January 18, 2021 3:10:35 am
As January 18 has been fixed as the women farmers’ day by the protesting farmers, Balwinder Kaur, 60, resident of Behman Diwana, Bathinda district, is excited to lead a march to Kathera village of Fazilka district where BJP leader Surjeet Kumar Jyani lives. Accompanying her will be her 14-year-old granddaughter Karnaaz Kaur and thousands of women, including another Balwinder Kaur, 55, of Chak Fateh Singh Wala village of Bathinda district and her seven-year-old granddaughter Navnoor Kaur.
Women will be in charge at the protest sites across Punjab as well as at Delhi borders on Monday.
Women members of BKU Ugrahan will stage dharnas at Dhanaula village of Barnala district, which is a native village of BJP leader Harjeet Singh Grewal, and Kathera village of Fazilka district, native village of Surjeet Kumar Jyani.
Balwinder of Behman Diwana said, “Our family does farming on about 12 acres of land. In a farmer’s family, everyone is a farmer. The whole family works together to earn livelihood. Hence, every women living in a village is a farmer only.”
Balwinder of Chakfateh Singh Wala said, “We need not have separate land to prove that we are independent women farmers. My husband died more than a decade ago during farmers’ struggle. Our entire family is associated with this movement which is now every household’s struggle to fight for our existence.”
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of BKU Ugrahan, said, “Women units of Sangrur, Barnala, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mansa and Patiala will go to Dhanaula village while women units of Bathinda, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Muktsar, Faridkot, Moga, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur will go to Kathera village. When we started struggle against farm laws, our union had district bodies in 13 districts of Punjab and now it has district bodies in 16 districts of Punjab. Jalandhar, Tarn Taran and Fatehgarh Sahib are the new districts from where membership has been done in large numbers.”
Women will stage a march in the villages first of all and then will be holding a protest rally. Harinder Kaur Bindu, vice-president of BKU Ugrahan, said, “Though Jyani claims to be chairman of eight-member BJP panel to coordinate with farmer unions and Grewal is one of the panel members, they have only defamed the farmers rather than putting up a strong case before the Union ministers for Punjab’s farmers. Their role needs to be condemned. Hence, rallies have been planned in their villages.”
Bindu was among few women leaders who drove a tractor on January 7 on Eastern Peripheral Expressway. She hails from Bhagatuana village of Faridkot district of Punjab. “I have ploughed the fields manually. I learnt how to drive a tractor in early 2000. Though I am fully involved in union works, my family is into farming. Hence, I know all the processes,” she said.
Paramjeet Kaur Pitho is another woman leader of BKU Ugrahan who knows how to drive a tractor. She is block president of Rampura Phull and lives with her parents at Pitho village after her husband’s death about a decade ago. She grows vegetables and potatoes apart from sowing wheat and paddy. “I work manually in fields as well. Farming can no longer be associated with men alone. It is a family’s job. Hence, every village woman is a farmer,” she said. Pitho and Bindu will be managing the stage at Tikri border on Monday.
Sukhdev Singh said, “As protest against farm laws started, we realised how important women and children are in this struggle. They have been protesting aggressively. Women from every house have been moving out. Not only farmers, but women from other fields also will be part of Monday protest. Protest against farm laws is no longer limited to villages now. It is every household’s talk now.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines