India's Farmer Strike
12/3/21 Update: This month last year, hundreds of thousands of farmers marched from the grain belt states of India to the capital in New Delhi. They marched in protest of new farm laws that prioritized corporate agriculture and have not left their protest sites since arriving. In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just announced that all three farm laws will be repealed at the next meeting of Parliament. The farmers will remain in the capital until the laws have been formally removed, citing a lack of trust of Modi's government to follow through on his promise. The importance of the farmers' protest extends beyond the boundaries of India and sets a precedent for farmers around the world. More information about their impact and the history of the protest can be found here.
Ever-since I moved to Fairview, North Carolina area back in 2013 my interest in farming and volunteering led me to becoming a member of Food Freedom Foundation formerly known as Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund ( The Foundation), since then I have become an advocate for farmers and farm workers on local, national and global levels.
Today and after almost one year from the spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic I became more appreciative of the importance of farmers in our daily lives, especially when paper goods and many other items disappeared from the shelves of our supermarkets, we were able to find fresh produce, dairy and a variety of meat products.
My interest in farming and struggles farmers endure from the impact of climate change to government unreasonable regulations impelled me to bring some attention to the struggle farmers in India are experiencing.
For over two months thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting at the border points of New Delhi, demanding the rollback of the government “Farm Reform Lawes” and the guarantee of the Minimum Support Price that existed prior to the new laws.
Among those who showed solidarity to the farmers were ten of thousands of students and union workers.
Protests were peaceful until Tuesday when police set barricades to prevent protesters from marching to the historic Red Fort, farmers used their tractors to remove all barriers and marched on to the building, that’s when clashes began resulting in casualties on both sides.
As of today, January 28, police ordered all protesters to vacate all entries to New Delhi by midnight.
I chose two articles that shed light on the ongoing struggle of the Indian farmers, the first one is written by ViJay Prashad, a historian, editor and a journalist I have followed for years. He wrote a book called the Poorer nations among 20 other books.
And the second I found in the India Express paper describes sad conditions that lead to large numbers of suicides among farmers.
The third link is a youtube piece that explains the government modified bills (led to the strike) and the lack of implementation of existing bills and the impact that has on small farmers.
- Around 250 million people across India joined the general strike, making it the largest strike in world history. https://consortiumnews.com/2020/12/04/indias-one-day-general-strike-largest-in-history/
- Farmers’ suicides highest in Maharashtra despite loan waiver, reform measures: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/farmers-suicides-highest-in-maharashtra-despite-loan-waiver-reform-measures-6720184/
- Farmer Bill Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rl0-T9jIRo&feature=farmers suicides in Maharashtra
*Photo source https://familyfarmers.org/?p=1866