Saturday, August 14, 2021

Opportunity for Knowledge Movement to shoulder Responsibility to play Singular Role: Lalit K Kaul

 Opportunity for Knowledge Movement to shoulder Responsibility to play Singular Role

        Lalit K Kaul

The farmers’ movement seemed to have become rudderless. Beginning with a thunderous and heavily loaded proclamation “Repeal all 3 agriculture laws” to wandering and knocking at the doors of political parties to oppose NDA (BJP) looked symbolic of derailment due to (may be) lack of understanding of the political connotations of the public statement that the leaders of Samyukth Kisan Morcha (SKM) repeatedly made while sitting on dharna and summarily disposed off the government’s pleas to come to the negotiating table.

The proclamation kindled a hope that a new dawn was inevitable if not imminent because it challenged the very sovereignty and sanctity of the Parliament and therefore the whole movement was not just about the agricultural laws but about the extant democratic dispensation governed through the laws passed in the “temple” of democracy.

While it looked that the entire movement had lost steam and the rationale behind it, the BKU in Punjab, deviating from the plan of SKM, seems to have put some life in to it by questioning the very role of Congress in agrarian crisis and holding it responsible for various imbalances in Indian society including un-kept promises etc., but the punch line is that the BKU held Globalization and Liberalization policies as introduced by the then Congress government in the year 1990 as solely responsible for all the disparities, discriminations, loss of jobs including lopsided development. The point being made is not that BKU is targeting Congress, but the policies as enacted in the Parliament and which according to it had been exploitative; had any non Congress government been in power the onus would have been on them. The departure from SKM is in that the Congress was not to be targeted.

Despite the support extended by the Punjab Congress government to the ongoing farmers’ movement, as an act of political expediency, the BKU declared that Congress had been anti farmer and responsible for agrarian crisis. It’s like locating and pointing at the root cause.

The opposition parties, again as an act of political expediency, have been supporting the farmers’ proclamation and thereby asserting that the Parliament had become Infructuous and that decisions regarding governance of the country should be taken through agitations and Gheraos.

The Arab Spring and Iranian Islamic Revolution:  

Very genuine, legitimate and profoundly relevant revolutions ended up in being of no consequence. Post revolution the new regimes failed to set an example – for at least the Muslim world- of how to provide an alternative to the system that’s over dependent on the alien World View and be on equal footing with the Western world and other extant democracies. The Ayatollah of Iran having declared Iran as Islamic Republic had no alternate socio political socio economical regimes (based on their holy scriptures) to offer to the people of Iran. The net result is that only the name changed while the Iranian Nation remained torn between two exclusive world views – the Islamic and the un-Islamic. The net result: the regime has become too oppressive and voices of dissent are growing by the day.

The Arab Spring is a bigger tragedy because the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt failed to deliver when the masses expected it to. MB was founded in 1928 post fall of Ottoman Empire and declaration of Turkey as a secular and democratic nation state by Mustafa Kemal. MB all through its existence in Egypt remained very active and popular among the masses in social and religious domains and never ever engaged itself in any kind of violence even when in 2012/13 it was made to disappear from the public domain. MB over the decades until Arab Spring won sizeable number of seats in their Parliament and in the year 2005-2010 they had 85 seats a sizeable number. MB actively took part in parliamentary proceedings by way of proposing pro people amendments to the bills brought forward by the ruling party and all through it stood for non oppressive governance. Then Arab Spring happened and the elections held after the revolution the MB won a handsome majority, but miserably failed to legislate in favour of the people as they were torn between Sharia and the extant predominant world view. The people revolted leading to coup by the army!! Oppression was let loose on MB and since 2012/13 it has failed to revive.

The Farmers’ Movement:

From the BKU dynamics in Punjab it can be safely assumed that a wholesale change is being sought. Assuming that in the next few years the movement shall be able to overthrow the government of the day- remember the BKU has declared no faith in political parties as according to it all are responsible for the plight of an ordinary citizen- then if they don’t possess an alternate implementable democratic dispensation/set up that is governed by the grass root leadership of the people their whole effort may go the Iranian/Arab Spring way.

The Role of Knowledge Movement:

Being well versed with the dynamics of the farmers’ movements and being the only articulator of the aspirations of Lok Vidhya Samaj having accorded them social respectability by defining its members as “Knowledge Beings”, it is this samaj that’s in search of an alternative and that LJA and Vidya Ashram have the responsibility to frame and articulate. It’s a singular chance for those associated with the Knowledge Movement to lead the way and develop an alternate way of democratically electing representatives along with its own World View that would define and govern all the dimensions of human societies for people’s emancipation and redemption of their self esteem.

A document detailing the defining parameters of “New Politics” and its regime of social, economical and religious development; if prepared, can be widely circulated among the samaj and especially the leaders of the farmers’ movement regardless of their affiliations. The discussions with the Kisan leaders and others from the samaj can be initiated, based on the circulated document. There is this capability within the group and there is Time; what is to be resolved is: should the Knowledge Movement be on the driving seat for a new political dispensation or should it miss the bus.

May be we all can start discussing about it via webinars; may be once every week!   

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