In June 2017 violent farmer protests broke out in Madhya Pradesh catching the BJP government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan by surprise. In the police firing that followed five farmers were killed in Mandsaur district, catapulting what would have been an easily ignored regional protest to national news. In the coverage that followed one name kept cropping up—Shiv Kumar Sharma or Kakkaji as he’s known to his supporters. In the fragmented and disorganised state of Indian farmer’s movements a