Social Scientist. v 8, no. 96 (July 1980) p. 28.


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S K MITTAL KAPIL KUMAR

Anti-Feudal and Anti-Colonial Struggles of the Oudh Peasantry in Early igsos

RECENT researches1 have exploded the myth that the Indian peasantry has been docile, passive, non-revolutionary and bogged down in the quagmire of superstitions. Its struggles against colonialists and their allies began soon after the intrusion of the British into the agrarian structure of India, effected by the acquisition of Diwani rights in 1765. These struggles, beginning with the Sanyasi rebellion in 1772, were numerous,2 spreading over a period of nearly one and a quarter centuries upto the first world war.

The war along with the world revolutionary wave unleashed by the Great October Revolution, dealt a powerful blow to the structure of imperialism.3 The masses grew restive as the plunder and exploitation of imperialism stood unmasked. The peasants' discontent would have erupted into violent outbursts in Champaran and Kheda but for Gandhi's intervention. The countryside in Oudh was seething with dissatisfaction owing to the ruthless exploitation by the lords of the land—the taluqdars,, the relics of the feudal nobility—who maltreated the tiller of the soil. The settlement officer of a highly developed district of Oudh stated categorically:

^The cultivators, the asamis, arc the villeins of the Middle Ages and the Lord of the Manor reckons them amongst his goods



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