Distressed Farmers Narrate Their Woes at Kisan Mukti March

Distressed Farmers Narrate Their Woes at Kisan Mukti March

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Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim, Sandeep Suman

Cameraperson: Shivkumar Maurya

Its almost post dinner time and thousands of farmers decided to rest for the night after marching for as long as 12 hours straight from different parts of Delhi to reach Ramlila Maidan.

Though they decide to tuck themselves in to sleep, most of them are remained restless and willing to talk about their woes to the media – which did not stop hovering around. At regular intervals, a few volunteers were offering tea to other peasants.

Farmers  raising chants of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ were seen at any given point of time.
Farmers raising chants of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ were seen at any given point of time.
(Photo: The Quint)

Bhausaheb Salunke has travelled to Delhi from Akole in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra for the fourth time, hoping its his last.

Bhausaheb Salunke owns 5 acres of land and grows corn, wheat and soybean through the year.
Bhausaheb Salunke owns 5 acres of land and grows corn, wheat and soybean through the year.
(Photo: The Quint)
“I have four daughters, a son and a wife. Its our retirement age but since farming does not fetch us enough to sustain, my wife and I are forced to get a job, which pays us Rs 6,000 each. She works in a tobacco factory and I, as a security guard at an SBI ATM booth. Seeing our condition, my son does not want to pursue farming.”
Many farmers are waiting for the crack of dawn, for the start of a new day, filled with unwavering hope.
Many farmers are waiting for the crack of dawn, for the start of a new day, filled with unwavering hope.
(Photo: The Quint)
“We faced major loss, so, my husband had to take his life. The authorities don’t understand my pain. I earn mere 150-200 per day. How am I supposed to clear a loan of Rs 5 lakh? On top of that, the cotton that I grew got ruined this year. Life is tough for me.”
Saroja has the responsibility of her 12-year-old son and mother-in-law.
Saroja has the responsibility of her 12-year-old son and mother-in-law.
(Photo: The Quint)

Saroja is a farmer in Telangana and does not understand Hindi but struggles through it to make the media understand the tough times she is going through. She travelled thousands of kilometres to appeal for an absolute loan waiver for people like her.

‘Kisan Bachao, Desh Bachao’ 
‘Kisan Bachao, Desh Bachao’ 
(Photo: The Quint)
‘husband nahi hai, chhodke chala gaya. Kidhar gaya, malum nahi’ : Gauramma.
‘husband nahi hai, chhodke chala gaya. Kidhar gaya, malum nahi’ : Gauramma.
(Photo: The Quint)

43-year-old Gaur amma from Karnataka earns around Rs 6,000 a month and pays a rent of Rs 3,000. She says her husband left her and never returned. She breaks down at every mention of her husband.

“I have nothing. No house, no land, just my two kids – a 5-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. I have to manage it single-handed. I have no support. All I want from the government is to help me settle. I don’t have a house. I spend half my earning on the rent of the house that I live in. I slog the entire day to sustain my two children. Please help me!”
The farmers were tired, yet full of energy.
The farmers were tired, yet full of energy.
(Photo: The Quint)
Jasveer Singh from Baheri village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district has a loan of Rs 10 lakh at the moment.
Jasveer Singh from Baheri village in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district has a loan of Rs 10 lakh at the moment.
(Photo: The Quint)
“The government does not fix the MSP initially and the farmers are forced to sell at a much lower price. I took a loan on Rs 2 lakh in 1997 to buy a tractor, which has increased to 10 lakh in these years. I own 10 acres of land and yet have a loan of Rs 10 lakh. Before 2000, we got good price for our crop. We would not face any loss. The rates have been dipping since then. Back in the day, a teacher, a soldier and a farmer would earn the same. But today a farmer earns way lesser. The next generation does not want to be involved in farming.”
Farmers will start their march towards Parliament street on 30 November.
Farmers will start their march towards Parliament street on 30 November.
(Photo: The Quint)
Savita Rai is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, she says that Thakurs have troubled the peasants in her area. 
Savita Rai is a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, she says that Thakurs have troubled the peasants in her area. 
(Photo: The Quint)
“I had taken a loan of  Rs 1 lakh for my daughter’s wedding. Where else would have I gotten the money from?  We don’t own a business, right?”
Shukarai is from Jamui district in Bihar.
Shukarai is from Jamui district in Bihar.
(Photo: The Quint)

Shukarai, the owner of two acres of land in Bihar does not know what demands are being put up by his fellow farmers but is here in full support. He was asked to join for a rally in Delhi and he did.

What more than good roads and drinking water do we need in our village?
“Please help us in any way that you can.”
“Please help us in any way that you can.”
(Photo: The Quint)
“Thakurs have looted us. We own such small piece of land that we have to work on their farmlands. They tricked us and grabbed our land too. We are here to share our sorrows. Who and how do we fight when we don’t have an income? They filed a false case and claimed that the land is theirs. Changed names on the documents. By the time we reached, (the court) gave the order in favour of them.”
Will the government pay heed to the demand of those who put food on our tables?
Will the government pay heed to the demand of those who put food on our tables?
(Photo: The Quint)

These farmers will walk to Parliament Street on 30 November, demanding from the government a special Parliament session to discuss agrarian crisis and pass two bills.

The two bills are 'Farmers' Freedom From Indebtedness Bill, 2018' and ' Farmers' Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018' to ensure liberation from debt and remunerative prices of agricultural products.

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