Social Scientist. v 5, no. 56 (March 1977) p. 3.


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PRAKASH KARAT

Organised Struggles of Malabar Peasantry., I934^940

AN EARLIER ARTICLE in Social Scientist dealt with the first phase in the development of the Malabar peasant movement during the late thirties which saw the primary organizational efforts at setting up karshaka sanghams (peasant unions) at the village and taluk levels. The present article traces the second phase during which the All Malabar Karshaka Sangham launched struggles against landlordism and acquired the character of a mass movement. It also marked the final split within the Congress Party between the left and the right and the emergence of the Communist Party.

With the formation in July 1937 of a Congress ministry in Madras province the peasantry gained immense confidence in that the party to which they had given unstinted support had come to office. They looked forward to the ministry's support in their struggles against landlordism and for agrarian reforms. The advance made in north Malabar was mainly the result of militant struggles which took place in Chirakkal and Kottayam taluks on the question of feudal levies imposed by landlords on peasant cultivators. Apart from exorbitant rents, various other payments were coerced out of the tenants in the form of customary and traditional dues. Branded by the karshaka sangham as akrama pirivukal (oppressive levies), these were an integral feature of the



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