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Khana Bhi, Dawai Bhi: How Langar Sevas Kept Farmers' Protest Going

From food to medicines, multiple langar sevas have sustained the farmers' protest for almost a year.

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2 min read

Producer: Naman Shah

Camera: Amulya Raj Srinet

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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When thousands of farmers – threatened by three laws they felt would ruin them – marched to the national capital in November 2020, one question that emerged was who would keep the fire burning in their bellies? That's exactly when Jaspal Singh thought of setting-up a langar at the Ghazipur protest site.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Jaspal Singh serves <em>jalebis</em>&nbsp;at the Ghazipur protest site on Friday, 19 November.&nbsp;</p></div>

Jaspal Singh serves jalebis at the Ghazipur protest site on Friday, 19 November. 

Photo: The Quint

On Friday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced his government's decison to repeal the laws, the 60-year-old farmer from Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor was seen distributing jalebis at the protest venue – a sweet meat that wasn't made in celebration of the PM's announcement, but certainly sweetened by it.

"It is Guru Nanak's birth anniversary today, and all langar organisers had planned to make one special food item each. Meanwhile, PM Modi sent a message for farmers."
Jaspal Singh

Well aware that the proof of the jalebi lies in its eating, Singh did not take the government's promise on face value. Echoing farmers around him, he said that the decision will only be appreciated when the government officially withdraws these laws and offers a legal guarantee on minimum support price.

With his family almost 200 km away, Singh says that there's no hardship that protesters haven't faced.

"In the last one year, we have endured a chilly winter, a balmy summer and even heavy rains, winds from which had blown our tents away, but we stayed on."
Jaspal Singh

Singh has been serving food at the site for almost a year now and plans to continue his seva till the protests are called-off.

'Farmers Feed us, Must Keep Them Healthy'

Like Singh, several other Langar services have been attending to the multi-faceted needs of farmers, who have spent months away from the comfort of their homes.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Harpreet at&nbsp; the Ghazipur protest site on Friday, 19 November.&nbsp;</p></div>

Harpreet at  the Ghazipur protest site on Friday, 19 November. 

Photo: The Quint

Harpreet, a member of Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury's medical team, has been serving home-made remedies to farmers for minor problems.

Neither Harpreet nor Dr Chowdhury are associated with the farmers movement, but had decided to help them since many couldn't afford medical care in Delhi.

"Farmers had been protesting on the roads like homeless people. Where would they go for small ailments? Many couldn't afford treatment here so, we decided to start a medical langar here."
Harpreet

Lugani says that the medicines are made out of ingredients found in Indian kitchens and have been "efficient" in treating both acute and chronic diseases.

A resident of Gurugram – a distance of 51 kilometres from Ghazipur – Lugani says that she decided to travel almost four hours daily just to ensure that the "farmers who feed the country" remain in good health.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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