By Vivek Sinha
Farmers in the Indian state of Punjab rose up in protest to challenge Modi’s increasingly pro-business and corporate policies on how India deals with its agriculture policy. Modi claims that his new “market oriented system” would free more than 146 million farmers from state run policies.
Critics claim that these policies will in fact do the opposite. They argue that Modi’s new policies will simply make small farms bow down and follow the beck and call of larger farms, placing these farmers under the tyrannical control of large businesses. Modi’s claims that freeing the market will help farmers, but he has a history of angering farmers; after numerous talks have failed, the farmers have vowed to increase the violence of the protests.
The protests have been organized by a farmer’s organization that is linked to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), one of the largest communist parties in India. These farmers see that risking their lives against riot police will help end the power that big corporations have in India. This is a prime example of the great socio-economic divide between India’s wealthy, large corporations, and poor farmers.
In the eyes of the farmers, Modi has proved that he is no longer on the side of the 146 million poor farmers, and in fact, does support the big business domination of India. Farmers have started rioting on the streets of New Delhi, and they show no sign of stopping until Modi starts negotiations instead of his support of large corporations taking over. Farmers have even gone as far as burning their own fields and going on strike to prevent India from getting any food in order to have their voices be heard.
These types of protests are not a new event in India. They are a titanic fight between the poor independent farmers and the corporations that exercise large political and economic power in India.