The Melbourne South Asia Studies Group is presenting a webinar titled “The Largest Protest in Human History”: Understanding the Plight of Indian Farmers by Mandakini Gahlot, Dr. Ritu Singh and Dr. Jagjit Plahe on 11 March 2021 at 4pm AEDT (UTC+11).
The ongoing farmers protest — since November 2020 and involving approx. 1.2 million farmers — has been described as “the single largest protest in human history.” Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting against three new agricultural liberalisation laws introduced by the Central Government in September 2020. Since November, farmers have braved freezing conditions in the outskirts of the capital New Delhi vowing not to leave until the new laws are repealed. Negotiations with the Central Government have repeatedly broken down. In response to the protests, the Government has shut down the internet in some areas and security forces have cracked down on protesters and blocked demonstrations. Those supporting the protest are being labelled as “anti-nationalist.”
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy employing over 50 percent of the working population. Farmers from the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have arrived in the capital in tractors, in trucks and on foot. These farmers have established makeshift camps on the outskirts of the city and have vowed not to leave until the Acts are repealed.
In this special webinar, two analysts who are reporting on the farmer protests, Mandakini Gahlot and Dr Ritu Singh in India together with Dr. Jagjit Plahe (Monash) working on agri-food systems will discuss
(a) Why are farmers protesting in the capital New Delhi?
(b) How has the Government reacted to these protests?
(c) What are some of the (un)intended consequences of these protests?
Mandakini Gahlot is a journalist based in New Delhi. She reports across platforms in print and television. She is the India Correspondent for France 24. Mandakini covers news and features from across India and neighbouring South Asian countries, particularly on issues related to health, development, gender and politics.
Dr. Ritu Singh, is presently working on Livelihood Insecurities with Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan. She completed her Masters in Economics from Ajmer University and her doctorate from Vardhamaan Mahaveer Open University. Previously Ritu worked for The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi for three years (2011-2014) on research projects related to green growth and sustainable development.
Dr. Jagjit Plahe is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management (Monash Business School). Her main research focus is on the management and organisation of agri-food systems, international trade policy and food security, global agri-food production networks and the management and organisation of equitable and sustainable food systems particularly in India. More recently, she has focussed on postcolonial analysis of small farmers’ movements in the Asia Pacific.
This webinar will be moderated by Dr Surjeet Dhanji.
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