Kisan Long March: The Stories Of Some Of The Warrior-Farmers & What People Said

Walking a distance of 180kms from Nashik, in this scorching heat, when sitting in our comfortable homes makes us sweat, the farmers have shown us their mettle. The farmers who want to be freed from their agrarian woes, have gathered in thousands of numbers at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan.

These men, women and kids were to march to the Mantralaya today but because of their concern for students’ board exams, they camped at Azad Maidan – a place which has often been the centre of various movements. The farmers showed humanity for the students – will we show humanity towards them?

Photo: hindustantimes.com

According to the data reported by the six divisional commissionerates in a report on livemint.com, from January, 2017 to October, 2017, 2,414 farmers had committed suicide. We rarely think about the farmers and in spite of the large number of farmers killing themselves every year, we continue to act deaf and blind.

While these red-topi warriors may appear calm on the surface, they have undergone a lot of pain and struggle. What do they want?

These are their five demands:

1. An unconditional and full waiver of loans and electricity bills.

2. Compensation for crop losses due to pink bollworm attacks and hailstorms.

3. Immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.

4. A profit of 1.5times the input cost of their farm produce.

5. Complete stopping of confiscation of farmlands in the name of developmental projects.

Here are some farmers you’d want to meet:

Solar Soldier aka Nathu Nivrutti Udar

This man’s photograph has been doing the rounds on the internet. He walks with a solar charger on his head, to charge his phone during the march. He had got the solar panel for his home but then decided to get it along on the march so the phones of other farmers can be charged and they can remain in touch. Free of cost. He lives with his family and wants the rights to four acres of forest land.

Groundnut Guardian aka Sundarabai Mhadu Bhoi 

Think about this. What must have the farmers eaten for the last few days? Sundarabai ensured that she got enough groundnuts to help feed some of her fellow farmers on the march. She also is protesting to want rights over forest land. She is 60-year-old!

600-Survivor aka Gangadhar Waghmare

Waghmare told News 18, “It is our ancestral forest plot but we never got its possession. The land is rightfully ours and we demand for its possession. We have ration cards but receive ration at all. My father was also a farmer and he gets a meagre pension of Rs 600. How can we survive like this?”

(Photos: News 18)

There are many other farmers whose stories have been very compelling. They have waited for something better to happen to them. Now, they are acting on it.

Mumbaikars – and a lot of them – went to the farmers with food and water. Many have come in support of the march on various social media platforms. Here are some of the most heart-wrenching posts on the social media:

The least you can do is write on your personal social media feed in support of these farmers who have thought about everyone during their peaceful yet powerful protest.

Preview Photo: Reuters/ Danish Siddiqui

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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