On NH-9, ‘repeal’ chants all the way - ECAS Punjab

On NH-9, ‘repeal’ chants all the way

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Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Tikri/Bahadurgarh, December 16

'Radd (repeal)' is the word that echoes from each trailer among the thousands parked on the National Highway 9, which has been witness to many historic events in the last three centuries — from Guru Teg Bahadur's sacrifice at Delhi's Chandni Chowk to heroic tales of rebels of 1857.

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Lachchman Singh Sevewala, Pendu Mazdoor Union President

Fight for rights

Once again people have travelled hundreds of miles on this road to defend their right to till the land. History won't let them down.

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To the east of where these trailers have been parked on the almost 15-km stretch is the national capital. They say they have 'purana hisaab', as an old saying goes in Punjab, with Delhi. Braving harsh cold, a sea of men and women, old and young, seems unfazed. Every conversation starts and ends with 'radd'. Even if their leaders are having second thoughts, people are not ready to accept anything less than "repeal".

It scares to imagine what if the government does not bend? "Then this is enough to wrap our bodies back home," Gurmail Kaur, an old woman from Sangrur district says, spreading her dupatta.

The clock here seems to have stopped ticking; calender is just another piece of trash hanging on the wall. There is no restlessness, no eagerness to get quick results. People seem to be ready for a long 'protracted war'. Surinder Kaur of Mehal Khurd says they have ration for six months. And when it comes to ration, they don't count in kilograms or quintals but the area of land is the weighing scale. "Back home, wheat from 15 acres is lying harvested. It is enough to feed us for months," she says.

Same is the resolve of Yadwinder Singh from Vadda Chuga village in Muktsar. He says they have asked their families back home to cook food only after they return. They proudly narrate the heroic tales of how they changed the flow of water cannon and removed the barricades. The tractor seems to have become a new metaphor of resistance which can scale any terrain.

This uprising has created a new monument of resistance, where the young and the old come for pilgrimage. Sandeep Kaur, a school teacher from Kila Raipur in Ludhiana, says she wanted her seven-year-old daughter to see this historic struggle. "Rise against every act of injustice. That has been our tradition and I want her to understand," she says.

Farm activists who organised this struggle say once again history is repeating itself. Land remains the central question. Paramjit Kaur, from village Nagthe Chathe in Sangrur, says we are here for our lands. What is land for you? We ask. After a brief pause, she answers, "Mother".



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