The Kisan Long March in Maharashtra


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2018

65 pages

Price INR 175.00
Book Club Price INR 123.00

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.

Ashok Dhawale

Ashok Dhawale is President, All India Kisan Sabha, and member of the Central Committee of the CPI(M).

P. Sainath

Palagummi Sainath (born 1957), one of India’s best-known journalists, is the founding editor of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI). He was The Hindu’s Rural Affairs Editor till 2014. Previously, he worked at Blitz and United News of India. He has lectured and taught at various institutions, including the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Sainath is the author of the bestselling Everybody Loves a Good Drought. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including, in 2007, the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Two documentary films on his work, Nero’s Guests and A Tribe of his Own, have received over 20 international awards.

Sudhanva Deshpande

Sudhanva Deshpande is an actor and director with Jana Natya Manch (Janam), a radical political theatre group based in New Delhi, and Managing Editor with LeftWord Books since its inception in 1999. He has edited Theatre of the Streets: The Jana Natya Manch Experience (Janam 2007) and co-edited Our Stage: The Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India Today (Tulika 2009). He has co-directed two documentary films on Naya Theatre and Habib Tanvir. He has been involved in the creation and teaching of India's first capacity building training course for theatre, SMART. Since 2012, he has been involved in the conceptualisation, creation, administration and programming of Studio Safdar and May Day Bookstore, New Delhi.


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