The farmers struggle to repeal the three draconian, anti-common man, pro- capitalist farm laws in India has become a watershed event in the history of modern India.
The farmers fought the battle right from the start based on a few simple principles-
- It was a just battle and hence needed to be fought at all costs.
- They were fighting a powerful dictatorial, egoistic regime and hence would face extreme hardships, abuse, ridicule and some of them may have to give the final sacrifice for the cause.
- That despite all provocation and assault, they will keep their fight non-violent and issue based.
Right from the start, the very day the Great dictator decided that his new Tuglaqi idea cannot have any dissent like the previous many including demonetisation or implementing CAA, he put the wheels into action in the time tested way to enable a fast track passage of the three farm bills. After all in Nero’s land, dissent was unwelcome. And lo! The bills were introduced and passed without much debate in Lok Sabha, where the ruling party enjoys a brute majority and later without practically any debate and despite opposition’s insistence on a full vote since the ruling disposition is still in a minority, by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha to ensure easy passage. No committees, panels or state reviews were allowed and the bills were given assent into a law by the President within less than a fortnight of their being introduced in the Parliament by end September 2020.
These laws were totally dark and draconian as they would have left the farmers at the mercy of large corporate establishments, literally forced them with their small land sizes into being bonded labourers on their own farms and removed all sources of any creditable justice by ensuring that government officers instead of independent judiciary could become the arbitrator of most disputes.
For the farmers of India, it was a struggle to enable their basic existence especially in crop zones where MSP or the government regulated Minimum support price was an important tool in enabling a just reward for their efforts. With the removal of MSP and with the negotiating powers totally tilted heavily in favor of large corporate houses which would have taken over the entire food chain, they knew that their days as farm owners were numbered.
The rest is history. How the common farmer rose from all corners of the nation and not just from Punjab, Haryana or UP. How the government used the entire state and federal machinery to crush dissent and yet the marches continued. How the farmers were abused by many-politicians, India’ elite including leading film stars, sports personalities, print and visual media and above all the dreaded “Andh-Bhakts” or the blind followers of the ruling master who could come out with the choicest abuse at the drop of a hat.
Khalistanis, Andolanjeevis, anti-national, terrorists, criminals, dirt- these were the labels given not just by the lowest common denominator in the neo-Nazi Hindutava zone of the fringe but by the top leaders of the ruling regime with one adjective being the produce of the great dictator himself.
Yet the farmers marched. And protested! And marched and protested! And repeated it against all abuse, pain and misery!
Finally in November 2021, this dark period in India’s history has come to an end with the decision to repeal these laws, a process which will become a reality in this upcoming week.
JAI KISAN! Hail the farmers for all their efforts and sacrifices! Bravo and glory be upon you.
But the lessons learnt also point to a greater force which also enabled this victory and which could lead to paths of many more victories against the current brute regime and many which are still waiting to see the light of the day.
JAI JUBAN! Hail the voice that rose and spoke for million muted throats. Hail the resistance which arose from all and sundry and made this movement a historic moment and raised the hope that there does exist a light at the end of the tunnel.
Make no mistake. The great dictator had no change of heart and neither were the high and mighty ready to retract because there was a newly developed empathy for the ‘lowly’ farmer. This is a plain and simple tactical retreat to ensure that no political price needs to be paid in the upcoming important battles of UP, Bihar and ensure that the common man is yet not ready to discard the carefully crafted and nurtured brand of religious hate and bigotry.
This happened not just because of the farmers who worked in the field. The moment was ably supported by their brothers and sisters who worked in various walks of lives and came out in full support in heart and spirit. Activists, artists and singers, doctors & nurses, small businessmen, teachers and professors, retired government officers and Police and military officers and soldiers, religious leaders from different faiths, students, social and political workers, resident and non-residents- they came from all walks of life to lend their voice for the just cause of the farmers and to speak in dissent against a government which was not used to such mass dissent.
The movement was also ably supported by almost all opposition parties and that too carefully to ensure that the movement was mass led by the farmers and that the political parties stood behind in support at all times and never tried to snatch the limelight.
The more the abuse, the more the resistance!
For every Kangana Ranaut and Geeta Phogat, there was a Diljit Dosanjh or a Bajrang Punia who spoke in favor of the farmers.
For every Mahonhar Lal Khattar or Piyush Goyal who misspoke about the motives of the farmers, a Rakesh Tikait or a Yogendra Yadav stood firm.
For every “Andh-Bhakht” blind follower troll on social media, there were thinkers and activists who answered back and stood their stand.
This is a victory as much of the farmers as that of the RESISTANCE, not just a powerful working machinery to give voice to the dissent, but also the voice within which decides to come out in support of our brothers and sisters in distress.
And people of Indian origins also supported the cause worldwide despite being called anti-nationals, Khalistanis and traitors at the drop of a hat.
There’s was not just financial support or international political pressure but also actual mass movement. From Lilly Singh, Rupi Kaur to Meena Harris and hundreds more, the list is endless of people in support of farmers. Not to mention the international out spoken celebrities like Justin Trudeau, Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, Hasan Minhaj, Trevor Noah, to name a few. Street protests, truck and tractor marches, zoom panel discussions, donations and prayers- these were measures which were not just activities in support of farmers in India but amongst the Indian diaspora worldwide.
The resistance spoke and and raised their voice in unison with farmers.
This victory is truly a victory of two forces that will lead a path to true democracy in countries like India which use the existing model of democracy as a tool to cultivate dictatorships.
This victory is as much of the Kisan, the farmer, the common man as that of the Juban, the voice, the resistance which rose from the ashes and forced the great retreat.
And that gives us a slogan for future victories which will enable greater zeal to win the final war.
Let the resistance build inside you and give you courage to stand for what is just.
Speak and remove the mute button from your mental device once and for all so that no one will take you for granted anymore and bulldoze over us.
Let the world be truly free in times to come.
Jai Juban, Jai Kisan!
Posted in Times of India on the day the farm laws were withdrawn i.e. 29th November 2021. Link below-