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Monday, January 18, 2021

Farmers’ protest: At ‘pagdi langar’, a sea of colours — and solidarity

Farmers' protest: Among those lined up were not just regular turban wearers getting a fresh turban but those who wish to wear them in solidarity with the protesters.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: December 16, 2020 10:06:01 am
Exercise, reading, ‘sewa’, farmers crack code of ‘protest life’ miles from homeFarmers at Singhu border during their sit-in protest against the Centre's farm reform laws, in New Delhi. (PTI file photo)

On Tuesday, at Singhu border, men stood in line in front of a tractor to participate in what was being called pagdi langar, with volunteers briskly tying fresh turbans on their heads.

On display in the tractor were turban cloths of all colours — reds, oranges, blues, purples, yellows, greens. Tejinder Singh, who was organising the distribution, said they had material for 1,000 turbans, and that they had tied turbans for around 300 people between 9 am and 1 pm.

“I’m from Mansa district and run a ‘Turban Bank’ in Punjab. We distribute these to people who need them. A lot of our Sikh brothers have gone to Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, and we try to ensure that they have access to turbans. Our main aim is also to promote the value of and respect for turban wearing among our youth, and there are so many people here who might need them. Especially since it is getting cold and we get ill if we are bare headed,” he said.

Among those lined up were not just regular turban wearers getting a fresh turban but those who wish to wear them in solidarity with the protesters.

“I feel very deeply for the farmers who are currently protesting. I also feel close to my Punjabi brothers because I had worked for six years in Khamano in the state. I have been coming to the protest site every second day. I’m Muslim but since this is happening, I thought I’ll also wear the turban to show our unity,” said Washim Ali (26), who now has a rice brokerage business in Delhi.

“Since there are people who are trying to portray the protesters as ‘Khalistani terrorists’, I thought I can participate in a show of unity — becoming one through the turban,” said Vikram Sharma (28), one of the protesting farmers who has come from his village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district.

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