Peasants in Revolt
ALL THOSE who are in any way interested in the peasant movement will difinitely feel indebted to Kapil Kumar for bringing out this well documented and extermely informative monograph Peasants in Revoh* dealing so exhaustively with a wave of peasant struggles that took place in a part of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the immediate post-First World War years (1920-22).
The peasants not only revolted against the enormous excesses of the Taluqdari System but for the first time formed their own organisation against the oppressors—the Kisan Sabha—under the banner of which they started their struggles. The peasant struggles erupted repeatedly therafter—in the thirties, during the years of the Second World War and as a part of the country-wide post-war upsurge with the Telangana peasant uprising as its high watermark. It was no accident of history, in view of these glorious struggles, that the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was founded in Lucknow in 1936.
A full and authentic account of these waves of struggle will certainly be of immense value to all those who are involved in the peasant movement, and who therefore need to draw proper lessons from these. glorious page of history. One has to know why the movements died down and, why, today, the kisan movement is so weak in these very areas; why the glorious unity between various castes and communities which characterised these struggles has given way to different groups of peasants lining up behind leaders of their particular castes and communities; and why U P which gave birth to the Kisan Sabha has now one of the weakest organised peasant movements in the country, whose centres have shifted to Bengal, Kerala, Andhra and Punjab.
It is good that^agrarian problems and movements, have attracted, the interst of emiment social historians like Kapil Kumar, and one would expect more such painstaking and commendable efforts to follow. The only pity is that these articles and monographs remain confined to our erudite scholars and elite institutions and libraries and do not reach the workers of the peasant movement. Some of the most learned and brilliant works are priced so high that they are beyond the reach of those who can make the best use of them. Is it
*Kapil Kumar, Peasants in Revolt (Manohar Publication)