Of A Revolution in the Making
by Adrian McNeil , , pp.,
August 2006, volume 30, No 8

Harvest Song, an abridged and translated version of Sabitri Roy’s trilogy, Paka Dhaner Gan (1956, 1957, 1958) has been subtitled in English as a “novel of the Tebhaga movement.” The Tebhaga (sharing by thirds) movement was a militant campaign by sharecroppers, spreading over at least nineteen districts of undivided Bengal, especially the districts of Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Jessore, Khulna, Mymensingh and 24 Paraganas during the year 1946-1947. The primary demand of the sharecroppers, commonly known as the bargadars or adhiars was the scrapping of the custom of sharing the annual produce of crops between themselves and their respective zamindars or landlords on a fifty-fifty basis. Instead the share croppers campaigned for the reduction of the share appropriated by the landlords to only a third of the produce. This movement, initiated by the Bengal Provincial Krishak Sabha, the peasants’ front in Bengal of the then united Communist Party of India, was a landmark in the history of Indian Communist mobilization, and is indeed represented as such by Sabitri Roy (1918 – 1985), almost a lifelong fellow – traveller, though never a card-holding member, of the Communist Party.

Continue reading this review