Responses to Class and Caste Oppression in Thanjavur District^ ig^.o-^2
DURING the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the oppression and worsening conditions of the peasantry was fought through individual acts of protest and sometimes revolutionary terrorism, which were spontaneous and usually directed against the immediate exploiter—the moneylender, the tax-collector or the landlord's agent. It was after the First World War and, in particular, during the 1930s and 1940s that the peasantry in different parts of India widened its base of struggle, sharpened and clarified its demands, and developed and organised into a movement. It was during this period that the need and possibility for the formation of an all-India peasant organization also emerged and the All India Kisan Sabha (AKS) was formed in 1936.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PEASANT MOVEMENT
By the fourth Congress of the AIKS in 1939, it had a membership of 800,000 and it summed up its experience as follows:
"The past year has witnessed a phenomenal awakening and growth of organisational strength of the Kisan of India. Not only have the peasants taken a much greater part than ever before in the general democratic movement in the country, but they have also awakened to a consciousness of their position as a class dcsparately trying to exist in the face of ruthless feudal-