Privileged Indians Tell Farmers How To Protest

They cannot decipher from Khalsa flags to Khalistani flags, or accuse the protesting farmers of eating pizzas and grooming themselves.

You know when your medium or platform becomes the mouthpiece for the establishment then any logic and ethics have to be forgotten. There are is a lot more than butter, cheese and jam coming one’s way. Then obviously without basic research questions are asked, to the extent even if one looks foolish. Such is the decline of Indian media today. They cannot decipher from Khalsa flags to Khalistani flags, or accuse the protesting farmers of eating pizzas and grooming themselves. Hundreds of pizzas were distributed last week to the farmers and that was objected by many journalists known to be favouring the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. We are in such a hilarious situation that we are advising farmers on how they should be protesting.

Fast v/s fast unto death activist

I will come back to this just taking you all back to the man who has been responsible for leading a majority of blinded Indians to this situation. A self-proclaimed activist called Anna Hazare, his name means a farmer, which is an insult to the real farmers so let us stick to this name. He was a permanent faster, preferred to call them as ‘fast unto death’, every single time. And then to keep himself unaccountable, the best method he chose, to go on maun vrat, professing to be silent. He never drank water from transparent glass, it was always steel glass and his old advisors accused him of drinking glucose water. He always and always sat on a stage, above the rest of Janta, typical Brahminical style, on thick mattresses, white crisply washed, ironed bed sheets and the male Cleopatra would recline and sleep half the time. He never sat on a dharna without a pandal, to protect him from rain, sun, winter. He would get a blanket and many a male, female hangers on who would be at his service.

We used to always cover his fasts and in the nineties, his mother had told us he was obsessed with becoming a martyr. Remember one’s guilt always eats their mind, Anna had run away in the 1965 war against Pakistan as he was driving a vehicle carrying jawans. One of his last fasts in Azad Maidan was a disaster, as Suresh Jain, a minister who has faced corruption charges is a strict practising Jain who fasts even without water. Anna could not face him. Except for some of us who know his truths, the rest of the media had put him on a pedestal adulating him to the position of a second Mahatma Gandhi.

Anna Hazare always sat on a stage, above the rest of Janta.

Story of Pizza

Now let us come to the present protests. These are farmers from Punjab and Haryana primarily who have moved bag and baggage with a sole aim to stay put on the highway and give up their lives. They have NOWHERE said it is a fast unto death. Yes, they willing to lay down their lives but NOT starve. Why should they? Also, they are NOT on any stage on thick fat mattresses with pristine white bedsheets with thick pillows and a dozen men and women running around them. They are hardworking farmers with acres of lands and have reaped the benefits from their lands.

These farmers are mainly Sikhs and if anyone even remotely knows this community then they should know they live life king size, be poor or rich. But they also serve to dedicate their lives helping poor every single time. They have blocked the highways with their tractors and as they have told people in every single video, they will stay put here be it one year, two years or more. So how should they be living? They put up camps and farmers sleeping on the back of trucks and tractors. There are langars, again a typical Sikh phenomenon, where they take pride in serving. Interestingly, when a digital news agency reporter went to cover, there were workers from nearby factories, industrial townships that were eating in the langar. They are basically living there.

In that case, how does anybody have a right to tell people just how should they be living? When the bhakt army took to social media putting out photos of protesting farmers getting foot massages and pizzas that were sent to them, it burnt their insides, because the strong message sent out was, “We are NOT budging”. Then the BJP IT cell was overactive till they were slammed down. These unread, ill-informed educated people do not even know the origins of pizza. Its origin is mentioned in Aeneid, an epic poem by Virgil which was first published approximately 19BC.

It was when Aeneas sat with his crew below a tree as thin wheat cakes were given to them, like plates. They covered them with mushrooms, herbs, whatever they could search in the forest and eat. They are said to have eaten even the wheat cakes. Obviously, those who couldn’t afford plates used these wheat flat breads and ate them too in order to fill their stomachs. These pizzas are expensive only in India & US. Sadly, the pro-government media also has not bothered to give this information and why would they? Pizza is traditionally the food of the poor it, of course, gained popularity and even got a royal approval. But this fact apart, think of it, our very own naans and parathas can be covered with various toppings and gravy eaten like a pizza.


Activists of the BKU (Rajewal) from Barmi and Boparai Kalan villages organise a pizza langar at Singhu border. (Credit- Tribune)

Poor farmers fate

These protests have thrown up many interesting facets of our public lives. While our national leaders, especially Narendra Modi and Amit Shah couldn’t care to address the objections raised by the farmers, their regular pattern continues, to let loose their trolls on all. But this time they have been blocked on social media and on the Singhu highway. If you recollect just recently, in the month of June, the National Crime Records Bureau, a central agency refused to publish the farmers’ suicides of last two years. They are embarrassed and moreover not wanting to be held accountable for the condition of the farmers and their deaths. In fact, this is an old Gujarat model that the BJP government has been following of not keeping these records. But this too was not be missed by the protesting farmers and their supporters.

Renowned singer, songwriter and actor Diljit Dosanjh has been fighting against fake news and the rubbish being put out by trolls. It started with Bollywood’s famous victim playing actor putting out fake news that a lady farmer protesting was hired for meagre money. From that point, Diljit and many other actors have publicly come out in support of the farmers. On Monday, Diljit tweeted, “farmers consuming poison was never a concern but farmers eating pizza is News!!” His sentiments were well appreciated as 65,800 likes, nearly 9000 Retweets he got. This trivia aside, the farmers have stepped up their protests. There are wise old and many energetic young ones side by side on this issue, have stuck to their demands to keep MSP, not to dismantle APMCs and not to privatise agriculture among others. The representatives of farmer unions had begun day long fasts at Singhu border.

Diljit Dosanjh visited the farmers’ protest at Singhu border. (Credit- Times of India)

Interestingly those companies which manufacture tractors have refused to remotely support the farmers. During UPA-2 government they wrote open letters in leading newspapers, demanding accountability. They openly supported the BJP and today, they have suddenly gone in a huddle. The farmers meanwhile have made innovations on their tractors sending out messages to the government. With ‘we are one’ rotating signage of Om, Cross, Islam and Sikh signs, they are giving new meaning to even their vehicles. Even the menu at the langars had a strong message giving strength with each morsel. There are many contributing to these protests in cash, food and kind, giving the farmers strength to go on. They don’t need privileged Indians who have become His Master’s Voice to tell them how to protest and when not to groom.


Imagine if you were on a long, no deadline march or protest. What all would you carry with you?

My list:

Water, food, deodorant (I can’t deal with the odour and this doubles up as room freshener too), wet wipes, sunscreen, lip balm, Victorinox knife, rope, Kindle, power bank, charger, headphones, sports shoes, towel, soap, cellphone, cameras, biscuits, fruits, dry fruits, as my basic. My mug, tea bags & milk powder sachet (I am particular about my chai and dislike white colour). And yes, I would like it if there was a spa with foot massage therapy. It is rejuvenating and should be made mandatory in every working place.

Neeta Kolhatkar is a senior journalist with over 30 years of work experience across different media platforms. She is currently a freelancer and media consultant.

(Views Expressed Are Personal)

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