Revisiting History: Farmers’ Movements that shook the Governments in India

We are witnessing a lot of discussion around the Farmers’ Movement in the country. The movement going on at the borders of Delhi is not an ordinary sit in. Thousands of hard working farmers of our country are fighting for their survival. 

Many people are in support of this movement, while many people are opposing it for bringing chaos in their lives. The rights and wrongs of the movements and its modalities are the subject of long debate. Meanwhile, in this article, we will tell you about some of the major farmers’ movements of the country.

Interestingly, at that time, the internet was not available to the common people in the country. Nevertheless, the movements still overshadowed the government.

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1947: Telangana movement
The Telangana movement started in small scale in 1946. However, it gained momentum in 1947. Earlier, the British rule and then the first government of independent India managed to put mild pressure on the movement. In Andhra Pradesh, this movement was started against the exploitative policies of the zamindars and moneylenders and the tyranny of corrupt officials.

At that time, slavery was the main reason behind this movement. The farmers started fighting their own battles without any intermediary. Most of their demands were economic. This movement did not oppose the British colony in the absence of political power. The fight of these farmers was not to change the system, but to maintain the status quo on the agricultural system.

1967: Naxalbadi agitation over land dispute
The movement, which began two decades after the independence of the country and after the 1965 war, taught the underprivileged sections of the country to struggle with weapons. This movement that started in the name of farmers, laid the foundation of Naxalism in the country.

The movement started with a land dispute of a farmer. The sharecroppers of that time were troubled and exploited by the zamindars in Bengal. The peasant movement was on the rise during the communist government.

Frustrated with this, the zamindars started evicting the sharecroppers. The zamindar was not giving possession of his land to the farmer named Bigul even when he had a court order. Then armed peasants started occupying the land.

The 1988 movement that shook Rajiv Gandhi’s government
The 1988, Mahendra Singh Tikait, a farmer leader popularly known as Baba Tikait among the farmers led a Kisan Agitation. It was one of the major movements of independent India which shook the central government. That agitation forced the then Congress government led by Rajiv Gandhi to kneel down.

Mahendra Singh Tikait had been sitting at the Boat Club in Delhi for a week, carrying five lakh farmers. This movement created problems for the then Rajiv Gandhi government. Farmers from 14 states participated in it. Then the batch of farmers took possession from Vijay Chowk to India Gate. The farmers reached the boat club carrying tractors and bullock carts.

Not only this, the farmers then sat on the stage being built for the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The government then accepted the 35 point demands of the farmers.