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Too Much Democracy

Con l’arrivo della bella stagione e le giornate che si allungano tornano gli eventi di Jarom. Vi proponiamo la prima proiezione nazionale di “Too Much Democracy” di Varrun Sukhraj (in lingua originale con sottotitoli in italiano) domenica 22 maggio, alle ore 20.30 presso il Comala (corso Ferrucci 65, Torino).

❗️Ingresso libero e gratuito

Il documentario è un potente ritratto della grande protesta che per più di un anno, da settembre 2020 a novembre 2021, ha coinvolto milioni di contadini indiani contro la riforma del settore agricolo voluta dal Governo.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/M57lCFBgMpg

Per chi volesse approfondire, alla proiezione seguirà un breve dibattito guidato da Daniela Bezzi, giornalista, e Alessandra Consolaro, professoressa di Letteratura Hindi presso l’Università di Torino.

Evento fb: https://fb.me/e/1BIgTr7de

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🔎 i fatti al centro del film 🔎

Nel settembre del 2020 il governo presieduto da Narendra Modi ha approvato un pacchetto liberista con cui rivoluzionare il settore dell’agricoltura. Tra le misure previste, l’eliminazione dei vincoli di prezzo per l’acquisto e la vendita di prodotti agricoli, che sono così potuti uscire dai circuiti regolamentati dallo stato per entrare nel settore privato a contrattazione libera.
Un grande vantaggio per le società agricole e di distribuzione più grandi, capaci di sostenere prezzi molto più bassi rispetto ai piccoli agricoltori. Questi ultimi hanno lamentato anche la loro completa esclusione dai negoziati sulla riforma, una violazione della Costituzione indiana che richiede invece consultazioni con tutti i soggetti interessati dalle nuove leggi.

È in questo contesto che migliaia di contadini hanno iniziato a scendere in strada per far sentire la loro voce. Quella che doveva essere una protesta contenuta si è trasformata con il passare delle settimane in una collera nazionale, in un paese abitato da 1,3 miliardi di persone, di cui la metà occupate nel settore agricolo.
Sono state bloccate per mesi le principali autostrade del paese, sono stati costruiti veri e propri accampamenti dove hanno vissuto i contadini durante i loro picchetti, ci sono state manifestazioni continue nelle strade di Nuova Delhi e delle altre città.
Nel novembre 2020 è stato anche indetto da 10 sigle sindacali un grande sciopero generale, che ha coinvolto oltre 250 milioni di lavoratori.

Le proteste sono andate avanti anche nel 2021 e con loro lo spargimento di sangue. Le associazioni degli agricoltori affermano che sono almeno 600 i contadini e gli attivisti che hanno perso la vita.

A novembre 2021, un anno e due mesi dal via libera alla riforma agraria, il premier Modi ha annunciato la sua abrogazione.
Il timore peró è che dietro alla decisione di Modi ci siano logiche di convenienza elettorale. Tra febbraio e marzo di quest’anno infatti erano in programma le elezioni in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh e Uttarakhand, stati in cui l’elettorato del settore agricolo ha un grande peso

Una risposta su “Too Much Democracy”

नास्ति सत्यसमो धर्मो न सत्याद्विद्यते परम्।
न हि तीव्रतरं किञ्चिदनृतादिह विद्यते।।
“There is no other religion like truth. Nothing but the truth. There is nothing more intense than a lie.”

Was present there at the screening of this documentary at Comala, Turin. After watching it I could say, it’s a complete propaganda film. There is no factual ground in this. They selected only those footage and videography which could justify their false narrative only. Some of the important points that I would like to comment on are as follow:
1. Like what happened during the protest, they also did not even mention why the three farm laws were not in the favour of farmers. They did not tell you that there were at least 15 rounds of talks that happened throughout the protest, but so-called farmer leaders were too stubborn on their single demand which is only to repeal the laws. Govt had agreed to most demands, yet they refused to talk about the Act point by point and could not discuss its merits/demerits. Most haven’t even read the Acts.

2. The very fact about this protest was that it was concentrated mainly in two or three states and in which most of the protesters were from Punjab only. Let me tell you why it is so. The MSP procurement (only wheat and paddy) in APMC happens only in Punjab and Haryana, in all other states it’s not the case. Would a law for only wheat and paddy help farmers? Not really, as the Centre already buys more than 95 % of Punjab’s wheat and paddy at MSP through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state procurement agencies, whereas it’s just 6% of produce that is sold on MSP entirely in India as per Shanta Kumar’s report, 2014. So, where is the economic gain for the Punjab farmers? Much of the uproar is about the Rs 5,000 crore that the state government (Rs 3,500 crore) and Arhtiyas (Rs 1,500 crore) squeeze annually from the FCI for wheat and paddy procurement. The same money is being used for the political gain by the state gov by giving free electricity and huge subsidies on fertilizers. Therefore, dependency is only on wheat and paddy, and due to this, the water is being depleted. That is why the whole protest was limited to this state only, which was completely politically motivated. One MLA Raj Kumar Verka, from the Punjab congress, then publicly admits that anti-farm law protests are being sponsored by Congress and other opposition parties. They provided all the logistical support to the protesters. So, this protest does not represent the whole of India, in all other states the laws were welcomed by the farmers. The most ironic thing is that these bills were in the manifesto of the Congress party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but they took a U-turn when this NDA Gov. passed the bills. In the documentary, it’s been portrayed like the bills have been passed unconstitutional and depicted like democracy is dying. It’s a completely wrong conclusion, of course, they have a majority in the lower house but where this majority came from, the people of India gave this mandate to them, and they are entitled to pass the bills which are in the interest of every single citizen of the country. The SC panel also declared the laws constitutionally legitimate and said Farm Laws are 100% In Favour of Farmers and the committee does not support the repeal of the three laws.

3. The documentary starts with M. Gandhi’s reference and the value he gave to us, which is the non-violence, but were the protest non-violent, completely not. There were also incidents of mob lynching, raps, and looting by the protesters. In one incident a Dalit man, was killed at the Singhu border farmers’ protest site and his one hand was chopped off and by other hand-tied to the barricade, which shows the inhumanity of some of these protesters and their ideology. The most unfortunate incident on 26th Jan, republic day, which is also portrayed in this documentary in such a way that it was not the farmers who did this but some other groups who hijacked the protest and the situation became out of control. Seriously? That itself is contradictory, as just before that all the protesting groups urged a mass gathering in Delhi with tractor rallies and encircling of the Red Fort. But, when the ‘Tricolour’ was removed from ‘Red Fort’ and the ‘Khalsa’ flag was hoisted by the protesters then they started blaming each other and tries to put the blame on Gov. itself. Nothing can be more hypocritical than this. It was very evident that the situation was not under control from any side. And there is significant evidence that suggests some anti-India forces hands behind these protests and with whom they are affiliated. So, whatever is shown in the documentary in this context is a completely one-sided point of view only, where they try to shy away from taking the responsibility for the violence that occurred on the 26th of Jan, due to the aggressive nature of the protest and the “Khalistanis” hands behind it.

4. One thing that the makers of this documentary used very cunningly is to portray mostly this on the emotional ground. Yes, everyone is concerned about the farmers and their livelihood, and that is why these laws had been introduced. Unfortunately, the farmers and their union leaders refused to agree on any of the Gov. proposals. It’s an economic problem and one needs to think holistically, Gov. must need to think for the entire country’s population from producers to consumers. So-called Agri experts like ‘Yogendra Yadav’, ‘Darshan Pal’ and ‘Rakesh Tikait’ had declared the laws anti farmers without any factual ground. It’s Like saying that before a baby is born, he/she would not be able to become a scientist or a farmer per se. But in the end, they succeeded, and Gov. bent the knees in front of them, which they celebrated as a victory. However, who has benefited from all of this? It’s the loss of the entire country as we keep this sector untapped and let the big farmers and middlemen enjoy and let the small farmers still suffer. Let there be only a surplus in wheat and paddy only. Let the unsustainable practices in India prevail in the Agri market due to poor infrastructure in supply-chain and storage facilities, therefore let the prices still be volatile. Let there be no diversification in farming and let us grow only our own benefits in the land. Let us not be self-reliant and keep importing the things that we could also grow. Let WTO still puts the limit on our wheat and paddy export due to the highly subsidized practices in farming. Let there be always these protests for every change irrespective of its merit/demerits. Let us always be at the mercy of others’ validation and keep feeling inferior.

Praveen Zalaya
Student at Polito
Email: zalaya143@gmail.com
References:
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/khalistan-farmers-protest-supreme-court-7143649/
https://www.opindia.com/2021/09/punjab-congress-mla-raj-kumar-verka-admits-party-sponsoring-farmer-protests/
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/supreme-court-panel-member-says-farm-laws-report-100-in-favour-of-farmers-2534653
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/dalit-man-killed-singhu-border-farmers-protest-site-survived-wife-kids-1865163-2021-10-15
https://hindustannewshub.com/india-news/killed-at-singhu-border-at-3-oclock-in-the-night-nihang-group-who-took-responsibility-for-the-murder-told-the-whole-incident-accused-arrested/
https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/reaction-to-action-rakesh-tikait-killing-of-bjp-workers-lakhimpur-kheri-violence-1862893-2021-10-09
https://www.indembkathmandu.gov.in/docs/1608530907Farmer_Articles_Booklet_compressed.pdf

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