If Modi really cares about Nanak’s teachings, he must treat farmers with respect 

Farmers met with lathis and water cannons during nationwide protests 
Guru Nanak’s painting by Jarnail Singh

The Indian Prime Minister’s greetings on the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism sound hypocritical considering how his police have assaulted the agitating farmers from Punjab in the national capital of the world’s so called largest democracy.  

The Sikhs will be celebrating the 551st birthday of Guru Nanak Dev across the globe on Monday, November 30.  

In his radio address to the nation, Modi extended his greetings and noted that the influence of the Sikh Guru is visible in the entire world. He added, “From Vancouver to Wellington, from Singapore to South Africa, his message reverberates everywhere.”  

Undoubtedly, Nanak had won over many hearts by preaching universal brotherhood, to share and earn one’s livelihood through honesty and hard work. He often dined with the poor and working people and refused to accept the hospitality of the rich and tyrants, because of which he remained popular among the oppressed communities and the tillers. Apart from spreading the word about his newly founded religion that denounced Hindu orthodoxy and brutal caste system, he had challenged the repression of the Islamic rulers.  

Modi’s greeting at a time when his police force in New Delhi has been harassing farmers from Punjab is a mere token and lacks his sincerity towards the message of Nanak.  

Notably, the Punjab farmers who are predominantly Sikhs are camping in the city along with farmers of other Indian states to register their peaceful protest against recent controversial bills introduced by the Modi government. These measures are aimed at rolling back subsidies given to the farmers as India remains an agro-based economy. The bills were pushed through without due consultations causing anxiety in the farming community.  

There were not only attempts to prevent Punjab farmers from entering the capital, but they were brutally assaulted by Delhi police. Those at the receiving end included aged farmers. If this was not enough, Modi’s right wing Hindutva nationalist supporters have been trying to label the Sikh farmers as separatists and anti-national to discredit them in the eyes of those following the developments on ground. Several embedded journalists are also trying to create a narrative of the agitation being led by the Sikh radicals without appreciating the fact that it is an organic movement that also includes people from the Leftist background, besides the members of other faith groups.  

Modi and his sycophants should be ashamed of the fact that despite such barbarity and hostility, the Sikh farmers have been seen serving meals and water to the policemen on duty in accordance with the teachings of Nanak, who had started langar or community kitchen to break the barriers of caste and class.  

The moral of the story is that either Modi should stop making such meaningless gestures or give respect to the farmers as Guru Nanak too had ploughed the fields like those who are being tormented by his police on the streets of New Delhi. If nothing, at least ask your supporters to stop spewing venom against the people who bring food on your table!




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