The Peasant Movement in Modern Indian History - Daily Current Affair Article

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At present, the movement of farmers is going on pan India level due to the new Agricultural Acts. Recently, farmers demonstrated against these agricultural acts in Delhi. Even in colonial India many times farmers have agitated due to their demand.


  • Recently the new Agricultural Acts have been introduced by the government. As a result of these Acts, the anger of the farmers has come out as a demonstration in the whole country. The farmer is not only the food provider of the country but they have also contributed significantly to India's freedom movement.
  • There are many times in modern Indian history when the farmers have put their demands before the governments by agitating at different times.

The peasant movement in modern Indian history

Indigo movement: -

  • This movement started in 1859 in Govindpur village of Bengal. The farmers of Bengal wanted to cultivate rice in their fields but European were forcing them to cultivate indigo.
  • In this situation, the peasants led by local leaders Digambar Vishwas and Vishnu Vishwas started a movement. All farmers, either Hindus or Muslims, were involved in this movement. Finally, the government had to close the indigo plant and the government constituted the indigo commission in 1860 and ordered an inquiry. The decision of the Commission was in favor of the farmers.
  • This movement is described by Deenbandhu Mitra in his play Neeladarpan.

Pabana Movements

  • This movement started against the exploitation of the farmers by the zamindars in 1873 -76. In this, the farmers formed an association named "Kisan Sangh" in Yusufshahi Pargana of Pabana district. Ishana Chandra Rai, Keshav Chandra Rai were the main leaders of this movement.
  • This movement was against the zamindars and moneylenders but not against colonialism. Leaders like Bakim Chandra Chatterjee, Dwarikanath Ganguly supported it.

Deccan Revolt:

  • The agrarian movement was not confined to North India alone, but it also spread to the south as the moneylender in Maharashtra's Poona and Ahmednagar districts were exploiting the peasants, with the government raising the tax under the Ryaytwari system. The taxes raised due to the American civil war of 1864, were not reduced even after the end of the war, then the anger of the farmers increased.
  • At the same time, in December 1874, a moneylender Kaluram obtained a decree auctioning the house against the farmer (Baba Sahib Deshmukh). On this, the farmers started the movement. In this, farmers refused to buy goods from Mahajan, moneylender shops, work in their homes, and work in their fields.
  • To pacify this movement, the government protected farmers against moneylenders by the "Deccan Farmers Relief Act".

Champaran Satyagrah: -

  • This movement started in a place called Champaran in Bihar to protest against the Tinkathia system. In this system, the British planters had signed a contract with the farmers of Champaran, under which farmers were required to cultivate indigo on 3 / 20th of the land.
  • By the discovery of chemical dyes ended the indigo market in the late 19th century. But the planters made illegal collection from the farmers to stop indigo cultivation.
  • Local leaders invited Gandhiji in this movement. After the arrival of Gandhiji, this movement became the subject of discussion at the national level.
  • The government and the planters had to listen to the farmers' side. The government constituted a commission to pacify this movement, in which Gandhiji was also made a member and the planters relied on returning 25% of the illegal recovery.

Mopla Peasant Revolt: -

  • This peasant revolt was against the landlords. The Mopla farmers were from the Muslim community and the zamindars belonged to the Hindu community, so the colonial government attempted to give this movement a communal frame.
  • Initially this rebellion was against the British rule. This movement was supported by leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Shaukat Ali, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. 'Ali Musaliyar' was the main leader of this movement. This movement was contemporary to the non-cooperation and Khilafat movement.

Kheda Satyagraha

  • This movement started in Kheda (Gujarat) in 1918 when the government was collecting tax even after crop wastage. This movement was led by Gandhiji and Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel.
  • To pacify this movement, Gandhiji said that the farmers incapable of paying rent should not be recovered while the farmers capable of paying rent will give the entire tax voluntarily.

Farmer Movement in Uttar Pradesh:

  • Kisan Sabha was formed in Uttar Pradesh in February 1918 as a result of the efforts of the Home Rule League activists and the direction of Madan Mohan Malaviya. In the last days of 1919, the organized rebellion of the peasants came out openly.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru also gave moral support to this organization. In the Hardoi, Bahraich, and Sitapur districts of Uttar Pradesh, the farmers of Awadh started a movement called 'Eka Andolan' to increase the revenue and collect the revenue as yield.

Bardoli Satyagraha

  • This movement also started due to an increase in taxes. It started in 1928 in Bardoli, Surat.
  • Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel emerged as a national leader in this movement. In this, he refused to pay taxes and also used social boycott of the farmers who paid the tax to the government.

Tebhaga Movement:

  • The Tebhaga Movement of Bengal in 1946 was the most powerful in the peasant movement, in which the farmers started a struggle to reduce the rate of rent to one-third as per the recommendation of the 'Floud Commission'.
  • The 'Tebhaga Movement' of Bengal was to provide two-thirds of the crop to the oppressed sharecroppers. The leaders of this movement were Kampram Singh and Bhavan Singh.

Telangana movement:

  • Telangana was a part of the princely state of Hyderabad at this time. It was started by the Communist Party in 1946 against the policies of the Nizam of Hyderabad. This rebellion became violent and continued until 1951 in one way or the other.

Importance of peasant movements

  • Many times the peasant movements have filled the political vacuum and provide continuity to national movements. For example, from the Revolt of 1857 till the establishment of the Congress in 1885, the Indigo movement, Pabana movement, and Deccan Revolt have filled the political vacuum.
  • These movements established leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, and others as public and national leaders.
  • And also created a suitable environment for agricultural reforms after independence. Example - land settlement policy after independence.
  • These movements inspired farmers and other people against colonial rule.

The conclusion

Even during colonial rule, many times farmers have agitated for their demands. But after independence, the agitations or their movements that took place in the name of farmers were more violent and inspired by politics. At this time in India, there is a government elected by the people of India, it is different from the colonial exploitative trends, so the problems of the farmers will be redressed soon.

General Studies Paper 1
  • Indian History

Mains Question:-

  • At present, the movement of farmers is going on pan India level due to the new Agricultural Acts. Even in colonial India many times farmers have agitated due to their demand. While discussing the major peasant movements of colonial India, state their importance?