Modi repeals farm laws


Farmers protesting against new agricultural laws march near Ambala, India, on Nov. 26. PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images/The Correspondent PK
VIDEO/The Print

in September 2020, Modi government imposed three farm laws

neither the farmers were consulted nor the opposition

the excuse given for the laws was farmers’ welfare

in fact, it was for the wealthfare of the corporate wolves

after over a year’s protest and much loss of life,

pending elections accomplished what farmers could not

he agreed to repeal these unfair laws under the facade of humility

IMF’s Gita Gopinath expressed her pleasure in carefully chosen words:

“These particular farm laws were in the area of marketing. It was widening the market for farmers. Being able to sell to multiple outlets besides the mandis without having to pay a tax. And this had the potential to raise, in our view, farmers’ incomes.”

once the farm sector is thrown to the “market,” i.e., corporations

there is no way farmers will have a say or income increase

Gopinath acknowledged this as “transition costs”:

“That said, every time a reform is put in place, there are transition costs. One has to make sure and pay close attention that it’s not harming vulnerable farmers, to make sure that the social safety net is provided. Clearly there is a discussion right now and we’ll see what comes out if it.”

it is the farmers who’ll pay the transition costs — i.e., total ruination

Narendra Modi will then go on to introduce more neoliberal “reforms”

the farming sector, of course, needs reforms but not neoliberalism

Sukhdev Singh Kokri, a farmer, told BBC Punjabi service last year:

“This is a death warrant for small and marginalised farmers. This is aimed at destroying them by handing over agriculture and market to the big corporates. They want to snatch away our land. But we will not let them do this.”

farmers protested enduring all hardships — COVID-19, brutal winter, …

Modi regime used all the dirty tricks to malign and break farmer unity

the protesting farmers were labelled anti-national and “terrorists”

but kudos to farmers who, despite so many adversities, didn’t give up

with determination and over 600 deaths kept fighting for more than a year

P. Sainath reminds us that Modi made 7 trips abroad, just this year alone

however, he neither visited nor listened to farmers’ grievances

nor consoled them …

there are two great benefits of foreign visits:

you can take lots of selfies, which Modi is fond of, with foreign leaders

you don’t have to think/see/hear about your people you’ve badly screwed

after over a year, Modi relented and repealed the three farm laws

Modi’s record is one of extreme ruthlessness and impulsive decisions

Ashique Ali T points out:

“In the seven years since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power, they have usually responded to democratic dissent with brutal repression and violence by Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) vigilantes rather than pull back from their legislative plans. The protests against the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 bore witness to this trend.

“The protracted farmers’ protest has broken the pattern. It tamed the institutional violence of the Indian state and the Hindutva far right by forging a broad unity of social forces that were otherwise staunch adversaries in a society marked by graded caste hierarchies and social polarization. Landholding Jats, landless Dalit agricultural laborers, and the “arthiyas” (agrarian intermediaries) came together against big corporate actors and the BJP government.”

on November 19, 2021, Modi gave a speech to the nation to that effect

with a very serious face and humble voice, in pure Hindi

(as he avoids Urdu words that are common to both sister languages

Urdu is labelled as a “Muslim” language; bad for Hindu Modi’s health)

Modi repealed the 3 bills in a speech littered with lies

Modi ended his speech thus:

“While apologising to the countrymen, today I want to say sincerely that perhaps there must have been some deficiency in our penance [tapasya] that we could not explain the truth like the light of the lamp to the farmer brothers.

“Today is the holy festival of Prakash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev ji. This is not the time to blame anyone. Today I want to tell you, the entire country, that we have decided to repeal all three agricultural laws. We will complete the constitutional process to repeal these three agricultural laws in the Parliament session that begins later this month.”

“Our government has been working in the interest of farmers and will continue to do so. I will end my speech in the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh ji.

“O Goddess, grant me this boon that I will never back down from doing good deeds.

“Whatever I did, I did for the farmers and whatever I am doing, I am doing for the country. With your blessings, there was no deficiency in my hard work even earlier. Today I assure you that I will work harder now so that your dreams can come true, the dreams of the country can come true.”

(italics are mine)

who can beat Modi’s acting and his speech-writer’s words

“deficiency in penance”? pure bullshit

“this is not the time to blame anyone”

why not?

he implied: I don’t blame you, you don’t blame me

but …

although …

he has no reason or justification to blame the protesting farmers

the farmers on the other hand …

have very many reasons to blame Modi …

but Modi doesn’t want anyone to condemn him at this juncture

there are going to be state elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh

which his party BJP has to win at any cost

because that will somewhat ease the path to 2024 Modi reelection win

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah said it without mincing words:

If you want to make Modiji PM [prime minister] again in 2024, then in 2022 you will have to make [Yogi Adiyanath] Yogiji CM [chief minister] once again.

Modi has played a cunning destructive game during his tenure …

this defeat was long in coming ..

and at great cost to farmers …

six hundred precious farmer lives lost and the subsequent

devastating effects on the already impoverished families

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

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