NEWS
01/12/2018 1:49 PM IST | Updated 03/12/2018 6:45 PM IST

Farmers' March: How Delhi Lent A Helping Hand To Farmers

At the farmers' march on Friday, Delhi's common people were present to extend their support and express solidarity in diverse ways.

MONEY SHARMA via Getty Images
When thousands of farmers from across India marched in New Delhi demanding a special 21-day session of the Indian parliament to discuss the ongoing agrarian crises, Delhi's citizens were there to support them.

New Delhi: Thirty-five-year-old Jitendra Kumar sells Papad in Central Delhi to make ends meet. He usually sells three Papads for Rs.20.

But on Friday, he was selling three Papads for Rs.10 to the farmers who had gathered at the Parliament Street from all parts of the country to demand a special session of Parliament to deliberate upon agrarian issues.

Kumar, a native of Bihar, said he understood the pain and sufferings of those farmers as he was also a farmer in the past.

"There is no profit in agriculture otherwise why would have I come here? It's difficult to recover even the production cost which is increasing steeply because of expenditure on chemicals. The prices of all other commodities increase but not that of agriculture produce. I came to Delhi because I was not able to look after my family as there was no income from the two acres I owned," Kumar told HuffPost India and added that he doesn't want to earn any profit by selling Papads to the farmers who are already in distress.

Pavan Dahat/HuffPost India
Jitendra Kumar was selling Papads for half the regular rates to the marching farmers.

Kumar was not the only person doing his bit in support of the farmers who traveled thousands of kilometers to reach Delhi.

ALSO READ: P.Sainath: Farmers Are Moving From Suicide To Active Protests, This Is A Historic Beginning

Harjit and Ambika, doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, took two days off from work to provide medical assistance to the farmers.

Over 40 doctors like Harijit and Ambika from AIIMs, RML, JB Pant, and Lok Nayak hospital had set up a makeshift medical camp at Ramleela Maidan on Thursday and Friday.

Over 40 doctors like Harijit and Ambika from AIIMs, RML, JB Pant, and Lok Nayak hospital had set up a makeshift medical camp at Ramleela Maidan on Thursday and Friday.

Ambika doesn't understand much about agriculture-related issues but she thinks the farmers must be listened to.

Harijit comes from a family of farmers in Punjab which is why, he says, he mobilized this group of doctors to help farmers.

"These farmers' demands are genuine and simple. They are only demanding proper prices for their produce which should be given and their loans must be waived off because farm production depends on the weather. The Swaminathan commission's recommendation should be implemented but the government is not listening to them. This is frustrating and I have seen that frustration in my family. We understand these farmers because in Panjab the only culture is agriculture. It is disheartening to hear that every day 2000 people are leaving agriculture," Harjit told HuffPost India.

For two days, these doctors provided free medical assistance and medicines to every farmer who needed it.

There were hundreds of such faces among the crowd of farmers at parliament street on Friday, who were not farmers and neither did they have anything to do with farming, but they just came to help and express solidarity with them.

Hundreds of student and professors from the Delhi University, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, theatre groups, civil society group members, intellectuals and almost all political party leaders, except the ruling BJP, came to parliament street on Friday to extend their support to the farmers' demands.

Shefali, a student of English literature in Delhi University, has her exams going on but she joined the farmers' march on Friday because she thinks it is courageous for the farmers to travel thousands of kilometers to Delhi.

"I don't have strong political views but I hope this (farmers' march) isn't politicized and something comes out of it. All they are asking is just a parliament session. I am here in solidarity with them. This is also a kind of learning for me," she stated.

Shefali's friend Karthikeyan, who studies Mathematics at Delhi University, also joined the farmers' march.

"I just wanted to support the farmers. I got to know how farmers are commuting suicide in our country. The working class needs to support them to make them feel that they are not standing alone. The government is not supportive and sensitive to their problems," Karthikeyan opined.

ALSO READ: Farmers' March: The Artists, Activists And Students Behind The Scenes In Delhi

This Delhi farmers' march was inspired by the Nashik-Mumbai march in Maharashtra earlier this year which witnessed middle classes and working sections coming in support of the farmers.

The organizers of this march were expecting something similar from the people of Delhi and they were not disappointed.

Hundreds of student and professors from Delhi University, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, theatre groups, civil society group members, intellectuals and almost all political party leaders, except the ruling BJP, came to parliament street on Friday to extend their support to the farmers' demands.

Many of them had also helped mobilize support for this march last week by distributing leaflets to the people of Delhi and through a social media campaign.

"Middle classes have come out in support of you (farmers). Not only in Delhi but in Nagpur, in Chennai and in many other cities people have come out in solidarity with the farmers today. This time you are not alone. Over 40 doctors from AIIMS came and helped us for two days at Ram Leela Maidan. Students, doctors, lawyers, engineers have joined this march," senior journalist P.Sainath said while addressing the farmers at parliament street on Friday.