FARMERS’ ONGOING MOVEMENT IN INDIA
Six Months of Farmers’ Protest At Delhi Border
Countercurrents | May 27, 2021
There could hardly have been a better celebration of six months of the Delhi farmers protest at Tikri border in Delhi completed today, with the flag of liberation shimmering at a crescendo, on the call for a bandh of Samyukti Kisan Morcha.An impact of an inferno or intensity of coal burning in a furnace was displayed at Tikri border by the farmers in the May 26th protest by Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan).It was remarkable the manner it galvanised all the forces to crystallise such an event. The volume of revolutionary resistance was sung at it’s highest pitch, with the morale of a victorious army.
The agitation engulfed many an area of Punjab as well .The gathering had great significance to confront the neo-fascist Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party at it’s hardest point and sharpen the cutting edge of class struggle. It was a testimony of perfect illustration of the potential of the farmers to build a revolutionary alternative and their wrath against the autocratic social order. Any democrat should salute the BKU(Ugrahan) for rising to the very hour with the economic crisis sharpening in unprecedented magnitude. The organisation’s protest distinguished or demarcated from all opportunist tendencies soft-pedalling with ruling class politics or opportunist elements. Fitting Swaraj Bir of the Tribune in an article summarised how this movement virtually gave Punjab a new soul. He brought to light how the democratic and secular spirit shimmered at an unprecedented scale after 6 months of the agitation, overcoming all reactionary forces and parised how the movement continued the glorious legacy of anti-colonial freedom fighters. It is most positive how the agitation managed to integrate farmers from states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana into the fold and enable their leaders to address agitations of farmers at the border.
Truly remarkable the manner black flags fluttered in every nook and corner with the corona crisis at its highest magnitude. Supporting or solidarity protests in Barnala,Ludhiana,Jagari and Sangrur gave the agitation the added impetus or boost. Farmers at several places in Punjab put up black flags atop their houses, led protest marches and burnt effigies of central government leaders on Wednesday. Protests were witnessed in Punjab’s Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Mohali districts. In Zirakpur, farmers protested at the Singapura lights point. Slogans against the Centre were raised in Landran village. In Amritsar, farmers raised anti-government slogans and burnt effigies of central government leaders. In the Jalandhar district, protests were held at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala and on the Nakodar road.
It is praiseworthy that an event like this was an overwhelming success inspite of the absence of any genuine revolutionary party in India. It spoke volumes of the depth or potential of the democratic movement. It was fitting blow to the BJP govt.who in the pretext of covid crisis banged every nail in the wall to curtail the farmer’s agitation. Morally it broke the barricade entrenched by the saffron fascists at the Centre.
At Tikri Border, under the invitation of BKU(Ugrahan) , men, women and youths thronged in a large number at Pakora Chowk celebrating Black Day by burning the effigy of the Modi Government of the Center. Addressing a huge gathering on the occasion, State President Joginder Singh Ugrahan said that the Narendra Modi-led BJP and the RSS government implemented the resolution of indigenous foreign corporate-domestic policies over the last seven years to speed them up. Agricultural laws were introduced whose aim was to snatch the land from farmers and make them the property of corporate households. He said that the economy has been devastated due to the anti-farmer policies implemented by the Modi government over the last seven years, with unemployment crossing all limits, forcefully squeezing people’s blood and sweat earnings, with treasury Public sector institutions such as railways, airports, petroleum, food and thermal in the stranglehold of corporates. He said that Modi’s communal hanging government targeted the Dalits and Muslim community by instigating caste and communal passion in the country. He said that the entire toiling people of the country were enslaved by the Modi government’s imperialist and anti-people development model.
Meanwhile, under the leadership of State Vice President of the Union Jaswinder Singh Longowal and Women Wing leader Harinder Bindu and District Bathinda leader Mothu Singh Kotra, the young man’s convoy with black flags in villages of Haryana Majra, Daboda, Dulera, Kablana, Jhajjar city, Badli Motorcycle march was conducted in dozens of villages like Majri, Gobhana, Solda and Nia Gaon, which was given great response by the locals.
District Sangrur President Amrik Singh Gandhuan addressing the day’s gathering, highlighting the importance of the Black Day, saying that the response given by groups of people to the invitation of the United Farmer’s Morcha has proved that the country’s turmoil is a product of the policies of the Modi government.
State Secretary Shingara Singh Mann discussed the important role of women in Kisan protest, stating that that this farmer’s protests importance was achieved with opposition political parties and leaders being compelled to put black flags on their homes. He said that in this protest, farm labourers, sanctuary labourers, writers, intellectuals, social activists, playwrights, poets and songwriters, artists and Indians living abroad are also contributing to the Kisan Morcha which has been going on for six months. Basant Singh Kothaguru performed the stage action. From the stage, Mahanga Singh Sidhu Rajasthan and Punjabi artist Pammi Bai also addressed
Earlier on May 24th a strong march was organized on occasion of 125th birthday of Kartar Singh Sarabhai by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) at the Tikri Border of Delhi to cancel the black agriculture laws against farmers on 180t day of the agitation. The stage, which was uprooted by a heavy storm last day, was started today after a long war. Vice President Basant Singh Kothaguru of Bathinda district played the role of the day’s’ stage secretary dedicated to the 125th birthday of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha.
Sharing the congratulations of the birth of a child martyr on the Pandal, he was prostrated through songs and enthusiastic slogans. Under the invitation of United Kisan Morcha, a large contingent of farmers, labourers and women were sent to Hisar under the leadership of State President Joginder Singh Ugrahan to surround the Commissioner at Hisar. In the last few days, he filed false cases on farmers and labourers.. The commissioner had violated the agreement with the organizations regarding the cancellation of the case.
Addressing from the stage, State Secretary Shingara Singh Mann said that hard working people are being tortured by the BJP government. Remembering Kartar Singh Sarabha, Shingara Singh Mann said that his parents died at a young age, after Sarabha was raised by her grandfather. At the age of 16, he was sent to the United States. where he went to study. Due to discrimination against Indians there he worked in the Gadar Party to liberate India from the British and then came to India in military camps to encourage soldiers to revolt against the British. Mr. Mann said Sarabha wanted a loot-free society, whose dreams are still incomplete. Naujwan Bharat Sabha leader Ashwani Ghuda said the government has imposed black laws to advance imperialist -slavery. Remembering the great warrior Kartar Singh Sarabha he said that even at that time youngsters were going abroad in search of employment. There was a huge shortage of employment, daughters and sisters were being tortured. He said the conditions are still the same today. A large portion of young people in search of employment are moving abroad. Youths are in despair due to families not being able to go abroad and not getting employment here due to bad economic condition. They either take drugs or join gangsters by pushing the voting parties. He appealed to all the working people, including the youth, to come forward to fight for their rights by forming their own organisations. On this occasion, the team of Tirtha Singh Chadik Moga raised the courage of the people by singing songs related to the lives of farmers and labourers.
Under the invitation given by the United Farmers Morcha, under the leadership of S. Hakam Singh Ji President, Modi’s statue was burnt in village Jargari by BKU(Ugrahan) , in Jargari and also protested by putting black flags in the village.
Black day was celebrated as a protest in front of BJP leader’s house in Barnala at the invitation of the United Kisan Union Ekta Ugraha in front of the house of the BJP leader in 2 number street in Barnala and protest was held in the city of Barnala. Women collected black flags.
The Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta Ugrahan in Ludhiana at MBD mall of Adani and Ambani burnt effigies of Narendra Modi.
In Bathinda Naujwan Bharat Sabha launched a protest.
At Fategarh Sahib Kirti Kisan Union organised tractor matches with black flags fluttering, creating most qualitative effect in challenging tyranny of BJP.I n Sangat village it burnt an effigy of Narendra Modi.
On the invitation of United Farmers Morcha, black flags were hoisted in every house in village Aha ora in Ludhiana by Bharati Kisan Union Ekta (Ugraha), Bharati Farmer Union (Dakonda) and Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) .The government’s effigy was burnt. Attended by the Nuajwan Bharat Sabha.
In Villages Dalsinghwala and Sewewala in Faridkot district agricultural labourers led by Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union .joined Punjab Students Union(Shaheed Randhawa) and BKU(Ugrahan) to burn effigies of Modi.
Quoting Surkh Leeh editor Pavel Kussa”Today, it is very important to raise a joint voice of the people to force the Modi government to perform its responsibility. In these current circumstances, the United Kisan Morcha has emerged as a plot under which the country’s farmers are colliding with the Modi government. In the absence of a revolutionary political party, the parliamentary opposition parties have been searched and on the other hand, in the absence of an incompetent revolutionary political Party in the country, this farmer movement is central to connect the joint struggles of the working people of the country. The leadership can play a role if the leadership understands the condition of this flaw and comes forward to perform this responsibility. In the limited context of the demands of the Corona crisis, the farmer’s movement is in a condition to fulfill such responsibility. The resonance of the emerging farmer s’ movement is heard nationally. The invitation to celebrate Black Day has also been responded by the joint group of ten trade unions of the country. The thread has raised the demands related to the fight against the corona epidemic in its press statement on the cancellation of new labour code with agricultural laws. Such support is of great importance for the joint building of farmers and sanati labourers at the country level. Previously, trade unions platforms have taken action in coordination with the calls of the farmer s’ struggle. Another two national level organizations have also been invited to celebrate this black day. Thus, by raising a joint voice on this day by all the hardworking constituents of the country, the Modi government can be pressured to perform its due responsibility. This response from other constituencies of the country will be encouraging to the leadership of the farmer’s struggle to show and make the efforts to make such scope of construction.”
Below is the demand charter of B.K.U.( Ugrahan) regarding preventive arrangements of Covid-19 pandemic which displays deep revolutionary democratic analysis.
The Punjab government also wants to bring the farmer agitation under attack like the Modi government by taking shelter of Corona pandemic, but doing nominal arrangements to counter it. Therefore a day-night sit-in has been initiated at Puda ground Patiala regarding the specific demands of the pandemic on 28,29 and 30th of May. By taking the needed precautions in the protest, like wearing face-masks, maintaining distance, making solid arrangements of first aid etc. by the organisation itself, it will be demanded from Punjab government that ;
1) The responsibility of treatment and care of all the suffering people is upon the Punjab government. To fulfill this duty the government needs to acquire determination and to open up the treasury. For this:
(a) The 30% vacant posts of Health department should be filled on urgent basis. The supply of medicine, diet and utilisation of unused equipment and ventilators should be ensured.
b) To counter the pandemic, the expansion of government health sector should be initiated and the budgetary allocations for this project should be provided on priority basis.
c) The big private hospital should be taken under government control. In small private hospitals the rates for Covid treatment should regularised and made accessible to the common and poor people. The black-marketing of necessary medicine and equipment should be stopped.
2)The coercive policy of thrashing, penalising, arresting people and imposing unreasonable curfews should be abandoned. Instead of these coercive measures the policy to educate and to provide information should be adopted and a collective project of governmental propaganda mechanism in collaboration with the NGOs and mass organisations should be initiated.
3) Instead of making proper arrangements to stop the spread of the decease, the practice of unreasonable imposition of lockdowns and curfews should be stopped and these measures should be adopted only in extreme situations. During implementing these extreme measures the arrangements of employment, sustenance, business and income of the people should be ensured by providing necessary financial help. The governmental arrangements of food for the needy should be provided. The Public Distribution System should be implemented.
4) The vaccination should be provided to all the citizens. The policy of forcible vaccination of people without clarifying their doubts should be prohibited. Solid Covid testing arrangements at village and locality level should be ensured.
5) The continuous treatment of the people suffering from other deceases than Corona should be ensured.
6) The anti-people policy to impose Farmer laws, Labour Code laws, privatisation of Public sector, implementation of New Education Policy, backtracking from governmental financial investment in Health sector and implementation of policies of liberalisation, privatisation to ruin the small businessmen and traders and to clearing paths for the imperialist multi-national companies in the retail sector, by using the pandemic as golden opportunity should be abandoned.
7) The treasury should be opened up to increase the government investment in all Public sectors along with the health sector. Direct taxes on the corporate houses and multi-nationals should be imposed to fill the treasury. The large properties of landlords, huge profits of ushers should be put under taxation, and the burden of taxes on poor people should be reduced.
8) The hegemonic control of the whole food sector by the gigantic food corporations is the birth-ground for the pandemics and decease. This corporate agricultural model should be rejected. The expansion of food corporates in agriculture should be restricted.
9) The policies of neo-liberalism, privatisation, responsible for the winding up of the government responsibility and investment in health sector should be abandoned. The model of exploitation free self-reliant development should be adopted instead of the present imperialism led corporate model.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly .An avid cricket lover too who has posted writings on blogs like Pakpassion Indian Cricket Fans and Sulekha.com.