Agrarian struggles in the 20th century – 6

PEASANT AGITATION IN TANJORE DISTRICT, 1958:

Tanjore, a district of Madras falls in the Southern-Eastern of India was divided wholly into three broad sets of castes such as Brahman, Non-Brahman, and Adi-Dravida. Among them Brahman secured the highest status. Initially, they were self sufficient with their economic condition. However, some mirasdars of Tanjore district violated the terms of Tanjore legislation and employed musclemen to deny the demands of peasants. This is the reason why, Tanjore Brahmans strongly opposite idea of land reform. The peasants of Mavudukurichi village in Pattukkottai taluk in Tanjore district were harassed by the village officials. The tax collectors charged kist collection above the normal rate in the range of Rs.28/- to Rs.35/-for one acre of land. The tax officials decided to collect kist arrear from each peasants between Rs.30/- and Rs.200/-. In Peravaruni, the peasants who paid kist on 21 July, 1957 were harassed by the officials to clear the balance due. In addition to this, bulls and other grains were also forcibly taken away from . The Sub Collector of Pattukkottai also warned the peasants to clear kist dues. The peasant organisation strongly condemned the government and demanded to withdraw forcible debt collection with immediate effect. Elsewhere in the district, the leaders of Kisan Sangham protested against the Government and asked to fulfil the demands of peasants. On the other hand, the police raided the offices of Kisan Sangham and arrested leaders including Gnanam and Bharathi Mohan. Similarly in Vallam village 8 leaders of Kisan Sangham and 155 peasants were arrested.

Owing to 10 per cent price hike, the peasants of Anaithandavapuram

in Mayawaram taluk revolted against mirasdars for higher wages during

harvest. The mirasdars conceded to the demands and provided 1¼ marakkals

of paddy per kalam35. However, some mirasdars of Tanjore district violated

the terms of Tanjore legislation and employed musclemen to deny the demands

of peasants. Pattamaniar Damodara Mudaliar, a mirasdar of Aliyur in

Nagapattinam taluk refused to give 1½ marakkal of paddy per kalam as

kalavadi. Moreover, using police force, the mirasdar carried away the paddy

and refused to give peasant‟s wage36

.

The peasants of Mavudukurichi village in Pattukkottai taluk in

Tanjore district were harassed by the village officials. The tax collectors

charged kist collection above the normal rate in the range of Rs.28/- to Rs.35/-

for one acre of land. The tax officials decided to collect kist arrear from each

peasants between Rs.30/- and Rs.200/-. In Peravaruni, the peasants who paid

kist on 21 July, 195737

, were harassed by the officials to clear the balance due.

In addition to this, bulls and other grains were also forcibly taken away from

them. The Sub Collector of Pattukkottai also warned the peasants to clear kist

dues. The peasant organisation strongly condemned the government and

demanded to withdraw forcible debt collection with immediate effect.

Elsewhere in the district, the leaders of Kisan Sangham protested against the

government and asked to fulfil the demands of peasants. On the other hand,

the police raided the offices of Kisan Sangham and arrested leaders including

Gnanam and Bharathi Mohan. Similarly in Vallam village 8 leaders of Kisan

Sangham and 155 peasants were arrested

Conclusion :

These movements created an atmosphere for post-independence agrarian reforms, for              instance, abolition of zamindari. They eroded the power of the landed class, thus adding to the transformation of the agrarian structure. These movements were based on the ideology of nationalism. The nation of these movements was similar in diverse areas. The peasantry struggle manifested in poverty, famine unemployment and economic inflation and they believed that it can be solved through peasant –backed revolution. The peasantry is not passive today and for more than 200 years, “it has repeatedly risen against landlords, revenue agents and other bureaucrats, money lenders, police and military force. The uprisings were response to relative deprivation of unusually severe characters, always economic, and often also involving physical brutality or ethnic persecution.”