Hey Modi, if you really care for what Nanak preached give some respect to the farmers

guru nanak 1

The Indian Prime Minister’s greetings on the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism sound hypocritical, considering how his police have assaulted agitating farmers from Punjab in the national capital of the world’s so called largest democracy.

The Sikhs will celebrate the 551st birthday of Guru Nanak Dev across the globe on Monday, November 30.

In his radio address to the nation, Modi extended his greetings and noted that the influence of the Sikh Guru is visible in the entire world. He added, “From Vancouver to Wellington, from Singapore to South Africa, his message reverberates everywhere.”

Undoubtedly, Nanak won over many hearts by preaching universal brotherhood, to share and earn one’s livelihood through honesty and hard work. He often dined with the poor and working people and refused to accept the hospitality of the rich and tyrants, because of which he remained popular among the oppressed communities and the tillers. Apart from spreading the word about his newly founded religion that denounced Hindu orthodoxy and the brutal caste system, he challenged the repression of the Islamic rulers.

Modi’s greeting at a time when his police force in New Delhi has been harassing farmers from Punjab is a mere token, lacking sincerity towards the message of Nanak.

The Punjab farmers, who are predominantly Sikhs, are camping in the city along with farmers of other Indian states to register their peaceful protest against recent controversial bills introduced by Modi’s government. These measures are aimed at rolling back subsidies given to the farmers as India remains an agro-based economy. The bills were pushed through without due consultations, causing anxiety in the farming community.

Not only were there attempts to prevent Punjab farmers from entering the capital, but they were brutally assaulted by Delhi police. Those at the receiving end included aged farmers. If this was not enough, Modi’s right wing Hindu nationalist supporters have been trying to label the Sikh farmers as separatists and anti-national, to discredit them in the eyes of those following developments on the ground. Several embedded journalists are also trying to create a narrative of the agitation being led by Sikh radicals, without appreciating the fact that it is an organic movement that also includes people from leftist backgrounds, besides members of other faith groups.

Modi and his sycophants should be ashamed that despite such barbarity and hostility, the Sikh farmers have been seen serving meal and water to the policemen on duty, in accordance with the teachings of Nanak, who had started langar or community kitchen to break the barriers of caste and class.

The moral of the story is that either Modi should stop making such meaningless gestures, or give respect to those who plough the fields – like Guru Nanak – but are being tormented by his police on the streets of New Delhi. If nothing, at least ask your supporters to stop spewing venom against the people who put food on your table.

Gurpreet Singh is a journalist



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