Unfazed, they march ahead

Geetanjali Gayatri

Tribune News Service

Sonepat, January 25

Patriotism is the fuel that drives farmers and the Singhu border has emerged as their “Mecca” or so it seems during a drive down the GT road leading to New Delhi.

Vehicles of all hues and sizes carrying the young, the old and the middle-aged are converging at Singhu to make the Republic Day tractor rally against the three farm laws a success, while the passion and the verve of those camping there or arriving in tens of thousands since yesterday is almost infectious.

Everyone is driven, nobody is untouched. Only one sentiment stands out — unity despite the diversity. The Tricolour is everywhere along the highway. The flag flutters atop tractors pressed into service from all over Punjab and Haryana.

All the way from Amritsar, Jarnail Singh, accompanied by his wife and two infants — one-year-old son and two-year-old daughter — left his hometown yesterday, stayed in Karnal for the night and proceeded to Singhu today.

“We want to be part of the historic tractor rally because we can’t sit back on such a momentous occasion. We have to contribute our might. When my children grow up, they would remember that they fought for a cause. We would not have to cut a sorry figure when they would ask us what we did when the farming fraternity was taking a hit. The farm laws are unacceptable and this is our way of expressing that we stand with those spearheading the movement,” he said.

In Panipat’s Razapur village, its sarpanch Mangal Singh has started a 24-hour langar for those in transit. Those on their way to the Singhu border stop to grab a bite and drink steaming hot tea to beat the cold.

“Panchayat members saw tractor-trolleys moving towards Singhu all through the day and the night. That made us start the langar sewa for our brethren who are fighting for us. The entire village has come together. Those coming from Punjab are leaving behind plenty of ration for those following them,” he said.

Travelling in a group of 29, Gurpreet Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib said they were well-stocked for the next few days. “We are carrying 400 litres of diesel because we don’t trust this government. If it orders closure of fuel stations, we will be left stranded,” he said.

The group was travelling in three trolleys. One of them was carrying two tractors. “If one tractor breaks down, we will have a spare one. We cannot miss the chance to participate in the rally. We can’t be sitting ducks when it comes to the laws which have been thrust upon us,” Gurpreet said.

At Singhu, the camaraderie remains intact. The selfless service continues to flow by way of community kitchens at every km or less and nobody is a stranger. The entire crowd is woven together in only one religion — being a farmer — and that sentiment drowns all other differences. The “Kisan Gantantra Parade” is everybody’s baby and no farmer is shirking responsibility.

Unfazed, they march ahead