Women from Punjab step forward to support farmers’ agitation at Delhi borders
This is a question of our children’s future. It is not a game we are playing here, out in cold and under an open sky. We are here because we know our rights, says Sukhdeep Kaur, a protesting farmer
It’s a chilly December morning. The mercury is hovering around 14 degrees Celsius at 5 am. But even at this early hour, a fairly large group of women are hard at work. Jaspal Kaur has walked 20 kilometres to reach the farmers’ protest site at Singhu border with Delhi. “We are here not just to prepare food,” she quips. Others nod in agreement.
Harender Kaur from Bathinda gets down from her car. She had been supervising arrangements on the entire route. Feisty, she engages with the media. “My father was killed by Khalistan supporters 30 years ago and now we are being described as Khalistani,” she says with indignation. Secretary of one of the Kisan Unions in Punjab, she volunteers that most women, not all of them elderly or middle aged, have left their children behind. We are here in the open to fight for our rights, she says with confidence.
At the Tikri border we bump into Jasbir Kaur. She retired from a clerical post in the government and is now actively associated with a Kisan Union. She and her companion Gurmel Kaur, they inform, have come to express their solidarity with the movement. Says Simmi Sahota, “There was little point in staying back at home when the entire family is protesting here.”
While at both Singhu and Tikri border, women are present in large numbers, at the UP border there is hardly any woman to be seen. The confidence of women is infectious and Prabhjot Kaur recalls with a laugh that a lady journalist had arrived to speak to them but began doing Seva.
A group of women singing Punjabi songs interrupt their singing to speak. One of them, Sukhdeep Kaur speaks for the rest of them. “This is a question of our children’s future and survival. It is not a game we are playing here, out in the cold and below the sky. We are here because we know our rights.” The government’s intent is suspect.
While Bilkis ‘dadi’ became the face of the anti-CAA protest movement, Mohinder Kaur, Jangir Kaur and others, even young college girls from Haryana, have become the face of the farmers’ movement.