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Authors: Ibrahim, Muhammad
Keywords: Social sciences
Political sciences
International relations
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Bahauddin Zakariya University,Multan.
Abstract: A closer look at the history of colonial and post-colonial Punjab reveals that in the context of Pakistan, the study of power politics has assumed added significance as it provides an explicit example of manipulation of power through biradaris. It shows a situation in which biradaris are used as a tool of manipulation of political authority with which to compete for control over scarce resources and the remnants of colonial rule. In Pakistan’s political history this area has received scant attention. Power politics, if ever studied, is only dealt with at a macro level by emphasizing the role of military, bureaucratic elites and politicians represented by landlords. It would not be out of place here to look at a biradari in such a way as enables us properly to compare it with a tribe or a caste, etc Biradari (literally meaning ‘brotherhood’) is the most important kinship system in Pakistan. The present study intends to analyse how the Colonial Raj defined and re-defined local identities which subsequently formulated the power configuration in post-colonial societies with particular reference to Lahore. The importance of the biradari as the organizing principle of social life is so well recognized that it is seen as a gate-keeping concept in relation to the social anthropology of the Pakistani Punjab. The Punjab, and particularly Lahore, has gone through a conspicuous demographic transformation in the aftermath of Partition in 1947. Before Partition, Lahore was almost an ideally typical colonial city and during that period the economic base of Lahore, like the rest of the Punjab, was in agriculture. The agricultural interests were the foremost concern of the city’s politics. But at the end of colonial rule, the accumulated results of British policies and administrative departments that were established in Lahore after the annexation of Punjab in 1849 have changed the original rural outlook of Lahore dramatically to an urban view. In addition to this, the painful aspect of Partition for both India and Pakistan was the huge demographic upheaval. This created the single biggest refugee movement in history which produced a huge influx of refugees into Lahore. After 1947, the newly-settled biradaris gave a new focus to the district’s power politics. The researcher believes through analysis and evidence that the biradari system has been one of the major factors influencing every election which has taken place since 1947 and the biradari system is still playing a very important role in the economic and political life of Lahore. The old agricultural colonial Lahore is still growing fast and has developed from a small provincial town into one of the largest cities of the world. The population of Lahore city as the census of 1941 showed was no more than 672,000 inhabitants while the 1991 census placed Lahore’s population at seven million. According to the 2006 census, Lahore's population is expected to top 10 million. In contemporary Punjab the hierarchal structure of the caste system is plainly breaking down to some extent – but in politics, the significance of caste has increased rather than declined. Biradarism in post-partition Lahore (1947-1999) is primarily a colonial product and the post-colonial state continued to use the existing ‘over-developed’ state structure that protected, projected and entrenched the biradaris in this system of power. Therefore this study is based on the hypothesis that the dominant biradaris, like Arains and Kashmiris have played an important role in the power politics of Lahore during the post-partition period. These biradaris were used by the governments mostly as organs of control to protect and project their vested interests. The first chapter deals with the introduction about the concept of biradari system. It also describes the origin of the biradari system and the workings of biradris in the district of Lahore. The researcher has tried to explain biradari as “a system of mutual protection”. It also explains the introduction of the thesis and all relevant research questions are being discussed in detail. The second chapter deals with the imposition of colonial rule and the making of the biradari system in 19th century Punjab. The researcher has elaborated the circumstances leading to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. It also describes the administrative structure of the colonial rule. Land revenue and settlement process is explained in detail. The researcher has also tried to explain the customary laws which were adopted by the colonial rulers in Punjab and more particularly in Lahore. The researcher has also discussed in detail how the British dealt with Jagirdars, the landed gentry during Ranjit Singh era. The method to control was devised rationally introducing certain administrative policies. The British tried to exercise enough control to create more effective linkage between the apparatus of colonial rule and the masses of the ruled. Securing support of the local elites, whose collaboration became vital for the safeguard of the colonial interests, the British had granted considerable autonomy to the villages through the co-option of influential men in the villages and the locality. The co-option procedure was initiated through lumberdars, Zaildars, ala-lumberdars, Honorary Magistrates and Municipal Committeemen. They were all collaborators to make colonial rule more effective and acceptable. The researcher has elaborated the establishment of Zaildari & ala-lumberdari systems. Honorary Magistrates & Municipal Committeemen were also appointed in the Lahore city. All the above mentioned collaborators were appointed from the respective biradaris of the particular area. In this way biradari system was strengthened. The researcher has also discussed the Land Alienation Act 1901 which also strengthened the control of the landed authority for colonial rulers. In the third chapter the researcher has explained the causes of emergence of the public sphere and how the biradaris interact with it. This chapter is divided into two parts. In the first part it has discussed the policies that were implemented by the colonial rulers. The researcher has evaluated in detail how these policies generated public sphere among the people of Lahore. Educational institutions (western-style education), Judicial functions, Presence of Europeans, Canal colonies (Upper Bari Doab), Construction of Railways, Mian Meer Cantonment have been discussed very plainly. Health & sanitation policy and establishment of sanitation committees are also elaborated in detail. Besides this, missionary’s activities are also discussed in detail. In the second part of the chapter it is discussed that what kind of impact was generated by these policies and how the new social classes and the associational behaviour was created. The factors contributing to the development of the political consciousness are elaborated in detail. The development of the press, newspapers etc is also elaborated. The formation of Unionist Party and the elections of 1937 and 1946 are also discussed. The biradari participation in these elections in Lahore is also elaborated. The emergence of Lahore as a modern city and as a social and distinctive milieu, shaped under British rule is discussed. In the forth chapter the challenge of refugee settlement and the biradari response from 1947-1970 is discussed. New boundaries and structures of Lahore district after Partition is evaluated. The rehabilitation and placement of refugees in Lahore along with demographic and social structure is discussed in detail. Settlement of refugees and the impact of migration are also discussed in detail. Emergence of new families and their role in biradari politics after 1947 is evaluated and role of biradaris in power politics of Lahore is examined. The fifth chapter deals with the challenge of industrialization and the biradari response from 1947-1999. Growth of small industry and firm mode industrialization in Lahore is discussed in detail. New opportunities and new social structure is discussed. How the biradaris have benefited in this process is also described in detail. Intellectual growth and social change in Lahore is explained and how the Thara politics trend emerged in Lahore is examined in detail. In chapter six the challenge of massive urban growth and the biradari responses from 1947-1999 is discussed in detail. The causes of urbanization and its impacts and the emergence of kachi abadis (poor houses) are elaborated thoroughly. The role of overseas Pakistanis in biradari politics of Lahore city is discussed. The major biradaris such as Arains, Kashmirs, kakeyzais Kambhoos and many others of Lahore district are also discussed. More particularly their role in power politics of Lahore is also examined in detail. In the final chapter it is concluded that how the biradaris are playing important role in power politics of Lahore. It is concluded how the biradari system has been one of the major factors influencing every election which has taken place since 1947 and the biradari system is still playing a very important role in the economic and political life of Lahore.
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