Modern India History:
Peasant Movements—1857-1947 (I)
Indigo Revolt (1859-60)
Revolt in bengal
Forced by the planters to take advance money and enter into fraudulent contracts
which were then used against the peasants
Digambar Biswas and Bishnu Biswas of Nadia district
Tabna Agrarian Leagues
1870s and 1880s, large parts of Eastern Bengal witnessed agrarian unrest caused
by oppressive practices of the zamindars
Yusufshahi Pargana in Patna district
Struggles spread throughout Patna and to other districts of East Bengal.
The main form of struggle was that of legal resistance. There was very little
In 1885, the Bengal Tenancy Act was passed.
Young Indian intellectuals support-Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, R.C. Dutt and the
Indian Association under Surendranath Banerjee.
Heavy taxation under the Ryotwari system
Peasants found themselves trapped in an endless network with the moneylender
as the exploiter and the main beneficiary.
Money lenders mostly outsiders including Marwaris or Gujaratis.
In 1874, the growing tension between the moneylenders, and the peasants
resulted in a social boycott movement organised by the ryots against the “outsider”
Spread rapidly to the villages of Poona, Ahmednagar, Sholapur and Satara.
Transformed into agrarian riots with systematic attacks on the moneylender’s
houses and shops.
The Deccan Agriculturists Relief Act was passed in 1879 in order to maintain
peace and harmony.
The Kisan Sabha Movement
Taken by the active members of Home Rule League in UP – Gauri Shankar Misra,
Indra Narain Dwivedi supported by Madan Mohan Malviya.
The UP Kisan Sabha, set up in 1918, had established 450 branches in 173 tehsils
of the province by mid-1919.
In the mid-1920, Baba Ramchandra emerged as the leader of peasants in Avadh
and led a few hundred tenants from Jaunpur and Pratapgarh districts to Allahabad
and apprised Jawaharlal Nehru of the conditions of the peasants.
Nehru made several visits to the rural areas and developed close contacts with the
Kisan Sabha Movement.
Late 1920 an alternative Awadh Kisan Sabha at Pratapgarh with the efforts of
Jawahar lal Nehru, Mata Badal Pande, Baba Ram Chandra, Dev Narayan Pande,
and Kedar Nath bringing under its umbrella over 330 Kisan Sabhas.
The Sabha exhorted peasants to refuse to till bedakhali land; not to offer har and
begar ( forms of unpaid labour), boycott those who did not accept these conditions
and to solve their disputes through panchayats.
In 1921, the nature of peasant movement underwent a marked change with
peasants indulging in looting of bazaars, houses, granaries and clashes with the
police. The Government easily suppressed these outbreaks of violence & passed
the Awadh Rent ( Amendment ) Act which though brought little relief to the tenants.
Towards the end of 1921, peasant discontent surfaced again in the districts of
Hardoi, Bahraich and Sitapur
Causes-Relating to the extraction of a rent that was generally 50 percent higher
than the recorded rent.
Congress and Khilafat leaders provided the initial thrust to the peasant grievances
and the movement grew under the name Eka or unity movement.
With grass-root leadership not in favour of non- violence taking over the
movement, the authorities succeeded in bringing it to an end.
The Kisan movements were also over shadowed by the Non-Cooperation
Movement in UP.
Muslim tenants inhabiting the surging where most of the landlords were Hindus.
Particularly encouraged by the demand or the local Congress body for a
government legislation regulating tenant- landlord relations.
Mappila movement merged with the ongoing Khilafat agitation.
Khilafat-Non-Cooperation Movement like Gandhi, Shaukat Ali and Maulana Azad
addressed Mappila meetings.
Worse in August 1921 when the arrest of a respected priest leader, Ali Musaliar
By December 1921, all resistance had come to a stop.
Surat district had witnessed intense politicisation after the coming of Gandhi on the
national political scene.
Sparked off in January 1926 when the authorities decided to increase the land
revenue by 30 per cent.
In February 1926, Vallabhbhai Patel was called to lead the movement.
The women of Bardoli gave him the title of “Sardar”.
Under Patel, the Bardoli peasants resolved to refuse payments of the revised
Bardoli Satyagraha Patrika was brought out to mobilise public opinion.
K.M. Munshi and Lalji Naranji resigned from the Bombay Legislative Council in
support of the movement.
Gandhi stand for emergency
The Civil Disobedience Movement which took the form of no-rent, no-revenue
movement in many areas.
India Kisan Congress Sabha
Founded in Lucknow in April 1936
Swami Sahjanand Saraswati as the president and N.G. Ranga as the general
Held their sessions in Faizpur in 1936.
Peasants Activity in Provinces
Peasants Mobilised mainly by the congress socialist activists.
Existence of Karsak Sanghams-Peasants Organisations
Popular methods-Marching of jaths to the landlords for their acceptance of
Malabar Tenancy Act-1938 (Significant campaign by the peasants)
Many provincial ryot associations were active.
N.G. Ranga had set up the India Peasants’ Institute in 1933.
After 1936, the Congress socialists started organising the peasants.
At many places, the summer schools of economics and politics were held and addressed
by leaders like P.C. Joshi, Ajoy Ghosh and R.D. Bhardwaj.
Sahjanand Saraswati was joined by Karyanand Sharma, Yadunandan Sharma, Rahul
Sankritayan, Panchartan Sharma, Jamun Karjiti.
In 1935, the Provincial Kisan Conference adopted the anti-zamindari slogan.
The Provincial Kisan Sabha developed a rift with the Congress over the bakasht
land issue because of an unfavorable government resolution which was not acceptable
to the sabha.
The movement ceased to exist by August 1939.
Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha, the Kirti Kisan Party, the Congress and the Akalis.
A new direction to the movement was given by the Punjab Kisan Committee in 1937.
The main targets of the movement were the landlords of western Punjab who dominated
the unionist ministry.
The immediate issues taken up were resettlement of land revenue in Amritsar and Lahore
and increase in water rates in canal colonies of Multan and Montgomery where feudal
levies were being demanded by the private contractors.
Mainly concentrated in Jullundur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Lyallpur and Shekhupura.
DURING THE WAR
The AIKS was split on communist and non-communist lines and many veteran leaders
like Sahianand, Indulal Yagnik and N.G. Ranga left the sabha.
But the Kisan Sabha continued to work among the people and helped outstandingly
during the famine of 1943.
an independence campaign initiated in Bengal by the Kisan Sabha
The Flood Commission recommendations of tebhaga two-third share to the bargardars,
the share croppers also known as bagehasi or adhyar, instead of the one-half share.
The central slogan was “nij khamare dhan tolo” which means sharecroppers taking the
paddy to their own threshing floor and not to the jotedar’s house, as before, so as to
The storm centre of the movement was north Bengal, principally among Rajbanshis, a
low caste of tribal origin.
Muslims also participated in large numbers.
The movement dissipated soon, because of the League, ministry’s sop of the Bargardari
Bill, an intensified repression, the popularisation of the Hindu Mahasabha’s agitation for
a separate Bengal and renewed riots in Calcutta which ended the prospects of
sympathetic support from the urban sections.
Biggest peasant guerrilla war of modern Indian history.
The princely state of Hyderabad under Asajahi Nizams
Combination of religious-linguistic domination.
Total lack of political and civil liberties, grossest forms of forced exploitation by
deshmukhs, jagirdars, doras i.e. Landlords in forms of forced labour i.e. Vethi and
Wartime exactions, abuse of rationing, excessive rent and vethi.
July 1946 -deshmukh’s thug murdered a village militant in jangaon taluq of nalgonda.
Spread to warrangal and kharnmam.
The peasants organised themselves into village sanghams, and attacked using lathis,
stone slings and chilli powder.
Faced brutal repression.
Greatest intensity between august 1947 and september1948.
The peasants brought about a rout of the razaqars, the nizam’s storm troopers.
The telangana movement had many positive achievement to its credit.
Vethi and forced labour disappeared, agricultural wages were raised, illegally seized
lands were restored, steps were taken to fix ceilings and redistribute lands, measures to
improve irrigation and fight cholera.
An improvement in the condition of women.
The autocratic-feudal regime of india’s biggest princely state
The formation of andhra pradesh on linguistic lines.