Skip to main content

An uphill task? Farmers' groups along Delhi border attempt to 'broaden' struggle

By Harsh Thakor*

A protracted war of resistance appears to be unfolding on the border of Delhi, whee protesting farmers have intensified their struggle against the three agricultural laws. A massive tractor march was planned as a precursor to a similar rally on the Republic Day. Farmers are being mobilized under the guidance of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and other organisations in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
President Joginder Singh Ugrahan, who leads the radical BKU faction, feels the struggle has reached a higher stage, while secretary Sukhdev Khokri is optimistic of the progress of the struggle. Meanwhile, landless Dalit agricultural labourers fro Punjab have joined the contingent in Delhi. The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Committee have mobilized agricultural labour. Student and youth contingents are continuously storming in like the flow of a river.
In the words of “Surkh Leeh” chief editor Jaspal Jassi, “The peasantry has struck the rulers hard and won a great moral victory, even though the rulers continue to be defiant.” The farmer leaders have pledged that they would not relent. Solidarity protests have been undertaken in Punjab amongst all sections.
Internal bickerings among farmer organisations, however, continue. Leaders of the Kirti Kisan Union have accused the Ugrahan group for not allowing leaders like Yogendra Yadav to speak from its platform. The Ugrahan group, however, defended its stands stating it was allowing all “democratic” voices to voice their view.
Be that as it may, the All-India Kisan Coordination Committee has been able to put up a united face, with the BKU (Ugrahan) and the Kirti Kisan Union playing important role in order to take the movement at the all-India level, though a predominant weakness is the lack of integration of the working class in the movement.
Major solidarity rallies have taken place in Bandra in Mumbai, in Kolkata and in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. Solidarity actions were also witnessed in Canada. Even as demanding dropping the three farm laws, leaders feel, a long and enduring struggle awaits to ensure guaranteed government procurement at reasonable prices of all crops and the right to public distribution system.
There have been attempts to broadbase the farmers’ struggle. Some farmers’ organisations observed Human Rights Day, with voices raised condemning allegedly illegal detention of workers’ activist Sudha Bharadwaj, Andhra revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, social activist Father Stan Swamy and several other political and social activists arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Joginder Singh Ugrahan said at one of the meetings, “After many unsuccessful attempts, the government has been forced to accept the depth of the struggle and take the road to talk. The pressure of the struggle now is on the government. However, police action, as seen in Dharuhera (Riwari), where they poured tear gas balls to stop farmers, continues. The government's apathy towards the death of 50 farmers during the Delhi Morcha is disgraceful.”
Renowned writer Arundhati Rai arrived at the Delhi Morcha on January 9 to show solidarity with women farmers’ struggle
He claimed, “The government is looking to destroy the struggle through the weapon of talks. Amendment proposals actually want consent for laws which means allowing big corporates entry into the crop marketing”, adding, “We have jointly extinguished this move of the government but have refused to get trapped in it. The government wants to create an atmosphere of disappointment in the struggling people by showing the stubbornness of not abolishing the law during talks.”
Meanwhile, demonstrations continue in rural areas of Punjab and Haryana. There was a programme of burning Narendra Modi's effigy in 51 villages of seven districts under the banner of the Punjab Farm Labour Union. Protest rallies were held in the villages of Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga Jalandhar, Sangrur and Patiala districts.
Contingents of Punjab Students Union and Naujwan Bharat Sabha left Monak in Punjab to join and reinforce the agitation sites along Delhi. Their activists pledged that the Republic Day parade will be the most challenging ever to confront the Modi government’s policies. In Bhatinda, a conference was staged where funds were collected for the field workers in Delhi. Teachers, doctors, shopkeepers and private bus operators, who participated in the conference, contributed generously.
Renowned writer Arundhati Rai arrived at the Delhi Morcha on January 9 to show solidarity with the farmers’ struggle and addressed women farmers from the stage of BKU Ekta (Ugraha). She said, “This struggle cannot be defeated because it is a struggle of living hearts, the whole country has hopes with you because the fighting people are in Delhi.”
According to her, “There is no such struggle in the world matching the intensity as it is on the border of Delhi today. Ite is destined to re-write political history.” Linking the farmers' struggle with the tribal people, summarising how the corporates looted the tribal community of their land, she added, “This movement taught has the country the real meaning of unity.”
---
*Political commentator based in Mumbai who regularly tours different parts of India, to report on democratic events and movements

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).