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Pagrhi Sambhal Lehar to Samyukt Kisan Morcha by Ronki Ram

A Century of Punjab Kisan Struggle 1907 - 2021

 

It is generally accepted that Punjab and Haryana have the most robust agricultural marketing systems in India, to the extent that in the 2021 rabi crop season 132.10 LMT wheat was purchased from Punjab mandis and an amount of Rs 26,103 crores disbursed to 8,85,117 farmers. Similarly, Rs. 16,706 crores were paid in Haryana in the same period to 7,60,636 farmers. This mandi system or APMC in Punjab and Haryana is not the gift of any state but transpired due to a sustained, tireless struggle by farmers of Punjab in the early decades of the twentieth century. Although canal irrigation brought a sea change in agricultural production, it proved to be something of a poisoned chalice by motivating the colonial overlords to change the terms of settlements, and to formulate new methods for controlling the peasantry of Punjab that began becoming increasingly prosperous and powerful with hard work on the agriculture land allotted to them in Canal colonies. Furthermore, the boom in the agrarian economy attracted the attention of opportunistic mercantile classes. When various petitions to the government were dismissed out of hand, farmers were compelled to agitate. This began in 1907 with Sardar Ajit Singh leading a farmers' agitation which became famous as the 'Pagri Sambhal Jatta' movement due to the poem recited by Lala Banke Dayal. For more than a century now, farmers have repeatedly been forced to choose the path of agitation, but now two very powerful forces - both the State and corporates - appear to have a common goal in subjugating the farmers' collective interests to theirs, and neither the State nor the farmers were prepared to yield any ground on the underlying vital issues, until suspected wider political imperatives in the recent agitation finally forced the government to capitulate after a marathon standoff which had stretched to over a year and achieved reverberation even at the global level, much to the chagrin of the national government. This agitation like earlier ones sprouted like a new leave and everything that had happened in the past more than a hundred years got subsumed into it and it became one with them. It looked something like charisma, a beauty to behold. It was fragile like a dry leaf but mighty like a high tide and swept every obstacle in its stride. It was a fight for the survival of mankind. The narrative present in the Pagrhi Sambhal Lehar to Samvukt Kisan Morcha is a mosaic of farmers' struggles fought in Punjab since the beginning of the first decade of the twentieth century.

 

Harish Jain

Independent Historian

Pagrhi Sambhal Lehar to Samyukt Kisan Morcha by Ronki Ram

£13.99 Regular Price
£10.49Sale Price
  • Format: Hardcover

    Publisher: Unistar

    Publication Date: 2022

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