Pooja Morey, a 30-year-old woman from Maharashtra, cheers and claps as a farmers’ leader delivers a speech in Punjabi from the stage in Singhu Border on a warm Sunday afternoon. Not very fluent in Hindi, Morey understands little of the Punjabi, but says that doesn’t matter.
“My father is a farmer. Having seen his pain, I know that the language of the speech doesn’t matter. Anything said here in any language will help ease the pain of farmers across the country,” said Morey, who belongs to Mirgaon village in Beed.
Some distance away, amid the crowd seated near the stage, a group of men belonging to a political party in Tamil Nadu also cheer the speeches every few minutes.
“We are also video recording the speeches so that we can get them translated later for those of us who don’t understand even Hindi,” said Jagdeesh Waran, a coordinator of the Naam Tamilar Katchi political party.
The men from Tamil Nadu are luckier than Morey because they have a Punjabi man occasionally translating the speech for them. “Some of them understand Hindi and try to pick on the Punjabi words. I translate the important bits of the speech,” said Bhavneet Singh, a Delhi resident who accompanied the group to the Singhu Border.
Morey and Waran are among farmers, politicians and volunteers who have arrived from states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to join the protests at the Singhu Border against the three farm laws passed by the Centre.
Most of them have landed at the site over the last couple of days after travelling by train.
Gajanand Bangale, a farmer from a village in Jalna district of Maharashtra, said that he even spoke from the stage on Sunday. “I don’t know how many Punjabi farmers understood me, but they clapped often,” said Bangale.
Bangale said he owns several bighas of land in Maharashtra, but struggles to feed his family. “If the government doesn’t take back its three laws, my family will be in even more trouble,” said Bangale.
He said that about 1,000 farmers are soon arriving at this border from Amravati in Maharashtra. “Today they are at the Bhopal border,” said Bangale.
Many of the people who have arrived from south Indian states said they plan to stay put here until the government submits to their demand for the repeal of the laws that the farmers are concerned would put them at the mercy of powerful agribusinesses.
“On TV, I saw the videos of farmers being attacked with water cannons and tear gas. They needed the country’s support, so four of us caught a train to reach Delhi station and from there a cab to reach here on Saturday,” said Vijay Gorle, a farmer from Peddapuram town in Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
The four men slept along with the Punjabi farmers at night and plan to stay on. “We tell the Punjabi farmers namaste and they feed us until we beg them to stop,” said Gorle.
Apart from farmers, there was a group of young men and women who said they had arrived from Kashmir. “We come from a farming background. So, we picked up two cars to join the farmers here,” said a Kashmiri man who didn’t want to be identified.
A few doctors and volunteers here too arrived from faraway places like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. “Our team of three doctors and one volunteer arrived here on December 2 after we heard the news that farmers were camping in the bitter cold. The bad weather means they’ll fall sick and so we decided to be available for them,” said Mridul Sarkar, an MBBS doctor from Kolkata.
Source- Hindustan Times.0