A Turning Point in Sight?

Modi farm laws

Like many others I also scanned closely the video of the Prime Minister making the ‘historic’ announcement on the farm bills. But I did not find a speck of sincere contrition and remorse in it.His eyes distant and his tone studiedly lofty,he was expressing a strategic and perhaps temporary withdrawal.Explaining the repeal as a failure to convince a minority of stubborn farmers.He is known to savour the weakness of minorities.What has this ‘minority’ done to force a retreat? Hence the farmers’ wariness and determination to yield no quarter until there is complete clarity on this murky business is quite appropriate and admirable.

There has been no revision or revocation of the BJP’s totalitarian goal:Handing over all present and future opportunities for garnering more wealth to native and foreign corporates is still the driving force of its politics garnished with saffron embellishment of Rashtra.Such recantation would be its ruin,of course.

That being the root cause, the farmers’ movement must,while remaining strong on its own ground and front, make alliance with all credible opposition forces to push back the agenda spelling doom to the republic as we know it and the masses who trust it.

The BJP is a powerful behemoth armed with instruments of violence and inquisitorial powers, and driven by amoral instincts.The choice of technique in combat by those in oppostion without a fraction of such lethal armoury, can by no stretch of imagination be violence.The farmers have shown a way out of this tempting muddle.They have resorted to what Gandhijee called ‘soul force’.Non-violent resistance.And unity inviolate.

That it CAN work had been demonstrated earlier in nineteen twenty-one to nineteen twenty-three.As R.P.Dutt showed with sharp documentation from British Home Office papers seventy years ago,the NON-CO-OPERATION MOVEMENT had brought British Colonial government of India to the brink of collapse.As Jalianwala Bag reminds us, that government had been an amoral force prepared to pull out all stops to crush Indian resistance.Gandhijee was probably right in sensing the danger of anarchy in explosion of public wrath in violence at Chauri Chaura,but his drastic recall of the entire movement had had costly consequences.

Gramsci,watching the Indian scene from behind prison bars had speculated that non-violent resistance might have been the right strategy for the Indian liberation movement, considering the massive superiority in arms of the colonial power and the diversity of Indian circumstances.Martin Luther King had won more success than uncompromising Black militants with the same strategy.

If the farmer leaders can find a way to address the still obstinate diversity and divergences and form a united front of all credible opposition,get them committed to non-violence, they can transform this episodic (though still phenomenal) victory into a complete rout of a powerful and crafty foe.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

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