In 1914, the Anjuman Taraqi-e-Islam came into existence, one of its objectives was “Reclamation of Criminal Tribes” (See ROR of Feb-1916, page 76). “Reclamation of Criminal Tribes” meant that Ahmadi’s wanted to help the British in turning criminal Punjabi people into loyal citizens of the British Empire. This was how the Ahmadiyya Movement was brown-nosing the British government. 150,000 Punjabis were notified under the Criminal Tribes Act as belonging to tribes and castes whose hereditary occupation was deemed to be crime. More than any other class these criminal tribes felt the harsh impact of the colonial state, which sought to control, punish and reform them. This paper traces the evolution of a Punjab criminal tribes policy and argues that the British—assisted by the indigenous elite—achieved only partial success in assimilating these people into the wider community by 1947.
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