With the expansion of the movement through consolidation of democratic forces from other states to support the Peasant agitation the movement is on the verge of creating the impact of an inferno. The Punjabi peasantry have inspired the farmers of other states, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to join the ranks of the movement. We must salute the peasantry for so heroically withstanding the repression of the State which was unleashed at a crescendo.
The most significant development is the influence of the Bharatiya Kisan Union led by Rakesh Tikait who have staged mahapanachayats and are in the stage of sowing the seeds for many more.Tikait maybe belonging to the ruling class ranks but he is garnering forces at the optimum level to scrap the three agricultural bills and earn the Minimum support price. Even the most radical constituents within the United front have backed the Mahapanchayats.A mahapanchayat may not be a genuine revolutionary democratic organ being based on a traditional system but can still be a channel towards which struggles for revolutionary resistance could be developed. What is most progressive is that the movement is now taking an All India shape or character. Very pertinent that like the waves of an Ocean farmers are storming in from BJP Ruled states, creating base for polarization of anti-Hindutva politics. The staging of the First Mahpanchayat in Punjab in Jagraon was of historic significance. Finally a great boost was given with even tribals joining the ranks.
The Chakka Jam on February 6th had a most electrifying impact in igniting the spark of the agitation inspite of all the attempts to curb it by the rulers. The BJP was confronted in its very den .It spoke volumes of the death defying spirit of the agitating farmers.
Most heroically the democratic forces amongst farmers have resurrected themselves after the conspiracy of the BJP govt.in Delhi to sabotage the agitation. Notably the base has even been broadened with continuous re-reinforcements of agitators and greater participation from neighboring states. It is truly remarkable how they galvanized themselves to regroup and confront the forces of the state. A strong nucleus has been established which is strengthening to build the farmers resistance.
Heartening to see more and more sections from artists and sportsman support the movement in Punjab as well as Bollywood stars like Sonakshi Sinha and her father Shatrugan Sinha. Sadly the likes of Amitabh Bachan, Sachin Tendulkar or Akshay Kumar turned their backs completely. There could be no more vivid illustration of how Bollywood film Industry and even Cricket is en-gripped or subservient to the Corporate world. Film-stars and cricketers virtually sell themselves like slaves to patronize globalization, being an integral part of the Neo-fascist social order.
It is heartening to witness that in several parts of Punjab the revolutionary democratic forces have waved the flag of democratic support at an even higher pitch after the setback in Delhi.
Forces of the BKU (Ugrahan) and the Kirti Kisan Union have made the most sizable contribution in galvanizing democratic forces. Both are doing exemplary mass work with the flame of resistance flashing in staggering proportions.
The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union is staged a 3-day dharna in several districts on the issue of Minimum support price. It is most progressive that agricultural labor class organizations are working night and day to link the struggle of the Delhi farmers with the day to day lives of the dalit agricultural laborers. Significant protests have also been undertaken by the Zameen Prapt Sangarsh Committee and the Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union.The interview of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union leader Laxman Singh Sewewala is very insightful for any democratic cadre to understand the link between the farmers agitation or demands with that of dalit agricultural labour. The PMKU has planned a conference in Village Bhana on February 20th.
Amongst the student and youth sections, The Punjab Students Union,Naujwan Bharat Sabha, Punjab Radical Students Union ,Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) with great consistency mobilize forces in support of the struggling farmers with flag marches and street corner meetings. Most qualitatively they have illuminated the torch of resistance in many districts of Punjab.
Sadly forces of Democratic Students Organization and Students For Society still soft-pedal with Sikh identity line, not demarcating from communal politics. It is unfortunate that however progressive certain writers still canvas the farmers struggle as of the Sikh Peasantry.
The issue that has hit the ceiling burning the heart of lakhs of farmers is the incarceration of Dalit women activist Nadeep Kaur. Leaders have organized rallies at the very base exposing how such events are part and parcel of the conspiracy of the rulers in power.
Joginder Singh Ugrahan is of the firm view that the maximum forces should be rallied for the common cause of extinguishing the agricultural bills. Forces including BKU (Ugrahan) and Kirti Kisan Union have welcomed the Mahapanchayats organized by BKU leader of Uttar Pradesh, Rajesh Tikait.However democratic revolutionary leaders expressed concern about farmers movement not tailing behind ruling class dictates nurturing economism. Even if striving for democratic demands Tikait has been influenced by regionalist ,upper caste and Hindu politics .At later junctures maybe the reformist nature of mahapanchayats could be exposed but no it would be too premature.
The movement must be cautious of not falling a victim to Gandhian trends which may obstruct revolutionary militant resistance or being vitiated by religious or casteist overtones. Farmers even in the broadest front must not be swayed by the leaders of Opposition parties and in fact the sword must be sharpened for genuine class resistance. The agitation should help the farmers to further sharpen their grasp of the diversionary and anti-people socio-political order. There is always danger of Leader Tikait turning into a personality cult.
The struggle is now reminiscent of a virtual war of attrition with neither the govt.or the farmers willing to yield. The Ruling BJP party has left no stone unturned in denigrating the agitators as anti-national conspirators. However it is heartening to witness the continuing resilience and refutation of the lies professed by the rulers by democratic forces.
Protracted efforts must be made to draw the industrial workers,govt.employees, and small traders in support. What continues to be most inspiring is the contribution of the women.
Thus in coming months the farmers movement must with great discretion ally with all democratic forces but demarcate from pro-ruling class tendencies. The tone is being set for massive anti-fascist polarization with even forces like The Congress, Aam Admi party,joining the ranks. A substantial cadre have also been recruited by the Left parties. Arguably in no juncture before have so many forces comprised a united front confronting Hindutva fascism. A balance must be established between economic demands and political ones not letting the movement diffuse. Historically it has been a very common occurrence of Farmers movements succumbing to economist tendencies .The agitation could also be a platform for the farming Community to enhance their education of the Neo-fascist nature of the political system or ho win essence it only wears the mask of a genuine democracy.
It is anybody’s guess whether the Mahapanchayats would become a platform for the ruling class opposition to consolidate their base or for the revolutionary democratic forces to penetrate deeper layers.
What is still sad is that there is very minimal support from the educated or intellectual sections with a great part of them siding with the Modi govt.Still it has shaken the pro-BJP Intellectuals in their very backyard , sending shivers down the spines .A separate mass revolutionary platform should be constructed to give solidarity and sharpen the struggle .Progressive economists must be won over who can assist in giving theoretical clarity on the economic front of the prevailing conditions.
Quoting Surkh Rekha editor Pavel Kussa “PM Modi’s labeling the struggling people as Andolan-jeevi, is a part of the same fascist attack of his, under which, the government have already imprisoned Intellectuals and Democratic rights activists. It is an attempt to create confusion in the minds of people about the struggling warriors, who devoted their lives in the struggle to guard the interests of people. This is also an attempt to label the farmer struggle as captured by those elements.”
“In reality, the agitations of the masses are real hurdles in the course of rulers to loot out the country to the native and foreign robbers (Corporates). These roaring voices of struggle, shine like rays of hope in the country and creating hindrance in the nefarious designs of rulers.
Every alive and vigorous voice should unitedly retaliate this poisonous arrow of Modi and should loudly announce that struggle is the only way for the prosperity of the people of our country and we aim to make the people agitators for the betterment of their lives. The struggle is indispensable to protect the labor and in this way for our life also. We are agitators and we uplift the democratic right to struggle.”
REPORTS FROM TRIBUNE NEWS
Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said the farmers’ next target was to connect 40 lakh tractors with the ongoing agitation and to organize ‘kisan panchayats’ across the nation for mobilizing more people in support of their demand for the repeal of three farm laws.
Tikait also revealed plans by farmer leaders to hold meetings in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat and said protesters in Delhi would not return home until the Centre reaches an “agreement” with them.
He called upon protesting farmers to be ready for a “foot march” stating that the Centre would have to accept their demands.
Tikait was addressing a gathering at ‘Sarva Jatiya Kisan Majdoor Panchayat’ organized by Dalal Khap-84 at the Bahadurgarh-Tikri border. Other farmer leaders, including Gurnam Singh Charuni, also attended the panchayat.
“Kisan mahapanchayats being organized these days are working to connect the people with the farmers’ agitation hence such panchayats will now be organized across the nation to garner more support from other states. Farmers will march towards Delhi if needed,” said Tikait who also held the government responsible for the Delhi violence during the Republic Day Parade on January 26.”
Not just farmers, but people from all walks of life attended Punjab’s first “kisan mahapanchayat”. Women too participated in large numbers. Enthused by the massive turnout, Sanyukt Kisan Morcha leader BS Rajewal claimed that the determination shown by farmers camping at Delhi borders had shaken the Modi government, “which is now trying to find a face-saving formula to wriggle out of the mess it created through the agri laws.”
The Union Government is ready to discuss the new laws with farmers’ leaders with an open mind and to amend these, if necessary, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.
He said the agitation had “awakened” the entire nation and the global community too was keenly watching the developments in India. “The government is out to disband the mandi system by allowing free trade of food grain so as to leave the farmers at the mercy of big business houses,” Rajewal alleged.
Other leaders, SS Dharamkot, KS Sandhu, Manjit Dhaner, Nirbhai S Dhudike, HS Lakhowal and JS Ugrahan, vowed to take the agitation to its logical conclusion. Dhaner claimed it was no longer a farmers’ struggle. “With a majority of people backing the farmers, it has become a mass movement,” he said. Ugrahan exhorted the people to prepare for a long battle. “The government is trying to impose a globally failed model of agricultural system on the farmers. Over 80 per cent farmers, especially small cultivators, will lose their landholdings to corporates because of the laws” he claimed.
Over 80 per cent farmers, especially small cultivators, will lose their landholdings to corporates because of the laws” he claimed.
Calling the struggle against anti-agricultural laws by the Prime Minister as the struggle of some agitators is an insult to the historic Kisan Morcha – Jaswinder Longowal
Earlier addressing the stage of BKU (Ekta Ugraha) near Pakora Chowk in New Delhi at Tikri border, state leader of the organization Jaswinder Singh Longowal condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Instead of cancelling the law and Responding to the amendment argument, saying there is no question of amendment of minor mistake in the laws, because these laws are against farmers and country and pro-shamelessness. So the Prime Minister should stop singing this melody. He said it was an insult to the farmer s’ movement to call the farmers sticking to the Delhi front against anti-agricultural laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament today. They said that those who protest for their rights are intelligent aware citizens of the country. Those who struggle by making people conscious for their rights.
Farmer leader Jaswant Singh Tolawal said that the Prime Minister is making false claims of the welfare of farmers and laborers. He said that the welfare of the country cannot be said by giving relief to a few very wealthy people. The ground reality of the people of the country is something else. Debts on farmers and laborers are continuously increasing. Suicides are on the rise due to loans and economic hardships. Farmers land is being sold. People don’t have full diet, health, education. Spokesperson said government should cancel all three black laws for the real welfare of farmers by leaving false claims, electricity amendment bill 2020 and fines bill for burning crops, all crops in all states by setting profitable procurement prices Constitutional guarantee of procurement, public distribution system should apply to all poor villagers and urban people, entry of empires in agriculture sector should be stopped, all loans on farmers and laborers should be eliminated due to wrong policies of government.
Earlier the farmers took democratic resistance to a crescendo displaying indignation at it’s boiling point. The scenes were reminiscent of a huge spark blossoming all over. On the occasion of country-level chakka jam of farmer organizations, the Indian Kisan Union (Ekta Ugraha) earlier jammed roads at 33 places in 15 districts of Punjab
CHAKKA JAM IMPACT
In 33 places in 15 districts under the invitation of Chakka jam across the country by the Indian Kisan Union (Ekta Ugraha) launched a protest against the conspiracy moves and oppression of Modi BJP government .A spark was virtually converted into a Prairie fire.Main roadways jammed from 12 to 3 pm. Giving this information, the general secretary of the organization Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan said that there are permanent protests for 129 days at 13 of these places. A total of about two and a half lakh farmers, laborers, youth, women and children participated. Spokespersons addressing at various places exposed the conspiracies of the administration including building high wide concrete walls goons under the umbrella of the forces of the administration to attack the agitators.. They demanded that all three black agriculture laws, electricity bill 2020 and ordinances be cancelled; legal guarantee of procurement of all crops at profitable support prices across the country and implement a public distribution system. A spokesperson said the unity of the hard-working people is the only one which is recognizing the government’s conspiracy and guarantees the final victory. He expressed that the situation of conflict could be created again by the government over farmers sticking at various Delhi borders. That’s why the small and big convoys of thousands of farmer laborer brothers and sisters should be sent to the places with daily re-reinforcements towards Delhi. Khalistani or other communal elements should also be condemned to shatter the government conspiracy. The spokesperson strongly condemned the change of railway route ahead of Rohtak to itch farmers travelling to Delhi by trains and advised farmers to go through their vehicle. He said the volunteers were being trained to keep the wrongdoers away from the front area. He invited that against this conspiracy and jobless solution, the permanent fronts going on at 42 places in front of corporate houses, toll plazas, big shopping malls and the houses of BJP leaders across Punjab should also be wider and strengthened. Farmer labor unity should be strengthened even broader.. Every hardworking family of villages and cities should be encouraged to go to the Delhi Morcha.
Under the invitation of Chakka Jam of United Kisan Morcha, Kirti Kisan Union, Patiala, Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moga, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr, Faridkot, Muktsar Sahib, Amritsar Sahib, Ropar, Bathinda, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Fazilka In around 40 places in Adi districts, there was a gathering in Chakka jam.
Addressing a huge gathering at Tikkri border kissan Morcha, under the leadership of B.K.U. ( Ugrahan), Supreme court advocate Bhanoo Partap said that the disappearance of farmers till now is a question mark on public security. He said Delhi police is trying to terrify the farmers by displaying the pictures of farmers who reached Lal Qila.
The state secretary of the organization Shingara Singh Mann said that after failing its attempts to defame the farmers’ struggle, now Central government fell down to defame it by using the tweets of cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar or cinema personalities. He said some actors who played a pro-farmer heroic rolls in movies are now appearing as villains by playing in the hands of rulers. He said road blockade in many of the states of our country proved wrong the claims of Agriculture minister Narinder Singh Tomar that this is an agitation of one state only. If he and central government have any morals left in them they should repeal these laws immediately. He condemned the planned attack on farmers protesting at Lehra Bega toll plaza, with the support of Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal & MLA Pritam Singh KotBhai and demanded a strict action against the culprits. He also appealed the youth to recognise the fundamentalist moves of Modi government and to safeguard the non-religious character of the Kissan movement.
SOLIDARITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS IN PUNJAB
History of a sort was made in Punjab which had its first mahapanchayat at the Grain Market in Jagraon city of Ludhiana district on February 11, 2021. According to The Tribune, 25,000 to 30,000 people gathered for the event to listen to speeches of farmer leaders. Hard to find an adjective that gave complete justice to the intensity of the participants whose hearts brimmed as though a uge spark was ignited within them.
Different people arrived in the area via tractor trolleys, cars, SUVs, buses and trucks where the police had stepped up security, as per NDTV reports.
On February 12th in village Gurusar Jalal (Bathinda), under the state level invitation of the Indian Kisan Union Ugraha, a rally and the BJP government’s economic protest was held on the demand of the release of labour leader Naudeep Kaur. The rally was addressed by Nuajwan Bharat Sabha leader Balkaran Singh and Master Sukhmander Singh. People shouted strong slogans against Modi government and urged to jump harder in the ongoing farmer’s struggle..
A group of tribal farmers on February 10th arrived at the Delhi Morcha from Jharkhand expressed solidarity with the struggle by giving a cut-out of BKU Ekta (Ugraha) state president Joginder Singh Ugraha, the leader of the tribal protest against colonialism Birsa Munda. Birsa Munda’s heritage attendance on the stage decorated in Gulab Kaur Nagar, the traitor of the national liberation struggle against English colonialism, giving the message of the need for joint struggle of Punjabi farmers and tribal farmers.
Youths in Bathinda on February 9th led by the Naujwan Bharat Sabha called for true patriotism instead of the so-called patriotism propagated by the BJP government.BJP’s betrayal to the country was clearly presented in front of the youth gathered at Ambedkar Park. Sticking to protect the country’s wealth treasures, lands and government institutions was promoted as true patriotism. March was done from Ambedkar Park to Fauji Chowk.
In Fauji Chowk, a half hour demonstration was done by holding thrones in hands and making a human link.
Demand for the release of labour leader Nodeep Kaur was vociferously demanded
On February 4th Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Ugrahan burnt the Modi government’s effigies in village Ghuda in protest against the incident on the Red Fort by the government during the parade conducted by the Kisan Morcha in Delhi on January 26 On this occasion, slogans were raised against the communal forces that distorted the true colour of the agitation. In meticulous depth slogans were raised condemning the sponsoring of the goons by the BJP to infiltrate the democratic ranks.
On February 12th Punjab Students Union protested against the unconditional release of labor leader Naudeep Kaur at Government College Malerkotla and the arrest of police officers responsible for inhuman torture and shouted slogans against Haryana’s Khattar government.
Kirti Kisan Union Gurdaspur has campaigned in around 100 villages of * Delhi Chaliya Struggles * to strengthen the Delhi Morcha and to extend a large extent to farmers.
On February 12th Youth Wing of the Kirti Kisan Union conducted a meeting regarding the farmer s’ struggle in various villages of Fatehgarh Sahib district, Paheri, Kotli, Kapoorgarh, Buga Kalan, Buga Khurd, Burima, Chowdra and Malkpur etc. It was decided to send as many groups of men as possible for a week to the Delhi Morcha in the meeting. Motorcycle march in the area tomorrow to add more excitement to the people
On February 11th Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders Manjit Dhaner, Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Harinder Singh Lakhowal spoke on-stage and vowed to struggle peacefully till the Modi government agreed to withdraw the three farm laws rejected by farmers. Dhaner further thanked Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) Rakesh Tikait for rejuvenating farmers’ struggle.
“It is no longer a fight of only farmers but has now become a mass agitation. In the ongoing agitation, 99 percent people are standing by farmers but unfortunately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen to side with corporate houses,” he told The Tribune.
Meanwhile, Lakhowal ridiculed the Centre’s claim of open dialogue on farm Acts because “all doors had been slammed shut in the form of barricades erected on borders, with nails and iron rods fixed on roads, and denial of basic amenities to protesters.”
BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) President Joginder Singh Ugrahan asked protesters to prepare for a long drawn-out battle that extends beyond the national regime. BY saying so, he called the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the IMF and the Word Bank the real culprits responsible for the new economic policies .
Ugrahan said the laws would force more than 80 per cent farmers, especially those with small holdings, to lose their land to corporates and big business houses.
At the same time, leaders also warned against political hijackers who can manipulate the struggle for their own agenda. They reminded farmers that the agitation was started by India’s peasantry and will remain so to fight corporate
The United Kisan Morcha decided to intensify its movement for the return of three black laws, making procurement less than MSP punishable offenses, return of lawsuits etc.
Patriotic sheath – treason beneath
In reality, the Modi government which is making much hue and cry about dishonor of tricolor, is in itself the biggest traitor and responsible for this very dishonor. Leaving the earlier governments far behind, it has implemented the diktats of imperialist countries like America and their pet organizations like IMF, WTO, World Bank and has handed over our national wealth and resources to imperialist companies and corporate houses.
During the short pandemic period, the vital sectors of our economy like coal, railway, minerals, space, airports, atomic energy etc have been opened up for foreign capital. During the same period, labor laws have been amended to provide these companies with such a labor that is cheap and available on arbitrary conditions. Electricity act 2020 has been enacted to ensure guaranteed profits for big corporate houses by depriving the people of all kind of subsidies on electricity. The new farm laws put the Indian agriculture at the mercy of corporate houses; legalize the unlimited stockpiling and black-marketing of essential commodities like cereals, pulses, oil seeds, edible oils, onions, potatoes; and pave the way for decimating PDS and the government agencies like FCI. These are those very steps for which the imperialists have been arm twisting the Indian government since long. The innumerable imperialist diktats in the garb of suggestions lie documented in various reports and papers of imperialist institutions like IMF, WTO and World Bank.
Creating plunder-heavens for corporate houses and imperialist companies by pushing the vast toiling Indian masses into misery through these diktats is nothing but an outright treachery with Indian people and treason with the country. This very treason is the hallmark of Indian rule. The more loyal one is to the imperialists, the more he is acceptable to run the nation. The electoral exercise has been reduced to a mere formality, whereas in reality the governments are chosen by Indian and foreign corporate houses. Due to this firm loyalty towards imperialists, Modi govt has come to power for the 2nd time. That is why it is taking unrelenting steps one after the other which are playing havoc with peoples’ lives. That is why despite strong resistance from masses it is so adamant to implement these black farm laws.
The true patriotism is to oppose the imperialist loot of our country
Raising voice against this treason of Modi government and resisting the corporate loot of country’s resources is every citizen’s duty. The resources of the country belong to its people; saving these from corporate plunder is our common cause.
The present struggle against farm laws bears highly significant meaning today. The meaning of this struggle extends to the companies such as Wal-Mart and Reliance that are devouring our retail sector, it extends to the doors of high profile hospitals like Max or Fortis built on plundered land and resources of government hospitals, it extends to the toll plaza booths extracting money from people in lieu of passing from their own land. The struggle against farm laws is not merely a struggle to save farm lands from corporate loot, but also a struggle to save public distribution system, to save government institutions like FCI, Pungrain, Food & Civil supply, warehouse etc. and the jobs in these public enterprises. It is also a struggle against price rise and to ensure supply of all essential commodities on reasonable prices. Most importantly it is a struggle to protect India’s food security. Becoming a part of this struggle against the corporate plunder is true patriotism.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. He has toured parts of India mainly Punjab and written reports for Frontier weekly as well as blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and Ottos War Room.