Continuing Peasant Agitation

Harsh Thakor

With the expansion of the movement through consolidation of democratic forces from other states to support the Peasant agitation the movement is on the verge of creating the impact of an inferno. The Punjabi peasants have inspired the famers of other states, particularly Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to join the ranks of the movement.

The most significant development is the influence of the Bharatiya Kisan Union led by Rakesh Tikait who have staged mahapanachayats and are in the stage of sowing the seeds for many more. Tikait maybe belonging to the ruling class ranks but he is garnering forces at the optimum level to scrap the three agricultural bills and earn the Minimum support price. Even the most radical constituents within the United Front have backed the Maha-panchayats. A mahapanchayat may not be a genuine revolutionary democratic organ being based on a traditional system but can still is a channel towards which struggles for revolutionary resistance could be developed. What is most progressive is that the movement is now taking an All India shape or character.

The Chakka Jam on February 6th had a most electrifying impact in igniting the spark of the agitation in spite of all the attempts to curb it by the rulers. The BJP was confronted in its very den. It spoke volumes of the death defying spirit of the agitating farmers.

Most heroically the democratic forces amongst farmers have resurrected themselves after the conspiracy of the BJP to sabotage the agitation. Notably the base has even been broadened with continuous re-inforcements of agitators and greater participation from neighbouring states. It is truly remarkable how they galvanised themselves to regroup and confront the forces of the state. A strong nucleus has been established which is strengthening to build the farmers' resistance.

Heartening to see more and more sections from artists and sportsman support the movement.

The voices of Rajinder Singh of Kirti Kisan Union as well as Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Shingara Singh Mann of BKU (Ugrahan) make the hearts of the farmers shimmer at a crescendo with the spirit of resistance.

It is heartening to witness that in several parts of Punjab the revolutionary democratic forces have waved the flag of democratic support at an even higher pitch after the setback in Delhi.

Forces of the BKU (Ugrahan) and the Kirti Kisan Union have made the most sizable contribution in galvanising democratic forces. Both are doing exemplary mass work with the flame of resistance flashing in staggering proportions.

The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union is staging a 3-day dharna in several districts on the issue of Minimum Support Price. It is most progressive that agricultural labour class organisations are working night and day to link the struggle of the Delhi farmers with the day to day lives of the dalit agricultural labourers. Significant protests have also been undertaken by the Zameen Prapt Sangarsh Committee and the Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union. The interview of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union leader Laxman Singh Sewewala is very insightful for any democratic cadre to understand the link between the farmers' agitation and demands with that of dalit agricultural labour. The PMKU has planned a conference in Village Bhana on February 20th.

Amongst the student and youth sections The Punjab Students Union, Naujwan Bharat Sabha, Punjab Radical Students Union, Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa) with great consistency mobilise forces in support of the struggling farmers with flag marches and street corner meetings. Most qualitatively they have illuminated the torch of resistance in many districts of Punjab.

Sadly forces of Democratic Students Organisation and Students For Society still soft-pedal with Sikh identity line, not demarcating from communal politics. It is unfortunate that however progressive certain writers still canvas the farmers struggle as of the Sikh Peasantry.

The issue that has hit the ceiling burning the heart of lakhs of famers is the incarceration of Dalit women activist. Nadeep Kaur. Leaders have organised rallies at the very base exposing how such events are part and parcel of the conspiracy of the rulers in power.

Whatever the differences Joginder Singh Ugrahan is of the firm view that the maximum forces should be rallied for the common cause of extinguishing the agricultural bills. Forces including BKU (Ugrahan) and Kirti Kisan Union have welcomed the Mahapanchayats organised by BKU leader of Uttar Pradesh, Rajesh Tikait.

The movement must be cautious of not falling a victim to Gandhian trends which may obstruct revolutionary militant resistance or being vitiated by religious or casteist overtones. Farmers even in the broadest front must not be swayed by the leaders of Opposition parties and infact the sword must be sharpened for genuine class resistance. The agitation should help the farmers to further sharpen their grasp of the diversionary and anti-people socio-political order. There is always danger of Leader Tikait turning into a personality cult.

Or the farmers willing to yield. The Ruling BJP party has left no stone unturned in denigrating the agitators as anti-national conspirators. However it is heartening to witness the continuing resilience and refutation of the lies professed by the rulers by democratic forces.

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Vol. 53, No. 36, Mar 7 - 13, 2021