This isn’t a political opinion but a commentary on the current scenario of India. So it should be treated as an account of my observation and not opinion.
It is no revelation that agriculture is the largest contributor to the Indian economy. Since its inception, the Indian government used to guarantee MSP for certain crops, hence, providing financial security to the farmers. While the new laws claim to give them more freedom to buy and sell directly indicating the privatisation of the whole economy, they are contentious and might leave farmers worse off conversely. So, essentially, a major portion of the vote bank of India is on roads, protesting against these laws since November. Needless to say, protests are never absolutely peaceful amidst the irony of a “democratic” set-up. Negotiations haven’t led the situation anywhere but a deadlock. In fact, the mediation committee formed by the Supreme Court has also faced disappointment and rejection by the unions and parties. On top of that, around 18 parties have boycotted the President’s address to express solidarity with the protesting farmers.
Not long ago, on the occasion of Republic Day, protesters broke barriers, clashed with the police and entered into Delhi. Thousands of tractors driven by protesters thrashed their way into the parade. A group of protesters then marched towards the Red Fort and hoisted a religious flag a few hours after the ceremony. Some unions have been accused of conspiring this whole menace. Handful of leaders have taken responsibility while the others have either accused the other leaders of sabotaging the agitation or have distanced themselves. Tear gas, flashbangs, sticks and fatalities were seen on both sides of the protest. The count of injuries and lawsuits is astonishing.
Now, the image of the Nishaan Sahib flag fluttering higher than the Tiranga was sacrilege to every Indian irrespective of their economic inclination or political affiliations. I can’t deny that the detour could have been planned and conspired in order to discredit the “peaceful” protest guaranteed by the leaders but the consequences were disastrous. Nonetheless, the protest received a massive blow and lost the citizenry’s support to a great extent.
My question is- Was it required? And what did it prove? Except insulting the national holiday.
Drastically low in magnitude as compared to the Republic Day incident, still terrible, another controversy has surfaced recently.
Among the ongoing media uproar, when some “celebrities” decided to step in and give their two cents on the issue, they took Twitter by a storm. The most prominent personality to bear the brunt of constant bashing was pop star icon Rihanna who tweeted about internet shutdowns in Delhi post the riots on 26th January. Well, Human rights violation is incomprehensible except in the Indian context, of course.
Swedish child environmentalist Greta Thunberg followed the suit by tweeting about the protests and uploading a ‘toolkit’ about how people can join the protests. The document had several resources to mobilise people against farm laws. It also contained a detailed plan about hashtags like #askindiawhy, #farmersprotest, and #worldiswatching with specific dates where they trended and would trend. A lot of people are being seen ridiculing Delhi Police for filing a case against Greta Thunberg which is simply not true. The Police have clarified that they’ve registered a case against the makers of the document and not Greta. While she deleted the tweet later, she responded to the Twitter bashing by saying that she is “still” supporting the farmers and “no amount of threats” will change that. This, however, begs the question as to why Greta deleted the previous tweet at all. Both sides are so strong (weak rather) that one verdict just doesn’t seem plausible enough.
Even the former adult film star Mia Khalifa tweeted about the protests, questioning internet shutdowns. As this war continued to rage, The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying, “the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible”, which makes absolute sense. I wonder if these international celebrities know the ground reality or even the exact reason behind the protests. I am pretty sure that they have no idea about 11 rounds of talks that the government has held with the leaders of the farmers’ unions, along with its decision to suspend the farm laws for 18 months and hold talks with farmers to tweak the laws as per their convenience. But I also wonder as to who gave the authority to the propagandists to question their opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
It is surprising how the largest democracy in the world is being desecrated by illusionists and anti-social elements fueling controversies instead of solutions. I do not condone the mindlessness and misinformed opinions on sensitive issues such as this. It seems only logical that people must ascertain the facts properly and try to understand the issue at hand before rushing to make comments.
People have taken “ignorance is bliss” too seriously. The need of the hour is research, negotiation, and settlement, and not publicity stunts.