By Gurnam Singh | OPINION |
The siege of Delhi by an estimated half a million protesters (and growing by the day) is now entering its second month. Most major arteries in and out of the Indian nation’s capital are controlled by well organised protesters and plans are in motion to completely encircle the capital in the coming days and weeks.
Amazingly, the vast majority of the population of Delhi, some 20 million, is supporting the protests. Moreover, Arvind Kejriwal, head of the Delhi State Government, which is controlled by the AAP, declared that free wifi will be provided at the various sites.
Though the protests began in the Punjab, they have morphed into to an international social movement that cuts across regional, religious, class, caste and gender boundaries. In cities across the world, transcending differences of generation, gender and geography, we see daily protests, which are intensifying, outside symbols of the India state.
The Indian state, through a specially established IT cell, known popularly as ‘Godhi Media’, is spending millions on a social media campaign of disinformation and intimidation. They have sought to discredit the movement by making various unsubstantiated allegations, such as suggesting the farmers movement, especially in Panjab and Haryana is a front for ‘terrorist groups’ invariably made up of ‘Khalistani’s’, ‘Pakistani’s’, ‘Naxalite’s’ and other so called ‘anti-rational elements.’ But, because of citizen journalism, all their attempts to defame and misrepresent the protesters and movement have backfired.
Writing a the very insightful piece in The Print, political theorist and anti-caste activist from Telangana, Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, suggests the Sikh farmers movement has caught the imagination of oppressed people of India. He suggests that their struggle embodies a larger battle between the RSS Elitist class and the vast majority of Indians, who are classified as low caste. He argues that this egalitarianism, which lies at the heart of Sikh thought and history, is capturing the imagination of many other groups, and that the RSS monster may well have met its match. This is because, as he notes, “The Sikh farmer-youth are not only more educated, they are also globally spread out and can give a fitting reply to the Hindutva army.”
So the question that we need to focus on is, what can we do to support this movement? Unless you are in a position to engage in direct peaceful action, then, as well as offering material and moral support, we have a duty to become educated and educate others about what is really happening in India. We also need to begin to work together to establish a new vision for this vast sub-continent. One that is able to heal the wounds and divisions caused by the British Imperialists and which are now being exploited by Hindutva fascists.
Above all we need to make it clear that the subcontinent of India does not belong to the corporates or the political classes, but to the people. In doing so we need to say loud and clear to ALL fanatics and fascists, religious or secular, we reject your politics of violence and hate! We need to say, we are the followers of Guru Nanak who spoke to humanity with one message, that was of universal love and oneness! And if we can achieve this level of consciousness, then anything is possible.
[Gurnam Singh is an academic activist dedicated to human rights, liberty, equality, social and environmental justice. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick, UK. He can be contacted at Gurnam.email@example.com]
* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
We stand with our farmers (Asia Samachar, 29 Dec 2020)