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Punjabi People

History shows Punjab has always taken on tyrants. Modi is no different.

My people laugh at tyrants. Punjabis today say, “When Alexander the Great attempted to invade, Punjab sent him packing. What’s a Modi to an Alexander the Great?”

For Sikhs, dissent against oppression is nothing new. We resisted the Mughals for 300 years. We birthed a global resistance against colonial British rule, including one that stretched from the fields of Northern California to the villages of Punjab, called the Ghadar Movement. My parents’ generation survived the 1984 Sikh genocide and the decade of state-sponsored violence and extrajudicial killings that followed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi now joins the long historical list of tyrants Punjab has taken on. My aunt, like most members of my family in Punjab, is a small-scale farmer. More than half of India’s workforce is in farming, with 85 percent of farmers owning less than five acres. “They can try to take everything we have, they’ve tried before,” my aunt told us over the phone weeks ago; She had just returned from a protest in her village, “But our spirit will never extinguish.”

Dissent is on its last leg in India. Any hope to restore it is tied to the fate of this farmers’ protest. Their resistance acts as a last line of defense against a government-backed corporate takeover. An elderly protester recently said, “We have faced bigger tyrants than Modi. As long as there is breath in our lungs, we will keep fighting.”

The ultimatum is clear. Peace and justice for all minorities, or division and polarization? Democracy or majoritarianism? Farmers or Modi?

Pick your side.

I’ve chosen mine

The author of this article is Rupi Kaur. This article was published in the third edition of Trolley Times.

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