Rehabilitation of Refugees

Rehabilitation of Refugees

In this article , we will look deal with topic titled ‘Rehabilitation of Refugees in India after Independence.’


Due to ‘Two Nation Theory’ India was divided on religious basis resulting in

    • Mass exodus of Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan (80 lakh people migrated)
    • Brutal killings, atrocities, rapes, on both sides of the border . In many cases women were killed by their own family members to preserve the ‘family honor’.  (10 lakh people killed)


How Government settled these refugees

  • India had to rehabilitate nearly six million refugees from Pakistan.
  • Department of Rehabilitation was created.
  • Various refugee camps were set up some notable being camp at Kurukshetra (for Punjab Refugees) and Kolwada camp at Bombay (Sindh Refugees).
  • Camps such as Kurukshetra were but a holding operation. The refugees had to be found permanent homes and productive work. Thus refugees required land for permanent settlement.


Settling farmers

Leading the operations was the director general of rehabilitation, Sardar Tarlok Singh of the Indian Civil Service. A graduate of the London School of Economics, Tarlok Singh used his academic training to good effect

  • Now commenced ‘the biggest land resettlement operation in the world’. But there were problems
    • Against 2.7 million hectares abandoned by Hindus and Sikhs in West Punjab, there were only 1.9 million hectares left behind by Muslims in East Punjab.
    • Areas in the west of the province (now gone to Pakistani Punjab) had richer soils, and were more abundantly irrigated.
  • To begin with, each family of refugee farmers was given an allotment of four hectares, regardless of its holding in Pakistan. Loans were advanced to buy seed and equipment.
  • Applications were invited for permanent allotments. Each family was asked to submit evidence of how much land it had left behind. These claims were then verified in open assemblies consisting of other migrants from the same village. Expectedly, many refugees were at first prone to exaggeration. However, every false claim was punished
  • The rehabilitation on East took years and it was more difficult because of constant exodus of Hindus from East Bengal continued for years.

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