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HomeGeopolitical CompassSouth & Southeast AsiaWhy the farmers’ protest is led by Sikhs of Punjab

Why the farmers’ protest is led by Sikhs of Punjab

Author: Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd 

Affiliation:  Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Hyderabad, India)

Organization/Publisher: The Print 

Date/Place: December 28, 2020/India 

Type of Literature: Opinion 

Word Count: 1272 


KeywordsIndia, Sikhs, Farmers Protests, Punjab 



The Sikh community is at the forefront of protesting the recently passed agricultural laws by the Indian government. The author seeks to explain how, despite the BJP party’s best efforts, the Sikh community is standing its ground against what is perceived as an anti-farmer bill. Sikhs have a strained relationship with India especially due to the Khalistan movement and Operation Blue Star which targeted the Sikh leader, making Sikhs wary of the administration. However, the BJP-led government has not refrained from levelling the accusation of ‘Khalistani terrorists’ at these protesting farmers. Despite this, the Hindutva Führer is wary of the large and influential Sikh diaspora in Western countries campaigning for their fellow counterparts. Modi has tried to appease his countrymen by kneeling at a gurdwara, but the opposition does not seem to be moved. The author argues that this staunch position is held by the Sikhs due to the inherent dignity their religion attributes to labor. The Khalistan movement was not able to generate this much support nor inspire others outside of the community to stand by them. Sikhs, historically belonging to the Shudra caste in Hinduism, the lowest that exists, have suffered great discrimination from the upper castes of Brahmins, Baniyas and Khatris. Their exalted leader, Guru Granth Sahib, forged them out of their persecution by throwing off the bonds of casteism through the cudgel. According to the Hindutva perspective however, laborers and lower caste people are undermined despite the agricultural produce they yield. India’s lands are harnessed by these labourers, who yet are not accorded with the dignity their position demands. Passing legislation  that favors the industrialists over farmer unions is another sign that the ruling party’s efforts to disrupt the harmony between its people is coming to fruition.

By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Inter



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