United in protest, Haryana-Punjab farmers say: ‘If our land goes what will we do with water’

Aa gaye Haryane ke sher, Mil gaye dono bhai pher,
Laye jo rokon ke dher,
Sabh rorh lai gaye Diliye,
Dekh sada eka, Tere haul pai gaye Diliye

(Haryana’s lions have come, both brothers (Punjab- Haryana) have united yet again. They have removed all the hurdles put along the way to Delhi. Delhi, looking at our unity, you are feeling insecure) Harbhajan Mann’s latest song titled ‘Eka’ released this week is proving to be a hit among farmers from Punjab and Haryana, apart from winning listeners outside these states as it he sings about Kerala, UP, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh farmers too.

The song has become the one played often these days in Chaupal meetings of Punjab-Haryana farmers in many villages of Haryana these days and specially inside the trolleys of villagers of both states. Hawa Singh, a retired teacher who lives in Kablana village of Jhajjar district of Haryana, said, “Punjab farmers came to our village few days back and we did meeting with them. The entire village is united against farm laws…other issues are secondary. Now, politicians cannot divide us anymore as they keep on raking issue of Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal time and again.”

Such is the bonding between Haryana and Punjab that farmers have been referring to Punjab as Haryana’s big brother. While reacting to the SYL row, one Ashok Dhanda even tweeted: “Main apne hisse ka pani Punjab ko deta hun , mujhe bhai chahiye, pani nahi ( I give my share of water to Punjab, I need brother not water).” This tweet from December 15 has since gone viral with response from farmers of both states. Brotherhood of Punjab-Haryana farmers can be seen from the fact that in Chaupals now farmers of both states can be seen sitting together. Further, villagers from Haryana have been helping Punjab farmers in serving them langar, and also by offering them space for night stay.

Jagdish Phulan, from Phulan village of Fatehabad district, said, “We have been sending milk to Tikri border for the past 20 days despite the fact that it is 200 km away from our village. What is the point of raising SYL issue now? If there will be no land left, what will I do with this water? First we need to save our land and fight against these laws.”

Ram Swarn Lakhewali, a government teacher posted in Muktsar district in Punjab, said, “I am general secretary of Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) of Muktsar district and I am supporting farmers since long. While I was at Tikri border, I even went in many villages of Jhajjar district along with members of BKU(Ugrahan) to interact with Haryana farmers and their response was overwhelming. In village Dulhera, when we went to do meeting with farmers, they first took us to a wedding in village and later started the meeting. My village, Lakhewali, is at border of Punjab-Haryana and I know people of both states used to have somewhat strained ties over the issue of SYL raised by politicians of both states. However NDA’s farm laws have removed all those differences and we realise that politicians never want us to be together, otherwise we are least bothered about SYL or anything else.”

Gurbhej Singh Rohiwali, member of BKU (Ugrahan), said, “We never wanted two states, politicians made Punjab and Haryana for power. We are now not going to fall for their plot anymore.”

Nayagaon village of Jhajjar has opened its Dharamshala for women who come from Punjab to be part of protest at Singhu or Tikri. Likewise, many other villages have also done the similar arrangements apart from arranging langar, ration etc. for Punjab residents. Haryana Petrol Pump Dealers Association have even announced that all highway pumps of the association will make arrangement of night stay and morning breakfast for Punjab farmers and thus advised them not to travel overnight in this foggy weather.

Ram Swarn said, “After we finished meeting in one of the Jhajjar village, a man came to us and said that he was working as a driver with one BJP leader because of which he could not support farmers openly, but was ready for contribution if any for this protest against Centre to get farm laws repealed.”

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Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president of BKU (Haryana), said, “Such issues are raised only to separate Punjab and Haryana farmers. If they were so serious about SYL, why did they not construct this canal when Centre had Atal Bihari Vajpayee government Haryana had Om Parkash Chautala and Punjab had Parkash Singh Badal as CMs and again when it was NDA government at Centre, BJP and SAD-BJP government in Haryana and Punjab, respectively. It is a combined morcha, rather it is an andolan of India but being neighbour, our affinity with Punjab is like never before. Farmers are helping each other like real brothers and I wish that this unity will prevail ahead as well.”

At Tikri and Singhu borders several banners of Haryana-Punjab Bhaichara could be seen where farmers of both states were seen cooking together, serving together and even sharing stage together. Ashish Gaindwas, from Bhiwani, said, “We know that BJP is raising issue of SYL to distract us…all these years they had been fighting elections over this issue and even making farmers speak against each other. But now that we all are united over farm laws, they have became so concerned over SYL…We know these tactics…this issue can wait but not farm laws and it is an issue of the whole nation. It is a people’s movement now.”

Balraj Ram from village Dulheri said,”We used to love Punjab residents even earlier as well but now our affinity is like never before. This is our common fight and we will win.”

Manak Gujjar from village Kherka Gujjar added, “As we are fighting for farm laws, we are realising that SYL was a created issue all these years of politicians to keep us divided, SYL can wait but not farm laws. We are thankful to Punjab for taking a lead in fight against these black laws.”

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, working committee member of the All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee and general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), said,”I live in Patiala and all these years SYL was always a political agenda, now it is an issue of survival.. .If there will be no land what will we do with water and everyone understands this. BJP MPs of Haryana are playing a foul game with these acts and it shows as how low they can think to divide people and how upset they are due to this unity.”

He added, “I want to thank Haryana farmers as the kind of obstacles Haryana government had put, our Punjab farmers would not have been able to clear them all alone had Haryana farmers not helped them. Hence, we will always be thankful to them. Let this brotherhood prevail for centuries to come.”

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