Narendra Modi’s speech must be seen in the background of the farmers’ struggle in west Uttar Pradesh. He claimed that four to five years ago, families used to live in fear in their homes and “sisters and daughters were afraid to step out. This atmosphere of fear led to many people running away from their ancestral homes.”This was an echo of the false claim made by a BJP MP, Hukum Singh, in 2016 that hundreds of families had left their homes in Shamli district because of the “fear of Muslim criminals”.The setting up of the Mahendra Pratap Singh University was also hailed as a tribute to a “Jat Shiromani” in the posters announcing the event. However, it is an absurdity to reduce Mahendra Pratap Singh into a Jat leader. He was a revolutionary who, along with other Mujahideen, set-up a provisional government of India in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1915. He was the president, while Maulvi Barkatuullan was the prime minister. His socialist and secular outlook had nothing to do with sectarian religious or caste identity.


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