What do pop singer Rihanna who has over a 100 million followers on Twitter, environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Hollywood actor John Cusack, and US Vice-president Kamala Harris’s niece, the lawyer and bestselling author Meena Harris, have in common?
The answer is that they’ve all taken up verbal cudgels on behalf of the Indian farmers who are agitating against the government’s proposed agri reforms.
The government’s peremptory announcement of the reforms, the police’s heavy-handed attempts to suppress the subsequent protest by farmers, and the consequent backlash of rioting in Delhi on Republic Day, have made the issue a global cause celebre. Or, rather, a cause celebrity.
A number of celebrities, in show business and other centres of public limelight, are joining the fray by rooting for the farmers from the sidelines, like spectators do at a keenly contested cricket or football match.
And like many who go to watch such sporting events, most of those who are pitching in for the farmers have little or no knowledge of the finer points of what they are witnessing.
Ignorance is said to be bliss. And the self-appointed cheerleaders for the farmers are, by and large, blissfully ignorant about the ground realities of the case.
Though the government bungled badly in trying to bulldoze the reforms through, the proposed laws actually benefit farmers by giving them the choice to sell to the best bidder, instead of through mandis controlled by extortionist middlemen who benefit the most at the expense of both the agriculturist and the consumer.
By providing an opportunity to eliminate the role of the mandi middlemen, the reforms would be to the advantage of the farmers and their direct customers. A win-win situation for all.
So why are these supposedly pro-farmer celebs voicing their opposition to the reforms? A good question. The answer to which might lie in the nature and obligation of being a famous person, a celebrity. Being a celeb often entails publicly aligning oneself with a cause that’s hitting the headlines, which the farmers’ agitation is doing.
It’s become part of celeb show biz. Or sow biz.
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
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