Farmers Protests: Laws

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Day 367

Toll 685


Yesterday, thousands gathered at Tikri, Bahadurgarh, Singhu, Ghazipur to mark one year of protests and limited win by forcing the government to repeal the draconian Farm Laws. This cheered me immensely. But what cheered me even more was that farmers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and other states demonstrated their solidarity.

The demonstrations indicate that finally, after one year, Samyukth Kisan Morcha’s message has travelled across the length and breadth of the country. India’s agriculture is diverse, it is based on local conditions. Yet, all of it suffers the same neglect by the policies of the country. Farmers in different regions have their particular issues and it is a great sign for democracy that they are articulating both the common SKM demands for Minimum Support Price but also local demands, like in Karnataka they are: repeal of recently amended Land Reforms Act, APMC Act and the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020.

What do these multiple demonstrations mean? Of course, they are about laws related to agriculture but to me the meaning is deeper. It is about how the Indian society views laws as such. Are laws written in stone or are they meant to ease our living?

All laws are meant to help us live better as a society. While some consider religious laws to be divine or divine inspired and hence unchangeable and that is a separate discussion, human laws are not at all like that. Human laws, for example our Constitution, are man made and are alerted when needed through amendments. Yet, the sense the state and its tool – police and judiciary – give is they are written in stone and hence unmutable.

Through fear and coercion, through threats and jails, the government keeps the populace in check. It does not allow us to assert our freedom, question the laws. For example, a draconian law such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is based on the draconian British law the Rowlatt Act. In its time, ordinary people opposed the Rowlatt Act. Jallianwala Bagh massacre happened because British fired upon unarmed Rowlatt Act protesters. But the Indian state has continued with the Act under different names. This shows how power structures perpetuate themselves and are opposed to the needs to people.

Any law, is both the letter of the laws and the spirit of the law. In our country we have noticed over last seven plus decades, while letter of the law is followed to oppress citizens, the state machinery clearly ignores the spirit of the law. The state machinery uses fear to control people. Yesterday’s demonstrations show people have cast aside the shroud of fear in which this regime has sought to bury them over last seven years.

To me yesterday’s huge demonstrations mean our people, especially farmers, who are ignored by city folk as rural, uneducated, have understood the spirit of laws. They are saying: laws are not written in stone. If laws are bad, take them back. They are now demanding repeals and laws which will help them organise their occupation better. May this spirit now transmit to other sections of society: labour, women, Dalits, other oppressed categories. That would be a true celebration of Constitution Day.

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