Social Issues in HP

Social evil practices such as Begar and Reet had a great influence on hilly areas.

Many social reformers and organisations took steps to remove these evil practices and became successful. Begar: Forced labour from the public, Beth: Personal Service, Kar/Athwara: Free service to the state. Rast/Rasad: Right to free provisions by the state from the public, Mansab: Grant of ranks in the army

Social issues are explained below:
BegarInitially the system may have suited well to the conditions of the hill states when the requirements of the rulers were moderate, the circulation of currency was limited and the resources of the people were very meagre. Basic premise was, all classes who cultivated the soil were obliged a portion of their labour at the desired time to ruler. Thus, the beggar system often entailed the carrying of loads and other obligations of the state in addition to land revenue. Brahmin and Rajput were exempted from these services and the burden fell mainly on the agricultural classes. The Begar system had also been prevalent in the state of Kangra, Chamba, Mandi and in Simla Hill States. Kinds of Begar: Athwara/PandBegar, Batrawal/Hallah Begar, Jaddi-Baddi or Hela-Mela, Touring Begar, Gaonsar Begar, ShikarBegar
ReetReet is a term applied to the value of clothes and ornaments given to the bride by her groom at the time of marriage. It also includes other expenses incurred by him on the marriage. When the relations between a wife and her husband become strained the married woman returns to her parent’s house and refuses to go back to her husband’s home. Then no formal divorce is affected but this declares a separation freeing her to marry another man if the father of the woman is prepared to reimburse to the first husband the amount of Reet and a rupee which is called ‘Chhed Karai’.
DumThe hill people had a tradition by which they could place their grievances before the Raja in the most non-violent manner. They would gather in large numbers and with the beat of drums they would march towards the royal palaces. The drum beating was to invite people to join the agitation and also to inform the Rajas about the coming of agitation called as DUM.
Barda FaroshiIt was the practice of dealing with the slaves, captives and servants (Barda), under which barda-froshis (slave dealers), carried captives and servants trafficking in girls and boys in plains. Women of the hills until the British influence took place, were always in great demand for the zananasor harems of the plains, and as slaves were bought at great price; the demand was probably greater than the country could supply.
Jajmani SystemUnder the Jajmani system the Kameen (person rendering the services) remains grateful to render the services through-out his life to a particular Jajman (the person to whom the services are rendered) and the Jajman in turn has the responsibility of hiring services of a kameen. The payment being made is mainly in terms of goods and commodities. The Kameen gets
 his necessities from the Jajman in return of his services.
Beth SystemBeth was an obligation to render personal service in return for certain cultivating rights. Those, who rendered this service for rulers and zamindars were known as Bethu (service tenant). The Bethu occupied and tilled land which in fact belonged to the Raja or Zamindars. He cultivated a portion for his subsistence and the remaining portion he cultivated on behalf of the Raja or zamindars who received the profits. In addition he had some responsibilities for carrying loads. The ruler naturally did not receive land revenue from the land cultivated by the bethus.
Abolition of social evilsPolicy was made by British, through which unpaid forced labour was finally prohibited in the Simla Hill States. Paid forced labour was taken only in case of tours of high officials Dak, Hela and Shikar. Only Mangal state was not able to comply till 1946 as land revenue was not paid in cash, but kind only. Finally, beggar paid or unpaid was prohibited within the territory of Himachal Pradesh in May 1948. Among the most important social reform organizations, mention may be made of the Rajput and Brahmin Sabhas, Sanatan Dharma and Arya Samaj Sabhas, Sewak Sanghas, Sudhar Sammelans, Prem Sabhas and Sewa Samities, which were mostly formed in second quarter of the twentieth century. These associations undertook to launch campaigns to remove evil customs such as Reet, untouchability and child marriage and to encourage widow remarriage.
Resentment & Revolts against Begar:
Due to continued oppression of Athwara-Begar on the part of the rulers and other officials, led to rebellions in many hill states such as in Kuthar in 1895, Keonthal in 1901, Theog in 1910-28, Khaneti in 1906, Kumarsain in 1920 and Dhami in 1937. In Keonthal state people of four northern parganas, namely Matiana, Shilli, Rajona and Chandra revolted in 1893. In 1910, the Kanets and Kolisof the state presented a petition to the settlement officer at Junga against athwara begar. The travellers like Gore ,Mrs, R.H. Tyacke and A.P.F Harcourt raised their voice against Begar in their travelogue.
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