Why the farmers’ movement is no longer what the Modi govt thinks it is

Why the farmers’ movement is no longer what the Modi govt thinks it is

Ever heard of “moral economy of the peasant”? You must understand this awkward phrase if you wish to make sense of the farmers’ rebellion that has arrived at the doorsteps of the national capital. Policymakers must understand this to see why their argument has no purchase with the farmers. PM Narendra Modi must understand this to realise why his approach to handling […]

Manmohan Singh blundered with Anna movement. Modi is making the same mistake with farmers

Manmohan Singh blundered with Anna movement. Modi is making the same mistake with farmers

There is a well-known rustic north Indian story of ‘99 pyaj aur 100 joote’. Ninety-nine onions or a hundred shoes. A man was asked to choose between two forms of punishment for his misdeed: Sau pyaj khao ya sau joote khao (Either eat a hundred onions or get a hundred shoe lashes). He chose to eat onions but could not go beyond 99, and thus ended up with a hundred shoe strikes as well. This is […]

Bihar election doesn’t reflect what is happening in India or in lives of Indians

Bihar election doesn’t reflect what is happening in India or in lives of Indians

Two weeks ago, I wrote on why I was not excited about the Bihar election. The first response came from Rama Lakshmi, Opinion Editor at The Print, as she read the article: “Must have been quite painful to write this, as a psephologist. It almost sounds like a divorce.” But not many others noticed the argument I was trying to advance. Everyone else I knew was excited about the Bihar polls. I had […]

Why the US is a model of how not to be a democracy

Why the US is a model of how not to be a democracy

Democrats all over the world wait anxiously for the much-deserved departure of Donald Trump. It could be a long wait and could well extend to another four years. At the time of this article being published, the vote count appears to be leaning towards Trump. Yet, those who care for democracy, must be grateful to Trump for something. He has singlehandedly demolished one […]

Why I am not excited about Bihar election: Yogendra Yadav

Why I am not excited about Bihar election: Yogendra Yadav

I can’t get myself excited about the assembly election in Bihar where polling began today. This is a strange feeling for an election junkie like myself who has spent more than three decades tracking elections professionally, politically, and passionately. It is not just fatigue. Nor is it because, initially, the outcome seemed predetermined; I can’t get myself excited even after the race […]

First survey of farmers after Modi govt’s 3 farm laws is bad news for the BJP

First survey of farmers after Modi govt’s 3 farm laws is bad news for the BJP

Is farming profitable?” Now, take a guess: from which part of India do you expect to hear a ‘yes’ to this question? I bet you would say, Punjab and Haryana, followed by Maharashtra and other western states. South might come after that. And you would expect to hear a loud ‘no’ from eastern India and, of course, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. You are wrong. In the first week […]

Farmers in Sirsa have a message for Modi govt — Get ready for a winter of discontent

Farmers in Sirsa have a message for Modi govt — Get ready for a winter of discontent

One week in Haryana’s Sirsa district convinced me that the farmers’ movement is resurrecting itself. Just as police firing on farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur in June 2017 led to a sudden eruption of the movement, the three recent farm laws of the Narendra Modi government have triggered the second phase of the movement after it was suddenly extinguished in 2019. I was […]