No Bharat Ratnas For Farmers
OPINION
OPINION

No Bharat Ratnas For Farmers!

No Bharat Ratnas For Farmers

At the Shambhu border, one farmer shouts out loud on the microphone: “The wait is over, here it comes. Get it man. Get it.”

Two kites are flying high. One quickly does a rapid gota; in kite-language it means a fast, sharp and swift spiral downwards, which only a rare and expert patangbaaj, trained to fly kites in the gullies and terraces of small towns and village mohallas, would know. The kite dips like a rocket and there is a huge cry of joy: “Got it.”

The drone has been trapped by the kite. Earlier, the drones were dropping tear gas like bombs, a first in Indian history.

This is not a fly-in-the-sky game. This is a virtually a war waged by the Indian State against thousands of peaceful and unarmed farmers protesting for a just Minimum Support Price (MSP), a long-standing demand in a market dominated by capitalist sharks aligned to the ruling regime in Delhi.

Last we heard about drones was in Gaza. Certain journalists, ordinary folks, mothers and kids, they were targeted and murdered by Israeli drones. While India, under this current regime, whose PM has publicly displayed his bonding and bonhomie with Benjamin Netanyahu, is one of the largest importers of arms from Israel, the use of drones against the civilian population is a first in India. Earlier, all US presidents, including Barack Obama, have used drones to target ‘terrorists’ in Afghanistan and the Middle-East, with scores of civilians also murdered as ‘collateral damage’ – a normal war-tactics for the Americans, now done at a mass scale by its close ally, Israel, with American guns and bombs.

Not only drones, as during the great and glorious struggle of the farmers in 2021, through rain, sunshine, freezing cold and a scorching summer, for months, the farmers had braved tear gas, lathi-charges, water cannons, armoured barricades, and huge metallic nails, cement barricades, and multiple blockades during the protracted peaceful struggle against the farm bills. These are the same tactics once again being employed at the Delhi border. Now, they are reportedly using pellets as well, used repeatedly and ruthlessly in Kashmir earlier. Three farmers have lost their vision, according to reports.

The notorious farm bills were widely seen as another brazen ploy by the PM to privatise agriculture and vast tracts of fertile land owned by the farmers into a cash-rich fiefdom for certain crony capitalist buddies, namely from Gujarat. Finally, they lost the battle. The bills were repealed – but the promises were not kept.

Significantly, the farmers are demanding, since long, that the MS Swaminathan Committee report on MSP should be implemented. The ruling regime has continuously back-tracked on this crucial issue which is at the core of the economic well-being of India’s hard working farmers. Why? And why is the PM so afraid to allow the farmers to peacefully protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi – which is their constitutional right?

One lakh crore was lost by the government in year 2021 due to tax concessions and corporate subsidies to industrialists. Ports, mining, forests, airports, etc, apart from huge multi-million projects, are being dished to out to certain favourite industrialists, thousands of crores have been spent on the Ram Mandir, the Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat, a particular stadium named after the PM in Ahmedabad, and the new Parliament building. So, why deny their economic rights to the annadatas, pending for so long?

In a season when it has been raining Bharat Ratnas, agricultural scientist and one of the founders of the botched-up Green Revolution in north India, Swaminathan was given the Bharat Ratna. The move has flopped miserably. His daughter, economist Madhura Swaminathan, has openly come out in support of the farmers proving that not all have sold their soul in ‘totalitarian’ India.

“The farmers of Punjab today are marching to Delhi. I believe, according to newspaper reports, there are jails being prepared for them in Haryana, there are barricades. All kinds of things are being done to prevent them (from entering Delhi). These are farmers; they are not criminals,” she said at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in an event to mark the Bharat Ratna for her father.

“I request all of you, the leading scientists of India… (we) have to talk to our farmers. We cannot treat them as criminals. They are our annadatas. You have to find some solutions. I request, if you have to honour MS Swaminathan, we have to take the farmers with us with whatever strategy that we are planning for their future,” she said.

ALSO READ: Why Are Indian Farmers Protesting Again?

Narasimha Rao, former Congress PM, unleashed crony capitalism, liberalization, structural adjustment, and the sell-out to West-dominated global financial agencies like the IMF and WTO, with Manmohan Singh as finance minister. He also played blind and deaf while the Babri Masjid was being demolished by the foot-soldiers of LK Advani, while the current PM, then a RSS pracharak, was at Advani’s side. December 6 was then called a ‘black day’ by an outraged nation and the entire media, even by those who have now been running non-stop eulogies on TV and print media on the grand ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony at Ayodhya.

Now, even Rao has got the highest official award in the land which is an open admission of his complicity in the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya, while being a lackey of Western-global predator capitalism in India. Unabashed loyalty to billionaire businessmen, and the polarizing Hindutva card unleashed, mixed with a dose of fake ‘social justice’ for the backwards – this is the triple whammy which the ruling regime thinks would result in total victory in the Lok Sabha polls of 2024.

However, even the most cunningly crafted script can turn sour. The award to Chaudhry Charan Singh seemed to have pushed his grandson to suddenly start glorifying the PM, with the possibility of him joining the NDA alliance. The last farmers’ struggle had unified the Muslims and Jat kisans in western UP once again, after they were communally polarized by poisonous social engineering before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Har Har Mahadev and Allah-o-Akbar became united slogans of the farmers during the movement.

The same farmers are holding a mahapanchayat and might join forces at the Shambhu border. The farmer struggle has decisively spilled into Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh – a bad omen for the PM weeks before the parliamentary polls. Western UP was never a Hindutva stronghold. Hence, the award given to Charan Singh to appease the jat farmers seems to have failed its purpose.

Indeed, there have been indications that despite the hype and hyperbole on the Ram Mandir in the Hindi heartland, it’s not really becoming a win-win trump card among a wider audience. More so, the Supreme Court judgment on electoral bonds, has come as a shock to the PM and his party. All the big money names would be soon displayed on the Election Commission website. The freezing and de-freezing of Congress accounts, yet again unprecedented in the history of Indian democracy, was therefore a desperate move to divert attention. It boomeranged.

Clearly, it is not all hunky dory for Modi and his men in the days to come. There have been huge protests against the EVMs in Delhi, largely unreported in mainstream media. With thousands of civil society groups and people’s movements working on the ground, the vengeful ED raids and hounding of Opposition leaders creating widespread discontent and anger, and the stupendous response to Rahul Gandhi’s yatra, the Hindutva kite which was flying high after its victory in three cow-belt states, seems to be losing steam.

However, it is a fact that the poison of hate has spread deep in the social fabric, especially in many parts of north India, while Uttarakhand has become the latest hate lab. As the polls come closer, a tense undercurrent floats in the in the air. Pulwama is remembered yet again. The tragedy is still simmering. The tears in the eyes of the families have not dried up.

As the old jungle saying goes: when it comes to the insatiable lust for power, anything can happen. Indeed, will India remain a secular and pluralist democracy after the 2024 polls? We keep our fingers crossed.

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Arjun Janah
Arjun Janah
1 month ago

Thank you for this article informing us about the farmers’ struggles and more. We do not get much news about this here in the USA.

रामशरण जोशी
रामशरण जोशी
1 month ago

Yes, it is a wild lust for power, money and domination over humanity. using the drone to terrorise its farmer citizens is an uncivilized act of the State. It never happened in the past. The people of the country should be made aware of such undemocratic behaviour of the Modi regime. The article of this nature helps sensitise and conscentise the people about the ill governance of the day.

SUBHASH GATADE
SUBHASH GATADE
1 month ago

‘insatiable thirst for power’ is the key thing. Agree that the Hindutva Supremacists can cross any limit to maintain their hold on power, who are readily helped by the deep penetration of hate politics in the pores of our society.. All those people, forces who believe in transformatory politics will have to prepare themselves for a long haul.

Suresh Nautiyal
Suresh Nautiyal
1 month ago

Amit is nonpareil! An excellent piece on the woes of the Indian farmers.

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