Why I Ignored Farmer’s Protest

Farmer’s ongoing protests in the North have caught the attention, not just nationally but globally. Rheanna or Rita has not catapulted it to global attention. If you see this news from Nikkei Asia, the protest has been reported since September 2020. Just imagine, Corona had hardly receded, but these farmers, notwithstanding the implications of Covid, started aggregating and protesting.

Are farmers’ demands rational?
Irrespective of their demands being rational or not, the agricultural sector needs renovation and infrastructure investment. In 2019, I wrote an article on using strategies and execution to rejig the entire supply chain towards increasing the shelf life (of the produce), exactly the same way as the shelf life of grains. In a nutshell, the recommended changes were increasing rainwater conservation to increase the depleting table of water, adding several smaller catchments in areas with high rainfall or runoffs, strategies for spreading crops across varieties, harvesting and storage facilities, and consumer education on consumption. I am not sure if these changes across the value chain are reflected in the bill in some of the other forms. Farming is the foundation of the food chain, and supporting farming is important to nations’ critical infrastructure and resilience. My forefathers, like most of ours, owned small farming land (by American standard). Until her death, my grandmother lived in our village. Then why did i ignore the farmers’ protest?

https://mymilieu.org/2019/11/17/state-of-indian-economy/

Ideological intolerance
Those who were part of CovidRXExchange may recollect that our efforts were primarily focused on India despite being global. As a pro-bono activity, several doctors and intellectuals invested their time, efforts, and expertise to mitigate the clinical impact of Covid. These contributions were well recognized at several levels of bureaucracy, health, and planning and reflected in covid patients’ upliftment. The sole reason for citing this is that despite being away from the birthplace, we have always attached, but we come with a detachment and see a differing perspective.

I was trolled, belittled, and almost bullied 2-3 years back by my schoolmate when I wrote a critical piece. He and I shared a class bench. Anything against BJP is considered anti-national. You are immediately labeled a Kafir if you oppose or think of opposing any of their ideologies. In fact, this friend also deeply questioned my own commitment to the country, and of course, I was labeled as being under the influence of the Britishers (for reading BBC, the reference cited herein is from Nikkei Asia Review, a Japanese daily, and it is costly, not free). Like religious intolerance, ideological intolerance is fast sweeping India. India is a complex and profoundly diverse country. It is hard to manage the inbuilt controversies if we tend to do with an iron fist. Farmers’ protest is no different in that sense because it is intense in the North but without massive support elsewhere. It will be wrong to say their demands are irrational, but there must be a right way to negotiate and find a sweet spot, a balance that caters to the roadmap. Radical changes always meet resistance, and incremental changes have better adoption.

Trust all the stakeholders strike the right balance. Good luck with that!

Shashank Heda
Dallas, Texas

India braces for mass protests over contentious farm bills
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/India-braces-for-mass-protests-over-contentious-farm-bills

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