Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to enjoy an enviable level of popularity, most of the country voted for BJP in the wake of Nationalist policies and his firm stand against miscreants, be it the Pakistani Army or Chinese Dispensations. PM Modi’s firm stand was always supported and applauded by the general public, especially by his supporters. 

A true son of the soil can never disrespect the Tri Color Flag for which thousands of Bhartiyas gave up their lives, or we should say that they have unearthed the true face of their politics on which they have worked in the last 2 months. A true citizen of India can never attack the public property, its citizens, and rally around the national capital like frenzies.

But, lets try to explore the real reason behind these protests.

For the last 2 months the National capital is held under siege by miscreants disguised as farmers, at first look, initially it seemed like a genuine protest by a group of farmers protesting for their legitimate demands, but the constant loss of public property, disruption of peace, Rakesh Tikait’s shameful comments on Hindus and Brahmins, Jograj Singh’s shameful comments on Hindus, Canadian politicians flying down to India to meet protesting farmers, Actors like Sushant Singh supporting agitations, adamance of farmers to disrupt Republic day parade and many such events, make us rethink whether it’s just farmer protests or a well-defined plan to reinvent an Old political ideology?

National flag being thrown away by a Protester on Republic Day (Source: PTC)

What is even startling is that even after the shameful comments of Rakesh Tikait, Yograj Singh, and many such politicians disguised as farmers, our Government seems to be unable to curb these miscreants and put them in place.

The shameful remarks against Hindus, Hindu traditions, and Brahmins, in particular, unearths the mindset of protestors and at the same time, all of this looks like a part of a larger conspiracy. The comments about Brahmins & temples are absolutely shameful. The hatred that has been spread against the Hindus & comments made against them reminds us of the politics of the same region of pre-independent India.

Let us try to understand the modus operandi of the miscreants disguised as Farmer’s:

1. The protestors have basically tried to block Delhi and cut its communication with the neighboring districts.

2. Protest erupted from Punjab where the government has already waived off the Centre’s farm bill through 3 legislations.

3. Punjab has almost 100% produces brought at MSP on some of the crops, highest in India, why protest then?

4. The protests erupted and were strengthened by the Jat population of parts of Punjab, Sonipat-Panipat, Bahadurgarh, parts of Western UP etc.

5. The Anti-Hindu slogans and comments were made by prominent Jat faces like Jograj Singh, Rakesh Tikait, Bhupender Chaudhary etc.

6. The protests got immense support from Jat politicians like Capt. Amrinder Singh, Navjot Singh Siddhu, Jat celebs like Diljeet Dosanjh, Babbu Maan, Sushant Singh and Jat Mahasabhas around Haryana,

Before we get into the details of the Unionist politics in play, let’s look at the comments made against Hindus during these protests:

But, first, we will try to look at Tikaits comments:

1. “Mandir Kaha hai, hume chai kyu nahi pila rahe”

2. “Ye Pandit Sudhar jao jo mandiro me baithe hai, bahut chadhava hai inpar”

3. “Ek Bhi Pandit saath na aaya, Ilaaj in sabka hoga”

Above mentioned comments were made by Rakesh Tikait

4. “Hindu Dharm & Hindu Rituals Pakhand Hai” by Bhupender Chaudhary, Member of All India Jat Mahasabha

5. Hindu Women were sold for “Takka-Takka” by Jograj Singh

 In a photo shared on his social media account, Bhupender Chaudhary quoted a picture of a Jat couple who took the marriage vows around the photo of Bhagat Singh and Jat unionist leader Choturam. He also went on to call our scared Hindu rituals “Pakhand”. People who have lived in Punjab or western UP are well aware of such political game plans.

Bhupender Chaudhary is the Senior Member of Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Jat Mahasabha

A question that needs to be asked, that why not other Kisans over the country protesting against the Farm Bill, except those in Jat Belt? Why not Kisans of Tamil Nadu Protesting, or Kisans of MP or Kisans of Eastern UP? Why only Haryana, Punjab, and West UP. The whole country, political parties and common citizens should think about this.

The question arises that how come Brahmin hatred or Hindu hatred became a part of the farmer protests? Are these comments some random statements or have some history of their own? Such groups inciting Hindu hatred for their political motivations is an age-old political tool that has its roots in Unionist politics of Sir Chotu Ram. The current protests erupted from the same region which once was the stronghold of Chotu Ram’s & Sikandar Hayat Khan’s Unionist party.

Rakesh Tikait and Prominent Sikh Jatts discussing the plans prior to Republic Day Fallout

Chotu Ram was a Jat Unionist leader born in Rohtak(Under Punjab Subah) then, could be considered as the father of Jat Unionist agrarian politics in India.  He was the co-founder of the National Unionist Party which ruled the United Punjab Province (including Haryana) in pre-independent India.

Chotu Ram confessed to having been a communalist & sectarian in his earlier days and interested in Jats alone, but he changed his stance later realizing that he can’t gather much support, solely on this cause and to widen his reach, he embraced all agriculturists along with Sikh Jats and Muslim Jats, which later was fruitful for his movement, though it always centered around jats, and that is still evident from Politics of Punjab & Haryana today. Punjab constituted 1/3rd of Dalit population despite that in the last 50 yrs, Punjab has got just one Non-Jat CM and leader of apposition, the last one was when Giani Zail Singh was a CM, & Chaudhary Jagjit Singh leader of apposition, that too way back in 70s. Not only the CM, all major ministries, but leader of apposition and CM also comes from Jat community. For eg. Current CM Amrinder Singh is also a Jat, The same Jatts torture and abuse Dalit Sikhs and interstate laborers on daily basis.

We see a similar history in another playfield of Chotu Ram’s unionism: Haryana, where if we leave ML Khattar’s stint, Jats ruled 33 yrs out of 47 yrs, yes you read it right, a community which has 21% population ruled for 70% of the time.

It’s not rocket science to understand the reasons for the conversion of Dalit Sikhs into Christianity in recent years. 

The Bhartiya Kisan Union(BKU) of Tikaits (Tikait family heads the Bhartiya Kisan Union as well as the Baliyan Khanp of Jats) have been another important pillar of the Farmer Protests, Rakesh Tikat is the son of former BKU head Mahendra Singh Tikait. Though the Bhartiya Kisan Union and Charan Singh style of politics always claimed to promote the interests of farmers, in reality, Jats were the biggest beneficiaries. The concerns of others, particularly those of the landless poor and lower castes, were ignored.

As Balagopal (1987) argues, the approach of the BKU, like that of the “Shetkari Sanghatana” (Farmers’ Organisation) in Maharashtra, has ignored the deep social cleavage and contradictions among classes, particularly between agricultural laborers and landowners in rural India. These movements are good illustrations of agrarian populism as analyzed by Dhanagare (2015). The concerns of the rural poor and the landless conflict with those of the better off and rich peasants whose concerns the BKU articulated. It is well worth noting here that Balagopal describes these richer and landed peasants as the “provincial propertied class.

So, let’s try to understand how Jat Unionist politics shaped up.

Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, Sir Fazli Husain, Sir Shahab-ud-Din, Muhammad Hussain Shah, and Sir Chhotu Ram were the co-founders of the party. If we go on to study the history of the party gaining political mileage, we will see that the party actually got into power when all the Indian parties boycotted the Provincial elections in Punjab and this is how the party got into power by treachery and sabotaging the interests of Indians. The political power of the Unionist government wrested on the shoulders of Muslims as well as a large number of Hindus and Sikh Jats, who supported and participated in the Unionist Party. In contrast with the Indian National Congress and many other parties of the time, the Unionist Party did not have a mass-based approach. Also, in contrast with the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, the Unionists supported the British Raj, and contested elections for the Punjab Legislative Council and the central Legislative Council at a time when the Congress and the Muslim League were boycotting them. As a result, the Unionist Party dominated the provincial legislature for a number of years, allowing an elected provincial government to function when other provinces were governed by direct rule. However, the main focus of the party was to safeguard the interests of Jats in Undivided Punjab. The political hunger of the party could be seen from the fact that they not only went against the nationalistic mandate of those times, as when the nationalist populace boycotted these elections, but these people also took advantage of the situation and snatched power riding on jat votes. Sikander Hayat Khan was chosen as the leader of the party. He first made an alliance with the Muslim League of MA Jinnah and later formed an alliance with Indian National Congress and Akali Dal. So, we should look at the prime factors behind the revival of Jat Unionist Politics in India in present-day politics.

The Market, led by the initiation of economic liberalization in 1991, has partly disenfranchised Jats from their earlier robust Economic power and stable social status. Unlike other dominant castes, Jats could not diversify their economic activities.

In other words, they could not invest the surplus generated by agriculture in industries, nor could be absorbed in industries as skilled laborers. Besides their own cultural inability or refusal, to move out of agriculture, they also have not acquired the required skills and access to business networks that would allow them to overcome the strong barriers to entry built up by traditional business communities.

So, all of this plus the loss of power in the politics of Haryana and western UP has made Jats vary about their future and as their political ambitions have hit a corner turn, all these protests are aimed at the revival of those political ambitions.

All in all this whole Kisan protest seems less agrarian and more of a muscle flex also thereby consolidating and assertion of a spoilt child to regain the pampering and cosseting received since Independence. Comments of Congress Legislature Party’s Charanjit Singh Channi’s on Jat reservation bill in Punjab Government 2016, very suitably describe the current situation “besides discussing and debating steps to make farming profitable for small farmers, the issue of the reservation should also be discussed as the two were closely interlinked”.

Protesters vandalising public property at ITO.

So, it is clear that the whole protest is a clear case of reinvention of Jat Unionist politics in Indian democracy, if these are not dealt with strongly, it will give rise to several bifurcations in the society.

Here is a timeline of several Jat protests in the last few years, any layman can understand that Jats to maintain their importance and relevance uses their anger and protests as a continuous tactic to leverage political gains and stay relevant.

Has PM Modi surrendered to

Jat Unionist Politics?

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