Nagar Kirtan, dance performance mark otherwise muted New Year celebrations at Singhu Border
A seven-kilometre-long Nagar Kirtan attended by hundreds of farmers marked New Year at Singhu Border on Friday as protesters rung in the new year amid muted celebrations.
This is the first Nagar Kirtan — a religious procession meant to mark a special occasion — organised at the border protest site by the Sikh farmers, after they had to give the ritual a pass during Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 30.
The procession was headed by a tractor pulling a large customised trolley that was heavily decked with flowers and carried at least six people chanting hymns and distributing prasad. The tractor was followed by hundreds of devotees on foot, some Nihang Sikhs riding on horses, followed by other devotees riding modified vehicles.
“If we were in Punjab, we would have had the Nagar Kirtan on the New Year day. Since we are settled here now, we thought it would be feasible to have the Nagar Kirtan on this day,” said one of the organisers, Jagdeesh Singh, who is from Jaldiyala in Jalandhar district of Punjab.
The procession began around noon on Friday and slowly crawled its way through the maze of vehicles and people gathered at Singhu Border.
Among the vehicles which were a part of the procession was a Maruti Alto modified into an open-air vehicle and a 1958-make modified Villy Jeep, which carried eight devotees.
“Our New Year celebrations will happen when the government agrees to our demand. Until then, we will keep any festivities limited to religious rituals and speeches,” said Khushwant Singh Sidhu, who belongs to Jagraon village in Ludhiana.
Apart from the Nagar Kirtan, another smaller function included a dance performance by a Haryana farmer.
“No one wanted to celebrate the New Year here. So, I decided to put up a performance for my farmer friends from Punjab and my state,” said the performer Chand Singh, a farmer from Kathura village in nearby Sonepat, amid hookah puffs.
Farmers at the borders said call dropping had been a big challenge for them on Thursday night as they tried calling back home to wish their families for New Year. Paramjeet Singh, from Rampursunra village in Phagwara, said that the five Wi-Fi points arranged by the Delhi government recently were not enough to cater to the huge number of farmers present in the area.
“We usually go to sleep here by 10.30-11 pm. But last night we stayed awake until 2 am just to wish our families. I could connect to them only around 2am after repeated attempts,” said Singh.