PEASANT MOVEMENT

  • K. Gough has classified violent peasant uprisings into five categories viz. restorative, religious, social banditry, terrorist, vengeance and armed insurrection. The revolt of 1857 was a restorative movement led by the dispos-sessed chiefs.
  • Absentee landlordism, parasitical intermediaries, the avaricious money lender-all combined to push the peasant deeper into the depth of poverty.
  • During the second half of the 19th century, 24 famines affected various parts of the country.
  • In the 19th Century peasant mobilisations were in the nature of protests, revolts, rebellions primarily aimed at loosening the bonds of feudal ex-ploitation. They protested against enhancement of rent, evictions, usuri-ous practice of money lenders. Their demands included occupancy rights, commutation of the produce rent to money rent, etc.
  • In the 20th Century, however we witness the emergence of class conscious-ness and formation of peasant organisations like lcisan sabhas'.

Indigo Revolt, 1860

  • The revolt was directed against the British planters who behaved like feu-dal lords in their estates. The revolt enjoyed the support of all categories of the rural population including the zamindars, money lenders, rich peasants and even karameharis of indigo concerns.
  • The revolt began after Hemchandra Kar, deputy magistrate, published on 17th August 1859 a proclamation to policemen that they should not inter-fere with the rights of the peasants to sow whatever they preferred.
  • It began in Govindpur village in Nadia and was led by Digamber Biswas and Bishnu Biswas.
  • Din Bandhu Mitra's novel Neel Darpan portrayed this struggle.
  • The Indigo Commission was also appointed in 1860. Their recommenda-tions were embodied in Act-VI of 1862.

Pabna (Bengal)

  • Peasants revolted when zamidars increased rent through `abwabs' (cesses) and tried to prevent them from acquiring the occupancy rights under Act of 1859 through fraudulent measurement, illegal coercion and forced eviction.
  • In May 1874, an Agrarian League was formed in Pabna. The main leader of the Agrarian League was Ishan Chandra Roy, Shambhu Pal and K. Mullah. Dwijendra Nath Tagore was the main zamindar who was affected. 
  • The discontent continued till 1885 when the government by the Tenancy Acts of 1885 enhanced occupancy rights.
  • R.C. Dutt wrote Peasantry of Bengal inl 874.

Deccan Riots, 1875

  • Due to the excessive land revenue demands of the British, the peasants fell into the lap of moneylenders. They started social boycott of the money lenders in Poona and Ahmadnagar and forcibly seized the debt bonds and set them on fire.
  • The colonial regime extended to the peasants some protection against moneylenders through the Deccan Agriculturist Relief Act of 1878.

Champaran Satyagraha

  • Tinkathia system was prevalent in the region of Champaran, whereby peas- ants were forced to cultivate indigo at non-remunerative prices in 3/20 part of their land holdings by European planters.
  • Raj Kumar Shukla contacted Gandhiji at Lucknow Congress Session of 1916. Rajendra Prasad, Anugraha Narayan Sinha, J.B.Kriplani, Mazhar-ul-Haq, Mahadeo Desai and others joined the movement.
  • The government decided to abolish the Tinkathia system.

Kheda Satyagraha 

  • Kheda Satyagraha was chiefly directed against the government. In the spring of 1918, crop failure and drought brought misery to the peasants of Kheda in Gujarat.
  • A no revenue campaign to press the remission of the state demand in case of poor harvest was started by Mohan Lal Pandya which was later taken up by Gandhi in 1918. Vailabbhai Patel and Mahadev Desai joined Gandhiji in Kheda. The goverment had to suspend the land revenue collection.

Moplah Rebellion (1921)

  • Moplahs rose in rebellion against the Hindu zamindars (Jimmis). They attacked police station, public, offices and the houses of landlords.
  • The leadership was provided by Kualtammad Haji, Ali Musaliar, etc. There were 28 outbreaks of violence between 1836 and 1919. It was suppressed by the government.

Bijolia Movement

  • In 1905 peasants of Bijolia, a jagir in Mewar started organising themselves against the excessive exactions. In 1913, they were led by a Sadhu Sitaram Das. In 1915 Bhoop Singh began organising them and was later aided by Manik Lal Verma. In 1916, they led a no-revenue movement against the Udaipur Maharana.

Eka Movement

In North-west Awadh the Tka unity movement' was started by local con-gressmen whose basic demand was communication of Batai into cash. Madari Pasi radicalised the movement.

Borsad Satyagraha 

Borsad Satyagraha was led by Sardar Patel, which was directed against the poll tax imposed on every adult. The tax was cancelled in 1924.

Bardoli Satyagrha 

  • The Patidar Yuvak Mandal had been founded in 1908 by Kunvarji Metha and Kalyanji Metha, who did social work among the dominant social peasant castes of Kanbipatidar. The Mehta brothers got Sardar Patel to organise a no-revenue movement when Bombay government hiked the revenue demand by 22 per cent in Bardoli. The Maxwell Broomfield enquiry committee was instituted.

Peasant Organisations

  • N.G. Ranga organised the agriculture labour unions in Gunter district in 1923.
  • In 1918, lndra Narayan Dwivedi set up the U.P. Kisan Sabha along with Gauri Shankar Mishra.
  • In Rae Bareilly Jhinguri Singh and Baba Ramchandra led the peasant movement. The Panchayats organised a social boycott called the `nai-dhobi bandh'.
  • J.L. Nehru, Gauri Shankar Mishra and Baba Ram Chandra founded the Avadh Kisan Sabha in 1920.
  • In 1928, the Andhra Provincial Ryots Association was formed.
  • All India Kisan Sabha was formed at Lucknow on 11 April 1936. Swami Sahajananda was its president.
  • Swami Sahajananda formed the Bihar provincial Kisan Sabha in 1929.
  • The second session of All India Kisan Sabha was held in Faizpur and was presided by N.G. Ranga.
  • In December 1936, the Congress under J.L. Nehru's presidentship in Faizpur adopted the agrarian programs.