India is an agrarian country and economy because in spite of urbanisation, a large part of its populace is engaged in agricultural activities and a considerable part of its total GDP is contributed by agriculture. To feed a nation of more than 130 crore is no mean job and look at our markets that are flushed with not only food grains but also fruits, vegetables and other agricultural produce. And this is notwithstanding the fact that agriculture is still largely unorganised in the matters of finance and automation.
It’s to the credit of the farmers that a section of them have done well in their lives. They have mechanised farms and ability to hold on to their produce for the right price. They also have acquired general affluence in life in the form of good homes, vehicles and child/ relative abroad, mainly in Canada. But there’s also a section and mind you this section is in majority that lives in extreme penury, laden with debts and barely making two ends meet. It’s not for nothing that we come across so many farmers committing suicide.
For all the service rendered to the nation, sheer amount of hard work involved in farming and the uncertainties of nature that can spoil fully ripe crops, I have a bias in favour of farmers. I don’t advocate tax on farm income but support frequent waivers allowed by Government in the form of write off of farm loans. This profession simply cannot be equated with other professions and needs to be kept on a separate pedestal meriting preferential treatment.
Obviously, if I hold the above feelings, I cannot be supportive of any politics around their cause. Sharad Pawar might have advocated amendment to APMC acts as agricultural minister and he could be opposing new farm bills now. Congress might have earlier contemplated such bills and could have upped its antenna against the government now. It’s all about the role play. Parties do change their stand depending on whether they are in power or opposition and we should not make too much out of it. Also, labelling all those opposing government stand as traitors or part of tukde tukde gang is anathema to healthy democracy. After all Umar Khalid, Sharjil Imam, Kanhaiya Kumar etc aspire a career in politics and they will reach and support any movement that helps them further their ambitions. I also saw a reference to overseas Khalistani groups extending their support to this movement. That does not make farmers’ movement anti nationalistic.
Farm laws are good for farmers, at least in parts and are progressive. But in democracy no idea can be enforced – it has to be hard sold. A thing can be good only if it’s found good by the targeted audience. If farmers feel that farm bills are not good for them, there’s no fun pushing these bills down their throat. If government’s intentions are noble, it can do so much for all sections of society, not limited only to farmers, without fiddling with constitution or laws of the land!
Jai hind! Long live peasantry the annapuraks of this country!