Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Is Propelling Farmers Protest In Punjab


Barnala - Farmers Protest against the three farm laws has entered 158th day in Punjab and 93rd day on the borders of Delhi. Farmers marked 27th Feb, 2021 as ‘Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Divas’ (Farmer-Labourer Unity Day). The relationship between a farmer and labourer is like that of a fish with water or to put it in the language of farmers is the nail & flesh relationship.

This unique relationship is seen in villages of Punjab during this sowing season when farmers are on the borders of Delhi with their tractors and trolleys. In Fatehgarh Chhanna village of Barnala the labour force is helping the farmers in a unique manner which is shattering the myths and lies of national media that has tried to divide the farmers and labourers using the inequality and caste card.

Voluntary Work

Ram Kumar (name changed) has been living in Fatehgarh Chhanna village since last 5yrs. Kumar who is from Bihar came to Punjab in 2016 because of higher per day ‘Mazdoori’ as compared to his village in Bihar. Kumar who is now married tells me that his financial condition has improved after coming to Punjab and has been able to save as well as send money to his parents. Kumar and a group of other labourers from Chattisgarh have been working for 2-3 farmers per season. Kumar says that he works for Gurbachan Singh who owns the field and also provides accommodation for his family. Kumar’s daughter studies in village school while his wife works as maid in the village. Kumar tells me that he visited the Singhu border when Gurbachan singh (Sirdar Ji, as he calls him) called him to do so. Kumar went to Singhu with other labourers who work in the neighbouring villages of Barnala. “He paid me in advance for three months. Sirdar Ji gave me his ATM and told me to withdraw 8,000/-“ Kumar says.

Kumar tells me that announcements were made in the gurdwaras to make volunteer teams for sowing and procurement of seeds, manures etc. The volunteers who are generally young boys of the village work hand in hand with the labourers in the field. Kumar says that in the absence of Sirdar Ji it is his responsibility to make sure that field looks like Sirdar Ji likes it. “I share photos with Sirdar Ji and he is happy.” Says Kumar who feels proud of what he has done in the field.

The story is not same for all the labourers in the village. Unlike Kumar many labourers work per day and seek labour every day. Vikas (name changed) from village Barnala in Barnala tells me that farmers Protest is not just the protest of growers, it is the protest of everyone who is associated with food and land. Vikas says that the opportunities of labour will decline with heavy corporatisation of agriculture. He says that he has worked on the fields all his life and was not considered eligible to work on the tomato fields of a private corporation. He says that he doesn’t understand how they determine the skill set of unskilled labour. He adds that either government needs to do something about unskilled labour or needs to repeal the laws.

Back in Fatehgarh Chhanna the youth of village have arranged for tractors and trolleys for those families that have theirs on the borders of Delhi. Trolleys are given for free to families of the farmers. The lists about the requirements of the families are efficiently maintained by Gurdwara Sahibs of the village.

Conclusion

The lush green fields of Punjab establish that fields will not be abandoned as long as Kisan Mazdoor Ekta is alive. Many attempts have been made in the past to divide this unique and fragile relationship between farmers and labourers, the farmers protest has just strengthened this.

Long live Kisan Mazdoor Ekta.

Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad.

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