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Even After A Year Of Protesting, The Farmers’ Spirit Remains Unbroken

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Thousands of farmers reached Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders on November 26, 2021—which marks the completion of one year of the farmers’ protest. It started from the borders of Delhi and gave an important message to continue the movement along with other demands.

“The peasant movement has forced the dictatorial government to bow down. The dictator of Germany committed suicide admitting his defeat and the dictator of our country (Narendra Modi) accepted his defeat in the media and committed political suicide. The first victory of the movement is that it has re-established the values ​​of democracy in the country. This movement will give energy and strength to the rest of the democratic movements of the country.”

These were the words of Rajendra Deep Singh Wala, president of Kirti Kisan Union and member of United Kisan Morcha, as quoted in a NewsClick article. He said these things at the Tikri border, on the one year anniversary of the historic farmers’ movement.

 

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Large batches of farmers from Punjab and Haryana reached the Tikri border. There was an atmosphere of happiness and relief among the agitating farmers. The farmers believe that their movement has crossed a stage where the government had to bow down to the movement.

But, the farmers also made it clear that only the laws have been repealed so far. Now, they will go back home only after taking MSP (minimum support price) for their crops and compensation from the government responsible for the “murders” of more than 700 farmers.

Deep Singh said to NewsClick that, “This movement has stopped the increasing attacks of fascism in the country. Modi government has gone into its reverse gear. Today, only the government is government-run in the country, while the rest is being given to private hands. This movement has denied the same. It has shown the rest of the of the country that this unbridled government can be controlled if one puts up a united front.”

Even after one year of the farmers’ movement, the farmers are not tired and their spirit and energy is visibly the same as it was a year ago.

The 55-year-old guru sewak had reached the Tikri border, from Faridkot in Punjab, on his handicapped cycle a year ago. The farmers have been at the border for the past one year.

Recalling the events that took place for a year, he said to NewsClick, “That day, it seemed as if we had become an enemy in our own country. Our sons (police personnel) were ready to open fire on us at the behest of the government. But, today, we are at peace thinking about the fact that we will be going back to our homes soon.”

Harbir Singh, of Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta, said to NewsClick:

“The government harassed us in every way in the last one year. It tried to prove us to be terrorists. But, we were able to convince the people of the country that we are not just fighting for agriculture, but to save the country. We got the support of the shopkeepers around the border and the families living here. Apart from our families, we have formed a relationship with the people here, by now. Elders love us like our parents. Children call us ‘baba’. We also like them like we care for our sons and daughters. The government was making us their enemy, but now, whenever we go from here, we know that we have another family here.”

“Not Just The Farmers’ Victory, But Of Everyone Who Supported Us”

On Friday, hundreds of farmers gathered at the Ghazipur border in Delhi to mark the completion of one year of the agitation. These farmers are especially from western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Farmers held a panchayat at Ghazipur border.

The Ghazipur border has been of special importance in this movement, since this is the place from where the Uttar Pradesh government had made preparations to remove the farmers, amidst the deployment of heavy police force, after the violence on January 26, 2021.

On the night of January 28, farmers were killed. Due to this, the movement got a new birth.

Joginder Singh, 52, a farmer who came to the Ghazipur border from Muzaffarnagar district, said to NewsClick that, “This victory is not just of the farmers, but of everyone who supported us… They are [the reason] why the Modi government stepped back.”

Tejveer of Shamli was sitting next to Singh. He distributed jaggery to everyone as he told us that he was present on the Ghazipur border for the last one year. He said to NewsClick:

“I have seen a lot of ups and downs in this movement. There was a time when we were not even allowed to set up our own tents or toilets. At one point, we were told that the farmers will have to go now. But, we endured everything… And now, we are only a short distance away from our victory.”

From the very beginning, this movement got the support of the working class people from Haryana and Punjab. It still looked the same. For instance, Jagwanti, a 45-year-old ASHA (accredited social health activist) worker from Haryana, has been a government employee for the longest time. She was present at the Tikri border with her entire family.

Jagwanti said that she is not a farmer, but she eats what is grown by her. Hence, she was always with the movement and will always be. The woman sitting with Jagwanti is Rani, a small farmer with two killas of land. She joined the movement along with her husband.

While speeaking to NewsClick, she observed that, “This movement has also reduced many evils prevailing in the country and society. Now, my husband also does the things he wouldn’t before. This movement has created an equal relationship between us. This has happened to not just me, but to many others.”

She added that, “Here, men do household chores as well as physically help the women. We saw many elderly couples pressing each other’s feet here, which was like a dream earlier.”

“We Have Defeated Delhi Again With Our Patience”

Like Tikri and Ghazipur, farmers on Delhi’s Singhu border also celebrated a year since their agitation started and a partial victory. The farmers had to say that they defeated the government sitting in Delhi yet again, with their patience.

PR professional, Ajit Pal Singh has been at the border for the last one year. He said that he was shocked by Modi’s sudden announcement to withdraw agricultural laws. He told NewsClick:

“We got very emotional. We realised at that moment that we will win only if we fight. My family felt that I would be back home, with my farmer brothers, in a few days. When I came here, I realised that this is no small movement. My 12-year-old daughter wouldn’t go to sleep without me around. I have left her alone for a year. I know that 700 farmers were martyred. In light of their sacrifice, I don’t see mine seems insignificant. Though we have gained a partial victory, we will not go until all our demands are met.”

 

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Surekha, a leader from the labour organisation, Center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), told NewsClick that:

“Today is Constitution Day and on this day, exactly a year ago, along with the farmers’ march to Delhi, the workers also went on a nationwide strike. They were demanding a fair price for agriculture and the return of the laws made against farming, while the working class wanted the full price of its labour and the return of the labour code brought against it.”

“Right now, the government has bowed down to only one demand. Its effect will be visible in the elections, so they have decided to repeal the farm laws. Now, they have to repeal all the anti-people laws, in front of labour-kisan unity,” she added.

Sumit Singh, a young farmer leader and the secretary of Haryana Kisan Sabha, has been present at the Singhu border since day one. He was among the first to face police violence on the border.

Singh told NewsClick that, “Today, the farmers are back where they were before the introduction of these laws. But, even today, our questions remain the same. We were demanding the guarantee of MSP from the very beginning. That is our main demand and without it being guaranteed, this movement will not end.”

The Modi government has decided to repeal the farm laws, but the farmers are still struggling with respect to issues like MSP, martyr status to the dead farmers, justice in the Lakhimpur violence case, stubble law etc.

In the coming times, the farmers will hold a tractor rally to the parliament during the winter session, which starts on November 29, and pressurise the government to meet their remaining demands.

__

By BaluSingh RajPurohit 

All quotes have been sourced from:

https://hindi.newsclick.in/Farmers-did-not-get-tired-even-after-year-of-peasant-movement-same-energy-and-spirits-remained-intact

Featured image is for representational purposes only. Photo credit: tribunemag.co.uk
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