By Binoy Viswam
Since last several days, the country was witnessing the developments around the historic farmers agitation. Since November 26, thousands of them have arrived and camped on the borders of Delhi to urge the government to repeal the three black laws that pose a threat to Indian agriculture. The number of farmers is going up since last 50 days. The malicious propaganda by the government, hysteric attacks designed by corporate controlled media, unbearable cold waves typical to the Delhi winter, have all failed to dissuade the farmers. Reflecting their rebellious mood, Dharna has turned into a pan India phenomenon. The RSS led government has been addressing them as pro-Khalistanis, and urban Naxalites. But nobody bothers about the government propaganda. Heartfelt solidarity is conveyed to the farmers at every hour.
The government was never ready to address the real issue of repealing the black laws. Many a time they mooted the idea of a committee. The sole purpose of the committee was to prolong the process and to safeguard rulers’ interest. Naturally the Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee could not agree to it. It was at this juncture that the apex court took up the issue. The Attorney General and his team levelled all sorts of allegations including the baseless Khalistani theory
On the first day of the hearing, the bench led by the Chief Justice of India used harsh words to criticize the government’s way of dealing with the farmers’ struggle. It created such an atmosphere that many in the media and even people thought that the Supreme Court was on its move to give a blow to the government. The very next day when the court came out with its sentence the hollowness of the terms used by the bench was revealed. The cat jumped out of the sack and the court actually came to the rescue of the government. In their reserve there was nothing to resolve the crisis.
Invoking a stay on the farm laws, the Supreme Court has appointed a four-member committee to conduct talks with the farmers and to recommend means to settle the issue. Indian judiciary has been undergoing a change. The framers have defined the task of the three pillars of our democratic polity in our Constitution categorically. They have drawn the dividing lines between legislature, executive and judiciary. The government at the center, with its fascist ideology has no hesitation in imposing the authority of the executive over the powers of the legislature and the judiciary.
While passing the farm laws the encroachment on the law-making powers of the legislature was evident. The judicial system of the day is keen to fulfil the desires of the executive on every critical matter. In the Citizenship struggle and Ayodhya issue it was more visible. Now, in the farmers’ struggle that shift in character gets public. After the harsh words and invoking of stay, when the committee was constituted, the Supreme Court was quite particular in selection of experts.
All the four ‘experts’ in the committee are ardent supporters of the farm laws. In their own way they had been advocating for corporatization and contract farming. In none of their studies, the concerns of the poor and marginal farmers could find a place. They often forget the fact that 86 percent of Indian farmers are holding less than five acres of land. Only the Supreme Court can explain the wisdom behind exclusively choosing those four people to form the committee. Anyone could imagine the possible negotiation process headed by such a committee between the farmers and the government.
The Kissan Sangharsh Coordination Committee in a realistic and matured manner has welcomed the stay. At the same time has made it clear that they would not cooperate with the blatantly one-sided committee. The idea of the committee formation was advanced multiple times during the course of eight rounds of talks that the government had with farmers. When the same proposal is presented before the farmers by the court with unacceptable composition how can the farmers approve it? The judiciary should not have stooped to that level to serve the interests of government in power.
The farmers have drawn a new chapter in the annals of people’s movement in independent India. Facing all odds and provocations they have led a peaceful and disciplined struggle in all the outskirts of the national capital. When the annadatas of the country were prevented by the government from entering the national capital, they remained at the outskirts of Delhi. Concrete barricades, thorny iron fences and powerful water cannons, iron rods and lathis, everything was used by the government to push them back and to make them unruly. But they have remained peaceful all along. A new culture of militant and disciplined mass protest was evolved by them.
All the forms of struggle they adopted including the tractor march were something new to the country. On January 26, they announced a farmers’ parade. This parade will not be on military tanks but on farmers tractors. Peaceful and disciplined, it is going to be a new experience to the nation. From South and North, farmers, workers, students, youth and women are streaming down to Delhi to share the experience of the struggle. A solidarity March has been planned by the AIYF and AISF from Champaran to Delhi. The caption of that march symbolizes people’s mood- ‘From Champaran to India’s heart!’ Yes, India’s heart is beating at those borders. This struggle has become India’s struggle.
It is high time that the government should understand the urge of the people to settle the farmers’ struggle. The way is to repeal the anti -national, anti-farmer laws. The budget session of the Parliament is to begin on January 29. The farmers struggle should be taken as the most important agenda in the business of the Parliament. The Parliament in a democracy is duty bound to act in tune with the interests of its people. Annadatas, the people who feed the nation, should be given utmost priority. When they are on the streets for months together the government and the Parliament have no right to go ahead as if nothing has happened. The government should rise to the occasion and take necessary constitutional and parliamentary procedures for repealing the three bills that have caused an unprecedented and peculiar situation in the country. (IPA Service)