Social Scientist. v 5, no. 50 (Sept 1976) p. 30.


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PRAKA5H KARAT

The Peasant Movement in Malahar^ i()^4-40

IN TWO earlier articles in the Social Scientist * the nature of agrarian relations in Malabar in the thirties and forties of this century was analyzed. In this article, taking this analysis as the background, the origins and rise of the class-based peasant movement in the thirties are studied in detail. Prior to this period there took place the great upsurge of the Moplah peasantry in the Malabar Rebellion of 1921. After its suppression, the tenancy movement headed by the upper strata of tenants, mainly the kanakkarans (intermediaries), was locked in a struggle with the bigjenmis (landlords) for a greater share of the surplus from the direct producer and for the overthrow of the oppressive jenmi system. However, given the nature of the kanakkaran leadership, the movement was moulded by their class outlook: appeals to the British government in the form of petitions, memorials and conferences on how to reform and modify the jenmi system. It is not intended here to delineate this phase though it is important. The present study deals with the pioneering work done to build a mass peasant movement in the class sense and not merely a tenant movement which was amorphous and dominated by the kanakkarans. The years 1934 to 1940 are enormously significant in the history of the peasant movement, marking the rise of workers' and peasants9 organizations consequent to the formation of the Congress



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