Accompanied by the foreign-eyed imperialist Tebhaga power, the local landlords-zamindars kicked the helpless comrades on the hungry Tebhaga backs, snatched food from their mouths, and made it clear that there was no caste distinction between the exploiters and no class division among the exploiters. Behind it is the history of blood, sweat, and sacrifice of the peasants and workers of Bengal.
What is this Tebhaga?
The Tebhaga movement was basically a revolution to establish a classless society. Although India was dependent on agriculture, most of the farmers were landless. As a result, they used to cultivate the land under a zamindar or jotted. But the farmers paid all the production costs and manual labor. The sharecroppers used to spend their days without eating with this part of the crop. Because the sharecroppers give all kinds of physical labor starting from sowing seeds in the land. From the demand of one-third of them, the name of the movement became the ‘Tebhaga movement’.
Behind the movement
The peasantry in India has been destitute since British rule. At that time, of course, the peasants owned enough land, and the rulers were flexible enough.
There is an indirect and subtle link between the Tebhaga movement and the permanent settlement. Farmers lose ownership of land and become mercenaries.
Meanwhile, as there was no relation of crop production with the zamindars, a middle class called jotdar emerged between the peasants and the zamindars. They used to lease land from zamindars and cultivate through farmers and collect rent. As a result, in most cases, the rate of revenue would be much higher than that of land.
Then at some point, he started making money as rent in exchange for the crop. He used to collect revenue through strong oppression and persecution. In this way, The farmers gradually disappeared. Their anger against the zamindars and tears began to grow. It is the long-term impact of the permanent settlement that opens the door to the Tebhaga movement.
Their policy was, ‘Plow whose land is his’. The commission recommended the abolition of the zamindari system, the ownership of land by the farmers, and the ownership of two-thirds of the crops produced. Moreover, the catastrophic famine of 1943 killed some three million people and displaced one million.
The demands and slogans of the Tebhaga movement
No farmer will work on the land of the owners who will not agree to pay. At the same time, they decided that no Namasudras or Muslims would cultivate in the houses of upper-caste Hindus. Moreover, the farmers who consume betel, will either cultivate betel themselves or give up betel eating. Don’t buy drinks from Barris anymore. This was basically their main claim.
They decide more, this time the paddy will grow in the farmer’s house. They will cut paddy in an organized manner. One group will cut the paddy, the other group will guard with arrows, bows, and spears.
Tebhaga movement in two Bengals
The Hindu-Muslim Abdul Quader, Tagnarayan of Rangpur, Ramen Mitra of Rajshahi, Ila Mitra, Kashim Mia and Nur Jalal of Jessore. Nevertheless, 6 million sharecroppers took part in the movement. The then Thakurgaon subdivision of the Dinajpur district was the main birthplace of the Tebhaga movement. The influence of the movement spread to 22 out of 30 police stations in Dinajpur at that time. Haji Mohammad Danesh was one of the leaders of the Tebhaga movement in Dinajpur.
The Tebhaga movement under the leadership of Comrade Mani Singh continued to flourish in the greater Mymensingh region. The movement intensified in Bengal, Rameshwarpur, and Kailati of Netrokona Singh.
In the Nilphamari subdivision of Rangpur, the Tebhaga movement gained momentum. As much as the peasants were vocal, the landlords also brutally suppressed them with mercenaries and police. The peasants were cutting paddy in a disciplined manner as part of the movement. Just then the jatdars’ baton force brutally attacked the peasants. The peasants bravely faced and drove away from the battalion. In this situation, the Lathial forces shot Taganarayan, a peasant leader of Rangpur, and seriously injured Bachchu Mamud. The Tebhaga movement became more intense.