With no end to the deadlock between the Centre and farmer unions in sight, emotions are running high among the protesters sitting on dharna against the farm laws. In this trying time, Haryanvi ragnis (folk songs) have helping keep the morale high at dharna sites in both villages and on social media.
Ragnis on the farmers’ stir started gaining popularity ever since they faced police lathicharge at Pipli of Kurukshetra district on September 10. Towards the end of November, they started gaining popularity at dharna sites along Delhi borders.
A ragni — ‘Kadar kisan ki’ — written by ex-serviceman Ajay Hooda of a Rohtak village, has more than 1.2 million viewers on just one music group on YouTube. “We have not given copyright to a single company for this song. So, it has been downloaded on least on 1,700 channels or groups of different social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram,” Hooda told The Indian Express.
Hooda’s ragni — “Re karlo kadar kisan ki- sare milke baat karo iske samman ki (Let’s respect the farmer, join hands to talk about his honour)” — talks about the difficulties faced by farmers, calling them “annadata”. It highlights farmer suicides and asks police not lathicharge.
“This country has only two gods — the kisan and jawan. No doubt a jawan get salary as well but they are the most concerned about the security of country. Likewise, the farmers feed countrymen but despite that they face adverse financial conditions. I wanted to highlight challenges of the farmers by singing a song on them.”
A Haryanvi song sung by an 18-year-old girl, Vidhi Deshwal, highlights the need for enactment of a law to ensure minimum support price (MSP) of crops. Bringing this demand of farmers on centre-stage, the song mentions, “MSP ka pakka kanoon government ke hath bane- swaminathan report sath me lagu ho to bat bane (A law for MSP should be enacted by the government. It would be good, if Swaminathan Report on MSP is implemented altogether).”
“I am a farmer’s daughter. It’s my duty to bring out their voice with a right perspective,” says Vidhi. According to Vidhi, the song has over 7.87 lakh viewers on Facebook and 61,000 viewers on Youtube. She adds that the songs are being liked very much and appealing to the sentiments of the masses.
A song on Dushyant
One of the songs is about Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, referring to the 2017 incident of him going to Parliament riding a tractor when he was an MP from Hisar. The song says, “Jab leke tractor Parliament me jave tha, mhare tute honsla ki jhuthi aas jagave tha. Mahne ke bera itna bada dhokha hona hai (He was giving us false hopes on our broken morale when he was going to Parliament. We were not aware that we will face such a big betrayal).”
The song was uploaded on YouTube just a week after the Pipli protest and depicted the incident of police lathicharge on farmers. Another song by Deepa Chaudhary and Vikas Chaudhary mentions that “farmers won’t go back and will force the government to bow down”. Another ragni by Deepa Chaudhary highlights the issue of debt and suicides among farmers which has attracted 1.45 lakh viewers on YouTube within a week.
Haryanvi singers go to Tikri border of Delhi to sing ragni to boost morale of farmers. Such ragnis were sung at dharna sites on highways too during different phases of the agitation in Haryana.
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