January 25, 2021 1:31:42 am
Lovely Boparai, 62, was the main attraction in the tractor parade organised by residents of Ludhiana from South City to Ladhowal toll plaza, about 14 km, on Sunday. Wearing a black and white jacket, she was sitting behind the steering of the tractor while four teenagers wearing green turbans were sitting on her sides, two each on both sides.
“Although I know how to drive car and jeep, I had never driven a tractor before. I was driving it on the road for the first time, that too for a stretch of around 28 km. I was nervous. However, it went well,” said Lovely, who lives in Sarabha Nagar area in Ludhiana. She has a farming background. Her husband owns about 35 acres of land at Noorpur Bet village of Ludhiana district.
Lovely was among many in the rally which was led by women while men followed them. The theme of the rally was: Main kisan di beti haan, kisanan de naal haan (I am a farmer’s daughter, I am with farmers.)
She added, “I believe that these black laws should be taken back. Though the government has proposed to hold it for 18 months, I feel that we should not step back at this stage. Over 150 farmers have died during this struggle. Their sacrifice should not go waste.”
Kakul Gill, 47, her niece and her sister-in-law Ria Gill were in a Gypsy. A former fine arts lecturer at Khalsa College for Women (KCW), Kakul was instrumental in bringing women to Sunday’s tractor rally.
She stays on Barewal road and belongs to a farmer’s family as her father has farm land at a Moga village. “I come from a farmer’s family and married into a farmer’s family. A farmer can never be separated from his land. I am a farmer’s daughter and I will always be with farmers. I will be going to Singhu border after January 26 along with my friends,” she said. She had contacted many alumnae of KCW on social media and also contacted people from all walks of life to make the rally a success.
Preet Dhanoa, a businesswoman with roots in farming, was driving a tractor while her 13-year-old daughter was sitting along with Lovely Boparai. Among the others driving tractors were Kulwant Kaur Seera, a painter, Pammi Jhajj, who is in charge of Guru Nanak Khlasa College for Women, Model Town, and Nikku Gill, another alumna of KCW, who is an NRI and has been in Punjab for the past one month. In her late 40s, Nikku runs a driving school in Vancouver. Therefore, she was not at all nervous driving on Ludhiana roads.
Pollywood actress Ramneek Sandhu, who lives in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, too drove a tractor. “So many farmers have died. We did this rally to pay a tribute to them and pray that they must be given their rights. I feel that the laws should be repealed. Staying laws for a few months is not a permanent solution,” said Ramneek, donning a green turban. She claimed that her grandparents were into farming and they still have farm land at Manak Majra village of Moga district of Punjab.
Rupinder Kaur Gill, 70, retired lecturer of history from KCW, Inderjeet Kaur Pannu, 70, retired lecturer from Khalsa School, and Raminder Gill, 65, a retired lecturer of economics from KCW, too were part of the rally. The trio were travelling in a car and raising slogans such as ‘no farmers, no food’.
The majority of participants had farm land in villages, though they were living in urban areas now. Many industrialists such as Ranjodh Singh, MD of GS Radiators, too took part in the rally.
“When a movement becomes a jan aandolan, everyone participates, no matter whether you are from cities or villages,” Ranjodh said. Over 2,000 vehicles took part in the rally.
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