Churchill’s Famous Wartime Speeches And The Indian Farmers’ Agitation
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave four famous speeches in the House of Commons in the summer of 1940 during the Second World War, which have reminded me of – and seem to be applicable to – the present ongoing Indian farmers agitation.
1. Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat
This speech was given on the 13th of May 1940, a few days after the German invasion of Belgium and Holland, and Churchill’s assumption of office as Prime Minister of England. Churchill told the House of Commons, and through it, the British people: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
This is precisely what must be said to the agitating farmers by their leaders. In fact, the leaders must not keep the farmers under any illusion that they can achieve success without great sacrifices. In an earlier article, I have said that though the farmers’ struggle will ultimately be successful, it will be a protracted one. It will be arduous and painful, and many people will perish on the harsh journey, which will witness many twists and turns, splits and retreats. But even those who die in this struggle will have the satisfaction of knowing that their children’s future will be bright due to their sacrifice.
2. We shall never surrender
This speech was given on the 4th June 1940, after the Dunkirk evacuation by British forces and the imminent collapse of France after the German blitzkrieg. Churchill said, “We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills, we shall never surrender.”
This is the spirit I already see in the agitating farmers. Even elderly people and women have firmly said “Bill wapasi nahi to ghar wapasi nahi” (unless the 3 laws are repealed we will not go back home). Some have even said they are prepared to die here. All Goebbelsian propaganda and attempts to divide the farmers and defame them as Khalistanis, Pakistanis, Maoists, anti-nationals, etc. have failed and boomeranged.
3. This was their finest hour
This speech was given by Churchill on the 18th of June 1940 after the fall of France and the imminent danger of a German invasion. Churchill said “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour.”
As mentioned in my article “The historical importance of the farmers’ agitation” (published in hastakshepnews.com), the farmers’ agitation is indeed historical. It has united large sections of the Indian people, who were till now seemingly hopelessly and endlessly divided on the basis of caste and religion. And thus it has acted as the spark which has ignited and begun the process of the Indian people’s struggle for transformation of India from an underdeveloped to a highly developed country.
4. The few
On the 20th August, Churchill said about the British fighter pilots in the Royal Air Force who confronted a superior German Air Force, the Luftwaffe: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
The Indian farmers are, no doubt, not few, but till now they were slumbering, like Kumbhakarna, and nobody took them seriously on the Indian political map. But now, as I mentioned in my articles “Indian farmers, like Lord Krishna, have displayed their mighty form” and “Indian farmers have shown that they have the power of Hanumanji” (published in hastakshepnews.com) they have awakened the sleeping Indian giant, and now no power on Earth can suppress it.
As I have mentioned in my article “Indian farmers are creating world history” (published in indicanews.com) the present ongoing Indian farmers’ agitation has not only importance for India but the whole world, as it will lead the underdeveloped countries of the world in a historical transformation which will culminate in making them all highly developed and prosperous, with their people enjoying a high standard of living.
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.