All India Kisan Sabha
All India Kisan Sabha (All India Peasants Union, also known as the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha), was the name of the peasants front of the undivided Communist Party of India (CPI), an important peasant movement formed by Sahajanand Saraswati in 1936, and which later split into two organisations known by the same name: AIKS (Ajoy Bhavan) and AIKS (Ashoka Road).
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.
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 Indian National Congress, however temporarily, 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, and soon all these radical developments culminated in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress on 11 April 1936 with Saraswati elected as its first President, 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 Mukerji. The Kisan Manifesto released in August 1936, demanded abolition of the zamindari system and cancellation of rural debts, and in October 1937, it adopted red flag as its banner. Soon, its leaders became increasingly distant with Congress, and repeatedly came in confrontation with Congress governments, in Bihar and United Province.
In the subsequent years, the movement was increasingly dominated by Socialists and Communists as it moved away from the Congress, by 1938 Haripura session of the Congress, under the presidency of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the rift became evident, and by May 1942, the Communist Party of India, which was finally legalised by then government in July 1942, had taken over AIKS, all across India including Bengal where its membership grew considerably. 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.
The Communist Party of India split into two in 1964. Following this, so too did the All India Kisan Sabha, with each faction affiliated to the splinters.
Currently two organisations work under the name of AIKS:
- All India Kisan Sabha (Ashoka Road), attached to Communist Party of India (Marxist)
- All India Kisan Sabha (Ajoy Bhawan), attached to Communist Party of India
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