Farmers across India are protesting against the new agricultural laws. Three laws pertaining to agriculture and farming have been passed in India, which the farmers say will affect their livelihood. It has been around 10 weeks since the farmers have been protesting. On India’s Republic Day, farmers marched on the Indian capital, New Delhi, in tractors and on foot. They stormed the Red Fort and also clashed with the police.
These protests have evoked a strong reaction from across the world, which has kept the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) quite busy. From responding to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s supporting remarks for the farmers to even responding to pop star Rihanna’s tweet, the MEA statements have exposed India’s insecurities.
A country that is very conscious of its international image and that takes pains to glamourise its culture and heritage across the globe, the Indian MEA referred to Trudeau by criticising “some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India”. As if that was not enough of a diplomatic faux pas, Rihanna’s tweet led to a meltdown across India. Modi bhakts even lauded Rihanna’s ex for assaulting her.
Kangana Ranaut called her a “porn singer”. Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and Meena Harris, an American lawyer and the niece of US vice president Kamala Harris, also faced the brunt of Indian Twitterati as well as the Indian public. Their posters were set on fire and the Delhi Police registered sedition and conspiracy FIR on Thunberg’s Protest ”Toolkit” that she shared and tweeted in support of the farmers.
What was even more disappointing but not surprising was how Indian celebrities and sports star like Sachin Tendulkar reacted to these tweets. It was an organised ”damage control” campaign launched at the behest of the Modi government but it backfired. Meena Harris and Greta have said that they will not be intimidated.
Indians also accused them of taking money to push farmers’ demands. If it wasn’t so toxic, it would have been hilarious. Indian trolls and pro-Modi media (also called Godi media) have relentlessly tried to delegitimise the genuine grievances and demands of the farmers.
In a capitalist world, farmers across the world are facing a lot of problems. The Indian Farm Laws will leave the farmers at the mercy of corporates. The farmers want them repealed. The Modi government is unmoved, which is expected of a fascist ruler who only believes in the mantra of profit and pushing the greater Hindutva agenda.
The farmers are giving Modi a hard time that not even the opposition parties have been able to do in India. We hope that the farmers’ demands are eventually met. It will be a victory for labour rights and the marginalised. We stand in solidarity with the farmers.