The 'Dilli Chalo' movement of farmers is in for a long haul against the Modi-led govt.
A police officer in the US shoots a black man. People take up the streets and the administration eventually bows down. At least the executive bodies, for that matter, held themselves accountable. Now turn your head to the protests in Haryana. Irony lurks right against your 'sympathetic' eyes. Did that hearty reception for the farmers surprise you? How were they treated by the police? Brutally, right? Before stressing on how come the Modi-led autocratic government stooped to such a level of barbaric acts against farmers, let's head to an ensuing incident that caused a stir among the masses. The time when democracy was put on a hiatus after the three bills were virtually bulldozed in the Rajya Sabha, passed by voice vote despite a demand for a division. Those who protested got suspended. Quite natural for a government that likes to shout by shunning other voices down. As the organic intellectuals marched towards Delhi to protest against the contemptuous laws, this government again tried to divide them into religious, caste, and regional lines. They were branded as sympathizers of Khalistan, separatists to delegitimize the protests and isolate the farmers but this angle found little popularity; accused to be Congress Funded which clearly shows how counter-narrative was deployed to crush the left-oriented, poor farmer groups; protests were alleged to be limited to Punjab though the Haryanvi and Madhya Pradesh farmer's presence gave the lie to its claim.
One of the most iconic moments of the protest when Navdeep Singh, a protester jumped on the water cannon to turn it off; water cannons were used by the force; police lathi charging a farmer during the protest. (Order: Anti-clockwise)
If water cannons couldn't flood the thirsty farmers, tear gas shells were fired which didn't bring them down to tears. Even batons couldn't break their spirits. When a young man turned off the water cannon helping several protesters who were being targeted in the freezing North-Indian winter, he was charged with an attempt to murder.
Cartoonists have given farmers great support with groundbreaking illustrations amplifying their stand against autocracy
What is it that makes them so apathetic and uncompromising? It's not about right or wrong, it's not even about the farmers being mischievous with the police in their own defense- it's simply about perception. How 'Godi media' and political powerhouses try to demonize protests and dissent is reflective of the outgrowing fear of criticism among the administrative bodies regarding unjust policies they make. Any narrative that is critical of or effectively counters official policy, be it on a controversial citizenship law, communal riots, demonetization, and now agrarian distress gets distorted and is termed as 'misled'. If doctors, students, bank officials, farmers, media are unhappy with the government, they must be misled and hence, anti-nationals if they protest. And any form of negotiation comes out in the superlative form to suppress the protesters. Digging up highways which eventually was plowed down by the farmers or arranging an 'open jail' at Burari which was turned down by the Delhi Government itself were some of the failed attempts at polarising the protest as 'misguided'. Unlike the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement of 2011 that did not get defamed under the identity of religion, region, or anti-nationalistic motives despite being funded by BJP-RSS, this farmers' movement is not getting that matching dignity. The farmers are honed to survive on bread and onion and will only sit back after they finalize the scrapping of the three laws. They know they are up against a regime that seeks votes but discredits the voters. Faced with such undying resistance, how will the government respond to the agrarian crisis? In fact, the only silver lining of the economy came from the agricultural industry. Gross value added by agriculture grew exceptionally by 3.4 percent in the first quarter. Something to owe to our farmers! On the contrary, NCRB states that 7.4 percent of the total suicides in India constituted people in the farm sector i.e. every day, 28 people dependent on farming die by suicide in India. Farmers are ostensibly dubbed as the meek and uneducated who can't ask questions but their fight is not susceptible to the ED, the CBI, the NIA, or the income tax battalions of the state but this time, it's make or break for them. They are 'us' assembled in thousands for a simple reckoning. The battle of wits between the Centre and the farmers is likely to continue for a few more days and the government may have to do something it is not in the habit of doing- compromising.