The Tebhaga movement, led by the Bengal Provincial Kisan Sabha, thus soon developed into a clash between jotedars and bargadars. Tebhaga literally means ‘three shares’ of harvests. Traditionally, sharecroppers used to hold their tenancy on a fifty-fifty basis of the share of the produce. Tebhaga Movement was the sharecroppers’ (bargadars) movement in Bengal during 1946, demanding two-thirds of the produce from the land for themselves and one third for the landlords.
The main centers of the movement were Dinajpur, Rangpur, Jalpaiguri, Mymensingh, Midnapore, and to a lesser extent 24- Parganas and Khulna. Initially, the base was among the Rajbansi Kshatriya peasants, but it soon spread to Muslims and tribals like Hajongs, Santhals and Oraons. Among the important leaders of this movement were Krishnobinode Ray, Abani Lahiri, Sunil Sen, Bhowani Sen, Moni Singh, Ananta Singh, Bhibuti Guha, Ajit Ray, Sushil Sen, Samar Ganguli, and Gurudas Talukdar.
Among the unique features of the Tebhaga movement was the large-scale participation of women on par with men. The landless and poor peasant women formed fighting troops called Nari Bahini and took a front rank role in defending the gains of the movement and in countering the repression of the state.
The movement was encouraged by the fact that the Bengal Land Revenue Commission, popularly known as the Floud Commission, had already made this recommendation in its report to the government. Thus, Floud Commission was not constituted to look into demand of the Tebhaga movement.
The movement received a great boost in late January 1947 when the Muslim League Ministry led by Suhrawardy published the Bengal Bargadars Temporary Regulation Bill in the Calcutta Gazette on 22 January 1947. Encouraged by the fact that the demand for Tebhaga could no longer be called illegal, peasants in hitherto untouched villages and areas joined the struggle. The Muslim League Ministry failed to pursue the bill in the Assembly and it was only in 1950 that the Congress Ministry passed a Bargadars Bill which incorporated, in substance, the demands of the movement.
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