By Dr Jumma Khan Marri
The message is loud and clear for Modi. Keeping their spirits high, the protesting farmers are up in arms against the high-handed policy of the RSS-dominated BJP government. Though it’s an uneasy calm that now prevails after violence erupted in Delhi on January 26 during farmers’ agitation against three farm laws brought in by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government, the situation is still volatile and explosive.
The overwhelming support to the farmers’ movement given by scores of civil society groups as well as minorities in India is not an ordinary phenomenon. It is something unprecedented and historic. The way the trade unions, organisations of workers, students, women, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Christians, and Indian NGOs have joined hands with the farmers shows that the movement has now turned into a “Mass Movement of the Oppressed People” against the imperialist rulers of India.
India’s liberal and progressive forces are resisting Modi’s efforts to turn India into a purely Hindu state. They believe that it’s high time they stood up for the farmers’ cause. For, if they don’t do so, capitalism, imperialism and Hindu extremists would enslave the poor people of India. Extreme resentment and fear have been building up in India after Narendra Modi came to power, as BJP and RSS are parties of the ultra-rightists and ultra-nationalists whose aim is to usurp the rights of the poor people of India and establish race-based Brahmin supremacy.
The farmers’ agitation started soon after the new farms’ laws were enacted by Modi’s government in September. Farmers have taken to the streets against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. The show of unity and resilience put up by the farmers so far has been both exemplary and extraordinary. Whether it was Covid-19 restrictions and repressions or rain in many states, nothing could stop them from expressing their anger against Narendra Modi’s arbitrary and repressive policies.
Not only did the farm laws draw the ire of the distressed farmers, but it has become the basis for a mass movement of the subjugated minorities as well as poor sections of Indian society. Farmers are not mistaken in believing the bill will wipe out small farmers and give big corporations, many of them owned by Modi’s crony capitalists like Ambani, Adani, and the like, control of India’s agricultural sector. They are also apprehensive that the new laws would pave the way for doing away with the safety cushion of minimum support price and putting an end to the market system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.
The situation has worsened so much so that even the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi had to say that for the Modi government, crony capitalists are the “best friends” and agitating farmers are traitors. Earlier, shedding light on Modi’s callousness, Gandhi articulated in a tweet, “For Modi Govt: Dissenting students are anti-nationals. Concerned citizens are urban Naxals. Migrant labourers are Covid carriers. Rape victims are nobody. Protesting farmers are Khalistani. And crony capitalists are best friends”.
The farmers leaders are demanding a complete annulment of the laws, but Delhi, still being obstinate, has only agreed to delay any reforms for 18 months. Indian agriculture extends support, directly and indirectly, to over 60 percent of India’s 1.3 billion citizens but only accounts for about 15 percent of the country’s economic output. Debts and bankruptcies have been compelling farmers to commit suicides. For the last 10 to 12 years, there’s been a spate of farmer suicides. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, more than 10,000 farmers and farm labourers committed suicide in 2019 alone.
Although the protesting farmers and their tractors have cleared the streets of Delhi and gone back to makeshift camps to come up again with new zeal and fervour, a large security presence in parts of the city indicates that tense days are still ahead. Upping the ante, the protesting farmers have panned out in putting across the message that they would not budge an inch from their stand.
The Brahmin’s mindset of the BJP government has landed India in serious trouble with the majority of its population feeling hopeless, disgruntled, and angry. The racist philosophy of Hindutva has sown seeds of hatred against the minorities, especially the Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis and Christians. Incidents of the lynching of Muslims as well as members of other minorities, especially Christians have become the order of the day. Now, fault lines are quite visible in Indian society. Under Modi, the minorities feel that there is no future for them any longer in India. Modi’s narrow political agenda is fast pushing them to the wall in an already unequal Indian society. From Kashmir to Assam, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots has created an explosive situation in India. Modi now stands fully exposed as an agent of capitalists like Ambani and Adani. Modi has put India on sale. During the last six years of BJP rule, wealth has concentrated in a few hands while a few crony capitalist friends of Modi have become filthy rich. The battle is now between Modi backed by his gang of looters versus the oppressed people of India—a battle that the latter will definitely win.