The sudden announcement by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the repeal of three farm laws on Friday, November 19, has left the nation and the vast Indian diaspora all around the world equally stunned.

If there was one single issue that has sown the seeds of dissension and had the potential to threaten the broad unity and social cohesion within the Indian diaspora all around the world, including in New Zealand, that was the issue of contentious farm laws.

By repealing the three laws, despite the long-pending expert recommendations for farm laws from many decades, Prime Minister Modi has not only prevented the pre-1984 type restiveness witnessed in the Indian state of Punjab that has threatened to fray the delicate social fabric of the vast multicultural nation for decades.

However, what is more relevant outside India, and here in New Zealand, is that the simmering restiveness within the segments of the Indian diaspora, including the Sikh community and others, will eventually subside.

The decision to repeal farm laws was another dramatic and breathtaking announcement by Prime Minister Modi, something which his vast swathe of supporters admires almost unabashedly ––and his opponents despise, also equally unabashedly.

Prime Minister Modi announced the historic political decision of his defeat on Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, in a televised address to the nation, confirming that the farm laws will be repealed in the next parliamentary session.

It will take some time for the stunned farmers of Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh, presently agitating on the borders of the capital New Delhi for almost a year, to wind up and return to their farms as appealed by Prime Minister Modi.

It will also take some time for Modi's vast supporters to digest the decision and accept the political defeat as magnanimously as their leader has himself conceded, to surprise many of his usual detractors and opponents while conceding his defeat on the issue on the occasion of Gurupurab.

In doing so, Modi might have almost reinvented himself politically within India, as the onus will now shift on the opposition parties – which have long been beleaguered and marginalized as the Modi-juggernaut has rolled and dominated the Indian political scene – to show equal magnanimity to Modi.

Anyway, this challenge to Modi's immense popularity within India was never mounted by opposition parties of India. It was rather a groundswell mass resistance by farmers of Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP.

That explains why Prime Minister Modi could muster enough political courage to accept his defeat on the issue, and in the process, might have earned a few brownie points and even compelled a few of his staunch opponents to re-look Modi with a fresh perspective.

Conceding defeat genuinely to the public is the true essence of democracy and the hallmark of a statesman, and Modi, by doing so, has shown that he is not immune to being a statesman, despite what his opponents perceive him to be.

Time to acknowledge leadership shown within Indian diaspora in NZ

It is time to acknowledge now that there was almost an equal, if not more restiveness and display of raw emotions within the Kiwi-Indian community over the farm reform issue back in India.

New Zealanders of Punjabi-Indian origin have joined others around the world in organising peaceful protests in different cities of New Zealand to express their solidarity with India's farmers, who were then protesting new farm legislation introduced by the central government in New Delhi.

Similarly, in a new style of politics of the 21st century, several smaller mini protests were organised by supporters of Prime Minister Modi in Auckland in opposition to peaceful protests in support of farmers of India.

Social media was rife with erupting emotions that were ready to break the bank, causing much restiveness within the otherwise serene Kiwi-Indian community landscape.

However, it is to the credit of diaspora leaders of all stripes within the Kiwi-Indian community – Sikh community and other social groups – and some deft handling by key leaders in the background that emotional outbursts were allowed to be channelised in a constructive and respectful manner.

Those in the know of the things will corroborate the fact that despite bulging emotions on both sides – pro-Sikh community and pro-Modi, the diaspora leadership has absolute clarity in their mind that the overall unity and social cohesiveness of the Indian diaspora in New Zealand were paramount and non-negotiable.

It is time to sincerely appreciate and commend such diaspora leaders within the Kiwi-Indian community for preventing any unwarranted escalation of emotions and maintaining an overall social cohesiveness within the Kiwi-Indian migrant community.

The key message remains the same that as India continues on its momentous journey with impressive economic growth, development, and material advancement, emotions are bound to run high from time to time, but it is in the best interests of the Kiwi-Indian diaspora to learn how to keep themselves at a distance without jeopardising its own unity and social cohesiveness.