It’s hard to make up one’s mind about which image is most disturbing. The one in which two alleged peasants scaled the iconic flagpole at the Red Fort to unfurl the ‘Nishan Sahib’ but not the tri-colour or the one depicting police jumping off the ramparts of the Red Fort in the face of a rampaging blood thirsty horde.
Perhaps its futile to make a choice. Both images capture equally the desecration of the spirit of Republic Day that celebrates civilizational values written into the Constitution.
One of those civilizational values is ahimsa secured by the rule of law. Great Indic philosophers have eloquently expanded upon the symbolic potency of proverbially ‘submitting the other cheek’. Lessons from these philosophers were internalized by the greatest crusader of our times, the Mahatma, who honed ahimsa into a weapon of moral destruction bringing down an empire.
The farmer’s greatest strength was always their passivity. There is something arresting about a tableau of bucolic innocence holding a vigil against the allegedly intruding state. You can fault the simple minded “annadata” for knowing no better in seeking to preserve a socialist ideal, however dysfunctional. But ignorance or expressing fear of change is not a crime.
But now by taking a detour from the path of peace and inflicting grievous injuries upon the body politic not to mention the national psyche the ‘Singhu’ protests have lost credibility. It will be difficult to supply convincing enough answers to questions that inevitably arise: Was the “annadata” always an unwitting instrument in the hands of an Opposition that has been reduced to waging war by proxy against the Modi government? Or more disturbingly are they the sword arm of anti-nationals looking to relight the fires of sub-nationalism?
This protest mottled by the stain of violence must now end. There is no shame in ending the stir on principle. Great passivist souls in history have called a halt to agitations when they have lost control. The farmers, if they are at all committed to ‘Gandhian’ values as they claim, must give-up the incendiaries amidst their ranks and return to their villages. Their representatives on the left must return to the talks table where they must atone by signaling a willingness to accept a reasonable settlement. Their supporters in the media must introspect. Can they honestly deny that they let their biases prevent them from diligently probing all possible motives behind the ‘Singhu’ stir? And what of their lordships? Isn’t their supreme faith in the inherent goodness of the rustic looking like silver screen sentimentality?
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE