Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Farmers and the Government on a Jungle Safari : Lalit K Kaul


The Farmers and the Government on a Jungle Safari

(From Jungle to Zoo & Back Everyday Anytime!)

                                                                                                                                                                                Lalit K Kaul

From Jungle (Sikri Border) to Zoo (Jantar Mantar) and back; all free of cost ostensibly, but to be borne by the tax payer; hospitality extended for the first time in the history of independent India only to ridicule those who think that they are agitating for a cause dear to them. Who cares? As long all of it is peaceful and the electronic media gets busy overtime with quality competition in earning TRP and the unemployed politicians improve their visibility by standing in front of the multiple cameras while answering questions that neither have any relevance nor the rationale, because none of these Netas have courage to state explicitly what’s truly going on and neither do the journalists have courage to ask relevant questions.

Not to stay behind are the employed Netas who have their own motivations to support what’s “Farmer’s” movement and going ahead in their support of the demands with a conviction that they are never ever going to govern the Nation through the Acts of the Parliament as they would always fill opposition benches with diminishing numbers perhaps.

No Answers in Sight:

Without going into the merits of the ongoing “movement” or the ones that were organized from time to time in the independent India because that’s the business/conviction of those who lead/have led such movements; the question that begs an answer in independent India is: What form of agitation shall yield results for both the agitators and the government? No answers in sight, as on date. There is this need to apply one’s mind separately and collectively to find an answer.

In this land of ours, people have been witness to both violent and non violent forms of agitations and the response of the incumbent governments have been to quell the violent ones with the might of the State and to ignore the non violent ones. In certain instances, the government has succeeded in transforming a peaceful agitation in to a violent one through its party’s political machinations and then quelled it with all the force at its command. In certain cases, the peaceful agitations that essentially brought up socio-economic issues were reduced to a low level trade union activity and some crumbs were thrown at the agitators. The problems remained to be, the management was done, though.

The governments of the day irrespective of the party they belonged to have excelled in the art of tiring down the agitating people with all the apparatuses at its command. Violent ones reduce to a few gun shots being fired here and there accompanied by occasional bomb blasts, only to emphasize their continued presence and the non violent ones die out due to sheer exhaustion but trying to salvage the minimum possible in the end, if only as the face saving exercise for its leadership.

But this One is Unique:

The government offering the agitators to help them in continuing their agitation, because we are told it’s everybody’s fundamental right, as long it is peaceful. Great gesture! True believer in democratic principles! While the leaders may feel elated thinking that the government has succumbed to their pressure and have become hospitable to them, the fact is that the leaders of the agitation have fallen to the machinations of the government. Else, both are playing to the gallery pushing their own respective agendas that may have nothing to do with the farmers’ cause.

The Farce:

“Scrap all the three laws”, roars the leader; in turn the response is “We are always ready for negotiations on certain amendments that the farmers may seek”. The opposition steps in and declares, “We support farmers”. The government knows what it’s up to, the leader(s) of the farmers don’t seem to have got import of their demand and the opposition is exploiting them for that very reason. Assuming that the farmer leaders are conscientiously aware of the political dimensions of their single line demand then the basic question is: Will that be resolved/ addressed to by shuttling between Sikri border and Jantar Mantar? The government doesn’t care- and this one cares the least- for how long Delhi is gheraoed so long as the methods are “Gandhian”, no matter how big  a section of population is adversely affected by it (the irony being that they are the tax payers). So this tamasha from Jungle to Zoo and back shall continue for a time indefinite as now the government is supporting the movement.

Playing to the Gallery:

It is now an open secret that this agitation is a political dual between the farmers’ leaders and the BJP party leadership; the leader has made that clear by his deeds and words. The upcoming UP elections 2022 & Lok Sabha elections 2024; the tussle is for the Jat (farmers) votes in the Western UP. The leader is projecting himself as the savior of the farmers and the BJP as unquestionable and un-blemishing upholder of democratic values that inhibits it from using force to clear the National Capital Gherao & this stand is now secular because anti CAA Gherao was also allowed to be, but Corona played the villain because it does not know democratic norms.

BJP got a hard and humiliating slap from Delhi electorate in the elections post anti CAA Gherao; it remains to be seen who of the two receives that slap in 2022 and that may set the tone for 2024. The farce shall go on as usual unless once again some scientists in some part of the world let loose a virus deadlier than Corona and that immediately flies to Delhi for both the contestants to run for their lives.