Peasant movement

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This article is about peasant movements in general. For the Colombian peasant movement, see Peasant Student Workers Movement.

Peasant movement is a social movement involved with the agricultural policy.

Peasants movement have a long history that can be traced to the numerous peasant uprisings that occurred in various regions of the world throughout human history. Early peasant movements were usually the result of stresses in the feudal and semi feudal societies, and resulted in violent uprisings. More recent movements, fitting the definitions of social movements, are usually much less violent, and their demands are centered on better prices for agricultural produce, better wages and working conditions for the agricultural laborers, and increasing the agricultural production.

The economic policies of British adversely affected the Indian peasants the British Govt. used to protect the landlords and money lenders.they exploited the peasants.The peasants rose in revolt against this injustice on many occasions .The peasants in Bengal formed their union and revolted against the compulsion of cultivating indigo.

Anthony Pereira, a political scientist, has defined a peasant movement as a "social movement made up of peasants (small landholders or farm workers on large farms), usually inspired by the goal of improving the situation of peasants in a nation or territory".[1]

Peasant movements by country or region[edit]


Peasant movement in India arose during the British colonial period, when economic policies characterized in the ruin of traditional handicrafts leading, change of ownership and overcrowding of land, and massive debt and impoverishment of peasantry. This led to peasant uprisings during the colonial period, and development of peasant movements in the post-colonial period.[2] The Kisan Sabha movement started in Bihar under the leadership of Swami 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.[3] Gradually the peasant movement intensified and spread across the rest of India. All these radical developments on the peasant front culminated in the formation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in April 1936 with Swami Sahajanand Saraswati elected as its first President.[4]

D. D. Kosambi and R.S. Sharma, together with Daniel Thorner, brought peasants into the study of Indian history for the first time."[5]



Polish peasant movement focused on improvements in life of Polish peasants, and empowering them in politics. It was strong from mid-19th to mid-20th centuries.

United States[edit]

Main article: Farmers' movement

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pereira, Anthony W 1997. The End of the Peasantry. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  2. ^ Social movements types at Sociology Guide
  3. ^ In 1938,the crops in Eastern Khandesh were destroyed due to heavy rains.The peasants were ruined.In order to get the land revenue waived,Sane Guruji organized meetings and processions in many places and took out marches to the Collector's office.The peasants joined the revolutionary movement of 1942 in great numbers. 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Habib, Irfan (Seventh reprint 2007). Essays in Indian History. Tulika. p. 381 (at p 109). ISBN 81-85229-62-7.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • Mark I. Lichbach, What makes Rational Peasants Revolutionary?: Dilemma, Paradox, and Irony in Peasant Collective Action, World Politics, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Apr., 1994), pp. 383–418
  • M. Edelman, Bringing the Moral Economy back in... to the Study of 21st-Century Transnational Peasant Movements, AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, 2005, VOL 107; PART 3, pages 331-345
  • E. J. Hobsbawm, Peasants and politics, Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1 October 1973, pages 3 – 22
  • Marcus J. Kurtz, Understanding peasant revolution: From concept to theory and case, Theory and Society, Volume 29, Number 1 / February, 2000
  • Henry A Landsberger, Rural protest : peasant movements and social change, Barnes and Noble, 1973, ISBN 0-06-494029-2
  • P. McMichael, Reframing Development: Global Peasant Movements and the New Agrarian Question, CANADIAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, 2006, VOL 27; NUMB 4, pages 471-486
  • James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale University Press, 1985