The current state of the protesting farmers of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana at the capital’s borders calls for an unusual kind of a Lohri celebration at Delhi borders, this year. The ‘Dilhi Chalo’ movement has already caught the attention of the entire world. Now we have the festival at the gate, which carries a lot of significance among the farmers of India. It is also known as the harvest festival. The farmers protesting at the borders are prepared to celebrate their annual festival at the border itself.
Lohri being a popular Punjabi winter folk festival among farmers is celebrated primarily in the Punjab region. Those camping farmers at the national capital’s borders said that “fighting for their rights” was the need of the hour before the celebration of the festival.
Undauntedly protesting at the Singhu border, farmers are re-asserting that they are ready for the long haul. Even the worsening temperature of Delhi is unable to shake their hopes and determination.
For the celebration of the festival, lighting the bonfire is the key feature and a tradition for many. It signifies the end of a harvest cycle and the beginning of the new, end of the shorter day, and the return of longer ones.
Farmer leaders at the protesting site have also claimed that they will celebrate the festival by burning copies of newly introduced agriculture laws. Moreover, on January 23, as it is the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, they will observe “Azad Hind Kisan Diwas”.
A farmer from Punjab’s Jalandhar district, assured, “In the past month, I have visited my wife and daughters just twice. Even a new year has now started with us sitting in the same place where we were a month back. If the Prime Minister does not accept our demands then we’ll celebrate here, at the border itself.” He also shared how they will be celebrating the Lohri of the year 2021, “All these people over here are our brothers. So why not celebrate with this new family that we have made out here?”
The words of encouragement from these farmers are setting examples for many who lose hope in times of despair. “Even though we are sad and worried, you won’t see the despair on any face out of the thousands that are present here. The women folk back home are experts in operating tractors, tending to the fields, and so our farms are very well taken care of in this period. The government is getting all the more bothered due to this because we are happily standing on our ground. Now that we’ve endured so much, we’ll show them how we can celebrate our festivals here itself. When the issue is about what we deserve, we can go to any extent to fight for it,” said a protester.
The government decided to ease farmers’ life by introducing the three farm acts which were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020. As per the Government, the intent behind the acts was to make it effortless for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers. However, the acts have been described as “anti-farmer laws” by many farmer unions.