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 spoke today ( on Skype and telephone ); to several NRIs living in the USA, and they informed me that whereas before the ongoing farmers’ agitation began in India about 6 months back almost all NRIs in America ( most of whom are Hindus ) were solid and blind supporters of Modi and the BJP, but now that support has considerably dwindled.
I have said it before and am saying it again. This farmers’ protest is historic and will change the entire political discourse of India and the world. The ongoing farmers’ agitation has brought unity among Indians, who were earlier divided into religious and caste lines, and this disunity blocked all progress towards a better India. ( See my articles ‘ The historical significance of the Indian farmers’ agitation ‘ and ‘ Indian farmers are creating world history ‘ published in indicanews.com ).
The BJP is a master of polarization and has been using it to win elections. Modi has been so far successful to build his image larger than life, but the farmer’s agitation has opened up a pandora’s box for him, not just in India but across the globe.
First, his so-called friend Trump lost the presidential elections in the US and now the worldwide support for the farmers’ agitation is causing serious problems for the BJP globally. The BJP supporters were burning Rihanna’s and Greta’s effigy thinking that they are the only people supporting the Indian farmers, but here are some facts.
It started right from the new US Administration in the White House. President Biden ignored all the people who were associated with right-wingers including Sonal Shah and Amit Jani, considering their relationship with the organization in America and Europe called Friends of BJP and other right-wing organizations.
Apart from Rihanna and Greta Thunberg, there are hundreds of celebrities and high-profile people who are openly supporting the Indian farmer’s protest, not only verbally and on social media but by donating money for the farmers and their cause. For example, Juju Smith-Schuster who is a famous American football player in the Pittsburgh team steelers has donated $10000 and tweeted in support of this agitation. Kyle Kuzma from Los Angeles extended similar support. These are very famous athletes and have millions of supporters.
Mia Khalifa, Meena Harris, Amanda Cherney, Canada’s PM Justine Trudeau, Canadian MP Tim Uppal, several MPs in the UK like Claudia Webber, several Senators and Congressmen in the US are tweeting every day in support of the Indian farmers. NY Times, CNN, Washington Post and other major publications are posting articles that are denting Modi’s global leader’s image very adversely. A famous comedy central comedian Trevor Noah did his entire episode last night on the farmer’s agitation by explaining their cause and extended his personal support for the Indian farmers. This support is increasing every day for Indian farmers across the globe.
Before the farmers’ agitation began there was a lot of support for Modi in the USA and the western world including support from most of the NRIs who had become polarised. This support has been considerably diluted now, and a lot of NRI’s have started thinking again, whereas earlier they were blind supporters of Modi. This shows that you can fool people for sometime but not forever. Many NRIs have realized their mistake.
So far as Gujrati NRIs are concerned, they are still blind supporters of Modi, but non-Gujarati NRIs are hesitant, largely silent, and not supporting Mr. Modi openly anymore ( whereas earlier they used to express their support openly and loudly ). Punjabi, Haryanvi, and western UP NRIs ( and there are a large number of them in America ) have become vociferously anti-Modi. So the polarised NRIs ( who were earlier solid and loud supporters of Modi ) have themselves become polarised or are silent.
BJP and Modi have no clue how to deal with this turn of events outside India, or with the massive farmers’ agitation within India The farmers are about 60-65% of India’s population of 1.35 billion, i.e. about 750 million people, and the BJP leaders could have never imagined about this huge, sudden upsurge, which has come like a bolt from the blue. They have been masters in polarizing Indian society on religious lines, but all their Goebbelsian attempts of branding the farmers’ agitation as the work of Khalistanis, Pakistanis, maoists, anti-nationals and tukde tukde gang have failed, and now the tide is turning against them.
I think the honeymoon is over for the BJP.