Mumbai, March 12: What it takes for the political parties to wake up to the plight of farmers? It's for sure the farmers are the least priority for our governments (both at the Centre and the states). It is the political apathy towards the farmers and agricultural sector that has culminated in the congregation of at least 50,000 farmers from Maharashtra in Mumbai--the country's commercial hub--on Monday.
The farmers have come all the way from Nashik district to Mumbai by walking 180 kms on foot under the blazing sun. They started their journey on March 6 and it ended in Mumbai on Sunday. Along with complete waiver of loans, the other demands of the agitating farmers include fair pay, implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report and transfer of adivasi land to farmers, to name a few. To press for their long-pending demands amid rising suicide among farmers, the protesters are set to gherao the state Assembly building on Monday.
Most of the protesters have huge debts to pay back to banks and private moneylenders. Unfortunately, drought and poor prices for crops have ensured that the poor farmers become poorer. The protest has come at a time when the country is witnessing rise in farmers' suicide. According to the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, between 2015 and 2016, nearly 12,602 farmers have committed suicide.
The harrowing journey from Nashik to Mumbai brings forth the plight of the farmers. The farmers walked at least 30 kms a day under the hot sun without proper food, water and sleep to register their protest at the capital city from where chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet colleagues administer the state.
One picture of a woman farmer whose feet were seen bleeding because of long and taxing walk has now become a symbol of farmers' struggle and resistance. It is not just about one woman's bleeding feet and broken chappals (slippers), the poverty and desperation of the farmers can be well-gauged by their famished-looking faces, torn clothes and dusty barefoot. All the protesting farmers, who have been brought together under one umbrella by the leaders of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) affiliated to the Left, have extremely sad and depressing stories to tell the world.
The people of Mumbai have come out in support of the protesters and have been asking each other to stand with the farmers who provide us food. Here we bring you a few tweets that highlight what it takes to be a farmer in India when fraudsters like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya loot our banks and flee the country:
You may have your gameplan ready @Dev_Fadnavis for the opposition, with cases & money to buy them.— Anand Mangnale (@FightAnand) March 10, 2018
What will you do of these selfless farmers & these women who aren't bothered by their bleeding feet & broken chappals..!@KisanSabha@newsclickin @jigneshmevani80#KisanLongMarch pic.twitter.com/kWq4jtMW9u
After walking 180 km, over 35,000 farmers are marching into Mumbai tomorrow, asking for their rightful compensation. They are incurring losses so that we have food on our plates.— Neeraj Ghaywan (@ghaywan) March 11, 2018
Least you can do is not whine about traffic jams. Spare them your urban snobbery. #KisanLongMarch
Look at #KisanLongMarch - farmers walking 180 km- & note that 270,000 farmers driven to suicide since 2000; 80 % because of inability to pay small loans. Then think of Nirav Modi. Re-up of my piece for @washingtonpost https://t.co/6hKddd6Kl4— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) March 11, 2018