The last few weeks have been rather hectic for our country from the Farmers Protest, which involved less than a few thousand farmers blocking the borders to our Capital for months; to them going wild during our Republic Day and storming the Red Fort and actually beating up and putting 400 policemen in hospital. The ironic part which no mainstream media writes about, is that this is not a farmer protest at all but of the middlemen, political groups and feudal Lords who benefit from the present system.
Only a few big farmers and traders involved with keeping the small land owner’s beholden to them were part of it and that too mainly in Punjab and Haryana and a bit of Western UP –just two of 28 states and 8 Union territories in India. There are approximately 120 million agricultural holdings in India according to the 2011 census and of this less than six percent are in Punjab and Haryana. The majority of farmers in India were happy with the Bill.
But for the world viewing it from various biased media channels, it was reported like the entire farmers community in India were up in arms about a Farmer’s Bill that would affect their livelihoods. I don’t think even one media channel that reported this spurious lie had read the Bill that actually only dealt with opening up more avenues that farmers could sell at and get the best price for their produce.
Of course, the middlemen would hate this and they would lose their commissions and bargaining power. But let’s face it reporters are lazy and there is little investigative reporting anymore, especially abroad and anything that makes India look bad makes for great headlines.
I was honestly amazed that with all our intelligence and our National Security Advisors advising our government we are still in the dark about the how the social media works even while our expat Indian community are at the helm of it.
Thus, we had a Twitter storm from Greta Thunberg, Rana Ayub, Disha and Rihanna, who it is alleged got 2.5 million dollars from a Khalistani Group in Canada—Mo Dhaliwal from Poetic Justice Foundation, who in a video stated that the Farmers Protests were just the beginning and they would go on till they got a state for Khalistan in India. I wonder why he did not ask for the whole of Punjab, the Western part of which, is in Pakistan and has some of most holy sites for the Sikhs.
Unfortunately, for all of them Greta Thunberg, who knows zero about farmers in India, gave the whole game away with her tweet that included a Toolkit that described in detail how the Farmers Protest in India would proceed including the details of what would happen on Republic Day and also had instructions on protests on Indian embassies abroad and against companies in India.
The idea it seems was to embarrass the government and to create anarchy in India. It seems clear that there were Breaking India forces at play that involved a great deal of foreign money and planning.
It was strange that around this time I got a call from my Indian friend in London to say she had received several What App messages from friends saying the protesters were in dire straits and literally starving at protest sites, while several reporters in India actually showed visuals of massage parlors and Pizza outlets free of charge including local canteens set up for the farmers. Not one died of starvation. We are talking about the most affluent farmers in India, who do not face the problems of small farmers in the rest of India and even landless labour who work on farms for a pittance.
Some older people, who I am sure came there due to false narratives got sick of pneumonia and died of the cold but why would their families have allowed them to come for a protest in freezing temperatures.
Why and how did our government lose this narrative?
Even though the world saw what happened on the 26 th of January, India’s Republic day, where videos of so -called farmers attacked police who were told not to react, and 400 of our security forces were beaten up and some critically injured the world media reported on the heavy hand of the government against the farmers.
Clearly from the time of the CAA and now with the Farmers Protest, our government is not able to grasp how many Opposition leaders as well as their agents abroad can write damning articles on the Washington Post, New York Times and The Times, to denigrate India and tell blatant lies. Yet our government does not even try to sue them for the lies and disinformation that can cause harm to the very fabric of our democracy. China, which is a ruthless state with human rights abuses can get away with murder because they literally pay the mainstream media abroad.
We have National Security Advisors; we have several sources from where we can get real time intelligence but perhaps, we need to get younger You Tubers on board and also our huge expat community who can give us real time intelligence on the Sikhs for Justice (A Khalistani organsation) and now the Poetic Justice Foundation run by Mo Dhaliwal that seem to have clout abroad and money that can fund anarchy in India.
It is time the Centre is ahead of extremists before they become active. They call themselves liberals and activists but their agenda is deadly. We need to disable their agenda and the only way is by being ahead of the narrative and hiring young people who are well known You Tubers in India and abroad and can get real time information along with our expat community, before a situation explodes with totally false propaganda.
We should also sue media abroad for blatantly allowing fake news. Just one false media article needs to be taken to court. We need to set an example and I can assure you other media outlets would fall in line. I have been a journalist in the US and even though fake news, I am sad to say, is very much part of the media, if a democratic government as big as India takes just one fake news article and gives substantial evidence against it and proves it is not only lies but it defames a democracy and causes harassment and harm, we would win the case If we don’t get our narrative right, we have much to lose as India stands to gain so much now from foreign corporations wanting to relocate from China to India. Any bad publicity can work against us.
It really is all about perception and narratives now and we have to be ahead of the curve.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.