What's new

British and Post independence legacy of canal system in Punjab, Sindh - Pakistan after 75 years (in depth history)

Maula Jatt

Jul 24, 2021
United States
As our country is going through massive floods, I saw a lot of people on Pdf talking about canal system to counter floods, so thaught people might find this interesting as it goes through the history, "science" behind it , societal changes etc

Changed the title as eventhough British started the canal work but they solely weren't responsible for current canal system as post pakistan especially under ayub Khan our canal system expanded a lot


- Canal system works on gravity flow and design, there's no machinery involved
- historically only lands along the rivers (like Nile) were used for farming and places couple KM's outside these fertile lands were called "bar"

- after canal system irrigated the bar regions in couple decades agricultural land went from 30 lakh acreage to 1 crore 40 lakh acreage- population explosion followed (pakistan in 60s was less populated than England not UK but england, now we are 2,3 times thier population)

- survey of India department was made by the British whose sole purpose was to properly map the lands, it's steepness etc and than plan routes for the canal system based on that

- no heavy machinery was used for building this canal system, only manual labor and donkeys

- both local men and donkeys were used and also men from tribal areas/waziristan we're employed as labor

- there's no canal system in Britain, so they were learning on the job too

As a colonial entity, what incentive did the British have to make such an investment?

British wanted to use local resources to run the Raj instead of importing directly from Britain as that was unsustainable, expensive

as punjab was the last province to Fall under the British Raj , seeing the untapped land, water resources, British built 9 waterways and 9 kanol colonies and distributed the land among the local people basically for free

This was a political bribe for the newly annexed land to make them loyal towards the British rule

Agricultural tribes (Martial race, so men they'd recruit for army) from heavily populated districts of sialkot, gujaranwala , Gujrat we're prioritized to populate the bar regions

Politcal reasons
Russia annexed CAR and was fast approaching towards annexing Afghanistan , British feared Russians might try to destabilize British Raj through Afghanistan
, To counter that they needed to keep the people of the region happy

Sociol changes

Society of bar regions went from animal herding to agrarian society , newly settled agricultural tribes would derogatorily call the local people of bar regions "jaangli"


officials giving out land to people would usually touch a mans hand to see if he is a farmer or not and can he Indeed populate the Land?

Families with many sons were preferred and were granted more land, famlies with many daughters were usually ignored

1960s IWT

Sutlej, Ravi Rivers were blocked by India (blacked out) according to this treaty - Pakistan devaloped link canal to shift water from one canal system and bring it into the Ravi River system and parts of Sutlej


South Punjab was saved from becoming barren after using the Indus river (first river all the way on the other side) through a interlinked canal system

Con (POV of Sindh united party)

Indus river is primary source of water for Sindh, using it to save South punjab from becoming barren is leading to issues in Sindh - soil arrosion in coastal regions, people forced to becoming fishermen etc eventhough previously they used to work as farmers, water scarcity, natural lakes of Sindh were effected

Indus water treaty was bad for Sindh

After pakistan

Many dams we're built, canal system was upgraded and it's performance increased

@ghazi52 @araz @The Eagle @The Accountant @That Guy @Irfan Baloch @PanzerKiel @AgNoStiC MuSliM @Imran Khan @PAKISTANFOREVER @waz @Windjammer @WinterFangs @KaiserX @niaz @farok84 @AZADPAKISTAN2009 @MastanKhan @krash @FOOLS_NIGHTMARE @Bilal Khan (Quwa) @Cookie Monster @Bratva @Foxtrot Alpha @Rafael @Rafi @Trango Towers @Indus Pakistan @Falcon26 @Norwegian @LeGenD @Iltutmish @notorious_eagle @Akh1112 @mingle @AZADPAKISTAN2009 @Horus @Ark_Angel @SQ8 @Goenitz @messiach @TaimiKhan @SecularNationalist @farok84 @Blacklight @Meengla @Ahmet Pasha @White and Green with M/S @Dalit @ARMalik @Zibago @Jango @untitled @Reichsmarschall @Bleek @Dual Wielder @Smoke @RescueRanger @Trango Towers @Asimzranger @FuturePAF @Imad.Khan @forcetrip @baqai @blain2
@Wood @Varunastra @khail007 @N.Siddiqui @kingQamaR @PakAlp @Khan2727 @Great Janjua @VCheng @SIPRA
@Paitoo @lastofthepatriots @Mirzali Khan @TNT @Valar.

Correct section
Last edited:


May 7, 2011
Britishers definitely did some good here and there, though they almost never were solely for the betterment of the local populace, as you mentioned more a bribe to gain loyalty in a troubled area.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom