PEASANTS AND PEASENT LEADERS IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORY: A Case of Bihar in India
The author tried to read both the English translation of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati’s Mera Jivan Sangharsh and its original Hindi edition with the hlp of the detailed endnotes attached to the translation by Walter Hauser, and examined how his idea of Kisan Seva (work in the service of the peasants) was formed through his life struggle. In this process the author found that the relations between sahajanand and Jadunandan Sharma in the kisan movement of the 1930s were based on the dynamic relationship in which one needed his partner’s independent judgement and action. That was the product of the developing kisan movement. The role of women and asli kisan (true peasants) in the movement is discussed in this connection. How the kisan leaders in Bihar responded to the Second World War is another important theme which affected the destiny of the kisan movement seriously. This study also highlighted the thought and work of Sahajanand from the life of Jadunandan Sharma, a leader of the Kisan Satyagraha of Reora in 1938-39. Here the author’s interview with Jadunandan Sharma (in Hindi) in April 1966 is translated into English.
Sho Kuwajima is Professor Emeritus of South Asian Studies, Osaka University of Foreign Studies. He studied at the Indian School of International Studies in 1962-66, and was Senior Fellow at the Indian Council of Social Science Research in 1988-90. He is the author of Muslims, Nationalism and the Partition: 1946 Provincial Elections in India, Manohar, New Delhi, 1998, The Mutiny in Singapore: War, Anti-War and the War for India’s Independence, Rainbow Publishers, New Delhi, 2006 and Muslims, Nation and the World: Life and Thought of Abul Hashim, Leader of the Bengal Muslim League, L G Publishers Distributors, Delhi 2015. He also translated Swami Sahajanand Saraswati’s Kisan Sabha ke Sansmaran (in Hindi) into Japanese, Sagano Shoin, Kyoto, 2002, and recorded his interview with an Indian peasant leader in 1966 as Sakshatkar: Bihar ke Kisan Neta Pandit Jadunandan Sharma se Batchit (in Hindi), Pratyaksh Prakashan, Patna, 1006. Besides, he edited Life, Freedom and War: Twentieth Century South Asia, Aakar Books, Delhi 2010.