In the winter of 1946, Somnath Hore, one of India's major painter-sculptors, was assigned by the Communist Party to document the tebhaga movement in North Bengal.
This was a movement of tenant cultivators who, led by the Party, were demanding a radical revision of the crop-sharing system so as to reduce the landlord's share of the produce from half to one-third.
A young art student at the time, Hore witnessed the massive mobilization taking place in a network of villages, and captured the widespread spirit of peasant consciousness and militant solidarity, all the more remarkable at a time when communalism was rife in national politics.
Somnath Hore's personal diary and sketches of the tebhaga days are an unusual social document of a peasant movement seen through the eyes of a committed artist. Closely involved in the struggle, the tebhaga experience has remained a source of inspiration for him. One can see in these sketches the rugged lines since transformed into sculptured forms, but charged with the same intensity of anguish and anger; and the seeds of the vision that infuses his work today.
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