A few miles from the Delhi end of the road blockade, sit three grandmothers, with a hand resting on the raised knee, resembling the ‘Dadis’ of Shaheenbagh who became the icons of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest. Majority of the protesting farmers at Delhi borders are elderly, but in high spirits to fight India’s BJP-led government.
Hundreds of women have joined the farmers’ protest which has been blocking Delhi borders, despite pressure from central government and harsh winter. Farmers across India demanded to roll back the new farm reform bills.
Unlike Shaheenbagh Dadis, the farmer gang carries a ‘Kirpan’, a dagger wore by Sikhs as part of their faith. The elderly are among a group who had arrived at Singhu Border from Patiala, southern Punjab.
Many activists who visited the Delhi borders have shared the delight in spending time with elderly farmers. The women, who cook at the protest, have been generously offering food and sweets for the visitors and children from nearby slums.
“They think they can fool Punjab,” lash out one of the Dadi, angered by the farmers’ bill.
“We will not go until the law is rolled back”. The women defy the fear of coronavirus spread and ensure their presence till the end of the protest.
Amarjeet and Hardeep Kaur have come with a dozen other women who have been camping in makeshift tents on tractors since November 26. The protesting farmers were stopped four times by Haryana and Delhi police with brutal force.
The women have created a makeshift toilet on the roadside near their tractors. They said they face no difficulties and the ‘difficult thing they face is the ‘bills’.
Bilkis Banu of Shaheenbagh sit-in protest was named in Time’s magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. Shaheen Bagh, the mass protest which began mid-December last year became one of the greatest resistance against Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.
Earlier this week, photos of elderly women in farmers protest stirred debate on social media. While right-wing people, including Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, took a dig on Bilkis Dadi’s integrity, others shared delight to see new Dadis joining protest with resilience.