“Is the farmers’ protest still on?”
If I were paid Rs 1,940 for each time I even have been asked that question this past month, I could have bought my very own tractor by now (Rs 1,940 per quintal is that the official minimum support price rice farmers are alleged to receive from the government).
The farmers’ protest is extremely much on and has crossed the 100-day mark. The caravan of tents, tractors, and trolleys at Tikri Border, for instance , is a minimum of 20 km long and continues to grow daily. The farmers who braved the punishing winter months are now gearing up for summer, as are those supporting them.
Hemkunt Foundation, an NGO that provided tents and warm clothes in the least the protest sites around Delhi over the winter months, has now found out a water filtration system by the roadside that gives 1,000 liters of cool beverage to the farmers every hour.
Harteerath, the young man whose team of zealous volunteers has found out this reverse osmosis plant and cooling system, said, “This is perhaps the primary time in history a whole civilization has sprung abreast of a highway rather than by a river.”
He could also be right. The protest does desire civilization, and a rather alien one at that, considering how few in urban India even know of its continuing existence. But the blame for that has got to be laid squarely at the doorsteps of the mainstream Indian media who have chosen to either completely ignore the growing presence of farmers on the borders of the capital, or who have gone out of their thanks to tell the state that the protest has fizzled out.
When I ask Ajit Singh from Ferozepur, who has been camped at Tikri since November 26, about this, he sighs. “The speeches from the stage finish up daily by 4 pm, so in fact that area is empty then because everyone heads back to their tents and trolleys to cook their dinner or prepare the evening langar,” he said. ” These chaps from the godi media film the empty stage and audience area then tell everyone the protest is over.”
He continued: “Yesterday we caught a chap doing exactly that. He begged us and told us he was only doing this because his bosses back in office had told him to. We felt pitying him and let him accompany a warning, as he too features a family to support and that we didn’t want him to lose his job.”
As Ajit Singh narrated this, an old joke from the times of the erstwhile Soviet Union came to mind…
Alexander the good , Caesar , and Napoleon are watching a Mayday Parade at Red Square in Moscow.
Alexander: “If I had infantry like this, I could have conquered the known world in two years rather than ten.”
Julius Caesar: “If I had battle tanks like these, i might haven’t have had any trouble with the barbarians.”
Napoleon: (reading a replica of Pravda, the official Soviet newspaper): “If I had a newspaper like this, nobody would have ever heard about Waterloo!”
The Indian media would have served Napoleon even as well, a minimum of those in it who are color-coded “white”. consistent with The Caravan, “Nitin Gokhale, who was formerly with NDTV and Tehelka, and is now on the brink of the national security advisor Ajit Doval, suggested that the method [of enlarging the government’s list of media friends] must begin by color-coding journalists. ‘Green – fence-sitters; Black – against, and White – who support’.”
The farmers at Tikri are wary of the mainstream media and therefore the calumny and canards it’s capable of spreading. In fact, Kavita Arya, a Ph.D. scholar from Panjab University, has made it her mission to show the farmers at Tikri Border the way to answer questions on the three contentious farm laws at the guts of those protests. She showed me printouts of the laws and told me that each day she goes from trolley to trolley, educating farmers about their dangers.
“Correct information and knowledge are so important during this battle,” she said. “Once you’re armed with the facts, you’ll answer any question honestly and easily . we’ve booklets in Hindi, English, and Punjabi which explain these laws and their dangers intimately .”
One wishes Kavita would conduct workshops for those in Republic TV, Zee News, and Times Now also .