Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of Jat leader Sir Chhotu Ram (1881-1945) in Haryana
Contributions of Sir Chhotu Ram:
• British Army Recruitments: Chhotu Ram helped in the British Army recruitment effort in both the World Wars. For example, he was instrumental in the recruitment of 22,144 Jats from Rohtak area.
• Peasants and Farmers: He sought to articulate the suffering of the peasantry. His basic thesis was that farming was the primary human activity.
• Major Legislations: He helped in passing Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act, 1929, which remains a landmark social legislation till date.
• Registration of Moneylenders: With his efforts, it became mandatory for moneylenders to register themselves, without which they could not advance loans or prosecute farmers.
• Restoration of land: All land attached and sold after June 8, 1901, and mortgaged for 37 years, was restored to its owners. Farmers were required only to give an application on plain paper to the district collector.
• Mandi Act: The Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act was passed in 1939. Popularly called the Mandi Act, it provided for the constitution of market committees in notified areas, and helped free the farmer from exploitation.
• Land Consoldation: A consolidation of land holdings was undertaken after passing the Consolidations Holding Act, 1936, amended in 1945.
• Not only were all these laws passed; Chhotu Ram also ensured their implementation.
• Titles held: A grateful peasantry rewarded him with the titles of Deen-bandhu and Rahbar-e-Azam. The British honoured him with a knighthood in 1937.