Reflections on the farmers movement

farmers rally

  • Identity politics cannot subsume real politics. Hindutva built on Hindu identity cannot stop emergence of a challenge built on solidarity of the oppressed classes.
  • Mandir Masjid can polarize and keep the people divided in the name of Hindu Muslim. But the challenge can come from somewhere else (Sikhs), though not on the basis of identity. Challenge can come from anywhere they never thought of.
  • Once there is a gain in consciousness, any efforts of the oppressors to divide and rule will not work. Any such efforts at dividing will only further consolidate the unity of the oppressed.
  • The oppressors will use every technique at their disposal. Defaming, calling meetings without intent to address, threatening, FIRs, arrests, creating physical obstructions like barricades, nails etc. However, that can never stop the momentum of the movement.
  • The khap panchayats which are usually seen as the forces of oppression through caste based violence suddenly emerge as mobilizers against oppression, when they start mobilizing farmers from their villages.
  • The collective leadership of the movement which is selfless and which has come together for achievement of common agenda of the movement provides further direction and guidance and helps sustain the movement. It is able to assess the emerging situations, understand the strategies being adopted by state & oppressors and develop counter strategies. The collective leadership lays a series of actions to be taken during the course of the movement. Each of these steps is a further act of establishing counter hegemony of the oppressed.
  • The leadership of the movement once it is self-critical and able to admit its responsibility for exercising lack of control over incidents of violence openly will only further build the trust in the movement. Self-criticism over incidents of violence following 26th January incidents of violence while also indicating how it has been orchestrated by the state through implanting agents only went on to expose the oppressors and .win further support for the movement.
  • Communication on a regular basis through use of social media, alternative news media channels to communicate the steps, strategies, perspective of the movement to inform the people of the steps being taken only helps establish direct communication with those observing the movement. Any myths, fake propaganda, lies floating through mainstream media can be dispelled.
  • Movement requires resources for its sustenance. People themselves act as the fuel to the movement. The resources such as grains, vegetables, money was mobilized on a day to day basis from the villages and provided to those fighting on the streets of Delhi borders for their sustenance.
  • When an internal challenge also gets support from external, the state tends to see the same as a very deeper threat. The events which unfolded the extension of support by Rihanna indicated that. The state mobilized the famous, influential who could be celebrities in the field of art, cinema, and sports to speak in favor of the state.
  • Movement also throws who are the real friends and foes of the movement. Those usually adored for their role in their relevant fields – art, cinema, sports and their sides given the issues raised by the oppressed – shows where do they stand. The real celebrities of movement only emerge from that.
  • The movement further breaks the myth that Left has lost its relevance and decline of left is an end of history. The movement showed that ultimate challenge for change and for social betterment comes from class challenge build around economic interests. Though there were multiple political ideologies involved – left of all varieties, social democratic, lohia socialites, gandhians – but the basic thesis of left of class challenge only gets validated. It is not to deny that there could be multi-classes who form part of the movement. The movement only provides scope for re-emergence of left as an important necessity for a better society.

T Navin works with an NGO as a Researcher



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