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At a time when a majority of scholars engage in studies on class, religion, ethnicity and gender, this study forcefully demonstrates that peasants as a category and their problems continue to excite considerable academic debate.
Divided into two parts, the book first reconstructs the political world of the peasants of Punjab and forms the empirical base on which rests the subsequent theoretical and methodological discussion. It captures their struggles at the national level as well as their everyday struggles on purely class or peasant issues.
The second part makes important interventions in the theoretical debates regarding the role of peasants in revolutionary transformation in the modern world. The author argues that the automatic association of revolution with large-scale violence has resulted in the refusal to recognize the non-violent yet revolutionary political practice of peasants in the Indian National Movement. The author subjects to critical scrutiny a wide range of theoretical models and argues that the political practice of the Indian peasants cannot be fit into any theoretical straightjacket.
Mridula Mukherjee`s book presents an interpretation of Gandhi`s contribution to the national movement...essentially from the standpoint of a relatively well-placed stratum of the agrarian population. (Economic and Political Weekly)
The author has taken much care to document a detailed evaluation of the process of peasant radicalization through participation in national-level leadership...Mukherjee's study greatly enriches our understanding by questioning some long-accepted assumptions about the role of peasants in rural Punjab.
(Studies in History)
About the Author
Mridula Mukherjee is currently Professor of Modern Indian History and Chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Professor Mukherjee has been Visiting Scholar at Duke University, USA, and at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. She has also been Chairperson of the Archives on Contemporary History at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She has published widely in the areas of agrarian history, peasant movements, social movements and the Indian national movement. Her publications include India's Struggle for Independence (1999) and India After Independence 1947-2000 (2000), both co-authored.