A stalwart farm leader from west UP, Ghulam Mohammad Jaula passed away aged 84 after a cardiac arrest on May 16. He is survived by his son, Sajid Munna. He was born in Jaula village of Budhana district.
Farm unions remember him as a staunch upholder of communal harmony and say that in a way, had revived the protests by galvanising Jat and Muslim communities together with Thakur Puran Singh and others in west UP against the three farm laws last year.
Association with Baba Tikait
Said to be the right hand of Mahendra Singh Tikait, he was instrumental in spearheading the successful farmers’ protests in 1986 after the reorganisation of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), writes Nakul Sawhney, a documentary filmmaker who has closely documented farmers politics in west UP and made a documentary on Muzaffarnagar riots.
He is also credited to have coined the slogan Har Har Mahadev Allah-Hoo-Akbar, during the Boat Club Rally in 1988 when a Hindu and a Muslim protester were killed during the agitation.
Their demands were the implementation of measures from control of sugarcane prices, loan waivers for farmers and lowering of water and power tariffs in parity with neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab. This was in the backdrop of early stages of liberalisation.
As per contemporary reports, as many as 8 lakh farmers had gathered in the boat club laws of the upscale neighbourhoods between Udyog Bhavan and Krishi Bhavan. The convoy of protesters who had arrived on tractors and bullock carts stretched to 3km from India Gate to Vijay Chowk.
Muzaffarpur violence and subsequent fallout from BKU
As elections approached and political rallies began, a mahapanchayat was organised under the aegis of BKU and the stage was hijacked by BJP leaders who delivered inflammatory speeches, writes Sawhney.
Jaula had parted ways with BKU after the Muzaffarnagar-Shamli riots of 2013 which left 62 dead and over 20,000 displaced from their native villages. The leaders of BKU were learnt to have been complicit in violence.
किसान नेता ग़ुलाम मोहम्मद जौला नही रहे। रात उनका निधन हो गया। भारतीय किसान यूनियन की स्थापना में वो चौधरी महेन्द्र सिंह टिकैत के सहयोगी थे। करीबी दोस्ती थी। कल चौधरी टिकैत की पुण्यतिथि थी और अगले दिन ग़ुलाम मोहम्मद जौला भी चले गए। @RakeshTikaitBKU @jayantrld
— Aasmohammad kaif (@AasReports) May 16, 2022
In an interview with Sawhney, Jaula said that after the incident in Hussainpur village which took the lives of three youth within a day, he was pressured to break away from BKU at a panchayat organised in Budhana, following which he formed the Rashtriya Kisan Majdoor Manch.
Manoj Rajhad of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) told Newsclick, “The bitterness between the communities after the riots can be gauged by the fact that Hindu and Muslim agricultural workers had declined to work in each others’ farms. In the long run, it became clear that both could not survive because their relations were intricately entwined with each other on the basis of their professions.”
Sewing the fabric back together
Mohammad Salim of Danga Peedit Sangharsh Samiti said that Jaula had the onerous task of convincing people to compromise and come together for the movement and farmers’ unity. He said Jaula had gone from one panchayat to another in hopes of rekindling the brotherhood.
Jaula and other elders were disappointed in the younger generations for indulging in violence during the riots. Yudhveer Singh, National President, BKU (Tikait) said that Jaula had far-sightedness to see through the divisive politics of BJP fuelling violence.
Baba Gulam Muhammad Jaula is no more. West UP has lost among its greatest kisan netas and one who always stood for Hindu-Muslim unity and religious amity.
You will always be missed baba.
— Nakul Singh Sawhney (@nakulssawhney) May 16, 2022
Before 2019 elections, Rakesh Tikait took out a rally to Delhi with a set of 10 demands in which both Hindu and Muslim protesters participated. Though all the demands were not met, the rally was called off and people doubted if Tikait had been bought off by BJP, writes Sawhney.
The impact and impetus of Jaula
Then came the farmers protest in 2021. Everyone had their eyes set on Ghazipur border as west UP wasn’t mobilising with the fervour that it is known for. BJP MLA Nand Kishore Gujjar threatened to stamp out protesters, following which a police contingent on January 27 was out to remove the protesters’ camps.
Jaula came to his rescue and at the Government Inter-College Ground in Muzaffarnagar, assured him of adequate support to build the movement in west UP. Tikait let out an emotional appeal, crying in admission of guilt of once supporting BJP, which stirred west UP, writes Sawhney.
In the historic mahapanchayat of Sisauli on January 29, which is the native village of Tikait, Jaula reprimanded them for supporting BJP leading to the defeat of Ajit Singh and killing Muslims in 2013.
Despite over 1 lakh people being present there, the moment witnessed no hooting but pin-drop silence. Sawhney says it was a moment of introspection for everyone. Jaula tells Sawhney that the Tikait brothers acknowledged their fault.
Jaula says it had healed the wounds of 2013 to quite an extent. Yudhveer Singh terms him as the strongest pillar of west UP.
(वर्कर्स यूनिटी स्वतंत्र निष्पक्ष मीडिया के उसूलों को मानता है। आप इसके फ़ेसबुक, ट्विटर और यूट्यूब को फॉलो कर इसे और मजबूत बना सकते हैं। वर्कर्स यूनिटी के टेलीग्राम चैनल को सब्सक्राइब करने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें। मोबाइल पर सीधे और आसानी से पढ़ने के लिए ऐप डाउनलोड करें।)