Revisiting Tebhaga Movement in Bengal: Resistance against Domination and Alternative Identities

DOI10.1177/0019556119881102
Date01 December 2019
AuthorNandini Basistha
Publication Date01 December 2019
SubjectNotes
Revisiting Tebhaga
Movement in Bengal:
Resistance against
Domination and
Alternative Identities
Nandini Basistha1
In the age of imperialism and nationalism, when people were getting united
against different kinds of oppression and backwardness, we saw the emergence of
peasants’ movement in many parts of the world, and peasants identity started to
shape as a separate class. In the context of the 18th century peasantry in France,
Karl Marx highlighted that their mode of production had isolated them from one
another. To him, ‘they are formed by simple addition of homologous magnitude,
such as potatoes in a sack form a sack of potatoes’ (Marx, 1852, p. 231). To Lenin
(1972, pp. 497–498), however, peasantry in late 19th and early 20th century
Russia was differentiated by the unequal patterns of landholding, income and by
their contact with the market as well. Antonio Gramsci has seen the peasantry in
the context of Italy as a part of a larger socio-political order and not a discrete
entity whose subordination could be broken through the alliance of workers and
through the development of class-consciousness (Arnold, 1984, pp. 161–162).
Frantz Fanon studied the peasantry in the context of Algeria and highlighted that
peasants were posited to a situation where ‘they have nothing to lose and every-
thing to gain’ by way of their participation in the change (Fanon, 1971, pp. 4–7).
Alavi (1965, pp. 245–275) highlights the crucial roles played by the middle peas-
antry in the Russian and Chinese revolutions. However, in his observation on the
peasantry in South Asia, he points out that the peasant ‘finally and irrevocably
takes the road to revolution only when he is shown in practice that the power of
his master can be irrevocably broken then the alternative mode of existence
becomes real to him’ (ibid., pp. 245–275). To Barrington Moore, the revolutionary
role of the peasantry in the radical movements is dependent on the structure of
power and the class alignments within a society. Turning to India, he mentions
Note
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
65(4) 936–942, 2019
© 2019 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/0019556119881102
journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
1 Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of Liberal Arts, Amity University Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Corresponding author:
Dr Nandini Basistha, Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of Liberal Arts, Amity University Mumbai,
Maharashtra, India.
E-mail: nbasistha@gmail.com

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