Skip to main content

Farmers' protest: When passengers in UP train accepted BJP's 'fake' conspiracy theories


By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*

As the farmers’ protest is all set to become more powerful and is looking for a long haul, BJP as well as its 'information network' have gone overboard in discrediting them. Whatever the ground realities, the fact is, social media trolls and disinformation have had their impact on large sections. Travelling in a train in Uttar Pradesh gives one some insight into what people seem think.
While being amidst the marginalised sections, I found no love lost for the government or BJP. However, I found people were quite sensitive about their communities and how they would be affected. This appears to have helped BJP. A large number of people who are now part of BJP, especially those from Dalit and OBC background, seem to have no love lost for the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.
However, their pragmatism and local caste equations appeared to be uppermost in their minds. Most of them felt that the current government was actually helping the Ambani and Adani. Yet, the narrative offered by Rahul Gandhi is still not acceptable. People still seemed to believe in the words being spread by the saffron brigade about Nehru, Indira and Sonia Gandhi.
Conversation with people revealed that whatever was being offered in the social media was still very much in the people’s minds, even if all of it was fake. In the train people were worried about the bandh and the possible delay of the train and other local services, one reason they said they won’t “side with the opposition.”
BJP's aim to project the protests as problem making that would lead to disturbances was, apparently, being accepted. “The problem is too much of democracy in India”, is what one of them remarked. “I hail from a kisan family in Haryana”, said another co-passenger, who was worried about whether he would be able to get his connection to Yamunanagar from Anand Vihar.
Another one remarked, “The problem is not with the farmers but whether Khalistanis, Canadians, JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University)  people and Communists who have joined hand, which is wrong. What is more worrying is that Muslims too have now infiltrated in it, and it has now become anti-national,”
A third person jumped into the discussion. 
BJP's aim to project the protests as problem making that would lead to disturbances was, apparently, being accepted
“Are these poor farmers?”, he asked. “They are drinking Bisleri water, good food is being served to them, they have dry fruits available for them. Where is the money coming from?” The narrative was clear: Farmers might be fighting for their rights, but why were Communists, JNU wallahs, Canadians, Khalistani joining them? And as Muslims had also joined them, it has become a 'security' threat!
I was not amused. Without quarreling with them, I asked, “But Modi ji has been helping Ambani and Adani only. Food prices have gone up, unemployment is high, and there are many issues confronting the nation, yet this government only thinks about Hindus, Muslims, India, Pakistan, Ram Janmabhoomi, etc.”
There was silence for a while, but most of the passengers seemed to accept what I said. “You are right”, one of them asserted. “What has the government done for the people?”, wondered another. “It is time for the government to speak to people and listen to their concerns.”
But, in the end, all of them insisted, commuters should not suffer during the bandh. This despite the fact that it was common knowledge, the bandh was for not for the whole day; it was from 10 am to 3 pm.
There is reason to conclude: The way BJP IT cell has been operating and carrying on campaign against the ongoing agitation suggests that the party appears to feel that by bringing in conspiracy theories it can discredit the movement and polarise it. Indeed, the BJP troll army has sought to vilify the movement as anti- national by insisting it has the support of the minority groups, left parties, student leaders and international organisations.
Indeed, BJP’s social media campaign has worked in creating fake narratives. Large sections of people still don’t seem to understand that farmers know about their issues much better than those making laws for them. They still don’t seem to appreciate the fact that farmers will not put any harm to the country, or that by handing over the big farming sector, only cronies will flourish.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Pending GoI wage payments to rural labour reach Rs 5,100 crore: NREGA Morcha

By Our Representative  MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), which is said to have provided a cushion to millions of rural households amidst great economic distress during the Covid-19 pandemic, continues to be bogged with poor implementation, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has alleged.

Once centres of civilisation, Indian cities turning into 'major cause of concern'

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay*  Each year, October 31 is celebrated as the World Cities Day. The theme this year was Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience. The Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a special lecture on city as environment as part of the discussion under the #WebPolicyTalk series on the State of Cities -- #CityConversations.

Nuclear energy 'can't solve' global warming, will 'strain' financial, natural resource

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who has favoured nuclear energy as a solution to global warning, well-known power and policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the IAEA chief's “unsubstantiated advocacy” of nuclear power is associated with “diversion of considerable amounts of scarce resources, both financial as well as natural, of many developing countries, such as India.”

Forget 'bheek', by this logic, Gujarat was free of British rule in 1995, 19 yrs before India

The real freedom fighting brigade By Rajiv Shah  Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut may have her own reasons to say that India acquired real freedom in May 2014, when Narendra Modi came to occupy India’s seat of power.  There was little to be amused by what she said, for, as many commentators have variously pointed out, her viewpoint was surely based on her little or no knowledge of the history of the Indian freedom movement.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Learning to bridge 'huge chasm' between highly educated, illiterate, badly literate

By Shrey Ostwal, Sandeep Pandey*  The pivotal point of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey to become Mahatma Gandhi began when his “political guru” – Gopal Krishna Gokhale – advised young Mohandas to travel around India. This rigorous journey was essential for Mohandas to understand his country and countrypersons better if he were to fight the inhumane and unempathetic British regime which had been looting India of its glory for about two centuries then.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Farm laws: Modi has been taking decisions without consulting experts, stakeholders

By Ajit Singh* In a surprise move, the Prime Minister of India in a video message that went live on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti announced to scrap three contentious farm laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. These laws were notified in September last year but put on hold due to widespread opposition, especially by farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

Modi withdrew farm laws, but has no word on 'pro-corporate, oppressive' policies

Farmers celebrate withdrawal of three laws By Harsh Thakor  Punjab farmers have no doubt won a historic battle in overpowering the farm laws with the support of the working class, students, youth and intellectuals. Noticeably, the non-sectarian approach of the participating organisations, which confronted Hindutva neo-fascism, Sikh separatist politics and Indian and foreign corporate monopoly, helped in enhancing their striking capacity.