Skip to main content

Farmers set to write a new chapter in history despite 'barriers' imposed by authorities

By Harsh Thakor

The peasantry of Punjab belonging to 32 different organisations, forming the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, have written a new chapter in history after igniting a spark into a prairie fire. Refusing to be despaired, despite being thwarted by police barriers, they have revealed unprecedented courage. It is not just the vast numbers, 10 lakh plus, but their electrifying impact that is striking the ruling classes at their backbone.
Among the organizations which have been particularly active in organising the protests is the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugarhan) or BKU (Ugrahan). It has galvanised over one-and-a-half lakh people, including around 50,000 women. More than 50% of the protestors are youth, which is a positive trend.
Scenes at Tikri, Singhu, Jharoda, Ghazipur and Chilla, the areas on the border of Delhi, have seen farmers weathering tear gas, water cannons and barricades amidst falling temperatures. Langars were set up, base camps were established, slogans were raised, flags were waved, and tractors were pounded in.
Then there are the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union. These organizations helped highlight how the agricultural bills would destroy democratic aspirations of the peasantry.
These bills, it was pointed out, gave corporates a licence to plunder the peasantry by having a total monopoly in dictating prices and obtaining land. Speakers stated that the dominance of corporate houses in agricultural sector meant complete tarnishing of the public distribution system (PDS).
The new system, it was suggested, would ensure profit to the corporate houses and multinational corporations by depriving people of essential commodities. It would also increase black marketing, artificial glut and scarcity in the market. The agitation was an attempt to save agriculture and to ensure food security of the masses, the speakers insisted.
Opposition parties Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Akali Dal, were criticised for their economic policies, suggesting, these in essence did not different much from BJP. However, the main criticism was directed against BJP, which, it was underlined, was patronizing corporates more than any ruling party has ever done. Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav was also criticised for asking the agitation to retreat. 
Among the Ugrahan activists who took an active at the Tikri border, where protesters occupied several kilometres of road, were Shingara Singh Mann, Jaswinder Singh Soma, Harinder Kaur Bindu and Paramjit Kaur Pitho.
Then there were Zora Singh Nasrali of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, Amolak Singh of the Punjab Lok Sabhyacharak (PLS) Manch, Amitoz Singh Maur of the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), and Sushil Kumari, Rajesh Dhankar, Mukesh Khasa and Khushbir Kaur from Haryana. All of them addressed gatherings.
Speakers explained that the Modi government was responsible for the discomfort the local communities were facing due to the ongoing agitation, insisting, the agitation was meant to provide economic security to farmer as well as food security to the country. They appealed to the residents of Delhi to understand the purpose of agitation while facing the problems caused by it.
A play “Superpower” was performed. It was choreographed by the PAL Manch. Jagsir Singh Jida and his Lok Sangeet Mandali Jida performed in their typical style. Ajmer Singh Akalia presented revolutionary songs on the occasion.
BKU (Ugrahan) named five protest sites after the names of historical personalities representing the legacy of struggles leading up to the ongoing agitation against the farm bills. These were called Baba Banda Singh Nagar, Chacha Ajit Singh Nagar, Bibi Gulab Kaur Nagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Shaheed Sadhu Singh Takhtupura Nagar. A press gallery was installed in the name of Shaheed Ashfaqulah Khan to provide information on the struggle.
In Punjab, solidarity agitations and cultural programmes were held at over dozen places. Seeking abolition of the farm bills, Kulwant Kaur, Ranjit Kaur, Buta Singh, Bawa Singh Atwal and Ninderpal Maidita addressed 200 people at village Mehmoodpur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district. Slogans were raised against the Modi government, and in favour of farmers’ struggle and worker-farmer unity. Effigies of the Modi government were burnt in Mehmoodpur and other villages.
At the Langda Bypass, Chandigarh Road, the Kirti Kisan Union undertook a major solidarity action seeking closure of Nawanshahr district on December 8, the day on which Bharat Bandh has been announced.
Participants included activists from the Auto Workers Union, the Tempo Union, the Taxi Union, the Women Jagriti Manch, the Indian Federation of Trade Unions, the Kirti Kisan Union, te Rehri Workers Union, the Migrant Labour Union, the Bhatha Workers Union, the Dr Ambedkar Mission Society, the Rural Labor Union, the Medical Practitioners’ Association, the Democratic Teachers Front, and Punjab Students’ Union.
At Bhatinda city, the Farmers’ Struggle Support Committee conducted a torch march in support of the farmers sitting in Delhi. Around 500 people, including 100 women, participated. Nearly 80 per cent of the participants were teachers. A fund-raising campaign, in which shopkeepers contributed generously, was part of the campaign. Solidarity demonstrations were also held by workers in industrial areas of Ludhiana.
A major role during the struggle was played by BKU’s Harinder Bindu, who shimmered the flame of resistance by mobilizing over 10,000 women, thus paying a fitting a tribute to the movement.
News about the support by well known Bollywood singer Diljit Dosanjh as also several top sportsmen from Punjab, who declared their willing to relinquish their medals, was inspirational. 
There was news of solidarity meetings in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Some friction was visible during the farmers’ agitation. The Kirti Kisan Union, which mobilised around 20,000 Dalit landless labourers, accused BKU (Ugrahan) of sabotaging the movement by projecting its own image and violating the collective spirit. The Ugrahan group did not counter the criticism, as it thought it would cause friction amongst the participants.
Need was felt about ensuring caution. Many participants felt, one must guard against trends that wish to portray a this uprising as a resurgence of the Sikh movement or the Khalistani agitation. It was insisted, leaders would do well to strike a balance by not becoming victim of either compromising with the ruling class leaders or under-estimate certain subjective forces.

Comments

TRENDING

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".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

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.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

A Marxian trend that queries undemocratic customs and traditions of capitalism

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her… There is no other philosopher who is more abused and misunderstood like Marx. There is no other philosophy like Marxism which is more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The propaganda and portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine signify its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it. Marxism is a philosophy of praxis which helps us to understand the centrality of creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us to analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society. As a humanist p