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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Cooking, laundry, arranging manpower: a 41-year-old’s contribution to Tikri stir

It was in June last year that Darshan Singh began his protest against farm laws in Punjab first, and then moved to Delhi’s Tikri border.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: September 17, 2021 6:09:47 am
A member of BKU (Dakaunda), Singh is known among fellow activists for his dedication. In the past nine months, he has tried lending a helping hand to every aspect of the agitation from arranging manpower to collecting ration, cooking langar, washing clothes of fellow protesters to even building bamboo huts at the Tikri border. (Express)

A farmer activist since the age of 18, Darshan Singh (41) has participated in several protests, but the agitation against Centre’s farm laws is the one that has kept him away from his home in village Gurne Kalan under Mansa’s Budhlada tehsil for the longest.

It was in June last year that he began his protest against farm laws in Punjab first, and then moved to Delhi’s Tikri border. All through, this differently-abled activist has found little time for family with the cause he fights for taking up most of his days.

A member of BKU (Dakaunda), Singh is known among fellow activists for his dedication. In the past nine months, he has tried lending a helping hand to every aspect of the agitation from arranging manpower to collecting ration, cooking langar, washing clothes of fellow protesters to even building bamboo huts at the Tikri border. All this has ensured that he gets to visit his village only twice every month.

Darshan Singh says that he was just five-years old when polio inflicted his left leg, but this never stood in his way and after completing his Class 12, he started working in the fields of his family and also began to attend the various programmes of farm unions.

He became a farm activist at the age of 18, and later joined BKU (Dakaunda) around 15 years back when it was formed.

“At Tikri, I am busy the whole day. After my morning chores, I take along fellow farmers of my block to the main stage where leaders deliver speeches from 11 am to 3 pm, then we return and after having lunch, we discuss about the laws, meet fellow farmers from other districts and chalk out the next day’s plan,” he says, adding: “Sometimes, when we have some free time we play cards.”

Asking how he came to know about these three farm laws, Singh credits senior leaders of his outfit for educating him and other activists.

“These three laws threaten to snatch everything from farmers from selling their produce in organised registered markets to leaving them at the mercy of private players without giving a strong legal safeguards to the interest of the farmers,” he says.

Singh argues that the laws will push prices of essential commodities and hurt common people.

About who looks after the family farmland while he is away, Singh responds that his son (20) and father take care of agriculture, while his wife and daughter, a Class 12 student, also help them. “As for my personal expenses, I travel via train to my home and back to Tikri and this expense is not bigger that the cost we will have to pay after implementation of these three laws,” he says, arguing that farmers are ready to suffer small financial losses while fighting for a big cause.
“The protest has broadened my thinking which was limited only to my family earlier,” he concludes.

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