Kheti ka khoon to Khoon ki kheti: How blood stays integral to political sloganeering

Aditi Tandon

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, February 5

That blood is integral to political sloganeering in India was evident again on Friday when Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar accused principal Opposition Congress of doing “khoon ki kheti”.

“Sirf Congress hi khoon ki kheti kar sakti hai,” the minister said in Rajya Sabha days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi released a booklet titled “Kheti ka khoon” documenting farmers’ protests and demands.

Though Congress MPs Deepender Singh Hooda, Partap Bajwa and others termed Tomar’s  remarks “unfortunate” with Hooda vowing to fight the government “tooth and nail” on farmers’ issues, the BJP defended the minister’s remarks saying the Congress was the inventor of some real sharp barbs.

The reference was to Rahul Gandhi’s 2019 Lok Sabha election eve comments accusing the government of “hiding behind the blood of martyrs (khoon ki dalaali karten hain)”, after the IAF strike in Balakot which propelled the national mood in BJP’s favour.

Earlier, Sonia Gandhi had on Lok Sabha 2019 election eve asked people to defeat the forces that did “zeher ki kheti (farming with poison)”.

Sonia’s “Maut ka saudagar” barb against then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi continues to cast a shadow on Congress’ sloganeering strategy.

Though the symbolism of blood has remained integral to political sloganeering in India from the days when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose called for few drops of blood in lieu for freedom (tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe aazadi doonga) to now, the tenor of clarion calls has changed. 

Where call in the name of blood would inspire people earlier, these may well end up repulsing them now.

For, not all slogans invoking blood are as powerful as the one given by Netaji or even by the legendary American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King who eloquently said, “If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”

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