Peasant Movement

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The farmers in India had to undergo great struggle in all the states to stop exploitation by the Jagirdars and Zamindars. Some of the movements were successful, but others failed. The Kisan Sabha movement started in Bihar under the leadership of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati who had formed in 1929 the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) in order to mobilise peasant grievances against the zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights. Gradually the peasant movement intensified and spread across the rest of India. All these radical developments on the peasant front culminated in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936 with Swami Sahajanand Saraswati elected as its first President. The farmer movements also started in 1907 under the leadership of Sardar Ajit Singh and in 1921 under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were successes, but others, such as the revolts in Chauri Chaura, Avadh and Mopla, were great losses. D. D. Kosambi and R.S. Sharma, together with Daniel Thorner, brought peasants into the study of Indian history for the first time." At the global level the French Revolution had changed the course of history, as it was the working class which became the vanguard of revolution in Europe. During the first half of the 20th century, national liberation struggles started against colonisation. In these colonies, very little industry was present and their working class, if it existed at all, was still in infancy, making the impetus for these rebellions have to come from somewhere else. It was Mao's peasant revolution in China which became a catalyst for national liberation movements in many colonies, including India. Main Features of the Peasant Movement

1) To summarise, we find that the land question still remains the major question in many areas. However, as the degree of implementation of land reforms differs from one state to another, the general slogan of advancing land reforms also takes different forms in different states. 2) Establishing people’s control over common property such as minor irrigation sources (Ahar, Pokhar, Talab etc.), rivers and sandbanks etc. is a major agenda of struggle. Generally, feudals and mafia groups exercise control over them. 3) The questions of wages, equal wages for equal work for men and women, better working conditions, homestead land and pucca houses etc. are more or less common demands of the rural proletariat throughout the country. In the case of land grants it should be demanded that pattas should be issued in the names of both men and women. 4) Issues of corruption in panchayats, in block offices where money intended for relief to the rural poor or for the benefit of small and middle peasants is siphoned off by corrupt officials in league with powerful landlords and kulak groups who also control the political power are very important in popular mobilisation. 5) Tribal questions, whether they are reflected through the Jharkhand movement or in the movements of hill districts and other tribal areas of Assam, or in the girijan movement in Andhra Pradesh etc. are essentially peasant questions, and therefore usurpation of tribal land by usurers/merchants, rights over forest land and forest produce etc., are major questions in these areas. 6) Wherever the movement assumes intensity, private armies of landlords or the goons of the reactionary political parties resort to killing Party leaders and cadres and organise massacres of people. Police atrocities also invariably follow. 7) Anarchist organisations which are degenerating into money-collecting machines are indulging in a killing-spree of our cadres and people, and are using ultra-left rhetoric to the hilt to cover up their dubious links and their dirty mission of disrupting organised mass movements.

Marwar farmers’ movement

The farmers of the Marwar region are considered to be the most simple in the state of Rajasthan. The most dominating farmer community in...
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