Farmers across the country are protesting against the three farm laws that were brought by right wing BJP government by bypassing constitution. The laws not only are regressive but also open back doors for exploitation of farmers at the hands of corporations. Farmers protest like all massive organic movements that have taken place in india started from Punjab. It was unthinkable for anyone to march to Delhi under Narendra Modi’s regime but punjabis did and by doing this they inspired lot of people leading to cracks in the Hindutva agenda.
Hindutva by definition means ‘Hindu that resists’, however it is exactly the opposite of what it is supposed to be. The main goal and common sentiment binding all ‘Hindutvis’ is the hate for minorities (including Muslims, Sikhs, lower castes, Christians and basically anyone who questions the system.). Many political thinkers are often seen concluding that Hindutva is not a recent phenomena and has nothing to do with otherwise very tolerant and peaceful religion of Hinduism. Historically, Hindutva has been used by one and all irrespective of their party lines. Mahatma Gandhi is often misunderstood and seen as secular figure by many, but the truth is that Gandhi like many others advocated for Hindu Rashtra. Gandhi disliked the minorities and his bias for Sikhs is common knowledge among well read Sikhs. Indira Gandhi who is used as a devilish figure by current regime was once referred to as goddess Durga for her ways of dealing with Sikhs. Rajiv Gandhi was hailed by RSS and was given popular support after carnage and genocide of Sikhs. The popular mandate of Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 elections was due to ‘Hindu Saver’ image that he had managed to carve for himself using RSS and Hindu organisations. Historians often conclude that the current day Hindutvis are remnants of congress of those days. This conclusion might be slightly controversial but it fits very right.
Methods and how Hindutva is losing
1. Centralised Control Of India Vs Farmers Protest
One of the major goals of this government is centralisation of everything. This gives the government led by Modi a very tight control of each and every state thereby making him an absolute master of policies. The efforts in this direction started the day he came to power. ‘One Nation-One Everything’- resonates well with the people who have committed themselves to the cause of Hindu Rashtra but this comes at the cost of bypassing constitution of india that has laid framework to preserve the federal structure and has given rights to states.
The three farm laws are seen as direct attack on the federal structure of India. It is directly seen as violation of state rights to frame laws on agriculture. Narendra Modi and the BJP government had not expected any state to question the basics of framing the law but Punjab did it and then followed UP, HR, MP, MH and many others. The government has even gone to the extent of offering the state wise implementation of the laws which farmer unions have rightfully rejected as well. The farmers have managed to bring the bandwagon to its knees on this part.
Hate machine Vs Farmers Protest
As per political understanding goes, no political party in India aims to be like Congress of 1980’s. And this in context of Sikhs means that no party is willing to fire gums directly on Sikhs. The hate machine that targets Muslims since 2014 onwards by publicly lynching them, promoting hate against their religion, culture or customs, questioning the integrity of Muslims has largely been unsuccessful in doing so with Sikhs. Please don’t assume that there is some love reserved for sikhs, there is none, no one who comes in the way of Hindutva is spared and so for Sikhs alternatives have been devised. Sirdar Kapur singh alerted the Sikhs back then about the nefarious designs of government. The playbook involves creating a section of Sikhs who portray themselves to be nationalist in public & question the panthic narratives. This section of Sikhs is more than happy to be called as Hindus and work in hands with RSS for assimilation of Sikhs. Please understand it in this way, if Sikhs are convinced to be Hindus, there is no obstacle to the goal of Hindu Rashtra. These Sikhs are then used to vilify Muslims or other minorities using history of Sikhs. Muslims are portrayed as tyrants to these gullible sikhs who often end up as assets to the Hindutva.
Farmers protest has dented this very notion of Hindutvis that Sikhs are Hindus. This is the reason of desperation and helplessness among many organisations and RSS. Farmers have been able to counter the hate against Muslims by proudly having them in the protests, giving them opportunities in the sewa. Muslims have expressed solidarity and support for the farmers across the nation. Kashmiris who often suffer excesses at the hands of Indian army have expressed solidarity with the farmers knowing that most of these farmers have been part of that very army as well. This is the level at which farmers protests are bringing down the barricades of hate. Hate is the major tool for advocates of Hindutva and farmers protests are bringing it down brick by brick.
3. Internal matter Vs Farmers Protests
If you analyse any of Narendra Modi’s speeches in the US, or any other nation he toured, he has very clearly maintained the secular and diverse image of india. Narendra Modi’s government has portrayed itself to be very secular in its policies as well by using taglines like ‘Sab Ka saath, sab Ka vikaas’, it is however no surprise that reality is far from it. The government maintains an image using diplomacy that nothing wrong is happening in india. The only government that felt more triggered about foreign press was that of Indira Gandhi.
Farmers protest has given very bad press to Narendra Modi’s government. Farmer voices have been amplified by vast Sikh Diaspora all across the globe leading to noise on social media thereby ushering support from celebrities across the globe. The counter for Hindutva which is already on its knees was to deflect the entire external support to farmers as hate against the nation, India, this shift of bad press aimed against Modi and his government to India has been done strategically by government using its Bollywood celebrities. The desperation and weakness clearly evident.
The fissures in Hindutva agenda are widening every single day. The farmers protest may have well begun as revolt of peasantry against policies of government but it certainly has awakened lot of people against the totalitarian nature of Hindutva. The loss of BJP in Punjab in Muncipal and Nagar Panchayat elections is clear evidence of outright rejection by the masses. Farmers protests have brought together people across caste lines creating further voids in the Hindutva bandwagon. The state rivalry between Punjab and Haryana was used by one and all in power at Delhi to reap votes, Farmers Protest has eliminated all differences between the states and its people. Any extremist group or ideology feeds on hate, differences between people, religious differences, history of communities, and farmers protest has been able to counter all of these very effectively.