Dr. Manmohan Singh: Why did India Fail a Historical Leader?

Although there is hardly any media attention on the role of ex-PM Dr. Manmohan Singh at this critical contemporary moment, he continues to provide us with exemplary lessons to follow. Firstly, as the Covid-19 crisis continues in India, Dr. Singh has been dedicated to continually making visionary administrative decisions that, unfortunately, finds no space in the ‘oppositional’ form of today’s governance.

Delhi Farmer’s Protest: Building Block Reforms and the Path Forward

Since November 30th, 2020, protestors from all parts of Indian society, including farmers, labourers, small business owners, professionals, and politicians, have joined the world’s largest nonviolent protest. Democratic principles are fundamental to this nonviolent protest. I applaud Indians of all colours, castes, and religious creeds for practicing something many of us leave at the altar of belief. The protest’s initial phase was socially uplifting and involved several rounds of dialogue between the Central government and the Farmers’ representatives. However, following a Tractor Rally held on January 26th, 2021, there has been an alarming atmosphere change. While protestors continue to gain support, the government has increased police presence, and violent clashes have occurred. Mobs were mobilized to attack protestors while police watched, and there have been extrajudicial arrests. Many lawyers have worked alongside the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for the release of many of those arrested.

Indian Farmers’ Movement 2020-21: A Perspective

he year 2020 started with the then ongoing Shaheen Bagh movement and culminated with the currently active Kisan andolan—or the farmers’ movement—and the countrywide lockdown in between due to Covid-19. Both the movements are nonviolent and unusually studded with women’s participation in large numbers. The former was scuttled by the Indian government after more than 100 days on the pretext of the lockdown and the latter is being torpedoed by infiltrating saboteurs. Luckily, the movement has survived and entered its 74th day of continuous peaceful protest on the 5th of February, 2021. All roads to Delhi are blocked by the protesters at its borders at five points. The government has deployed police and paramilitary forces in addition to heavy barricading via spiked slabs of concrete and barbed wire. Yet the farmers from all over India are flocking for the sit-in (dharna).

Farmer Agitation: A Lost or Gained Opportunity in the Post-Republic Day Demonstration?

Recent weeks have been witness to considerable socio-political and emotional turmoil in the wake of the ongoing agitations against the introduction of the new farm laws in India. The emerging political situation has been a roller coaster ride, especially after the Jan 26, Republic day events in New Delhi. There has been sudden spike of interest regarding the farmers’ plight and agitation at an international level with celebrities, activists and politicians weighing in their support for or against the agitations. However…

Winning a Battle Does Not Win a War

In a civilian protest rally of a million or so, it should not surprise even the most naïve that a few hundred will take matters into their own hands—run amok and engage in dramatic acts to gain attention. Governments often like these unplanned breakouts. They exploit these undisciplined few completely, squeezing out every drop of advantage they can get, even using it to justify sending in armed forces to crush the dissent. The mass tractor rally in Delhi has given government that opportunity. It now depends whether the government milks it or acts wisely. The media is already on script.

Navigating Complexity at the Tikri Border

“We should be focused on resisting Modi and his government, but we are also having to spend time managing people on our side who are being too provocative. If there is any violence, we will lose,” said a concerned twenty-something physiotherapist, the son of a farmer union leader who has been at the protests since they started on Nov 26. This statement exemplifies some of the complexity we were missing when we examined these protests from a distance.

Author: Jasdeep Kaur

Why We risked Covid-19 to Support Protesting Farmers?

Last month, our nephew, who is closer to us than a son, and part of our ‘bubble,’ asked us to have our children join him for some relatively safe outdoor winter sports. We balked at the proposition, prompting a gentle reproach from him: ਮਾਮਾਜੀ ਏਨਾ ਡਰੋ ਨਾ (Uncle, don’t be so afraid). He wonders why this week we would avoid downhill skiing during Covid-19, but on the other hand expose ourselves to strangers in taxis and planes as we make our way to join people we don’t know, camped out at the borders of Delhi.

Author: Jasdeep Kaur

A Century of the SGPC and Akali Dal

The year 2020 marked the centennial anniversary of the creation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)—two of the most important religious/political institutions of the Sikh community in Punjab, India. This special themed issue of Sikh Formations commemorates this important anniversary with contributions from select academic experts in Sikh religion, history, and politics.

Author: Jugdep S. Chima