In this episode of EARTHLIFE Severine interviews Indra Shekhar Singh, director of the Indian seed association and journalist.
In this interview we learn from Indra about the millions of farmers who have shown up to protest and those who remain (mostly white haired!) occupying the roads entering Delhi living in their trolley wagons pulled by tractors to protest the International Ag Business-friendly laws of the Modi government. This law removes critical protections and prices supports and puts the already marginalized and precarious farmers at tremendous dis-advantage with large international grain buyers. The proposed laws would normalize ‘contract growing’ and a race to the bottom.
Indra is a writer and a wonderful thinker, who helps us all remember the shared colonial history of the US and India. He recalls the Salt march, the East India Company, the longstanding Ghandian traditions of standing up, non violently, for human dignity and self determination. He tells about the kindness and the valor expressed by the protesting farmers, about the lineage of this behavior, as these farmers are many of them veterans of the army, about why such an outpouring of solidarity and respect is shown by the Indian peoples towards these farmers. Indra tells how his own family gave away farm land during the famous Land GIFT Movement of Vinoba Bhave and Vimala Thakar to be overseen by village counsels and distributed to the less fortunate so that none would be desperate. The same village counsel process that we refer to in the interview is used for the self-determined and self-organized water citizen-powered management movement as coordinated by Rajendra Singh and the Flow Partnership International for helping to heal watersheds and increase infiltration of the water table. Indeed this episodes helps us refer to what is truly meaningful, the will force, the truth, the historical reckoning, our own freedom, the structure and accountability of our democratic process. I refer listeners to learn about the very same struggle which is happening here in the USA https://disparitytoparity.org/.
1.Devinder Sharma (https://devinder-sharma.blogspot.com)
2.P Sainath (https://ruralindiaonline.org/authors/p-sainath/)
3. I S Singh - @indrassingh and the hashtags are quite effective:
#farmersprotest #farmerprotest #istandwithfarmers. Also tracking the wonderful coordinated action of the Punjabi Diaspora and the Sikh diaspora who have been a source of tremendous solidarity, along with the truckers and the general strikers. It is a community in touch with the honor and dignity and worth of its farmers, who have mobilized to make sure that all are fed.
4. Thewire.in is a best place to get updates in English.
1. Can the government guarantee that #India won’t go the US #agri-business way due to these reforms? God forbid if the implementation fails, no one can safeguard our #farms, annadattas and food system from a Neo-Company Raj - https://thewire.in/agriculture/farm-bills-small-farmers-and-chasing-the-agri-dollar-dream
2. "India cannot have protectionism for corporations backed by tariffs and a free market only for Indian farmers," The Wire. #WTO - https://thewire.in/agriculture/the-pandoras-box-of-agri-reform-subsidies-and-tariffs
3. Did You Think the New Laws Were Only About the Farmers? - P Sainath - https://thewire.in/rights/farm-laws-legal-rights-constitution
4. India's Farm Protests: A Basic Guide to the Issues at Stake - Kabir Agarwal - https://thewire.in/agriculture/indias-farmers-protests-guide-issues-at-stake-reforms-laws-msp
5. India’s farms and villages are India. If the government does not course-correct, each roti will be mottled with the blood of farmers | #FarmersProtest #BharatBandh - https://www.newsclick.in/farmers-fight-bharat-india?
6. Don’t mess with farmers - https://www.dailypioneer.com/2020/columnists/don---t-mess-with-farmers.html?