause of peasants in Punjab.
- The Unionist Party dominated the politics of the province from 1923 to 1926.
- He served as a minister of Agriculture in the Punjab from September 1924 to December 1926.
- After the 1937 election, when the Unionist Party came to power in the province, he served in the Departments of Development and Revenue.
Work towards Peasantry
- As a champion of peasantry, he sought to empower peasantry politically, socially and economically.
- His main aim was to root out the anomalies on the basis of equal distribution of taxes between agriculturists and non-agriculturists.
- He also advocated spending of provincial revenue for reconstruction and social welfare activities in the rural areas.
- He is mainly remembered by the peasantry for the Golden Agrarian Acts like Punjab Revenue Act, Restitution of Land Mortgaged Act, Regulation of Accounts Act, Relief of Indebtedness Act, Debtor Protection Act, Registration of Moneylenders Act, Agricultural Produce Market Act etc.
- He was bestowed the title of Rao Sahib in 1916, Rao Bahadur in 1930 and knighted as Sir in 1937.
Section : History & Culture