The recent farmers’ agitation in Maharashtra has set a new standard of self discipline. The farmers’ march not only maintained the public calm but won over peoples’ heart by not disturbing their life routines. In general any agitation anywhere has its own disturbing elements with loss of human life and property damages, but here not even a single life has been lost nor any property damaged. This should be a lesson for Jammu’s protesting public who at the drop of a hat find blocking of highway and main roads the only option to air their grievances where as farmers had the support of tribal, the landless and the marginal farmer who braved the scorching sun and roofless nights as they silently walked hundreds of kilometres to the state’s political and financial capital to seek their due. And in their support stood the social media in a positive way posting pictures of Mumbai roads turning red as sea of farmers was walking past populated areas at the break of dawn so as not to inconvenience children during exam time. Has ever anyone in the Jammu region had such feeling for their children and sick? At times one had seen even the road blocks have become an impediment in the smooth movement of the sick and emergency cases. The farmers were seeking not just immediate respite from farm distress, but also devolution of the rights-based promises made to rural India by successive ruling arrangements, especially the Forest Act and land rights to the tiller. Another principal communitarian demand relates to the apprehensions triggered by river interlinking projects. Rural India is not asking for the unattainable. It is simply seeking an assurance against being left out or being made the victims of the New Delhi’s model of development. From Tamil Nadu to Madhya Pradesh, people in villages are up in arms against a non-existent public delivery system and denial of a rights-based existence. The farmers also want the price of produce to be fixed at one-and-a-half times the cost of production, in line with the recommendations of a panel. They have sought compensation for cotton crop hit by hailstorm and pest.
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