When Shashi Tharoor Misses The Woods
Yes, Indian farmers are now at war. But do the kisans fight the jawans?
Dr Shahshi Tharoor, MP, undoubtedly represents the liberal band in the Indian political spectrum and has been a bulwark against the Parivar within and outside Parliament. A believer, he refuses to let the Sangh define his religion, and it’s no small feat, though he disappointed many like me when he wavered facing the question whether the Constitution should prevail over regressive rituals and customs. Like Mark Antony, or like any genius facing an unwelcome audience, he buttresses his arguments, invariably fortified with facts and logic, with those of the opponents so that they get an assured audience even on the other side.
Now, look at this post of Dr Tharoor:
“It’s not Jawan against Kisan. It’s not Right Wing vs Left Wing. It’s Indian against Indian. It’s you, me, all of us battling those who spurn #InclusiveIndia. On TV, on the streets, everywhere. On a day we shouldn’t have witnessed what we had to, let’s remember: United we stand, divided we fall.” It’s about the farmers’ agitation demanding the repeal of the three laws that will henceforth govern agriculture in our country. Let’s decipher the post.
Yes, Indian farmers are now at war. But do the kisans fight the jawans? No sir. No jawan fought the kisan; no kisan fought the jawan. And even if there is a loss, it’s on the part of the kisan. No leader needs to procrastinate to find out where his sympathies should lie. “It’s not Right Wing vs Left Wing.” Truly?
I fail to understand how the Nehruvian socialist in Dr Tharoor can afford to miss the Left vs Right angle in it. “Its Indian Vs Indian”. That’s the most unkindest cut, sir.
Dr Tharoor has said he has been supporting the farmers’ agitation from its inception. Then, it’s highly unlikely that he missed the point: all the farmers do is to fight with an unjust government policy which they believe is an attempt to hand over Indian agriculture to corporate vultures. It would endanger their existence and undermine the nation’s food security, they believe.
It’s Indian Vs An Unjust Government Policy. Anyone who wants to take sides in this war has two options: either convince the farmer that policy is good for him; or join him in his fight. There hardly is a middle ground. Looking for one is a cowardly act. The Congress has been supporting the farmers all along. Even as Dr Tharoor was writing his post, former congress president and his colleague in the Lok Sabha, Shri Rahul Gandhi, demanded the repeal of the three laws.
It’s unfair and unjust on Dr Tharoor’s part to paint the farmers’ fight for the whole nation as Indian Vs Indian. It’s a dishonest balancing act aiming at propitiating the middle class fancy about order, whipped up by the pracharaks of the Parivar. Dr Tharoor knows who they are: unprincipled showmen and women, masquerading as journalists. And he also knows what they peddle: exasperating farragos of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies.
What the farmer needs is unequivocal and unstinted support; and not half-hearted homilies and unkindest cuts at critical and unexpected turns. Not siding with the attempts to distort events out of their proportion and malign the whole movement but painting the true picture. Not missing the woods for the trees; focusing and help other focus on them, instead.
The support of people like Dr Tharoor is sure to help blunt the propaganda the government and its pracharaks has unleashed on the people. But that needs the courage of conviction. Dr Tharoor will disappoint more people if he let himself found wanting in it. Again.
But I am hopeful this time around.