By Arun Srivastava
Just after four days the country will celebrate the birth of the republic. But this year’s celebration will be different from the carnival of yesteryears. While this time the celebration will miss a foreign celebrity, it would also be held under the shadow of the nearly two month old Satyagrah by the farmers of the country demanding scrapping of the three farm laws. Obviously it implies that nothing is good for the health of the great nation and its precious republic. Further, January 26, in 2021 after the dislocation in economy and social life for the last ten months due to pandemic and the consequent lock down in the country.
More than the absence of the foreign dignitary, it is the decision of the protesting farmers to bring out their own tractor parade, having various tableaus, coinciding with the government celebration that has been creating trepidation in the ruling party circle. Top bosses of the government who had mustered the audacity to challenge the moral power and strength of the farmers with the threat to show them their right place, are finding themselves in the state of amnesia.
The Modi government which till two days back was determined not to listen to any request or argument of the farmers today has a change of heart and came out with the offer to suspend the three contentious farm laws for one and half years and set up a joint committee to discuss the Acts to end the stalemate, nevertheless the farmer leaders did not immediately accept the proposal and said they will revert after their internal consultations. The next round of meeting has been scheduled for January 22. The president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Joginder Singh Ugrahan made it clear; “The government proposed to suspend the farm laws for one and a half years. We rejected the proposal but since it has come from the government, we will meet tomorrow and deliberate over it”.
Ever since the farmers resorted to Satyagrah, Narendra Modi continues to maintain an adverse attitude towards them. He did not show the courtesy of condoling the 123 farmers who died while on protest. His averseness encouraged the BJP ruled states of Haryana and UP to perpetrates tortures and repression on them.
If the government was really serious about resolving the crisis, Modi could have directly interacted with them and come out with this proposal. The farmers would not have to meet with the unnatural deaths on the Delhi border. The scenario could have been entirely different. As autocrats are basically arrogant, the issue dragged on.
In fact this is not a sincere and honest offer. This is a trap that has been laid out by the Modi government. The farmer leaders have rightly rejected the offer. What was most interesting the government came out with the proposal to constitute a committee to review the laws. Unlike the Supreme Court committee this would have representatives of the farmers and government. True enough this is the catch point. If the farmers accept this offer on the presumption that their presence on the committee will force the government to bring about fundamental changes in the laws, then they would be committing hara-kiri.
Yet another example of the insincerity of the government was manifest in its reluctance to accept the farmers’ demand that the NIA will not raid their aides. During the meeting, farmer leaders also raised the issue of NIA notices being served to some farmers, alleging it was being done just to harass those supporting the agitation, to which the government representatives said they will look into the matter.
Shiv Kumar Sharma “Kakkaji” from Madhya Pradesh likened the “repression” to what the British had done during the freedom struggle. “In this entire movement, Gandhi is our guiding light. The British would carry out repression and lathi-charges and send people to jail but Gandhiji would still talk to them and hold no grudge. We too are dealing with this repression and accepting the suffering,” he said.
He said “It’s our tapasya and sadhna (penance and prayer). We are on the path of Gandhism. They should evaluate what path they are on. We have said over and over again that ‘Hamlachahejaisabhi ho, haathhamaranahiuthega (However the attack comes, we shall not raise our hand)’. The people of India will give them a reply.”
It is not the issue of welfare and wellbeing of the farmers that has been the defining guideline, instead it is the sly and ominous design to break the agitation that prompted the government to come with the proposal. True enough the Modi government has also insulted the Supreme Court through its proposal to constitute a separate committee. If the government had taken a clear line, the apex court should not have to face such awkward situation.
The urgency of the government is also visible in the hurry of the apex Court-appointed committee of experts holding its first meeting today. With the farmers refusing to talk to the members whose interest they intend to serve by holding meeting? Though one member said that they will have open minded approach, but the fact remains that your mind set will continue to prevail.
If the government is really sincere in helping the farmers he should bring a law and legalise the MSP. Let the new committee discuss the three laws. The action of the government gives rise to suspicion about the real intentions of the government. It simply endorses the insincerity and double speak of the government and its minister.
In a significant development for the first time during the two month old farmers Satyagrah, the RSS Sarkaryawah (general secretary) Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi suggested the government for resorting to “sensitivity” while dealing with the farmers’ agitation over the new farm laws and a “middle ground must be found and both sides must work to find a solution”. This is a tactical ploy to white wash the actions of Modi government. Why instead of throwing its weight behind farmers and forcing the government to accede to their demands, Joshi simply remarked; “it is not good for the health of society for any agitation to run for too long. We just want the agitation (to) end quickly now”. Since he is the No. 2 of the ruling party’s parental organisation, his words carry the authority of the Sangh”
While the Modi government is striving to create confusion amongst the farmers the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that Narendra Modi was working to create “monopolies” of four-five people and the new farm laws were part of that project but lamented that the country had not yet understood the enormity of this tragedy.
Rahul said: “A huge tragedy is unfolding and it is not only about farmers. This is about the country’s future, about the country’s ability to be strong, to stand tall among other nations. What we are seeing is industry after industry — airports, infrastructure, power, telecom, retail — across the board, three-four-five people now own this country.” He alleged; “people’s independence was being snatched and youngsters will not get job under such monopolistic control. It is a tragedy that the entire country is watching this ridiculous show. It is a tragedy that shows the country itself is not able to understand the depth of what is happening.”(IPA Service)