Social Scientist. v 16, no. 183 (Aug 1988) p. 1.

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Editorial Note

Much of the current number of Social Scientist is taken up by articles which discuss historical phenomena, making use of literature as source material. The lead article by Atlury Murali takes a close look at a number of Telugu literary works of the twenties and the early thirties of this century as symptomatising the changing perceptions and radicalisation of the National Movement in Andhra during the period. The growth of the National Movement in Andhra had reached a critical stage when the tremors of the distant Bolshevik Revolution reached its shores. In the aftermath of the Non-Cooperation Movement, nationalists had turned their attention to the burning social issues of the time, and to the need for striking roots among the peasantry by articulating its demands and aspirations. This provided an apposite context for the radicalising ideas of the Bolshevik Revolution to have their impact upon the perceptions of the intelligentsia. Three district trends of thought can be found reflected in the mirror of the literature of the period: a bourgeois nationalist trend, a romantic trend, and a radical trend. It was under the pressure of the radical elements, in Andhra and elsewhere, that the Congress finally came to adopt poorna swaraj as its goal. A large section of the radical nationalists in Andhra turned towards Socialist and Communist ideas at a later date, in the thirties, after their disappointment over the outcome of the Gandhi-led struggle of 1930-31.

Atis Dasgupta's article on the perception of insurgent peasants in Bengal relates to a much earlier period, the late eighteenth century, but also bases itself on literary sources. His focus of attention is two peasant uprisings of the period: the protracted Fakir-Sannyasi uprising of 1761-1800, and the Rangpur uprising of 1783. Each of these had a near-contemporary Bengali verse written about it, Majnu Shaher Hakikat and Rangpurer Jager Gan, which Dasgupta analyses for throwing light on the consciousness of the insurgent peasants. Interesting differences emerge between the two cases: while the target of the Rangpur uprising was not the Company as such, which operated at several removes and even projected itself in a benign role, but upstart intermediaries who acted on its behalf, the Fakir-Sannyasi rebellion

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