In case you're a non-Indian (or even an Indian) confused about what #Farmlawsrepealed exactly means and why everyone from Rihanna to Martina to Mia Khalifa were tweeting about it, here's a very simple thread laying out the simple facts.

60% Indians make a living through farming.
The modern Indian state plays a big role in agriculture, as a result. It tries to be the guarantor for all produce, set minimum support prices, provide a basic safety net. It's a progressive system put in place by INC people mostly. It has several problems too.
There are sectors of agriculture where government involvement causes more harm than good. And there are sectors of agriculture where government involvement causes more good than harm.

It's a complex world, right?

So anyway, Modi is always looking for some big "WIN".
Modi practically controls the Parliament. In US politics terms, it's like he has filibuster proof and veto proof majorities in both houses.

So he decided to try these "farm reforms". Which are basically bills written by neo-liberal US think tanks funded by Big Agri companies.
But he didn't go talk to farmers or their interest groups or anyone really. He just decided to introduce and quickly pass, without any debate, these bills that give private corporations a bigger systematic role in Indian agriculture and reduces the government's role.
Because there was no real debate or discuss or back and forth, like in healthy democracies, on these bills reshaping a sector that employs 60% of Indians, the bills didn't really seem like genuine reforms. They seemed like nakedly transparent pro-corporations bills.
Which they literally were. They came out of the neo-liberal American legislation writing think tank machinery. But the thing is, in America, all sides are writing such bills. The eventual legislation is a result of long messy negotiations. As things should be.
Turns out that when 60% of your population makes their living from a sector and you just upend it overnight, a significant chunk of those 60% feel peeved that they weren't even consulted. That some random think tank guy decided what Indian farming should be, not Indian farmers.
So started #FarmersProtest in northern India, where a significant chunk of farmers depend on government procurement to make a living. They weren't thrilled with the idea of switching to contract farming without so much as a conversation about the policy. Farming is complicated!
No one on the Farmers side was demanding a status quo forever. They were also up for some reforms in agriculture laws. But they weren't fans of these bills. For a variety of nuanced reasons they tried to explain. But the government was like, talk to the hand!
Modi fans think Modi can do no wrong. Modi fans also think that anything that is pro-corporations is a great step towards making India an economic superpower. Lots of corporate shills on the Modi side.

Modi voters embraced the bills because Modi said they were great bills.
So suddenly there is this new schism in the Indian society and polity that never existed before.

On one side, a lot of farmers, many of them Sikhs, who take farming seriously and say, dude, how can you just do this overnight without consultations?

On the other side, bhakts.
Because Bhakts always start from a "if Modi has done it, it must be good for India" mindset, they started thinking that farmers protesting the laws are foreign agents, traitors, anarchists, separatists, George Soros employees and whatever possible random motive they could imagine
Farmers around the Delhi region coordinated their protests and marches very well. Using social media. And got traction on social media. A very clear David v Goliath story. Of course Greta, Martina, Mia, Rihanna etc spoke up for the little guy. It's a question of fairness.
Plus the farmers weren't really demanding anything too outrageous if you think about it. Modi rammed through those bills in a matter of weeks. Farmers were just saying, dude, you didn't even talk to us. Modi's attitude was, trust me, I know best. Farmers said, nah you don't.
This whole thing could have ended months ago if Modi had just said, okay, let's suspend the bills for now. Let's talk. Let's figure out something together.

After all, privatization or corporatization of agriculture isn't exactly part of the traditional hindutva platform.
But that "if modi has done it, it must be right" mentality starts with Modi himself. The right wing, for some reason, decided to turn this into some "patriotic" cause. If you oppose the farm bills, you're anti-India. Eh? Well, that's how fascists fash.
Over 700 lives were lost because Modi hoped to just stare down protesting farmers with force and condescension. Putting literal road blocks in their way. But soon, it became clear that the farmers weren't going anywhere. They were genuinely pissed. And why wouldn't they be?
You don't just change the countries biggest economic sector overnight based on some quickly rammed through legislations no one read. You don't do that in democracies at least. So the basic demands of the #FarmersProtest were absolutely benign and straightforward. Talk to us!
Finally, Modi has realized that he can't just wait out the farmers. He thought he could. But he can't. Or if he does, there will be political costs.

So he's repealed the laws. Smart move. But his fan base is suffering from major cognitive dissonance whiplash.
All these people who decided to tie privatization of agriculture to the prestige of the nation or whatever, just to stan Modi, are now feeling vewy vewy sad. That those corporation friendly bills will be repealed. Poor lil corporations.
Much like Demonetization and CAA/NRC and 370 and GST, this is yet another self-inflicted polarizing wound on the Indian nation for no rational reason. We have gone from a country that said "Jai Jawan Jai Kisaan" to a lot of us saying farmers are either gullible or seditionists.
Remember that in a democratic republic, even if you win an election, it's not like you can just do whatever you want for 5 years. I mean technically, legally, you can. But that's not how democratic republics work. We debate transformational legislation for months if not years.
You can't just be like, okay, I'm PM till 2024 with a big majority so I'm going to ram this idea through and just trust me, it's good. You certainly can't do that for a sector employing 60% of your people. It's not some MBA assignment with a deadline, dude.
Anyway, in this thread, I've just tried to present objective facts. Don't ask me on my takes on whether the laws themselves are "good policy" or not. I'm not interested in that at all. Go talk to policy wonks for that. I'm more into the idea of a democratic republic than $ growth
So I'm not at all going to get drawn into debating the merits of the laws themselves because it's irrelevant. What is relevant is the process, which was decidedly undemocratic. And countered by textbook democratic and peaceful #FarmersProtest. It's about that, not money.
If you sacrifice democracy in the pursuit of economic growth, you end up with neither.
Your farm laws are your farm laws and indeed your "internal matter". But when you start attacking protestors and going after them like an authoritarian, that is not at all an "internal matter". It's then a human rights matter. On which Rihanna deserves as much say as Tendulkar.
If you're interested in the policy details about why farmers were actually protesting (not "foreign hand") and would like a simple explanation with nuance, here's Vivek.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Gaurav Sabnis 🇮🇳🇺🇸

Gaurav Sabnis 🇮🇳🇺🇸 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @gauravsabnis

19 Nov
BTW brace for a lot of Dhume crowd to thinkpieces about how they are also not modi fans and they support protests and Brutus is an honorable man but those farm bills were actually a lovely libertarian thing that has sadly fallen victim to Greta and Rihanna's wokeness.
That public talks about farming policy with such inexplicable confidence as if they have a phawda on one shoulder and a yoked bull in the other hand as they head to the farm. Bro, you're like some random techie or MBA. Sit down. Let the adults talk.
This was one of those low points of @WSJ's editorial standards. Dhume churned out a column monetizing involuntary mansplaining. All Rihanna asked was why aren't we talking about internet shutdowns during farmers protests. But the compulsive corporatist went all Ayn Rand on her 😂
Read 9 tweets
19 Nov
Bhakt meltdowns galore 🤣🤣🤣
Best is all the "hmpf, so all you need to do to repeal laws you don't like is go out on the streets and protest non-violently" as if it's a bad thing. When it's democracy 101. But sanghis don't understand democracy or the idea of a republic where protests are a fundamental right.
"maybe we should also go protest on the streets for repealing laws we don't like" said another butthurt sanghi.

Umm, y'all have like a two thirds majority in the Parliament. And y'all are in the streets everyday already. You use violence. #FarmersProtest didn't.
Read 19 tweets
18 Nov
In which our favorite Doctor demonstrates how you can call out #factcheckbait without contributing to engagement numbers.

The person posting knew it was a factually wrong post and was counting on QTs to build their engagement numbers.

Juney doesn't help the obvious troll.
Most sanghi Twitter influencers have built their following by posting something that is
1. Hateful about some minority
2. Has some obvious factual error (like posting a pic of Indira eating corn but calling it seafood)

Even QTs correcting their error make them money.
Even when you're QTing someone to call them out as wrong or bigoted, you're still giving them a wider audience. In that, they reach more people on the sidelines whom they can try to convince.

Really, please, stop QTing fascists. Screenshot them if you must call them out.
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
Oh this guy! Saying this! A supreme court lawyer BTW. This guy thinks he needs to offer a rebuttal to what I said. And we wonder why India's institutions unraveled so quickly. Because of "lawyers" like him.

Nikhil Mehra is a sanghi who is too craven to admit he's a sanghi.
I've had the misfortune of knowing Nikhil Mehra through online connections for over a decade. He does tend to side with the stupidest and angriest sides and seems allergic to empathy or humanity.

The complete surrender if the Indian judiciary to sanghis makes so much sense.
It's so cute though that he put out a whole podcast or YouTube or whatever to rebut my thread. 😂😂😂
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
The problem with CBag is really simple. He's not grown out of his middle school high school IIT IIM glory days. That's when his emotional and intellectual growth peaked. So he says "make the naughtiest person the class monitor" and if I were 12 years old, I'd be like, YES!!!
The thing about life is, it is way more complex and way worse consequences than the way a 12 year old views school dynamics. So making the naughtiest boy class monitor is nothing like making an avowed bigot with a criminal record the CM of India's most populous state.
Similarly, "I have probs with mom but won't diss her to the neighbors" is a nice sentiment. But has absolutely no logical rational grown up connection to making the leap that you shouldn't criticize your country on an international stage.

It is such a stupid idea!
Read 5 tweets
18 Nov
"India delivered a billion doses even before US, UK, Germany, etc." is the most Gobbelsian WhatsApp propaganda boast I have seen, considering the very well known populations of those countries. Even if 100% Americans got 3 shots, we can't reach a billion.

They ignore China.
Other normal countries have events commemorating those dead from covid. In India, a country that almost certainly lost more people to the virus than any other, they turn random vaccination statistics into a political campaign.

"Let's celebrate a billion shots!"

Only 27% of India is fully vaccinated.

But everyone is acting like 72% of India is fully vaccinated. Led by the government.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!