All India Kisan Sabha

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All India Kisan Sabha (All India Farmers Union, also known as the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha), was the name of the peasants front of the Communist Party of India, an important peasant movement formed by Sahajanand Saraswati in 1936. It later split into two organizations known by the same name: AIKS (Ajoy Bhavan) and AIKS (Ashoka Road).

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)
Formation11 April 1936 (84 years ago) (1936-04-11), Lucknow, United Province, British Raj
TypePeasant Organisation
Region served
AffiliationsCommunist Party of India


The Kisan Sabha movement started in Bihar under the leadership of Sahajanand Saraswati who had formed in 1929 the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) in order to mobilise peasant grievances against the zamindari attacks on their occupancy rights, and thus sparking the farmers' movements in India.[1][2]

Gradually the peasant movement intensified and spread across the rest of India. The formation of Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in 1934 helped the Communists to work together with the INC, however temporarily,[3] then in April 1935, noted peasant leaders N. G. Ranga and E. M. S. Namboodiripad, then secretary and joint secretary respectively of South Indian Federation of Peasants and Agricultural Labour, suggested the formation of an all-India farmers body,[4] and soon all these radical developments culminated in the formation of the AIKS at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress on 11 April 1936 with Saraswati elected as its first President,[5] and it involved people such as Ranga, Namboodiripad, Karyanand Sharma, Yamuna Karjee, Yadunandan (Jadunandan) Sharma, Rahul Sankrityayan, P. Sundarayya, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev and Bankim Mukherjee. The Kisan Manifesto released in August 1936, demanded the abolition of the zamindari system and cancellation of rural debts, and in October 1937, it adopted red flag as its banner.[4] Soon, its leaders became increasingly distant with Congress, and repeatedly came in confrontation with Congress governments, in Bihar and United Province.[4][6]

In the subsequent years, the movement was increasingly dominated by Socialists and Communists as it moved away from the Congress,[2] by 1938 Haripura session of the Congress, under the presidency of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the rift became evident,[4] and by May 1942, the Communist Party of India, which was finally legalised by then government in July 1942,[7] had taken over AIKS, all across India including Bengal where its membership grew considerably.[6] It took on the Communist party's line of People's War, and stayed away from the Quit India Movement, which started in August 1942, though this also meant its losing its popular base. Many of its members defied party orders and joined the movement, and prominent members like Ranga, Indulal Yagnik and Saraswati soon left the organisation, which increasing found it difficult to approach the peasants without the watered-down approach of pro-British and pro-war, and increasing its pro-nationalist agenda, much to the dismay of the British Raj which always thought the Communists would help them in countering the nationalist movement.[8]

The Communist Party of India split into two in 1964. Following this, so too did the AIKS, with each faction affiliated to the splinters.

Present organisations[edit]

Currently two organizations work under the name of AIKS:


  1. ^ Bandyopādhyāya, Śekhara (2004). From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India. Orient Longman. pp. 523 (at p 406). ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2.
  2. ^ a b Peasant Struggles in India, by Akshayakumar Ramanlal Desai. Published by Oxford University Press, 1979. Page 349.
  3. ^ Peasants in India's Non-violent Revolution: Practice and Theory, by Mridula Mukherjee. Published by SAGE, 2004. ISBN 0-7619-9686-9. Page 136.
  4. ^ a b c d Mahatma Gandhi, by Sankar Ghose. Published by Allied Publishers, 1991. ISBN 81-7023-205-8. Page 262.
  5. ^ Bandyopādhyāya, Śekhara (2004). From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India. Orient Longman. pp. 523 (at p 407). ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2.
  6. ^ a b States, Parties, and Social Movements, by Jack A. Goldstone. Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-01699-1. Page 192.
  7. ^ Caste, Protest and Identity in Colonial India: The Namasudras of Bengal, 1872-1947, by Shekhar Bandyopadhyaya. Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-7007-0626-7. Page 233.
  8. ^ Peasants in India's Non-violent Revolution: Practice and Theory, by Mridula Mukherjee. Published by SAGE, 2004. ISBN 0-7619-9686-9. Page 347.

Further reading[edit]

  • Swami Sahajanand and the Peasants of Jharkhand: A View from 1941 translated and edited by Walter Hauser along with the unedited Hindi original (Manohar Publishers, paperback, 2005).
  • Sahajanand on Agricultural Labour and the Rural Poor translated and edited by Walter Hauser Manohar Publishers, paperback, 2005).
  • Religion, Politics, and the Peasants: A Memoir of India's Freedom Movement translated and edited by Walter Hauser Manohar Publishers, hardbound, 2003).
  • Swami And Friends: Sahajanand Saraswati And Those Who Refuse To Let The Past of Bihar's Peasant Movements Become History By Arvind Narayan Das, Paper for the Peasant Symposium, May 1997 University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Bagchi, A.K., 1976, "Deindustrialisation in Gangetic Bihar, 1809- 1901" in Essays in Honour of Prof. S.C. Sarkar, New Delhi.
  • Banaji, Jairus, 1976, "The Peasantry in the Feudal Mode of Production: Towards an Economic Model", Journal of Peasant Studies, April.
  • Bandopadhyay, D., 1973, "Agrarian Relations in Two Bihar Districts", Mainstream, 2 June, New Delhi.
  • Judith M. Brown, 1972, Gandhi's Rise to Power: Indian Politics, 1915–1922, London.
  • Chaudhuri, B.B., 1971, "Agrarian Movements in Bengal and Bihar, 1919-1939" in B.R. Nanda, ed., Socialism in India, New Delhi.
  • Chaudhuri, B.B., 1975, "The Process of Depeasantisation in Bengal and Bihar, 1885-1947", Indian Historical Review, 2(1), July, New Delhi.
  • Chaudhuri, B.B., 1975a, "Land Market in Eastern India, 1793-1940", Indian Economic and Social History Review, 13 (1 & 2), New Delhi.
  • Arvind Narayan Das, 1981, Agrarian Unrest and Socio-economic Change in Bihar, 1900-1980, Delhi : Manohar.
  • Arvind Narayan Das (ed.),1982, Agrarian Movements in India : Studies on 20th Century Bihar, London : Frank Cass.
  • Arvind Narayan Das, 1992, The Republic of Bihar, New Delhi : Penguin.
  • Arvind Narayan Das, 1996, Changel : The Biography of a Village, New Delhi : Penguin.
  • Datta, K.K., 1957, History of the Freedom Movement in Bihar, Patna.
  • Diwakar, R.R., ed., 1957, Bihar Through the Ages, Patna.
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1921, "The Zamindar and the Ryots", Young India, Vol. III (New Series) No. 153, 18 May.
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1940, An Autobiography or The Story of My experiments in Truth, Ahmedabad.
  • Mishra, G., 1968. "The Socio-economic Background of Gandhi's Champaran Movement", Indian Economic and Social History Review, 5(3), New Delhi.
  • Mishra, G., 1978, Agrarian Problems of Permanent Settlement: A Case Study of Champaran, New Delhi.
  • Mitra, Manoshi, 1983, Agrarian Social Structure in Bihar: Continuity and Change, 1786–1820, Delhi : Manohar.
  • Pouchepadass, J., 1974, "Local Leaders and the Intelligentsia in the Champaran Satyagraha", Contributions to Indian Sociology, New Series, No.8, November, New Delhi.
  • Prasad, P.H., 1979, "Semi-Feudalism: Basic Constraint in Indian Agriculture" in Arvind N. Das & V. Nilakant, eds., Agrarian Relations in India, New Delhi.
  • Shanin, Teodor, 1978, Defining Peasants: Conceptualisations and Deconceptualisations: Old and New in a Marxist Debate, Manchester University.
  • Solomon, S., 1937, Bihar and Orissa in 1934-35, Patna.
  • Socialism in India, by Bal Ram Nanda, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Published by Vikas Publications, 1972.Page 205.
  • A History of the All India Kisan Sabha, by Md. Abdullah Rasul. Published by National Book Agency, 1974.
  • Peasants in History: Essays in Honour of Daniel Thorner, by Eric J. Hobsbawm, Daniel Thorner, Witold Kula, Sameeksha Trust.Published by Oxford University Press, 1981.
  • Bihar Peasantry and the Kisan Sabha, 1936-1947, by Rakesh Gupta. Published by People's Pub. House, 1982.
  • The Constitution of All India Kisan Sabha Encyclopaedia of Political Parties, by O. P. Ralhan, Published by Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2002. ISBN 81-7488-865-9. Page 1-10.