Chapter 28: PEASANT MOVEMENTS IN THE 1930's AND 40's


The great depression had affected the price of the produce which was reduced by nearly 50% but other factors like taxes and rent were still the same. This caused lot of stress on the farmer. The civil disobedience movement was launched and the farmers were asked to not pay rent or only pay 50% of it. The government repression was harsh on them. The young militant people were developed here.

They were influenced by the leftist ideology by Nehru and Bose and the communist, socialist group. After the movement was withdrawn these people were looking for an outlet to their anger. The kisan leaders then formed All India Kisan Sabha as an answer. The kisan manifesto was made and given to the congress. This was important to the influencing of agrarian program of the congress.

Faizpur session was the first session of congress in a rural area. It was presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru. Sane guruji worked hard to make in a success. The resolutions passed were related to peasant welfare, minimum wage for landless agriculture labor.

The main activities of kisan Sabha were to educate and organize the peasants. Exhort them to attend meetings, pass resolutions on key demands. Agitate to get rights. Organize cultural shows to create awakening. The main demands of kisan like rent relief, no forcible eviction and no illegal duties were taken up by the kisan sabhas. A march to the district headquarters was arranged to present demands to the authorities.

Tebhanga Movement

Here the tebhanga agitation was the most popular. The share cropper of Bengal demanded that the share of jotedar of the produce should be reduced from half to one third. Also the cultivators wanted to store the produce in their godown's and not of the jotedar's.

Second World war

The rising tide of peasant awakening was checked by the outbreak of WW-II. Here the congress ministries resigned and severe repression was unleashed by the government. When Hitler declared war on Soviet Union the communist party took a pro war stance. This created a rift between non communists and communists in the kisan Sabha. The call given by the main brass to stay away from the Quit India movement was seen as an alienating factor.

Features of the Kisan movement

The main features of the kisan movements were that they led to post independence agrarian reforms. Even though the demands of these movements were only related to immediate economic grievances and not the national struggle but they were important. 

They were not directed at overthrowing the agrarian structure but reforming its oppressive parts only. The national struggle had influenced the peasants struggle and he too used methods like Satyagraha and civil disobedience. The methods were non violent too.

The national movements had created an awakening and politicized the farmers which then led to peasant struggles.