Justice Markandey Katju-
Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.
By their ongoing agitation, the Indian farmers are not only fighting for their rights, but they are also creating history by starting the process of the mighty historical united struggle for the transformation of India from an underdeveloped to a highly industrialized and developed country in which our people will enjoy a high standard of living and decent lives. Let me explain.
I have written an article ‘ Two opposite forces are at work in India ‘ published in nayadaur.tv.
In this article, it is explained that there are two powerful opposing forces presently
operating in India–the first seeking to divide and polarise India on religious and caste ( i.e. feudal ) lines, and the second seeking to unite it.
Presently the first force is working to polarise India on communal lines, and indeed religious polarisation has increased exponentially in India after 2014, as evident from increased atrocities on minorities, and as indicated by the examples given in my article.
On the other hand, the second force is also now emerging, the latest manifestation being the ongoing farmers’ agitation in India. Most of the earlier agitations in India were religion or caste-based, which really divided India, e.g. the Ram Mandir agitation, the agitations of Jats and Gujjars ( seeking reservations ), Dalits etc. But the present farmers’ agitation has cut through religious and caste lines and is thus a powerful uniting force.
Today the main problems of India is its massive poverty, sinking economy resulting in the record and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment ( every second child of India is malnourished, according to Global Hunger Index ), almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs, fuel, etc, widespread farmers distress ( which has resulted in over 300,000 farmers suicides ), rampant corruption, atrocities on minorities, etc.
The Indian people are now gradually realizing that only if they unite, and launch powerful united struggles cutting through caste and religious lines can they ever hope to overcome these huge problems. The dividing forces may be triumphant in the short run, but in the long run the uniting forces are bound to prevail, and only then can we create a social and political order in which all our people enjoy a high standard of living and get decent lives.
The present ongoing farmers’ movement, cutting through caste and communal lines, is hence of historical importance. Attempts by certain vested interests to paint it as Khalistani, Pakistan inspired, etc have miserably failed. What will be the outcome of the farmers’ agitation cannot be presently predicted, but what it has achieved is to unite the Indian people. Since out of the approximately 1.4 billion people of India about 60-65% are dependent on agriculture, a huge united force has been generated in our subcontinent which is bound to grow rapidly, and no power on earth can resist this tidal wave.
The day of the emancipation of the Indian people from poverty and other social evils, can thus now be seen on the horizon, though a long period of united struggle will be needed to achieve it.