By Justice Markandey Katju
I must confess I had earlier little faith in Indian farmers. I doubted they had the creativity, initiative, gumption and drive needed in great historical movements.. I thought farmers were dumb, inane, and purely passive, creatures who could be toyed around with and manipulated by crafty politicians using them as caste and communal vote banks.
But Indian farmers have proved me wrong. By their recent acts, they have shown, like their Chinese counterparts ( who were the main engine in the Chinese Revolution which triumphed in 1949 ) that they are not the imbeciles or pushovers which some people thought, but are a force of history. By rising above caste and religion they have proved they are not pawns or puppets in the hands of our ‘netas’, but are showing the way forward to the whole nation. The present farmers’ agitation has kept our politicians away from the centre stage, and the farmers have refused to accept food, or even water, from the government, which shows the high level of their integrity.
The biggest hurdle to our progress was our disunity. We were divided on the basis of caste and religion, and this fact was exploited by our politicians to polarise us and spread hatred among us.
The agitations in India so far were mainly religion-based e.g. the Ram Mandir agitation, or caste-based, like the jat, Gujar or Dalit agitations. But the present farmers’ agitation has smashed these feudal barriers. By doing so, our farmers have cleared the main barrier to our way forward, and towards marching to our national goal of creating in India a just social and political order, and making India a modern, highly industrialised, prosperous country in which all our people enjoy a high standard of living and decent lives.
Long live the Indian farmers!