Just another day, driving by the old railway station road. Vendors selling at their top voices, a rickshaw uncle taking his break on the stone while playing with a cigarette and another one peeking through his shirt’s pocket. The orange tinted sun almost had its last goodbyes, while being in the traffic, one bus came and stood right next to me. As the light turned green, the bus rushed and I happen to notice the saying on the back of it. It was a white background with letters colored in black on it, which said: “We are not Terrorists, we are Farmers.”
I found history repeating right in front of me.
On 27 September 2020, the Government of India announced new “Farmers Laws,” which were soon to be implemented. These laws state that farmers are allowed to sell out of the shell of mandis, and also to anyone they want. The government also added the the farmers can also agree to a contract with retailers on the agreed price of their production. The major goal of these legislation is to get rid of commission agents. According to the government, this would help marginalized and small farmers. According to the third law, commodities like as pulses, cereals, onions, edible oils, oilseeds, and potatoes would be removed from the list of vital commodities. This law was also created with the goal of attracting private sector and direct foreign investment. With all of this, the government intended to demonstrate how fierce competition can benefit farmers.
The Faulty New Legislation
People who want to stay on the surface and avoid digging deep will find all of these foreign investments and commissions interesting. Allow me to assist you in navigating some difficult truths here. When major retailers make a single purchase, they prefer to buy in larger numbers. Connect the dots with me here: if Company A wants to buy 10,000 kgs of Wheat, and the market price of Wheat is ₹10 per kg, he would have to ask Farmer B to sell the same Wheat at ₹5 per kg. And by not having any other option, Farmer B has to sell the same to Company A at whatever cost they assign. Farmer B just lost ₹50,000 approximately in just one sale. This is because mandis are abolished from this new system and the wholesalers have a monopoly in the market. This is the story of just one farmer, and our whole economy is agrarian-based. If Farmer B didn’t make the transaction, any other farmer will make one.
The competition won’t be between the big companies or corporates, but the farmers.
Let us look at another scenario. Due to appropriate weather conditions, the production of Tomatoes was excellent in a year, however, it was met with loss after the farmers sold their produce to big retailers. They purchased Tomatoes in excess amount and stored them in huge amounts in their warehouses, by selling only a fraction of it. For instance, the market price for Tomatoes is ₹10 per kg, but farmers sold Tomatoes in massive amounts i.e. 1,00,000 at ₹5 per kg to retailers and retailers only sold ⅓ of the same, and the rest was preserved in their warehouses. According to the market forces i.e. demand and supply, when the demand of one commodity is high and supply doesn’t match the level of demand price increases, and vice versa. So, when they don’t introduce the Tomatoes to the market, they will wait for the price to raise enough to meet the maximum profit. And when the demand for the product rises, with supply insufficient these retailers will make the tomatoes introduce to the market and the same Tomatoes which were purchased by farmers at ₹5 per kg will be sold out at ₹15 per kg. So the farmer who lost his ₹50,000 earlier, has to spend ₹10 per kg more which is double the income he earned.
The government keeps emphasizing on how these laws would benefit small and marginalized farmers. Now consider the following scenario, small or disadvantaged farmers have less than 2 acres of land. B farmer has 2 acres of land, he grows Wheat, and his whole production will allow him to meet his housing bills and his children's schooling. As per the MSP, he will be able to achieve all while his production will be done at ₹10 per kg for his 10,000 kgs. So now he has ₹1,00,000 for everything, plus he also has some leisure and savings for himself. However, because MSP is not specified in any of these new laws, and considering the above-described scenarios, he made just ₹50,000, which is what he would have received from his one acre of property previously. As of now, the farmer must reduce his expenditures and comply with these “Farmer Laws.”
False Allegations & Rumors
“People who are protesting are terrorists,” “They don’t understand the laws completely,” “The people who are protesting are uneducated,” “They are the ones who want Khalistan,” etc. These are some of the statements made by top politicians and journalists. I have some questions for them which will be in the order of the above statements respectively. Could you help explain why terrorists would expose themselves and sit in protest for their land? Lawyers, doctors, NGO workers, university students, PHDs, professors, retired & current Army soldiers, Olympians, officers who served India, Padma Bhushan recipients, Paramveer Chakra awardees, and others are among those protesting. Do they strike you as uneducated?
Khalistan, was only broached in 1984, and significant amount of Sikh pilgrimage was attacked; they were tortured, burned to death, and Sikh women were abused and killed. Unfortunately, the phrase “naked women lying dead in the gutter” was common in the Punjab region back then. But Khalistan raced as though it had suddenly sunk deep. Because Sikhs were eventually reared in the manner of Phoenix. Today, the most well-known NGO, “Khalsa Aid,” is defending and assisting not only Sikhs, but every community on the planet; they are not really limited to one location. They can be found in Africa, Australia, America, India, and other places.
The Rights of Indian Farmers
Indian farmers are not only protesting, but they are also creating history by being a crucial part of the world's longest and peaceful protest ever. They are protesting for their land and rightly so because it our right, the “basic fundamental right,” which our constitution grants us. The wave of protest has taken over the whole world under its quilt of Determination, Courage, Dedication, & Boundless Inspiration. First world countries like the U.S.A, England, & Canada along with the UN, support farmers in their protest and their idea of protesting against the wrong. Not the politicians, but popstars like Rihanna, long time activist Greta Thunberg, public figures like Mia Khalifa are there in the list of worldwide celebrities who support Indian Farmers and their protest.
Farmers know how to fight, and with the whole of India with them, they are unbeatable. Farmer Protests have been rising since day one. You will find farmers protesting for their land and respect on entering Delhi from every side of the corner; they are in lakhs, and belong to different states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, etc.
Farmers are not sitting there in leisure, they have to face India's extreme weather. Government is no longer fooling anybody.
Farmers are demanding to either secure them MSP or abolish the new laws.
Our government chooses to go with option C, i.e. none of the above, leaving farmers to rot in these extreme weathers.
You don't have to be a farmer to stand for them, you just have to be a human.
And that itself, makes us all eligible for carrying out protests.
I would like to thank my parents and teachers who made the effort to enlighten me with the knowledge of these crucial laws. Without their support, I wouldn't have been able to write this piece for All Ears.