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Rewriting the Language of Politics: Kisans in Colonial Bihar

Arun Kumar (Author)
Synopsis Of late the need to retrieve subaltern voices to tell stories of the marginalized has been felt but efforts in that direction remain invisible hitherto. Attempting to address the lacuna, this book examines archival and folk sources to explore political articulations of Bihari peasants during colonial times. In a move away from the study of organization, parties and leadership to understand kisan consciousness, the book engages with their articulations in the spheres of culture and religion that together gave kisan politics its meaning. Migration, agrarian crimes, rumour, religion and caste are examined as changing languages of kisan politics. The transition from pre-Gandhian mass efforts at constructing political collectivities to Gandhian mass movements is probed through a close reading of popular rumours and interpretations of the Gita by Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati. Unlike the prevailing opinion about Sahajanand’s total transformation from a sannyasi to a radical leader of the peasantry, the study argues that the sannyasi in him never really took leave. The book also looks at the religious realm of the masses, the shudra kisans, whose shraddha for the almighty was invariably accompanied by their shikayat against it. The book concludes with an enquiry into the deliberate denial of social realities embedded in caste cosmology by both the Congress and the Kisan Sabha.
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About the author

Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar has been watching the Indian poll scene for thirty years as a professional journalist. Since 1989, he has organized the election coverage of the Press Trust of India, the country's premier news agency – on five occasions for the Lok Sabha, besides numerous polls to the state assemblies. This is the fifth in the series of election books by the author. His works include, The Tenth Round: The story off the 1991 elections, The Battle for the Heartland, on the 1993 assembly elections, The Turning Point telling the 1996 poll story and On Coalition Course after the 1998 voting exercise. A Master in Political Science, with international relations, in 1980 he became the first Indian correspondent to serve in Pakistan after the 1965 Indo-Pak war. From one closed society, he went to another – China before returning back to India in 1988. Born in Delhi in 1946, Arun Kumar worked for a Delhi magazine and a newspaper in Ahmedabad before joining PTI in s1969. He now works as a Public Affairs Adviser.

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Bibliographic information

Title Rewriting the Language of Politics: Kisans in Colonial Bihar
Author Arun Kumar
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173043787
length 234p., Maps.