Recalling 'Do Bigha Zamin

Bharat vs India

Radhakanta Barik

Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Jamin needs to be placed in the context of the present day struggle of Indian peasants. They are fighting the battle against the industrialists who want to make profit by doing contract farming and taking over the storage of their grains from the government and buying the grains from farmers at the market price. This brings the question of farmers who want to save their land as Balaraj Sahani says land is their life and how can they think of handing over land to the industry. The picture has a beautiful shot between two rickshaw pullers running on the streets of Calcutta. The government wants to take their land through the laws which is ahead of the other rickshaw puller which is clinging to land and work over their land. Farmers living in rural society are confronting the urban mentality of Modi and his party. They talk in the language of business and profit whereas farmers talk of work and price of their grain.

Nasseeruddin Shah is one of the finest actors of present generation who is also a stage actor trained by NSD. He acted in a film a farm worker with Sabna Azmi another finest actor. Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah said he bagged his first role in Shyam Benegal's Nishant not merely for his acting prowess but because he was not "good-looking". His look is of a farmer's rough and tough look. Today when India is experiencing the farmers' struggle against the Modi government he has come out openly to tell that he stands with the farmers. From actor to vocal actor made him a hero in Bollywood. He raises a critical point regarding the other actors who sided with Modi government that they do ad for various industrial products on payment. Today they are siding with Modi on payment. Artists cannot be silenced by the Modi rule by misusing the ED and Income tax against them. A woman farmer raises a critical point about the artists who are supporting Modi that all their postings are of the same words and same language. It seems that someone has written for them which have been posted in the twitter.

 Farmers' struggle is confronting the traders' mentality. Modi by making three laws intend to create a mentality of profit among farmers at the cost of their land. This mentality is getting opposition from the farmers and their children who study in colleges and universities. Prime Minister's speech in the Rajyasabha created more furores among the farmers. He wanted to benefit the small farmers vs rich farmers. But the small farmers are in a rebellious mood as they have heard promises of Modi regarding the implementation of Swaminathan's report but nothing has been done for the last 7 years. Procurement price has not increased . Furthermore he has sold the railways and this has made them angry. As agitation of farmers saved the nation against the British and today they are fighting for today to save the nation of farmers against the industrialists. Modi is not thinking of small farmers and but thinking of Ambani and Adani. Trust between Modi and farmers has decreased so much as it cannot be reduced further . People do not trust him.

Prime Minister Modi's speech is a moment in Indian politics which takes political movement of kisans to a new height. He branded the kisan agitation those involved for the sake of agitation. These are professional agitators who have come to protest against the government. This is disrespect to democracy and Indian constitution as Constitution allows protest by classes got recognized by the Supreme Court in its judgment and this strengthens democracy. His words are disrespect the constitution. This speech took anger of people to new level where farmers and workers and students may demand the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Kisans are discussing the importance of political theory while conducting their movement. Modi is there but tomorrow somebody will come but their fight with the government will continue. Rajnath Singh went to the kisan rally before the general election and said that when kisans would come he would come out and support them. But kisans are fighting for more than two months and he is nowhere to be seen. He is a part of executive working for capitalist class.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unable to understand the problems of the farmers as the social base of their party remains the trading class and industrial class. They have no concern for the toilers and their problems. They mobilised the farming community on communal lines. The best example is the Western UP where seven years back they initiated the riots against the Muslims which resulted in winning majority of seats in 2014 and most of seats in 2019 with the help of the manipulated EVM and Election Commission.

Women farmers are well informed of the agenda of movement and Modi's politics and the nature of the government . One woman farmer says that the person who has got involved in riot cannot solve the problems of farmers. Another woman farmer says that Modi is scared of withdrawal of agricultural laws as then he will have to withdraw CAA law and privatisation of public sectors as all these are interconnected one and each social group will come to the street which will have no space for the strike,

Indian journalists and academia jump into analysis where they cannot do it without getting obsessed with the caste. They have gone to report about the farmers' movement but suddenly jump into a caste framework which does not lead to anywhere. Any analysis need to be factual and when they found that in a kisan panchayat there are people from all castes and all religions then their obsession of the caste makes no sense. They have some ulterior motive in finding the caste as C Wright Mills brand these behaviouralists as the' crude barefoot empiricism'. In farmers' politics there is political economy and agrarian structure and political analysis placed in the context which brings out truth that in a government controlled by Modi -Shah supported by the RSS cannot avoid the issue of corporate interest in politics today In Mod ihome state Gujarat the farmers invested their surplus in the small trading which encouraged them to move out of the country to America and Europe. They work there as small traders and send their money to their relatives who are working on agriculture. These are the people turned into the backbone of the Ram Mandir Movement and the RSS got plenty of foreign money. Despite having a capitalist model of development it has kept 22% of its population hungry with low wage in the rural Gujarat. After he became the Prime Minister he wanted to repeat the Gujarat model all over India for which he made three laws which is basically pushing the Gujarati capital into rural side of Punjab ,Haryana and UP as they have a sustainable agriculture because of irrigation backed by procurement price. This fear has haunted the farmers of this part of India who takes care of his family and his labour because of the humanist religion like Sikhism. They have not left their labour behind as happening in Gujarat. They want to reject the Gujarat model of development and as they have their own model of development.

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Vol. 53, No. 35, Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2021