The rollback of farm laws by the Government of India comes as a historic win for the farmers’ protest. Close to 700 farmers lost their lives during the nearly year-long struggle but the victory is a powerful testament to the triumph of democracy, a potent trademark of the people’s movement.
In the present times, our deeply rooted cynical existence prevents us from expecting any form of protest to yield expected results. The farmers’ struggle has reposed our faith in people’s power. To stay woke, we do our bit by typing our protest on one or the other social media sites, leaving us immensely proud and satisfied. Witnessing an actual flesh and blood struggle has been a refreshing awakening from the cosmetic virtual activism that we follow.
Strength of Unity
Irrespective of their farm holdings, the well-to-do farmers, marginal farmers, and landless cultivators came together to fight in unison for their interests. Battling through the covid pandemic, heat waves, harsh winters, and reckless driving, the farmers faced it together with modest equanimity. Even as they continued to be ignored and insulted, over 500 farmers’ organizations braved the threats unitedly without giving up on their cause. In recent times, we have not witnessed a people’s movement with unwavering firm resolve strengthened by the binding power of unity.
Power of Peaceful struggle
During the yearlong farmer’s struggle, the protest has been largely peaceful. Even braving lathi charge and teargas shells, the movement did not lose its orderly state. Even without the backing of corporate sponsorship, the resilient farmers as a community showed harmony in their fight to protect their interests. What could also be termed as a patriotic struggle is also a powerful testament to the might of peaceful protest.
Simplicity can be Powerful
In the materialistic frenzy driven by social media display, we all equate money-powered consumeristic lifestyles as symbols of power. Ownership of high-end products radiates the feeling of power within us. The farmer’s struggle did not showcase the refinement of polished protest. There was no holding of candles in the darkness to symbolize their protest. Toiling farmers with an unassuming rustic lifestyle and innate honesty gave the struggle an inherent resplendent clarity.
Don’t be Cowered by Social Media
As the farmer’s protest spread across the country, the social media accounts of influential individuals worked overtime to portray the farmers as traitors and anti-nationals. Farmers were name-called and belittled in every form by a wide range of social media accounts. Realizing the social media influence, the farmers developed social media accounts to counter the false narrative and propaganda online. The farmers used all the platforms effectively even, launching Punjabi music videos expressing the farmers’ concerns on YouTube. Some of the music videos managed to clock over a million views.
Respect for Farmers
Farmers have never gained mainstream acceptance, always an invisible clan toiling in distant villages that somehow happen to produce the grains we eat. We are more taken in by developments and technological innovations that will place us on the global map. There is nothing aspirational about becoming a farmer. Most middle-class parents are not likely to become excited at the idea of their offspring wanting to farm. The farmers’ protest victory has given the community much-needed recognition for their hard work and dedication. Farmers do not take up agriculture expecting career growth like us. They are driven by the passion to cultivate even while enduring hard times at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi