IT started with a small bike rally that wound its manner by the lanes of the village. That was on June 7, 2020. All the nation was underneath a lockdown to regulate the pandemic, however in Duggan, a village in Sangrur district of Punjab, there was one thing else that agitated the villagers: a few days in the past, three farm ordinances had been promulgated by the President of India and a number of the villagers, amongst them over a 1,000 retired authorities workers, thought it was vital to teach the small farmers of the village concerning the “risks” within the proposed legal guidelines.
“We understood the ordinances, and rapidly realised that we aren’t prepared for this 360-degree change in farming. This village has over 3,700 acres of farm land and practically 60 per cent of the farmers personal lower than 5 acres. We knew that these new legal guidelines would kill the small farmer. Just a few of us sat collectively and mentioned the ordinances on June 5 final 12 months, when few individuals even observed them,” says Kuldeep Joshi, 63, a villager who retired as inspector from the Punjab Police’s Vigilance Bureau.
And thus, a spark was lit, with the motion quickly spreading throughout the state and later to neighbouring states and the nationwide Capital.
“Slightly greater than 17 months have handed and we’re nonetheless sturdy. Dilli Chalo (when farmers marched to Delhi) occurred on November 26, when 35 tractor-trolleys from our village went to Delhi. However we Punjab villages had been up in arms a lot earlier than that,” says Joshi.
“Plenty of villages slowed down after the Republic Day violence or stopped the agitation for some time, however Duggan village saved at it. They’ve been essentially the most constant village,” says Jagmohan Singh Patiala, state common secretary of BKU Dakaunda.
Joshi says 52 farmers represented Duggan village on the Muzaffarnagar mahapanchayat. Apart from, each Sunday, a bus would take 40-45 villagers to Singhu or Tikri and convey again a batch of those that had already been protesting there. “That is our personal battle. We did all on our personal, utilizing our private bills. We by no means stopped,” he says.
This village, with a inhabitants of 10,000, has 52 acres of nazool land, frequent land that has been given on annual lease for
Rs 70,000 an acre. “We often use this fund for improvement work within the village. However for the reason that morcha started, now we have been utilizing the cash to maintain the agitation,” provides Joshi, including that the village spends round Rs 25,000 each week on the agitation.
Gurcharan Singh, 65, one other villager, says, “We gather ration on occasion and deposit it within the village gurdwara. So at any time when one jatha leaves for Delhi, they take some inventory out of that pooled ration. We ship 100-200 litres of milk each week for which each and every home contributes, even whether it is one glass.”
Satnam Singh, 33, one other villager who owns 15 acres, says, “I spent round six months at Singhu and Tikri. In my absence, my neighbour took care of my crops and I did the identical when he went to Delhi. Folks referred to as us ‘wealthy farmers’. However the truth is, we managed solely as a result of we helped one another and had the center to donate. It took the Central authorities over a 12 months to know the whole lot.”
Gurmail Kaur, 60, president of the ladies’s wing of the farm union within the village, says, “Ladies from the village went usually to Delhi and to native morchas in Sangrur metropolis, toll plazas and many others. We not solely did langar sewa but additionally managed the morchas. We will handle a protest web site in addition to we do our houses.”
Gurmail says the gurdwara langar within the village usually provided candy rice and dal-roti to the protest web site on the Sangrur railway station.
For now, the villagers are getting ready for the subsequent journey to Singhu, on Sunday (November 21). Roop Kaur, 65, will probably be a part of this batch of 40.
On Saturday, as she packs for the journey, she says, “We’ll proceed our protest until the legal guidelines are repealed in Parliament. However this time, we occurring a cheerful be aware: we received.”