India is considered an agricultural country (Krishi Pradhan Desh) and today, on 23rd December, the country celebrates National Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas) which also marks the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister, Chaudhary Charan Singh – popularly known as ‘Kisan PM’ and “Champion of Indian Peasants”.
India has been celebrating Singh’s birthday as National Farmers Day since 2001 to recognise his contributions to the agriculture sector and the welfare of farmers.
Contribution of Chaudhary Charan Singh to the farmers of the nation:
Chaudhary Charan Singh served as the fifth prime minister of India from 1979 to 1980. He has contributed to the nation’s numerous farmer-friendly land reform policies and was committed to improving the lives of the farmers. During his tenure as the prime minister, he introduced several welfare schemes for the betterment of the community.
Singh always believed in living a simple life and spent most of his spare time reading and writing. He wrote several books and pamphlets during his lifetime. A few of his famous writings include ‘Co-operative Farming X-rayed’, ‘Abolition of Zamindari, India’s Poverty and its Solution’.
One of his famous quotes is, “True India resides in its villages”. Throughout his life, he tried to bring marginalised farmers to the forefront.
In 1939, he introduced the Debt Redemption Bill to provide relief to farmers from moneylenders and their atrocities. From 1962 to 1963, he served as the minister for agriculture and forests in Sucheta Kripalani’s ministry.
Significance of 2021 Kisan Diwas after farmers’ protests ends:
The day is also important since it comes close days after the end of the farmers’ agitation against the three controversial farm laws that led to the demise of 700 protesters. The repeal of the three laws holds significance as farmers form a powerful voting bloc in the country with 60% of the country’s 1.4 billion population dependent on agriculture for a living.
The farmers ended the strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government agreed to form a panel to consider guaranteed crop prices across the country, withdraw cases lodged against growers in various states and compensate families of those who died during the protest.
The birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh and Kisan Diwas this year has become more relevant in view of the Centre’s announcement of repealing the three farm laws. Following the announcement, the farmers, who had been agitating for a year at Delhi’s border, called off their mass protests and returned to their respective states.