If you are a BJP supporter, right-winger, or their side of media fans then this protest is politically motivated by congress and other UPA Alliance, maybe even Pakistan and China-funded event. For you, the protesters from Punjab are supporting it because of their demand for a separate country AKA Khalistan. In your mind, protestors are the members of the new ‘Tukda-Tukda gang’ who want to divide India. Your media feeds have convinced you that these farmers are fake and real farmers are already happy with the bill and working in their fields. Agitating farmers are terrorists and they want to secure the future of Rahul Gandhi in active politics. If you are a right-winger, then the real Annadata is a taxpayer but not the farmers. In your logic agitating farmers should be arrested, attacked, killed, beaten, or sent back to their homes. Because for you all those agitating against government policies are anti-nationals and have no place in this country.
If you are a left-winger or UPA, AAP, and Akali Dal supporter then this protest is to save farmers from the people like Adani and Ambani. This protest is to resist the over Privatisation of the Mandi System to ensure the safeguard of MSP (minimum support Price) should not be removed and lastly to save the Mandi system from Private individuals. This particular group believes that the PM should listen to the voices of agitating farmers and take them in confidence before implementing any such laws. These new laws are opposed by almost all the farmers of other states too. They see Modi as Adolf Hitler and a very adamant leader who is loyal to only the corporate houses but not the people of India, especially farmers. He wants to create Hindu Rashtra by dividing people in the name of caste, creed, and religion. Inevitably there are some conflicts.
Apart from all these sides if you are an Impartial or neutral citizen then you might notice, fighting farmers have only one identity: farmers. No one is Hindu, not Muslim, and not Sikh. It is natural for people to bring their identities, for people don’t exist in a vacuum. Naturally, the Morcha has the symbolism of langars or community kitchens and Nishan Sahibs – the Sikh flags everywhere you look. However, everyone here is a farmer. A unique example is the peasant movement of the country. But somewhere there is class conflict, this is a class war. The skirmish between the big bourgeoisie in collaboration with international investment capital and the whole peasantry, including rich peasants and landlords. The dividing line is clear. The big middle-class farmers are on one side of the conflict over corporate-oriented agricultural laws. On the other hand, there is a peasant society including rich farmers. There is division even among the capitalist landlords. It is seen that there is a conflict between the partners of the ruling class too. There is a conflict between media house opinions and there are some honest coverages whom we consider, anti-Modi or anti-establishment media houses. Everyone has their own narrative and that is the reason, the common public’s approach towards agitation is very much confusing.
The neo-liberalism of the last three decades is responsible for this overall unity in the peasant movement. As a result, the cost of cultivation has increased as well as the prices of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides. On the other hand, crop prices have come down. The farmers had to sell their crops at a low price due to hunger. Its consequence was the ‘Suicide epidemic’. Today’s urgent demand is, therefore, the price of the crop should be one and a half times. Three laws passed by the Modi government claim to increase the income of the farmers but there is enough doubt in farmers’ minds and they think these bills backfire then small farmers’ survival will be tough. By enacting the new laws, the government of India aims to support Farmers by eliminating so-called middlemen, who farmer claim is their ATM. Further, the government view is that middlemen operate from Mandis or Agricultural marketing committees (AMC), and hence by reducing the role of the mandi system can improve the fate of farmers. Under the new law, any person or company can buy directly from the farmers and pay them. But we need to understand that AMC’s did not fall from ecstasy or abyss but were most sought by farmers themselves. As farmers faced a lot of hardships to sell their produce, they were set up to assist farmers. They might have failed in their objective or lacked efficiency due to political intervention or some other structural problems. Prior to the establishment of agricultural market committees’ farmers could sell the produce at their will. The system was almost similar to what the new law says but there is a lack of clarity. The PM and the agriculture minister should have a dialogue with farmers and try to resolve this issue, by doing so Modi might earn some goodwill. The government should listen to the voices of agitating farmers, rather than attacking them by various means.
Most of the farming unions and bodies fear that relaxations like this will end up making it much easier for corporations to control the pricing of farmers’ products and in the long run, control the entire market machinery i.e., Exiting from the environment of one less harmful middle man to one more harmful middleman and after the takeover, farmers will be left at the mercy of big corporations. It is outrageous to believe that the farmer having small land will have no bargaining power over corporates. Women have less access to contract farming than men since most of the female farmers aren’t even completed elementary education (and you expect them to understand clauses of contract) and also to men, still today most of the farmers prefer to give thumb impression and you are expecting them to enter in a legal contract. There are many trust issues on government policies, after the failure of policies such as Note Bandi, GST, farmers have developed trust issues, and they are not sure that they will be able to deliver these promises made in the bill. If a dispute arises between the farmer and the private purchaser, the machinery under the bills is so bureaucratic and convoluted that no farmer will have the strength or the resources to fight the purchaser. The small and medium farmers will be ruined. The bills undermine the three pillars of our food security system. The MSP is like a government security net for farmers against bullying by middlemen and a steep decline in prices of farm produce. The MSP is set twice a year by the government for a set of 22 crops. It is set by the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) and is the rate at which the government guarantees to buy crops from farmers via different agencies. But due to the unavailability of a written clause of continuation of MSP, farmers fear that’ the government will eventually dismantle the state procurement system and the MSP transaction which they depend on. The rattled and disturbed farmers need the government’s discourse but not dominance. Hope something good may prevail and India restores its peace within.