Archive for May, 2021


Farmers Protest: June 5th

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 186

Toll 491+


June 5th

Call it serendipity, I call it irony. June 5th is World Environment Day. It is also the day when in 1974, Jayaprakash Narayan had declared Sampoorn Kranti and launched a mass movement against the central government. Last year, on 5th June, the government presented the anti-farmer policies as Ordinances. Later in September 2020, the Ordinances became Bills and then were bulldozed through the Parliament and Laws.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has decided to mark June 5 as Sampoorna Kranti Divas. SKM appeals to citizens to extend their support and actively participate in the farmers movement – burn copies of three agricultural laws in front of offices of BJP MPs, MLAs and Representatives.
Meanwhile, three days back, in Paris the French police pepper sprayed farmers protesting against the new European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The protests against the EU CAP have been going on for months now. Farmers say the policies will impact the agriculture sector adversely, depeasantize the farmers, and place the sector under risk. In November 2018, the government voted in the EGAlim Law which supposedly improves trade relations balance in the agricultural sector and ensures healthy and sustainable diet.

Does that sound familiar?

Two days back, tens of thousands of people in Brazil staged another day of protest against President Jair Bolsonaro, in particular for his chaotic handling of the pandemic. In downtown Rio de Janeiro, protesters were chanting ‘Go away Bolsovirus’. Similar rallies were held in other major cities, the latest in a wave of anger against Bolsonaro that began months ago. People are infuriated with lockdown measures, ineffective medications, and government and failing to anticipate oxygen shortages that left patients to suffocate. One of the themes of the rally Saturday was how many lives might have been saved if the Bolsonaro government had started Brazil’s vaccination drive earlier.

Does that sound familiar?

While French farmers are doing what Indian farmers are doing, are Indians doing what Brazilians are doing? The date is June 5th. Show solidarity!


Farmers Protest: Storm at Shahjahanpur

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 185

Toll 491


Storm at Shahjahanpur

While the successful BKU Ekta Ugrahan protest for universal healthcare at Patiala ends today, thousands of farmers from Doaba region reached Singhu border yesterday to join the protests, a storm befell the Shahjahanpur protest site last night. Many farmers are injured and about 90 percent tents are destroyed.

The farmers at Shahjahanpur site on the Delhi-Ajmer Expressway need your support. Though the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur protest sites attract attention, the Rajasthan and Haryana farmers at Shahjahanpur have put up a valiant protest for the last five months. They have persisted against all odds – storms, rumours and misreporting in press, and police oppression.

Now, the farmers need your support.

Here is a Phone Pe and Google Pay number: +91 96601 68449. It belongs to Mr Prahlad s/o Dana Ram. State Bank of India Account Number: 61325086113, IFSC: SBIN0032224. The number and account have been issued by the local leadership at Shahjahanpur.

If you wish to help, please call or message, and confirm. Then pay.


Jindal University: Articulator of Farmers Protest

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Dear Friends,

As you know, for over six months now I have been attempting to articulate the #FarmersProtest. A few weeks back Christine Moliner from OP Jindal University invited me to join a seminar on the protests, in a panel titled ‘Political Communication & Media Coverage of the Movement’.

The proceedings of the entire seminar are here – to download or play.

I am placing just my 11.38 minute snippet – thanks to Gurshamshir Singh – on how I see my role as an articulator of the protests. It is a bit reflective about how I see myself in my role – my position, my orientation, my own filters on what I say and why I say that much and not more, what to me is the role of Panjab and the role of narratives in the protest, and finally my suggestion on what all of us who are in solidarity can do, must do.

Please listen here …


Farmers Protest: PUDA Ground, Patiala

   Posted by: aman    in Punjab

Day 183

Toll 484+


PUDA Ground, Patiala

The farmers protest have a clear goal: repeal Farm Laws, legalise MSP, stop Electricity and Environment Ordinances. Yet, are the protests only about that?

No, for various farmers unions, as per their independent charters, the protests are about multiple issues, all leading to a critique and opposition of the neo-liberal structure of the state.

For many weeks now, India is in the grip of the pandemic second wave. Officially, in the last two months we have doubled the number of dead. Unofficially, we all know the numbers are many times higher. For once even lapdog media, at least print, has kept its eyes on the catastrophe. Even over a month after the scarcity of beds, ventilators, oxygen scarcity hit us, we have not plugged the gaps.

The government remains absent. Civil society groups try their best to match the demands. Some corporates step in to fulfil requirements. MoSha hide behind high walls.
What do we the people do? What can we do? We seek help on social media, we vent on social media. We get help on social media, we get shoulders to cry on. But how do we hold the government accountable? 2024 is too far. If we know one thing, it is: likely the government will over come the crises and win again. If you disagree with that, do you really have a plan or just hope?

Instead of getting into these debates, BKU Ekta Ugrahan has decided to hold a day-and-night protest at PUDA Grounds, Patiala from today until the 30th of May. They demand:

- Fill 30% vacancies in the state health department.

- Bring all major private hospitals under government control.

- Fix treatment costs for patients in small private hospitals.

- End black market on necessary medicines, oxygen and other equipment.

- Stop penalising, jailing violators. Instead run information and education campaigns.

- Instead of blanket lockdowns and curfews, arrange food for the needy. Open up the Public Distribution System.

- Instead of forcing vaccines, resolve vaccine apprehensions.

- Arrange COVID-19 test and basic medical aid at village and urban neighbourhood level.

- Make provisions to treat those suffering other deadly illnesses.

- Open the treasury to increase government capital investment in all public sectors including health sectors.

- Impose direct taxes on big corporates and landlords.

BKU Ekta Ugrahan’s instruction to every protester is to take precautions, wear masks, keep necessary distance. The union has also taken the responsibility of implementing basic medical aid and preventing possible virus spread.

Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress-ruled Panjab adopted the same line as the Central BJP government: the protest will be a super spreader, don’t do it.

This approach, to me is flawed because it is an incomplete truth. The full truth is: yes, as government, as administration, as your elected representatives, we failed. We failed to build infrastructure to contain the pandemic. We wasted your taxes. Now we are trying our best. We are doing this, this and this… We welcome all your suggestions and commit to fulfil them. Would you please consider not gathering and turning the protest into a super-spreader event?

Sadly, that never happens. Every government scares us, talks down to us, and never reflects or accepts its own omissions. That is why, protests are not a choice, but a necessity.


Farmers Protest: Six Months

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 181

Toll 480+


Six Months

Greetings on Buddha Purnima!

Today, the farmers protest completes six months on Delhi’s borders. In Panjab, the protests started even earlier – beginning October 2020.

Through adverse weather conditions, peak winters and untimely rains, peak summers and storms, through the second wave of the pandemic, through incidents of January 26th and many more subsequently, through internal differences, the farmers and labour, the women and men, the old and young, have held their position against the apathy and inefficiency of the government.

Today marks six months of their tenacity and perseverance.

The Sangh is clever and indulges in lies but does not have the above qualities and has hence has been defeated until now in all its efforts to dismantle the protests. The government knows no governance, wants to sell India – not only land but defence, power, space, railways, mines, our retinas and finger prints, you name it – and so acts arrogant and uses arms of the state to bully citizens to hide its incompetence.

Yet, the clock ticks. The protests have become the largest and longest sites of resistance in independent India.
The general idea is the protests are against new Farm Laws and for legalisation of MSP. That is true. While those remain the goals, it is the process through which they have come up that fascinates me. How various sections of society come together, churn and join in resistance, how political consciousness grows.

The protests are showing that atmanirbhar – self reliance – is not a fancy term for the government to hide its failures but a call to preserve the sovereignty of the nation. The question the protests are asking is: when we can produce our own food, feed our own people, why can’t the government help with better procurement and distribution instead of selling out the agrarian sector to crony capitalists?

There is no doubt in my mind that protests – based on langar and sewa – are a space from where the hegemonic narrative of religious supremacy has been challenged. The protests have given us a model to challenge the Sangh, to fight Hindutva, to reclaim democracy. They have shown a way of considering people not through the prism of religious identity, but within frameworks of gender and caste, through work relations – kirrt.

The next stage of the struggle is until August 15. As the devastation of the pandemic decreases, let this sense of kirrt grow across the nation. Whatever be our kirrt, let us look at what is going on around us and evaluate it in terms of our means to earn an honest livelihood. Let that help us decide if the government is good or bad, if it is benefits us or diminishes us.

Considering the BJP formed government this day seven years back and has brought the nation to ruin, the farmers have declared today a Black Day. May we practise truth and non-violence.



Farmers Protest: Solidarities

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Day 179

Toll 478+



On May 21, the protesting farmers at Mayyad Toll plaza, outside Hisar in Haryana, had given a call to oppose the Khattar government’s FIR by deceit against farmers by gathering at the Kranti Park, Hisar today. Beating expectation of a few thousand farmers gathering, on ground more than a lakh farmers have gathered, more are arriving.

The administration has called for talks in which 11 members of the Mayyad Toll Plaza Committee plus members of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha core committee are participating. The reason to include local people in the talks underlines the fact that localites are best equipped to argue their case and should not be overshadowed by senior leaders.

Earlier in the day, a few farmers were injured when police used lathis to repel them as they approached the barricades outside Hisar airport. They had information that the Deputy CM Haryana, Dushyant Chautala from Jannayak Janata Party – who had earlier sold the farmer votes to his party to the BJP and helped it form government – was at the airport. A cat and mouse game of ambulances took place and he perhaps escaped or maybe he was not there in the first place. The tense situation was finally diffused. A farmer, Ram Charan Kharab had a heart attack and has sadly died at today’s protest.

Yesterday, in spite of the storm and rains last few days, thousands of farmers reached Singhu to mark 6 months of the protests. Post harvest, the farmers from Panjab have made huge donations to various farmer unions. While India grapples with the virus, rest of Indian farmers are too shaken by the pandemic reaching villages, the north Indian farmers are self-funding their protests in a big way.

Now as protests are completing 6 months, 12 political parties have given the call to support May 26 as Black Day. So nice of them! Just hope if and when they come to power they do not again turn anti-farmer. Farmers have memories of a elephant. They know the past half century and how political parties have betrayed them.

The Opposition parties must tell Captain Amarinder Singh, CM of Panjab, to explain with complete transparency to BKU Ekta Ugrahan what his government has done to contain the pandemic in the state and not label their intent to question him on lapses in COVID-19 management as potential super-spreaders.

The farmers are showing us, unless we hold governments – states or Centre – accountable on their lack of performance, more and more of us do it, farmers and labour from rest of country, urban middle-class everywhere, unless we unite in solidarity, there will be no respite from mal-governance, foul laws, and the pandemic.

Update: Farmers win against Haryana police – FIRs to be quashed. One month time sought because as per law High Court will quash them.


Farmers Protest: Mending

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 178

Toll 477+


After the recent storm and heavy rains on the borders of Delhi.

Don’t be sad about the fort of Anandpur,
We will turn every hut into a fort.
- Sant Ram Udasi

To see BKU Ekta Ugrahan pictures, click here.


Farmers Protest: Letter

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Posted on May 22, 2021

Day 177

Toll 477



Ever since the protests began nearly six months ago, except in earlier two months, the government has not directly addressed the protests. Instead, the Sangh and the lapdog media have demonised the protests. With COVID-19 second wave some sympathetic liberals or urban middle-class also have suggested retreat.

On the other hand, the farmers who are running makeshift hospitals on sites, are now supplying medicines, oxygen, in some cases even beds to Delhi residents. There have been minimal COVID-19 deaths or virus spread at the protests.

Since the talks with government collapsed in January, there is a constant narrative that farmers do not want to talk to the government. The fact is, though there are behind the scene parleys, it is the government that got busy with state elections and ignored the farmers. The government never called the farmers for talks which were supposedly one phone call away.

Now the farmers have written an open letter to government asking for talks. Will the government respond? Maybe the Buddha knows!

To read the letter, click here.


Farmers Protest: Lies

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Day 176

Toll 476 (approx.)



On May 16, when police lathi charged and tear gassed farmers in Hisar, the farmers gheraoed the Inspector General police bungalow and threatened to gherao all police stations in Haryana the next day. Farmer leaders and IG Police reached an agreement that all detained farmers will be released, police will repair around 25 farmer vehicles destroyed in the fracas, and neither farmers nor police will press charges. The situation was diffused.

The day before yesterday, the police has filed a complaint against 350 farmers for injuring their cadre. The case has been registered under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 188 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code.

This is an exact instance of how the state lies, how the state betrays its own promise, how the state creates a trust deficit. Now tell me if the state does this for a public outrage event, what will it do with Farm Laws?

It is illustrated in another example. A month back government increased the price of DAP fertiliser and has now announced a subsidy on it, such that the farmer gains nothing and fertilizer companies rake in the moolah. Before the price hike, when actual price of fertilizer was Rs 1700, it was available to the farmer for Rs 1200. A month ago, the price of DAP was increased to Rs 2400. Yesterday, the government announced a subsidy of Rs 1200. This is just a PR spiel by the government and benefits corporates, not farmers.

This is what the farmers and labour know from their long experience of being on the receiving side of the state because they have committed the singular crime of being private entrepreneurs on their lands.

For many months now, farmers have been asking for diesel prices to be reduced by 50%. There has been no action from the government so far.

Given the police case on farmers in Hisar, the farmers have decided to gherao the Hisar Commissioner’s office. Towards this the farmers have issued an open invite to all farmers to reach Hisar Kranti Park at 10 am on May 24th.

The farmers will nail the lies of the state.


Farmers Protest: Summer Rain

   Posted by: aman    in Other, Punjab

Day 175

Toll 476 (approx.)


Summer Rain

a silent meditation today, 9 minutes. A drive through the rain hit encampments at Tikri yesterday. Blurry.

Footage: BKU Ekta Ugrahan