Mazdoor Kisan Niti (MKN) was a Hindi Journal of non-party political discourse and analysis. It was published between 1977 and 1987, first as a fortnightly and later as monthly, edited at different times by Chandra Prakash, Sunil Sahasrabudhey, Sunanda Kirtane and Krishna Gandhi. The journal was started by a group of Ph.D. students who constituted the left group at IIT Kanpur. The publication moved to Jhansi in 1983 and then to Varanasi in 1985. All along the readership was in the range of thousand. Occasional publication in Telugu and Marathi helped find a spread in these regions. Midway through this development the MKN group moved closer to Gandhi and engaged in a theoretical enterprise in which Gandhi and Marx would not be seen in the ultimate analysis as opposed to each other. This was the time when for the first time after independence Congress had lost its command on the power at Delhi and Janata Party , essentially a coalition, had come to power at the Center. This was seen by MKN as dethronement of big capital from the position of command and therefore as a situation pregnant with great possibilities.
The group turned MKN into the mouthpiece of the new Farmer’s Movement in the Ninteen Eighties. It saw this movement of lakhs and lakhs of farmers across this country as spearheading the possibilities of development of a new radicalconsciousness which could give political expression to what might be called transcending modernity in a quasi-Gandhian sense. MKN performed the function of coordination in the movement and taking the word and promise of the movement to socially concerned intelligentsia. In the process the group developed a conceptual apparatus around the concepts of ‘pashimikrit samaj – bahishkrit samaj’. Pashimikrit samaj was constituted of people who had by and large found a place in the modern structure of opportunities and in the bahishkrit samaj came the large masses of peasants, artisans, adivasis and women. The group engaged in the development of a theoretical apparatus for the movement and emancipation of the bahishkrit samaj.
The MKN group continues to hang together today as Indigen Research Foundation coordinated by Dr. K.K. Surendran based in Pune ( Sunil, Abhijit, Naresh, Krishnarajulu, Girish, Gandhi and Suresh are members). It is engaged in a Knowledge Dialogue to explore the possibilities of reassertion of the knowledge traditions of the people (bahishkrit samaj) on their own terms in the changed circumstances brought about by the Information Age.
Members of the MKN group of the 1980s were Abhijit Mitra, Naresh Sharma, B. Krishnarajulu, C.N. Srinivasan, I.V.Rao, T. Narayan Rao, L.K.Kaul, J.K.Suresh, V.Balaji, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Vijay Joshi, Chandra Prakash, Girish Sahasrabudhey, K.K. Surendran, Dhirendra Oak, Krishna Gandhi, Sunanda Kirtane, Shahid Amir, Surendra Suman, Anil Shrivastava, Parashuram Singh, Dharamprakash Jain, Ashok Rastogi, Nikhil Nigam, Chitra Sahasrabudhey and Sunil Sahasrabudhey. Many of these names can be seen among those who have contributed to build Vidya Ashram.