The Politics after Chhotu Ram (1945-1957)

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Although, Ch. Ranbir Singh Hooda, son of Ch. Matu Ram of Sanghi village had a longer period of participation in the freedom movement than did Ch. Devi Lal, the latter was more quick in seizing initiatives for leading local agitations.

Team Haryana First

Rohtak: When Ch. Chhotu Ram died in 1945, the mantle of leadership of the Zamindar League fell on Ch. Tika Ram of Sonepat, who succeeded as Minister his mentor in the Government of the Unionist Party in Punjab. Ch. Tika Ram did not have the political acumen of Ch. Chhotu Ram, more interested as he was in the educational field and social service than in organizing the peasant politics. He became the founder of Chhotu Ram Zamindar High School and Chhotu Ram Arya College at Sonepat, to which task he devoted himself after losing the Assembly election from Sonepat constituency to Ch. Lehri Singh in 1946.

New Crop of Jat leadership

The emergency of new Jat leadership of the peasantry community was witnessed in Rohtak, Hisar and Karnal district. In the Sonepat Tehsil of Rohtak district alone there came up stalwarts like Ch. Lehri Singh and Ch. Mukhtiar Singh, both from the same village, Pandit Chiranji Lal and Ch. Rizak Ram. More important than any of these leaders emerged from a border village of Haryana, Chautala, the two brothers, namely, Ch. Sahib Ram and Ch. Devi Lal. This Chautala family had its initial association with the Congress party; Ch. Devi Lal took active part in the Freedom Movement. Although, Ch. Ranbir Singh Hooda, son of Ch. Matu Ram of Sanghi village had a longer period of participation in the freedom movement than did Ch. Devi Lal, the latter was more quick in seizing initiatives for leading local agitations. Professor Sher Singh came into prominence after he defeated Zamindar League candidate in 1946 election of the Punjab Assembly.

1945 to 1966 (Haryana Formation)

From 1945 to the creation of Haryana in 1966, the role of the legislators from the Haryana region was only to act as a pressure group to counter the Akali Dal, which was all the time pressing for a separate Punjabi Suba. The Akali Dal’s politics was to back whosoever agreed to favour the Punjabi Language as the official language of the state. The Hindu Mahasabha of Punjab and the Arya Samaj of Haryana region wanted safeguards for the Hindi-speaking people of Punjab. As a safeguard for their own interests, the Punjabi-speaking Hindus raised the slogan of Maha Punjab, which was meant to include some areas from Rajasthan and U.P as well. As a counter move to this, the Jats and their allies in the Haryana region raised the slogan of Vishal Haryana or Maha Dilli, which was desired to include, besides the Ambala Division of Punjab (Haryana region), Delhi, westeran UP and parts of Rajasthan.

Prof Sher Singh, Devi Lal & Ranbir Singh

An M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Delhi, Professor Sher Singh had taught from some years at the All India Jat Heroes Memorial College at Rohtak before he contested the Punjab Assembly election in 1946. Ch. Devi Lal had joined political activism right after his school education, fighting for the cause of the peasantry in Punjab, later taking an active part in the Freedom Movement. The two together took up the cause of Haryana and pursued it relentlessly. While Sher Singh was more committed to the Arya Samaj movement, Ch. Devi Lal had a greater commitment to the farming community.

Ch. Ranbir Singh Hooda was equally committed to the Arya Samaj and to the Congress Swatantra Party. Unlike Prof Sher Singh and Ch. Devi Lal, and before them Ch. Chhotu Ram, he would not quit the party for any regional or casteist cause. He has remained a true servant of the Congress party.

Prof Sher Singh and Ch. Devi Lal remained rebels all through their political careers, fighting for the causes dear to them, Ch. Ranbir Singh Hooda, carrying the family tradition of total loyalty, remained a staunch party worker. He did get his reward in his long political career, but never attained the halo of a popular hero.

Ch. Lal Chand & Seth Chhaju Ram

The families of Ch. Lal Chand and Seth Chhaju Ram, after their early participation in the Jat and the Arya Samaj politics, had settled in business, both becoming creators of the leading business—houses one time or another. Ch. Lal Chand got a bad name by betting too close to the British rulers. Leaders like Sri Ram Sharma, Ch. Chand Ram did enjoy the importance as leaders of their communities, but could not raise a force behind them to represent the region.

Creation of Haryana

The creation of Haryana was not just a byproduct of the Akali agitation’s success in securing a Punjabi-speaking state, a parallel move, albeit less powerful than that of the Akalis, was always afoot in the Hindi-speaking region, mostly headed by Prof. Sher Singh and Ch. Devi Lal.

Disclaimer: The content is extracted from Power Politics in Haryana by Bhim S Dahiya.

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