BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) commemorated the annual anniversary of Delhi Morcha at Pakaura Chowk, New Delhi with a huge historic public rally, constituting around 50000 persons. A most illustrative example of a festival of the masses and the consistency of revolutionary political practice of the BKU(Ugrahan) who exhibited the spirit of an army battalion. Without doubt one of the most outstanding celebrations in the nation commemorating the 1st anniversary of the farmer’s agitation. The event was testimony to the scale of relentless spirit or tenacity, meticulous planning or organisation and creativity of the Ugrahan group over one year, embarrassing the rulers in their very backyard to keep floating, countering the most hazardous obstacles.
All the speakers touched the very soil, in terms of projecting the concrete social reality nailing the nefarious politics of the ruling classes at their very root. They all affirmed that in no way should the tempo of the agitation subside. I was impressed with the balanced nature of the speeches,in slauting the victory of the farmers. What was of great significance that the thrust was not only on exposing the Communal fascist Bharatiya Janata Party but the repressive political or socio-economic order as a whole, exposing the farce of the parliamentary democratic system in India.
After the announcement of repeal of farm laws participants from Punjab, Haryana and sections of society supporting the agitation celebrated the victory and resolved to continue the struggle for the remaining demands. Men and women activists participated in the rally in very large numbers. The rally started with a tribute to more than 700 martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the struggle. State committee of the organisation saluted the martyr’s memorial temporarily established in the rally ground. Participants joined the tribute standing silently for two minutes as revolutionary poet Sant Ram Udasi’s anthem of martyrs ‘chadhan waleoo haqaan di bhet utteh’ (o people who sacrificed their lives for rights) was played from the stage.
While addressing the rally Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU (EktaUgrahan) acknowledged the historic victory of the farmers. He declared that getting the farm laws repealed has been made possible only by the unity of farmers & farm labourers from across the country and global solidarity. He reminded that demands like procurement of agriculture produce of all crops at remunerative MSP and universal PDS are still unfulfilled. The government is maintaining silence about these demands. He said that decision about the future course of the agitation will be taken after formal repeal of laws by the parliament and acceptance of other demands. He stated that farmers will continue to occupy the protest sites. He appealed that unity achieved through this struggle needs to be strengthened further so that a cross country movement be built to achieve pro-peasant solution of the agrarian crisis. It is of vital importance that the struggle is prolonged and illusions created amongst the masses do no diffuse it. Touching aspect of global solidarity also strikes chords, without which the movement would never have been so impactful.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri, General Secretary of the organisation probed on the infiltration of Imperialism in agriculture, and how the rulers were subservient to the dictates of it.He stated that demand like procurement on MSP and PDS are unaddressed as Indian state is committed to implement policies of WTO. The farm laws were part of these policies so the real solution lies in India getting out WTO agreements. He added that the organisation will protest against WTO’s meeting from November 29 to December 3 in Geneva that India should come out of it. Effigies of WTO will be burnt at protest sites in Delhi and Punjab.Highlighting penetration of Imperialism and integrating anti-feudal struggle with it, is of great importance.
Jhanda Singh Jethuke, senior Vice President and Shingara Singh Mann stated that this struggle has manifested the value of unity to get heard. He guarded the peasantry against complacency. They warned that if farmers became less vigilant about opportunist political parties then upcoming elections may prove to be an assault on the unity. In this situation the organisation appeals to the masses that they should keep the unity intact and raise the basic issues in the coming days which will be the parameters to test political parties and politicians make fake promises. Masses should not expect anything from the elections but depend on their own unity and struggles. This speech had great significance in light of people being hoodwinked by opposition parties or even promises of the BJP,not being able to perceive the pretensions of the repressive parliamentary system.
Harinder Kaur Bindu, leader of woman wing of the organisation hailed the exemplary role played by the women. She stated that women played leading and equal role in the protest against farm laws. She asserted that this role will be expanded in the future struggles. She called women to take more responsibility in the struggles. I attach great significance to this in contemporary light of women being subordinated to oppression.
Lachman Singh Sevewala, General Secretary of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union reminded that farm workers have played an important role in the agitation and the unity among farmers and farm workers has become stronger. This speech was of great significance in light of agricultural dalit labour not adequately integrated into the peasant movement, and their relatively sparse participation in democratic protests.
Amolak Singh state president of PLS Manch said that writers and artists of Punjab have played their supportive role in this agitation as always. Their unity with struggling people has been strengthened. Infact in the last year it was remarkable the manner artists from all spheres of society and writers roped in to give solidarity.
At this occasion Dr. Navsharan Kour famous human rights activist, Gohar Raza, Shabnam Hashmi,Nandini Sunder,Santu Dass from West Bengal, Sushila women farmer leader from Haryana, Hamir Singh senior reporter Punjabi Tribune,Ritu Koshik Rajasthan,Kawita Srivastav, Ramsharan Joshi,Prof. Arazmand Araa, Subhash Ali, Ramshand & Sukhwinder Sukhi DTF also addressed the gathering. Jaswinder Singh Longowal,Hardip Singh Tallewal, Janak Singh Bhutal, Jagtar Singh Kalajhar,,Atarjit Singh story writer,and Manjinder Sraan were also present at this occasion.
Arguably the participation of dalit agricultural labour was relatively low and speeches were missed from the democratic organisations of students and youth. I still maintain that there is a long way to go before a genuine agrarian revolutionary movement is built, uniting the landed peasantry and the agricultural labour, to challenge the repressive socio-economic order The tentacles have to be sharpened to confront the rulers and prevent masses from falling prey to their illusions.
I thank activists Pavel Kussa and Laxman Singh Sewewala for the information.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist.Toured India,particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly.