Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.
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It has been called the world’s biggest protest. In November 2020, thousands of farmers marched to New Delhi to protest against new laws that the Indian government says will modernise farming. The farmers set up camp in and around the capital, blocking major highways. Over 50 days later they are still there, in spite of freezing temperatures. Even after the Supreme Court stayed the laws until further notice, the farmers say they aren’t budging until they are repealed completely. They say these reforms will strip them of protections they’ve enjoyed for decades, resulting in lower prices and ruined livelihoods. Kavita Puri hears why the protests matter for India’s millions of farmers, for the future of the country’s crisis-ridden agriculture, and the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With contributions from agricultural policy expert, Devinder Sharma; Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Sadanand Dhume; Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Jayati Ghosh; and BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas. Presenter: Kavita Puri Producer: Viv Jones (Women farmers form a human chain during the protest against the new farm laws, January 18 2021 at the Delhi borders in India. Credit: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)