Social Media Buzz

#KisanLongMarch: As protests end, cartoonists remind that promises made to farmers must be kept

Years of injustice towards farmers must not be forgotten amid the celebrations, the cartoons showed.

Over the past week, India’s farmers rose in protest once again to draw attention to the agrarian crisis – and this time, the government took notice.

The six-day march by Maharashtra’s farmers ended with a promise from the state government, at least on paper, to fulfil their demands, which included a loan waiver and rights over their land. The farmers, who had set out on a 180-km journey on foot to Mumbai on March 6, called off their protest on March 12 after the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government gave them a written assurance that it would look into most of their concerns in two months.

Fadnavis had announced a loan waiver scheme last year, but it was reportedly beset by technical problems. His government reportedly agreed to expand the ambit of the scheme on Monday.

The farmers have also demanded the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations of 2005-’06, which include proper implementation of minimum support prices for farm produce apart from crop insurance and credit schemes and measures to improve irrigation.

Maharashtra’s arid belts of Vidarbha and Marathwada have been known to be a hotbed of farmer’s suicides and have been reeling under a series of crises for many years now, including drought, pest attacks and erratic weather conditions. While this chapter of the farmers’ struggle has ended in success, it remains to be seen if the government will come through on its promises. This was the takeaway for many newspaper and website cartoonists.

Using the tools of humour and satire, India’s cartoonists highlighted the lengths to which farmers had to go to draw attention to their plight and multiple governments’s track records of making empty promises. That the protest was led by a Communist Party of India (Marxist)-affiliated group – the All Indian Kisan Sabha – also did not go unnoticed by the satirists, as the BJP had been celebrating its victory over the Left bastion of Tripura in the recent elections. The cartoons also took a dig at controversial remarks made by some government leaders at the Assembly session earlier on Monday, when Fadnavis contended that the protesters were landless Adivasis and not farmers, while BJP MP Poonam Mahajan said that the farmers had been misguided by “urban Maoists”.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.