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Op-Ed: What political masters should learn from Long March ?

Mumbai on other day witnessed a March, which is unparallel in history. Around 30,000 farmers with their families took a march from Nasik to Mumbai and virtually bend the Government, which conceded to the demands of the farmers. While Government of Maharastra agreed to most of the demands of the farmers, it has also formed a six member ministerial committee to look in detail into the demands and suggest way out.

While farmers agitation in India is very recurrent in nature and is deep rooted in Indian politics since ages, long march is certainly different from many of the initial movements. Even though this is not a pan India movement and just lasted for a week only, yet it has own many hearts for sure. It has surely set many bench marks which will force political strategist to rethink again when they plan for similar movements in future.

It’s not that the number of participants who participated in the long march are record breaking, nor the issues were new and unknown. The participants were almost half of the age of the issues that encircled their lives and livelihoods. But what was staggering was the way the long march was designed and executed. No violence of street, no damage to public property, yet this silent and not so talked off march ignited the minds of administrators and their political masters a like. Thus it was unique and as such many lessons to offer.

The long march and strong images generated out of it has shaken the country so much so that, the intellectual’s morning coffee got chocked. The participants of this long march ended up not only earning nods from the Govt. for their rightful demands but also ended up earning respect for walking through out the night and reaching the venue earlier than scheduled just to ensure that the city does not wake up to see the traffic Jam. As school exam of the kids were ongoing the organisers don’t want to put the Mumbaikars in trouble and later earning wrath from all of them.

This march has proved a point or two for sure. The peasant or working class movement has always been organized peacefully and most of the time they complete the rally without creating ruckus or chaos in public sphere. Neither they block the roads, nor they gheraoed the public offices unlawfully, yet they achieved success in mounting pressure on the govt counterpart. This is certainly an art or a lesson our political big shots needs to learn whenever they are calling for a declared or non- declared bandh, nation or state wide.

In a country like India, where political machineries consider bandh as panacea to all maladies and a bouquet to attract glance of common mass, this long march is certainly an eye opener. It proved that you can still win hearts and brownie points among administration not by resorting to violence or damaging public property but by resoundingly presenting your points.

While the naysayers busy planting the questions on the “who sponsored them” many common people are busy searching the answer how did they do it? 30,000 people on street, 7 days of long march of more than 200 KM, not even a stray case of violence. How could women, aged & senior citizen walked so long, so profusely with so much commitment? From where did they get all energy, all motivation?

Many will even search answers in time to come. Many will flare up anticipations. But the truth is the long march has already created a bench mark. The common people will look to all other politically motivated and driven bandh in lenses of Long March. The political masters will be forced to deliver a disciplined bandha hence forth. Perhaps the Long march has redefined the political protests altogether. This long march may not be epic in approach or may not be long remembers among the annals of peasant movement in India, yet it certainly has the ingredients to call itself as one of the most disciplined movement across India. Many peasant movement is sure to get bolstered by the success of this march.



(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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