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Nachole Uprising


Nachole Uprising of santal peasants in Nachole thana under Nawabganj Zila' in 1949-50. Like Tebagha, Nankar and tonk movements of the time, the Nachole uprising was initiated and organised by the communist activists. They took the Santal peasants of Nachole as their strategic target for staging a revolution in Bengal. Most Santal peasants had no permanent rights in the land under their possession though they cultivated the same land from generation to generation. The jotedars collected rent from them in crop and thereby depriving them of the benefits of paying rent in cash. According to local customs, each Santal peasant working in the field in harvesting time used to get as his share three ari paddy for every twenty ari cut and thrashed by the peasants themselves or labourers. The adhiar (sharecropper) peasants used to surrender half of their crops including their by-products to the jotedars. The communist cadres found this relation oppressive enough to instigate them to resist this relation and establish their rights in land.

In December 1949 and early part of 1950, the peasants of villages such as Ghasura, Chandipur, Kendua, Rautara, Jagdai, Dharol, Shyampura and Napitpara of Nachole thana stopped paying rent to jotedars. Their demands were that instead of customary three ari paddy, the jotedars must agree to give them seven ari for every twenty ari production as labour charge and that the adhiars must receive two thirds of the harvests for cultivation of land.

There had been sporadic violence in several places. Several policemen were killed and many houses of jotedars looted. The zamindars and jotedars with the help of police followed a policy of brutal repression. Such actions rather made the resistance movement fiercer. The leaders of peasant action committees were ila mitra, Animesh Lahiri, Ajhar Sheikh, Brindaban Shaha and twenty others. All of them were arrested and after trial, sentenced to long-term imprisonment. Later, many of them including Ila Mitra were released on political grounds. Under the east bengal state acquisition and tenancy act (1950) the Santal peasants were given rights on land and accordingly, they got the right to pay rent in cash at established rates for other normal peasants. But unfortunately, many Santal peasants deserted their villages and migrated to India to escape from police hunting and trial. [Sirajul Islam]