Haryanvi-Punjabi Bonhomie Amid Farmers Protests

JHAJJAR – Tarpaulin covered tractor-trailers parked in serpentine queues, small stalls offering free items ranging from medicines to books, langar serving round-the-clock tea and food, flag-bearing bikes, tractors and SUVs playing Punjabi songs, camera-wielding volunteers keeping an eagle-like vigil, turbaned elders discussing the ill-effects of the farm laws and leaders scrambling for mike at the stage put up in middle of the road on the Haryana-Delhi border.

No bad blood now

Politicians have set the narrative about the SYL and other issues, which have created a mental block among the people of both states. Thanks to the ongoing stir, the fault lines have crumbled all of a sudden. – Khushwinder Singh, Sangrur Farmer

The nearly 15-km stretch from Tikri border to Jakhoda village is witnessing a celebration of the new-found bonhomie between Haryanavis and Punjabis for the last 20 days amid growing dissent against the farm laws. The entire discourse among the gathering of nearly 35,000 people has a common refrain – to save their land from the corporates that are eyeing their fields.

An interaction with the protesters indicated that they are in no mood to hurry and are digging their heels for a prolonged struggle on their demands. An elderly farmer, Kaka Singh, from Barnala district said they had no ill feelings towards the government. “We have deeply studied the new laws before embarking on the agitational path. Now, there is no going back. We urge the Prime Minister to repeal the laws as they serve no good to the farming community,” he said, adding that there might be some protesters taking a dig at the ruling party leaders but it’s not their intention to personally attack anybody.

Singh said his wife had been taking care of the fields back in his village as they arrived here after sowing wheat. “The farmers are free till February-March. We have the capacity to withstand the vagaries of weather, be it extreme cold or rains, as well as the might of the powers that be,” he added.

Mandeep Malik, a young farmer leader from Umra village in Hisar district, said farmers had been in a constant struggle not only for their survival but also to ensure the livelihood of auxiliary communities like labourers, BPL people and even the small and medium-level trading community. “But the new Acts are paving the way for the takeover of the fields and businesses by the big corporates. It will spell doom not only for the peasants but for the beneficiaries of the food security schemes,” he added.

Punjab farmers are also happy over the cooperation they are getting from Haryana people and said the joint efforts had strengthened their stir.

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