Wintertime is in full swing and the shelter that protesters camped out all around New Delhi, India, farmers from all over, protesting against the new law that liberalized agricultural commerce, leaving them defenseless, as they see it, to predatory pricing, from which the government itself also seeks to gain.
Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children continue to spend bone-chilling days and nights in makeshift shelters across multiple protest sites encircling New Delhi. These widespread farmers’ protests have entered their second month to rage against new contentious farm laws passed by the Indian government in September. Farmers are demanding the Indian government retract the laws, introduced during COVID-19 lockdowns without consulting stakeholders. According to experts the laws, aimed at “liberalizing” Indian agriculture, will gradually drive out small and marginal farmers by creating private monopolies in the market.
Given that 86 per cent of farmers in India are small landholders (owning less than two hectares), strong opposition to the laws is hardly surprising at all. This has been going on now for several months, what is new, and of increasing importance, is the rise of women to leadership positions in the movement. This movement is in fact proving to be vehicle for the long term empowerment of many individuals, especially woman, given the way in which India has a long history of patricarchal oppression and this is only now begining to change.