Political Alchemy of Rejuvenating Democratic Ethos: Lessons from the Indian Farmers’ Movement of 2020-21 as an Antidote to Majoritarian Aggressive Nationalism
Abhigyan Guha (Jadavpur University, India)

When the language of securitization, triumphant majoritarianism and muscular right-wing Nationalism has crystallized the edifice of an authoritarian populist monolithic bloc, debilitating democratic indicators, subverting cooperative federalism, enfeebling the normative foundational constitutional values, a consolidated democratic pan-Indian farmers’ movement spearheaded under the coordination of bodies like the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee galvanized against the impugned three new agricultural reform laws and their unilateral parliamentary enactment in September 2020, paved the way for rampant privatization and deregulation of the agricultural sector, proving detrimental to farmers’ economic livelihood, who demanded the revocation of the three Farm Bills, legally ensuring Minimum Support Price (MSP) to restore state subsidies and ward off corporatization. Following a series of nationwide strikes, occupation of the capital New Delhi, street demonstrations, rail blockades and peaceful sit-in agitation or ‘Dharnas’, the Gandhian modus operandi of the movement demonstrated extraordinary democratic resilience in the face of brutal state repression. The paper demonstrates the multidimensional trends, overall trajectory, strengths and limitations, and how the Farmers’ Movement invoked patriotism, secularism, inclusive multi-religious pluralism and the tradition of agriculture’s involvement in post-colonial nation-building vis-à-vis asserting citizens’ rights, deterring the illiberal anti-democratic designs of the state dispensation.