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How well does the BJP understand politics?

You would perhaps be asked to go get your head examined for even asking that question. Of course, it understands politics better than any others in India by a distance, as much as the gap between 303 and 52 Lok Sabha seats.

Then, you finesse the question. How well does the BJP understand the politics of Punjab? The answer will be, I am afraid, very poorly. Definitely the Modi-Shah BJP does not understand Punjab, Punjabis, their politics, or even more specifically, the Sikhs. Or, they wouldn’t have dug themselves into such a hole (pun intended) over their handling of the Punjab farmers’ protests.

They’ve continued to dig it deeper rather than extricate themselves over what are, in all honesty, a fine set of reformist new laws on agricultural economics.

Before we dive into some of the more complex issues involved here, let’s check out some basics. Punjab was the outlier that defied the Modi magic in the north. Even when Narendra Modi himself was in contention, as in the general elections of 2014 and 2019, the Punjabis were not impressed. This, despite the BJP having a formidable ally, Shiromani Akali Dal, the pre-eminent Sikh party.

For evidence, watch how in both elections, the BJP failed to get two stellar candidates, Arun Jaitley and Hardeep Singh Puri, respectively, elected from Amritsar despite Akali support. It is also the only state in the north where the Modi wave was stopped in both elections. And no, the Punjabis did not even have to dig moats in the highways, throw boulders or raise barricades to stop it.

Election after election, with the 2017 state assembly polls thrown in, Modi addressed rallies dressed in saffron turbans. But it failed in Punjab while he dominated next-door Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

If three reversals of their almighty waves over five years haven’t convinced Modi and Shah of the need for a rethink, the shambles over this farmers’ protest should. And if even this doesn’t, then it shows a lack of political intellect, as well as humility.

The BJP dismisses its critics as the deracinated, English-medium Lutyens-wallahs, and takes pride in its native smarts. It should then learn from that oldest heartland wisdom: You cannot snatch a sugarcane from the field of a farmer (Jat), but can easily charm him into gifting you a full slab of jaggery (gud). With a big smile, a hug, and may be some lassi too. You just have to begin with your head bowed, not in submission, but politeness and friendship. On the farm bills, this BJP has done the opposite.


Also read: Worried about 2022, Punjab BJP wants Shah & Nadda to quickly resolve farmer protests


The Modi-Shah BJP’s fundamental politics runs on four wheels: Modi’s personal popularity, polarisation (Hindutva), non-corrupt image and nationalism. Why has it failed in Punjab?

Even on the farm bills, there is hardly a buzz in the other major farming states. Maharashtra, with massive agricultural population and an established record of farmer politics and protests, is calm. Why’s Punjab angry? Because the state is different, as are the Sikhs.

One of the four wheels of the BJP’s juggernaut is polarisation. Now, that option is missing in Punjab in the conventional, Hindu-Muslim sense. This is difficult to explain to a BJP/RSS mind, but the fear of the Muslim among the Sikhs is nothing compared to what you might find, or be able to build, in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, the Brahmaputra Valley or north Bengal.

The few Muslims who live in Punjab, in the tiny enclave of Malerkotla, have enjoyed the Sikhs’ affection and protection since the times of the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, because the nawab here tried to protect the Guru’s sons from Aurangzeb. It isn’t just revenge that the Sikhs have a long memory for. It is also for gratitude.

Traditionally, the RSS and the BJP, in that order, have seen Sikhs as fellow Hindus, although turned out differently. That the Gurus fought and sacrificed their lives to protect Hindus, that the Punjabi saying that Hindus and Sikhs are inseparable parts of one body like fingers and nails, and that Punjab is the sword arm of India, are all correct. Yet, Sikhs are not Hindus. They are not impressed by Hindutva. If they were, they would not have rejected Modi at his peak thrice.

We learnt this in Bhindranwale’s heyday. The RSS then wouldn’t believe that the Sikhs could turn on Hindus in Punjab. Balasaheb Deoras, then Sarsanghchalak, made a statement that there was no difference or dispute between Hindus and Sikhs, who were, after all, keshdhari (hair-bearing) Hindus.

Some of us journalists happened to be sitting in Bhindranwale’s durbar at the Golden Temple, as was customary. He said, with a smirk the width of the Sutlej in flood, if that “knicker-dhari” says we Sikhs are keshdhari Hindus, what will he call the Muslims? Sunnat-dhari (circumcised) Hindus?

To understand how complex and different Punjab is, stay with me. Bhindranwale and his people now demanded distinct minority status and a separate personal law for Sikhs. A delegation of the richest Sikhs came to his durbar with folded hands. “Don’t do this, Sant ji,” they pleaded. “We shouldn’t lose our tax benefits under HUF (Hindu Undivided Family).”


Also read: How rising Centre-state friction is chipping away at Modi’s ‘cooperative federalism’ mantra


The Sikh-Hindu divide was deepened during the Akalis’ Punjabi Suba movement in the 1960s, when the RSS/Bharatiya Jana Sangh opposed it. The first time the two sides came close to each other was when Indira Gandhi locked them up in the same jails during the Emergency. After 1977, the Akalis and the former Jana Sangh elements (then in the Janata Party) joined hands. But the breakup came soon enough, on linguistic, cultural and religious lines. Then followed the decade of terror. The RSS/BJP were among the targets.

The resurgent BJP under Vajpayee and Advani understood that the only solution to stabilising Punjab, and to also make the BJP grow there, was to bring the Hindus and Sikhs together again. They picked up the thread from their conversations in jail with Akali leaders of similar thinking, now chastened by the Bhindranwale shock.

That is how the SAD-BJP alliance came up. The BJP was happy to be the junior partner. In national politics and the Union cabinet, the Akalis, especially Parkash Singh Badal, were given the pride of place. Madan Lal Khurana was specifically assigned to keep the relationship smooth. This BJP has arrogantly broken that bond.

Rather than be a respectful partner, this BJP has tended to patronise Punjab and the Sikhs. This involves many errors of judgement. One, Punjab is not a monolith. Second, nor are the Sikhs. They have their divisions of caste and clan. In fact, most of the prominent Sikhs you see in the BJP’s ranks are not from the Jat (or Jatt as the Punjabis say) community, which dominates the land-owning peasantry and will defy all cordons and moats to reach where it wishes. And third, Sikhs are not Hindus. Not like the Hindus in Vadodara, Varanasi or Vidarbha.

The Sikh peasantry, especially Jatts, also revel in agitation. This goes back to the ‘Pagdi Sambhal Jatta’ movement in the early 20th century, launched by Sardar Ajit Singh. Its slogan also became the anthem of his nephew’s incredibly brave revolution. The nephew was Shaheed Bhagat Singh, whom everybody swears by, Left, Right and Centre. During the Emergency, the largest contingent in jail after the RSS’ was the Akalis’.

The Sikhs love a good fight, and that’s what the Modi government has given them. It won’t work. You have to reason with the Punjabis. They are entrepreneurial, they might see the merit of these reforms. But if you want to thrust it down their throats, see you at the barricades.

The final point: Punjab is not part of the Hindi/Hindu heartland. Your usual Hindu-Muslim polarisation is not available as a strategy here. You can polarise though, again on Hindu-Sikh lines. Nobody should want it. But, if you do, press on with the canard the farmers are influenced by Khalistanis. Go ahead, paint the devil on the wall.


Also read: Why Akali Dal leaving NDA marks a big fundamental shift in Indian politics


 

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88 Comments Share Your Views

88 COMMENTS

  1. it is now more than 2 months after the protests started. few lessons learnt.
    first,modi does not need tutorial and definitely not from shekar gupta as to how to run the country. after all from just a rss pracharak to 3 time chief minster to 2 time prime minister – all this was achieved without tutorials from shekar gupta. so shekar gupta may as well drop his idea of starting an online tutorials for prime minisrerial aspirants.
    second, about 3000 and odd mob in the name of farmers are trying to hold the country to ransom and the citizens of india has seen through this game despite repeated attempts from part of the media to whip up sentiments.
    third, mob protesting seems to be well financed and provided with all sorts of luxuries at the protesting ground. they may as well continue. people care three hoots about them.
    fourth, supreme court is using this protest to attempt a coup in taking over the administration which should be condemned by all.

  2. The writer of this article is just spreading hate on internet , and Kudos to The print , this internet has now disaster , I mean they don’t allow postive journalist to write here but the ones they choose. It’s such as disaster

  3. Nice perspective SG !! But some comments

    a) It seems like you are not against the farm bills/laws. Then what is the solution/trade-off.. that central govt should propose to the protestors in punjab.?

    b) good summary on the fundamentals of modi-shah politics. But I think u missed out one of the main reason for people supporting BJP – their Intention/effort to Make India Great !!

    • ‘But I think u missed out one of the main reason for people supporting BJP – their Intention/effort to Make India Great !!’

      You are wrong. Hindus support the BJP and that is for beating up the Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. ‘Make India Great’ again means only that for Hindus. That is why you support the BJP. That is also why SG slips into supporting the BJP. In this case, he feels the Sikhs are becoming uppity.

  4. The answer is simple

    1) Get “X” number of wise men from Govt of day

    2) Get “Y” number of wise men from farmers.

    Put them in a room together for 10 days with a task to solve the present agitation.

    The nation can then move on with its normal life.

  5. Certain sullen minds here are angry with SG. They protest that he has brought a Hindu-Sikh angle in this agitation which does not exist.

    SG has only warned Hindus that the BJP is Hindu chauvinist and unless they tone it down, what started as a farmer’s agitation will turn into a Sikh-Hindu conflict.

    In the 1970s, the RSS told the Sikhs that they are Hindus, and Hindi and not Punjabi, is their language. The RSS thinks it is the Hindu Big Brother that owns India. Sikhs, Buddhists must accept they are Hindus; Muslims and Christians are non-nationals. That led to the Khalistani movement.

    In the 1984 riots, not only Congressis, but also RSS fellows attacked Sikhs under the Congress cover. The RSS mentality caused some Muslims to demand partition in 1947.

    At the start of the farmer’s agitation, there was no Khalistani factor. The RSS brought that to discredit the farmer’s agitation. They do the same with Muslims – they instil in the Hindu mind that there is a tukde-tukde gang, there is ISIS out to get Hindus, Muslims are carrying out love jihad etc.

    At the start of the farmer’s agitation, there is no Khalistani factor, but by the RSS fabricating it, eventually they will come. The RSS is anti-Sikh and it is agitated that the Sikhs supported Shaheen Baghees, and Sikh politicians said they would come to fight for Kashmiris when Hindus said they can now grab fair Kashmiri women. It is quite clear that the Sikhs are not with the Hindus, when they are ready to defend Muslims. I know Sikhs and they do not like the RSS-BJP , they do not accept they are Hindus, and they know after Muslims, the Hindus will come after Sikhs. The Sikhs have a much better and indeed impressive tradition of social service (their langars; they have sent medical help to Syria), which Hindus do not have. The Sikhs know where possible, they have to stand with Muslims and Christians.

    The Hindus should not fool themselves. SG has warned the Hindus to be careful. I am explaining it bluntly. India is a fragile tinderbox, it will disintegrate if Hindu fascists are allowed to run amok. Who put the Hindu fascists in power ? Hindus.

    The Hindus need to be aware that their doublespeak will not work : they constantly say they are proud of the Sikhs, but they plot against them, and try to assimilate them, and extinguish their culture and language.

  6. An Interesting Article By The Old Hand Journalist Mr S Gupta Remembering The Old Punjab Bread Basket Of India Back Then The Richest State Of India, Hes Missed Out Totally The Place Has turned Into a Bankrupt S..tHole From 1997 Onwards Because Of Partys Like The Badal Dal Which The Bjp Helped Get Elected 3 Times And Two Govts Led By a Finished Congress Not Forgetting The Dishonest Greedy Two Faced Population Some In The Urban/Rural Areas Who Elected Them. The Sikh Peasant Farmer Protests are a Direct Result Of The Last 24 Years Of Greed/Corruption And Loot and Playing The Faith/Religion Card By Degenerate C.Ms Like Mr Badal And Capt Singh And There Crony Yes Men .

  7. Punjab’s contribution to India’s GDP is quite low. It is mostly based on agriculture economy. No wonder Punjabis migrate out to just about any where in India and out of India. They need atleast some capital infusion in the Agri sector and more capital infusion into industries. These protests may deter investors. Kerala, West Bengal have already shown. Columnists just report what happened. I hope they write a column, offer constructive criticism. Who may be trying what to do here, who has good intentions etc. We will not know by reading this article any of that. We are left in the dark with questions, so do the protesting farmers. Quite sad……

  8. The issue is about farmers wanting MSP to be included in the bill. Why is the writer making it a Sikh vs Hindu issue and jatt vs non jatt issue and instigating people. It’s highly irresponsible writing.

    Its not just Sikh farmers who are protesting,
    farmers from Haryana and UP are protesting too.

    • SG is warning Hindus that this farm agitation can turn into a Hindu-Sikh issue. It has happened in the past. The RSS told the Sikhs that they are not Sikhs, they are Hindu, and Hindi and not Punjabi is their language. That led to Bhindranwale and the Sikh assertion of separate identity.

      Caste Hindus believe that they own India, and they demand non-Hindus should accept this. This stems from the Hindu insecurity and inferiority complex. The caste Hindus have an insecurity because they are a minority, and they fear the low castes will leave them, and that will be the end of their domination and privileges. Hence, caste Hindus are into their machinations : Muslims are enemies, and Sikhs etc. are Hindus. The inferiority complex stems from the fact that Hindu beliefs and practices such as cow worship do not measure up to world standards; so Hindus are bound to have an inferiority complex.

      In 70 years, Hindus have not been able to transform India into a top class nation. It is even more foolish to imagine a chai wallah with a murderous record, an uneducated Yogi, Hindu mobs and cow lynchers will make India a first class nation. There is now a question mark whether the current set of destructive Hindus can hold India together. They have destroyed the economy, brought social fragmentation with Hindu-Muslim, Hindu-Christian conflict(Hindu-Sikh and indeed inter-Hindu will follow in due course.), and instead of resolving the conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir, they have created another one with China .

  9. It is not a purely farmer’s issue as Hindus want to believe.

    SG has indirectly told Hindus that the BJP has turned Sikhs against Hindus (as they have done with Kashmiris, other Muslims, Christians).

    Hindus see it that SG has instigated the Sikhs. All SG has done is to warn Hindus that the BJP ‘s handling will turn it into a Sikh versus Hindu issue. Hindu versus Muslim worked at least in terms of electoral dividends. But it will not work with the Sikhs.

    The BJP has alienated Kashmiris, other Indian Muslims, Christians and even the Sikhs. That paves the way for disintegration of India. The question needs to be asked ‘why are Hindus divisive like this ?’ Hindus are supposedly the majority, but the desire to show their primacy actually stems from low self confidence, insecurity and inferiority complex.

    Instead of the majority showing understanding and care for the minorities as in successful nations, it demands the minorities to show care and understanding to the well off majority !

  10. i read yesterday that there were khalistan slogans at the protest. how does khalistan come into farmers’ protest?
    Journalists like you especially when you claim fair journalism, owe it to the nation to condemn such acts of seperatism and nip it at the bud or else we as a nation have to pay a heavy price like in 1984 – may be much bigger than that.
    let not antipathy for modi blind the intellectuals of the country.

  11. The Punjabis know that after the Muslims are dealt with, cornered and bloodied, Modi-Shah will come after the Christians.. and then it’ll be the Punjabis. They can read the writing on the wall, and they’re not afraid to oppose it.

    It’s not like the farmers in other parts of the country are enthused with the laws. They’re just not that ballsy.. because while the laws sound good in theory, in practice, everyone knows how things will pan out.. we know for sure that when the choice is between paisa and janta, Modi-Shah will go for the former.. because that will buy them the janta’s netas, the media, and the courts.. just watch how shamelessly Bobde gives cases where justice needs to be done to the just.. and cases where Modi requires injustice, to the unjust.. just absolutely brazenly and shamelessly!!

    And this is not Modi-Shah making a mistake.. that’s how they roll!! Now that Kashmiris have their tongues chopped off, a new enemy makes sense.. Of course once they’re done, they’ll turn the Hindus onto each other, much like the Sunnis and Shias are at each other’s throat. Their go-to strategy of polarization requires an enemy.. that fear of a credible threat when there actually is none.. their recently released screaming dog will come in handy!!

    I wonder if those heeding Tejasvi Surya’s whine that Hindus are not voting like Muslims realize that!!

    • Your warning is very good.

      ‘The Punjabis know that after the Muslims are dealt with, cornered and bloodied, Modi-Shah will come after the Christians.. and then it’ll be the Punjabis. They can read the writing on the wall, and they’re not afraid to oppose it.’

      You clearly understand the issues. Lot of Hindus think Sikhs are Hindus, and only Muslims are enemies. But Sikhs remember who massacred them in 1984 – it was not just Congress, the Sikhs see it as a Hindu mob and Congress and RSS also joined in.

      ‘And this is not Modi-Shah making a mistake.. that’s how they roll ! Now that Kashmiris have their tongues chopped off, a new enemy makes sense.. Of course once they’re done, they’ll turn the Hindus onto each other, much like the Sunnis and Shias are at each other’s throat. ‘

      Vinod Dua said ‘They have tasted the blood of the Muslims, it won’t be long before they want the blood of the Hindus.’

      India has lost its way.

    • Lol
      Is that what the Muslims tell themselves to hide their wrongs and sleep at night?

      Punjabis and Sikhs cannot be “gone after” because they are as much a part of this lands history and soil as anybody else and if that happens all of India will be out on the streets because we know the countless sacrifices the Punjabi community has made for the nation.

      Muslims on the other hand believe in a global Ummah and are by nature transient passengers in any nation so they need to be dealt with accordingly. But whatever floats your boat Abdul!

  12. First stop FCI procurement in Punjab and Haryana for 1 year..Ask the state Govts to procure as much as they want…
    After a year of poverty the Jatt will learn automatically the “love of a good fight” happens only on a full stomach…

    The farmers of Punjab want to behave like a mafia aa if they have a veto right on agriculture across the entire nation – that cannot be allowed and the Govt knows the dangers of allowing these extortionate demands to go unchallenged.

    • Mazo,
      Read Indian history, especially Sikh history. There is an Indian saying Garib ko mat satta, gabir ro de ga, par usko chahne valle tujhe jarh se bo degha!” “don’t torture the poor man, the poor man will cry. But the ones who love the poor man, will root you out!”. BTW, your logic is stupid and makes no sense becasue stopping FCI procurement will only allow Punjabi to keep their bellies full, sell at higher price to anyone and God forbids, at least 1/3 of India may head towards steep starvation.

      To the Punjabis I say, continue with your education, knowledge, investment, with entrepreneurship. Open your own companies, create opportunities for yourself and others.

  13. Very unfortunate piece from the author.

    Opining on the assertion of a religion, creating a new identity politics of Sikhs is just plain nonsense.

    Punjab is known for punjabis doesn’t matter Sikh or Hindu. Everything else is just myth of separate identity.

    The real reason bjp is not a success is because they don’t have a tall leader from Punjab. Arun jaitley and hardeep puri were known in Lutyens circle which doesn’t qualify as a mass leader just because they happen to be Punjabi.

    It’s time bjp groom a leader in Punjab or for that matter in every state to strengthen the democracy rather than handpicking leaders.

    • ‘creating a new identity politics of Sikhs is just plain nonsense.’

      It is plain nonsense for Hindus who say Sikhs are Hindus. But let the Sikhs say they are Hindus.

      The way Hindus are running the country, it is heading for break up – Hindus against Kashmiris, Hindus against other Muslims, Hindus against Christians, Hindus against Sikhs….

  14. One thing I don’t understand is
    Hindus especially from south give so much importance to sikhs but still they think different. I think they are loosing trust of hindus.

      • yes, after seeing Sikh girls being abducted and forcibly converted in your country, they know how much they have in common with Muslims and pakis.

        • In London and Canada, when the chai wallah PM comes, the Sikhs are in the forefront of demonstrations. Why ? I do not see them demonstrating against Pak.

          The Sikhs were supporting Shaheen Bagh and also Kashmiris.

  15. Deaf and Dumb Minister over Agro Hijacking was lacking reforms. It was sacking farmers but baking corporate. Much time taken to know the simple truth of a farmer who sells output @ wholesale; buys inputs @ retail; pays freight bothways. He deserves protection of MSP and Corporate emerging as reincarnation of East India Co . Extend Market System to rest of India for Village Uplift by network of link roads gifted by farmers in Punjab and Haryana

  16. Punjab is a loving state of India. Do not shift it towards poverty. Punjab needs a solution to the current issues. If the law is set in a stone then in return the farmers should be granted with a 5 year interest free government loan to replace their existing loans from commission agents, banks and cooperative societies. Then the farmers can pay this new loan by saving the commission say 8% on their crops and interest on their existing borrowings. By doing this Kisaan will be debt free for life. Win win for all. Please sit together and resolve this issue to save Punjab the loving state for all Hindus and Sikhs.

  17. I think this article is only approaching the problem from an electoral point of view and not from a policy and economic point of view. I think the genesis or the foundation of the current problem started with the green revolution. I think the issues you also need to look are as follows:
    1) MSP is directly linked to the tenancy farming model or ‘theka model’ ( as is called popularly called in Punjab ) practiced in the state. This tenancy model has been providing fixed income to the farmers for decades. Due to this MSP-linked farming model bulk of the farmers in Punjab over the decades have become over-dependent on two crops that is wheat and paddy and the majority of them have not experimented with anything else. And thanks to the linkage with the public distribution system this dependency has grown to its fullest.
    2) Successive government in the state over the years has failed to create jobs in the public and private sectors. No major recruitment drives have taken place since 2000 in any govt institution within the state, private companies have withdrawn and MSME units have also shut shop.
    Thus with no jobs available in the state and MSP as the only fixed income option the farmers had to protest

  18. In fact SAD and Jansangh reaped fruit of Joint Front Government in Punjab in 1969 by Alliance with Non Congress with Justice Gurnam Singh as Chief Minister which has broken now by lack of field work by Mr Tomer. It has shaken ground of JJP too in Haryana which is evident from defeat of BJP JJP Candidate in bye election. Rather Market System in Punjab and Haryana has laid down and maintained network of Link Roads connecting each village with Main Road and Market out of Market Fee paid by farmers which needs to be extended to other States for Village Uplift by farmers for all villagers inspite of Income Tax Exemption. MSP must be ensured because farmers sell output @ wholesale but buy inputs @ retail AND pay freight bothways Agriculture has saved Indian Economy despite standstill in Pandemic Covid19. It needs applaud not fraud in hands of reincarnation of East India Company

  19. If the farm reforms are so bad how come farmers from other states are not protesting? Is it because the middlemen of Punjab are the biggest beneficiaries of the present system as compared to those in other states? Let’s not forget that Punjab no longer is the largest producer of grains and other states have overtaken it.

  20. The Sikhs are not enamoured with the Hindus anymore, after the RSS tiold them they are Hindus and Hindi, not Punjabi, is their language. They do want to be considered as Hindus. They now realise they have more in common with Muslims. They would be able to get on with Pakistani Punjabis than Hindi Hindus.

    In the Shaheen Bagh, a Sikh businessmen sold a flat to raise money. Sikhs came from Punjab and set up food kitchens for the Shaheen Baghis. When a BJP Hindu said after repeal of Article 370, Hindus could go to Kashmir and take fair women, Sikh leaders said they will come to defend Kashmiri women.

    SG should have gone further and said that if Hindus continue like this, Punjab will also want to separate from India like Kashmir. If Hindi-Hindu chauvinism runs like this, India is heading for break up. Khushwant Singh had written a book called ‘The End of India’. Then Bengal and South will want to separate from the domination of the vulgar Hindi Hindus. SG should state this boldly and warn these Hindu fascists about what they are doing to India.

    It is only a matter of time. Hindus are simply divisive due to their insecurity and chauvinism, and are unable to rule India.

  21. Gupta , the jackal is showing his true colors.
    All these guys are inciting a Hindu Sikh violence in Newdelhi .
    Punjab chief minister , kejriwal all funded by naxals, jihadists , Khalistanis, missionaries , opium peddlers are staging it all for greater violence .

    Only the dumbest will not see through this on your face evil .

    • ‘Punjab chief minister , kejriwal all funded by naxals, jihadists , Khalistanis, missionaries , opium peddlers are staging it all for greater violence .’

      Wrong, it is a result of imposition of Hindutva chauvinism on non-Hindus.

  22. I am not sure why Mr. Gupta cannot allow my comments to be shared. I challenge if there was any foul language used. But Mr. Gupta who always claims he is being critized by both ends- cannot allow his hypocrisy to be unearthed

  23. It is surprising that Mr. Shekhar a senior journalist is seeing a mountain where only a small pebble is seen by the most of observers of the Indian political landscape .Please note this agitation by farmers is initiated , financed and propped by the Aadtiyas of Punjab who stand to lose their looting powers as farmers will get more beneficial avenues when these farm bills are implemented. Another aspect which is conveniently ignored , rather kept under the carpet is , it is tug of war between Akalies and Punjab Congress — (not Indian National Congress as registered with the Election commission of India ). It is fight for farmers votes between Aakalies and Punjab Congress—(not between INC –indian national Congress as registered as national party with EC of india.) It is simply a provincial fight between Aaklies and Punjab provincial congress.

    It is a provincial fight for farmers votes in Jatt-dominated areas of Punjab. As far as , while Bihar is credited with voting on casteism , Punjab is not exception . Here there are jaat Sikhs, Non-Jaat sikhs, Mazhabbi sikhs, , Keshdharie revering some new sects like Radhaswamis, and new-age Babas. and of course a big chunk of Hindus also, who are in minority in this state. All groups , sub-groups vote keeping view their many things during the season of voting. .It is just preparation or next assembly elections. Aakalies left central Government aiming for assembly. . Punjab congress current boss knows it and supports the agitation overtly, covertly. After next election in Punjab Aakalie and Punjab Congress may join hand –la in Maharashtra style. As both Congress s Punjab boss and Aakalies prefer to rule the state. . Arminder may ditch Delhi durbar /high Command if necessary to reinstall himself as CM after next election. Farmers agitation is a political drama. Some more acts will be played over next 15-20 months. Keep watching .

  24. Mr. Gupta. No Doubt you are intelligent and shrewd but you are the perfect living example of hypocrisy, double speak and bootlicking
    1) You mention how BJP uses its comic chaneels – demeaning them, but this whole article is written with an intention to belittle BJP and help your political masters – hypocrisy – show your support to the bill but at same time create an environment that they remain dysfunctional
    2) You said BJP is winning on four wheels and out of those at least two you mentioned to belittle BJP, whereas in your own words after 2019 you mentioned BJP won because of the work they have done for the poor which is visible, but here not considered that as the wheel (which you will do as post election analysis next time BJP wins)
    3) As I read this article, I was seriously alarmed how you have shrewly tried to arouse passions of anti hinduism into sikhs – Hypocrisy that BJP uses polarization but you ranted last half of the article doing the same. You would not mind discussing threadbare on your favorite chaneel about Muslim vote and impact of Owasis or withing hindus caste calculations (Oh that is reality) but do the best to keep hindus as community marginalized.
    4) And Lastly, Mr. Gupta I beg you to be little sensitive towards nation and not fuel the fire to separatist foreces like Khalistanis . You are infact painting the devil on the wall. People like you would keep the bogey of separatism in sensitive areas and want the governemtns of the day to appease local leaders (Be it Kashmir or Punjab) and then be part of the cozy world – And those who come and break this nexus become comic channels.
    5) Mr. Gupta smell the coffee – India and world is changing – come out of your nostalgic days when you would print articles of all conspiracies and not even spare army to paint devils on the wall

  25. The farmers will get tired after a point of time. Will go back to their villages and towns. And will vote for Modi in the national elections because there is no alternative.

  26. Pure nonsense of Shekhar Gupta, the owner of the Print website. The 70 years old policies of a middleman like Akali Dal Supremo who acted as a middle man in farmers take from hard work have to be removed. They pocket big cash which in fact belongs to the farmers. This time the Punjab Chief Minister is instigating farmers in his state as well in the neighbouring Haryana at the behest of the Akali Dal. Not only that, it is tax payers money which goes to the farmers free of costs which is the key culprit in governments trying to reduce that cash expense. Farmers like others never pay any tax. How could they pay tax if the middle man takes bulk of their income.

  27. Again, a very well written piece. Informative too and surely instructive. Pity it is wasted on the two army band that march to its own tune. Normally, you seek recommendations and consult people in the know what you do not know. But, If you do not know that you do not know……….

  28. Shekhar is gone totally overboard in is analysis. May be e jus could not forget his old days as journalist spent in Punjab and its problems. He used this issue as opportunity to come out with his usual anti BJP ideas and juxtaposed them with many historical events. There is indeed a problem with farmers of Punjab who find problems with the most need agricultural reforms. or rather want to use this as an opportunity to get the government to enact a law for MSP to be enforced, something which was not even thought of any time before. Whether this is a genuine issue or a just a political issue made into emotional issue will be known in due course. But it is fair to say that so far Modi has not handled this issue deftly. Hopefully, we shall soon have a solution to it but this article is indeed divisive in nature and unnecessary attempt to open up old but healed wounds of Punjab,

  29. Its true that Modi’s machismo has no traction amongst Sikhs,but it’s equally true for Muslims or Christians,whether any body likes it or not it’s bitter truth that Modi’s vote bank is resurgent Hindus whereas he is trying his best with sabka saath sabka vikas etc to change that,but its cultural issue or basic acceptance wherein Sikhs had no problem with genocidal Congress but refuses to accept Modi’s olive branch

  30. Fine tutorial. Over the course of my lifetime, have felt the changing dynamic between Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus. The alliance between the BJP and SAD was an act of statesmanship, guided by both national and political interest. I was very hopeful it could work with the PDP in Kashmir as well. Humility is becoming a rare commodity, and our politics is the poorer for it. If approached with a sense of respect and willingness to adapt, for an immensely powerful national party, there is a tutorial in each corner of this fascinating country. The good people of Bengal and Tamil Nadu will say, We too have our language, culture, history. If we break bread together, you might find we have more to offer than the unifying message being sent down, one way, to the whole country.

  31. Very nice article. Excellent analysis. Exposes the failure of communal politics and destructive economic agenda of Modi to sell out India for personal power.

  32. Pls understand first.. punjab , Bengal, TN, are the major states where bjp has yet to get strong foothold. Due to collation with SAD, they have not expanded much in Punjab but that is not an end , one can say it is new beginning. Second, it has not yet clear even after the months why farmer wants to stick to old APMC kind of system which has exploited their whole generations? Even during lockdown, govt done DBT to their accounts,which other sections on society has not got like small vendors, traders, tea seller, etc. Farmers must give time to new system to work on ground. If it too fails, the govt of the day can easily squash this bill, nationalise the big corporate farms if it get created, and find alternative.

  33. The few Muslims who live in Punjab, in the tiny enclave of Malerkotla, have enjoyed the Sikhs’ affection

    OF COURSE.. Because Sikhs murdered and drove away Muslims among them in 1947. So Muslim % in Punjab is much less than rest of the India, almost comparable to non-Muslims in Pakistan.. So they can now pretend to like Muslims like Germans do regarding Jews. In in 1947 if India instead of Nehru on their back had somebody like Master Tara Singh, rest of the India too would be loving Muslims. Minority free places pretend to be more tolerant, just like Kashmir valley.

    Our Punjabi staunch secularists like Harsh Mander, Burkha Dutta, Ram Puniyani, Tarun Tejpal, Siddharth Bhatia, Amaritya Sen, Manmohan Singh, Justice Sachar, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Nilanjan Mukkhopadhyay etc. Alsso came to live among Hindus, rather than going back to their ancestral land in non-Hindu part of South Asia and showing height of their hypocrisy by lecturing Hindu rather than going back to their ancestral areas and give benefit of their enlightenment to our Pakistani Muslim brothers.

    • I agree with you Harry. However, the Sikh killing Muslims was mostly a retaliation. As I recall, the first trains with dead bodies came from our Friendly Neighbor.

    • Now Sikhs are with Muslims. They understand what you are like. They came to the aid of the Shaheen Baghees. One Sikh businessman raised funds and Sikhs came from Punjab to set up kitchens to feed the Shaheen Baghees. Sikh leaders said they would come to the aid of the Kashmiris if Hindus attacked their women. That is a clear message.

      It is time you started thinking ‘Why do Hindus create nafrath all over India ?’ Is it because Hindus are unable to rule India ?

      The Sikhs produced MMS, the architect of India’s economic rise. The Muslims produced Kalam. In recent years, the Hindus could only produce a jahil chai wallah ! Why ?

  34. Brilliant article. Sikhs have a distinct religion and many are related to Hindus as well as descendants of Hindus. We should respect their fear of being submerged. From 1990, Punjab has been peaceful. By unnecessarily trying to invoke separatism in this farmers agitation, the BJP twitter army may end up creating rifts.

    It is necessary for BJP to continue its partnership with one of the Akali factions

    • Very right Sanjay. Farmers’ agitation should be just treated as an agitation by farmers and not used to cause rift in the society. In the past Biggest culprits
      In causing rift between Hindus & Sikhs in Panjab have been Jansangh & Akalis. Panjab is different and as rightly said not many Muslims in the State that BJP can use its divisive methods.
      Societies can easily be divided on emotions without sense of right & wrong. Recently we have seen that in USA. A guy like Trump who shamelessly did every thing possible to destroy long established institutions of the country , got over 70 million votes. I wish India has more States like Panjab & Kerala.

    • No its not. Akalis are like MIM – no different than Owaisi amd his ilk..

      Punjabis and especially Akalis think they have a special veto right on Indian Govt because they can march to Delhi anytime and make demands…Also, they think that since either the Congress or the Akalis are allies at the center they can get some political sway.

      But today thats not the case. The BJP gets nothing in an alliance with Akalis and no incentive to resolve anything with the Sikh farmers as they don’t vote for BJP anyway. So these farmers are not politically relevant to the BJP – they can only threaten violence but that will discredit them further. They want to camp on the highway to pressure Delhi by trying to cause problems for Delhities… that wont work either.

  35. Just because you are fond of Punjab , Punjabi’s does not mean you force your opinion on us through your journal. Just because you feel the way you feel does not mean you write any bullshit. If Punjab or Punjabi’s are good at fighting on the streets then this government is also not weak like previous governments. Pathetic article .

  36. This article is part of the overall strategy of the Leftist media/Congress/China/Pak gang.
    First part is to riot & cause mayhem. The other half justifies it using Lyutens media.

  37. Well explained Shekhar sir, Modi and shah duo failed thrice in Punjab. We punjabis , may not be rich enough but surely we have big hearts than those living in Hindi heartland. Punjabis has earned names and fames in almost all western countries. Farm bills were passed by Modi government without having a single debate and without talks with farmers unions. We at no cost can bear this arrogance. “Pyaar se hum apna Sab kuch lutaa sakte hai , par dhake shahi se Hum apna Ek inch bhi nhein de sakte” … this dhake shahi of Modi govt won’t work in Punjab. He along with his puppet , mr. khattar ( cm of HARYANA) , is trying to play with fire. Hopefully he get himself correct soon

    • So are the Hindus , Chinese . They have carved a name for themselves .
      Everybody appreciates it when spoken with love . You are nothing exclusive
      All the new drama is staged by the looters of Punjab along with Kejriwal to disrupt the nation .
      Shame on these sold out satans

  38. Excellent article,,, Author understands the real and touching issue. You need to be a Dharti Putra to understand the farmers of Punjab.

  39. Great article from a very experienced political mind. The BJP would do well to take this advice. There is only constructive analysis here and an insightful look at the unnecessary situation which has emerged out of the sheer arrogance of a brute majority that Shah and Modi uses to trample over all democratic process and institutions. This cuts no ice in the Punjab where Modi’s 56 inch bravado is exceeded by the genuine valour and courage of India’s finest citizens whose patriotism and nationalism is in their DNA.

  40. a hard hitting editorial Shekarji. It is Modi”s way or the High way. You have hit the nail on the Head. Is this the way to treat the farmers who have come in the extreme cold and to attack them with water canons and Tear Gas Shells. No force on earth can suppress the peoples’ will, in this case the Kisan’s will. This is Mahatma”s Bhoomi, there is no place for iron handedness and Rutlessness. Regarding Khalistan, the BJP brought the issue first saying that the protests were instigated by Khalistani elements. Thanks a thousand times for the outspoken editorial.

  41. Hahaha bunch of idiots panchmakkars
    This is Khalistan movement not Farmer’s strike.
    Website developed this way anti-artical comments can’t be written. Coward The Print.

  42. Another fund received to panchmakkars “The print” by anti- nationalist party “khan-gress” (congress)
    Game of Fake narratives started again. This time drawing on this news article it self says, it is not “farmers strike” but it is “Khalistan movement”. Year 2020 target of referendum they couldn’t achieved due to pandemic, hence so called social worker George Soros funding to such left parties to create chaos in country.
    No success from green color neighbor Jinnah county, Delhi riots didn’t work, when other fake narratives of Hathras kaand didn’t work now “khan-gress” came back with Khalistan movement.
    Shame on your article who follow not truth but funded fake narratives.

  43. Very cheap arrival ever read, your Modi, BJP & hindutva hatred is very high, baised journalism. India is changing. India is developing. There is going to be a drastic change till 2024. Whatever the venom you spread about Modi, he is going to win 350 to 400 in 2024.

  44. You lost me at “.. reason with Punjabis”, let me not elaborate on how laughable that is.
    There is a lot of things to be said on reforms and uncalled haughtiness on the part of certain groups, but let me not belabour on something which I believe even you agree with in your cut the clutter.

    I will however say one thing – back till 90s Punjab was third richest state, today it is at 14th. In next 10 years most likely, if everything goes as it is going and ceteris paribus, UP will surpass Punjab. They need us more than we need them, BJP knows exactly what they are doing.
    Also no group should hold a veto to governance, unless we want to continue to be a mobocracy.

    • It is not that SG wants to create a Hindu-Sikh fight, the Hindu communalists will create it, and he is warning against it. So don’t twist matters.

      The Hindu communalists created the Hindu-Muslim fight that split India, and they continue in the same vein. They have already created a Hindu-Sikh fight when the RSS told the Sikhs they are Hindus, and Hindi, and not Punjabi is their language. The only difference is with the Hindus, they say Muslims are aliens and enemies, while with the Sikhs, they say they are the same as Hindus. But the net effect is always the Sanghi Hindus create friction.

      The doubt that springs to mind after 70 years is : do the Hindus have the capability to rule India ? That is a fair question that Hindus need to ponder on. Creating internal chaos in the belief that it strengthens one community is a sign of incompetence. Hindus need to ponder on that as well.

  45. Not sure what are trying to say. Typical journalist at play.
    Punjab and tamilnadu: these two states have always blackmailed the Indian state with separatism. We should call their bluff. They keep on getting a rich share of money from center by blackmailing. Now is the time to show them mirror. They can continue the protest. I am sure modi shah wouldnt give a hoot despite delhi media playing their best to rouse them.

  46. Good perspective. After all it’s politics, its about strategy, welfare comes second. That’s the present dispensation’s approach, my way or the highway. India presently needs a good fight, hope this inspires others.

  47. this article is not in good spirit.you have called the new laws “a fine set of reformist new laws”. we also know that the badals have their vested interesr affected by the new law. you have also mentioned that the farmers in other states are not agitating. then why is the punjab farmers doing it? iy seems like they are doing t on purpose with ulterior motives. you can wake up a sleeping man, but you cannot wake up a man pretending to do so. from what i have read about the law, it really seems to be good. so they have no reason to be unhappy.
    you have very conveniently failed to mention what their grievences are.
    May be you want modi and shah to fall at the akalis’ feet.
    this article seems more to be a jibe at modi without any rhyme or reason.

  48. Modi’s popularity ✔️
    Polarisation ✔️
    Non-corrupt (Hey wait a minute. What about electoral bonds? What about helping his pal Adani to gobble up national assets?)
    Nationalism (What is the use of nationalism which doesn’t care about its soldiers, its farmers, its students, its poor and downtrodden?)

    In reality Modi wins elections (since 2019) on the basis of
    1. money from his industrialists friends and
    2. scaring Indians that the opposition will be a far worse option than the present dispensation. Maybe Punjab’s farmers don’t scare so easy and can’t be bought so easy. Unfortunately can’t say that about the Hindi heartland and Gujarat. No wonder most of the army is from Punjab and Kerala.

    • There is a third and more important reason. He beat up Muslims in Gujarat 2002. That made him a Hindu hero. That is the ONLY reason Hindus defend him.

    • That is the problem. Shekharjee’s journalism is like nice to every one. He gives the sense that MODIis BETTER than INDIRA. INDIRA is CORRUPT But Modi is NOT CORRUPT.

      Shekharjee says MODI / BJP understands politics better than every one. What about Shekharjee himself ? Using HINDU CARD (Which is in fact actually ANTI HINDU) is a GOOD POLITICS !!!!!
      IS HE JOKING ????

  49. Shekhar, the extremely biased canard like these, demonstrate to an intelligent reader, that your claims of running “middle path” journalism are a bogey.
    And nobody should pay even a Rupee to your platform if you are only interested in demeaning Hindus by your endless rant against BJP and RSS . You may be a Hindu hater in your personal ideology, but if you allow it to spill over in your journalism, then everyone who has committed to pay, will take back their money in a while. And they should. You should be ashamed of such a communally divisive article envoking Bhindrawaley , when people nowcknow the reality of this pseudo protest being stage managed by the middlemen of Punjab in the name of farmers.

  50. Sikhs need to be respected. They don’t demand much from our nation, rather they give back more to our nation. In fact all the peasants throughout the country need to be protected. I hope BJP will listen to their demand and try to wipe out the misinformation. Jai jawan, Jai Kisan 🙏🏻

  51. This protest is a great incentive for news channels like yours. Oh sorry !!! Did I say ‘news channel’? STOP YOUR SECULARIST PROPOGANDA

  52. Basically what you are saying that give Punjabi farmers first class treatment and let the rest suffer their second class fate for being non-assertive, or not having any hostage politics like shikh seperatism

    • They r just talking abt injustice, Govt. Flaws & Collective consciousness of people ..n if u really think farmers in Punjab r enjoying first class treatment, thn do visit Punjab..they haven’t mentioned it anywhere..

  53. Sir,
    – With due respect to all religions of India, it is very sad day this protest done by the farmers.

    – Bottom line is, your article what does it want to prove that Modi’s policies are anti-sikh, here we have farmers bill to discuss and find a way out, instead of writing such a detailed article – you could have explained the flaws in the farmer bill and you have a massive experience to give your wanted valuable advise for remove the flaws of the farmers bill.

    – But you are playing cheap politics by mentioning the name if Bhinderwala and Hindu – Sikh divide and Jatt sikhs.

    – Punjabis are tired of this card cheap card of yours – Punjabis want peace, progress and if some think they can give tough times to India sadly they are mistaken, AS WE ALL ARE INDIANS FIRST AND NATION FIRST IS OUR POLICY – ALL MATTERS CAN BE SORTED OUT ON TABLE.
    – YOU ARE TRYING TO DERAIL HOW THE DEMOCRACIES WORK BY PLAYING SIKH CARD.
    – MODI GOVERNMENT WILL SOON MAKE AN AMENDMENT TO THE FARMERS NEW BILL BUT YOU BETTER STOP INSTIGATING THE SIKH COMMUNITY AND PROVOKING MORE VIOLENCE AND UNREST IN THE COUNTRY.
    – WHAT YOU WRITE ANTI-NATIONAL WHETHER ANY GOVERNMENT IN POWER.

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