Tebhaga movement

Tebhaga movement


  • Jotedars – wealthy peasants, who comprised one layer of social strata in agrarian Bengal during Company rule in India.
  • Tebhaga means three parts.
  • Sharecropper (bargadar) -a farmer who rents land and who gives part of his or her crop as rent to the land owner
  • khamars - godowns

Where it was occurred?

  • This movement occurred in Bengal
  • It was led by the Bengal Provincial Kisan Sabha, in late 1946.

Why it was occurred?

  • The share-croppers of Bengal began to assert that they would no longer pay a half share of their crop to the jotedars but only one-third and that before division the crop would be stored in their khamars (godowns) and not that of the jotedars.
  • A clash between jotedars and bargadars with the bargadars insisting on storing the crop in their own khamars.
  • Initially, the base was among the Rajbansi Kshatriya peasants, but it soon spread to Muslims, Hajongs, Santhals and Oraons.

Leaders who participated in it

  • Among the important leaders of this movement were Krishnobinode Ray, Abani Lahiri, Sunil Sen, Bhowani Sen, Moni Singh, Ananta Singh, Bhibuti Guha, Ajit Ray, Sushil Sen, Samar Ganguli, and Gurudas Talukdar.

Floud Commission

  • They were no doubt encouraged by the fact that the Bengal Land Revenue Commission, popularly known as the Floud Commission, had already made this recommendation in its report to the government.

Lingering of movement

  • The movement received a great boost in late January 1947 when the Muslim League Ministry led by Suhrawardy published the Bengal Bargadars Temporary Regulation Bill in the Calcutta Gazette on 22 January 1947.
  • Encouraged by the fact that the demand for tebhaga could no longer be called illegal, peasants in hitherto untouched villages and areas joined the struggle.
  • In many places, peasants tried to remove the paddy already stored in the jotedars' khamars to their own, and this resulted in innumerable clashes.
  • The jotedars appealed to the Government, and the police came in to suppress the peasants.
  • Repression continued and by the end of February the movement was virtually dead.
  • The Muslim League Ministry failed to pursue the bill in the Assembly and it was only in 1950 that the Congress Ministry passed a Bargadars Bill which incorporated, in substance, the demands of the movement.

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