All eyes in Singur were glued to TV channels by the time it was 10 am on Wednesday. The Supreme Court was expected to deliver the Singur verdict at 10.30 am. People thronged locals clubs and houses of the leaders of the movement. Farmers had finished their day’s work early in the morning and women had completed their household chores. The excitement and tension was equal to a nail-biting Indo-Pak match. This verdict after all affects their lives and livelihood.
But they had to hold their breath for three more hours, as the verdict came at 1.50 pm.
“The tension is unbearable,” Mahadeb Das, resident of Khaser Bheri village, said minutes after the verdict was rescheduled. His neighbour, Asit Ghosh, who joined a small industrial unit as a daily labourer three years ago, had opted to skip office.
“The importance of witnessing the moment was bigger than a day’s wage,” said Ghosh.
Ghosh did not regret losing his daily wage. Instead, the moment TV channels broke the news around 2.15 pm, and the local women greeted it with the blowing of conch shells, he gave his nephew two Rs 100 notes to buy a few more packets of abeer (gulal). Within minutes his neighbours had turned everything green with the abeer they had stocked the previous night.
“Is the news real? It gives me goosebumps!” shouted Kakali Dhara of Beraberi Purbapara.
By 2.30 pm, hundreds of men, women, children and the elderly of Beraberi, Khaser Bheri, Gopalnagar, Bajemelia and Singher Bheri were dancing to the tunes of dhak and dhol, colouring each other with green abeer and chanting slogans in praise of the farmers’ movement and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
“The past 10 years have been like a rollercoaster ride… Finally, this is the end of a decade of a historic movement and the harrowing times of a temporary setback,” said Manik Das, a leader of the movement who went on to become a Trinamool member of Hooghly zilla parishad following the anti-land acquisition movement.
This was only the beginning of the celebrations. Sweetmeats were distributed. Villagers were planning feasts at night. From Thursday, they will start preparations for a bigger celebration scheduled on September 2.
Speaking to the media in Kolkata, education minister and Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee announced, “There will be celebrations through the day and night on September 2 in every block of the state and every municipal ward.”
Singur is already preparing for that day.