26th November 2020: As lakhs of farmers from over 500 peasant organisations march to Delhi, in opposition to the 3 new farmer bills announced by the BJP-Modi govt, the authorities have deployed the Riot Police, with Water Cannons at the Delhi – Punjab – Haryana – Rajasthan – UP – Uttarakhand borders. They have been joined by trade unions, workers groups and citizen movements across the nation, including citizen movement Awaken India, who gathered at Kotwal Garden in Dadar, Mumbai on 26th November, 2020.
“Today being Constitutional Day, our farmers have chosen to march for their rights and to safeguard the democracy of our country. The proposed bills will lead to deregulation of markets, further push the govt-enabled corporatisation of agriculture, and will throw open agriculture to transnational companies. This march to Delhi has undergone preparation for 3 months, but the media has not paid due attention until now. Workers and farmers across the nation have witnessed their rights being diluted, and have now risen up in the form of an indefinite satyagraha. We are witnessing a shift in politics, as various groups unite in this historical struggle,” said Feroze Mithiborwalla, member of Awaken India, Geopolitical affairs expert and president of the Bharat Bachao Andolan.
Barricades have been erected at all the roads coming into Delhi. The farmers are on the march from every state from across the country. Workers in Kerala & West Bengal have called for a strike & have blocked railway lines. Despite the repression, the farmers have broken through 2 barricades and the march to Delhi carries on.
Yohan Tengra, member of Awaken India and convenor of group Anarchy for Freedom, explains, “The three bills destroy the independence of Indian farmers, and facilitate the monopolisation of our food supply, in the hands of global agri-business giants and their billionaire counterparts in India. This monopolisation will make it easier for global powers to play politics with food, and deprive people and communities of nutritious, affordable food. We are also against GMO foods that lack long-term safety studies and don’t live up to their promises.”
The nation is also witness to the unbridled privatisation and financialisation of nature, our natural resources and profitable public sector companies. Our national assets are being grossly undervalued and sold for a song, with more and more of our wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few families, thus leading to the growing inequality and very stark at that. Thus the top 1% of the ultra-rich possess 75% of the national wealth & the gap only continues to grow.
Acclaimed scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author Vandana Shiva has said, “The real authoritarianism is the totalitarian control of a handful of corporations over our food. Corporate industrial food system is at the root of hunger & chronic diseases…It is a war against farmers & the land.” She has been actively spreading awareness about the corporates and international orgs like Gates and Monsanto pushing GMO food onto unsuspecting publics, and promoting “lab-made proteins and pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals as “sustainable solutions” for our agriculture systems, and the dangers of new viruses and epidemics spreading from increased production of genetically modified organisms.
The country is under siege and the public is being restricted in exercising their constitutional rights to gather peacefully and express lawful dissent, under the guise of a pandemic. The lockdowns, curfews, surveillance, heavy policing, teargas and water cannons are not tools to ensure public health and wellbeing, but rather to suppress people of the country and enable the government to change laws, policies and society with minimal discussion or opposition. Citizen movement Awaken India is unaffiliated with any political party, and understands that we are witnessing the advancement of Fascism, the fusing of corporate and state power, and the greatest wealth and land transfer in the nation’s history.
Awaken India resonates with the sentiment of Yogendra Yadav, political activist and National President of Swaraj India, as described to NDTV, “It must be a very strange pandemic, three days ago, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana does a rally with thousands of farmers with no masks, no social distancing – no pandemic! Bihar election, no pandemic! When farmers gather, then there is pandemic! This must be a very strange disease… This is exactly the kind of tactics the British regime used against Indian nationalists. Today, Punjab farmers are fighting not for Punjab, they are fighting for farmers all over India. Any attempt to repress them, any attempt to suppress them, any attempt to crack down on them, is a crackdown on farmers of India, we shall not forget that.”
Today the Farmers and Workers are marching to take back our country, restore our Constitutional Rights, and save our beloved India from the coordinated fascist onslaught by international entities, big corporates and the central government. After organising three successful peaceful protests, and one educational public event, Awaken India joins the farmers in solidarity with their aligned causes and interests.