The Indian Farmers are protesting against the so-called agricultural reforms announced by the Modi government in September this year. Hundreds of thousands of farmers vow to reject the neoliberal laws which allow the private buyers to buy the produce directly from farmers. This means the new laws would restrict the farmers to sell their produce to the commission agents, losing the advantage of the minimum support price (MSP). The farmers are protesting because they anticipate their exploitation at the hands of large corporations. The Indian government has responded to the protesting farmers with violence & police brutality. Despite the state brutality and severe weather conditions, the farmers, most of them from Punjab, marched to join the sit-ins at the outskirts of the capital New Delhi with revolutionary fervour. About 25 farmers died so far due to their exposure to cold weather and road accidents on their way to protests. After several sittings for negotiations with the government the farmers, arguing that the new laws are a threat to their livelihood, refuse to give up on their demand to repeal the new farm acts. Kudos to their dedication!
Their firm dedication today enunciates of the revolutionary past of farmers of the subcontinent when the farmers’ movements resisted against the colonialists during the period between 1917 & 1930. The contemporary farmers’ movement would be a glimmer of hope for the working class and youth outside India too. At least for Pakistani farmers, there is a lot to be learnt from their Indian counterparts as both the countries are divided by borders but united by the problems facing them.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is continuously criticizing Narendra Modi for such laws and his acts to subdue farmers’ protests. But the situation of Pakistan is not better than India.
Initially, to support the process of industrialization state of Pakistan kept the prices of wheat very low So that industrial workers could get flour on low prices. Due to this policy, despite decades of hard work Pakistani farmers couldn’t improve their conditions.
The last government of PPP started to give support price but it was only limited to wheat. The hurdles in the process of getting this support price is another issue.
In November this year, When Farmers organized a rally in Lahore in favour of support price of wheat and sugarcane. Punjab police reacted not different than the Modi administration, a farmer was killed and many injured.
Now farmers are threatening to stop cultivating wheat. In this case, Pakistan will have to import wheat, which will be a disaster for the Pakistani economy. That’s why the government of Pakistan should retrospect and must sit with the farmers and listen to their demands.
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