DailyOh! Govt-farmers deadlock continues, Justin Trudeau told to stay quiet

After days of water cannons and tear gas shelling, the two sides sat across the table to resolve the crisis.

 |  6-minute read |   01-12-2020
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You can bump into a friend on the road and talk but you can’t hold talks on the road. To hold talks, or talk at length, you need the comfort of a home or an office and you need to sit down. For heart-to-heart talks, you can even lie down. So, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar this morning said he wants to talk to the protesting farmers but the talks can’t happen on the roads. Roads are where the farmers are protesting.

farmers-680_120120043314.jpgFarmers are demanding that they be given a written assurance of continued MSP from the government. (Photo: PTI)

So, the government, the Union government that is, invited farmers to sit across the table and talk. Representatives from 32 farmer unions joined the talks with Tomar, and Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Before that, across-the-table talks were held between Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Narendra Tomar and BJP president JP Nadda.

farmer-talks-1_120120044450.jpgFarmers hold across-the-table talks with government representatives. (Photo: ANI)

During the talks, the government made a presentation before the farmers on the merits of the very farm laws the farmers want withdrawn. The government then proposed setting up a committee to look into the demands. The farmers told the government there is no need for the panel and the agitation will continue. The government, however, called for the next round of talks on Thursday, December 3.    

The government, meanwhile, has told Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and other leaders from his country that their talks over the farmer protests are ill-informed and unwarranted.

On the occasion of Gurpurab, Trudeau had said: “I would be remiss if I didn’t start also by recognising the news coming out of India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning and we’re all very worried about family and friends. I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest.” 

Better to stay quiet than talk about things that one is not informed about.

Those working from home and staying alone have been both quiet and talking. They have been talking in their heads so you can say they have been quiet since the coronavirus arrived. Those going out have switched over to talking about the vaccine, having talked a lot about the virus.

We will talk about the vaccine in a bit, but first a bit about talks. All talk comes from the brain, or the absence of it, but talk, the Word Of The Day, comes from the same German family of words as ‘tale’ or ‘tell’, and means to communicate, converse, exchange ideas, everything you talk about.

Many are confused about whether you ‘talk to’ someone or ‘talk with’ that someone. Essentially, there's no difference but some old school people will insist that talk to is used when one person talks and the other doesn’t, while talk with is when both are talking. Even if one is getting a dressing down, she will say ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘sorry’, something. So then both people have talked.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you use talk to or talk with as long as you talk.

We promised to talk about the vaccine. So, we have a good news and a bad one on that front. With 95 per cent effectiveness against the Covid-19 infection, Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is likely to get regulatory approval from the UK government by next week.

The bad news is that the vaccine may not be readily available in India because of two reasons. First, the vaccine that Pfizer has made needs to be stored at a temperature of -60 to -90 degree Celsius. India does not have enough cold storages to store the vaccine. Even if India were to consider getting some for, say the most vulnerable, the vaccine is going to be highly expensive. India is reportedly in talks over the cost. The cost hasn’t been announced though.

Even if we in India can’t get the vaccine just yet, someone will get it somewhere. Every time we talk about the race for coronavirus vaccines, we are reminded that the vaccine against AIDS hasn’t yet arrived. Ok, not every time but most of the times.

Today being World AIDS Day, let’s try to understand why the vaccine has remained elusive. To understand that, let us first understand how vaccines work. Vaccines introduce a small and modified amount of a particular virus into our immune system. The introduction isn’t enough to make us sick but enough to trigger the body’s immune response. So, when the small amount enters our body, the body gets to work and starts making antibodies. You can say the body has been tricked into doing all the work.

vaccine-690_120120042902.jpgA coronavirus vaccine is on its way but a vaccine against AIDS remains elusive. (Photo: Reuters)

But the HIV is better at the tricking game, which is no game, to be honest. Molecules on the surface of HIV look a lot like other proteins in healthy people. It is these molecules our immune system reads to determine whether a cell is friend or foe. Our body reads HIV molecules as a friend and that gives the virus a huge head start in the fight between the body and the virus.

The vaccine has to thus tell the immune system that it is this friendly looking molecule that needs to be attacked. The vaccine molecules must be distinct enough from the actual HIV for the immune system to recognise them as a threat, while also provoking the exact infection-fighting qualities needed to fend off a real infection. You see, treachery is more difficult to fight than a just war. We will not get into whether a war can be just or not because we have to first fight all unjust viral attacks.

Joining the attack from the side of farmers was Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad. His supporters joined him in joining forces with the farmers at the UP Gate border which connects Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Actor Urmila Matondkar, meanwhile, joined Shiv Sena with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s wife Rashmi Thackeray tying ‘Shiv Bandhan’ to Urmila Matondkar. Shiv Bandhan is meant to tie Shiv Sainiks together but if the politician in the Sainik decides to break free, the bandhan can do little.

urmila_120120044601.jpgUrmila Matondkar being welcomed into the Shiv Sena. (Photo: India Today)

For now, bandhans are breaking for the BJP in Haryana. Independent MLA Somvir Sangwan has pulled out of the ruling coalition. But more worryingly for the BJP, Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), on whose support the Manohar Lal Khattar government exists, has warned the government to find an early end to the crisis.

The crisis will end but what about mystery? We are talking about the mystery of disappearing and suddenly appearing monoliths. Even before the mystery over the disappearance of a monolith from Utah could be resolved, another one has equally suddenly appeared in Romania. Those who have been insisting aliens exist have asserted this is the work of aliens. We can neither confirm, nor deny the assertion.

What we can confirm is that my My Brother Nikhil (2005) is worth a watch today because today is World AIDS Day. If you do not have the time today, maybe you can watch it over the weekend or a time of your choosing.

Tomorrow, of course, you have the third and final ODI between India and Australia to watch. India have already lost the ODI series so there is no pressure on them to win. Without pressure, they may play better and win – the match if not the series.

But for today, that will be all.

Be back tomorrow.

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Also Read: Dilli Chalo! Fumble harmers, humble farmers


Vandana Vandana @vsinghhere

Author is the former Assistant Editor, DailyO.

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