December 10, 2021 8:08:38 am
With the farmers’ protest drawing to a close and several agitators starting their return journey from Friday, there is a unique joy of victory and accomplishment in the air.
However, for about 200 people from Kishangarh village in Mansa district of Punjab, this feeling is not new. With a population of around 6,000 people, this village has had a historical past of revolution. It was here that four farmers were killed on March 19, 1949, in a struggle which later came to be known as the Muzara movement. It was started in the 1930s in Punjab villages, which were under the Maharaja of Patiala. The movement and those men were even remembered at Tikri border as well as other protest sites in Punjab.
“Muzara was the word used for landless farmers who worked on someone else’s land. The movement was started to take ownership rights of the land after tilling it for years. The people finally got the ownership rights in 1952 after paying a one-time compensation,” said Kulwant Singh Kishangarh of the same village, adding that revolution is there in their blood and they were never afraid to challenge the government on the farm laws.
Kulwant, who is also the state committee member of BKU Dakaunda, said, that the over 70 farmers will be returning to the village on Sunday. “Around 70 villagers who went to Tikri and Singhu borders will be returning on Sunday. Another batch of 150 protesters will return from the pakka dharna sites in Bareta Mandi. On any given day, at least 200 people from our village were at various protest sites and on special ocassions, more people would join,” he said, adding that the farmers will be grandly welcomed.
The farmers entering the district via Boha will be first honoured at Boha, then at Budhlada, Bhikhi and several other villages before they reach their own villages.
Three farmers from Kishangarh had died during the protest. Mukhtair Singh ( 62) and Wazir Singh (70) were killed after the bus carrying villagers from Badal village and going towards Kishangarh met with an accident on September 22. While Mukhtair died on the spot, Wazir succumbed to injuries on October 3.
Around 40 other farmers of the same village were also injured in the accident. Another farmer, Gurmail Singh (42), had fallen ill on November 17 at the Tikri protest site. He was undergoing treatment at Hisar hospital but died on November 25.
Kulwant added, “Ours is a village of revolutionaries and being a part of farmer unions is a normal practice here. The people here are not afraid of death.”
Meanwhile, family members are also ready to welcome their, fathers, sons, wives, daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers who will be returning from the protest sites after over a year.
Among those who will be returning are Hoshaiyar Singh (50) and Jagroop (55) from Tikri.
Jagsir Singh, Jagroop’s son, said that he was eagarly waiting to welcome him home. “I had to work and hence could not go to Delhi to take part in the protest. It will be after a long time that the entire family will be sitting together.”
Tej Kaur (60) who is still at the border, said that the people she lived with at the protest site had become her family. “My children are all married and I do miss them. But the people at the protest site made me feel at home. I am looking forward to meeting my children and I will also introduce them to my new friends,” she said.
While there were tears of joy on one hand, some families felt the void more. Jaskaran Singh, son of Gurmail, said, “My father would have been so happy today but unfortunately he couldn’t live to see this day. He spent most of the time at the border site and I couldn’t even meet him one last time.”
“Even though I am sad, I will be welcoming all the other farmer brothers. This is what my father dreamt of and farmers’ victory is also my father’s victory,” said, 20-year-old Jaskaran, who has been assigned the duty to welcome farmers at Mansa border.
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