The Ongoing Farmers Protest in India: Explained.

What’s happening right now?

On the 9th of August 2020, 5 months ago, begun the Indian farmers’ protest, an ongoing protest against three farm acts which were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020.

Farmer unions and their representatives have demanded that the laws be repealed and tens of thousands of farmers from the northern states of India have marched to the capital city to protest these unjust farming reforms.

They have covered at least 5 major highways around the city, asking to be heard with peaceful protests, only to be met with tear gas and water cannons.

However, protestors have persevered and set up camp around Delhi, gathered at various border point.

Delhi has responded with war-like fortification, including iron rails, rods, barbed wire and boulders.

Most concerning are the makeshift walls used to barricade Delhi’s borders against the thousands of protesting farmers, likened to the fencing at international borders, a harrowing imitation of Trumps US and Mexico border.

The government are taking inhuman steps in attempts to control the protestors, including cutting electricity, shutting off water and shutting down the internet.

To add to this, the Indian media are working to silence farmers and those raising awareness online. Including the spreading of fake news. A large number of twitter accounts sharing information about the farmers protests have also been blocked, whilst journalists covering the protests on the ground have been arrested.

The government are violating human rights all in hopes of silencing agricultural workers, who, out of 1.4. billion people make up half of the labour force.

Despite the bitter cold and the police force, farmers are braving these conditions until theirs are met.

Why are farmers protesting?

  • The new agricultural laws will leave farmers at the mercy of corporates, which will inevitably result in the end of Minimum Support Price (MSP)

    (MSP is the rate at which the government buys crops from farmers in case they fail to sell it to middlemen – this acts as a protection for farmers. Protection that if they are stripped of, could be fatal.)
  • This deregulation of the markets could lead to volatile prices for farmers and corporates will have an upper hand in fixing prices and resolving disputes in courts.
  • Small farmers will be left in the lurch as corporates likely won’t deal with them

This all has to be considered within the context of the wider problem within the farming industry.

Since the days of the Green Revolution agriculture has gone from accounting for 50% of the economy to just 15%. This shrinking economy means that more than half of India’s farming households are in debt.

This growing debt has led to a suicide crisis. 

For decades farmers have asked for reform and this has fallen on deaf ears. As a result of economic hardship, in the last 2 years alone, more than 20 thousand farmers have taken their life.

At a point where reform is so necessary, the Government have pivoted in the opposite direction. Instead of providing the much-needed protection for this vulnerable and shrinking community, they have introduced farming acts that leave farmers far more vulnerable to the exploitation by private companies, weakening their bargaining power, an action which seems to suggest a direction of dismantling them.

What do protestors want?

  • The withdrawal of the three laws which deregulate the sale of their crops.
  • Protect APMC markets (Mandis) where they can sell produce in a regulated environment
  • Legal assurance of regulation of MSP so farmers can get fair price for their produce

What can you do? The most important thing you can do is educate yourselves and those around you on what is happening around the world, just like the Farmers Protests in India.

Learn the context behind the problems and bring those conversations into as many spaces as you can.

OWN IT! Interviews: Courttia Newland speaks about his new Novel ‘A RIVER CALLED TIME’, with Jude Yawson.

OWN IT! Interviews: Join Jude Yawson – Author of Stomzy’s Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far – for this absorbing and fascinating interview with the talented Courttia Newland, author of 7 books including his much-lauded debut THE SCHOLAR, to discuss his upcoming Sci-Fi Novel A RIVER CALLED TIME.

An inspirational and empowering conversation any writer should listen to.

. —————— A RIVER CALLED TIME – OUT 7 JANUARY 2021 ——————

Set in an alternate world where slavery and colonialism never happened, Newland’s staggering novel is both a timely exploration of social inequality and a story about love, loyalty and the search for the truth.

The Ark was built to save the lives of the many, but rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning. Years after the Ark was cut off from the world, a chance of survival within its confines is granted to a select few who can prove their worth.

Among their number is Markriss Denny, whose path to future excellence is marred only by a closely guarded secret: without warning, his spirit leaves his body, allowing him to see and experience a world far beyond his physical limitations.

Once inside the Ark, Denny learns of another with the same power, whose existence could spell catastrophe for humanity. He is forced into a desperate race to understand his abilities, and in doing so uncovers the truth about the Ark, himself and the people he thought he once knew.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW HERE

Courttia Newland is the author of seven books including his debut, The Scholar. His latest novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published in 2013. He co-edited The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, and his short stories have featured in various anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He was shortlisted for the 2007 CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the 2010 Alfred Fagon Award. In 2016 he was also awarded the Tayner Barbers Award for science fiction writing and the Roland Rees Busary for playwriting. As a screenwriter, he has co-written episodes of Steve McQueen’s 2020 BBC series Small Axe (See more here).

Jude Yawson is a multifaceted writer of essays, articles, poetry and Film Reviews. In 2018 Jude became an author, co-writing and editing Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far with Stormzy and the Merky team. Jude curates his eclectic writing through his website turned Blog House Of Horous, where his entire personal writing journey is hosted.

He has also contributed an essay entitled “Existing as a Black person living in Britain” to SAFE : On Black British Men Reclaiming Space. An anthology edited by Derek Owusu.

Check out more on Jude here + his website here.

CANVAS | NETFLIX SHORT FILM REVIEW BY JUDE YAWSON

My eyes well, as if a cloud ready to tell the Earth to cleanse itself. My chest started to swell with a linger of heartfelt anxiety. I felt enamoured by emotion. Maybe because short animations with Black characters are so rare, or the implications that lay bare on the screen which motivated me to daydream about age, losing my loved ones, and the grace we live on with, in memory of them, stared at me in the face. Canvas is a short film that acts as an empty canvas. The dialogue was evident in the facial expressions that lead you along the way through a stream of emotions. This canvas like setting of the film lay empty to exact an idea of loss and rekindling what you have almost forgotten. For me, it is a timely and beautiful 9-minute short film that boasts a benevolence we can all relate to.

Immediately it steers you into a dreamspace, one which offers no date, but a scope of what the film is capturing. Latching onto the thoughts in my mind, of our limited time here, exemplified in the old worn out face of the main character – a visibly exhausted Grandpa, wheelchair striken, lonely and reserved. Having lost his wife, survived by memories of the small of her back in the vision of dreams, the Grandpa leans on the pact of the new. His Grandchild, a playful mischevious little girl visits him with an enthusiasm that could carry the world. She sheds a joy and innocence for life that immediately captivates him. She enjoys pens and paper, creating art to embark on some journey. It is through their respective canvas’ the short story unfolds.

Doing a little research, the animator Frank E Abney III details the film as a reflection, a personal portrait of loss, contemplation regarding creation, and the innocence of children and the carefree attitude that comes with that. The film was originally picked up, optioned, and somewhat left aside by a production company until Abney rekindled the project after claiming the rights back. Canvas was put together by a team who dedicated off work hours to piecing together the project over a span of 6 years. Abney also executive produced Matthew Curry’s Hair Love, an Oscar-winning and somewhat game-changing short, and like Canvas both projects utilised Kickstarter Campaigns to garner enough money to finish the project. Like Hair Love, Black features are important but not upheld as the main factor. We are finally reaching a point of such projects just existing without the stance of racism prompting it to be. Canvas encompasses the feeling of loss and projects it into your own mind forcing you to consider your own. The main character was based on Abney’s own Grandfather, who he referred to as being “stoic and quiet” in his own life and conception of him, it was this idea of him that he always knew. As for the Granddaughter, during Abney’s own creative loss or rather dulled passion, it was the carefree demeanour of his nieces and nephews that enticed him. He lost his Father at an early age and witnessed his single Mother work throughout life to fill the void and provide them with more. Considering this all, Canvas is a compilation of such personal ideas that really epitomises Abney’s personal insights to life and loss.

Keeping the investors from the Kickstarter campaign updated and such a widespread acknowledgement of the film put Canvas on Netflix’s radar. Today, I sit here at the edge of my bed watching this film acknowledging its necessity as a black person, but generally as a wonderful and empathy drawing short, boasting rich colours and a lovely story. The power of animation and a heart toying story, not much has to be said or done in terms of a narrative to make it such a solely Black experience, rather the characters just have to be brought into life. It is as simple as that. I felt a wave of emotions just by the scenes, the angles that imply in his interview with Variety, Abney also highlighted that there are some more things to come with working alongside Netflix. I for one am excited at the potentiality of Black animation, likewise, with Black anything, so many stories can thrive through such a medium. Having worked on animated greats like Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Kung Fu Panda, Abney’s wealth of experience with heartwarming and emphatic works is not so foreign. I can just wonder about the magic Abney intends to bring to the screen.

Selina Nwulu

Selina Nwulu is a writer, poet and essayist with a commitment to social and climate justice.

She has written for a number of outlets such as the Guardian, New Humanist and Red Pepper and has toured her poetry extensively, both internationally,

including a literary tour in Northern India, and throughout the UK with a number of cultural institutions such as MAC Birmingham, BBC Radio 4 and Southbank Centre. She has also been featured in Vogue, ES Magazine, i-D and Blavity amongst others.

She has been a voice for climate justice for over 10 years, working with both a number of grassroots, charity and arts organisations, in both a creative and consultancy capacity, to strengthen narratives around the gaps between race, justice and the climate crisis. From 2017- 2018, she was ‘Writer and Creator in Residence’ at the Wellcome Trust, looking creatively at food and how it connects to our health and matters of social and environmental justice. In 2019 she worked with Somerset House on a project around loneliness and climate change for their Earth Day Season, a project she is looking to expand. Later that year her work was also exhibited as part of Get Up Stand Up Now, an exhibition, also at Somerset House, celebrating the past 50 years of Black creativity in Britain and beyond.

Her poetry and essays have been widely published in a variety of journals, short films and anthologies including the critically acclaimed anthology New Daughters of Africa. Her work has been translated into Polish and exhibited on the Warsaw metro. She was Young Poet Laureate for London 2015-6, an award that showcases literary talent across the capital and she was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2019.

Her first chapbook collection, The Secrets I Let Slip was published in 2015 by Burning Eye Books and is a Poetry Book Society recommendation. She has just finished her first full length collection of poems.

Check out more info on Selina over at her website.

Ify Adenuga

The formidably impressive Ifeomagwu “Ify” Adenuga is married to Joseph Senior Adenuga and mother of Joseph Junior (Skepta), Jamie (JME), Julie and Jason Adenuga. After moving to London from Lagos in 1980, she went on to receive a BA (Hons) in Education & Film studies. Ify has not only raised her own family but continues to work with organisations across the UK and Nigeria to guide and support young people and help

them lead independent lives in safe communities. In 2016, she received recognition as an ICON at C. Hub magazine’s prestigious Creativity and Arts Awards which recognises excellence in creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Ify’s debut book ENDLESS FORTUNE is a co-publication between OWN IT! and Boy Better Know (BBK).

Read more about ENDLESS FORTUNE here

Purchase ENDLESS FORTUNE here