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Politics & War

Politics & War

Chhotu Ram

Chhotu Ram

Sir Chhotu Ram, (born Ram Richpal; 24 November 1881 – 9 January 1945) was a prominent politician in British India’s Punjab Province, an ideologue of the pre-Independent India, who belonged to the Jat community and championed the interest of oppressed communities of the indian Sub-continent.
For this feat, he was knighted in 1937. On political front, he was a co-founder of the National Unionist Party which ruled the United Panjab Province in pre Independent India and kept Congress and Muslim League at bay.


Chhotu Ram was born as Ram Richpal in a Hindu Jat family in the village of Garhi Sampla, Rohtak district, Punjab Province.
His parents were Chaudhari Sukhiram Singh Ohlyan and Sarla Devi. He acquired the nickname Chhotu Ram as he was the youngest of his brothers.
Chhotu Ram joined primary school in January 1891, passing out four years later. When he was around eleven years of age he married Giano Devi.


He studied for his middle school examination in Jhajjar, 12 miles from his village, then enrolled in the Christian Mission School in Delhi.
He passed his intermediate examination in 1903 and proceeded to DaulatRam College, Delhi from where he graduated in 1905 with a distinction in Sanskrit.
He gained his LLB from Agra College in 1910 and began his practice as an advocate in 1912. He started the Anglo-Sanskrit School on 26 March 1913 in Rohtak. He joined National Congress in 1916. Chhotu Ram worked as the President of the Rohtak District Congress Committee from 1916 to 1920.


He formed the Unionist Party (Zamindara League) in 1923, which was a cross-communal alliance of Hindu and Muslim agriculturists.
The Unionist Party won elections in 1935 to form the provincial government in the capital at Lahore. As revenue minister, he brought in changes in the law to stop the practice of usury (charging interest on interest).


He studied the Bhagavad Gita and was very much influenced by its philosophy. A substantial portion of his salary as minister was set aside for scholarships and stipends for economically poor but bright students.
The enactment of two agrarian laws was primarily due to his contribution


Ram died in Lahore on 9 January 1945. His body was carried back to his home in Rohtak city, where it was cremated at the Jat Heroes Memorial Anglo Sanskrit Senior Secondary School in the presence of thousands of people.
He was knighted in 1937 and was popularly known as Deen Bandhu (in Urdu as Rahbare Azam, which translates as messiah of the poor).