It is six in the evening. Thousands of farmers from all over the country are gathering in Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Today is 29 November and is the first evening of the two-day ‘Kisan Mukti March’.
The ‘Kisan Mukti March’ has been called by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee. It is a platform of more than two hundred farmers’ organizations across the country, which was established about one and a half years ago. The Kisan Mukti March has been organized mainly with two demands. One, all the debts of farmers should be forgiven in one stroke by bringing a law in Parliament and second, according to the report of the Swaminathan Commission, farmers should be given a minimum support price of one and a half times their cost. Due to these demands, farmers from all over the country have gathered in Delhi. This morning, these farmers have reached Ramlila Maidan only after walking from different corners of Delhi.
Cultural programs have started on the stage of Ramlila Maidan with the darkness deepening. On a permanent platform above, there are big speakers, on which the entire ground is resonating with the songs playing. A temporary platform has been built just below the permanent platform. On this platform, all the people are giving their presentations one by one, who have reached here in support of the farmers. Among them are students of many colleges, and many theater-related artists. Youths belonging to Asmita Theater Group are also staging a street play here. Late Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda also reached Ramlila Maidan to encourage the farmers. There he gave a brief speech among the farmers.
One Evening Farmer
This evening has been named – ‘One evening farmers’. Many singers and artists have also been called for this, who are giving their performance one by one. This atmosphere of Ramlila Maidan is like a celebration. Today, the Ramlila Maidan looks exactly the same as the atmosphere in a big fair held in a small city. Colorful flags / posters / banners are all-round, pandals are set up everywhere, there are tea stalls somewhere, books are being sold and caps, mufflers etc. The farmers who had entered the Ramlila Maidan shouting slogans, are now divided into small groups and engaged in different works. Some farmers are busy watching cultural programs sitting near the stage, some are lying down under the pandals, some are preparing to put their beds to spend the night, some are playing cards while sitting, some are playing Farmers from other states are talking to colleagues and some are looking for dinner.
In the midst of this crowd like the fair, farmer Pawan Kumar from Patna met sitting alone. His bag is placed in front of him and a polythene on top of it. There are some littis in it, who, while leaving from Bihar, were tied and given to them by their wife. After a day’s fatigue, now Pawan Litti is filling his stomach.
Although an anchor has been placed for the farmers in one corner of Ramlila Maidan, but in the midst of this crowd of thousands, Pawan probably did not know of the anchor. This langar has been installed on behalf of Baba Bachan Singh of Bungalow Sahib Gurdwara and hundreds of farmers are eating in this langar.
Nilesh Raman Bhai from Gujarat is also engaged in the line of langar. He has arrived here from Tapi district of Gujarat with his nearly one hundred and fifty colleagues. He explains, “We have not come so far to demand something that the government cannot provide. We are only asking for what the Prime Minister repeatedly promises. Rather they say that we have fulfilled the promise of giving farmers one and a half times the cost. But we did not get that price till date. All we want is to give us the price that the Prime Minister is claiming. ”
Nilesh Bhai explains in detail about his problem, “The price that the government has fixed for paddy is Rs 350 per 20 kg. But we never get more than 230-240 in the market. At most one gets 250 rupees, but not more than that. In such a situation, what should we do about the minimum support price of the government. “He further says,” The situation is the same with peanuts. The government says that a minimum of one thousand rupees per twenty kg will be given but we cannot get above seven-eight hundred. We just want the government to implement the promises it has made. ”
The demand that Nilesh Bhai has come to Delhi from Gujarat, is exactly the demand on which the organizers of Kisan Mukti March are also most stressed. But it is not that all the farmers who have reached Delhi have come here only because of this demand. Farmers from every region have their own problems and want them to be heard and the government should overcome their problems.
The problem of Hanumanth Bhoy, a farmer from Palghar district of Maharashtra, is that till today he has not got the lease of the land on which he has been farming for generations. He explains, “I cultivate an acre.” But the problem is that forest people say that the land belongs to them. Many times they fall down our standing crops, ruin them. In 2006, it has become law that we get the right to own the land on which we have been farming for decades, but that right has not been given to us till date. ”
Rise Of The Excitement
On the one hand, the noise of ink songs playing in the Ramlila Maidan is filling thousands of farmers with enthusiasm, while there are many farmers who seem very disappointed even in the midst of this noise. Mukhtar Ahmed is one such farmer sitting quietly alone in a corner of the pandal. There is a loan of 60 thousand rupees on Mukhtar who came from Pilibhit, due to which he has received notices from the bank many times. He says, “We have such a situation that there is no money to feed the family.” How do we repay the loan and from where. We do not get the right price for the crop, so nothing comes to us in the name of profit. Apart from farming, we also work as daily wage laborers and then the family goes.
As soon as thousands of farmers are present in Ramlila Maidan, Mukhtar whose shoulders have bowed down to the burden of debt. But they hope that the government will listen to their demands and their future will be better than their present. However, most of these farmers are those who have come to Delhi many times in the past and have come back after compromising with false assurances.
The farmers of Tamil Nadu are also among them who could not fulfill their demands even after staying at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for months. This time they have reached Delhi again and are involved in this demonstration as before. He has also said that if he is not listened to tomorrow or is prevented from marching to Parliament, he will protest nakedly.