Teri kahi nu kranti da chinh bana ke, asman vich lehranvangi.
Bapu tu dharne vich ekalla nahi javenga, Tere naal main vi jawanagi
(I will turn your spade into a symbol of revolution and wave it in the air. Father, you will not go to the dharna alone, I too will go along with you).
These lines were recited by Surindergeet Kaur (67), at the Prairie Winds Park in Canada’s Calgary on Friday to show support for the farmers’ agitation in Punjab. The audience was a gathering of 300 members of cultural associations who had gathered in support of farmers, and Kaur, a poet and author, was one of the speakers.
Those present included members of progressive cultural association (PCA), Sikh Virsa International, Sarokaran Di Awaz unit and Progressive Kala Manch of Calgary.
They carried posters of farmers, women and youngsters sitting on rail tracks in Punjab, raising slogans in rallies, sitting on roads and even cooking langar on roadside. Some also carried posters of Bhagat Singh.
Retired engineer Gurdial Singh Khaira (72) held a poster with Paash’s famous poem: ‘Hum ladenge saathi’.
Khaira, who hails from an Amritsar village, had retired as executive engineer from power corporation in Punjab. “I came to Canada about 10 years ago to live with my kids after retirement. I feel that we need to be voice of our Punjabi farmers and we should support them, these farm Bills are to crush the small farmers,”he said.
Master Bhajan Singh, a retired government teacher from Punjab Education Department has been living in Canada for the past 10 years. He was the coordinator of Friday’s programme. He started his speech with Paash’s poem: “Hum ladenge ki ladne ke bagair kuchh nahi milta. Hum ladenge ki abhi tak lade kyun nahi…hum ladenge apni saza kabulne ke liye, ladte huye mar jane ke liye (we will fight because nothing can be achieved without fighting. We will fight, why did we not fight till now? We will fight to accept our punishment, to die while fighting).”
Bhajan Singh while talking with The Indian Express over phone from Calgary said,” I hail from Gurum village of Ludhiana and my father was a farmer. I remained in democratic teachers front in India when I was a teacher. I have read all the three ordinances. I heard some BJP leader saying that they have many benefits for NRIs. I could not find anything. They first need to explain the Bills to Indian farmers, rather than targeting us. These Bills are a direct attack on small and marginal farmers with land of less than 5 acres. They will be employees of their own land and landlords, corporates will rule. Seed control will also be on the company getting contract farming done. This is a symbolic rally in support of farmers and due to Covid restrictions we could not gather in large numbers. If these Bills are imposed, farming will be ruined in India. We appeal to Modi government to withdraw these.”
The gathering also was people raise slogans like ‘Bharat di Modi Sarkar, Murdabaad’, ‘Kale Kanoon Murdabaad’ and ‘Kisan Ekta Zindabaad’.
Harcharan Singh Parhar (55) chief editor of Sikh Virsa International magazine also raised his objections about three farm Bills. Parhar hails from a Pahgwara village and came to Canada more than 2 decades ago.
Progressive Kala Manch set up by young children and grand children of these retired NRIs also staged a play ‘Utth Jaag Punjab Sihan (Get up, rise Punjab)’. Kamalpreet Pandher ( 42) was the organiser of this play in which youngsters staged play in Punjabi language, though they have been raised in Canada only.
Pandher said, “It is not that we are supporting farmers for the first time, we always raise concerns about issues happening in Punjab and we have raised concerns over drugs, gang wars too and have done many plays on many social issues.”
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