“Hatred for Modi.” Leading Indian Columnist Anand Ranganathan answers a question on the background of the farming protests with simply three words before an engaging one hour discussion begins.
It was a fascinating experience for us both, we had many long private discussions on these farming reforms especially as the UK media decided to report more heavily on the protests. Despite the increased coverage of what was supposedly going on in India, the outrage that much of the media was reporting didn’t quite make sense to us especially as the movement grew on western social media.
So, when the opportunity came around to bring in a fantastic Indian based organisation like Bharatvaarta to chair a discussion with Anand Ranganathan and ourselves, we were delighted. Finally, we could get a genuine perspective of what these reforms really mean for Indian farmers and the actual impact the protests had had in India.
Phoebe was very diligent in her research prior to our episode with Bharatvaarta and started her journey with no bias and a completely free mind. She reviewed the three acts that had caused the protests in the first place: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. After a scan through the text, she turned to the western response via mainstream media then looked towards western social media and the coverage that was perpetuated through many an Instagram story and re-tweet. Scrolling through Twitter it was clear the Indian protests had struck a chord with a few celebrities, including Rihanna who tweeted: ‘Why aren’t we talking about this? #FarmersProtest’. The tweet had seen hundreds of thousands of engagements. Among others to voice their support for the protestors were Greta Thunberg and US Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris. On the surface, this reaction had seemed just, however, it prompted many to accuse this reaction by certain individuals as sensationalism. Phoebe was keen to get an assessment from boots on the ground to determine whether western response via social media was justified.
Sunil had developed some thoughts on the matter prior to the event. He had seen an anti-India plot and was coming to the conclusion that the farming protests were not really about farming. He felt farming had been weaponized, you can see his opinion and thoughts in the early segments of our episode.
One of the areas we both didn’t like was the spread of disinformation on social media and how easily people were being manipulated despite not really having much knowledge on the subject matter.
Anand Rangathan's intellectual yet simplistic argument spoke to a huge audience as he offered a clear explanation on his thoughts on the protests. The discussion with Anand delves into greater depths than just the farming reforms as we discuss the rampant rising of the left
and socialism. It is evident, he is well versed in a number of different subject matters and his capacity to make powerful comments in a few words was particularly impressive. Although he is often known in India for his 30seconds - 2minutes soundbites, he is just as strong (if not stronger) when given the opportunity in longer detailed discussions.
There is no doubt this debate on farming will carry on for some time and it will continue to stir up emotional responses from people. Our episode with Bharatvaarta is uncompromising in seeking the truth and hearing different voices that the west has not had the opportunity to hear from. It is vital that these voices are heard and taken into considerations before strong ill-informed opinions are held.
Watch our episode here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYzmbue4WOk&t=3553s
Bharatvaarta YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfBfBd-1kvCOPxVll8tBJ9Q/videos