organisations was fully exploited by the all-
Caste Limitations Caste identity and solidarity played an important part in
the peasant organisations, particularly in their ‘take-off’ stage. However, it
was not very significant either in the formulation of the policy/programme of
demands, or in their agitations which tended to represent specific agrarian
Regional Outlook Despite the fact that the peasant parties made a genuine
effort to organise a class-oriented peasant movement, their success was only
a regional, rather than an all-India phenomenon. Above all, none of them ever
succeeded in building up a strong disciplined revolutionary organisation.
Class Composition Leadership of the peasant organisations came from
either well-to-do, middle peasants, or the urban middle class including
professionals, the intelligentsia and politicians. The peasant, the actual
cultivator, seldom demonstrated any potential for leadership. Initially, the
leaders’ personalities played a dominant role and eclipsed the peasants’
aspirations, although later, the class outlook of leaders became manifest in
the programmes and, consequently perhaps, changed the class composition of
Pro-Rich Nature As regards the class base of peasant parties it could be
said that from 1925 till 1938 or so, it was predominantly the middle peasants,
rich and well-to-do farmers, and substantial tenants, who took the leading
part in organising the parties. It was only after 1940, when the most
influential peasant body of that period, the A.I.K.S., turned to the problems of
poor peasants and landless labourers, that it ceased to be an exclusively rich
and middle peasant party.
Thereafter, the response from poor peasants was overwhelming.
Mixed Ideologies The ideologies of peasant organisations vacillated
between Gandhism on the one hand and Marxism-Leninism on the other.
Varying emphases on ends and means and a curious mixture of the two
combined with Fabian Socialism often characterised their concepts, demands,
and overall agrarian policies. But during the period under review, the peasant
parties moved gradually away from the Gandhian approach and came nearer
Marxism and Communism.
Divided Motives The outstanding