SIMRAN JEET SINGH: The Farmers' Protests Are a Turning Point for India's Democracy

NB: This article is presumably meant to explain the ongoing Indian farmers' movement to Western audiences. If it was intended to help the farmers' struggle, it will do just the opposite. The author highlights the Sikh and Punjabi element in the protests, when in fact it has been a non-denominational movement from the start. He refers to the unrest in Punjab in the 1980's as a 'self-determination' movement, when it was unpopular with a large section of Punjab's population, including Sikhs, who were in fact the worst victims of Khalistani terrorism. He glosses over the violent and communal activities of J. S. Bhindranwale. He refers to 'right-wing extremists' as if they are (and were) purely of the Hindutva variety, when in fact such extremism may be found across the spectrum of religious identities. In the same paragraph, he mixes up and conflates religious identities with caste and regional ones. He refers to Chinese imperialism and Islamic terrorism as 'bogeymen' - when in fact these are very real things and a threat to the security of millions of people. 

The author is correct on the undemocratic objectives and majoritarian politics of India's ruling establishment, but he has no coherent analysis of Indian communalism, which cannot be reduced to an arithmetical total of denominational categories. In brief, this kind of misrepresentation will be seized upon by the establishment to retail yet more propaganda about the so-called 'anti-national' character of the Indian farmer's movement. For those who would like to read more about the movement, please see the links provided beneath this post. For those who wish to understand the complex nature of Indian communalism, please read this article which was written in 2014 to mark the 30th anniversary of the anti-Sikh carnage of 1984. DS

SIMRAN JEET SINGH: The Farmers' Protests Are a Turning Point for India's Democracy

For decades, the world has turned a blind eye to India’s abysmal human rights record. This approach draws from a broad perception of India as a strategic ally. For one, the United States, like much of the global community, sees India as an important counterweight to China. They are the two most populous nations and the fastest growing trillion-dollar economies in the world. Global powers tend to prefer India because of its standing as the world’s largest democracy. At the same time, India’s adversarial relationship with neighboring Pakistan, as well as its increasingly anti-Muslim policies, position it as a bulwark against “Islamic terrorism.”

These two bogeymen - Chinese imperialism and Islamic terrorism - are the specters that have given India a free pass. Over the past few years, however, the rise of right-wing authoritarianism has brought India’s democratic standing into question. India has plummeted in democracy metrics across the board, including the Press Freedom Index, where it now ranks 142 of 180 countries, four spots behind South Sudan and three behind Myanmar. The Human Freedom Index ranks India at 111 of 162 countries, just four ahead of Russia. This past September human rights group Amnesty International ceased operations in India following sustained assaults from the Indian government….

Express Editorial: Weaponising an advocacy document to arrest an activist signals paranoia, not democratic power.


Reflections of an American living in India...

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Popular resistance to undeclared Emergency// Ghazipur Border: Rakesh Tikait के लिए यूपी -हरियाणा से रातों रात गए किसान

Samyukta Kisan Morcha distances itself from violent elements / Farmer leaders accuse Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu of instigating protesters and leading them to the Red Fort

Manu Kaushik: Before India Breaks Its Promises / Dushyant Dave: SC Should Have Declared New Farm Laws Unconstitutional / Republic Day Tractor Rally: Tear Gas At Singhu Border

India's protesting farmers pay homage to the 143 farmers martyred in their movement and reject Centre's offer to stay farm laws / 42-year old Haryana farmer dies by suicide at Tikri border

Satarupa Chakraborty: CJI's Remarks on Women Farmers Are an Assault on Human Agency and Constitutional Rights / Pratap Bhanu Mehta: SC’s order on the farm bills is terrible constitutional precedent, bereft of judgment

Agenda for Social Democracy

Discussion on Indian Agriculture and the ongoing Kisan agitation

Navsharan Singh: A million reasons to march

Jairus Banaji on the Indian corporate strategy of subordinating farm households and family labor

STATE OF RURAL AND AGRARIAN INDIA REPORT 2020. By the Network of Rural and Agrarian Studies

Jairus Banaji on the Indian corporatist strategy of subordinating farm households and family labor

Navsharan Singh: A million reasons to march

Aruna Roy: All citizens should stand with the protesting farmers. At stake is India’s food self-sufficiency and sovereignty

Discussion on Indian Agriculture and the ongoing Kisan agitation

Amit Bhaduri: Faces in mirror held up by farmers’ protest

The Broken Middle - on the 30th anniversary of 1984

Sulphur in the air: 1984 is not forgotten

मध्यमार्ग का अवसान : दिलीप सिमियन 

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