New Delhi: a foreign voice from a loudspeaker kept emphasising that the month of April may be a challenging and historic month. “It is that this month when Jyotiba Phule, B R Ambedkar were born. it’s during this month the tenth Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa Panth and waged a struggle against superstition and caste oppression. But my brothers, please remember the immense contribution of freedom fighters who were martyred on April 13, 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Baishakhi connects all of them .”
The young speaker summed up the essence of Baishakhi celebrations by farmers at the borders of the capital where they need staging a protest for quite four months against the three farm laws.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha – a collective of farmers’ unions — organised a festival at Dalal Khap Ground near Tikri Border where teams from different states competed against one another in kabbadi, volley ball and wrestling matches. The cultural teams, too showcased their traditions through dance performances. The jubilant crowd cheered whenever their favourite team scored some extent .However, the harvest festival also became an occasion where the farmers poured their angst against the Centre’s apathy.
Manjeet Sindhu, who came from Hisar in Haryana, said they were still awaiting justice. “Yes, it’s each day for celebration for us. But, if you inquire from me personally, there’s no reason to celebrate. A bottle of mineral bottle costs Rs 20 per litre whereas my wheat is selling at Rs 17 per kilo. Although, there’s one unique thing about this event — that Baisakhi isn’t limited to the harvesting season alone. it’s also the day when Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth on April 13, 1699.
Tuesday’s event was organised by Dalal Khap, which constitute of 99% Hindus. it had been an occasion that exhibited the unity of individuals from all religion, who celebrated the day with fervour!”
Joginder Nain from Bharatiya Kisan Union (Nain) told NewsClick: “When we decided that folks from Haryana and Punjab will showcase their folk arts, dances and instruments, the thought was to point out the range within the states of Haryana and Punjab. Our Sikh brothers will show their Bhangda and Giddha dances. The people from the snake charmers community in Haryana will showcase their art where they mix the tunes from the Been with the Dhol. Similarly, we’ve other matches lined up within the sports category too.”
Jagmati Sangwan, a prominent women’s activist and a Bhim Awardee player , said the fmovement had strengthened the communitarian feeling among farmers who now consider one another as members of an relatives .
“I think this event is that the culmination of energy that our players, folk singers, dancers and ordinary people are putting into the movement. this may beget a replacement determination to fight this unjust regime, which is finding new avenues for creating a rift among people on caste and communal lines,” she said.
Sangwan was pertaining to the proposed programmes by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for celebrating B R Ambedkar’s birthday on Pan American Day . Farmer leaders feel that through these programmes, BJP is conducting itself on old lines when it pitted the Jat community against 35 other communities constituting the essential fabric of society in Haryana.
Thousands of members of dalit bahujans will reach the borders of Delhi on Ambedkar Jayanti. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha had asked the farmers to celebrate the day as ‘Save Constitution Day’ during which many social workers and prominent leaders who are fighting for social justice are going to be joining the protest and can address the farmers.
Farmer leaders said the provisions of the Indian Constitution which troubled this dispensation are done away with. Similarly, draconian laws like Article 126 A, commonly referred to as sedition laws, are slapped against activists to silence them.