Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The special interest of a village...
 The essential features of village...
 The "Objective Factors" -- geography...
 The villagers' livelihood...
 The villagers' private lives --...
 Participation in the life of the...
 Roads into the future
 Back Cover

Group Title: village in Pakistan today
Title: Village in an urban orbit
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082043/00001
 Material Information
Title: Village in an urban orbit Shah-di-Khui, a village in Lahore urban area
Series Title: The village in Pakistan today
Physical Description: 35 p. : illus., maps (part fold) ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Haider, Agha Sajjad
Publisher: Social Sciences Research Centre, University of the Panjab
Place of Publication: Lahore
Publication Date: 1960
Subject: Villages -- Case studies -- Pakistan -- Punjab   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082043
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 04390645
lccn - sa 67003353

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
        Introduction 1
        Introduction 2
    The special interest of a village in an urban orbit
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The essential features of village life
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    The "Objective Factors" -- geography and history
        Page 11
        Page 11a
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    The villagers' livelihood -- economics
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 18a
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 21
    The villagers' private lives -- sociology
        Page 22
        Page 22a
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 24a
        Page 24b
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 26a
        Page 26b
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Participation in the life of the larger community political activities--public life
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Roads into the future
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
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Series of Village Monographs published by the
Social Sciences Research Centre
(University of the Panjab)

Village in an Urban Orbit
(Shah-di-Khui, a Village in Lahore Urban Area)

B.Sc. Agr. (Panjab), M.Sc. (Ohio State University),
Research Supervisor in the Social Sciences Research Centre,
University of the Panjab.



Introductory remarks by the Director of the Social Sciences Research Centre ..

CHAPTER I: The Special Interest of a Village in an Urban Orbit ... ... ... 1

CHAPTER II: The Essential Features of Village Life ... ... ... ... 5

CHAPTRR III: The "Objective Factors"-Geography and History ... ... ... 11

CHAPTER IV : The Villagers' Livelihood-Economics ... ... ... ... 16

CHAPTER V: The Villagers' Private Lives-Sociology ... ... ... ... 22

CHAPTER VI: The Villagers' Participation in the Life of the Larger Community-Politics ... 30

CHAPTER VII: Prospects for the Future of the Village ... ... ... ... 33

Note.-The author wishes to state that Chapter I was contributed by the Director of the
Social Sciences Research Centre.


Location map of Shah-di-Khui

The grave of the founder

Jhallar ...

Milk buffalo ...

Water Carrier ...

The big brick house ...

Lay-out map of Shah-di-Khui

A visitor in the Arain Section of the Village

The Mew Section of the Village ...

A mother preparing a meal ...

Women interviewers among the Arains children

Facing Page

I. 1

.. 13

... 16

... 18

... 20

... 23


... 25


... 27

... 31


The Social Sciences Research Centre of the
University of the Panjab was officially inaugurated
in November 1959. This new institution was given
the task, apart from additional assignments, of
continuing the work started in 1956 by the Socio-
Economic Research Project of the University of
the Panjab. First of all, the results of a village
survey in Lahore District, started four years earlier
in the framework of the Socio-Economic Research
Project, were published by the Social Sciences
Research Centre. The four reports on different
aspects of village life in Lahore District are based
on investigations in six villages which had been
chosen by the method of scientific sampling. The
findings confirm the general impressions prevalent
about village life in the Indo-Pakistan sub-conti-

This confirmation of former impressions in
itself is not enough. The reports on the six villages
studied show how dangerous and difficult are
generalizations. There is not one report in which
the authors are not forced to give exceptions to the
rule or to mention special conditions in one or the
other of the villages. Therefore, after a generalizing
and enumerative method has been tried out, the
Social Sciences Research Centre now turns to the
description of actual villages, chosen because they
may throw light on special points of interest. We
take the results of our general village survey for
granted and intend now to publish a series of
monographs which depict a variety of Pakistani
village problems. These, we hope, will make a
contribution to a general understanding of village
problems in the modern world.




Whoever is interested in Pakistan wishes to
have more information on the real life of Pakistan's
villages. Although the majority of Pakistan's citi-
zens live in villages and although a great number
of urban families in Pakistan have come from the
villages only a short while ago, the thirst for
knowledge in this area among Pakistanis is very
great indeed. Socio-economic surveys have become
almost a fashion in this country. The universities
and colleges ask their students to write theses on
one or the other aspect of village life. Government
officials, newspaper people, educators, planners
want to know how the village people live, although
they themselves live in the midst of a country
of villagers or are related to people living in
villages. The desire for descriptions of villages has
been increased by a growing curiosity of Pakistan's
foreign friends regarding her actual living condi-
tions. International agencies and those big
Foundations, mainly domiciled in the United
States and financed by American generosity, that
turn their interest to Pakistan especially or to Asia
as a whole, want to have exact data on Pakistani
villages. Facts are required either to provide the
basis for an estimate of Pakistan's possibilities and
problems or for purposes of international compari-
Well-tested methods of village surveys are
offered to Pakistan in order to enable her to fulfil
the wishes of her own people and her foreign
friends. For many years, at least as far as Europe
was concerned, Sociology concentrated on the
broad aspects of social stratification and of social
conditions that were most obvious among the urban
masses. However, from the middle of the nineteenth
century on, academic sociologists realized the
importance of a realistic appraisal of village condi-
tions. Very often the most valuable contributions
in this field were provided, not by professional
sociologists or economists, but by journalists or
story writers. The borderline between folkloristic

research and Sociology was flexible, and Social
Anthropology contributed much to the knowledge
of Sociology. Anthropologists mainly undertook
village surveys in Africa, Oceania, and Latin
America, as well as among the Arctic peoples of
different countries. In France, Frederic LePlay
covered village life in his famous family surveys.
In Great Britain, the fate of the labourers roused
the interest of social scientists, and later on
agricultural economists made most valuable contri-
butions to the social study of the .British country-
side. In Germany, Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl
described in detail the attitudes of country people
in the face of industrialization. His work was
continued by many sociologists ; Max Weber, for
instance, conducted a large scale enquiry into the
condition of agricultural labour in Eastern
Germany. In the twentieth century the general
surveys and descriptions were narrowed down to
village monographs, and Professor Gunther Ipsen,
now of Muenster University, created a whole
school of rural sociologists. Further east, it was the
Rumanian school of Professor Dimitriu Gusti that
became famous for its village survey work before
the Second World War. In the United States Rural
Sociology has developed into a separate teaching
subject in the universities and colleges. Again, the
scholars engaged in its pursuit not only provided
summaries of the attitudes and conditions among
social strata, but they gave vivid descriptions of
specific villages. In many parts of the United
States, any regular settlement is called a "town".
The method practised in the famous survey of
Middletown could be easily applied to any village,
even if it did not aspire to the status of a town
itself. The method is based on statistical enumera-
tion and evaluation, and the figures are gained
either by objective enumeration or by questionnaires
and tests. Sample survey methods have been applied
both in the selection of representative villages and
in the selection of groups within the villages which
have been described in detail.

Thus, Pakistan is in very good company,
internationally, when she develops a healthy interest
in her own villages. She has certain advantages as
she can avoid mistakes made by other nations.
She can apply the most modern methods of study.'
The survey fashion, however, may have
dangerous consequences. All sorts of people may
call their good-natured attempts 'social surveys'
even if they are only dilettantic essays, Moreover,
it could happen that additional surveys may
produce nothing essentially new. Not all of the
many thousands of Pakistani villages need be
carefully investigated in order to prove that
villagers here are, as anywhere else, conservative.
The danger of statistical sampling when applied to
village surveys is that the few representative types
of villages that are in a minority among the mass
just slip through the net. So people have become
conscious that relevance is as important as
precision. The selection should not be made
only by a pseudo-objective mechanical device,
but by conscious choice of this or that example
that may typify one or another aspect of rural
It is a popular belief that villages situated near
the urban centres are under the economic, cultural
and social influence of the big cities and that,
therefore, they are no longer 'proper villages'.
Agricultural economists and market researchers
have proved the importance of location in respect
to different agricultural industries. Fresh milk, for
instance, becomes unsaleable at a certain distance
from the towns unless additional costs for trans-
portation, refrigeration and the like are incurred.
The nineteenth century developed the theory of
marketing circles, ever widening around the closely
settled and densely populated centres of consump-

tion. The villages in the outermost circle have the
greatest economic difficulties, unless they isolate
themselves in their own subsistence economies.
Parallel to this theory the impression has gained
ground that socially and politically, culturally and
intellectually, the outermost circle is again at the
greatest disadvantage. The theory has to be tested.
If it is true, the villages near the urban centres
should be quite different from the 'genuine'
villages. Their separate characteristics should show
off even more clearly when they are within an
urban administrative area or dominated by a city.
Very often an ancient city has gradually invaded its
surrounding regions, creating suburbs, roads and
airports, industries and market gardens and civic
services such as the disposal of refuse. This pro-
cess of growth has frequently flowed around
long-established villages which now lie like islands
in the midst of an urban neighbourhood. It may
be expected that these villages within the urban
orbit are highly urbanized themselves.

An investigation was carried out in Germany
more than twenty-five years ago in regard to one
aspect of village life in industrialized countries,
namely the trend towards urbanization as far as
population movement is concerned. In European
countries, the rural labour supply has been a
problem ever since urban employment possibilities
have competed with the chances of agricultural or
pastoral occupations. Economists and sociologists,
like poets before them, spoke of 'deserted villages'.
They were haunted by the idea of 'rural depopula-
tion'. They accepted the opinion of rural
employers who called the process of migration to
the towns 'rural flight' or 'rural exodus'. These
words "flight" and "exodus" created psychological
associations with "treason" or "desertion". A

1. See the four reports published by the Social Sciences Research Centre, Panjab University, Lahore (1959.60):
(1) Dr. B. A. Azhar; Origin & Development of the Soclo-Economic Research Project.
(2) Dr. W. L. Slocum, Jamila Akhtar and Abrar Fatima Sahi: Village Life in Lahore District (A Study of
Selected Sociological Aspects).
(3) Village Life in Lahore District (A Study of Selected Political Aspects).
(4) Dr. S. M. Akhtar and A. R. Arshad, Village Life in Lahore District (A Study of Selected Economic
See also Zekiya Eglar's A Punjabi Village in Pakistan, Columbia University Press, New York 1960.

moral blame was attached to people who left the
villages in order to improve their chances in the
towns. Their economic motives were questioned
and it was demonstrated that they only exchanged
rural slums for urban slums. They were accused of
an insatiate appetite for pleasure and were warned
against the attractions of the "city lights". How-
ever, a survey in the neighbourhood of the city of
Leipzig' proved conclusively that the same labour
problem existed within the reach of cinemas and
buses, modern restaurants and brightly-lit streets.
The surveys disproved all the pre-conceived

Other assertions have been made about
villages within the orbit of a city. In every case,
these assertions ought to be checked and not taken
for granted. Sometimes they are even based on a
quick assessment of village conditions by visiting
sociologists who do not take the trouble to look
into details. The very same village within the orbit
of the City of Lahore which is described on the
following pages has suffered from this type of hasty
assessment. The visiting sociologists have stated in
writing: "There are evidences of urbanisation."
"Since there are towns on three sides, the village is
not truly rural." "The villagers do not represent
Pakistan agricultural villagers. Real Pakistan
villagers would have welcomed a party like us and
not shown such narrowmindedness in the begin-
ning. The typical villager owns some land of his
own out of which he manages his affairs. When the
visitors went to the village, the villagers at first did
not heed them, this in spite of the traditional
hospitality of the farmers of the former Punjab."
"Signs of urbanization : presence of a pakka house,
not entertaining us as guests, putting the bigger
oranges on top of the little ones."2

There is a strange contradiction between these
statements and other remarks to be found later in
the same report: "We failed to arouse their
cooperation." "They take us as 'city people',

careless and officer-minded." "They thought we
were frivolous and irresponsible though rich and
powerful. Most of the conversation seemed to be
on the lighter side. The students laughed a lot.
The village elders perceived us as youngsters, and
since it is the norm for elders not to converse
freely with youngsters, they did not want to do it."
"The villagers showed no respect for an educated
group, were indifferent to high-class people."

Whoever reads this informal report will suspect
that the visiting students went to the village with
the pre-conceived idea that they would find it
"urbanized" for the mere reason that the village
lies fairly close to the city centre of Lahore and is
administered as part of the Lahore Urban Area.
The findings in Germany on the problem of rural
labour may well be substantiated as a result of
surveys in Pakistan on other aspects of village life.
The following investigation poses the question as
to whether a village still shares the characteristic
features of the countryside which are prevalent in
areas far away from cities or whether the physical
adjacence of the city essentially changes the social
structure and the social outlook.

This question is not only relevant for a correct
assessment of village problems all over the world,
but it is beginning to be of particular interest to
Pakistan. The Pakistan Government authorities
are beginning to show concern about the rural
exodus. While they admit that the villages are
over-populated and the villagers under-employed,
they see the urban difficulties mounting. They want
to relieve the population pressure in the poorer
quarters of the cities, and at the same time raise
the level of the villages. Although the government
realizes that there will always be a movement of
surplus labour from village families to urban
industrial establishments, they would like to control
that section of the general migration movement
that can be explained as a mere expression of a
restless will for personal improvement. Reports

1. K. H. Pfeffer: Stadtnahe Abwanderung vom
Raumforschung und Raumordnung, III 1, S. 18-28, 1939.

2. Literal quotations from a MS to which the author had access.

Lande, am Beispiel der Amtshauptmannschaft Leipzig, in


from the West tell of the emotional, intellectual or
spiritual dangers of sudden urbanization. The
authorities are also concerned about the supply of
labour on the land, especially of able-bodied men
fit to receive special training in advanced skills for
the advancement of agriculture.'

If the government's concern is based on fact,
then the villages furthest from urban centres would
show the most obvious signs of the restlessness and
discontent which drives people to seek a better life
in towns even when they know that they may be
disappointed. If, however, a village within an urban
orbit is fundamentally of the same kind as a village
out in the country among other villages, then the
problem is not one of an irresponsible or wanton
desire for personal improvement, but a problem
created by economic and social factors.
The word "urbanization" has often been used
in a derogatory sense. Townspeople are prone to
talk of urbanization in this way. It is a type of
romanticism not really valid in the light of socio-
logical,experience. The countries of Asia are, on
the whole, free of this peculiar mental affliction.
They can stay free of it if they realize in time what
the facts are. So the small example of Shah-di-
Khui, a village within the urban area of Lahore,
may serve to demonstrate how wrong a non-factual

and romantic approach to social problems can be.

In Shah-di-Khui, as in other Pakistan villages,
there is a conflict between the forces of tradition
and the forces of modern advancement. These
forces are not mutually irreconcilable, but neverthe-
less tensions arise when villagers face a world
totally different from their traditional way of life
based as it is on a subsistence economy. The
problems of transition are the same all over the
rural areas of Pakistan. Forces of change are at
work in the distant mountains and plains, and yet
forces of tradition are to be found in the heart of
the city.

The Social Sciences Research Centre hopes
that the investigation of Shah-di-Khui may serve to
throw some light on these problems. Its investiga-
tors chose Shah-di-Khui because the village is
situated in an area earmarked for the future
University campus. The University wanted to know
"who lives there." Once the centre's research
workers had a look at the village they thought it
was worth their while to make a detailed study,
because this small place seemed to bring into focus
many other problems. These problems are common
not only to Pakistan and other Asian countries,
but also to the.rest of the world, which is facing a
process of social change.

1. See the announcement for a survey of agricultural labour in Pakistan, published in the Pakistan Times, Lahore,
28 July, 1960.



Investigations and observations in the village
of Shah-di-Khui were carried out during the first
half of 1960. One possible way of presenting the
results would be to follow the investigator's own
procedure of sifting the detailed evidence and
gradually piecing together the picture of the village.
This way, certainly, is scientifically correct. But as
it is not always easy for the reader to follow all the
doubts and hesitations, the checks and cross-checks
of the investigator, we prefer here to present our
results in a different manner. We shall put the
thesis which was the end product of our investiga-
tion at the beginning of our description. We shall
precede the details of the survey with a summary,
as it were.

We found in Shah-di-Khui that this village,
although situated in an urban orbit, showed the
essential features of village life which might be
expected in villages far away from any urban
centre. What are these essential features?

We did not start our investigations with pre-
conceived ideas as to what a "real" village should
look like. We did not superimpose an image of
village life on Shah-di-Khui. We had no standard
measures for the essential features of village life by
which we measured Shah-di-Khui's reality.

Whenever our findings coincide with prevail-
ing ideas on villages in Pakistan or on village life
in general, this coincidence only proves that some
of the generally accepted ideas have been tested in
the face of an actual example.

First we found that the villagers prefer to stay
in their village as long as they have land to till or
some other possibility of gaining their means of
livelihood. They do not leave the village under the
influence of city temptations and lures. They cling
as closely to the land as they can. They have been
farmers or farm workers for generations and do not
voluntarily take up any occupation outside farming.

Many conversations with old farmers were taken
down literally. Their meaning may be paraphrased
in English as follows: "We are not educated to do
Babu's (clerk) work, and we have not heard of any
thing else but farming in our whole life. We are too
old to carry out full time labour for wages in the
city. Now it is time to see to our comfort, and only
a farm can give us that." The younger farmers hated
the idea of having to try any other occupation
just as much as their elders. They said; "Do you
expect us to leave the profession of our forefathers,
work in dirty factories and go hungry? We have
never yet gone to a ration depot to purchase flour
for our bread, and we do not wish to do so in the
future." None of the farmers in Shah-di-Khui has
ever taken a job in the drug factory (Fazal Din)
which is situated quite near, just across the canal.
It would lower a man's social status if he were to
accept employment for wages outside agriculture
unless he was absolutely driven to it. (As an
example of absolute economic necessity, the
employment which the refugees have taken up in
the brick kilns might be quoted, unless brick-
making is considered as a special category of

The refugee group of the village population
did not react differently from the local farmers in
any fundamental sense. True, they work in nearby
brick kilns, but they are only waiting for an oppor-
tunity to go back to farming. The refugees have
gradually managed to acquire dairy cattle and
derive an essential part of their income from the
sale of milk. As owners of cattle, they have almost
acquired the status of farmers again. They are
vitally interested in the lay-out of the fields and the
status of the crops, because they have to find
fodder for their cattle. The uprooting from
their native surroundings did not drive them into
the city. They did not take this chance of cutting
loose from their farming history. On the contrary,
they are looking forward to the day when they can

again grow their own food and be independent

It is certainly not true that the farmers near
the city take advantage of all the city opportunities.
They crowd on to the land and gladly take up any
rural employment before they accept a job outside
the village. This leads to the hypothesis that only
population pressure causes a rural exodus.

The first consideration of the villagers is to
provide enough for their families' subsistence.
Only in a minor way do they form part of the
larger cash economy. It is always possible for
them to withdraw entirely from the cash economy
and live an isolated life dependent only on what
they grow or produce in the village itself. The main
link with the outside economy, as far as Shah-di-
Khui is concerned, is the sale of milk. Of course,
the proximity of the large consumer market in
Lahore offers a special chance for gaining cash by
way of this activity. Farmers are prepared to
go without milk as food in order to be able to
buy some consumer goods. If there were no
ready market for milk, some other produce might
be sold for the same purpose. The neighbour-
hood of the city, therefore, only determines which
produce is exchanged for consumer goods
("exchanged" meaning sold for cash which is then
immediately spent on purchases). In villages which
do not have good road connections with cities milk,
as much of it as can be spared, is usually melted
down to clarified butter or ghee and then sold.
Lahore is not dependent for its milk supply on
villages in the immediate neighbourhood, but gets
its milk from as far as sixty miles away. One
example may be quoted to show that farmers
quickly divert their sales from one produce to
another as the opportunity occurs and that the
immediate neighbourhood of the city is not an
essential condition for the farmers' effort to get
cash. Buttermilk is usually consumed by the farm-
ing families themselves, any surplus being given
free of cost to those families who do not own

milch cattle or whose cattle have gone dry. When-
ever labour camps are erected in the neighbourhood
of a village for workers connected with some
construction work (like drainage channels or
electricity lines) buttermilk is sold to them. This
sale stops when the camps move on, and then the
villagers again consume their own buttermilk. Thus,
the sale of buttermilk is not a sign of urbanization,
and the sale of whole milk is not either. To
strengthen our argument we quote :

"Generally speaking the desire to accumulate
wealth is not the characteristic of our rural society.
Until communications have developed and organiz-
ed trading and commercial communities have
arisen, the cultivating classes have no incentive,
beyond that which may be furnished by a local
demand, to produce food grains and other agri-
cultural products in excess of their own needs, and
where everyone in the same neighbourhood is
growing the same crop, the incentive provided by
a local demand is small. In such conditions, they
are apt to rest content with the production of suffi-
cient to eat and drink and the wherewithal to clothe

The villagers sell their own produce to out-
siders. If some circumstance were to stop these
sales, the products could be consumed within the
village. The villagers could also live without buying
goods from the city. By selling some produce they
can afford to buy incidentals. But the interchange
of goods with the city is not essential.

When the possibility of earning additional
money through work in the city is discussed, the
villagers immediately point out that higher expenses
are involved with work for wages. Some elder
people said : "Our children are used to drinking
milk and buttermilk here. In the city it would be
beyond our means to maintain a buffalo. Without
milk, our children would grow weak." (This argu-
ment does not take account of the possibility that
one could earn money in the city and at the same

1. Ali Asghar Khan, A Text Book of Pakistan Agricultural Economics, Lahore, year of publication not indicated
(1958), p. 418.

time live in the village and keep buffaloes there).
In particular, the farmers compare housing condi-
tions in the city with their own accommodation.
They pay no separate rent for their house. They
even value the open air.

Brick-making should be considered as a special
category of "industry" all over the world. Within
an agricultural community it is regarded as one of
the normal activities. Bricks are used to build houses
in villages, and their raw material comes from the
land. Very often seasonal farm work and brick-
making complement each other. In Pakistan's
rural communities there is a special group (caste)
called musalli who have always been farm
labourers and brick-makers at the same time, brick-
making being one of the essential activities in the
rural subsistence economy. (Men and women of
the musalli caste traditionally only make bricks
when they are either offered a contract by a kiln or
by an individual householder who wants to build a
house, a barn or an extension of his residence).
The refugees in Shah-di-Khui have adjusted them-
selves to this pattern and seldom leave the village
to work for wages.

The villagers are independent of outside
authorities for their water supply. They obtain a
small amount of firewood from the trees in the
village area. They make fuel out of cow dung.
They have the necessary skills to do all jobs, if
not in the village itself, then in a neighboring
village. They are, in fact, self-sufficient.

It is an open question whether the tradition-
alism of the villagers is the cause or the effect of
their economic condition, which is characterized by
limited resources of land or of employment possi-
bilities and by the overall importance of a mere
subsistence economy. In any case, the traditionalism
of this village has been little influenced by the big
town which surrounds the village. As long as the
Shah-di-Khui farmers paid their rent in kind or
cash, nobody interfered with them. There has been
no outside pressure to force them out of their
traditional habits. Socially and politically, too,
they have been free to choose, and they have
chosen the uninterrupted continuity of their

customary mode of life. Up to 1947, a Sikh
family owned the village. They held themselves
aloof from village affairs and made no attempt
to modernize the farming economy of their
tenants. As there was no pressure from any
political, social, or economic authority, the
villagers preferred to stay at home in the village of
their forefathers. For generations the village
families have only known Shah-di-Khui. There is
no school in the village and no social contact with
the enlightened families of the neighboring rural
areas. There is no incentive to leave the village in
later life ; the opportunities of earning money in
the city are limited, and the farmers see no point in*
providing their children with a formal education.
Today, the farmers of Shah-di-Khui still believe a
school education is unnecessary for those who
work on the land. The young men who are
illiterate, they argue, seem to be more content than
the few who have gone to school. If their fathers
were good agriculturists without formal education,
why should they bother to send their sons to
school? Those who do go to school are disappoint-
ed in their hopes for a better job, they only
become labourers or farm-hands again, and they
can do that just as well without schooling. These
findings have to be qualified in that some farmers
would like to send their children to school if there
were one in the village itself. But there has
certainly been no concerted effort on the part of
the villagers to set up such a school.

The villagers of Shah-di-Khui seem to accept
their rizq and their qismat without questioning.
The concept of rizq is that the Almighty God
provides every human being with food and shelter.
The provision may be very unequal, but there is at
least some provision for everyone till the day of
death. The concept of qismat is that the Almighty
sends good or bad luck, blessings or misfortunes,
happiness or unhappiness in marriage, sickness or
health, wealth or poverty, and whatever else may
happen in a human being's life, as He sees fit. If an
illness cannot be cured either by traditional reme-
dies or Western medicine, the situation has to be
accepted. It is just qismat which one cannot escape
and should, therefore, accept. If the Lahore urban

authorities, which officially are responsible for the
opening of schools, do not give a school to Shah-
di-Khui, the villagers just accept this lack of
In conversation, the Shah-di-Khui villagers often
refer to these concepts. When their attention is
drawn to the progress that other villages have
made in recent years, for instance Shalamar or
Baghbanpura or Dholanwal, they reply that the
people in these villages have a qismat and a rizq of
their own. One must not question the will of God
who may give much to some and little to others.
There is no feeling of frustration in Shah-di-Khui.
The people seem to accept whatever comes to them.
This is also their attitude to the possibility that the
University as the new landlord may evict the
farmers from their traditional home.

The politicians of the neigbouring Lahore
suburb of Ichhra have done their best to strengthen
the villagers' tendency for passive acceptance of
whatever comes. The tendency, however, is there
even without this outside influence. Similar
tendencies can be seen in any district of the
Punjab. The danger of recurring floods or of
water-logging is faced with equanimity.
This attitude which may be described as
fatalism, might, of course, be considered from quite
a different angle. People have the courage to hang
on in a difficult situation until they are physically
overwhelmed. In Shah-di-Khui, for instance, they
make new investments like having brick houses
built, although evacuation by the University is
threatening. They will not believe that the threat
comes true until this actually happens. We again
quote :
"His (the peasant's) whole life is a ceaseless
struggle to extort a bare livelihood from an in-
sufficient holding. But his patient courage and his
power of resistance to calamity, whether it be a
famine, or the economic depression .... are noth-
ing less than marvellous. I have known him to be
down, but never to be out.'"

Only very few people from Shah-di-Khui have
left the village for other farming areas. They have
remained in their traditional homes and accepted
sub-division and fragmentation of their holdings as
they were handed down from 'generation to gene-

The traditionalism of the villagers in [Shah-di-
Khui confirms the general impression that has been
frequently noted about village life. It is difficult to
decide whether the traditionalism should be attri-
buted to specific characteristics of the inhabitants
of certain villages or whether it is really an essential
trait of village psychology. The only social cleavage
in the village, which in itself has not led to strife,
is the cleavage between the landlord and the
tenants. The Sikh family formerly resident in the
big brick house had little to do with the villagers'
social life. Provided they received their rent, they
were not interested in the village. After the land-
lord left in 1947, two refugee families, also
landlords, were provisionally allotted the big house.
Again, they live in almost total separation from the
village, which only happens to be their place of
residence and is not the essential environment for
whatever they do or are.

Apart from the landlord-tenant relationship
there is hardly any economic class division. There
is little room for inter-family competition, and
there is no class consciousness. The villagers all
live more or less on the same level. The economic
differences between the different households are not
big enough to be the basis for the formation of
different classes. On the contrary, there is a certain
feeling of security and comfort in the very fact that
each individual family lives among neighbours of
the same kind. This feeling even includes the non-
farmers of the village. The labourers and the
artisans know that their personal destinies are tied
to the destinies of the farming families. The
refugees who settled in Shah-di-Khui have done
their best since their arrival to acquire cattle and
attain the general economic level of the rest of the

1. Sir Edward Blunt: The Indian Civil Service, London 1937, p. 235.

villagers. They now have a close economic link
with the local farmers and they share their ideas
and outlook.

Each villager's life is bound by the fortunes of
his family and his extended family and the demands
it makes on him. Those who are a little better off
obey the calls of their families in the same manner
as the poorest villagers. The poor people find
support as well as additional obligations in the
circle of their relatives.

Anyone who knows the conditions of rural life
in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent will not be
surprised to learn that caste is the only way by
which people may be socially classified. Caste in
Pakistan does not have the religious sanction which
it has acquired in Hindu society. There is no
attempt at excluding personal contact between the
castes. There is no true economic discrimina-
tion against any one caste. However, caste among
the Muslims of the sub-continent is important in
two respects. Those families who attach import-
ance to the maintenance of tradition try to choose
marriage partners for their sons and daughters
from the same caste or at least from castes con-
sidered equal in status In addition, caste brethren
are expected to help each other in every material
respect, to promote each other's interests, to
support each other in case of need, to recommend
each other for positions and to cooperate in
economic matters.

The village of Shah-di-Khui, apart from the
landlord, used to be a village of Arains. The few
Christian families, who settled among them when
they came in search of work, did so without inter-
mingling with them socially. The refugees who
moved into Shah-di-Khui in 1947 were Mews from
the East Punjab and so belonged to another caste.
The very lay-out of the village reflects this over-
riding social differentiation of caste. The successors
of the Sikh landlord, two high caste families Syed
and Qureshi, live in the brick house. The Arains
have their own quarter to the north of the brick

house ; their houses and lanes are fairly well built.
The Christians live at the western end of the
village in poor houses. The Mews had to build new
houses for themselves, and their part of the village,
to the south of the brick house, is far from as well
laid-out and constructed as the Arain section.
There is no inter-marriage and little social or
economic contact between the castes. The villagers
are closer to the caste brethren outside the village
than to their fellow villagers of a different caste.
Caste, in fact, is an important feature of life in
Shah-di-Khui as it is throughout the sub-continent.
Caste forms part of the overall traditions and the
very strength of caste feeling helps to strengthen

This is not the place to describe the, charac-
teristics of the castes represented in Shah-di-Khui.
It should be sufficient to recall the more general
statements made about the farming castes in the
Punjab. Sir Malcolm Darling, who was able to
observe Punjab villages for a very long time,
characterizes the two main castes which can be
found in Shah-di-Khui in the following way (he
refers to them as "tribes") :

"For sheer ant-like industry there is no one in
the Punjab to touch the Arain. Though often a
farmer, he is by tradition and instinct a market-
gardener. 'For cattle,' says the proverb, 'give me
the cow, and for cultivator give me the Arain'.*
Though a Muhammadan, there is no labour so
hard or so dull that he will not do it, and it is said
that as long as there is work to be done he is there,
but when there is none he disappears. A slave to
his well, and too humble in origin to trouble him-
self like the Jat about the social disabilities of
market-gardening, he pushes the cultivation of
tobacco and vegetables almost beyond its economic
limit. He produces more to the acre than any
other tribe, but at a cost that most would consider
prohibitive. To this life of unceasing toil he is
driven by his prolific nature. Content with a low
standard of living, he multiplies faster than any
other important tribe, and his land is consequently

*Mal gain, rayat Arain.

split up into the minutest holdings.* To feed and
clothe his family, and if possible acquire more land
for his many sons is his only ambition, and it
requires a degree of frugality that is almost
injurious. He turns his milk into butter for sale,
and his-children have to be content with the butter-
milk that remains. Taking neither the one nor the
other himself, he even passes his wheat through a
sieve in order that the larger grains may be sold.
The result is a physique much less sturdy than that
of the Jat and a mind as narrow as the plots he
cultivates. More accustomed, too, to serve than to
rule he is peculiarly susceptible to the influence of
his social superiors. Even when in debt he' still
labours unceasingly, and all over the Punjab where-
ever he is found he is a shining example of the way
the Punjab peasant can work".'

"The Meos are as careless and thriftless a set
of cultivators as can be found in the province. The
Meos, without the excuse of a barren soil, live so
closely to their income, are so negligent in develop-
ing the resources of their land, and indulge in such
unwarranted expenditure, that the failure of one
harvest plunges them inevitably into debt. "How
to characterize them as cultivators, I hardly know",
exclaims a former deputy commissioner of
Gurgaon; and even now, though cooperation is
planted amongst them, almost every Meo is still in

the hands of the money-lender. Allied in race to
the aboriginal Meenas of Rajputana, they have not
inherited the qualities developed by the Ahir in his
long patient struggle with the sand of Rewari, The
restless life of the camp and the jungle has always
appealed to them more than the settled life of the
farm and the village; and in the days of the
Moghul the constant feuds ol their different clans
and the proximity of Delhi, with its crowd of
adventurers and demand for soldiers, did nothing
to mitigate their lawless instincts. Forgetting, too,
their humble origin, they modelled themselves
upon the Rajput instead of the Jat. The Jat could
at least have taught them to cultivate, but the
Rajput, with his extravagant ways and contempt
for the plough, merely confirmed them in inherited
habit. Such blessings, therefore, as nature has
given them, instead of being an advantage, have
only served to make them attractive to the money-
lender, who now has the whole tribe in fee".2

If these are the essential features of Shah-di-
Khui, there does not seem to be much difference
between this village in an urban orbit and villages
far removed from any urban settlement. Before a
definite opinion on the central question of the
present village survey is given, however, the pattern
of village life must be described in detail,

*In fifty years 1881-1931; the Arain has increased by 70%,. for the Rajput and the Jatj the corresponding per-
Sentages are 51 and 49.5 (figures kindly supplied by the Census Superintendent, Punjab).
1. Sir Malcolm Darling: The Punjab Peasant in Prosperity and Debt, Oxford University Press, 4th Ed., London
1946, p::44.
2. Ibid, p. 90.



The village of the Shah-di-Khui is situated
about eight miles to the south of the centre of the
Lahore Urban Area. Its geography is that of the
rural Punjab which can hardly be described better
than in the words of Sir Malcolm Darling:

"We now enter the heart of the Punjab, the
tract running from the Jhelum in the north to a
little beyond the Sutlej in the south. Embracing
seven districts with a population of six millions, it
contains all that is most characteristic of the
province. It is the cradle of the Sikh, and one
hundred years ago was the mainstay of Ranjit
Singh and his power. The country is as flat as the
plain of Lombardy, but far less attractive. Along
the eastern fringe, on a clear day, the Himalayas
can still be seen with their snowy summits towering
over the endless plain, but elsewhere there is
nothing to break the monotony of the empty
horizon. There are numbers of compact little
villages, but with their mud-walled, flat-roofed
houses they are hardly more conspicuous than a
child's sand-castles -along the seashore, except
where the red brick house of a money-lender or the
minarets'of a mosque rise above the trees. Trees
there are in plenty, sometimes clustering round a
village or in long lines shading dusty road and cool
canal, but for the most part they are isolated,
dishevelled and scattered, and rarely grow sociably
,together in wood and grove. We. miss the ameni-
ties of the country, at the foot of the hills, the
gentle rise and fall of the earth, the dark, myste-
rious recesses of the mango grove, and the sparkle
of the occasional burn. For this the meagre rainfall
is mainly responsible, as it is nowhere' more than
thirty inches ard drops to only eleven or twelve in
the west. For a people clad almost entirely in
cotton the cold in winter is great and in summer
the heat is the heat of the Punjab, which once

experienced is never forgotten. There is, therefore,
little to tempt a vigorous people to leisure and
ease, and for generations salvation as well as sub-
sistence has been instinctively sought in toil. The
result is the sturdiest peasantry in India.. In these
villages men of six feet are nothing accounted of.
The dry climate, combined with the extremes of
heat and cold, has bred a race that for appearance
at least may challenge comparison with any in the

Lahore is about seven hundred feet above sea
level. During a special topographical survey con-
ducted by the Geography Department of the
University of the Panjab, a decline of about twelve
feet from a point immediately, north of Shah-di-
Khui to another point about one mile south of the
village was discovered. This decline does not make
a great difference to the Geography of the Shah-di-
Khui neighbourhood, but does have an important
bearing on the water supply, the major problem of
the Punjab.

The village is bordered in the south-east by
the Upper Bari Doab Canalwhich runs .rough this
part of Lahore from the north-east to the south-
west. The canal, which is unlined, has a uniform
width of thirty feet, and a depth of four feet. The
water flows smoothly between the canal banks
which are approximately two .feet higher than the
general level of the land; they look like raised
gravel platforms. On either side of the *anal there
is a strip of land about 125 feet wide which has
been planted with shisham and acacia trees. This
plantation adds strength to the canal banks and
also increases the natural beauty of the site. a

There are occasional overflows or seepages
from the canal, but this water is usually absorbed

1 Darling, loc-ct., p. 40.
. 1. Darling, loc..cit., p. 40.


Metalled Road
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Railway Lines

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in the wooded land on either side. Half a mile to
the north of the village there are some pits and
depressions, about five to six feet deep. They lie in
a stretch of land that has been left uncultivated for
a long period. The pits are said to have been made
by people from outside Shah-di-Khui who used the
clay for their brick kilns. As the drainage follows
the natural incline of the land, rain water from
the north gathers in these pits and depressions.
For the major part of the year it remains standing
there. It cannot run into the canal, as the canal
banks are raised above the surrounding area. At
the north-western and south-western ends of the
village site itself, there are two small ponds with
standing water. On the eastern side of the village
there used to be a tank, but as it has never been
maintained, it is now used for rice planting. Inside
the village there are two wells.

Sub-soil water occurs around Shah-di-Khui at
a depth of fourteen and sixteen feet. It lies on the
top of fine sand strata and nowhere reaches the
clay zone, nor does it rise anywhere to the level of
the crop roots. The farmers, therefore, need not
fear any damage to their crops from this source.
Hardly any part of the land under the economic
control of Shah-di-Khui residents suffers from

As in the rest of Lahore, the summer heat in
Shah-di-Khui may rise to 1200F ; in January tem-
perature may fall below the freezing point.
Hail-storms or dust-storms may also be experienced.
The average annual rainfall is hardly twenty inches;
the monsoon rains, between July and the middle of
September, are often irregular.

Theadministrative area of the village covers
roughly 600 acres. Only 304 acres out of this total,
however, are cultivated by Shah-di-Khui residents,
the remaining acreage is used by the people of
neighboring settlements.

All the neighboring villages also form part of
Lahore Urban Area. To the north there is
Bhikaywal, connected with Shah-di-Khui by a dirt
(kachcha) road. This village, though smaller than
Shah-di-Khui, gives the name to the village area

under which Shah-di-Khui, Nawan Shah-di-Khui
and Bhikaywal itself are treated as one unit in the
records. From the road to Bhikaywal another road
branches off (also kachcha) to Wahdat Colony, a
newly erected urban housing estate, where the
villagers can catch a bus for the urban parts of
Lahore, if they wish. On the other side (the
southern side) of the canal there is Nawan Shah-di-
Khui, a small settlement which, in spite of its
name, has nothing to do with life in Shah-
di-Khui. -About three miles south-east of
Shah-di-Khui, again on the southern side of the
canal, there is Model Town, a dormitory suburb
of Lahore, originally built on a cooperative basis
mainly by Hindus and Sikhs. There, too, the
villagers may catch a bus into Lahore. The bus
routes from Model Town or from Wahdat Colony
follow the Ferozepur Road (the. highway leading
from Qasur into Lahore) into the heart of the
town. This main traffic artery passes Ichhra, an
old quarter of Lahore which has a certain historical
connection with Shah-di-Khui in so far as the
Shah-di-Khui villagers were influenced by the
political ambitions of this genuine suburb (see
Chapter VI).

Thus, there are two important factors of man-
made geography which might influence Shah-di-
Khui : the fairly close proximity of a major road
leading into the centre of Lahore, and the
presence of the big canal. There is little contact
with the settlements further west, Hanjarwal or
Niaz Beg, in which direction there is a dirt road,
The Multan road running into Lahore from the
south-west, which is even ,nearer to Shah-di-Khui
than the Ferozepur Road to the east, is seldom
used as an approach to the city. There is also a
bridge over the canal immediately south of the
the village.

A high voltage electricity grid passes through
the Shah-di-Khui area. It was constructed to serve
the tube-wells which were meant to provide water
for irrigation purposes. The departure of the
landlord and the provisional allocation of tenure
rights in 1947, however, created a'feeling of
insecurity about the future, add little progress has
been made with this scheme. Only the big brick

The grave of the founder

house in Shah-di-Khui receives electric current for
domestic purposes from the grid. The only tube-
well left, which was meant to water the landlord's
orchard, has gone out of action.

As Shah-di-Khui does not form a separate
entity of governmental administration, there are no
separate records for this small village in the
Government Record Office, and little or no docu-
mentary evidence of the past is to be found. The
facts of Shah-di-Khui's history have to be collected
from villagers, from officials, or from other persons
who, at one time or another, had dealings with the
village. Local tradition, therefore, is the main
source for an understanding of the history of Shah-
di-Khui. Although there may be discrepancies in
the oral tradition as far as dates are concerned or
the exact sequence of cause and effect, one can
largely rely on it as a record of actual events.

Tradition has it that the famous mystic
Hazrat Shah Abual-Muali reached Shah-di-Khui
in the year A.H. 1000 (A.D. 1622), during the reign
of the Mbghul Emperor Akbar. He had set out
for Lahore from a place called Shergarh, walking
backwards so that he would always be facing in
the direction of the place where his revered teacher,
a holy man,1 lived. He stopped at Shah-di-Khui
a few days and, before continuing on his way,
instructed his grandson, Mohalan Shah, to con-
struct a well and arrange for the cultivation of the
land so that the passers-by might have some
comfort. As a well of potable water was a rare
blessing in those days, families settled near it and
became the followers of Hazrat Shah Abual-Muali.
The well is situated near the grave of the founder,
Mohalan Shah, in the orchard on the eastern side
of the village. The name of Shah-di-Khui is
traced back to this tradition, as it means "Well of
the Shah".

Under the rule of the Sikhs at the beginning
of the nineteenth century, the land of the village
was presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to a Sikh
Chief, Sardar Dhana Singh, as a reward for out-
standing military services. The new landlord
renamed Shah-di-Khui after himself and called it
"Dhanasinghwala". This name, however, never
became popular, for the inhabitants of the village
it remained Shah-di-Khui. After Partition the old
name has been recognized officially again.

Dhana Singh's grandson, Sardar Fateh Singh,
retired from his office as a Minister of Patiala
State to his estate at Shah-di-Khui. He rebuilt the
landlord's personal residence, installed a tube-well
to improve the irrigation of the orchard and linked
his big brick house with the electricity grid. As an
honorary magistrate he played a considerable role
in the political and social activities of Lahore. The
villagers liked him, as he was very friendly and
undemanding. He did nothing to upset the existing
pattern of tenure. He never interfered with the
alliance of his tenants with their caste brethren of
Ichhra,2 in one of whose families the office of
Zaildar3 was, in fact, almost hereditary. This ex-
plains why he remained isolated from the village's
life and never took any interest in the social welfare
of his tenants. He remained passive, although he
professed humanitarian principles and pitied the
villagers for their poverty and lack of hygiene. He
blamed the villagers themselves for these short-
comings. He is still praised for not having tried
to exert undue economic pressure, for he only
asked for the traditional share of the farm produce,
-a moderation not very common among the land-
lords of his days.

The villagers gave their votes, whenever votes
were asked for, to the Ichhra Zaildars and elected
one of them as their representative on the District

1. Hazrat (the Revered) Shah Abual-Muali's mausoleum was built in Lahore City. His spiritual fame is still
great, and many of his followers pay homage on his death anniversary (the local name for this ceremony is Urs).
2. As Sardar Fateh Singh was a non-Muslim and also had no Sikh Baradari (caste brethren) of his own in the
neighbourhood, he was not able to claim social supremacy or political leadership.
3. Under the British a Police Station area, in the former Punjab, used to have geographical sub-divisions known
as 'Zail'. In order to secure the cooperation of leading landlords in running the rural administration, the Government
appointed them as semi-official heads of their respective Zails and therefore they were known as Zaildar.

Board or the Corporation of Lahore. Even with-
out formally voting for them, the villagers still
follow the advice of the Zaildar's family (see
Chapter VI).

Next to the founding of the village and the
establishment of a landlord with the villagers as his
tenants, the third important historical event for the
life of the village was the building of the canal.
In the seventeenth century the Hasli Canal was
constructed to carry water to the Shalamar
Gardens, later it even supplied water to the Golden
Temple at Amritsar. Any landlord who became the
private proprietor of a stretch of land during the
Sikh Period did his best to settle industrious
tenants because it was now possible to use water
from the canal for the cultivation of crops and thus
gain more profits from the land. In 1859, the
British constructed the Bari Doab Canal in the
tract of the old Hasli Canal. Now the landlords,
in addition to the local population, settled new
families here from Gurdaspur; Jullundur and
Hoshiarpur. More new settlers arrived in Shah-di-
Khui in the years between 1885 and 1890. Again
in the twentieth century some more farmers, who
had lost their lands due to Ravi floods, were
settled in Shah-di-Khui.

As early as the middle decades of the Moghul
period, the neighboring sites of the present-day
Rehmanpura, Wahdat Colony and Rawan were
used as an exclusive residential quarter by pros-
perous Lahore citizens. The whole area was known
as Rawan. It was also the site of the General Post
Office for the whole of the Punjab, to which any
mail coming from Delhi, the capital, was first
delivered before being distributed. There was a
small fort in the neighboring township of Kot
Lakhpat, the ruins of which are still to be seen
today, where Diwan Lakhpat, a military com-
mander under Emperor Aurangzeb, had his seat.
Lahore continued to grow mainly along the two
arterial roads, the Ferozepur Road and the Multan
Road. In the twentieth century Muslim Town was
created on the canal bank quite near Shah-di-Khuii.
In 1925 the foundations of Model Town were laid.
After Partition, Wahdat Colony and Rehmanpura

were extended towards !Shah-di-Khui. The village
area proper, however, was not claimed as an urban
building site. That is why, protected by its tenure
system, the village of Shah-di-Khui has remained
intact, in the midst of urban development.

Another historical event which exercised con-
siderable influence on the life of Shah-di-Khui was,
of course, Partition and the subsequent influx of
refugees. The Sikh landlord left with his family
and with his personal servants. As there were no
non-Muslim tenants in Shah-di-Khui before Parti-
tion, no farm fell vacant in the process of
evacuation. A Mew landlord, who had made his
home in Model Town, saw to it that his caste
brethren from India were provisionally settled in
Shah-di-Khui. The Mew new-comers built their
houses to the south of the big brick house. The
history of the village since 1947 has been largely
that of the gradual assimilation of these new

The last important event is the acquisition of
Shah-di-Khui by the University of the Panjab. The
University authorities wish to build a new campus
in a suitable suburb of Lahore, because the old
buildings in the closely settled area of the town
are overcrowded and widely dispersed, moreover
they cannot cope with the expected increase in the
number of departments and students. Shah-di-Khui
was considered suitable and finally acquired,

To sum up, the following factors of History
and Geography seem to influence the village and
set a framework into which the life of the villagers
has to fit :

1. The village site shares all the characteristics
of the central Punjab. Its economic prosperity
depends either on rainfall or on irrigation. The
canal is its lifeline. The village is within an easy
walking distance of other settlements within Lahore
Urban Area. However, it is not connected with
them by a metalled road and is, in itself, not
reached by the public transportation system;

2. The village was founded in the course of
spiritual activities going on in the seventeenth

century. Important events in its history, as for
instance the settlement of refugees on the village
site, often can be connected with non-economic
historical factors like the special communal or
caste characteristics of a landlord. The village has
been a landlord-village throughout. However, no
landlord up till now has seriously interfered with
ts internal life. The Sikh landlord was isolated

from the villagers, the officials who looked after
his evacuee property and officials of the University
seem very distant.

3. Lahore has gradually grown towards the
village and surrounded it, but not swallowed
it up.



Shah-di-Khui is a "One Landlord-Village".
All its farmers are tenants. For generations, only
Arains have been tenants of the Shah-di-Khui
landlords,' and their caste characteristics have left
their impact on village life (see Chapter V).

The soil of Shah-di-Khui is mainly a fertile
loam, which is free of salinity. Wheat, rice, sugar-
cane, oats, millet, desi cotton, vegetables, and
citrus fruit find good natural conditions. The
essential condition for Shah-di-Khui's agriculture
is irrigation. The method used is the water lift,
locally known as the Jhallar, which in principle is
similar to the Persian wheel. This irrigation method
is necessary as the land surface is higher than the
canal itself and also higher than the main water
channel conducting the water from the canal into
the village area. This main channel is three feet
wide and two feet deep. It feeds the irrigation
channels, two feet wide and one foot deep, that run
through the middle of each irrigation unit. The
water has to be lifted from the main channel to
these irrigation channels by the Jhallar.

Three wooden pulleys are connected with each
other by a long iron rod passing through their
centre. The two smaller pulleys are linked to the
yoke of a pair of bullocks, and these animals pull
them around in a circle. The larger pulley is
attached to a chain of earthen pitchers or metal
buckets, and the traction makes these pitchers or
buckets move around clockwise so that the water
is lifted from the lower level and poured into a
wooden tub which opens into the irrigation channel
on the higher level. From this irrigation channel,
the water is taken into the irrigation ditches which
are dug in a rectangular pattern through the centre

of each irrigation unit. They enclose small fields of
roughly a quarter of an acre. Usually the whole
unit of one acre is farmed by one and the same
family. In other words, this one acre unit is not
partitioned into fragments, but only sub-divided
into four fields for irrigation purposes. Each
one of them can be easily reached so that ploughing,
grading, and harvesting are not difficult, and the
maximum use of irrigation is assured.

There is not sufficient water to irrigate all the
fields. The farmers are also dependent on a timely
rainfall. A good shower in December or January
has positive effects on the Rabi crops (wheat, pulses,
etc.). A heavy downpour in the later half of
February or in March, on the contrary, may reduce
the yield of these crops (especially wheat) to as low
as 50 per cent. Rice and fodder crops usually
depend on the monsoon rains, paddy, fodder, and
sugar-cane show optimum yields if they receive
heavy showers at short intervals.

On an average, seven acres form a holding.
The size of the average holding has gradually
decreased, due to partitioning in the course of
inheritance. The cultivators are merely tenants-at-
will, they do not own the land. However, the village
tradition permits them to pass on the holdings they
have cultivated to their sons and to partition them
among their offspring as long as this does not affect
the rent owing to the landlord.

Although the cultivated acreage per able-bodied
farmer has become smaller, productivity has not
increased. If the tilling of the fields were the only
productive activity in Shah-di-Khui there would
not only be under-employment (or disguised

1. Before Partition (1947) the farmers of Shah-di-Khui were tenants (tenants-at-will) of a Sikh landlord. With the
creation of Pakistan in the year 1947, the Sikh landlord migrated to India and they all became tenants of the Custodian of
Land, Government of West Pakistan. In 1957 the land of Shah-di-Khui was appropriated for the construction of the new
University Campus and the University emerged as the new landlord of Shah-di-Khui.



unemployment) but it would also be impossible to
provide subsistence for the "surplus" family mem-
bers. The extra income needed has to be gained
from the sale of milk.

Shah-di-Khui is surrounded by farms where
intensive and specialized agriculture is practised.
There, potatoes, cabbages, onions, other vegetables
and green fodder are grown for the Lahore market.
On these farms, the average level of cropping is
300 per cent, which means that the farmers get three
crops a year from their land. On these specialized
farms, commercial fertilizer is used as well as yard
manure and water for irrigation purposes is sup-
plied from tube-wells, from wells and from canals
at the same time. Here capital investment per acre
in terms of seed, labour, irrigation, manure, etc.,
is very high.

The Shah-di-Khui farmers, on the other hand,
invest very little in their farms and have little
knowledge of modern farming techniques. No one in
Shah-di-Khui has ever used commercial fertilizers.
Only that portion of the cow dung which is not
used for fuel is spread over the fields where rice,
maize, or sugar-cane are to be grown. Green manur-
ing is almost unknown.

The main source of traction power is provid-
ed by bullocks. There are forty four pairs of
bullocks in the village, an average of one pair for
every seven acres, which means that each cultivator
has a pair of his own. The number of farmers
in the age group of 15-45 years is sixty-nine. Thes.
may be considered as full-time cultivators. Each
one of them is responsible for the cultivation of an
average of 4.4 acres. Boys under fifteen years of
age and women also help in the fields.

There are only few and simple implements, the
plough and the planker being the most important
Sones. The plough consists of a rough wooden wedge
with an iron share nailed on the end. The draft
pole (beam) projecting in front is attached to the
bullock's yoke. A three feet high upright stilt
behind serves as a guiding handle. The ploughman
holds the handle with his left hand and drives or
guides the bullocks with his right hand. A V-
shaped furrow is torn open with the plough-share.

The earth is not turned over, but just thrown up on
either side of the furrow lips. The depth and
width of the furrow varies according to the size and
the setting of the iron share and the wooden wedge.
Usually, the depth does not exceed four inches, the
width of the furrow is nine inches. In a day of
eight to ten hours' work, a man with a sturdy pair
of bullocks can plough about one acre. The wood
for the manufacture of the plough is available from
a village carpenter in the neighbourhood, often a
farmer provides it himself by cutting down a tree
in his own field. The iron share is bought from a
blacksmith in one of the neighboring villages, and
this artisan fastens it to the wooden wedge.

The planker (sohaga) is used to break and
crush the clods, to make the soil compact, and to
level the surface. Its heavy wooden plank is eight
to nine feet long, about ten inches broad, and four
to six inches thick. It is dragged over the field by
two pairs of bullocks, and two men guide the
bullocks, standing on the plank. The size of the
sohaga varies with the size of the farm. Smaller
farmers may have a sohaga dragged by only one
pair of bullocks. In one day, about four or five
acres of ploughed land can be covered by the
sohaga operation.

In addition to their ploughs and plankers, the
farmers own a spade, a trowel (khurpa) and a
sickle. There is practically no harvesting machin-
ery. The crops are cut by sickle. Bullocks
trample the straw in order to thresh out the grain.
Wheat, for example, is hand-tied in bales, which
are placed on top of each other in a circle. It takes
about a fortnight for the sun to dry the bales well.
Then some of them are untied, and the straw is
spread on the empty space in the middle of the
circle. Bullocks are driven over it, dragging behind
them a wooden frame packed with tree branches.
One pair of bullocks and two men thresh about
forty bales of wheat per day. The grain is then
brushed together in a heap. Two or three men
throw it in the air with a wooden fork for winnow-
ing purposes. The chaff falls a few yards farther
than the grain.

Paddy is gathered in small bundles and a

hollow is made in the field. Men or women hold
the bundles with both hands, lift them over their
heads, and beat them hard on the lip of the hollow.
The grain falls in and the straw is thrown aside.

The cropping intensity is hardly ever higher
than 90 per cent., which means that there is not
more than one crop per annum on each field. To
make farming an economic proposition, the crop-
ping intensity would have to be increased to
300 per cent. This could be done if there were a
change-over to vegetable or green fodder growing,
as practised in some parts of the Lahore Urban
Area. Only this intensification would make the
seven-acre farms economically viable units.

The Land Revenue Department distinguishes
two cropping seasons in the Punjab: the crop
sown at the beginning of winter and harvested at
the beginning of summer is called Rabi, the crop
sown at the beginning of summer and harvested in
the autumn is called Kharif. In Shah-di-Khui,
wheat, gram (chick peas), oats, and Egyptian clover
(berseem) make up the Rabi crops, whereas the
Kharifcrops consist of maize (corn), millet, pulses,
a little rice, sugarcane and cotton. The average
field in Shah-di-Khui, however, produces only one
crop per year, either Kharif or Rabi.

Wheat has priority. It provides the staple
food. Most of the crop is stored to feed the
family throughout the year. The remainder is used
to pay the barber, the water-carrier, the cobbler and
other helpers. In February and March, when wheat
reaches the highest price, farmers may sell part of
their store to village families who have not enough
themselves or to neighboring villages. Wheat is
hardly ever sold in the market, so in spite of its
primary importance it cannot be regarded as a
cash crop.

The cash crops grown are gram (chick peas),
maize and green fodder. A considerable part of

the gram and green fodder is fed to the milk cattle,
the rest is sold to the village Mews for their dairy
cattle, or on the Lahore market. Green gram, a
seasonal speciality, liked as a vegetable, could
achieve a handsome profit in Lahore, but the Shah-
di-Khui farmers have not yet taken advantage of
this possibility. If they sold part of their gram crop
green they would make more money than by selling
the grain. The main part of the shelled maize is
offered in the Lahore grain market, whereas rice,
sugar-cane and cotton is only produced for home

Cotton is picked, cleaned, and ginned by the
women. After ginning, some of the cotton is used
for stuffing quilts and pillows, the remainder is
spun into yarn on a hand-driven spindle (charkha).
The yarn is given to the weavers in the neighboring
villages to make bed-sheets and cloth (khaddar)
for dresses.

The capital of the Shah-di-Khui farmer (exclud-
ing dairy cattle) consists of his bullocks, his equip-
ment, his seeds and the labour force provided by the
family. Only Rs. 40 per acre are needed as land rent,
this rent is now due to the University of the Panjab,
as the cultivators are the University's tenants on a
yearly contract basis. In contrast to the fairly small
rent, about Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500 represent the in-
vestment in the bullocks, the farm equipment is
worth about Rs. 100 and the annual expenditure
needed for seeds is Rs. 156. The average earnings of
an unskilled labourer are estimated at Rs. 45 per
month. In each farm family there are on the average
1.5 full-time workers. So the value of the family
labour in the investment in a farm may be estimated
at Rs. 810. Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 are needed to keep the
jhallars in order; the earthenware or metal pots
must be replaced or repaired every year. Rs. 70 to
Rs. 80 per annum are needed for land and water
taxes. Thus, the total working capital investment
of an average cultivator is Rs. 1,556 per annum.1

1. The net annual income of the farms has been calculated on the basis of the average rate of rent prevailing in
this particular area of the Punjab. The University charges Rs. 40 per acre, which is less than the usual rent, which may
vary from Rs. 40 to Rs. 100. After a careful evaluation of the past yields, the quality of the standing crops, the rate of
taxes, the type of soil, the implements in use, and the general condition of the farming households, we consider Rs. 60 as
(Continued on next page.)

Milk Buffalo

The net annual income from the sale of crops
for a household amounts only up to Rs. 500.
Thus, it does not even reach the equivalent of the
low wages accounted for family labour. In other
words, there is no return for the labour effort.
Only when income gained from the sale of milk
and other dairy products is added (Rs. 592) a net
surplus of Rs. 292 for each of the family workers
remains. However, the work done by the women
is not counted in any of these calculations.

The balance-sheet shows clearly that the
farmers depend on the additional income provided
by their dairying activities. Up till 1947, they only
sold small quantities of ghee (clarified butter).
After Partition there was a water shortage due to
Indian actions on the canal headworks. It was no
longer possible to earn money by growing sugar-
cane, cotton, or rice, so additional emphasis was
given to dairy cattle. From 1952 on, an extensive
sale of fresh milk to Lahore consumers replaced
the small business of selling ghee.

In 1960 there were 112 buffaloes of milking
age in Shah-di-Khui, and 33 of these were owned
by non-farming families. There were also 73 calves
of less than two years of age. The cattle, including
the bullocks, the five horses who are used to draw
milk carts (buggies) to the city, and the twenty-six
sheep and goats (the property of five different
families) are taken out into the fields at night
during the summer and penned. The cattle owned
by the non-farming families are also pastured in
this manner. The farmers favour the practice,
because dung is directly distributed over the fields,
and time and labour are saved.

In the winter the cattle are herded into the
barns near the houses. Every evening the house-
wife prepares concentrates of fodder with which to
feed the buffaloes next morning. The fodder con-

sists of bread, flour, bran, cotton-seed, oil cakes
and some gram. Well chaffed green fodder mixed
with wheat straw is also fed. Usually, the ration
does not conform to the specifications provided by
the animal nutritionists. The farmers, for instance,
have not realized that they must add salt and other
minerals. Veterinary advice is not sought.

The bullocks are fed on chaffed green fodder
mixed with wheat straw. When there is a shortage
of greenery, as may be the case during periods of
drought, the farmers also give their bullocks con-
centrates mixed with wheat straw. In the winter,
weak and old bullocks may get special attention by
being given some oil and butter mixed with brown
sugar (shakkar) and flour.

The soil and location of Shah-di-Khui are
very suitable for vegetable farming, but the farmers
have shown no interest; they keep to their tradi-
tional crops. Nor can insecurity of tenure be put
forward as an explanation of their economic
traditionalism, for the farmers have always been
protected by the institutional framework of the
village community. Although quite free to choose
their own farming practices, they have not till now
adopted the most profitable methods. If they only
used a more suitable rotation pattern of cropping
and allocated the water and the manure supply a
little more wisely, they might easily increase the
cropping intensity from 90 to 150 per cent. Their
income would then just exceed what is needed for
subsistence, whereas at present the combined
income from crops and dairying just supports the
family, and saving is not possible.

The women sell the cotton, the wheat, and the
corn which they may be given as a remuneration
for their help with neighbours' harvests. They also
keep poultry. All their earnings are pooled, the
housewife is given responsibility for them and uses

a good estimate for the variable or running cost needed for the cultivation of one acre. We must add the tenant's share of
the water and the land tax plus 5 per cent interest of the total capital invested. When we deduct all this expenditure from
the gross income of a seven-acre farm, a net income of Rs. 500 remains. (The gross income per cropped acre was estimated
by doubling the average rent-Rs. 70 per acre, for the landlord usually receives 50 per cent of the produce). The income
from milk sales and the value of the milk consumed in the household has been calculated by specifications provided
by the Animal Husbandry and the Agriculture Departments.

the money to buy clothing, bedding; etc Only
occasionally are the young girls allowed to save
money on their own for dresses or jewellery of their
choice. The cultivator's wife cleans, grades and
stores the seeds. She supervises the harvested crops.
Sometimes she even helps in the fields, especially
in collecting grass for the cattle. Any bread, flour
or bran left over she adds to the fodder for the
milch buffaloes.

On the whole, those families who have no land
and who work as farm labourers enjoy a slightly
higher income than the others. A family working
on the land earns--excluding milk sales-only an
average of Rs. 500 per annum, whereas the average
earnings of a labouring family are Rs. 810 per
annum. However, the farming family can afford to
keep dairy cattle and is able, therefore, to supple-
ment their income more easily by the sale of milk.
The average family earning from dairying is
Rs. 592 per annum among the farmers and only
Rs. 232 per annum among the non-farmers. Thus,
if the value of farming income and milk sales are
compared with labour income and milk sales the
farmer's total income is seen to be just a little
higher than the non-farmer's.

Among the non-farmers, there are seven Arain
families. One of them owns a small shop in the
Arain section of the village. The head of another
family is a Mullah.' Two families who used to work
as tenant cultivators before their draft animals died
in an epidemic now peddle vegetables in exchange
for cereals. The remaining three families live as
traders. They purchase cattle and farm produce
from the villagers and sell them wherever they can
make a profit. They, too, are former farmers who
found themselves in financial difficulties and were
obliged to sell their draft animals. These seven
Arain families own dairy cattle as do most in the
village. They regard themselves as belonging to the
farming community and are waiting for the day
when they can afford to buy new bullocks. A
misfortune like the loss of the dairy or draft cattle
can happen to any family in the village. There are
practically no savings, and no one owns land on
which he could obtain a loan from the agricultural
1. A person who leads prayers in the Mosque.

credit institutions. The lot of, people in difficulties
depends on immediate relatives who might have
spare money and who might be ready to give, a
loan. Unless this happens people are forced to
change their mode of living for the time in which
they have no cattle.

Shah-di-Khui has only a few artisans; the
cultivators must go to the neighboring village of
Bhikaywal if they need a carpenter or a blacksmith.
They pay for their services in kind, usually after
the harvest. The carpenter may get some cash for
extra work like making a set of lacquered cots for
a wedding or a set of doors for a newly built house.
On the birth of a son the carpenter's wife presents
a wooden hand-made toy and is rewarded in kind
or cash many times the value of the toy. Also,
when the carpenter makes wooden pegs to tie up
the horses of wedding guests, he gets extra gifts.
The local artisans are the water-carriers, the
cobblers, and the barber. The barber is not only' a
hairdresser, he is also a messenger, a marriage
negotiator, a cook at marriages, circumcisions,
burials, and other family meetings and religious
festivals. The cobbler repairs shoes and makes
new footwear. The water-carriers provide the
Arains and the Christians with water, and they
possess an oven in which bread can be baked.
Their women look after this baking business and
are paid in flour or in grain. These families also
keep dairy cattle. Their gross total earnings are as
high as those of the cultivators and as they have to
invest very little apart from their own labour, their
net income per household is considerably higher
than that of the cultivators.

The incoming refugees (Mews) although they
had been farmers in their former homes, either
tenants or owners, could not be provided with land
of their own. They held claims to compensation
for the land left behind in India, but these claims
could not be settled by the allocation of land in
Shah-di-Khui. When they arrived, they also lacked
the capital for the purchase of farm equipment that
would have been necessary to till any land they
mi ight have received. The methods of cultivation in
the Western Punjab were strange to them. So

Water Carrier

at first, they made no special effort to rent or lease
land outside the village boundary.

However, the Mews have remained rural in
their outlook. Many of them keep dairy cattle, and
the income from the sale of milk is, in many cases,
more important than the non-agricultural wages.
Most of the men work in brick kilns about one and
a half miles away from the village. Their average
wages are Rs. 2 per day. They make mud bricks
which are then dried in the sun and afterwards
placed in the kiln for burning. The Mew women,
apart from their household duties, look after the
cattle, collect grass and weed for evening fodder
and pick up dung from the fields to be used as
fuel. The Mew women are full working-partners
of their men, a rare case in Pakistan. They, some-
times, even help their men in the brick kilns. Only
two Mew families get their income from urban
work. One man is a bus driver, the other one runs
a shop in the city. In these two cases, the city
actually does provide employment. However, the
jobs in themselves are not typically urban. Driving
a bus or running a shop might just as well be done
in a rural locality, in neither case an urbanized
mind is a condition for doing this type of work.

The Christians also work in the brick kilns.
At other times they work as agricultural labourers

on the farms in Shah-di-Khui or in neighboring
villages, or they may do casual work in other parts
of Lahore. Their income per household is lower
than that of the other .non-farming families. Their
employment is insecure. They change jobs fre-
quently and are said to take life fairly- easily. The
Christian women help the farm women with clean-
ing and sweeping, they also help with the cotton,
maize, or wheat harvest. They are paid in kind.
The Christians also own dairy cattle.

The Qureshi and Syed families own property
in the urban areas of Lahore and some farmland
in the Multan District which they lease to cultiva-
tors on a crop-sharing basis. They also lease
sixteen acres from the University which they further
subcontract to the local cultivators on a crop-
sharing basis. They are mainly interested in
establishing their proprietary rights to the big brick
house which they at present occupy because of
their refugee status.

Apart from these two families, everyone else
in the village is in the low income group. Except
for these two families, the bus driver and the shop-
keeper, all the people of Shah-di-Khui follow rural
occupations. Indeed, the economy of the village as
a whole is entirely rural.



Shah-di-Khui, in 1960, had 499 permanent
inhabitants. These individuals belonged to 91

The family residences are separated from each
other on caste lines. It remains to be seen whether
this geographical division has occurred merely by
accident, just because the Mews, as a group, arrived
later than the others, or whether the castes can
really be distinguished from each other by their
modes of life and other features.

Forty-eight families belong to the Arains, the
traditional caste of agriculturists, in particular of
vegetable growers. Thirty-two families are Mews,
from the Delhi area. This caste was originally a
sub-caste of the Rajputs. Despite their warrior
origin, however, they have been a farming com-
munity for generations. Four families are Christian
(Methodists). Christianity is obviously not a caste
in the strict sense of the word, but the villagers
treat the Christian community as if they were a
caste, and Christians themselves give their religion
as a caste designation. One family claims to have
Syed origin, one belongs to the Qureshi, and one
to the Sheikh group. The Syed and the Qureshi
consider themselves as superior by origin and
economic position, whereas the Sheikh family lives
together with the Arains. There are four families
of tradesmen who belong to their respective occupa-
tional castes; two are water-carriers (rnashkis), one
is a barber (hajjam or in Punjabi nai), and one is a
shoe-maker (mochi). Caste membership is more
important than regional origin.

Before any description of the complete lives
of the people is entered into, a few general
figures may be given : 270 villagers are males
and only 229 females. The sex ratio is 143:127
in the agricultural group. 48 per cent of all inhabi-
tants belong to the age group of 15-45 years. Only
50 people (10 per cent) are 45 years old and older.

Hundred and thirty five (27 per cent) are 5-14
years old and 85 (17 per cent) are children up
to the age of 4. Of the 229 females 100 have been
married at one time or another. To these 'ever-
married' (including women who were separated,
divorced or widowed at the time of investigation)
women a total number of 536 children had been
born, 270 males and 266 females. 510 of these 536
children were born live, and 26 were still-born.
In addition there had been 17 miscarriages. By
1960, 171 of the 510 live-born children had died.
The official register kept in the village only records
495 of these births (still-births included), which
leaves 41 which have not been entered. For the
year 1959, the register gives a figure of 11 male and
7 female births. The crude birth rate, per 1,000 of
population for the year, is therefore 36. Untrained
women usually are present to assist the mothers at
the time of birth. Only one mother had her
confinement in a Lahore hospital, 7 babies were
delivered by a trained midwife, whereas for the
remaining 10 cases a village woman without training
was called in to help.
The average number of children born per ever-
married women is 5.2. 75 per cent of these
women belong to a group that have been married
for 30 years or less. If one takes the age of 15 as
the average age for the consummation of marriage
and the age of 45 as the final age for child-bearing,
then 75 per cent of the married women in Shah-di-
Khui are still of child-bearing age. The average
interval between births is about two years, but 30
per cent of the children born in Shah-di-Khui were
born with only one year's interval from the previous
birth. In 40 per cent of the cases the average of 2
years was not reached. On the other hand, 20
per cent of the children were born with a space of
3 years, 10 per cent after an interval of 4 or 5 years,
and there are 3 cases with a still larger interval. In
1959, there were 4 deaths. Thus, the death rate for
the year is 8 per 1000.

rr.. 9a~b'


The big brick house

,. J5

The majority of the village people live in
'nuclear families'.' When a son marries, the parents
traditionally give him a share of their belongings
and provide him, if possible, with a house next
door to their own. Thus the joint family breaks up
when one of the sons takes a bride. The exception
is the marriage of the youngest son ; When he takes
a wife, he also takes over the parental home, and
the parents stay under his roof. As this pattern is
often disturbed by circumstance, only a minority of
houses harbour joint families, i.e., families contain-
ing more than one married couple.

Certain features are common to all the
villagers. Their houses are simple and built of local
material in the traditional way, there is no electricity
except in the former landlord's house, water must
be drawn from the wells. Only three hand pumps
exist, each one is used by two families. There is no
drainage system, water is thrown into the yard or
into the lane.

Within this general framework, the private
lives of the people can only be properly described
if one remembers that none of them are able to lead
an individualist life according to their liking and
choice. Each person submits to the unwritten rules
prevailing in his or her family. The families behave
according to a general pattern common to the
whole caste, or at least to representatives of one
or the other caste within the village. A realistic
description cf Shah-di-Khui must, therefore,
proceed caste by caste.

The caste pattern is clearly shown in the lay-
out of the houses. In the centre of the village there
is the big brick house, the seat of the landlord. The
house faces east and is passed by the main road
leading to the village from south to north. On the
eastern side of the road is the orchard, containing
the Saint's grave. The house with its several court-
yards reaches deep into the village on the western
side, extending at least halfway into the village. As

the house belonged to the Sikh landlord it became
evacuee property and was allotted to the high-caste
families, both refugees from India, one Syed and
one Qureshi. When one enters the high gate, one
comes to a courtyard which is fifty to thirty feet
wide. Twenty-seven rooms open into the courtyard.
This is the only building in Shah-di-Khui equipped
with electricity and with proper bath-rooms and
latrines inside the house. Formerly, it even had a
tube-well of its own, but that is now out of order.
The women of the two high-caste families observe
purdah, which means that they veil their faces if
ever they go out and that they usually remain
inside the house behind closed doors. No man
outside the immediate family circle may enter the
section of the house reserved for them. Even village
women very seldom come to the house, and then
usually only in order to borrow something. No-'
body has ever seen the women of the two families
doing any work outside the house. Nor do the men
of these families perform any physical labour. Some
of the family members have moved into the urban
districts of Lahore and return home only at week-
ends. The older men wear white, baggy, cotton
trousers (shalwar) and a white, loose, cotton shirt.
The young men wear usually "city" dress, that is a
white pajama and a cotton shirt with a collar. They
put on the dhoti only when they want to relax inside
the house. Usually they do not wear any head-
dress. Whatever these families cannot or do not do
for themselves is done for them by occasional
labour, mainly recruited from the Christians.
Although they have no regular servants, they
employ members of the Christian families for odd
jobs about the house, such as "sweeping", i.e.,

To the north of the brick house, also on the
western side of the main road, there is the old
section of the village, inhabited by Arains. This old
part of the village extends southwards behind the
brick house so that the landlord's residence faces
the tenants' houses on two sides, the west and the

1. This technical term describes a family which sets up house separately and moves away from the parents of
either man or wife as well as from the in-laws. A nuclear family consists only of the married couple and their unmarried

north. The hoAses are built to a regular pattern,
forming two big rectangles, a northern one and a
western one. A thirty foot wide lane runs through
the middle of the northern section from east to
west, with its eastern end opening into the main
road. At right angles to this lane, there is a second
lane running from south to north approximately in
the centre of the village. It ends in front of a well,
and at this spot a mosque is being rebuilt. At the
western end of the main lane and on the outside of
the western Arain section, a small street runs
southwards. On either side of the two lanes in the
northern section, opposite each other, main en-
trances open into the houses which are built of
mud and thatch (kachcha). Here all the Arain
families live, among them a cobbler, a barber, a
water-carrier, and a Sheikh. The Sheikh family
(Sheikh is a caste name) arrived from India in 1947.
All members of the other families mentioned were
born and brought up in the village or in its
immediate neighbourhood. Forty-one of the Arain
families live mainly on agriculture, seven pursue a
non-agricultural occupation (one shopkeeper, one
Mullah, two vegetable pedlars and three cattle
traders, as described in Chapter IV). Four of the
forty-eight Arain families live as joint families, all
the others as nuclear families, in other words they
set up houses separately from their parents and
brothers or sisters. It is an unwritten rule that the
youngest son delays his marriage and that, after his
marriage, he looks after his parents. This delay
explains that the number of joint families is limit-
ed. By way of compensation the youngest son
inherits the family home from his father. He farms
jointly with his father and leaves his share of the
crops to the joint household. His wife accepts her
position because she can look forward to being the
wife of a house owner after the death of her
parents-in-law. The Arains usually arrange mar-
riages within their extended families. The marriage
circle or the local perimeter from which the bride
is chosen measures roughly twenty miles from the
village. Within this circle brides are supplied to
Shah-di-Khui and given by Shah-di-Khui, so that
a sort of exchange of women takes place within the
Arain group from one village to another.
The parents' authority within the families

seems to be hardly shaken. The children are
economically dependent on the parents and
recognize their social status. Young men marry at
about the age of twenty-two, and separate them-
selves from their parents' household and also
become free from the authoritarian control of their
father and mother. Nevertheless, they keep up close
social relations with their parents and beyond their
joint family with the extended family.

The two water-carriers, the barber and the
cobbler form part of this traditional community,
even though they are given a low rank in the
division of labour. They keep the same family
traditions as the Arains themselves, but their
extended families, within which they search for
marriage partners, are, due to their smaller
numbers, further spread out than the Arain sibs.

Most of the houses in this northern section
form small blocks. Each block is walled and holds
four or five houses according to the size and number
of the extended families. There is a courtyard in
front of each house from which a gate opens into
the lane. Each house usually consists of one flat-
roofed room and a barn-like hut at the side. The
walls are made of mud bricks and stand ten to
twelve feet high. However, the front walls of the
houses are built of baked bricks. The thatch and
willow roof is supported by two large wooden
beams placed horizontally on the walls and inter-
connected by about a dozen smaller beams. The
outside of the roof is carefully plastered with a
mixture of straw and mud. The size of the room
is about ten by twelve feet, and the walls are
plastered inside and outside with a mixture of dung
and mud. The hut at the side has an open front,
so it needs only three walls. Like the roof, in some
cases the walls are also made of thatch and willow.

The front of the house itself is on a kind of
platform plastered with dung and mud some six to
nine inches higher than the surrounding ground.
This platform is swept daily. At one side of the
platform there is a three foot high wall built on to
the corner of the house and often partitioning off
half of the whole platform by running in front paral-
lel to the house. This enclosed space serves as a


0 50 100

150 200


/ / /

/ '.J IopoVP'


-PONJ) Mospue


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* I


a o
Dried ung Cakes
Pyr amids




To Garden



A Visitor in the Arin Section of the village

kitchen. In the corner between the outer enclosure
and the house there is a fire-place on which the
milk is boiled over a slow-burning dung fire. In
the outer corner of the enclosure a hearth of mud
bricks is erected on which the meals are cooked.

The open space between the houses is used as a
common yard. Those families who have not erected
special huts for their cattle in their own fields
usually chain them in this open space during the
summer evenings, whereas they put them into the
shade of trees when the midday sun is too hot. In
the winter (December and January) the cattle spend
the night in the barn-like huts, and the men sleep
next to them. During the summer, married
couples sleep on the roof tops, whereas the other
members of the families put their beds in the
open space between the houses.

The inside of the house is furnished with well-
constructed beds (charpoy) raised on top of each
other. Their legs and parts of the frame are deco-
rated with lacquer work; they usually form part of
the housewife's dowry. Extra bedding is placed on
these bedsteads and a bedspread is used to cover
them. A large box of tin or wood stands against
the back wall containing winter bedding and heavy
clothing. On top of it small tin boxes hold the
good clothes or any jewellery. In the corners,
earthen and metal pitchers are placed on top of
each other like pillars. They contain flour, pulses,
or seeds. On one of the side walls there is a five
foot wide mud pot with a normal year's ration of
wheat for the family. On a wooden board fixed to
the wall opposite the entrance, cups are placed and
metal utensils are displayed. Some hand-made bread
baskets with beautiful patterns serve as ornaments
nailed to the walls. At the upper end of the back
wall there is a large ventilation hole two feet by
three feet.

The water-carriers draw the water from the
well with the help of a bucket, pour it into big
leather bags and carry it on their backs every
morning and evening to the different homes. There
they pour it into the earthen pitchers which are
placed outside the house in wooden frames. The
washing is done in the yard near the house, near the

well or on the canal bank. There is no separate
room for bathing purposes. The women usually
stand two beds on their short ends against the wall
so that a triangle is formed, and then draw sheets
over the bed-frames. They take a pitcher of water
inside the cubicle and pour it over themselves with
a metal cup or a glass. The men, on the other hand,
take a bath at least once a day during the summer
at the well, in the canal or in one of the water
channels running through the fields.

The women wear a shalwar and a shirt made
from patterned cotton material. The difference in
dress between younger and older women is mainly
the greater care which the younger women give to
cut and pattern. The head-dress (dopatta) consists
of a fine piece of muslin two and a half yards long.
The men wear a dhoti wrapped around their waist
and hanging down to the ankles like a skirt, and
over it a knee-long shirt with or without collar.
The older men usually make their clothes out of
hand-woven, white cotton (khaddar). It is a rigid
custom that they wear a two and a half yard long
cloth as a turban. Their beards are usually closely
trimmed, their moustaches long. They like to have
their hair cut as close as possible to the head.
Unlike the older men the young men wear machine-
made materials and even indulge in bright colours
for their shirts and dhotis. Some wear a cotton
singlet. In the fields they may take their head-dress
off, but they always wear it when they go on a visit.
The moustaches of the younger men are more
closely trimmed and only a few of them have
beards-most of them shave twice a week.

In the morning the children are given a slice
of buttered bread and a glass of butter-milk. Those
going to school take lunch with them in a small
piece of cloth. The girls stay at home and help
their mothers with cleaning and cooking. The men
go to their work without eating anything. At about
10 a.m. they either return home if they work on
nearby fields or the women take their lunch out to
them. They eat bread and butter, brown sugar
(gur) and butter-milk for lunch. Only pedlars and
labourers eat their meals before they go to work.
During the summer days the women even take
breakfast to their men in the fields : bread, butter-

milk, some butter or sugar. For lunch in the
summer time, the men return home. The evening
meal unites the whole family. Again, cereals are
the staple food. Vegetables, pulses and brown
sugar are added, meat is eaten only once a week.
Beef is favoured, because it is cheaper than mutton
and can be bought in large quantities for ready
cash. Usually someone in the village slaughters a
calf (cow or buffalo) and sells the meat to his
neighbours. In this manner the cost of slaughter
in a proper butchershop is saved. Buttermilk
forms an important food item for everybody. About
one-third of the milk yield is kept for home con-
sumption, and in this part of the village every
family has at least one buffalo.

On the far side of the north-south lane limit-
ing the western Arain section, there are a few
houses which by their construction and appearance
show that their inhabitants are less prosperous
than the Arains themselves. This is where one of
the two water-carriers lives, and this is the place
where the four Christians settled when they arrived
from Qasur. The water-carriers have a similar
position to the cobbler and the barber. The
Christians are by tradition menials, in fact,
scavengers. Their homes are isolated from the rest
of the village by an open space about a hundred
feet wide. They are built in the same way as the
Arain houses, but they are not as well plastered
and generally not as well kept. The four one-
roomed, flat-roofed houses form a single block.
There is a barn in the open space which the houses
face. This is a thatch-roofed place over four mud
brick pillar without side walls, in which the cattle
are housed during winter nights. The Christians
possess hardly any furniture except a few simple
beds with much-used bedding, some earthen
pitchers, a few boxes, and household utensils.
Their women dress like the Arain women, nor is
there any difference in the dress between Christian
and Arain men. Only the quality of the material
and the care taken over the dress is much less than
among the Arains. The Christians sell most of their
buffaloes' milk. Their diet, otherwise, is the same
as the Arains', but it is said in the village that they
like to spend extra money on gorging themselves
with food. Tne Christians are not allowed near

either of the two wells, so they have to depend on
the Muslim water-carriers for their water supply.
This restriction is probably due to their origin in
one of the menial castes rather than to the
denominational difference. The Christians are
reluctant to talk about their origin in the khakrobe
(scavenger) caste (in Punjabi called chuhra). The
heads of the four families are "real" brothers,
descendants of the same parents. Thus, they form
a single extended family within the village. They
choose their marriage partners by an "exchange
system", giving their daughters in marriage to a
family from which their own daughters-in-law
come. If they have no daughter of their own, they
may pay a sum of money to the parents of the
bride, not really a "bride price", rather a compen-
sation to the girl's parents for the costs of bringing
her up.

In the corner between the brick house and the
western Arain section, a new part of the village has
been constructed since 1947, so that now the brick
house is surrounded by small mud houses on three
sides. This southern part of Shah-di-Khui contains
the homes of the refugees from India, the Mews.
This section is built more irregularly than the
northern and western Arain sections. All the houses
are mud huts. A twenty foot wide lane runs
westwards from the main street to a cluster of
residences which are arranged in a rough semi-
circle. The lane ends against the wall of a house
in the west. At this "dead end" there is a second
mosque, also with a well and beyond it one of the
two ponds. The walls of the Mew houses are eight
to ten feet high. The thatch and willow roof is
supported by wooden sticks or twigs placed across
the top of the walls. The supports are arranged so
that the roof slopes downwards towards the walls,
leaving the central part raised. It is plastered with
mud to protect it from the heavy monsoon rains.
The inner walls, though not the ceiling, are also
plastered with mud. Inside, the hut measures
roughly six by eight feet and there is adequate
space to accommodate two or three small beds. The
houses form three irregular blocks, each one con-
taining ten to elevan households. In the central
yard of each block people chain their milch cattle
(mostly buffaloes) to wooden pegs hammered into

The Mew Section of the Village

C .



A mother preparing a imial


3 i~ij4d

the ground. In the summer, people usually sleep
in this open space. One block lies more or less to
the south, one to the north and one to the west of
the irregular lane.

The inside of the house and the immediate
surroundings are carefully swept every day. There
is hardly any furniture, apart from the beds and
perhaps a wooden board fixed about five feet up
the wall opposite the entrance. On this they dis-
play plates and cups. Underneath one of the beds,
they keep their clothes and other possessions in a
tin box. A few cotton bags containing clothing or
household things are hung on nails in the walls.
Earthen pitchers to store flour and other food-stuffs
are placed in a corner. There are also a few earthen
pots for preparing the meals. There are no
windows, but there is a door consisting of a wooden
frame fixed with thatch. Outside, the walls may be
decorated with patterns made with a whitewash

In their former homes in India, the Mews were
not accustomed to employ water-carriers. As it
would be difficult for them to find cash for paying
extra services in Shah-di-Khui, they keep to their
tradition. They need not fear adverse comments,
as their own Baradari outside the village is in a
similar social position to themselves. They are not,
like the Arains, under pressure to keep up appear-
ance. Therefore, their own women draw the water
from the well near the mosque every morning and
evening. Drinking water is then stored in earthen
pitchers inside the house or in a wooden frame
under a tree in the open air.

The cooking is done outside the house, usually
on an open fireplace built out of mud bricks with
its back to the front wall. Meals are extremely
simple. Most of the milk is sold and only a little
is kept to feed the small children. School-children
get a piece of bread before they leave the house.
The men eat one of their meals in the morning
before they go off to work. In the evening the
whole family assembles for dinner between seven
and eight. The staple diet consists of cereals, a few
vegetables and pulses. Meat is eaten only oc-
casionally. The fires are fed with dried cattle dung.

The women collect this fuel and form the dung into
small round cakes which are stuck into the ground
or pasted against a wall so that they dry in the sun.
On the eastern side of the main road leading into
the village from the south, the Mews have made a
proper drying ground for cow-dung. There they
heap the dung cakes into small pyramids. Dif-
ferent from the Arains, the Mews keep a special
storehouse for the dried dung cakes. (The Arains
use dung cakes mainly for boiling milk. They
try to save some dung for the manuring of their

The Mew as well as the Arain women use a
pitcher of water and a two by three foot wooden
plank to wash the clothes. Like the Arain women,
the Mews soap their laundry, spread it on the plank,
pour water from the pitcher over it and beat it with
a wooden stick, The used water drains off into a
small depression or into the lane and stands there
till it dries up. The common washing place is near
the well or on the canal bank.

The women themselves wear cotton trousers
tightly fitted to the legs so that they look like
breeches (choridar pajama). Over these trousers
they wear a loose shirt which is often very shabby.
They cover their head with a two and a half yards
long and one yard wide piece of muslin. The
younger women, especially the ones that have
grown up in Shah-di-Khui, often follow the Arain
way of dressing. Only their jewellery distinguishes
them from the Arains, usually crudely designed
silver ornaments in the nose, the lobes of the ears
and on both arms. In general their dress follows
the traditions they brought with them from their
former homes in India.

In the men's dress, a difference between the
generations may be noticed. The older men wear
a dhoti, a piece of cotton cloth three yards long
and two and a half yards wide draped around the
hip and pulled up between the legs and fastened
over the stomach. The upper part of the body is
covered by an almost knee-length shirt. The turban
consists of five yards of muslin. The older Mews,
who keep to this mode of dressing, hardly ever
seem to cut their beards or their hair. The younger

Mews, however, who have grown up since resettle-
ment in Shah-di-Khui, are either clean-shaven
or they confine themselves to moustaches and short
beards. They also have an occasional haircut.
They wear a mixture of traditional Mew and
Punjabi dress. Their shirt is usually less shabby
than the shirts of the older people, and their turban
cloth is only two and a half yards long. They do
not pull up the corners of their dhoti, but let it
hang down like a skirt. On the whole, they present
a much tidier and cleaner appearance than their
older kinsmen.

There are one hundred and sixty-five individuals
(thirty-three per cent of the village population) in
the thirty-two Mew families. Five of these Mew
families show the structure of a joint family, twenty-
seven are single family units. In their old homes in
India, they used to live in joint families. It
is very likely that the dislocation brought about by
the transmigration from India to Pakistan is re-
sponsible for the change of the family pattern. Joint
families broke up because there was no chance of
larger family units getting sufficient land or accom-
modation in West Pakistan. Whether married or
unmarried, the Mews are accustomed to accept the
family father's authority in every aspect of their
daily lives.

The marriage circle of the Mews is confined to
their caste, but the caste is broader than the Arains'.
Mews do not, like the Arains, prefer cousins as
marriage partners within the extended family. They
go further afield. Marriages are arranged for girls
at the age of seven or eight and they are consum-
mated when the girl is fourteen or fifteen years old.
The bride's parents spend a great deal of money on
the marriage ceremony, far more than the bride-
groom's people. The Arain residents of Shah-di-
Khui say that when once a rupee has fallen into a
Mew's pot it never comes out again but at the
marriage of a daughter. Mew women, unlike the
Arain women, not only perform housework, but also
accompany their men to work in the fields on an
equal level.

The difference between the Mew group and the
other villagers is not only that the Mews are new-
comers who are only gradually being absorbed into

the agricultural community. The real difference ,is
one of caste. The Mews and the Arains are ready
to side collectively against each other, but not to
the extent of provoking class hatred and socially
destructive activities. Although there is no inter-
marriage and very little social intercourse, there is
definite co-operation in practical village affairs ; a
certain amount of neighbourliness, but no personal
relationships. The mutual antipathy, sometimes
amounting to distaste, may be explained by the
difference in the material standards of living. The
people also think that there is a difference in per-
sonal habits. The Arains do not take exception to
the Mews' way of dwelling or eating, but they do
consider them as personally untidy, even as dirty.
They say that a Mew, once he has put on clothes,
never takes them off before death. To an outsider,
the person and the clothes of a Mew are certainly
less pleasing than those of the other villagers. The
hair of the Mew women is not kept very tidy, and
both men and women seem to attach little import-
ance to their physical appearance. Possibly this
can be explained by the fact that the former home
of the Mews lay in a very dry area where water was
in short supply. Moreover, these peasants used to
live under Rajput landlords and had little chance
of developing their self-respect and improving
their personal appearance. This does not mean
that the Mews, as part of the Rajput group, are
insensitive to points of honour. They are proud of
their warlike tradition and show nearly as much
distaste towards the Arains as is shown towards

Only the large brick house has latrines. The
villagers from all other houses go out into the
fields before morning sunrise and after nightfall.
The women usually go out in groups according to
age and caste. The children accompany their
mothers. Arains, Christians and artisans do not
separate from each other, but the Mew women go
by themselves. The evening walks, following the
force of nature, are used as an opportunity for
social chat. This is the time when the older women
can talk among themselves about marriage pro-
posals and when the younger girls may separate
from their elders under some excuse to discuss
their own problems. Small groups of women just

go out of each other's hearing. The men do not
usually go together in small groups, but just choose
any convenient place out of sight. People clean
themselves with water from an irrigation channel.
These sanitary habits are in no way different from
the prevailing custom in other Punjabi villages. It
would be too expensive to pay a scavenger. People
prefer the fresh air for these necessary functions
and do not want to mess up their houses further,
because the presence of the cattle is unpleasant
enough in some ways.

Our inquiries in Shah-di-Khui show that the

private lives of the people conform to the well-
known pattern of village tradition. The influx of
refugees has not altered the rhythm of life. It has
only given a clearer profile to the factors that
dominate individuals' lives by stressing the dis-
tinctions between the castes and the families. If
individualism, mobility, desire for change, lack of
respect for tradition and similar traits are consider-
ed as typical of an urban attitude, then Shah-di-
Khui, a village in an urban orbit, shows no real
urban characteristics. The social life of the villagers
is extremely simple and dominated by the fact
that they are economically poor.




The villagers of Shah-di-Khui have, up till
now, led a peculiarly passive life as far as any
activity is concerned that takes them beyond the
immediate range of their everyday existence. They
form part of a larger community without being
very conscious of it. They have accepted decisions
on their fate as they accept the weather.

Economically, the villagers have always been
dependent on their landlord, whether the landlord
was a Sikh landowner, the Government of Pakistan,
or the University of the Panjab. As we have seen,
none of their landlords have abused their economic
power for political purposes.

When events in the larger world resulted in a
change of landlord, the villagers opposed the
change. In 1947, they closed their ranks against
any allocation of land to refugees from India.
They also disliked the changeover from the govern-
ment to the University. However, they have never
had any reason to complain of any interference in
their every day life by their landlords.

As the landlords of the village have never
shown any political ambition, the villagers have
followed the politics of the Zaildars of Ichhra.
They respected the political and social opinions of
the influential families who have long dominated
this neighboring urban district. Besides, the Zail-
dar family belongs to the Arain caste and has been
known to the people of Shah-di-Khui ever since the
village was founded. They belong to the same
baradari (caste brethren) although there are hardly
any intermarriages. With the approval of the Ichhra
families, an Arain from Shah-di-Khui contested the
elections for the last tier of the Basic Democracies
in 1959-60 and was elected. The results show that
even the Mews gave their votes to this Arain candi-
date. The community links within the village seem
to have been strong enough to let all the villagers

follow one and the same line in their political
decisions. The Ichhra Zaildar family expects, of
course, that the elected representative from Shah-
di-Khui should support them or their friends on
the Union Council if ever a controversial matter

Apart from this personal connection with
Ichhra, which is due to caste, there has been no
attempt from the outside world to influence the
people of Shah-di-Khui in their political convic-
tions. They seem to have no special ambition and
they do not take politics very seriously. Their
social world is limited by the village in which they
hope to make their permanent homes. This is true
of the Mews as well as of the Arains and of the

The passive attitude of the villagers is mainly
due to their lack of contacts with the outside world.
Some Arain peasants in the neighbourhood of
Lahore, for instance in Shalamar or in Baghban-
pura, have accepted modern ways of thought be-
cause they have had close social contact with some
outstanding personalities like Mr. Justice Shahdin
or Sir Mohammad Shafi. Due to this contact
and the general awakening of the villagers, these
two settlements have become completely urbanized,
and their inhabitants are counted as well-educated
citizens of Lahore. The inhabitants of Shah-di-
Khui, on the other hand, only associate with other
villagers from places like Hanjarwal, Niaz Beg,
Shadiwal, etc. The people from these other villages
are in general on a similar level as the people of
Shah-di-Khui, whereas the Ichhra Zaildars want to
ensure that the Shah-di-Khui people remain depend-
ent on them and therefore do not wish any
awakening that may threaten them. An elderly
politician who lives in Ichhra once said that the
people of Shah-di-Khui have evidently not been able


S riA

Women interviewers among the Arain's Children

to find a kindled candle on which they could light
their own candles.

Shah-di-Khui's administration used to be the
responsibility of the Lahore Corporation, now of the
Municipal Committee. The village has not bene-
fited from the fact that it forms an administrative
part of Lahore. There is no welfare agency, public
or private, and no educational institution. In 1952,
some politicians made an effort to establish a school
and a dispensary in Nawan Shah-di-Khui, but after
a few months the two institutions were closed
down, as the motive for their opening had only
been the winning of votes.

The villagers themselves have not voiced any
desire for educational or health institutions. The
causes for this passive attitude may be traced to
their peculiar position, which means the economic
influence of their landlord, whoever it is, and the
political influence exercised by Ichhra, based on the
socialties with the Zaildar family. They were neither
entirely accepted by their landlords nor by their
political allies because they are unable to side
entirely with either of them. As a result, the Shah-
di-Khui villagers are only happy among themselves
and are not keen to change their way of life, because
they cannot have any hope in the direction of a
social right either towards their landlord or towards
their political leaders at Ichhra. Because of their
double dependence they have not been able to exert
any pressure on the Lahore authorities.

The Patwari (the official responsible for land
records and all taxation questions), a very im-
portant man for any village, does not live in Shah-
di-Khui, his office is on the Multan Road several
miles away. As everywhere in the countryside of
Pakistan, the government is represented by a
Namberdar. Before Partition (1947) the office of
Namberdar (headman) for the three sister settle-
ments was held by a senior member of the Sikh
landlord family. When this family had left, the
villagers had the chance of filling the post with one
of their members. According to the official defini-
tion, a Namberdar must own more land than any-
body else in his village and he must represent the
largest number of families in the village, which

means that he must come from the majority caste
or group. As nobody owned any land in Shah-di-
Khui only the second point was of importance.
Thus the office fell automatically to the Arain
community. The present Namberdar is a typical
cultivator, illiterate, a quiet and humble man. He
always wears indigenous cloth (khaddar) and he
either walks when he has to visit city offices about
every second day, or he rides in the local bus. If
the landlord had not left, he never would have had
a chance of getting this office. Not only he himself
is proud of it, but his family and his whole
baradari. The advantage for himself arising from
the office is the fact that he is closer to all the
officials than anybody else (Police, Revenue,
Rehabilitation Department, etc.). He is expected
to entertain all visitors to the village, and this
means an extra economic burden. However, the
Namberdar does not grumble and willingly accepts
his responsibility. The social prestige seems to
make the job worthwhile. The Revenue Depart-
ment provides a honorarium for his services as
collector of land and water taxes, five per cent of
all the amount deposited in the treasury before a
certain date. It is difficult to name an actual sum
which he may draw on this account, as there are
many uncertainties connected with the method of
revenue collection.

The nearest school for Shah-di-Khui children
is in Wahdat Colony. It was built in 1956. Only
eight children from Shah-di-Khui attend it; the
others roam about in the village. Eleven adults can
just read and write, twelve more have received
education up to the fourth grade level, four went to
school up to the eighth grade, and there are two
matriculates. All of them received their education
after 1947. That was the year when the Sikh land-
lord left. For eight years, until the University took
over in 1956, the cultivators were independent of
any landlord. During this period some of them
started to take an interest in their children's edu-
cation. They were hoping to become landowners
themselves. Education was mainly considered to
be a factor of social prestige. Families who educate
their children hope to increase their status within
their baradari. Education is not considered a
necessity for life. One reason why the parents

were more ready to send their children to school in
this period was the fact that less labour was neces-
sary on the holdings after their size had decreased.

The girls usually are not allowed to attend
school at all. The village Mullah or some elderly
woman gives them religious instruction. They learn
their daily prayers and are given some proficiency
in reading the Holy Quran. Women who have
achieved this stage are distinguished above their
sisters, and their families are proud of them.

The boys of school age receive Quranic lessons
from the Mullahs in one of the two mosques every
morning. The Mullahs call to prayer and conduct
the daily service. The Arains and their helpers pay
their Mullah in kind and make cash payments only
on special occasions like marriages or festivals. The
Mews, on the other hand, support their Mullah and
his family by providing free food and they also
make cash payments for special services. Neither
of the Mullahs is an acknowledged leader of the
local people. They are just ordinary villagers.
There are not many signs of deep religious con-
viction among either the Mews or the Arains of
Shah-di-Khui. The older men observe religious
practices more rigidly than the younger ones and
they go to the mosque more frequently. The women
are more painstaking with their daily prayers,
which they, of course, say in their homes.

Not only is there no political stimulus from
the larger world outside, but no spiritual or intel-
lectual influence either. The two matriculates and
the graduates of middle school standard have not
been able to find any other employment than farm
work or work on the brick kiln. Their very exist-
ence helps to confirm the villagers' conviction that
education is of no help in practical life. Quite
naturally, most parents prefer to keep their
children busy with light work in the village to
sending them to school.

No social or cultural motives like the wish to
visit a cinema or to go sight-seeing seem to attract
people to Lahore. Only the anniversaries of promi-
nent saints or important fairs like the Mela
Charaghan form an exception to this rule. If

people do go to Lahore they usually walk the two
miles to the bus terminus and use the public
transport from there. Hardly any one travels by
bicycle outside the village. Some even walk all the
way into the city.

Ten per cent of the ninty-one family heads
stated that they very seldom visited Lahore itself ;
sixty per cent paid on the average two visits during
a month. Two per cent went to Lahore on every
alternate day. Sixty per cent went only to purchase
farm essentials or consumer goods. The people
who go to Lahore most are an elderly member of
the Syed family and the village headman (Namber-
dar). The Namberdar goes to the Revenue Depart-
ment and uses this opportunity to settle his
personal business. The Syed pursues his case for
the allotment of his house in the courts. Only
eighteen per cent of the people go to Lahore daily :
the bus driver, the shopkeeper, some labourers,
and those farmers who take the milk to retailers in
Wahdat Colony, Model Town, or Ichhra every
morning. The milk sellers are back in Shah-di-
Khui by 7 a.m. and then attend to their farm work.
In other words, people go to Lahore mainly because
of economic necessity. Social factors are less at
work, as the extended family and caste friends live
in neighboring villages and not in Lahore. Poli-
tical interests make only rare visits to Ichhra

To the Mews, the urban areas of Lahore are
potentially important in as far as they offer chances
of employment. But they gave up their urban jobs
as soon as they were offered employment in the
brick kilns. They have become less dependent on
their wages since they have acquired dairy buffaloes.
They want to revert to their old occupation of
working on the land. They firmly believe that
they are meant for village life. Finally joining the
class of town labourers would mean a loss of status
in the eyes of the Mews. One man in the village
who was asked what job he was doing replied
angrily, "Do you not see yourself ? Do I look like
a Jullaha?" (A Jullaha or weaver is considered of
lower status than an agriculturist).

Only the Syed and the Qureshi families have

an urban outlook, and they are strangers. They
regard the village only as a place of domicile.
They want to secure a high compensation for the
big house in which they live and for the land the
University may take over from them. They are
mobile and visit their relatives or their property in
the urban areas of Lahore. The villagers hardly
notice that they live in their midst.

The Arains feel responsible for the village as
a whole, because they consider it their own village.
They observe all the ceremonies of family life and
pay the proper visits to their relatives. The trades-
men, the Christians, and the Mews follow their
example, because they all want to be and to remain

The only corporate sense to be found in the
village is the people's pride in the village as such

and their anxiety to preserve its identity. They
want to keep up the village traditions and they are
fierce in their defence of the structure of their
families and of the position of their castes. They
have no direct contact with national issues; as
members of families, castes and local groups they
are only indirectly partners in the national heritage.
They are only interested in local problems or in
family affairs. Although they live within the ad-
ministrative range of the capital city of West
Pakistan, they lead an isolated and extremely limit-
ed existence. They are far from being discontented
and have no desire to break out of these limita-

All observations confirm the first impression
that Shah-di-Khui, although right in the urban area,
is as little urbanized as any village far away from
the city centre.



The village of Shah-di-Khui has preserved its
rural characteristics up to the year 1960. It has let
the expansion of the big city flow around it and
remained. an island of rural traditions. But now the
time has come when the village threatens to be
overwhelmed. Its traditions are not being under-
mined by spiritual or intellectual influences from the
urban surroundings, its inhabitants are not lured
away by the glamour or supposed glamour of urban
amenities. The village is now in danger of losing
the very physical ground on which it stands. Its
area forms part of the site on which the University
of the Panjab is constructing its new campus. The
villagers have no legal standing against the wishes
of the University, as they are tenants-at-will. The
villagers instituted legal proceedings against the
University in 1956 because they claimed that they
had a right themselves to be given the landowner-
ship formerly held by the Sikh landlord. Their
efforts in this respect did not succeed.

There is no argument that could defend Shah-
di-Khui's right to survival as a rural community
against the justifiable needs of the University. The
University will build its campus irrespective of what
the villagers of Shah-di-Khui may think or say.
However, there are several alternative ways in
which the University could treat its tenants in Shah-
di-Khui. Which road into the future will the
villagers be asked to take? It is not for a mere
observer, who has been asked to report on the facts,
to make the decision, but he would fail in his duty
if he did not point out the different roads.

An easy solution is the complete evacuation of
all the villagers. This road may well lead them into
the urban districts of Lahore, or they may help
swell the population of Ichhra with which they have
some connection through the common acceptance of
certain leaders. They may use their savings or any
possible compensation money to try and find a new
economic existence in the overcrowded labour

market of Lahore. They may set up small work-
shops or some small retail business. Some may
become beggars, others domestic servants, some
general labourers and others may find work with
the bullocks or buffaloes that crowd the city. They
will join the class of people who live in a town
without leading a genuine urban life. They will
sink below the subsistence level and only with luck
manage to scrape along. Some may move to other
villages, especially to the ones where members of
their own b2radari live already, they may become
tenants of a new landlord there. Or they may sell
their cattle and work as pedlars or farm hands.
They may have to lead a nomad life. Some of the
Arains may find a chance of starting anew in a
different village. The Mews seem not to be as
anxious as the Araihs about the future, because they
have once survived a social upheaval. There seems
less chance that they find new land. It is most
likely that they will become construction labourers
on some new building site, possibly even on the new
campus itself. The Syed and Qureshi families will
just move out to their property in Lahore or some
other city, their economic status will not be changed
essentially by evacuation from the village. They
may even claim compensation for the big house and
for the land allotted to them in Shah-di-Khui.

A second road may lead from Shah-di-Khui to
a new agricultural settlement of the villagers as a
group. If the University is a generous landlord, it
may help these passionate farmers to find new acres
for their traditional vocation. Or the government
may give the experienced people of a tradition-
bound village a chance of settling on newly reclaim-
ed or newly distributed land. The farmers of
Pakistan sharply compete for this chance, but it is
possible that Shah-di-Khui people will be chosen.

There is another road into the future. It is
possible that the people may not be asked to leave
the place where they now live. They may remain

on the same site and serve the University. When the
campus is constructed a great number of watchmen
and messengers will be needed. The Shah-di-Khui
people, who know the neighbourhood and who are
attached to their village, will make excellent
guardians of the peace on the new University site.
They may become University employees and may
even be given new quarters, for it is possible that
the University will plan to construct housing estates
even for its menial servants.

The University may go one step further and
decide not to uproot the farmers of Shah-di-Khui.
As independent farmers the Arains would make
excellent cattle attendants for the proposed Uni-
versity dairy farm and farm hands for the cultiva-
tion of vegetables and forage crops. The Mews,
with their tradition of market gardening, would
make first-rate malls (gardeners) for all the decora-
tive plots and gardens. In order to maintain the
new campus lawns, the trees, vegetable gardens,
the dairy farms, the botanical and zoological
gardens, on modern scientific lines, the University
will face a sharp competition from other institutions
for the supply of technical field staff. The Uni-
versity might even train its future staff by having
the villagers' children educated in the Colleges of
Agriculture or of Animal Husbandry. Money invest-
ed like that would pay in the long run. In this way,
the population of Shah-di-Khui would not be
estranged from its tradition but would be amalga-
mated with the life of the University.

There is a fifth road open. The University may
decide to found a model village with model farms
on its site. A few farmers might have to leave
Shah-di-Khui, but many would be able to stay.
This would mean that the villagers would have to
submit to the wishes of all the relevant University
departments-Agriculture and Animal Husbandry,
Economics and Commerce, Sociology and Social
Work, Geography and Town Planning. Their

houses and their farm management practices their
family life and their everyday habits would b.
raised to a model level. But even though the aca-
demic staff and the students might be doing their
best to help the people of Shah-di-Khui, some would
resent being treated as 'guinea-pigs' in a large-
scale sociological experiment.

Another road is also possible. If the village is
not turned into a new-style model, the University
could decide to preserve it as it is in order to prove
that a decent life is possible even among traditiona-
list villagers if only a few basic amenities are pro-
vided. The village could be used, for instance, to
show that the old way of building kachcha houses is
not at all unsuitable for the climate of the Punjab.
The village lanes and walls could be models of
cleanliness without being turned into urban streets.
Even the traditional agricultural implements could
be retained, some of which may well be better suit-
ed to the particular conditions of the soil than
'improved' implements. In other words, the village
could demonstrate that a new spirit is more import-
ant than new techniques, that many of the old
techniques can be adapted to modern needs. The
village could be a model not so much for modern
gadgets, but rather for all those needs the Basic
Democracies Organisation in Pakistan stands for.
As it is, the village presents a challenge to Pakistan's
welfare agencies. Right in the shadow of their
Lahore headquarters the villagers of Shah-di-Khui
seem not to have been touched by their efforts.
Shah-di-Khui might be a model of how the national
endeavour could overcome lethargy, superstition,
fatalism, lack of hygiene and other evils of unmiti-
gated traditionalism.

The decision which road Shah-di-Khui should
take rests largely with the University in its capacity
as landlord, but the decision is also the responsi-
bility of the officials of certain government depar
ments and, in a sense, of the people of Pakistan.

Printed at the Sunbeam Art Press, 41, Chamberlain Road, Lahore.

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