Farmers win on many fronts, media fails on all

What the media can never openly admit is that the largest peaceful democratic protest the world has seen in years – certainly the greatest organised at the height of the pandemic – has won a mighty victory.

A victory that carries forward a legacy. Farmers of all kinds, men and women – including from Adivasi and Dalit communities – played a crucial role in this country’s struggle for freedom. And in the 75th year of our Independence, the farmers at Delhi’s gates reiterated the spirit of that great struggle.

Prime Minister Modi has announced he is backing off and repealing the farm laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament starting on the 29th of this month. He says he is doing so after failing to persuade ‘a section of farmers despite best efforts’. Just a section, mind you, that he could not convince to accept that the three discredited farm laws were really good for them. Not a word on, or for, the over 600 farmers who have died in the course of this historic struggle. His failure, he makes it clear, is only in his skills of persuasion, in not getting that ‘section of farmers’ to see the light. No failure attaches to the laws themselves or to how his government rammed them through right in the middle of a pandemic.

Well, the Khalistanis, anti-nationals, bogus activists masquerading as farmers, have graduated to being ‘a section of farmers’ who declined to be persuaded by Mr. Modi’s chilling charms. Refused to be persuaded? What was the manner and method of persuasion? By denying them entry to the capital city to explain their grievances? By blocking them with

— source | P. Sainath | Nov. 20, 2021

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Independent Kisan Commission Needed to Addressing Agrarian Crisis

The country desperately needs an independent Kisan Commission to assess the grim situation about farmers’ income and distress faced by the agrarian sector, the impact of climate change on cultivators and other related stakeholders like agricultural workers, fishermen and people engaged in hatcheries, said senior journalist P Sainath, who has extensively covered the rural economy in India. He said the process of setting up such a commission had begun.

Addressing a press conference on solidarity with the agitating farmers here on Thursday, Sainath, while hailing “the incredible” victory of farmers through reversal of three farm laws, said the laws were not about farm sector alone and indeed disenfranchised the citizen of India from their fundamental right to legal remedy.

“The farm laws were not only about the agriculture. Through Section 17, 18 of Farmer Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Centre led by PM Narendra Modi infiltrated the states’ territory to determine the fate of millions of farmers without any consultation and consent. It also disenfranchised people from their right to legal remedy under Article 32. It caused so much uproar that the Delhi Bar Council had to write to the President that it was unconstitutional and thousands of lawyers will be affected because rural India has many cases related to land in district courts. They made a precedent about snatching this right first in Karnataka, where similar clauses were

— source | 25 Nov 2021

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Death Data Shows Protest Not of Big Farmers

Newsclick reached out to Lakhwinder Singh, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Khalsa College, Patiala, to discuss the study he and Shergill undertook. Singh explains what their data suggest, the emergence of inter-class alliances in rural India, and why the protest movement has become a battle for their very survival.

In the joint study you and Baldev Singh Shergill undertook, “Separating Wheat from the Chaff: Farm Laws, Farmers’ Protest and Outcomes”, there is a rich vein of data on farmers who died during the ongoing protest movement. How did you all collect the data?

We have been following farmers’ protest ever since they began to amass on the outskirts of New Delhi on 26 November 2020. After a month or so, we read media reports on the death of some protestors. From these reports, we gathered the names of the deceased and the villages to which they belonged. We secured their telephone numbers, talked to their families, and gathered details such as their age and the size of their landholdings.

— source | 17 Nov 2021

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Extreme weather events in India made women, children more vulnerable to modern slavery

Climate change-induced extreme weather events put women, children and minorities at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking. The phenomenon is on the rise in India, among other countries, warned the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International in a recent report.

Modern slavery — including debt bondage, bonded labour, early / forced marriage and human trafficking — converge with climate change, particularly climate shocks and climate-related forced displacement and migration, the report said.

The report observed what happened in Sundarbans, for instance.

The delta region is characterised by intense, recurrent and sudden onset disasters, as well as slow onset ecological degradation making large areas uninhabitable. Rising sea

— source | Kiran Pandey | 21 Sep 2021

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How agriculture gave rise to one of the world’s most mysterious language families

A tiny grain of millet may have given birth to one of the most mysterious—and widespread—language families on Earth, according to the largest study yet of linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence from about a dozen countries across Asia. The Transeurasian languages, sometimes known as Altaic, include the languages of Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia, and possibly Japan and the Korean Peninsula. The new study suggests the language family arose in northeastern China 9000 years ago, expanding with the spread of agriculture.

“It’s convincing,” says Peter Bellwood, an archaeologist at Australian National University who wasn’t involved with the work. “Languages don’t just go wandering off by themselves; they expand because the people who speak those languages spread.” Farming, he adds, is a strong reason for such an expansion.

The origins of so-called Transeurasian languages—about 80 at the highest count—are hotly debated. Some linguists believe they sprang from the same source, but others say extensive borrowing between ancient languages explains why certain sounds, terms, and grammatical features are common among many tongues, from Turkish to Tungusic. Some

— source | Michael Price | 10 Nov 2021

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The Palestinian seed bank on target list

In my waking nightmare, I see a company of adrenaline-fueled Israeli soldiers breaking into the seed bank established by the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees. Against my will I see them shattering and breaking, scattering seeds of baladi (heirloom) crops a moment before they are distributed to the farmers, burrowing into the deep freezer where they are being preserved so they will last for another 70 years. I see them destroying the equipment in the laboratory and kicking at the sabra plants on the steps. And whatever they don’t destroy – they steal. Or “confiscate,” in army jargon.

This nightmare was sparked by Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s recent announcement declaring six Palestinian NGOs to be terror groups, among them the agricultural union. Already earlier, before the declaration, the army broke into the offices of the organizations, stealing computers and documents, and it closed the main office of the agricultural union for six months.

The bitter experience of several decades indicates that ignorant soldiers, who are fed with fake depictions of Palestinian society, are certainly capable of destroying within an hour or two the years-long labor of dozens of agronomists and the cumulative knowledge of the many farmers with whom they worked. Our soldiers are programmed in such a way that

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Amira Hass | 8 Nov 2021

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Most Farmers Who Died at Delhi’s Borders Owned Less Than 3 Acres Land

Contrary to the claim that it is mostly ‘big farmers’ who are protest at Delhi’s borders, a study conducted by two economists associated with Punjabi University at Patiala has revealed that those who died during the protest cultivated no more than an average of 2.94 acres of land.

In all, 600 farmers have allegedly died in the protest that is now close to a year.

“The average size of the cultivated plot goes down to 2.26 acres if we include landless deceased farmers who were cultivating on the contracted land,” revealed the study authored by Lakhwinder Singh, former professor of economics at Punjabi University, and Baldev Singh Shergill, assistant professor of social sciences at Punjabi University’s Guru Kashi Campus in Bathinda.

The study, according to Singh, was based on data on 460 of the 600 farmers who died in the last 11 months of protest. The families of the deceased were contacted personally while conducting the study, Singh told The Wire.

— source | Vivek Gupta | 07/Nov/2021

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