Blankets, Food, and More: The Heartwarming Ways that Indians are Supporting Farmers

Social Commentary

Blankets, Food, and More: The Heartwarming Ways that Indians are Supporting Farmers

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Farmers from across the country, mainly the states of Punjab and Haryana, have been staging a protest in Delhi for two weeks now. It’s a response to the central government’s controversial new farm law reforms, which they say will provide an unfair advantage to large corporations. The farmers have been resolute in their demand that the government repeal the three laws, and have remained camped outdoors despite the worsening cold. In support of the farmers’ struggle, individuals and organisations have come forward to provide what assistance they can.

Residents of Delhi-NCR have been lending a helping hand since the farmers arrived on their march. Over the weekend, the young and the old alike joined the farmers camped in the neighbourhood, serving them snacks and lunch at the Ghazipur protest site. “We have come here to support the farmers who are actually our anna daata,” Gurushran Singh, a resident of Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi, told The Hindu. Besides tea and biscuits, locals have also been distributing masks and hand sanitizers to the protestors.

A newlywed couple from Punjab also pitched in to gather donations for the farmers. At their wedding venue, instead of gifts or shagun, guests were asked to contribute to a special donation box that would be used to purchase food, warm clothes, and other essentials for the protesting farmers.

Meanwhile, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana supported the protesting farmers by sending 1,000 blankets and dry ration to farmers camping at the Singhu border. Urging the Centre to withdraw the laws, the Bar Council wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Bar Council of India to support the farmers’ call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8.

Khalsa Aid, an international NGO, set up temporary shelters and makeshift kitchens at multiple protest sites for the farmers. From serving free langar to providing menstrual hygiene products to women farmers and installing portable toilets, the NGO has made great efforts to support the farmers at the site of their protests.

Many Punjabi celebrities have also pitched in, using their spotlight to bring attention to the farmers’ voices. While the list is long (certainly longer than any list of Bollywood celebrities speaking up for a social cause), at the forefront is rapper and actor Diljit Dosanjh. He has been actively voicing his support towards the farmers on social platforms, and also donated ₹ one crore to purchase warm clothes for the protestors.

Those who could not show their solidarity with the farmers’ cause on the ground did so in any other manner they could. Over 120 online petitions asking for the repeal of the farm laws have been shared on the internet. Most of these petitions have been addressed to either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

As the protest continues in the capital, greater numbers of citizens are finding ways to stand with India’s farmers.