Update on India’s farmers

Update on India’s farmers

I am sure that by now, most of my Indian readers, as well as a good number of non-India-based readers, will know that this morning the Prime Minister unexpectedly repealed 3 controversial farm laws.

I have mentioned the nearly year-old farmers protest here before, most recently in October, when we returned from Himachal and drove through one of the protest camps.

The government had not allowed the farmers to enter Delhi, so they camped around the city, in a mostly peaceful protest – though there have been some terrible exceptions.

But today, just like that, in a speech this morning Mr.Modi said, and I quote (in English, not the original Hindi):

“We worked to provide farmers with seeds at reasonable rates and facilities like micro-irrigation, 22 crore soil health cards. Such factors have contributed to increased agricultural production. However, we failed to make them understand about the benefits of the new laws and as such, we have decided to roll them back.”

It was, as I said at the outset, an unexpected announcement, but with the farmers showing no sign of backing down, and crucial elections in 2 affected states in the coming months, well…

The farmers are jubilant but have said their protests continue until the laws are actually repealed in Parliament.

I am neither a political pundit nor (to my great sorrow) a voter so my views are purely personal and totally from the gut.

But here goes.

My two pennies’ worth:

I am very glad that the laws will be repealed.

The loss of over 700 lives during this protest is a truly terrible price to have paid.

I hope the farmers can soon return home. They have been beyond stoic and brave and put up with extreme cold and extreme heat and the monsoons and the brutal second wave of the pandemic.

They are incredible people and deserve relief.

A photo from the early days of the protests…

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