Sardar Ajmer Singh
This article is an excerpt from S. Ajmer Singh's book "Biswi Sadi Ki Sikh Rajneeti: Ek Ghulami Se Dusri Ghulami Tak" (The Sikh Politics of the 20th Century: From One Slavery to Another)
On the circumstances emerging after the partition of Punjab, and the creation of a Self-ruled Sikh state
After the partition of India, there was a significant shuffling of the various classes in proportion to the overall population in East Punjab. The Hindus and Sikhs of Western Punjab and the northwestern border areas were forced to leave their homes and cross the border into the newly formed Indian state. And from this side of the border, the Muslim population of Eastern Punjab moved en masse to West Punjab. The displaced or uprooted Sikh families from Lyallpur, Mintgumri and Sheikhupura came and settled in their ancestral villages in the Jalandhar division. A large part of the displaced Hindu population from Pakistan went and settled in the areas lying on the other side of the river Ghaggar. This shuffling or change in the population severely affected the relations between both the Hindu and Sikh communities. In the total population of East Punjab which stood at 1 crore 25 lakhs, the population of the Hindus reached about 62 percent and the Sikhs about 35 per cent. In this manner, for the first time in the history, the Hindus became a majority in Punjab. Similarly, for the first time in history the Sikh brotherhood achieved a majority in a united area (the areas between the rivers Ravi and Ghaggar).
There is no doubt that the Sikh community suffered a lot, both in terms of lives lost and material losses as a result of the partition of Punjab, but the political avenues that this catastrophe opened up for the Sikh community, is something only an astute mind like Dr. Ambedkar's could properly assess. In February 1948, when a deputation of Sikhs apprised Dr. Ambedkar of the difficulties being faced by the Sikh community due to partition, his researched and prescient reply* was: