feature of peasant organisations of this
and class contradictions in rural society. Confusion about defining basic
agrarian problems and priorities and an ideological morass were the
outcomes of that failure. Party manifestoes or charters of demands were
influenced by political expediency and internal pressures and were sometimes
even mutually contradictory.
Assessment of Peasant Movements These failures, however, must be
attributed to the constant repression and the dynamics of political alliance
within the nationalist movement, which compelled the Indian Left to resort to
the politics of survival.
The fact that peasant revolts in India have been repressed more often than
they succeeded does not lessen their historical importance. Moreover, the
‘success’ and ‘failure’ of a movement can never be assessed in absolute
The achievement of peasant revolts in India, if viewed in the context of their
proximate aims, are not as unimpressive as they sometimes appear: each of
the movements that we have examined was followed by some legislative or
ameliorative measure. Some legal reforms, some modification in the structure
of land control, always followed peasant resistance.
Until the new era of progressive land reforms began in India around 1949-50,
most of these measures consisted only of minor adjustments in the social
arrangements on land. They restored the balance, keeping the existing system
going, and did not involve any drastic changes such as redistribution of
economic power and privilege.
TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
Causes for Rise and Growth
The Indian workers worked under intolerable working conditions in the
industries, factories, mines, plantations, etc.
The industrialists, both Indian and foreign, as well as colonial
government were unwilling to improve the lot of the workers.
The outbreak of the World War I had produced a shortage of shipping
facilities, and consequently the