By Arré Bench Dec. 02, 2020
The farmers’ protest has entered Day 7 and right behind the men are the women – thousands of them camping on the roads around Delhi. And when not raising their voices, they are washing clothes and cooking not only for their families but also for policemen and journalists on duty.
There’s no stopping the farmers even as the nights get chillier and the lathis don’t drop. Their protest against the government over the new farm laws has entered Day 7. The last few days, we’ve been flooded with images from the agitation – an old Sikh facing the police baton, a young man climbing on a truck to turn off a water cannon, and thousands of others camping on the highways. But the women aren’t far away from the scene – they are right behind the men.
Nearly 15,000 women farmer protesters, including the elderly from across Punjab and Haryana have assembled alongside their male counterparts on the outskirts of Delhi to take on the Centre. “Women are giving their immense support to the ongoing agitation against the farm laws,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) leader Harinder Kaur Bindu informed IndiaTimes.
Hundreds have settled at the Tikri border in Haryana near West Delhi, delivering fiery speeches. “Many women are good speakers and they share their opinions on the recently passed farm laws by the Centre,” Bindu added.
Won't budge till Modi listens to us, say women farmers braving winter chill at Delhi border https://t.co/t7XK30qnxY
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) December 1, 2020
When they are not up on the stage and voicing their support for the revolution, the women take on the responsibility to cook food and wash clothes at the protest site itself. Temporary kitchens have been set up, ones that don’t just provide for their families but also offer meals to the policemen and journalists on duty.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) December 1, 2020
The mother and grandmothers on strike come with children in tow. Some have carried books to ensure that their education does not suffer.
“We have come with our children, and several thousand more women will be joining by tomorrow,” Harjinder Kaur said. “You just watch our strength in numbers as we confront the throne at Delhi.”@Prabhtalks reports: https://t.co/WEhjZCAdUY#FarmersProtest
— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) November 26, 2020
But being a woman protester away from home isn’t easy. Amid the chaos, menstrual hygiene has been a growing concern for women out there fighting for their rights. Tractor-trolleys have been turned into temporary shelters and the kind residents of neighbouring villages in Haryana are letting women use their bathrooms, providing them with hot water even. Khalsa Aid, a non-profit organisation, has stepped in: They are setting temporary toilets and providing sanitary napkins to women. The organisation has also been serving free langar to protesters at multiple locations.
A message from the women farmers protesting at Delhi borders.
Menstrual hygiene was one issue the women were facing at the protest site.
Khalsa Aid installed portable washrooms for men and women respectively. The team also has sanitary napkins in stock for the women in need pic.twitter.com/4J4zfEdZxk
— Khalsa Aid India (@khalsaaid_india) December 2, 2020
While thousands of women farmers have found their space at the protest, many more are supporting the cause from their homes. As ThePrint report highlights, the farmers’ protest is also a representation of the women who have to stay back home to fulfill their duties, be it raising the family or guarding and watering the fields at 2 am. “In such a season, when the men have left their villages to protest and brave lathis, all the responsibilities of farming is on the shoulders of women.”
Every time farmers march to Delhi, the stark difference between men and women is always seen. To understand what is going on in the Indian countryside while the Annadata is on the highway, one needs to peek into the lives of female farmers.#PoVhttps://t.co/8w9iDebdq9
— Jyoti Yadav (@jyotiyadaav) November 28, 2020
The women are not backing down. We saw the grit of the dadis of Shaheen Bagh earlier this year, now it’s a show of strength from their counterparts from Bahadur Garh.
कंगना रनौत ने किसान आंदोलन में शामिल जिस बुज़ुर्ग महिला किसान को 'शाहीन बाग़ वाली दादी' बताया था, उन बुज़ुर्ग किसान ने कंगना को क्या जवाब दिया? pic.twitter.com/W3I96twVnR
— BBC News Hindi (@BBCHindi) December 2, 2020