Selected Subaltern Studies

By Ranajit Guha; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak | Go to book overview

APPENDIX
Kishan Sabha in Allahabad

(Source: Government of India, Home Department, Political Branch, Deposit, February 1921, No. 13. Extracted from CID Memo No. 1052, dated Allahabad 7 January 1921, signed P. Biggane, Asst. to D.I.G., C.I.D. UP, SB).

The following note is the outcome of personal observations and enquiries after a month's tour in the trans-Ganges tract of the Allahabad district, where the Kishan Sabha agitation has been most acute.

There is a very noticeable stirring of the pathetic contentment of the masses, but the discontent lacks definite aims. After due allowance is made for the fact that the enquirer was a European official there can still be no doubt that up to the present at any rite the disaffection is directed against the landlords and is not in any way anti-British nor even anti-Government. Naturally the strength of the movement varies with the locality, it being strongest in places along the pucca roads where agitators were on the motor cars near the Partabgarh border and in big market villages where extremist meetings have been held. Get away even a mile or two from these special localities and there is very little active interest. Of course people have heard of meetings being held and Kisan Sabhas being formed at other places, but at present there is very little inclination to follow suit without direct instigation from outside.The distinction is generally freely admitted between the condition of land tenure in Oudh and in the Allahabad district, but still there is a great longing for the Permanent settlement (or Duncani Bandobast) as it exists in Jaunpur. The difference is very noticeable between the state of affairs in villages where the landlords are small men residing on the spot and on the estates of long absentee landowners, particularly on those of city banias and mahajans, who have no interest in the tenants except what they can get out of them in the way of rent. it is freely recognised that the trouble there is that the landowners have to employ Sujawals, karindas and sepoys and it is these middlemen who are the cause of the oppression of the tenantry. There is nowhere any genuine objection to performing hari and begari according to immemorial custom for zamindars who are seen and known, but there is a tendency to kick against working for and supplying nazrana,

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