Farmers in millions in North India are protesting against the three farm laws enacted by the NDA regime at the Centre. The protest that began over three months back initially at the gateways of Delhi days-in and nights-out has now spread to several states in North India.

Braving the biting cold nights of north India in December-January, farmers in tens of lakhs around Delhi and now in millions at the approaches to Delhi and the adjacent states are engaged in a tooth and nail protest against the three farm laws.

The protest during the initial two months was totally peaceful as the farmers did not provide any room to any party to label the stir as violent.  Sadly enough, till date, the government never showed any propensity towards attuning to the demands of the farmers.

The latter are unambiguous in their demands – total withdrawal of the three farm laws. Unfortunately, on Republic Day, a group of farmers and possibly some others took to violence to the utter disgust of the farming community.

That indeed is a separate issue and needs separate analysis. In any case, the violent aberration needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The present column is confined to the newly enacted three farm laws so vehemently opposed by the farmers.

It is ordinary common sense that our farmers are much better versed than our political & bureaucratic heavyweights or some ‘Yes Sir’ economists leave alone the corporate Czars, in the matter of farming, agriculture and other related occupation.

What the farmers need most is advanced scientific know-how and training for bumper harvest, more cold storage facilities, more fast-track marketing avenues and of course a robust Minimum Support Price (MSP) structure free of galloping corruption and blood-sucking exploitation.

Corruption begets corruption. In fact, the policy of a country under ultra-rightist dispensation includes corruption as an intrinsic factor. After all, at the end of the day, it is a matter of a handful minting money means foul and fair.

An ultra-rightist Centre’s prime agenda is privatisation and corporatisation of all sectors – in essence, a phased sell-out of the country. It s a sure way of transferring all powers to the corporate, Indian & foreign.

In sync with the ideology of the ruling ultra-rightist dispensation at the Centre, the ulterior motive behind the three farm laws only appears to be total privatisation & corporatisation of the farm sector with the farmers being coerced/lured by high profile touts (some even in the guise of frontline journalists) to enter into contracts with private players. These private players are the extended wings of the big corporate that are presently working from behind the curtain.

In the meantime,  the Centre has enacted several dramas with its ‘play to the gallery’ rounds of talks with the farmers, while till date the diktat of the BJP government to the farmers clearly seems to be like ‘accept our farm laws or go to hell’. As time rolls by, this scenario is likely to change and then, and only then, the farmers may come to know that demi-gods behind are the business honchos, both ‘desi’ & ‘videshi’.

Such a sinister roadmap clearly has the potential of depriving the farmers of their freedom of working as per their choice, their predisposition for preferred crops based on decades of farming knowledge et al. Again, the paramount means of production is land.

If the freedom of management of the farms passes over from the farming class to the corporates and other private bodies, land which is the most vital component of farm and agricultural activities is bound to come under the control of the business houses.

With the passage of time, a lot more scrupulously stringent pro-corporate and savagely rigorous anti-farm laws may be on the anvil. In such an eventuality, the farmers stand to lose everything including hearth & home.

The powers that be must accept the ground reality that the farmers have been the real owners of their land for ages and they have the inalienable & unassailable rights to carry on with their farming over their land. Any encroachment on this count may amount to a violation of the Fundamental Rights of the farmers.

Assam Scenario

Around the time when the essence of the three obnoxious farm laws seemingly and metaphorically appear to be to dump the farming community into some bottomless pits while the political and bureaucratic heavyweights and business honchos hold the Sword of Damocles overhead, the farmers in Assam are apparently having a worry-free time in ‘Kumbhakarna Nidra’.

On this count, the farmers cannot be blamed. Despite lip service on the welfare of the peasants rendered by virtually all political parties and social organisations, to date, no organization or party has taken up the issue with the farmers with a view to educating them on the fussy, deceptive and anti-farm content of the three laws.

Even though the Assam Assembly elections are knocking at our doors, the political parties and other organisations are surprisingly maintaining a detached, dispassionate and stony silence over the issue.

Obviously one wonders if the so-called ‘friends’ of the farmers of Assam have been ‘managed’ by some high and mighty Czars with their ‘magic spells’, leading to the pin-drop silence by those ‘friends’ over the impending sorry plight apparently in store for the farming community. However, a gang of touts is seemingly active howling “aamar pathar, aamar bazaar” in defence of the farm laws – a pointed signal towards misleading the farmers.

Talmizur Rahman

Talmizur Rahman is a Guwahati based senior journalist and commentator. He can be reached at rahmantmz5@gmail.com