THE MARCH FOR JUSTICE

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A MILLION REASONS TO MARCH

– NAVSHARAN SINGH

The farmers’ movement is now a battle not just for the peasantry, but also for justice and dignity –  “The people of Punjab not only know how to farm, they also know how to protect their fields,” said farm leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan from the Tikri border, Delhi, where farmers are camping in protest against the Centre’s new farm laws. Punjab farmers’ unions are at the forefront in the fight, which have, for over two months, inspired protests in large parts of the country. The convoy of tractor trolleys and trucks — thousands of them — made its way into Delhi on November 25-26, equipped with food, blankets, stoves, utensils and all essentials, to last the farmers for months. “We are here to stay,” they said.

 

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SONGS OF SOLIDARITY

WAAPAS JAO – POOJAN SAHIL

Listen to the melodious voice of Poojan Sahil as he pays tribute to the farmers of Punjab protesting on Delhi’s Tikri border, against the 3 new farm bills. After facing water cannons and lathis of the police, the farmers continue their protest to become symbols of resilience and bravery. We stand in solidarity of the farmers fighting for their rights.

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THE BELLA CIAO OF THE FARMERS AT DELHI’S GATES

– PARI (People’s Archive Of Rural India)

This song (and video) are a brilliant Punjabi adaptation of the long-famous Italian folk protest song Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) that originated among women peasants in the Po valley of northern Italy in the late 19th century. Much later, members of the Italian anti-fascist resistance would change the lyrics and adapt the song to their struggles against Mussolini’s dictatorship. Versions of it have since continued to be sung worldwide as an anti-fascist hymn of freedom and resistance.

This rendition in Punjabi is written and wonderfully sung by Poojan Sahil. The video has been superbly shot, edited and produced by the media team at Karwan e Mohabbat, a campaign led by Harsh Mander, and devoted to the universal values of the Constitution of India, of solidarity, equality, freedom and justice

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THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS DISSENT

FARMERS AGITATION DEMANDS RELEASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

On Delhi’s Tikri border, the farmers of Punjab agitating against the 3 new farm bills, demand the release of imprisoned intellectuals who have exposed the communal and pro- corporate agendas of the government with their pen, art and speech.

ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF DELHI...

A DAY SPENT WITH FARM PROTESTERS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF DELHI

‘I returned with hope. The farmers may well be the spark that will ignite the inspiration to see us out of the dark tunnel that the past few years have been’ 

NATASHA BADHWAR

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CHALO DILLI

Farmers from across the country have been marching towards New Delhi to protest against the three legislations passed hurriedly in September amid the pandemic. What they witnessed upon nearing the capital was a brutal assault by the police using tear gas, water cannons, barbed wires and trenches 25-30 feet deep. Nothing could stop them. The farmers continued marching on with their indomitable spirit, showing the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

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I MAY HAVE RESISTED BELONGING TO PUNJAB BUT IT BELONGS TO ME

‘As I walk through the surreal scenes of the farmers’ protest sites at Tikri and Singhu on the outskirts of Delhi, I realise that the Punjab of my childhood has returned to my life this year. In January, we watched with awe as busloads of Punjabis arrived at the anti-CAA protest site at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi with the determination to offer solidarity by cooking meals for the protesters and sharing their stories.

In February, I travelled to Malerkotla with Harsh Mander and Navsharan Singh to participate in one of the largest anti-CAA rallies organised by farmers’ unions in north India. My grandfather had been the Postmaster in Malerkotla for a few years when we used to visit my Dadi and him as pre-teen children. Now I had come back with my own 11-year-old daughter to attend a rally of solidarity. I looked out at the busy streets of the town, searching for familiar remnants of my own childhood.

“Hindu, Muslim ladnay nahi denge,

San santalis hone nahi denge.”

 

–  NATASHA BADHWAR

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WOMEN FARMERS AND THE PROTEST

WOMEN FARMERS AT THE DELHI PROTEST ASK, ‘WHAT’S FOR US IN THESE LAWS’?

In the middle of December, farmers on Delhi’s Tikri border protesting the three new agriculture laws were joined by hundreds of women farmers from Punjab’s Malwa region. They came in 17 buses and 10 tractor trolleys, nearly 1,000 of them, to demand that the ‘‘black laws” be repealed.

As they descended from the vehicles, the women held union flags. But many also clutched something else – large and small photo frames held tightly against their chests. These were the portraits of their sons and husbands who had died by suicide over the years when they were unable repay the farm debt.

–  NAVSHARAN SINGH

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