The Samyukta Kisan Morcha is celebrating 23rd February as Pagri Sambhal Diwas, honouring the memory of Ajit Singh-founder of the Pagri Sambhaal Movement, 1907.

  • Indian Farmer unions part of the ongoing protests in Delhi claim that farm laws passed by the Indian Parliament will ultimately force them to sell their land to corporates. It was a similar complaint that fueled the farm protests in the year 1907.
  • About Pagri Sambhal Movement
    • The Pagri Sambhal Movement was a successful farm agitation that forced the British government to repeal 3 laws related to agriculture back in the year 1907.
    • The Punjab Land Alienation Act of 1900 (Under British India), Punjab Land Colonisation Act of 1906 and the Doab Bari Act of 1907.
    • These acts would reduce farmers from owners to contractors of land, and gave the British government the right to take back the allotted land if the farmer even touched a tree in his field without permission.
  • Slogan
    • The slogan of the Mvement is Pagdi Sambhal Jatta, the name of the movement, was inspired by the song by Banke Lal, the editor of the Jang Sayal newspaper.
  • Protest
    • The protests were violent and the protestors ransacked government buildings, post offices, banks, overturning telephone poles and pulling down telephone wires.
  • Leader of the Agitation
    •  Ajit Singh was the uncle of Bhagat Singh, was force behind this agitation.
    • Ajit Singh wanted to channel people’s anger over the farm laws to topple the colonial government.
    • Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh, with their revolutionary friend Ghasita Ram, formed Bharat Mata Society, aiming to mobilise this unrest into a revolt against the British government.
      • Many young revolutionaries like Sufi Amba Prasad, Zia-ul-Haq, Lal Chand Falak, Din Dayal Banke, Kishan Singh and Lala Ram Saran Das were among the members of Bharat Mata Society.
  • Sardar Ajit Singh
    • He was born on 23rd February, 1881 Ajit Singh was an Indian revolutionary, an Indian dissident and a nationalist during the colonial era.
    • Ajit Singh was an inspiration to Indian revolutionaries and his nephew Bhagat Singh.
  • Work
    • Ajit Singh openly criticised the colonial government and was amongst the early protests in Punjab.
    • With his brother Kishan Singh, worked among the people in famine-stricken regions like Barar (Madhya Pradesh) and Ahmedabad and in flood-and-earthquake-affected areas of Srinagar and Kangla in the year 1905.
    • Ajit Singh launched the Bharat Mata Book Agency ( part of Bharat Mata Society), which, because of its strident anti-government, propagandist publications, attracted the attention of the British government.
    • Ajit Singh built a network of solidarity with people who were struggling for India’s liberation in different parts of Europe. He also founded in this period the Indian Revolutionary Association (Bharatiya Krantikari Sangh).
  • Exile
    • In May 1907, Ajit Singh along with Lala Lajpat Rai was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.
    • However, due to great public pressure and apprehension of unrest in the Indian Army, both of them were released in October 1907.
  • Escape
    • In the year 1909, Ajit Singh along with Sufi Amba Prasad escaped to Iran and lived in a self-imposed exile for 38 years.
  • Death:
  • In March 1947, Ajit Singh returned to India and died on 15th August 1947, the day India gained independence at Dalhousie, Punjab.

Note

  • During the medieval period, only noblemen were allowed to wear a turban but during the Sikh revolution in the 17th century, Shri Guru Gobind Singh declared it as a symbol of defiance.
    • He subverted the selectiveness of a turban, providing the common man with a way to claim and assert their own self-esteem.
    • Pagri (Turban) represents the dignity of the common man.
  • In the year 1907, Pagri Sambhal Jatta was a call to not let the Pagri fall, literally and figuratively.