Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

28
Sep

Farmers Protest: Bharat Bandh

   Posted by: aman

Day 306

Toll 613

Bharat Bandh

In the last 10 months (Delhi), 12 months (Panjab), 15 months (since activities started) of the farmers protest and the nation, yesterday was phenomenal simply because for the very first time we saw and heard the whole country respond. The Bandh was a response to the farmers’ stance, a reverberation of their energy, an acknowledgement by lakhs of ordinary people, if not crores, thousands of organizations, groups and unions, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sites of resistance who came up in solidarity to shut down India for 10 hours.

Given how under this regime, mainstream media has almost drowned ground realities, social media is swayed by bots, the farmers protest on ground has kept its resolve, persisted to resist, by staying focussed on their goals and creating an eco-system to sustain them. I see all of this in keeping with the nature of the farmer. The farmer sows seeds and it takes a long time for crop to grow. Meanwhile there are weather hazards, pest attacks, parasites out to wreck the crop. Yet, finally the crop grows and sustains humanity.

It is very clear that under the draconian regime we live in, the push to sell-out the nation, to jeopardize our lives and work, this resistance is the only way we can sustain ourselves. At the end of this struggle – if it ever ends because it is the nature of power to perpetrate atrocities – we might be eroded and wounded, but we might have the taste of freedom. This deepened political consciousness is, I think, the greatest harvest of the farmers protest.

Yesterday’s protest was absolutely peaceful. There were zero incidents of: violence, arson, loss of public property, loss of private property, vandalism, injury, accidents. Now that should tell us who creates violence in the country and how the anndatas feed us, sustain us, care for us. This should end the allegations of farmers ever intending to harm the society.

The huge surge of solidarity from the country was not just about Farm Laws. Of course, repeal of laws and legalisation of MSP, electricity and pollution Bills are the focus of the protest, but what I loved is that many sections of society are in crises and each of them came out with their own charter: labour codes, sale of PSUs, Dalit atrocities, communal violence, and so on. The core call was ‘We Want Justice’.

This to me is how the farmers protest has created the platform for public discontent to be aired, for people of the nation to stand up for their rights. Personally, this is what I have been waiting for in the last many months. In a democracy, this space is normally with the Opposition but sadly in India today, the Opposition is also waned. Of course, all Opposition parties supported the Bandh. However, ideally, they should have created this platform.

Never mind, country folks, now we need not look at political parties for deliverance. We have taken charge and let us grow in strength. More power to us!

28
Sep

Bharat Bandh Bangalore

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

today when I was reaching Town Hall, Bangalore in an auto, the driver was telling someone on the phone – yes, Panjab, Haryana, full bandh. I added, Kerala, Bihar too, reports from Odisha, Telangana, Bengal too. Then we both said: but our Bangalore! He said, Bangalore is a karishma – a miracle. We both sniggered.

At Town Hall, the protest location, a multi-coloured sea of flags was on display. My eyes welled up. Really because, for 10 months now, I have merely been articulating the protests and feel tired. Everyday I go to my local market and there is no talk of the farmers movement, shops are open, business is usual, except during the pandemic waves. I have been feeling lonely in my pursuit. I know our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, youth and children on Delhi’s borders have had it far more harder through bone-chilling winters, extreme summer heat, monsoon floods. How much have they endured!

Yet, today, not only Bangalore but the whole nation responded. I cried! We all gathered around 11.15 am and then marched to Mysore Bank Circle. All the way chanting: we want justice, down with BJP, Modi haye haye! Music to my ears. I am positive, the ‘dhooni’ at Ghazipur border, the flames in northern states, have now spread like a blaze across the country.

I am thinking, if one day could do this, three days will bring the government on its knees. More power to us!

To see pictures click here …

28
Sep

Farmers Protest: Bharat Bandh Call

   Posted by: aman

Posted on September 26, 2021

Day 304

Toll 607

Dear friends, I hope you are aware of Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s call for Bharat Bandh tomorrow and pray you are in solidarity. At least this much to support farmers protesting for last 10 months on Delhi’s borders against Farm Laws.

See poster in English here …

See posters in 11 Indian languages here …

22
Sep

Farmers Protest: Bommai

   Posted by: aman

Day 300

Toll 605

Bommai

Basavaraj Bommai, the Karnataka chief minister from BJP, recently said in the state assembly that the farmers protest are sponsored by the Congress. There cannot be a bigger joke like this. How can Congress, which can’t keep its flock together, engineer such a huge supply-chain management for 10 months on delhi’s borders which could really test any CEO or military general.

It is pertinent to mention Bommai is the son of one of the most important Janata Dal chief minister SR Bommai whose famous case against union of India on arbitrary dismissal of governments by the Centre is considered a landmark. To see the son of a Lohiaite now turn saffron and spread such canard is unbecoming of a chief minister.

A few weeks back, when appointed CM – a seat that Yediyurappa made possible for him after his alleged ‘friend’ Shobha Karandlaje was appointed Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare – Bommai had said he is forming a committee to double farmers income by 2023-24.

What?

Isn’t Modi going to double farmers income by 2022? Next year? Wasn’t that his promise? Please do not double farmers income. Just give a legal guarantee on C2 + 50% as MSP. That is enough.

The farmers protest clearly tears bare the many lies of the BJP government, whether in state or centre. Then they hide behind such lies to fill the time.

The same is happening with Akali Dal in Panjab. Having failed to stop the Farm Laws from being passed in Parliament, symbolically Harsimrat Kaur Badal, former Minister of Food Processing Industries resigned from the Modi Cabinet, Akali Dal pulled out of the Modi government, but is still not being accepted by the people of Panjab.

Yet, these leaders continue to lie and fool the people. We too, I guess, enjoy being fooled.

Day 298

Toll 602

Dear Friends,

a while back Raunaq Singh Chopra from ScoopWhoop had interviewed me on my views on the farmers protest, especially on the aftereffects of the Green Revolution. Later they interviewed others too Devinder Sharma, Vandana Shiva, Richa Kumar and Anmol Sandhu.

Here is their consolidated film, with subtitles, in three parts mixing ground footage, graphs, documents and statistics and our views. I just watched the film. It is a very competent exposition of the Green Revolution, its aftereffects and the farmers protest.

Part 1: 18.03 mins
Part 2: 24.19 mins
Part 3: 17.52 mins

I feel they are worth watching to understand the various dimensions of the protest.

19
Sep

Farmers Protest: Judicial Block

   Posted by: aman

Day 297

Toll 601

Judicial Block

A few days back, on the basis of a writ petition filed by a NOIDA resident, the Supreme Court had ordered the Haryana government to talk to protesting farmers to open one side of the National Highway-44 blockade at the Kundli-Singhu. The site falls under Haryana jurisdiction.

It is a strange order. Right from the beginning of the protests, knowing how Courts behave, the farmers have chosen not to take the Court route to solve the imbroglio over Farm Laws. Still, in December, the Supreme Court decided to constitute a panel to look into the matter. In end of March, the panel submitted it report in a sealed envelope to the Court.

Yet, even now, almost six months later the Court and the government has not found time to open the envelope, make contents public. On this matter of the blocked road, under Supreme Court orders, the Haryana government has formed a high level panel to discuss with farmers but what is the use?

The road blocks by farmers are against the Centre. They are meant to obstruct government functioning. They are a non-violent method of seeking government attention to solve the issues around Farm Laws. What is the point of lifting the road barricades when the government has not solved the issues?

Also, note, locals at all protests sites – in spite of heavy losses in business – are still supporting the farmers. On their part, farmers are trying to insure locals do not suffer as adversely as they could. Service lanes are being kept open as far as possible. During the COVID-19 second wave, farmers had opened the roads for free flow of Oxygen. But since the protest is on, the road blockade is a form of protest.

It is the police that has blocked the service lanes, not the farmers. The barricades, the stone slabs, the concertina wires are by the police, not farmers.

In a well thought out decision the Samyukth Kisan Morcha has decided not to meet with the Haryana panel. The Courts and the state governments can’t localise these massive protests as traffic issues. The Centre has to face the farmers and repeal the laws, legalise MSP. Only then will road blocks be moved. Else, they will remain judicial blocks.

19
Sep

Farmers Protests: human cost 600

   Posted by: aman

Posted September 17, 2021

On Day 295, with 600 human lives lost, what are the farmers really against?

This: $24 Billion deposit

16
Sep

Farmers Protest: 28 Farm Suicides per Day

   Posted by: aman

Day 294

Toll 599

28 Farm Suicides per Day

Two days days back I had put up earnings of farmer per day according to the Indian government survey. Sadly, data on farmer and labour suicides has not been available for a few years now. Neither in the Parliament (last question answered was in 2016), nor on the Statistics Department website.

Last we knew, 3.5 lakh farmers and labour had committed suicide in last two decades. The number quoted in some circles is 4 lakh.

While browsing for something else, here is a report I came across based on National Crime Records Bureau. It was published a few months back. It pegs the number at an average of 28 suicides per day. It says:

‘The latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows more than 10,000 farmers and agricultural labourers killed themselves in 2019 — that’s 7.4 per cent of India’s total suicide victims. (As a comparison, students also made up 7.4 per cent while civil servants accounted for 1.2 per cent.)’

Farmer and labour is vulnerable, students are vulnerable, there have been immense job loses, civil servants are committing suicide. As a country we are a ticking time bomb, ready to explode.

Yet, our silence. Our status quo.

See here …

15
Sep

Farmers Protest: Re 27/day

   Posted by: aman

Posted on September 14, 2021

Day 292

Toll 599

Re 27/day

‘An Indian farmer earned ?27 per day on average from cultivation in 2018-19. This is less than what he would have earned doing MGNREGS work through the year.’ Hindustan Times

Click here to see graphic and story.

9
Sep

Farmers Protest: Impunity

   Posted by: aman

Day 287

Toll 594

Impunity

Though the farmers protest held itself through last winter, chilly rains, COVID-19 pandemic second wave, extreme summer, devastating monsoon showers and floods, the onset of next winter has brought a new energy to the protest. Within 48 hours, armed with sheer will-power and a resolve for justice, the farmers moved 85 kilometers from Muzaffarnagar to Karnal, across two states ruled by draconian BJP government to stun both the government and the lapdog media. BJP had barely started to spin Muzaffarnagar, when Karnal hit. Godi media, that has sucked up the government for so long, has been forced to report Karnal.

This is a repeat of the November 27, 2020 move when by proceeding to Delhi despite Haryana police barricades, water canons, tear gas, the farmers had camped on the borders of Delhi. That move had surprised and awed the government. After that, the government kept trying to engage the farmers in a battle of attrition, tire them out, weaken them out, split them, but nothing worked. Nine long months later, the farmers are back in full spirit.

A thumb rule followed by all governments is to distract protesters from the real issue. Normally, in India, the government uses religion as bait. The government tried that on January 26, 2021. The brilliant aspect of these protests is in spite of their different faith, the farmers have stayed united. In fact, through langars, temples and mosques and gurdwaras have come together to serve the protesters.

Beyond awe and attrition, any struggle is about position. Whatever be anyone’s position on Farm Laws – support for laws has massively dwindled, call for repeal has gained strength – no one can deny the completely illegal nature of the Karnal SDM’s orders. Neither the Sangh, nor the BJP, not even the official machinery and least of all ordinary citizens. That places the farmers protesting in Karnal in a top position. There is no question of their demand being wrong at all – ideologically or politically.

Yet, the government is in denial. The Farm laws have been staked on Modi’s image as strongman – any retreat by government would have been seen by his followers as Modi’s weakness. Yet, this time the matter is about the role of the official machinery – who pays their salaries, who do they belong to, whose orders do they fulfil?

We know for long official machinery has enjoyed disproportionate impunity. But now when the family members of the police are protesting, how often will they raise the baton? Will they pave way for the state to break up their families? That is what Dallewal and Tikait raised yesterday. The farmer langars are serving the police as well – right from the beginning. Will the police betray the very food that sustains it? The way the governments has been betraying the farmers that feed the nation. Does police want to continue finding itself sharing the dais of infamy with politicians?

Yet, if the Haryana government takes a step back, like in Hisar and Tohana, decides to charge the SDM under Section 302 of the IPC, it would have a domino effect on all politicians being able to use police for their vested interests. That is exactly the kind of reform in governance that India needs.

Surely, CM Khattar and BJP along with turncoat, hypocrite JJP that supported the government, will lose the next elections. But withdrawing now would signal the CM’s end of career. That is why whether it is Farm Laws stalemate or this Karnal imbroglio, the BJP has erred in being able to judge the farmers’ resilience. Both should have been solved early. Every day that passes on the protest, the farmers win. There is no end to their ability to arrange resources to continue the struggle. After all, they feed the nation. They are our ann datas.