The Kisan Long March in Maharashtra
It was an incredible sight – 40,000 poor farmers and landless labourers walking over 200 kilometres, from Nashik to Mumbai. They captured the city's imagination and left it with an enduring memory. They outsmarted far more powerful adversaries. They made the deaf hear and the blind see.
This book documents one of the more inspiring struggles of our time – the fight of the kisans of Maharashtra against a government committed to money more than people. How did it come about? What were the causes that led to it? How much work did the All India Kisan Sabha put into this extraordinarily disciplined, democratic and dignified protest?
Ashok Dhawale, one of the main leaders of the march, writes a lengthy and detailed essay that is analytical as well as gives a rich sense of the nuts and bolts of the march. Sudhanva Deshpande's Afterword profiles some of the organisers who made the march possible. This slim, readable volume, with stunning photographs, reproduced in full colour, also contains a Preface by P. Sainath, India's most important chronicler of agrarian conditions and rural distress over the past three decades.
This is perhaps the greatest lesson that The Kisan Long March has to share with the world – in India, a country divided by centuries of caste, witness to some of the most horrendous ethnic violence in the world, run by a quasi-fascistic government that daily stokes the fires of communalist division, in India, the forces of division were overcome. For six days, across 200 km, the exploited stood as one against their exploiters. . . . The fact that it has been made freely available for download under a Creative Commons license by the publisher – LeftWord Books – is both admirable, and suggestive of the continued strength of character within the Indian left, contra to the popular characterization of India's left parties as irredeemably corrupt and stiflingly bureaucratized.
Theo Vynnychenko Kenji, Countercurrents