Cultivating Deception

The Modi government’s response to the farmer protests echoes colonial rhetoric

26 December 2020
A sikh farmer speaking at a rally on irrigation issues in 1946. The history of agrarian protest in Punjab goes back over a hundred years.
Margaret Bourke-White / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
A sikh farmer speaking at a rally on irrigation issues in 1946. The history of agrarian protest in Punjab goes back over a hundred years.
Margaret Bourke-White / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

In the 1920s, as the Punjab countryside was aflame in what was till then the largest mobilisation against British Raj, the Government of India noted in its files:

The Sikh peasant has been committed to a policy of “self-determination” imposed by men who are not his natural leaders, and has been induced by some mysterious process of mass psychology to enter a sphere of activity hitherto [interdicted] by all traditions of loyalty and self-interest.

If we substitute the term “Khalistan” for “self-determination,” and the word “misled” for “imposed” we have precisely the same framework that the government and the mainstream media is putting out today regarding the ongoing farmer protests against three recently enacted farm laws: of Sikh peasants being led astray by Khalistani elements.

Keywords: farm laws 2020 Farmers' Protest Punjab
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