Skip to main content

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.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union BKU (Ugrahan) particularly played a pivotal role in intensifying the struggle at the Tikri border. It worked in coordination with the Kirti Kisan Union, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, the Pendu Mazdoor Union, the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa), the Punjab Students Union (New Democracy Group) and the Naujwan Bharat Sabha.
The farmers’ agitation stood in sharp contrast to the assessment of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the their agitations would not prolong beyond November 2020. PMO thought the agitation would retreat when the paddy harvest begins. The mass organisations, however, ensured that the movement would proceed on a secular road and no political party would be allowed to utilise their platforms. The secular thrust of the movement propelled the victory. Even during the peak of the paddy harvest, the movement was not withdrawn.
However, the struggle is far from over. The ruling BJP continues to patronise the corporates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew the agricultural laws keeping an eye on the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh. The roots of socio-economic oppression and pro-corporate economic policies remain part and parcel of the government’s policies.
The demands to legalise the minimum support price (MSP) and scrap the draft electricity amendment Bill haven’t been met. MSP is directly linked with the public distribution system (PDS). Poor and marginal farmers do not have access to institutional credit. They are dependent on private money lenders. Only a definite economic programme, including land reforms, would address these issues.
The Prime Minister had tried to make out that it was a movement only of rich farmers. However, the fact is, only a small layer of rich farmers have been involved in the protests. Recently, a Punjab University academic did a survey and found that all the farmers who died during the protests had a land holding of up to three acres. None of the group of 750 martyrs constituted a rich farmer.
No doubt, the unity of the farmers continued against all odds. Yet, an important factor that been ignored is that of caste. The rural Dalit labour community remains marginalised. There is a lurking gap between the demands of the landed at Jat farmers and the Dalit agricultural labourers. There is little integration of the upper caste landed farmers with the Dalit agricultural workers.
Reacting to Modi's announcement regarding the repeal of agricultural laws in the coming session of the parliament, the BKU (Ugrahan) termed it a victory of the “determined peasant struggle”, but stressed upon the need to remain vigilant.
In a statement issued to media, Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, president and general secretary, respectively, said that the Modi government had to bow before the historic and unprecedented peasant struggle, but still it has not affected any change in its policies designed for the infiltration of the corporates in the agrarian sector.
A survey said, all the farmers who died during protests had land holding of up to 3 acres. None of the 750 martyrs constituted a rich farmer
It is yet to be watched whether the Modi government tries to deviously feed the corporate interests, they said. Besides these laws, the issues of MSP, PDS and electricity Bill are pending even now. Whereas Modi has only talked about MSP, the demand of the farmers is to have all the crops procured at the MSP by the government as a legal right.
They emphasised that PDS and the procurement of the crops at MSP are not independent of each other, instead these are interlinked. PDS is a major issue for the poor working class consumers. In this context, MSP and PDS constitute a single set of demands which can guarantee the interests, both of the farmers and the consumers.
Besides these demands, they emphasised on punishment to the culprits of Lakhimpur Kheri killings, action against officials and political leaders of Haryana responsible for oppressing farmers, and withdrawal of cases registered against them during this movement. These demands still remain unresolved. Modi’s announcement does not even touch upon these.
The Gurpurab of Guru Nanak Dev was observed at the Tikri Border and dozens of struggle sites in Punjab. The news of the bowing down of the Modi government on that day brightened the celebrations of Gurpurab. The speakers on different morcha sites spoke highly of the voice raised by Baba Nanak against social evils and state's oppression. They called upon people to clearly identify today's “Babars and Malik Bhagos”, i.e. ruler-corporates alliance.

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