How the Farmer Protest is similar to Shaheen Bagh and Yet Very Different

shaheen bagh farmer protest

The winters of Delhi are especially bone chilling, aren’t they? But this time, the agony of Farmers sort of “stole the limelight” from even the coldest season of the year. Their protest against the new farm laws has already become one of the largest in recorded political history.

Similarly, just last year, in 2019, the anti-CAA protest of Shaheen Bagh had started around the same time. Upon observation, we find out that there are many similarities between the Shaheen Bagh and farmer protests, like, both the protests are in the favor of rights of the citizens and against the pride and arrogance of government.

The two are so similar that trolls like Kangana or Payal tried their level best to discredit the Farmer Protest. Even the national media did not leave any stone unturned to malign the image of Punjab farmers.

However, none of their attempts worked.

That’s because in spite of few similarities, there are many differences between the Shaheen Bagh and farmer protests as well.

Similarity 1

The cause of both these protests is an arbitrary law that has been imposed on us without discussion, debate or deliberation

What this has led to is the birth of suspicion in the minds of a section of the society. Minority Muslims in the case of CAA (NRC) and farmers in the case of farm laws. The government has given assurance to both, but even so, there are still some concerns among the former and the rule of MSP has not been mentioned in writing in the latter case.

Similarity 2

People are misguided

In both the protests, the ire of the people was termed as a “ploy of the opposition” by the government. Also, many conspiracy theories abound such as the fault of Pakistan behind Shaheen Bagh and involvement of Khalistanis among the farmers. In other words, the media or government fabricate hyperboles and look for a villain.

Similarity 3

Fake news that is spread by the IT cell

Usually they concentrate their focus on boycotting Indian companies like Zomato, Tanishq, etc or they target Gandhi, Nehru and Rahul. But their entire attention shifts towards the protesters during the time of protests. A deluge of fake news is released on Twitter, Facebook and especially WhatsApp. The motive is to malign the image of protesters by demoralizing them publicly.

Similarity 4

Bilkis Bano and Mahinder Kaur

This one is extremely interesting. Bilkis Bano daadi became the face of the Shaheen bagh protests, stayed put for 100 days through the cold and the pain. In fact, TIME magazine included her in the list of the most influential persons of the year, which irked the government (and IT cell) even more!

Another photo went viral in the farmer protests of an old lady, Mahinder Kaur her name, who was pictured supporting the farmer protests. Kangana followed the same script of the IT cell and accused her of posing with farmers for Rs.100 a day. Thankfully, Diljit Dosanjh showed her her place.

Similarity 5

Traffic jam

The problem of traffic jams is a part and parcel of our daily lives in every city. On most days, the public and the media do not even talk about it, the courts overlook it and the politicians do not give a damn! But, if by chance, there is a protest against the government somewhere, then suddenly the issue of traffic jam becomes all the more important. This did happen during the Shaheen Bagh protest and is happening again during the farmer protests!

Similarity 6

Biryani and Pizza Party

At Shaheen Bagh, the media made a fuss about non-veg and biryani. Even some politician made a derisive remark against it. Now, recently, farmers refusing to eat the food offered by government created an even bigger uproar. They preferred their own instead, and in fact, they had all the arrangements for a full-size farmhouse pizza!

Similarity 7

The flogging of the Godi media

In Shaheen Bagh, there was sort of a ban on godi media. The people were aware that the godi media was only there to sow discord. Sudhir Choudhary and Neelu Armstrong… I mean, Deepak Chaurasia, were there to garner TRPs only. But they had to go back after insults were hurled at them.

This time, the editors did not go to the farmer protests themselves. Instead, they sent their pawns. Just like Shaheen Bagh, there were attempts to shut down the farmer protests, owing to corona. How could there be a protest during such a time? They argued. Yet, the farmers protest is becoming larger by every moment.

Difference 1

Community support

Shaheen Bagh protest was supported by the usual progressives, lefts, liberals, constitutionalists, centralists, lawyers and social workers. But in the farmer protest, it appears that the entire Sikh community has joined from all over the world. Even the Canadian PM offered help! Diljit Dosanjh not only supported it online but also donated 1 Cr to buy sweaters and blankets for the farmers. This solid community support was missing in the Shaheen Bagh protest.

Difference 2

Police crackdown

As compared to Shaheen Bagh, we see lesser use of the police in the farmer protests, atleast until now. Last time, the police had barged into the campuses and thrashed the students. This time around, the police administration is interested in digging trenches, using water cannons and tear gases. Perhaps, the international support that the farmers have generated for themselves has hindered any kind of aggressive police action.

Difference 3

Even the politicians are supporting the farmers

Some politicians that were against the Shaheen Bagh protest stand in solidarity with the farmers today. Kejriwal, who although supported their right to protest, had major problems with the traffic jam during the time of Shaheen Bagh. The farmers, however, have his full support. The former Chief Minister of Punjab, Prakash Singh Badal has returned his Padma Vibhushan in support of the farmers. Plus, they have also broken their alliance with BJP!

Difference 4

Negotiation

The Shaheen Bagh protest went on and on (for 3 months) but the government did not care, not even a little! Sure, some negotiators were appointed by the Supreme Court but that was only for the removal of the blockade. On the other hand, the pressure mounted by the farmers is so immense that the government summoned the farmers’ associations for a negotiation.

Summing up

The motive of Shaheen Bagh was great but not a lot of people were able to get their strings attached to it. As for the farmer protests, it has definitely ruffled the feathers of the government. And now, everyone is trying to understand the plight of the farmers. Let’s see how this one goes.

The video for this post was made in collaboration with Punster

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