November 19, 2021 6:43:52 pm
Moments after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to soon repeal the three contentious farm laws, five-year-old Kaptaan Singh was heard raising the slogan “ladenge te jitange” (will fight and win) at the Mehal Kalan toll plaza. However, this was not the first time he was speaking at a farmers’ protest site and was not the only young gun speaking against the Centre’s farm laws.
A resident of Mehal Kalan area of Barnala district of Punjab, young Kaptaan had been regularly reaching various protest sites in the last one year. His father Lakha Singh is a carpenter who has no farmland but he used to visit the protest sites since the beginning along with his son. And soon, Kaptaan started picking up the slogans. “Since March this year, Kaptaan has been a speaker at the dharnas where he raises slogans and gives short speeches. He is quick at learning,” said Lakha.
Kaptaan had addressed the agitated farmers from the stages of Singhu and Tikri as well on a number of occasions and had been the most sought-after speaker because of his tender age. “The kisan andolan gave us a young speaker who’s just five-year-old,” said Kaptaan’s mother Manjit Kaur.
Among other slogans, Kaptaan kept the protestors’ spirit high with lines like “kaale kanoon radd karwa ke rahange” (will ensure the black laws are repealed).
Among other young speakers at various protest sites were Jaspreet Kaur, a Class VIII student from Cheema village and Arshvir Kaur, a Class VI student from Pakhoke village near Barnala who were regular speakers at the morchas.
Adept with the environment of protest around them, whenever the microphone would reach Jaspreet and Arsvir during a morcha, the two would start speaking only after pronouncing the line “kisaan mazdoor ekta zindabaad” (salute to the union of farmers and labourers).
“Our fathers have been protesting since June 2020 and after the protest began, each day, someone or the other from our house would visit the protest sites,” said 10-year-old Arshvir. She added, “Everyone talks about the farm laws always, so we talk in the same way.”
Jaspreet said, “Not a single day passed when someone from the family didn’t go to the dharna sites. I too have been to the sites a number of times and have addressed the masses. Now, I have no stage fright. I think I can be a good orator.”
Navreet Kaur, 17, from Jhorar village of Jagraon constituency in Ludhiana surprised people with her firebrand speech at the Jagraon morcha site a number of times. Kaur is the daughter of a farmer, Charanjeet Singh, and has spoken on various occasions at the protest site apart from being at the Delhi borders with her parents.
Kaur said, “Bhagat Singh would have felt immense pain had he seen farmers of the country sleeping on the roads for the past one year. It started in September in Punjab and since November near Delhi. Revolution is needed to make movements successful and young minds like us need to walk firmly with our elders to give them physical strength.”
Children had been a part of the morcha on a regular basis and this is the reason libraries were made at Singhu and Tikri borders. Children had been attending their online classes too from the morcha site at the borders while these days, after attending schools, they visit the protest sites on a regular basis.
“When the women go, they take the kids along with them. They too remained a part of the movement,” said Narain Dutt of the Inqlaabi Manch Punjab. He remained active at Barnala railway station where many young speakers came and addressed the audience.
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