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Massive Actions by Indian Workers and Farmers Against Government – Jayati Ghosh

The Indian government is pushing austerity rather than stimulus and using the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce policies they thought would go through without much opposition – but that’s not what happened. Jayati Ghosh joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast.

Rush Transcript

Paul Jay

Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to theAnalysis.news podcast. Please don’t forget we have a matching grant campaign on now. We only survive because people like you donate. And so if you haven’t donated already or if you want to up your donation, it will be matched.

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On the 26 of November 2020, a general strike was held across India. The strike was organized by 10 trade unions across the country and were supported by the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India, Marxist, the Communist Party of India, Marxist, Leninist Liberation and other left wing parties.

Trade unions estimate two hundred and fifty million people took part in the strike. Strike was followed by a farmers march to New Delhi, which arrived there on the 30th of November with tens of thousands of farmers surrounding Delhi, increasing the hundreds of thousands by December 3rd as coveted savages India, which is amongst the worst affected countries in the world. The farmers of India continue their protest. By some estimates, the numbers have now grown to two million people. Now joining us to discuss the massive protests in India is Jayati Ghosh, she taught economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi  for nearly 35 years.

She’s now joined the  PERI institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She’s authored or edited 19 books including Never Done and Poorly Paid Women’s Work and Globalizing India, and she’s authored more than 200 scholarly articles. Thanks for joining us.

Jayati Ghosh

It’s a pleasure. 

So, Jayati, tell us exactly the story and how the strike began and how it evolved into the farmers protest.

Jayati Ghosh

Well, the workers strike really came about because the government has used this period of covid not to do anything for the welfare of the people, but to push through all kinds of laws that really they would have had faced a lot of protest against otherwise. So they introduced four new labor codes, which are supposedly designed to modernize the labor laws. But of course, they basically end up disempowering labor and destroying the capacity of bargaining and reducing their ability to demand minimum wages, basic working conditions, easing the possibility of extending working hours and all kinds of things.

Now, as you know, in India, ninety five percent of our workers are informal and really do not have rights to speak already. So the argument that you need to further deregulate to actually make investment more interesting is ridiculous. And it’s just one of the many ways in which this government has tried to actually impose various things which are deeply undemocratic, using the pandemic as an excuse.

The farmers movement is slightly different, it didn’t quite arise out of that worker strike, it emerged separately because along with those labor codes that they have brought in, the government also pushed through an ordinance , which was basically three farm acts, and then they called a special session of parliament and rushed through these acts within a few months without any discussion, without even allowing for a vote, and simply announced through a voice vote, which is whoever shouts louder gets it that these bills were passed in both houses.

Now, these three farm laws, the farmers are very upset about because they essentially they claim once again that they’re going to modernize agriculture and they’re going to do things to the benefit of farmers. But farmers have many concerns. They feel that this is going to open up the gates for predatory commercialization of agriculture. They’re going to reduce the role of the state run markets, which provide a minimum support price for major crops like wheat and rice and sugar cane.

And what one of the acts does is to bypass these markets and say anybody can buy from you. And we all know what happens when you allow that, which is that the companies move in, they offer sweetener deals to attract farmers.

And then they basically, once they’ve got you completely under their control, then they put on the screws and they deny you your basic price. They put in quality controls. They do all kinds of things that do not give farmers the basic price. So the farmers have been saying, we don’t want this. You claim this is for our benefit. Why didn’t you discuss this with us? Why didn’t you discuss this with the state governments who are in charge of agriculture and many of whom are opposing these laws?

Why did you impose these new acts without even so much as an attempt to discuss them? And if you are so clear that it’s going to be better for us, then make that minimum support price the legal minimum.

Paul Jay

So who benefits from these laws?

Jayati Ghosh

This is really something that is going to benefit a bunch of cronies who are interested in entering agriculture in a big way, agri processing and agricultural marketing and the two cronies, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, who runs a very big network telecom network.

He’s also the petrochemical giant. He’s the richest man in the country and one of the richest men in the world. And there’s another crony, Mr. Gautam Adani , who was completely made during the Modi government in Gujarat. He was a nobody. And when Mr. Modi was chief minister, he emerged as a businessman. He is now one of the largest businesses in India. They have bought up almost all of the airports, even though he has no experience in airports.

He’s doing mining in Australia. He’s doing all kinds of things. Now, both of them are interested in entering agricultural marketing. So the farmers have openly seen this as an attempt to actually ease the path of these cronies. What’s very interesting is that part of the protest has actually been openly directed against Ambani and Adani to the extent that the farmers have demanded of the supporters do not subscribe to the Jio network. Jio is the telecom network run by Reliance Mr Adani’s company,

Paul Jay

Which is like a cell phone company.

Jayati Ghosh

That’s right. Exactly.

So within two weeks, two million subscribers left the network.

Really, I think it’s even more now

Paul Jay

The scale of the participation rate in the workers strike and the participation and the farmers protest. And it seems from I mean, I don’t know that much about Indian politics, but the fact that in the workers strike so many unions and then so many of these communist parties and people don’t understand that in India, communist parties are a big deal.They may not be governing the federal government, but they do at times govern certain states. And they’re and they’re big at the moment.

Jayati Ghosh

They’re running the state of Kerala and doing one of the best jobs, even in terms of controlling covid.

Paul Jay

But the cooperation amongst, sometimes these communist parties or competitors, even the trade unions, it sounds like there’s a growing level of unity taking place in this struggle.

Is that correct?

Jayati Ghosh

Well, you know, what’s interesting about this strike? It wasn’t it was also it was definitely the communist parties and the trade unions, but it was also a bunch of trade unions associated with other parties. Practically every trade union other than those associated with the BJP was involved in this strike. So there’s fairly wide acceptance among the organized working class, you know, the ones who would be actually affected by these labor laws, that these are really against their interests and they have come together.

And I hope this is a sign for the future that they will continue to come together because this is a government that is very clearly going to move as fast as possible and as rapidly as possible to destroy workers rights.

Paul Jay

What’s the approach of the Modi government in terms of, some governments are introducing a real fiscal stimulus during this covid pandemic and lockdown’s and others insanely still talk about austerity, whereas Modi in all of this,

Jayati Ghosh

He’s in the far end of insanity.

The Indian government has spent less in real terms between April and October this year than it did between April and October last year. The total spending of the central government has gone up by two percent. I’m not joking, in nominal terms, two percent, which means in real terms, because prices have gone up by about five percent. In real terms, it has fallen. They have spent less. Why have they spend less? Because they get less tax revenues, obviously, because it’s a pandemic.

You stopped everything functioning. You did a massive lockdown, the most stringent lockdown in the world. So obviously you will get less tax every year. So then there’s such, shall we say, slaves to the idea of fiscal discipline that they actually have the incredibly stupid notion that if they get less tax money, they should spend less. And that’s exactly what they have done.

Paul Jay

But every country seems, even Wall Street has figured out that you need to counter what’s called countercyclical spending, Wall Street wants stimulus spending, Europe, Canada. I mean, how can Modi on such a different page here?

Jayati Ghosh

You know, the IMF has asked India to spend more. I mean, we are talking about everything completely opposed to the basic economic rationality.

And I’m unable to understand it because we don’t have a big external debt. We don’t have a big balance of payments problem. Whatever inflation we have is because the government is constantly raising the price of petrol through adding taxes on it. There’s no reason to worry that, you know, spending more will be counterproductive. It’s the opposite. The less you spend now, the worse your deficit will be because the economy will fall further and there will be less tax revenues as a result.

For some reason, they’re just not doing it.

And we are unable to understand why

Paul Jay

The workers strike and at the farmers protest, is that one of the demands that there needs to be more support during these covid recession?

Jayati Ghosh

Well, that I think right now the farmers are definitely asking for more support. They are asking for price support to be continued and established that asking for a whole range of other things. And they’re worried about investment for greening because they’re already facing the impact of climate change. The workers were much more worried about their rights being eroded. So that was much more specifically about the measures that would prevent them from demanding support. But the informal workers of India ninety five percent of our workers, have got almost nothing and they have been absolutely devastated. Livelihoods have been destroyed. You know, undernutrition has increased dramatically. That is evidence that people are eating one less meal a day. Children are going undernourished, and this is going to affect their development in future. We already have terrible rates of child stunting and child malnutrition. And all of this has got worse.

Paul Jay

How are people surviving? Did the state provide any kind of support for people?

Jayati Ghosh

Well, this is the crazy thing. The central government left everything to the state governments. They declared a lockdown nationally without even consulting the states and then having done the lockdown, they basically threw up their hands and said, that’s your problem, and the state governments, some of them have been trying desperately, but they have no money. They are not allowed to actually raise taxes because of new goods and services tax, which is centralized. The central government owes them money that was promised as compensation.

It hasn’t given the full amount of money it has to all the states. You can go out and borrow more. So that’s what they have done. They borrowed more in desperation. But when the state governments borrow, it means that they have to repay. And they cannot print money, they have to cut their budget next year to repay this money,

Paul Jay

I don’t get it. One of the reasons for foreign companies to invest in India, it’s not just because they need some cheap labor. It’s because the Indian market is so damn big. It’s a wonderful place to go sell stuff. But you can’t sell stuff to people that don’t have any money.

Jayati Ghosh

Exactly.

Paul Jay

So there’s something not computing here. 

Jayati Ghosh

Here, all of us are knockingour heads. What on earth is going on? Why don’t they do this? It’s so obvious and everybody is saying, please do. This businessman have said, please spend more. The IMF is saying, please spend more. Everybody saying spend more and they are not. And the amount they’ve given for social protection is so pathetic. We are among the worst in the world in terms of what we’ve given for social protection during this period.

Paul Jay

I mean, my my memory of what I was in India more than almost two decades ago.

But my memory is that there’s about 300 million or so people who live at quite a good standard of living, almost West European level of standard of living.

And then you’ve got, what, 700, 800 million people who live in poverty.

Is that still the case?

Jayati Ghosh

I well, you know, I wouldn’t say that three hundred million live in the Western standard of living, now that I’m in the West, I know it’s maybe 50 million out at the Western standard of living. And then there will be another one hundred and fifty million who would have a working class style existence, a US working class kind of existence. I’m with the rest on extreme poverty and destitution of a kind that I think people in the West just can’t imagine, destitution, the starvation people are on the verge of starvation.

Paul Jay

So that’s about 800 million people starving.

Well, our population is now 1.3 billion. So, yeah, it could be even more than that.

Paul Jay

The thing that always got me about the demographics of this stratification in India, as even though, say, it’s only 50 million living at a Western standard of living, that’s like two Canadas practically.

And one hundred and fifty million at a Western, more or less level working class, like a stable working class level, that’s an enormous market.

So is is that partly that they don’t care about the eight hundred million because they can’t buy anything anyway?

Jayati Ghosh

I think this is this was true for a while that they didn’t care, but they were also living off the benefits of the previous growth where even the poor benefited. You know, the previous decade had seen fairly rapid growth, real wages had increased. So it wasn’t entirely, you know, I mean, it hadn’t increased very much, but a little bit had increased. So they were benefiting off of that and what they don’t realize is that you can’t do that indefinitely because ultimately your domestic market still suffers.

So we have seen investment in India declining ever since 2012. So now eight years in a row, investment has been declining well before the pandemic, when India was still seen as one of those dynamic economies.

Paul Jay

When you say investment, you mean foreign investment or federal government investment

Jayati Ghosh

Domestic private investment, big companies investing abroad rather than in India. The medium and small companies didn’t have the money, couldn’t access the credit, and the market wasn’t big enough. So because you are shrinking consumption, workers, consumption so much, that actually affects the market as a whole and it reduces the incentive to invest. So, in fact, investment has been slumping for a very long time and that is in turn created a chain reaction.

Of course, employment, anyway, has been in very bad shape. We have had a decline in employment, absolute decline of around nine million during the phase of rapid growth. And in this period since this crazy pandemic, we’ve seen further falls in employment, so we don’t actually have the official data, but what has happened to employment is a shrinking. Not an increase. And that really means your market is shrinking and therefore you’re in that vicious cycle.

Only government spending can get you out of this.

Paul Jay

And who is it that puts pressure on Modi to to not get into debt? I understand the pressure for not raising taxes, but pretty obvious that even a certain amount of stimulus will come back to the government and tax revenue once things begin to move again.

Jayati Ghosh

You know, this, I find I think fundamentally they don’t understand economics and they’re not interested in economics and he deeply distrusts experts. He just really hates experts.

So he has around him basically bureaucrats and those who will just say whatever you say is fine. And he’s decided that this is not so important to spend on the people to spend to revive demand. No. And the cronies are telling him, give us these other incentives, give us these subsidies, and then we will do investment. Recently, the finance minister Vitt Mantrī, she basically threw up her hands and said no amount of stimulus would be enough for this immense crisis.

Paul Jay

So don’t do any anything. Now,  Kerala you said, is doing well, so talk about what’s going on. They’re doing well in terms of how they’re dealing with the pandemic.

Jayati Ghosh

Well, Kerala is a very interesting state because it’s been alternating between a left and a sort of center, center left government between the CPI and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress Party. Every five years it changes government. The current government is actually the CPM led government. And in the early stages, the first case was actually in Kerala. The covid-19 case because of travellers from Wuhan, China into Kerala. Get them has very high migration abroad.

They dealt with it very well. They were the ones who actually insisted and kept asking the central government to put in a strategy of contact tracing, testing, isolating. They did it themselves. The first wave they managed to control very well. The health minister of Kerala, KK Shailaja, she is a schoolteacher. She’s actually been on the cover of Time as one of the people who really managed the this whole pandemic rather well. Unfortunately, they managed the first wave very well.

They got a second wave. And the second wave was also because the central government did not allow them to put in place many conditions that they would have done to restrict people coming in and bringing infections in. So they’ve had another phase, but that, too, they have coped very well, they have borrowed to provide social protection, to provide welfare to the migrant workers who are stranded, to people who have lost their livelihoods and their jobs. They’re doing whatever they can, but they are running out of money.

Paul Jay

But are they allowed to borrow? 

Jayati Ghosh

That’s the only thing the central government did is they allowed the state governments to borrow more. Now, it’s a it’s that state governments have no choice right now, but to borrow more because you have to spend

Paul Jay

And borrow from where? Where do they borrow from

Jayati Ghosh

The Reserve Bank of India from from the central bank. But next year, they’ll have to pay back.

Paul Jay

Now, India has its own currency. It’s not dependent on, you know, they can print rupees.

There’s no reason India can’t be doing the same kind of stimulus that’s happening in most of the advanced Western countries.

Jayati Ghosh

Yes, absolutely.

Paul Jay

But  if I understand correctly, Modi is still pretty popular.

Jayati Ghosh

This is one of those mysteries of contemporary politics that is very, very hard to explain. I think many countries have got rulers who are popular for all kinds of weird reasons. Mr. Modi seems to have developed a very extraordinary connect with ordinary people whereby he can somehow persuade them that whatever is happening is not his fault. You know, this is an act of God, the pandemic has struck, the fact that your government is not doing anything that other governments across the world are doing so much more, people don’t know that the media is heavily controlled. It’s completely subservient to the ruling party, the mainstream media. There are a few brave outlets. But they are he does everything he can to stop them. They have an army of social media trolls and literally they call it an army, that they have WhatsApp group armies  people who actually forward all kinds of misinformation continuously. And they manage to control people’s perceptions and understanding so that even the people who have lost their jobs, people whose children have starved to death, people who have died of covid because they were forced to congregate in these very unhealthy, crowded conditions in a desperate attempt to try and get home.

Even they do not blame the central government.

Paul Jay

Who do they blame?

Jayati Ghosh

They blame their own local state government who didn’t provide, you know, something for me or whatever they blame God or, you know, some natural disaster. So he’s very successful in deflecting the blame and in persuading people that whatever’s is happening is very bad for you, but it’s great in the other states and it’s great somewhere else. So it’s just your own situation, which is really terrible, but so

Paul Jay

Are there parallels between Modi and Trump?

Yeah, Trump has 80 (ed 74 million)  million people that voted for him.

Jayati Ghosh

I would say Modi is much more dangerous for several reasons. For one thing, he’s smarter. I mean, let’s face it, Mr. Trump is a bit of a loose cannon, right? I mean, and he’s in his own way, a maverick. But also Mr. Modi has a whole fascist vanguard. He’s got his stormtroopers. The RSS is is an openly fascistic organization. They actually used Mein Kampf, Hitler’s autobiography continuously. The one country in the world where Mein Kampf is never out of print is India, because the RSS over decades is it’s been a big believer in Hitler’s philosophy and approach.

And they have an army of people all over the country.

Paul Jay

What is our RSS?

Jayati Ghosh

The RSS is a very strange organization. It’s called It is short for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Union of National Volunteers would be the literal translation. And they are rated one of the members of the RSS is the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. It’s been banned periodically in the course of Indian history. It was banned immediately after Gandhi was assassinated, but it was periodically three to four times it’s been banned. Now, half the cabinet are RSS members, Mr. Modi himself is a member, the home minister is an RSS member. The RSS is very, very effectively controlling the government and they have an army of volunteers.

Paul Jay

These are these are extreme Hindu nationalists.

Jayati Ghosh

That’s right. That’s right.

Paul Jay

So what’s happening to the Muslim population of India during this period?

Jayati Ghosh

It is terrifying. You know, there was a big upsurge of protest before this in 2019 when the government brought in a law which effectively made Muslims second class citizens. And again, it was rushed through parliament and just happened and so on. And then there was a groundswell of protest where Muslim women would sit peacefully, incidents in different parts of Delhi, Bombay, across the country, students were protesting.

And it was a wonderful kind of occasion where it was really very, very lively and a lot of creative protest forms emerged over this period. The pandemic came as a wonderful present, because they could immediately announce that the disease is spreading. Nobody is allowed to sit and leave immediately. They had instigated riots against these peaceful protesters. There were leaders of the ruling party who are on video openly saying you have to go out and shoot them. Kill them all anti nationals openly.

There were people who went with guns to shoot their all out on bail, the people who were sitting peacefully are being imprisoned, students, women who are sitting peacefully. Men, Muslim men who were helping in the sit ins arrested doctors who were providing medical assistance for people at the sit ins, arrested, thrown into jail with on all kinds of extreme terror kinds of charges, which are very, very difficult to get rid of.

Paul Jay

Is the left gaining strength against all this?

Jayati Ghosh

I wish I could say that the left was gaining strength. The left is very, very weak right now. The state of Kerala is the only state really where they have been in political power recently. But one one situation in which the left has been getting a bit more strength is with the farmers movement because the left has also got a farmers union and they have been very active in organizing earlier marches and protests.

And even in this one, they are very strongly involved. But this particular form of protest is sui generis. It didn’t happen because of any organized leadership. It was farmers in three states, neighboring Delhi, who are particularly upset, who came to the borders of Delhi and wanted to enter and were not allowed. So we have the borders of Delhi are fascinating. The full of these tractors, the people, the farmers have come in their tractors and there are thousands and thousands at each of these sites.

There are 17 different sites at the border. There are thousands of these people for all the young farmers, women, children, everybody’s come. They had arranged that every day one hundred new families would come and then the earlier ones would leave, you know, to kind of give a relief. But what happened is that the earlier ones came, the new ones came, but the earlier ones are not leaving. So it’s just growing in number and now they’re being joined by farmers from all over the country in support

Paul Jay

The left parties, at least three communist parties, if not more, three big ones.

Is there really such a difference politically between them?

And let me ask, is there is there not. If maybe there is, but why isn’t there one broad left front now or is there.

Jayati Ghosh

Well Paul, that’s such a tough question, I have knocked my head on this very, very many times, there’s very little in terms of real ideological difference. There was a time when the differences were quite sharp. But right now, I would say, frankly, we are dealing with a very powerful, very dangerous, very cruel fascist power.

And it’s not just the left parties, but all the parties that want Indian democracy to survive have to come together. I don’t understand why this does not seem more openly and why a greater effort is not made, but unfortunately it is not happened yet. I hope it happens soon.

Paul Jay

That’s rather important, India is going to be one of the deciders of what happens to humanity, not least of which on the climate question, if the issue of climate crisis and carbon isn’t dealt with in countries India, China, United States, Europe.

But India is a major factor in whether we solve this climate crisis or not. And is it does Modi acknowledge that there is a crisis? Is there anything happening?

Jayati Ghosh

Oh, yes. He’s very good at talking about it globally. He will go to all the platforms and say lots of good things. He’s got various prices. I think Japan gave him some environmental award and all kinds of things. But it’s it’s a kind of dealing with the climate crisis based on inequality, deprive the poor of their basic needs, the government itself, I mean, he’s just got himself two new planes, aircraft with, you know, huge, enormous aircraft flying around himself, which no prime minister ever had before.

Jayati Ghosh

The government has just bought these in the middle of the pandemic, he has announced that he wants to completely destroy the central vista of New Delhi, the old Parliament House and all the central buildings. And the president’s house destroyed all that and build a new which is going to cost billions of rupees, trillions of rupees. And he’s willing to spend that and not give basic social protection to the people. I would not even give enough money for vaccines to be available for everyone.

Paul Jay

Oh, yeah, that’s a question. How are they going to deal with the issue of vaccination

Jayati Ghosh

well they are hoping there are two candidates in India, one which are semi subsidised by the government, and they’re hoping that those two will actually produce results which are positive. They’re both in the clinical trial phase. AstraZeneca is producing and there will be some in India available for India. There is a producer in India who’s producing for AstraZeneca. So I think the government is really putting its hopes on these homegrown vaccines because really the possibility of being able to afford the the ones that are now being grabbed by the rich countries, that that doesn’t seem likely.

Paul Jay

And I know there’s been a fight at the WTO on the issue of copyright and trademark, trying to give an exemption to India, South Africa, other countries to be able to produce without worrying about copyright. But it failed

Jayati Ghosh

Well, patent. You see, India, South Africa and four other countries brought a case in the WTO saying that, look, this is a pandemic, this is a public health crisis. You have to actually just remove the patents on these because these are lifesaving and they’re essential. So all covid-19 related drugs and vaccines should not be subject to patent. OK, that was the argument. The rich countries immediately, European Union, Switzerland, UK and of course, the US immediately stopped it.

They have already stopped it on four occasions in the WTO. But you know, the WTO provisions, they allow for compulsory licensing. They say that if companies are using monopoly power and if there’s a public health emergency, you should give licenses compulsorily to other producers. Otherwise, how are you ever going to vaccinate the whole population of the world? These companies don’t have that production capacity. They want to restrict the production so that they can make more and more money.

Paul Jay

It’s an insanity because if the countries of the quote unquote, advanced countries, if they don’t deal with vaccinating essentially the world, there’s no end to this covid because it’s going to keep returning to all of these supposedly rich countries. I mean, they are rich, but supposedly advanced.

Jayati Ghosh

Well, you know, in fact, insisting on these patents is actually bad for the people of the rich countries even now, because, let’s face it, Moderna, all of its R&D costs for producing this vaccine were paid for from public money. They got a massive subsidy it paid for. All of that costs Pfizer 80 percent of the costs were covered. So now they’re still charging these high rates. How dare they charge these high prices? They should be allowed now to just distribute for free, really.

So governments are paying for these very, very high rates when they’ve already paid for the whole drug development, all the R&D for these vaccines they’ve already paid for, and now this buying at commercial rates. So this is actually something that even works against the people in developed countries.

Paul Jay

But just to make the point again, even if it almost or everybody gets vaccinated in the developed countries, if people in the developing countries don’t get vaccinated, there’s no you know, it’s not like there’s going to be an end to all global travel here.

This will never end because the people will keep bringing infections around the globe.

Jayati Ghosh

That’s right. And it’s the short sightedness and the narrow kind of blinkered approach that governments have in this, which is so opposite to what you must do to respond to a global pandemic.

Paul Jay

Well, it’s hard to end on a positive note here because it’s pretty shitty, but

Jayati Ghosh

I would come back to the farmers protest because, you know, I do think that the way the Modi government has responded to all dissent typically is first you ignore it, then you start blaming them and say that they are anti national, the terrorists, that this that that all that they been manipulated by anti nationals and they’ve been misled and so on, that they’ve tried all of that.

It hasn’t worked. And farmers in India are a very different piece of cake from getting after Muslims who are still a minority and who are relatively poor and less, shall we say, powerful. I think this time is going to be different.

It’s not going to be so easy to just wish them away and think that it will go away.

Paul Jay

Let me let me let me ask you one question amongst the farmers. Is it a mix of Hindu and Muslims?

Jayati Ghosh

Oh, yes.

And Sikhs, Sikhs are the is another kind of branch and another that a lot of Sikhs as well. And among the farmers, it’s also that they have a certain confidence that comes from the fact that they know that what they’re doing is so essential for the country. They’re producing food. They you know, you can’t just push them around in the same way.

Paul Jay

And are they getting support from the public?

Jayati Ghosh

You know, again, media hype has meant that a lot of the middle classes and so on are definitely not in support. But yes, the ordinary people in rural India, everybody is supporting, ordinary workers are supporting because they know that this is so important for them and you cannot accuse them of being anti national and terrorist and get away with it. So I think this time it’s going to be very interesting to see how it plays out. They’re very determined. They’ve come with months and months worth of supplies that braving it out in the bitter cold. 13 of them have died already during the protests, but they are sticking to it.

So it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. It won’t be so easy for the Modi government to just wish them away.

All right. Thanks very much for joining us today. You’re welcome. It was a pleasure.

And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news. Please visit the website, look for the information on the matching grant campaign.

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One Comment

  1. I’d just note that Biden and Obama gave a lot of support to BJP, and while Trump clowned around with Modi, it’s the slicksters at the DNC who gave Modi’s fascist brigades international cover that’s going to take a lot of work to undo. That would have been interesting to cover.

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