Recently, the Indian government passed a set of three laws that will have detrimental consequences for farmers and the agricultural industry. India has a population of about 1.4 billion people; about half of this population works in the agriculture industry. These laws could potentially destroy the livelihood of millions of farmers in India. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stated that the new laws allow farmers to decide their own prices and sell directly to private businesses, when in reality, farmers argue that these laws help big companies drive down prices by setting rates lower than those requested by farmers for their produce. These bills suggest that farmers will earn much less, greatly impacting their quality of life and restrict them from earning enough money to support themselves and their families.
On December 8, farmers called for a nationwide shutdown ahead of their 6th meeting with the Central Government. Many political parties supported this shutdown including the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, and the Aam Aadmi Party. Farmers have been protesting for fair wages and working conditions for years and each time they are met with tear gas, water cannons, and violence by the Indian police; the Prime Minister responded cowardly by having the police dig trenches in Haryana to prevent farmers from entering Delhi, where he lives. Additionally, the Chief Minister of Delhi was placed under house arrest for supporting the farmers and denying the police’s plea to convert stadiums to temporary jails for famers. The police have even arrested Congress workers for blocking highways for the protests.
In spite of this, farmers have pledged to keep marching until these laws are reversed. Farmers blocked roads and set up makeshift camps or slept on roads according to protest leaders. About 300 million people have taken the streets to protest (this is about the population of the US). However, these protests aren’t exclusive to India. Around the globe, from Europe to California, people have shown solidarity for the farmers over the past two weeks. Ramanpreet Kaur, a Sikh Punjabi woman stated, “Even if you don't feel a personal connection to India or the farmers out there like many of us do, as a human being who lives on earth you should be concerned about exploitation of the people who feed you everyday.” India is one the world’s largest producers of spices, rice, wheat, milk, and produce with most of these products coming from the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, where the majority of protests are taking place.
Everyone should care about what the farmers in India are going through because it is the embodiment of capitalism and the exploitation of humans. This has been the core of these protests. People don’t realize how globalized we are as a world, and that everything around you is interconnected to some part of the world from your phone to the dinner plate in front of you. Exploiting the people who produce some of the biggest exports in the world is going to create global consequences experienced by everyone, not just the farmers. That is why we should care.