Spills from Life: Farmer’s protest in India: A battle ground or a unique village of brotherhood?

No Farmer > No Food> No Life

           Many of you might already know that there is a farmer protest taking place in India against the three anti-farmer bills enforced by, as seen by many people , the ultra- Right- wing  nationalistic government. These bills would make the poor farmers even poorer by privatising the market for the crop produce in the hands of only a couple of Industrialists ( in the country of two billon population!), who are said to be favoured personally by the upper crust polity.
                  Farmer’s plight has remained the same under most governments, regardless of which political party since the Independence in 1947. One of the current reasons is that only about a meagre 2% of the total National budget is invested in to the farming sector despite the fact that India is an agrarian economy where about 60% of the population depends on agriculture directly or associated businesses. Thousands of farmers have committed suicide since the 1990s but no one has listened. I think the cup of patience is over-spilling now and hence the protest!
However, I would like to focus on and highlight the uniqueness of this peaceful protest in its magnitude.
                   There are over 300,000 farmers protesting unitedly from all the four corners of the country. One would think ‘it must be dangerous to visit India at the moment and not just due to corona, but also due to the tall flames of the agitation engulfing the country’, at least as the ‘parrot reporting’ media might like us all to think. The government controlled media and political machinery is working day and night to spread anti-farmer propaganda to defame the agitation to be seen as instigating violence and anti-social activities. Farmers from Punjab are even labelled as ‘terrorists’ by the corporate controlled media. But thank God for the Technology! 🙏 We are able to see what is happening in reality within and around the protesting camps via smart phones,  YouTube channels, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Many Non-resident Indians, celebrities and officials have visited the protest sites for first hand views and posted videos via social media for the world to see.
                  The Sikh farmers from the Punjab region of India were protesting for over two months in their state but the government remained unperturbed. So in the end, the Unions decided to call for ‘Delhi Chalo’ or ‘ Let’s march to Delhi’, to be heard by the centre from the centre of the country. The Punjab farmers were the first group to have reached the borders of the capital on the 27th November 2020 and were welcomed with Water cannons, Tear gas, Lathi charge or truncheon-beating by the ‘democratic governance’ 🙄. These farmers consisted of men, women, children, and many elderly and also disabled protesters. So, who is the violent side and showing not just anti-social but also terrorising tendencies? It is clear from the live videos from the protesting field. Once again, thanks to the technology for smart phones and social media. There is after all a positive contribution by the social media to society; one has to be responsible with how to use it.
                  Now, farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and many other states in the country have also joined the march and have reached Delhi from diverse borders; Delhi is truly encircled by the farmers and their families. All sitting peacefully yet showing their opposition to the strangling bills. I would love to share the scenes from this magnanimous and harmonious human camp.     
                  As far as the eye can see one witnesses a wave of colourful turbans, shawls and green scarves symbolising the colour of farmers! Thousands of farmers have travelled with their families on foot, on tractors, and whatever means of transport is available. Fortitude is showing through every smiling face. Community food is being cooked day and night in enormous cauldrons on handmade earthen ovens and open fire not just for the protesters but the homeless and the slum dwellers in the surrounding areas; however what tops this is the fact that the farmers are offering tea, juice and food to the same police officials who perhaps had raised the baton in attempt to break their backs. It is not the place where outsiders are bringing charity to help the workers on strike, but these are the self-sufficient protesters who are also offering free food, free clothing, free medical treatment, even shoes to the poor children visiting the site from the local poor localities. With well build marquee tents installed with warm beddings, designated toilet facilities for men and women, even dressing areas equipped with mirrors, especially for the sikh gentlemen tying turbans. Every need is taken into account. The atmosphere is more like a fare and looks like a tranquil mini village. Has anyone even seen a protesting site like this before? I can’t imagine.    
                 Security is of prime importance and round the clock vigilance is held by the volunteers. Only certain certified volunteering agencies are allowed to assist with essential services, like the Khalsa Aid which is a recognised International body of Sikh volunteers. Of course, such service to humanity comes natural to the sikh community, who have travelled to Syria to help with volunteer aid, offered service to the flood victims in Pakistan, fed hundreds of homeless and Nursing home patients in the UK with food and essentialities during the Corona lockdown, and hundreds other such services in the world. The mindset for service and valour is instilled in this community as almost a natural instinct from birth. They have a rich culture build by their spiritual Gurus and ever since the Sikhs try to live their lives by those progressive teachings. Latest addition to this Nishkam – Seva ( selfless service) is the massage machines for those tired but determined feet, washing machines and medical aid, including providing free prescription medication.
                  Not just Sikhs but Hindus and Muslims too have joined now to sculpture this historic monument of Peace.  Farmers claim that they have come prepared with ration that could last for at least six months to feed all. It seems where Sikh farmers have led the protest, Muslim and Hindu volunteers too are joining in to give strength to this protest which seem to be fast swelling into a revolution but a first revolution which is so peaceful.
                  The protest is so well organised that the volunteer groups are patrolling around the clock for anything suspicious that might destroy the peace within the camp and have caught a few un-wanted and anti-social elements who were not part of the protest nor had any business to be there. Such people have been caught and handed over to the local Police who don’t seem to have taken much action in such cases . There has been calculated suspicion from within the protester groups that the Secret agencies had sent in a few spies which has made it difficult for the Police to clarify the matter any further. Well, an educated guess would be that the unwanted non-farming element was sent in by the government agencies to smear the image of this protest. So much for a Democratic governance in the world’s biggest Democracy! I believe that despite all the political manipulations, it won’t be as easy now as was the cover up of the 1984 genocide of Sikhs or the 2002 Muslim genocide in Gujarat or forever carving divisions amongst the majority Hindus and other minorities for political gains. The world is watching the real events now and we all KNOW the truth.   
                  The world can learn a lot from this protest : How to maintain peace and brotherhood despite the diversity, help each other selflessly, organise with discipline so no outsider can take advantage, stay vigilant and abide by the Law but know your Rights too, and above all- Stay positive and determined.  
                  No one could distort the image of smiling faces cooking, cleaning, helping and praying together regardless of the religion. It’s not a common protesting ground but the farmers have created a unique village of humanity. What the political leaders couldn’t do in over 70 years of independence, our simple and hardworking farmers have done in a few days- ‘united the country under one banner!’ This is true democracy.
                  Bravo all the farmers including men, women and children who have become part of this peaceful confluence. May God bless the country of farmers and hardworking people. Nowhere have I seen before such an example of mega streams of love, brotherhood and harmony forming into an ocean of a Peaceful Protest! This is no hyperbole to say that this unique protest is truly the eighth wonder of the world ! May Almighty also bless the political leaders with enough sense not to stir a tsunami out of the serene tributaries.
                   Let justice and peace prevail.