July 23, 2021 10:39:13 am
“We have seen all seasons while sitting on roads. We started with winters, followed by spring, summer, and now we are going through the monsoon. We wish and hope that the government understands the patience and grit of farmers,” said Jasvir Kaur Natt.
The 60-year-old woman from Punjab has remained an integral part of the agitation against the three central agri laws. She has stayed put at Tikri on Delhi’s border since November 26 last year, the day the agitation formally shifted from Punjab and Haryana to national capital.
On Thursday, she was part of group of 200 farmers, and one of three from Punjab, who, amid a tight security, started a ‘Kisan Sansad’ at central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar Thursday, a few metres away from Parliament where the Monsoon Session is underway.
A state committee member of Punjab Kisan Union (PKU), Natt is also the national executive committee member of All India Progressive Women’s Association. “I am part of the stage committee at Tikri protest site. Tikri has become a second home for me. I left the protest site only once since November 26 to visit my ailing mother,” said Natt who hails from Mansa.
Natt’s husband Sukhdarshan Natt and daughter Navkiran are social activists. “I am from a family of activists. The struggle is in my blood. My family members keep coming to meet me. I will keep staying at Tikri border till the time the three laws are withdrawn,” said Natt.
Natt’s remarks came on a day Union minister Smriti Irani told the Rajya Sabha that the government is “very concerned” about the well-being of women farmers protesting at Delhi borders.
“The government has been very concerned about the well-being of women farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, during discussions with the farmers’ unions, appealed to them that children and elders, especially women, should be requested to go home keeping in view the severe weather conditions and the Covid pandemic,” Irani, the Women and Child Development Minister, said in a written reply.
The protesting woman farmers, however, are not ready to return. Kulvir Kaur, from Saddasinghwala in Mansa, is one such woman. The 55-year-old, also a member of the PKU, has been living at the protest site since November 26. Accompanying her are her husband, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.
“My husband and I went briefly to our village when wheat harvesting was and later for paddy sowing. We have made this struggle part of our lives, said Kulvir Kaur, whose only son died three years ago. The family has six acres of farmland, which is taken care of by villagers. “The march to Parliament by farmers is an effort to make the elected representatives realise that we don’t want their (agri) laws. We have been saying this for the past one year,” she said while heading to the Jantar Mantar,
The third woman in the group was 35-year-old Harman Kaur. A resident of village Aklia, also in Mansa, Harman Kaur has been to the protest site several times in the last eight months. “I have to take care of my family back home as well,” says Harman Kaur whose teenage son lives in the village.
Harman Kaur too is a PKU member. “We are a small marginal farmer family. We understand what farm laws can do to us. So I have all the more reason to be part of every struggle against the farm laws,” she added.
Incidentally, while chalking out the plan for Kisan Sansad, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha decided that on July 26, the protest will be led by women only.
The women, however, didn’t want to wait that long. Sukhdarshan Natt, a senior PKU leader, said, “A large number of women had put forward their names to be part of the first group of protesters at Jantar Mantar. Our women leaders are strong and we had no qualms in sending them, but we had to say no to many. Those who applied included Manveer Kaur, a 27-year-old who wanted to take part in the march with her one-year-old daughter. However, it was decided that instead of the initial five farmers per union, only three will go. The other women farmers will go in the next batches”.
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