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12 Mar

First Hand Experience about Farmers March to Mumbai by Dr. Avkash Jadhav

Farmers March to Mumbai has reached to the city. Whether they are 35,000 or more, it is an unprecedented number of people who are walking for their rights. Our Shaper Madhish Parikh's friend Dr. Avkash Jadhav shared this note, we thought this is worth sharing with everyone.

"Today morning as I was entering my college at Dhobi Talao,  I saw many unfamiliar faces outside my college,  in a state of  despair,  agony, some with hope, with aspirations and most of them exhausted, but didn't loose the spirit and spark .I entered my college and handed over my bag to the security and immediately turned  back,  the distance of 20 meters from the  main road to the main gate of my college put me in innumerable introspections.  

I came out,  they were the farmers of my state who had been walking for last Six days,  with minimal means at their disposal.  They had walked through out the night to reach Azad  maidan for their final destination of protest. I sat with them, inquired about their well-being, they had not had tea and breakfast since morning. Though they didn't ask for anything,  but my mere interaction with them made them feel they have the attention of Urban centric people.

I returned back to my canteen and placed the  order of 200 cups of Tea  and biscuits for them. I returned back to them and had conversations which moved me to the  core. They told me their reasonable demands and least expected the state government to take cognizance of their existence and give them fair price for their production. I could see their swollen feet,  dark patches around the eyes,  the bare minimum attire,  which expressed their woes of last six days  struggle. Some got emotional and others  still had hope that they  would get justice.

Finally after sometime the  Tea  arrived and as I started distributing  the tea ,  I saw some members offering the cups to the  elderly men and women of their group who couldn't reach to the pot due to over exhaustion and ill health.  The tea with biscuits were taken by them  with each one giving instructions to each other,  that  take in the  limits so that everyone gets it.  These expressions were phenomenal and indeed brought out those virtues which  we teach as part of compulsory subjects to our students. It is inherent to them and they practice it with pride.

I really had my best  morning tea with them today. After spending almost one hour  with them,  I left with the empty can of tea and many startling and distressing questions with me inside my safe St. Xavier's College campus.

My Questions are still haunting me.....

1) They told  me they were supposed to start today morning,  but preferred not to cause inconvenience to the students of the  city appearing for their SSC exams. If they  are thinking about our children and their future,  Is it not our responsibility to think about the future of their children too ?

2) They told me they don't want to trouble and disturb the  city  life,  Is it not our responsibility to see that even their self sustained  rural fabric not disturbed  by the uneven policies?

3) They said they  do not need any loan waiver or packages, but an adequate price equivalent to their  investment in farming,  Is it really too much they  are asking for filling our plates with variety of food?

4) They said all the political parties and leaders tried to meet them  and showed their support to them,  but Why not a single leader from their  constituency or the  constituency they walked  through or the Leaders who met them  yesterday chose to walk with them today?  

5) While  interacting with Sangeeta  Maushi  from Sangamner, Nashik District,  she said we only have one  request " you also live  and allow us also to live,  as our lives are integrated to each other",  Was she really demanding too much from Us?

As I introspect  now,  I could not do much for them,  but sincerely prayed for them to get justice,  which is their inherent right as the citizens of this country."

Dr. Avkash Jadhav is the Professor at St Xaviers College, Mumbai

In the recent update at 6PM - 12 March -
Maharashtra government has accepted the demands and expecting farmers to call of the march. Full details here:

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