Farmers’ protest: A festive air & high spirits at Singhu Border

All round support keeps morale high and bodies warm


December 1, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

Prepared for a long and gruelling battle with the central government on the three controversial farm laws, thousands of farmers keep the environment at the Singhu border as lively as possible.

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Singhu border in northern Delhi, on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway, is normally crowded and busy with thousands of vehicles zipping through. However, over the past week, the area around the principal highway linking the national capital with rest of northern India seems to have transformed into a colourful, traditional fair in a Punjab village.

At makeshift stalls, set alongside the highway, steaming hot cups of tea are being served. Smaller groups of men, women and children sit in small circles, chanting slogans, singing songs of protests and at yet another place, a few men huddle in a circle, sharing a hookah. Another group of farmers sits near a bonfire, to keep themselves warm as winter begins to set in. Avidly discussing the current political issues and the reasons behind their protest, the farmers stop their conversation and pose for a group photograph.

Several young boys roam around, hopping between tractors, while trying to understand what the elders discuss. And as the rest of the country celebrates Guru Nanak Jayanti, impromptu prayers are also held at Singhu border. Right beside the police barricades, a priest recites chantings from the Guru Granth Sahib, while hundreds of devotees sit listening with rapt attention.

As dusk approaches, hundreds of candles are lit all over the place, giving it a holy look.

Later in the evening, every few metres, under a canopy over a tractor trailer on makeshift beds lie several persons, trying to get some sleep and refresh themselves for the long battle ahead.

However, the festive air barely hides the grit of the battle-hardened farmers who say they are prepared for the long haul if the central government does not accede to their demands and repeals all the three highly controversial acts.

The protesting farmers are receiving support – moral and physical – from various quarters. While members of the Students’ Federation of India, a leading student’s union, gather at the site, organising impromptu street plays to keep the morale at the protest site, dozens of volunteers from New Delhi’s various gurudwaras are also here carrying food, tea and water for the protestors as well as langar (a community meal).

“Normally, farmers feed all of us and indeed the whole world. So today when our farmer brethren are here protesting against the farm laws that will make our farmers slaves to large corporates, we first extend our support to their demands. Secondly, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has decided to serve tea and Guru ka langar (community meals) nonstop throughout the protest here. We are feeding about 25,000 persons here every day, but if need be tomorrow, we can feed upto 100,000 every day. We will continue our activities for as long as the farmers don’t get justice and continue their protest here. Whether it is for one day or six months. This is the least we can do for our farmer brothers,” Harjeet Singh, a member of the DSGMC executive committee tells Media India Group while serving langar to the protestors at Singhu border.

With the winter setting in, sleeping open air or under makeshift canopies of their tractors will not be an easy task for the farmers, especially the older ones who are also here in big numbers. But the warmth of the support that keeps on arriving even from the most unexpected quarters, keeps the morale of the farmers high.



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