Can Modi forget the first anniversary of farmers’ tractor march this Republic Day?
Today, on India’s 73rd Republic Day celebration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be watching over a minimised military parade near his dream capital project Central Vista, which resembles Nazi Germany’s fascist dictator Adolf Hitler’s Germania project. While watching over the military prowess of India, one thing that will frighten him is not the fear of a terrorist attack, but the events of the past, the sound of a tractor engine. This Republic Day marks the first anniversary of the farmers’ tractor march in the heart of New Delhi.
The first anniversary of the farmers’ tractor march will also mark the anniversary of the hoisting of the holy flag of Sikhism, Nishan Sahib, atop the iconic Red Fort. Though a year has passed since the farmers’ tractor march, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) government have been feeling intimidated for some reasons.
Firstly, last year, after waiting for almost two months, the farmers tried to demonstrate inside New Delhi on Republic Day to show their high level of frustration over the government’s indifference towards their demands. The Modi government couldn’t anticipate that the enraged farmers can launch such a massive campaign, overriding all barricades erected by the police.
Secondly, after the farmers’ tractor march and the hoisting of Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort, the government and its servile media thought that the farmers’ sit-in protest movement at Delhi’s borders would end due to the pressure of state repression and public condemnation.
This did not happen at all because the farmers kept their movement’s leadership control out of the hands of the upper and middle classes. So, the farmers were not at all worried about the attitude of the urban middle class towards their movement. They had neutralised the scope of compromises that are a quintessential part of Savarna Hindu movements.
In addition, Rakesh Tikait, a Jat farmer leader and a former BJP ally, foiled the government’s conspiracy to oust the protesting farmers by pulling an emotive tug that evoked a strong anti-BJP response in the dominant Jat community of western Uttar Pradesh. The Ghazipur border became a game-changer and, as the months went by, the BJP’s situation worsened in Jat-dominated western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Thirdly, the farmers have paused their movement and returned to their villages after protesting for 378 days. Certainly not empty-handed. On November 29th 2021, the three controversial agricultural laws were repealed in the Indian Parliament. Moreover, the Modi regime committed to fulfilling all demands of the farmers in writing. After accepting these, the farmers left Delhi. And since they left, the Modi regime is doing a volte-face.
On the one hand, Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said that the repealed farm laws may be reintroduced and, on the other hand, after giving the government time till January 15th 2022 to fulfil their demands, the leading organisation of the farmers’ movement—the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM)—has complained that the Modi regime is testing their patience and there is no move from the government’s side towards the fulfilment of other demands like providing a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for all crops, dropping of police cases against the farmers and also providing compensation and justice to the kin of those farmers who lost their lives during the farmers’ movement.
In such a scenario, Modi, the leader of the country’s crumbling economy, knows that he will have to dominate the country’s agriculture in the interests of his big capitalist patrons like Gautam Adani, Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, etc. The big feudal lords must be taken along. In any case, once the upcoming Punjab and Uttar Pradesh elections are over, the Modi government will rush to pave the way for new corporate aggression on agriculture. But Modi also knows that the farmers won’t spare his regime this time.
Today, Modi’s is severely panicked despite having a heavy security arrangement. He had faced the farmers’ fury in Punjab and cried foul to titillate his followers. He knows that farmers are needed before the election but not later. He has been put in power only to protect the interests of the corporates and so Modi knows that he must do a very efficient trapeze walk to bedazzle the farmers.
On the first anniversary of the heroic farmers’ tractor march in Delhi, let no one forget that despite severe hardships, despite suffering persecution, the farmers occupied the red fort from the Modi regime, which sold that red house to Dalmia. The ultimate unfurling of the farmers’ victory banner can’t happen until the collapse of Modi’s fascist regime.
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