Farmers Protest: A saga of sorrow and delight

Bittersweet feelings of joy and sadness lingering in the air


December 13, 2021

/ By and / New Delhi

On November 26, 2020 farmers from all over the country came to three borders of New Delhi - Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri. With the protest lasting almost 13 months, these borders had become home to tens of thousands of farmers. To survive the elements of nature they had set up temporary shelters, equipped with basic amenities needed. As the protest has been suspended, following government’s acceptance of the key demands of farmers, the farmers are now packing up and leaving for their homes, with a victorious smile and cheers. It is also a moment of intense emotions as the farmers feel sad about leaving the people with whom they had formed new bonds and relationships over the year.

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Jo bole so Nihaal! Sat Sri Akal” shouts a young boy, sitting in the driver’s seat on a tractor at the Singhu Border on Saturday as his family finished packing their belongings on the journey back home as the year-long farmers’ protest at Singhu Border was suspended by farm leaders. As the boy’s call rings the air, not only his family but also passers-by stop and join in and chant along with the boy.

With people dismantling their makeshift homes in which they lived for over 380 days, a sense of joy and victory, along with a hint of tears, was all pervasive at the Singhu Border. With government acceding to the demands of the farmers, many had broken into impromptu dances. A woman, who could not hide her joy, broke into an energetic Bhangra dance in front of a tractor and got others to join in with her.

They celebrated not just the victory of the protesting farmers over the powers that be, but also a sense of unity and camaraderie that has developed between farmers from various states as they spent the year and lived through its travails together.

Though the farmers were thrilled and bursting with joy after having forced an obstinate Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, into withdrawing the controversial Farm Laws and to bend to all their demands, they took care to remember their basic civic duty even as they were departing from the site.

They took care to clean up the protest sites and leave it at least in the same state as they found them, if not better. Other services, mounted by the farmers, such as community kitchen for everyone, were continued till the last moment and they also ensured that not only were the homeless fed, but were also provided with warm clothes for the winters. Even a makeshift charitable hospital built to treat ill farmers and anyone else who needed medical assistance, is holding ground till the last protestors have dismantled their shelters and left the site.

But it was not just joy and a sense of victory that was evident on the farmers’ faces. Many of them were also very emotional about going away from their new friends and families or breaking the bonds that they had formed with fellow protestors as well as supporters who had come from all over the country and also overseas, to support the protest. Many of them were bidding each other farewell, with tears eyes and hugs, even as they continued to relish the victory.

The joys of victory were not only limited to Singhu border but approximately 45 km away, smiles expanding from ear to ear were visible on the faces of farmers at Ghazipur border. Farmers were dancing as celebratory music blared from the speakers. With tears of joy, the farmers were hugging each other and chanting the slogans “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan!” and “Kisan Ekta Zindabad!” or “Hail the soldiers, hail the farmers!” and “Long live the unity of farmers!”

As the farmers’ tractors inched northwards on NH44, taking them home, they were hailed and cheered by groups of people lining up along the highway, and who showered flower petals on the farmers just as grateful citizens would shower their victorious armies, returning home after winning a huge war.

The bright yellow of marigold flowers and the sweet sounds and smells of victory that accompanied them on their journey back to their villages is likely to stay etched in their minds for a long, long time to come.


(Photos: Aman Kanojiya, Text: Abhishek Bhuniya)



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