Justice Markandey Katju-
Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.
I submit that by their ongoing agitation Indian farmers are not just creating Indian history but world history.
Many may think this proposition to be unfounded and exaggerated, so I need to explain.
- Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the 18th century, and then spread all over the world, the methods of production were so backward and primitive that so little wealth was generated by it that only a handful of people ( kings, aristocrats, etc ) could be rich, and the rest ( mostly peasants ) had to be poor. When the cake is small few people can eat it.
This situation has radically changed after the Industrial Revolution. Now the modern industry is so powerful and so big that enough wealth can be generated to give a decent life, with jobs and adequate income, nutritious food, proper healthcare and good education, etc to every human on the planet.
- Despite this unique situation in world history which emerged after the Industrial Revolution, the truth is that 70-75% of the people in the world are poor.
In fact, the world is really divided into two worlds, the world of the developed, prosperous countries ( North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and now China ), and the world of the underdeveloped, poor countries ( Asian, African, and Latin American countries, including India ).
- This situation is bound to change, as the fruits of the Industrial Revolution i.e. technical knowledge, cannot remain secrets forever, but are bound to spread everywhere.
The 21st century will therefore be characterized as the century in which the struggles of the people of the underdeveloped countries are fought out to a successful conclusion, and result in creating societies everywhere with their people enjoying a high standard of living.
No doubt these struggles will be long, very painful, and arduous, and great sacrifices will have to be made on the way, but they are inevitable, as people in the underdeveloped countries realize that they need not continue leading a wretched existence but can have decent and prosperous lives.
- India will give leadership to the underdeveloped world in their struggles for better lives because for certain historical reasons ( which need not be gone into here ) it is the most developed of all the underdeveloped countries in the world.
In fact India already has what is needed to become a highly industrialized country i.e a huge pool of technical talent ( Indian IT engineers are largely manning Silicon Valley in California, and Indian Professors can be found in the Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Departments of several American universities ), and immense natural resources. Thus, India is already on the verge of crashing into the ranks of the developed, highly industrialized countries, and the example it sets will be emulated by other underdeveloped countries.
- This transformation of India from an underdeveloped to a highly developed, highly industrialized country will not be easy, For accomplishing it, a mighty historical people’s struggle will have to be waged, in which tremendous sacrifices will have to made, for there are powerful forces opposing this transformation ( as explained in my articles ‘ 135 million Horatii are needed in India ‘ published in indicanews.comand ‘ India needs millions of Horatii ‘ published in nayadaur.tv).
- For waging this mighty historical struggle, unity among our people was absolutely essential, but this has eluded us for long. We were divided on feudal caste and religious lines, and our crafty politicians, taking advantage of this fact, polarised society for securing their caste and communal vote banks, inciting caste and communal hatred and violence. We, therefore, seemed to be hopelessly and endlessly divided and fighting each other, thus wasting our energies and resources, instead of unitedly fighting for the transformation of India into a highly developed country.
Most of the agitations in India so far were either religion-based, e.g. the Ram Mandir agitation, or caste-based e.g. the Jat, Gujar or Dalit agitations. The Anna Hazare agitation against corruption soon fizzled out.
- Even as the picture appeared dark and dismal, there came like a bolt from the blue, the present farmers agitation in India, which has suddenly changed the entire scenario. Its main achievement is that it has smashed the feudal barriers of caste and religion and has united the Indian people.
This agitation is based on a genuine widespread economic demand, viz, adequate remuneration to farmers for their produce. Because they were not getting this, about 350,000-400,000 farmers have committed suicide in India in the last 25 years.
Indian farmers are 60-65% of India’s population of 135 crores ( 1.35 billion ), i.e. they are about 750 million people ( two and a half times the population of USA ). This is a gigantic force, as explained in my articles ‘ Indian farmers, like Lord Krishna, have displayed their mighty form ‘ published in theweek.in, and ‘ Kisan agitation has shown that Indian farmers have the power of Hanumanji ‘ published in hastakshepnews.com
- The Indian farmers’ agitation has thus launched the true, long-awaited, journey for India’s emancipation from poverty, hunger, unemployment lack of healthcare and good education, etc. This has not just created Indian history, but world history, for now, all the poor, underdeveloped countries in the world will follow the lead given by India, and also launch their own struggles. Thus. Indian farmers have blazed the trail for the whole world to follow.
Indian farmers are creating world history.