Tolerance over Interference
The farmer's protest has taken a violent turn last week when thousands broke through the main protest and invaded one of India’s iconic sites – The Red Fort. And if that was not bad enough, they did it on India’s Republic Day celebrations.
Now, there are many people who support the farmers to protest and campaign for their cause. But when it turns into violence and impacts the rest of society, they are losing valuable allies. In the last few days, people in many countries have been pushing the farmers narrative on social media. The Indian Government has also been heavy-handed by disabling the internet and asking foreigners to mind their own business.
In the UK, more than one hundred thousand signatures have been collected so that the farmer’s cause can be discussed in the UK Parliament. Why in the time of COVID, when Britain has so many internal issues to resolve, should the country be wasting its time on an issue that it has no jurisdiction, nor the resources to deal with it.
People in the UK rarely understand the issues of Indian politics and yet there are activists here who want to internationalise the issue – many of these people have absolutely no interest in the farming agenda. But it does help them to create the propaganda against the Modi Government and its wide-ranging policies which they strongly despise. Kashmir is an obvious example. There is also the Khalistan movement who have found fertile ground to publicise their cause especially since Punjab is renowned for its agriculture.
Celebrities like Greta Thunberg and Rihanna have also jumped on the bandwagon – neither of them has a clue of the full story but it does help them to increase their numbers on social media and accuse anyone disagreeing with them as right-wing fascists. Even Hollywood actor John Cusack labelled Modi as linked to Hitler.
What is shocking is how left-wing individuals who hate the Indian Government automatically labels supporters as right-wing fascists. It is so common all over the world. The same people see invading the Red Fort as OK because they are fighting their cause. But if a bunch of right-wing individuals went to the Red Fort and took it over, it would be seen as some kind of fascist takeover.
Not all conservatives support the Modi Government, but they also do not agree with the violence currently linked to the farmers. Peaceful protesting is a right of a democratic country, but international interference from ill-informed people is not acceptable and especially westerners who should spend a bit more time dealing with issues nearer home.
In a world blighted by the pandemic, we really need a little bit of tolerance from all side and it would help that celebrities spend more time learning about issues over increasing their followers. Millions of people in India know that the farming laws need reforming, and those who disagree with it should do so peacefully. The government too needs to communicate better, and not lock of journalists it does not find friendly.
India cannot be divided like this. For the world’s biggest democracy, it needs to show a better example to the world. Tolerance and compassion would go a long way and the critics will have few weapons to beat the might of Indian democracy.