Social Scientist. v 1, no. 7 (Feb 1973) p. 4.


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4 SOCIAL SCIENTIST

state unit of the Communist Party which led this popular peasant uprising. As many as 4000 communists and peasant militants were killed;

more than 10,000 communist cadres and people's fighters were thrown into detention camps and jails for a period of 3-4 years; no fewer than 50,000 people were dragged into police and military camps from time to time, there to be beaten, tortured and terrorised for weeks and months together. Several lakhs of people in thousands of villages were subjected to police and military raids and to cruel lathi-charges; the people in the course of these military and police raids lost property worth millions of rupees, which were either looted or destroyed; thousands of women were molested and had to undergo all sorts of humiliations and indignities. In a word, the entire region was subjected to a brutal police and military terror for full five years, initially by the Nizam and his Razakar armed hordes, and subsequently by the combined armed forces of the Union Government and the State Government of Hyderabad. After the police action, a 50,000-strong force of armed personnel of different categories was deployed to violently suppress the movement and restore the shattered landlord rule. According to some unofficial estimates, the Government of India spent as much money and resources in Hyderabad then, as it spent in its war with Pakistan over the issue of Kashmir during the years 1947-48.

Of course, the picture is not complete without its second side, an impressive record of achievements and gains to the credit of the peasant uprising. During the course of the struggle, the peasantry in about 3000 villages, covering roughly a population of 3 million in an area of about 16,000 square miles (mostly in the three districts of Nalgonda, Warangal and Khammam) had succeeded in setting up gram raj on the basis of fighting village panchayats. In these villages, the hated landlordsó the pillars of the Nizam's autocracy in the rural areasówere driven away from their fortress-like houses {gadis) and their lands were seized by the peasantry. One million acres of land were redistributed among the peasantry under the guidance of the people's committees. All evictions were stopped and the forced labour service was abolished. The plunderous and exorbitant rates of usury were either drastically cut down, or forbidden altogether. The daily wages of agricultural labourers were increased and a minimum wage was enforced. The oppressive forest officialdom was forced to aban" don the entire forest belt, and the tribal people and the people living in the adjoining areas of these forests were able to enjoy the fruits of their labour. For a period of 12 to 18 months, the entire administration in these areas was conducted by the village peasant committees. During the course of this struggle against the Nizam's autocracy, the people could organise and build a powerful militia comprising 10,000 village squad members and about 2000 regular guerrilla squads, in defence of the peasantry against the armed attacks of the Razakars and the Nizam's police. Lakhs of peasants, for the first time in their lives, could have two regular meals a day. In short, this historic peasant rebellion shook the medieval



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