Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Farmers fighting NDA and their Non-Democratic Alliances

  • Armed Forces, Guns, Water Canons and Concrete Barricades

Pandemic of corona is exploited to pass ordinances as if there is great urgency to destroy Mandis, stake holders not consulted, cabinet did not discuss, Parliament is pushed to pandemonium, visionary deputy chairman does not count votes, the protector of the Constitution, President does not check whether centre is encroaching upon States, most of chief ministers are Jee Huzurs, Judiciary has no time, and, naturally, the millions of farmers on the roads fighting an inhuman government.

Chalo Delhi

If a farmer is injured in his agricultural field, he picks up little earth and rubs it on his injury and continues with his activity. He does not go home or hospital. Lakhs of such farmers left their farm, homes and forgot their injuries saying “Chalo Delhi”. How much he must have been hurt, with the Farm Harm Laws passed by NDA government without any consultation or notice. Today farmer is fighting several odd circumstances, chilling cold, killing virus and a very strong anti-farmer government which runs a two men Sarkar in the name of democracy. Modi Government is building concrete barricades on roads to Delhi to stop the marching kisans, opening canons of cold water on brave farmers in growing winter of north India. Ruthless and inhuman. Still they are marching, their strength is increasing. They are refusing to eat sarkari food, they opened their own lunch boxes, refusing even chai offered by the government.  The Sarkar which manipulated cabinet, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to convert Pandemic season Ordinances into pandemonium passed Acts, under shameless anti-Parliamentary, undemocratic, and atrocious decisions of deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha. He refused to count votes and assumed that bills got majority support on his own will. And then wanted to do one day fasting in protest against the behaviour of opposition members. The preachers of ethics have suspended some members for their conduct in Rajya Sabha. The Supreme Court in Shaheenbagh case said the public places cannot be occupied for a long-time causing inconvenience and breach of rights of other citizens of a country. Great justice.

Ambedkar & Grammar of Anarchy

Dr B R Ambedkar said in his final speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25th November 1949: “The first thing in my judgement we must do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives. It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that we must abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods. These methods are nothing but the Grammar of Anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.”

Also Read : New Farm Bill, Why should we oppose?

Ambedkar’s hope belied

Ambedkar hoped that the governments would follow Constitution and thus there would be no need for people to resort to ‘unconstitutional’ methods of agitation. However, in the last part of above paragraph he said there is a great deal of justification for these methods when no way was left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives. Here there is no point of achieving social justice, but three anti-farmer legislations which are straight violation of powers-distribution mechanism, sharing of sovereignty with states and breach of directive principles of state police to perpetuate social injustice and to allow concentration of wealth in market forces. It’s a major shift from ‘welfare’ state to ‘market’-state.

Where mouths have to be shut

When  cabinet ministers are either timid or blindly devoted or never allowed to discuss or the farm-harm ordinances or bills are not on agenda for discussion in Council of Ministers, the scope for democratic debate on constitutionality or justifiability for these changes is totally diminished. When the Parliament or Chair-persons of its two Houses- Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, blatantly violate parliamentary democratic processes, the scope of legislative check is diminished. And when already a judicial pronouncement is clearly ruling as precedent against the prolonged protest, the scope of judicial review of pro-market and anti-farmer bills is also diminished. What could have been discussed in Cabinet or Parliament or Courts or at least on forum of objective media are being discussed on the roads to Delhi, or in the negotiating table forced by massive march of farmers to Delhi. Where is the grammar of anarchy- in pushing an ordinance in pandemic or pulling out bills from Parliament with the help of deputy chairman, or on the roads where farmers are facing water cannons of police forces or concrete barricades of inhuman and unconstitutional governance?

Also Read : Bharat Bandh on Dec 8th: TRS, Cong Extend Support

Hopeless Estates

Thus, there are no hopes in Executive, where the ministers do not dare to voice on these bills, in Legislature where treasury bench MPs keep their mouths shut, and in an irresponsible way the opposition disorganized, and the in judiciary which has already set a precedent to prevent occupation of public places. Most chief mto belong to ruling coalition, who do not bother about provisions that harm agriculturists.

But the women, children, and tillers of north India from different states have moved on to roads, expressing dissent with solidarity, resistance to dealers in governance as the real leaders are a scarce commodity in either ruling or opposition parties.

We are Hindus, Muslims, and consumers!

We do not have voters in our country, we have Hindus, Muslims etc and consumers. The consumer who eats processed food, does not know that a farmer is providing raw material for making the food polluted by processors at his own cost. Farmers in India face many challenges such as climate change and the vagaries of the monsoon, expensive and patented seeds, poor soil quality, pests and the challenges of using pesticides that may be harmful as well, price fluctuations in the market, back-breaking work, challenges of getting credit. As a cumulative result of these challenged most of the farmers grow food at a net loss. The civilised lazy youth does not know that most of farmers who grow our food don’t have enough food or money to feed their own families! They neither hear the news of suicides of farmers  nor bother even if some media reported it. They are bothered when onions price had soared to Rs 40 per kg, but the Sarkar came to their rescue by banning export of onions and helping middlemen who deal in onions. Dealers or leaders?

Also Read : Farmers to intensify agitation

24% of world malnourished people are in India

Those who eat without thinking about how food is grown, do not know that India has 24 per cent of the world’s malnourished people, 30 per cent of the children under five have stunted growth, which  is the highest percentage for any country  in the world. At the same time, thanks to lazy youth, the obesity is fast becoming a nationwide problem.

IndiaSpend has explained that ‘about 42 per cent of India’s land area is facing drought’, which the voters do not care to know, and great number of blind followers of Hindu & Muslim religion-based political parties ignore deliberately looking to their places of worship for winning elections.

Death to Mandis, Freedom to Corporates

Farm activist Kavitha Kuruganti from Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) explained the main objections to the three Farm Bills in one paragraph: “The government hasn’t done what farmers have been asking for many years now – to enhance and guarantee MSP, to strengthen bargaining power of small farmers in the market, to enhance their capacity to store, process and sell at an advantage, as well as to free them from indebtedness. On the other hand, it has done the opposite, to create unregulated space for agribusiness companies and traders, to weaken ‘mandis’ which even with flaws provided farmers a space for collective bargaining and government intervention in their favour. It is saying, ‘we are giving the corporations more freedom to purchase, store and process, they will give you (farmers) better price’. Farmers don’t buy this and see this as the government washing its hands off all responsibility and rightly so. It is pitting farmers against powerful entities in a more unequal playing field now. We don’t have any evidence of this kind of de-regulation providing better and stable prices to farmers. With the new laws, the fact is that poor farmers and poor consumers have been left to their fate. Farmers are asking the government why MSP cannot be the legally guaranteed floor price”.

Also Read : Farmers’ protest : Govt. should be flexible

Why only Punjab, Haryana, Western UP farmers?

Another question is “Why are the farmers’ protests limited mainly to Punjab, Haryana and western UP?” Kavitha answered: “the proximity of these places to Delhi makes the national media think that protests are limited to these states, whereas Karnataka has been on the boil and protests have been happening in other south Indian states, Bengal, Odisha etc. The responses from farmers have understandably been correlated to how dependent they already are on the mandi system in a given location. The government’s reform should have focused on improving such a mandi system everywhere in the country and bring it to a farmer-empowering uniform level rather than weakening or dismantling it”.

Hyderabad, the great!

Hyderabad voters are bothered about change of city’s name or Bhagylakshmi mandir leaning on one of four Minars of Charminar, not about crumbling four Minars of Democracy – three estates plus lapdog media and falling on farmers.  Some irresponsible social media postings ask for demolition of Charminar and Makka Masjid after being emboldened by win of around 50 seats in GHMC elections.

The voters of Hyderabad wasting their time and democratic process, who efficiently invalidated their 77,509 votes, or those 28,604, who came to booths but voted for None of the Above, and the 38 lakh plus lazy and irresponsible voters who never turned to polling booths while two thirds of those voted on emotions and communal lines have successfully destroyed  democracy without even caring to look at what is happening on highways to Delhi. Do they deserve democracy?

At last, Leaders wake up

It’s a wonder that people agitated first and leaders are joining latter and the farmer’s agitation is uniting the opposition parties. A joint statement was signed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, DMK president M.K. Stalin, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav and CPI(ML)’s Dipankar Bhattacharya among others. Separately Shiv Sena, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Telugu Desham expressed their support.

Listen to legitimate demands

They are asking the Centre to listen to the ‘legitimate’ demands of our Kisans-Annadatas, the Opposition leaders said, “We the undersigned leaders of political parties extend our solidarity with the massive struggle by the farmers organised by various kisan organisations from across the country and extend our support to their call for ‘Bharat bandh’ on December 8, Tuesday, demanding the withdrawal of these retrograde agri-laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill”.

The joint statement says: “These new laws, passed in Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India’s food security, destroy agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the minimum support price and mortgage agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business conglomerates  and domestic corporates.”

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.

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