ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Other Side of Punjab Crisis-Agricultural Workers Struggle

In April this year the rich peasants backed by the AISSF attempted to lower harvesting wages in Tarn Thran and Patti tehsils of Amritsar district, an area which has been notable for terrorist activity. Agricultural workers, many of them Mazbhi sikhs, have successfully countered the move with the support and leadership of the left forces. These struggles have not only exposed the class implications of the sikh fundamentalist-based terrorism, but have demonstrated that it is only the mass mobilisation of the oppressed classes which can counter it AGRICULTURE in Punjab has ex penenced the highest level of capitalist development in India As a consequence contradictions of capitalist development are more visible and are reflected through various types of social tensions The development crisis of capitalism in agriculture has bestirred the peasantry which has inflated aspirations but is faced with falling rewards The Punjab crisis, along- with other factors, is mainly a manifestation of the response of the peasantry in crisis. The participation of the peasantry enabled the Bhartiya Kisan Union to organise a massive mass movement in 1984. It was also the backbone of the Akah morcha led by Sam Longowal Now in the absence of any effective mass mobilisation of peasantry for their demands in the last three years, its anger finds expression in the dormant support to the sikh fundamentalists-backed terrorist movement in the state which lacks clear vision, objective and concrete programme for solving the peasant crisis With the recent terrorist campaign against liquor, meat, tobacco and trimming/ shaving of beards there has been a growth of fear among the people in the rural areas. This has emboldened the rich peasantry further Unable to gain concessions from the industrial bourgeoisie and the central government the rich peasants backed by sikh terrorists are trying to shift the burden of the crisis on the agricultural labour on the issue of wage rate.

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