“My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
We can all laugh at the state of right-wing media in this country. But what about mainstream “liberal” media that tries to put themselves on a pedestal by claiming to hold the consciousness of the country. Those on TV that try to play the “both sides” card are often just as bad as right-wing media on issues that affect the working and middle-class.
Today, you can hear these people talk about the violence in Delhi, blaming the farmers for the chaos that is ensuing. This idea of “violence” being used to discredit protests is nothing new. They will show you pictures of farmers inside the red fort, hoisting the Sikh flag (Nishan Sahib), breaking barriers, etc. and will try to delegitimise the movement.
As was seen during the BLM movement, people who were angry and upset at the State’s inaction to counter systemic racism went out on streets, resulting in violence and riots. This was used to shift the conversation from the problem (police brutality) to the “problem” with the masses’ reaction.
It isn’t surprising that the same rationale can be seen prevailing today, with “liberals” jumping off the ship at the first sign of distress. They do not care about the working-class struggle. They are happy with the current status-quo and the most they are willing to fight for is a return back to the Congress regime so that they can be proud of their “secular” and “democratic” country.
Not too long ago, the reportage during the anti-CAA protests carried a similar tone. People weren’t comfortable with the graffiti and roads being blocked. These minor inconveniences were used by the police as justification for their actions. “Liberals” were angry online at the police brutality but also wanted the protesters to agitate in ways that wouldn’t cause those minor inconveniences. They were happy to “support” the farmers when they were dying at the border, but now that they have retaliated, their legitimate demands are far-fetched for “liberals” to grasp.
Mainstream “liberal” media has been quick to pounce on the farmers. They wanted them to suffer in the bittering cold and die at the borders. That’s what they are comfortable with. But patience has its limits and the boiling up of these emotions is not a blemish on the protesters or their cause, it’s an indication of the struggles the working class has to go through to be heard.
“Why did they deviate from the route given by the police? Why did they break down the barriers? Why are they resorting to violence?”
— Youth Ki Awaaz (@YouthKiAwaaz) January 26, 2021
Every mainstream media house that claims to be liberal cannot comprehend why the farmers deviated from the route given to them by the police. They will show you pictures of farmers being tear-gassed and lathi-charged but cannot comprehend why they resorted to the actions they have today. In their pursuit of being “objective”, they will falsely equate right-wing and left-wing violence (state-sponsored and the retaliation) (comparing it to the Capitol-Hill riot), disregarding what is being fought for.
People who claim to support the farmers’ cause as long as they remain “peaceful” are no one’s allies. They are happy with the way things are going and aren’t affected by any of the government’s decisions. They care more about symbolism than the working-class struggle.
Our textbooks have fetishised non-violence and the Gandhian philosophy has been appropriated and manipulated to drown out legitimate protests. And we rarely hear about the ideas and actions of Bhagat Singh. If he were alive today, he would be out there marching with the farmers.