By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION |
I’m very late to this, I admit. And I’m at an uneasy situation of it being at the back of my mind as my comfortable life goes on with its trivial daily drama.
I’m not the one camping at some side of a dirty, muddy highway from Punjab to Delhi. I’m not the one leaving my family back home as I stand with my comrades in arms, when a deadly pandemic that spreads just by us standing in arms with each other would probably kill me.
I won’t be able to articulate to you in detail why hundreds of thousands of Punjabi farmers are in this predicament that I’ve just described above. But what’s clear is that these farmers are standing up to something forced upon them.
By now, there would have been tens of articles that Google would spit out for you that explains to the layman what is forcing these stubborn and proud farmers to stand with each other in solidarity. I would suggest you do a little homework to further appreciate this.
Of course, in the age of internet news going through an identity crisis post the #fakenews revolution, you’ll probably find arguments from both sides of the divide. The farmers versus the Indian government.
The Indian government, like all governments in the world today, claims to have the best of intentions with their laws and policies. In this situation, they claim that three new farm laws are to usher in large businesses corporations as the middlemen to the farmers and consumers across India. It’s for the good for everyone, she says.
But the farmers predict a more harsh and less profitable reality for them and their families. So bleak is the prediction, they’ve taken to the roads and highways to protest. After all, it is their rice bowl, their bread and butter, their lives that would be drastically affected.
This protest is now arguably the biggest in a democracy that world history has seen. Although predominantly from our ancestral land of Punjab, farmers of the same ilk have joined from all over India, and from some parts of the world. Surely, with such a historical revolutionary size, there’s got to be some truth to what the farmers are fighting, for and against. Local politics and local politicians couldn’t have drummed up such a snowball effect as this. It seems impossible to me, and to claim that while ignoring the farmers themselves suffering through this torturous pandemic and winter over many weeks tells me you’re being a tad entitled with your views.
Why should this bother me? I’m not a farmer nor am I an Indian citizen. First and foremost, the Indian subcontinent is my home, more spiritual and emotional than physical. I still have family from my ancestors and their descendents in India. These family members, albeit from branches very far from mine in the family tree, are farmers and their lives will be affected. Most importantly, just like my ancestors who had a tendency to stand up and fight oppression, I’m duty-bound to demonstrate some traits of this nature. You could say it’s in our DNA, personified by how we look outwardly, to always stand up to tyranny and oppression, including oppressive laws that affects other humans and societies.
If you’re reading this, and have been asking yourself if you should be bothered about this protest, let alone show your solidarity with the farmers, I implore you to understand more. And the first step towards helping out with the protest is to recognizing its importance and spreading awareness to others. Support can come in many forms. But support only comes when there’s awareness on why. Get on social media, post your support. #WeStandWithFarmers
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Cold wave sweeps Delhi but farmers’ protest intensifies (Asia Samachar, 20 Dec 2020)
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