The Irish dimension
in Servants of the empire
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This chapter examines the identity and influence of individual Irishmen. The questions of land tenure, rural poverty, agrarian unrest, the development of strong links between such matters and political power and nationalism, were common to both Ireland and India during the period 1881-1921. Agriculture was the main means of subsistence for 50 per cent of Punjab's population, and the province was essentially a country of peasant proprietors. When the British in their turn took over from the Sikhs, they had already learned much about revenue collection, sometimes from mistakes made in other provinces. The collection of revenue had become more peremptory over the years since the days in which John Lawrence and his several Irish subordinates had actively defended indigenous institutions and the rights of the landholder. Moneylenders now increasingly demanded agricultural property as collateral and tried to confiscate or buy peasants' fields.

Servants of the empire

The Irish in Punjab, 1881–1921


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