mid day editorial: A lesson to learn from dignified farmers

Mar 14, 2018, 06:02 IST | Team mid day

We have been inundated by news about the farmers' march that proved it was not business as usual for Mumbai on Monday morning

We have been inundated by news about the farmers' march that proved it was not business as usual for Mumbai on Monday morning. Even though the kisans have returned to their soil, they won the heart of Mumbai going by the considerable support that has poured in through letters for them. The city took to the rural movement with a warmth that may have surprised many, given Mumbai's too-busy-to-care reputation. They were also moved by the plight of the people whose calloused feet became a symbol of the hardships they endure not just on this protest march, but on a daily basis.

It is important to understand why the farmers won Mumbai over. This, despite talk about the Maoists having a hand in this march and about Communists designed to disrupt the government and its development work.

Why the farmers endeared themselves to Mumbaikars was that they proved one can have a protest or a demonstration without the violence that ordinary people are so wary and weary of. We need to learn from these so called 'uneducated' people about how to respect the people of a city while at the same time asking for answers from the government.

In Mumbai, protests are fodder for destroying public infra and at times, even private cars. These become platforms for stoning property and injuring people. The protesters are egged on by leaders, whose invective-laden speeches are designed to rabble rouse rather than restrain, to burn objects and run amok. Even when violence is not manifest, there is a definite edge to these urban protests with the common man fearing for his life and limb. Disruption to daily life is a given.

The farmers' march, and this is not to say that other marches may be in similar vein, but this one at least, proved that a peaceful path is far more powerful than the painful ones foisted with irksome frequency on Mumbai.

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