Ringing in New Year with slogans and songs of resistance at Delhi’s Singhu border

By Nirupama Dutt, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 01, 2021 01:54 AM IST

The traffic takes longer than usual on Thursday as hundreds of people drive in their trucks, buses and cars to celebrate the New Year Eve at the Singhu border in Delhi which has become an epicentre of the ongoing farmer agitation against the new agriculture laws.

At sunset, several stalls start serving hot tea and coffee, yellow sweet rice, jalebis and bread pakodas to the farmers and others gathered there on the last evening of the year 2020.

A long queue winds up its way to the pizza stall that of late attracted a flurry of criticism from those against the protests. People in vehicles as well as those on foot move around singing songs of resistance and raising slogans. Also, a few cusswords are directed at the powers that be.

In a short while, members of the Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha march to the main stage with flags in their hands. Malkit Singh, a senior office-bearer of the sabha says, “Punjabi writers have always been conscious about supporting social and political struggles of the people. We will raise our voices until the anti-farmer laws are withdrawn.”

Also, there are singers, performers and painters from different parts of Punjab and Chandigarh to show their solidarity with the protesting farmers. Well-known theatre personality Anita Shabdeesh is with her troupe from Chandigarh to stage her play ‘Je Hun Na Bole!’ (If we don’t speak now!). The play will be staged on Friday evening as part of the New Year celebrations.

In a tent, activists discuss the next course of action and are contemplating how to intensify the protests. Bir Singh, a popular singer from Amritsar says, “I will be travelling through Punjab creating awareness through songs about the farmers’ hardships.”

As the night descends, some groups gather around bonfires to ward off the biting cold as the langar is being served to one and all. Navpreet Singh, a class 9 student from Kaithal, talks to the visitors from her small tent set up for the women volunteers.”It is an amazing experience to be here and I am learning so much about helping and serving people,” he says.

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