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What’s keeping farmers’ movement going? Milk from Haryana, almonds from USA, fuel from Rajasthan, zarda from Punjab…

“Every hand is contributing, the kisan aandolan has become a picture of unity in diversity. Leaders tried to separate us but their farm laws have united us like anything,” said Master Jagdish Phulan from Haryana’s Fatehabad district.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | December 8, 2020 9:30:25 am
Warm jackets are distributed among farmers during their ongoing 'Delhi Chalo' agitation against the new farm laws, at Singhu border in New Delhi, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. (PTI Photo: Manvender Vashist)

Ab ki baar, kisan aur mazdoor”. The slogan echoed in Phulan village of Haryana’s Fatehabad district early in the morning as its residents went about collecting milk. Within an hour, 50 litres had been collected and put on a vehicle to sent to the Kundli border where farmers protesting against the central farm laws are staying put.

More than 200 kms away, at 5-0 Lakhian village in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district, farmer Galaxy Brar says, “Abhi nahi toh kabhi nahi (it’s now or never)”. Brar has created a corpus fund with the help of donations from NRIs, landlords, and even leaders from the BJP who cannot support the farmers’ protest “openly”. This fund is being used to fuel up the tractors of farmers who cannot afford diesel. Money from the corpus has already been used to fill the fuel tanks of more than 40 tractors – most tractors have fuel tanks with capacity ranging from 45-65 litres – spending close to Rs 4,000 per vehicle.

Thousands of miles away, California-based Tut brothers are working the lines to send almonds for the farmers protesting at the Delhi borders. The brothers namely – Surjit Singh Tut, Pritam Singh Tut, Ranjit Singh Tut and Amarjit Singh Tut – who hail from Paragpur village in Jalandhar have already dispatched 20 quintals of almonds for the protestors. More sacks are being readied.

Back home in Bathinda, a private petrol pump owner provided free fuel for four days to farmers on way to the national capital. Meanwhile, several mechanics are now camping at Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri border and repairing tractors and cantors for free.

Kinnow growers from Sri Ganganagar are supplying the fruit free of cost to the peasants while some big farmers are sending carrots by quintals.

The Muslim Federation of Punjab has organised free langar of zarda (sweetened rice). A part of medicine stock has been sent by Ludhiana industrialists twice.

“Every hand is contributing, the kisan aandolan has become a picture of unity in diversity. Leaders tried to separate us but their farm laws have united us like anything,” said Master Jagdish Phulan from Phulan village of Ratia constituency of Haryana’s Fatehabad district. This village lies on the border of Mansa district, around 200 km away from the Kundli border. Dharampal Mela, a committee member who collects ration for the Delhi protest and is also a resident of Phulan, said, “Around 35 villages of Ratia collect more than 2,000 litres of milk on a daily basis, which is sent via canter till Kundli border every day.”

Volunteers pack medicines for the use of farmers protesting against the new farm laws in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

“All of Haryana is charged up now. I voted for BJP, but it hardly matters to me now. Kisan-Mazdoor is our only concern. We are not bothered by any political party,” said Bansi Lal Sihag, a resident of Jandwala village, Fatehabad.

Ashish Kumar, another villager from Bhiwani, said, “Batches of 100 of our people are replacing each other every two days and we are collecting funds which are used for travel, ration, whatever is needed at the dharna site.”

Advocate Mubeen Farooqi and 25 others from Malerkotla have been at the Singhu border since November 26. “We braved water cannons, tear gas shells to reach the spot. However, on day 1, when there was total chaos, our friends from Sonipat had sent us fruits which were distributed among people as langar cooking was not possible from day 1. Now we are making Zarda (mithe chawal) and this langar is being liked by all. Rather people from outside slums who are not even part of dharna come to eat. Langar is for everyone. So far over 40 quintals of rice has been used,” said Farooqi, who is president of the Muslim Federation of Punjab.

UP resident Anuj Singh, who is a member of BKU (Tikait), said, “Everyone has come here with some preparation. It is a long haul and we need to be prepared.our farmers have also come along with rice and pulses.”

Two volunteers distrbute almonds. (PTI Photo: Manvender Vashist)

Meanwhile, Galaxy Brar said, “I had announced through social media that people can approach me for free fuel as a corpus fund has been created. People from Punjab, Rajasthan have contacted me so far. I get their fuel filled online through my BPCL card and payment is done from my side. One trolley is given 1,000 litres of fuel for coming and going, as jathas keep replacing each other.”

Jagdish Chahar from Raisinghnagar of Ganganagar district said, “Farmers are taking chana, sabut moong ki daal which is grown in their fields. They are also taking wheat flour.”

“Jatinderpal Jodhan, a Ganganagar-based farmer, gave a quintal of carrots from his fields.and 100 quintals of kinnow have to be sent to all borders of Delhi contributed by Ganganagar farmers. We have already sent Malta,” said Sameer Sahu from Naggi village.

“It is a kisan movement now. Farm laws are an issue for all of us. Hence farmers have decided to make the most of it.. We don’t want them to return empty-handed. We will not be able to get up again if we are let down this time. We have to show our faces to our younger generations,” said Jagdish Phulan.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of BKU (Ugrahan), said, “The kisan andolan has now become the whole country’s aandolan. Farmers from all states are now part of this movement which is for the rights of farmers. We are especially thankful to our Haryana brothers and sisters who are going out of their way to help us. Every day, thousands of litres of milk is coming from Haryana. They are making arrangements of stay for our members as well.”

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, a working committee member of All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said, “Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, we all were part of Punjab earlier. So we have our close affinity with each other. Back home in our villages as well, when many are in morchas, the other villagers including women are taking care of farming. Everyone has forgotten their old differences. Farm laws are a death warrant for us. So we all are here, together as kisan community and not from any particular state or any particular religion.”

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