The beauty of the farmers' protest


Vinod Kumar

vinod kumarEarly afternoon hours, say about 12ish and I was being driven through the Singhu border, the site of the present farmers’ protest in India. Makeshift tenements on both sides of the road, tents, kitchens, trucks and tractors converted into shelters. Farmers and their families moving around. Young boys, athletic and fit-built, holding each other’s hands and roaming around with a smile on their faces, full of life and youth. The glow on their faces, their smiles, the carefree demeanour, they were different from those of city boys. I looked at them and could tell that they were cut from a different cloth, had grown up in a world different from the urban, they gave off courage, exuberated honesty and simplicity not to be mistaken for foolhardiness. A certain kind of naivete in their deportment that I was willing to call a raw character burnished in nature, one which had still not assumed the trick and way of the city life. 


Women, the young ones exuded the same freshness, life and boldness as the young men. The older women, their faces, their bearing gave away their character, fierce, no bullshit types, and very active and healthy. I noticed some of them huddled together cutting vegetables. One look at them and I was reminded of all that I had heard about women folk, their camaraderie, how they came together to work in groups, their gossips and appreciation for men. I looked at them and could not fail to see how close they were to nature, to agriculture. They were the bodies and the faces who had walked through the fields, cultivated the land and worked there. I saw that their way of life, their culture was markedly different from mine. Their experiences were different. I who had spent all my life in the city and they who had lived in the countryside. 


What is different about us? How are we different from each other? My first response to this question is that it is difficult to put it into words, but I want to try, nonetheless. The farmers are not bogged down by the everydayness of their lives perhaps because it is full of interactions with various forms of nature, is without tedium and monotony as nature affords them plenty of diversions. There is abundant room for creativity and diverse experience when you are in nature. I do not want to suggest that life and work in a city cannot be full of creativity, but I am tempted to say it is not the same as the one spent working and living on the field surrounded with trees, animals and other manifestations of nature. 


I saw women and men working in the kitchen. Not a very unusual site in the modern age, but one which still holds value if we consider the discourse on gender equality and patriarchy in the country. I do not think anyone lectured them on gender discourse, I do not think they were working in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and cooking them, to fight patriarchy. It was just how the events unfolded and the people had adapted to their situation. 


The most admirable feature of what I experienced in that brief drive was the humanity of the farmers. The adversity of their situation only enhanced their humanity. They were not cooking only for their own people, or for those who had joined them in the protests. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprising after all, they were cooking for anyone and everyone who wanted to come and share a meal with them. It was an unprecedented sight and behaviour, a behaviour that showed the extent of kindness and generosity among farmers. Such behaviour is uncommon among city dwellers. I mean I cannot imagine that these people who are far away from their homes, fighting for their rights, demonstrating against the government, in a deadlock with police and living under most unpredictable and unstable circumstances and yet are brimming with humanity. If this is not beauty, what is?  




Vinod Kumar, graduated in English Literature from Zakir Husain Delhi College; and completed an MA in English from the University of Delhi and another one in Comparative History from Central European University. Currently, he is a second year Ph.D. student in English at Ashoka University.


Other Related Articles

సామాజిక విప్లవ దార్శనికుడు 'మహాత్మా' జోతిరావు ఫూలే
Tuesday, 07 December 2021
  పల్లికొండ మణికంఠ ప్రపంచంలో 'జ్ఞానం' తన ఉనికిని 'సాహిత్యం', 'తత్వశాస్త్రం'...
Menstrual Hygiene Management in Sarawasti, An Aspirational District of Uttar Pradesh
Saturday, 04 December 2021
   Shubhangi Rawat  Abstract Menstruation, a normal biological process in the female body, is often viewed as dirty and disgusting. Because of the negative perceptions and... Read More...
Two talented youngsters and their life of songs
Friday, 03 December 2021
  C K Premkumar [P S Banerjee and Mathayi Sunil bagged the Kerala government’s folklore awards this year. They are being introduced to the readers by their friend, through this article.] It... Read More...
Jayanti: The story of a revolutionary transformation
Friday, 03 December 2021
  Nikhil Walde Jayanti is a very unique movie in Marathi Cinema that touches the very core of Ambedkar's philosophy and his vision of 'Educate, Agitate and Organise'. The movie is directed by... Read More...
The making of the Indian Constitution- Excerpts from the Constituent Assembly debates
Wednesday, 01 December 2021
  Dr Jas Simran Kehal The constitution is apparently revered but it is not celebrated- Stephen M. Griffin. Constitution is not a mere lawyer's document, it is a vehicle of life, and its spirit... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Conceiving a New Public: Ambedkar on Universities
Saturday, 26 June 2021
Asha Singh & Nidhin Donald Dr. B.R. Ambedkar conceptualizes education as a ‘vital need’ which helps us fight notions of ‘inescapable fate’ or ‘ascriptions of caste or religion’. He... Read More...
Caste management through feminism in India
Friday, 06 August 2021
Kanika S There was a time some 5-6 years ago when feminism tried to undermine Dr Ambedkar by pointing out that he carried a penis.1 Now he is just as fantastically a carrier of feminist ideals... Read More...
A portrait of the casteist as a young influencer
Monday, 12 July 2021
Shy of inquiry into privilege, social media posts flaunt antiquated attitudes to caste, reservations Rahi Gaikwad We are all to some extent the prisoners of our upbringing.-PD James (Death in Holy... Read More...
Life of Bahujans in Brahminical Schools
Friday, 18 June 2021
  Pranav Jeevan P Schools are one of the primary places where the functioning of caste is passed on to the next generation. Savarna kids are indoctrinated of their superiority and Bahujan kids... Read More...
Against all odds: Babasaheb Ambedkar's prophetic warnings about communist China
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Dr. Aniruddha Babar “Chinese ‘might be induced not to be hostile to us’. And why would that be? Because “I have some slight reputation with the leaders of Communist China because of the... Read More...