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Recalling “The Art of War” in the Farmers Struggle [Op-Ed]

December 13, 2020 | By

First thing first, a term is to be decided to be given to what farmers in India (especially from Panjab) are doing these days in Delhi, the capital region of India. ‘War’ or ‘Fight’ suits the best but we’ll continue with ‘Struggle’ as we still think ‘them’ (Delhi rulers) to be ours and ‘war’ will be too harsh for it. They are using age expired tear gas apparatus and water cannons in this chilling time on their own people representing themselves for their legitimate rights peacefully. Even when they are preparing stadiums and open grounds into prisons so it is more or less a war like situation.

On one side is a fully decorated highly educated bureaucracy, ruling cream of India and on the other is a Indian farming fraternity led by those from Panjab state. So clearly on one side is the in depth planning, machinery, resources, media and whole hell of everything one needs in a war like situation but on other is a farmer with his bare chest against water cannons and blessings from all the walks of life in India who feel oppressed in this tyrant regime.

The Art of War

Now when it’s a war like preparation from the other side, it is time to put to test one of the best manuscripts on warfare strategies, ‘The Art of War‘ by Sun Tzu. Those who are leading the farmers and are responsible for what is happening on tables will definitely have something to gain to their advantage from this classy military warfare epic, “Those who have to lead an army and devise stratagems, must learn the art of war.” after all, “It is a matter of life and death.”

Balance will be the key to success in this battle and this is what Sun Tzu seems to be saying when he quotes, “He who relies solely on warlike measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful measures shall perish.” and “In military matters, the Sage’s rule is normally to keep the peace, and to move his forces only when occasion requires. He will not use armed force unless driven to it by necessity.”

Farmers protest at Singhu border of Delhi

There is an invisible but wall like segregation between farming organisations on one side and other social and religious groups on the other. Some conflicts can also be clearly seen from the statements and actions of different farming organisations. They can learn from the following text of Sun Tzu, “For the men of Wu and the men of Yueh are enemies; yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they will come to each other’s assistance just as the left hand helps the right.”

Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked.” seems to be legitimating the agitation of farmers and also its not sparing the State even when it says, “War may be defined as punishment, which is one of the functions of government.”

For those who have double mindedness, must bear in mind that, “The MORAL LAW causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.” Confucius is considered to be the greatest sage with no knowledge of military matters. Now look what he said will bust this myth, “If pacific negotiations are in progress, warlike preparations should have been made beforehand.” and, “The Sage exercises both civil and military functions.”

Keeping track of the state of affairs going on in this agitation one must keep in mind as a part of strategy that, “if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.” and the situation that immediately follows, “Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.”

The success mantra, table talkers should keep in mind is, “One mark of a great soldier is that he fight on his own terms or fights not at all.” and “In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them;” The important point one should always keep on recalling is that you are dealing with those who believe in “saam, daam, dandd, bhed” meaning tackling by polite understanding, by price, by punishment and by division respectively. You should learn it in depth and you’ll be able to penetrate and return back intact from this “chakarview” one military maneuver in ‘Mahabharta‘ an ancient Hindu manuscript. The point in your favour is that the people who are leading you are seen as, “The Spirit Born People” and importance of this fact is that Tzu (chap. 4) puts “spirit” first among the “four important influences

Those camping out in NCR are doing their best and every folk of life is appraising them admiring them for their every single fact. The success and failure lies in the hands of table talkers and they should keep in mind, “Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy.” and to, “get the advantage of the ground,”. To judge an enemy keep in mind that “Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about to advance.” and inversely “Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs that he will retreat.” also “One may know the condition of a whole army from the behavior of a single man.” But an important point worth noting is that you might or might not be keeping an ear to these rules but your enemy is sure to be keeping an eye on above observations.

You might not make out something meaningful from The Art of War but the State is sure to use strategies mentioned in it and resort to all possible means to crush you. Following are the few couplets from The Art of War that our table talkers team should be well aware of as they will prove to be tools for the State. State will resort to some or all of these, no matter whether they have read The Art of War or not. One can clearly see some of them to have already been applied when one looks at the chronology of events that have taken place in NCR (Northern Capital Region) since last week of November, 2020.

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. “

“If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. “

“good tactician plays with his adversary as a cat plays with a mouse, first feigning weakness and immobility, and then suddenly pouncing upon him.”

“while we are taking our ease, wait for the enemy to tire himself out. “

“Lure him on and tire him out.”

“If his forces are united, separate them.”

“If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them.”

“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

To conclude, though some actions can be seen in the Farming movement in NCR that can pretend to be in contrary to what The Art of War says like, “Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.” But what contrary they are doing will still hold good for them as all the principles can’t be applied intact and also this is not China after all and these people are the blessed people with the blessings of their Guru with them.

The victory of farmers lies in their strategy to avoid stagnation, to be unpredictable, making no mistakes, keeping watch on the tactics of the State and decoding them after thorough analysis, “the thing is to see the plant before it has germinated.”

Meanwhile the strategy from farmers end seems to be, “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” the State seems to have different plans, “when you lay down a law, see that it is not disobeyed; if it is disobeyed the offender must be put to death.”

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”

While, “ESPIRIT DE CORPS” and sacred will of the Almighty will be the deciding factor, we can resort to, “If I fight, I conquer” as a military motto till our fight continues.

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