Women farmers are at Delhi borders as equal stakeholders, demanding a voice -Meenakshi Gopinath
-The Indian Express
The “feminisation of agriculture” in the face of the agrarian crisis has, paradoxically, left women doubly even triply disadvantaged. Yet their concerns still remain largely unaddressed in policy.
The large presence of women farmers at protests at Singhu, Tikri, and, lately, the Ghazipur borders of Delhi against the three new agriculture laws, marks a significant moment in the continuum of women’s political mobilisation in the country.
Coming against the backdrop of the Supreme Court observation that women and children should not be protesting at the borders, the Women’s Farmers Day events in January led by the contingent from Punjab triggered similar rallies in several districts of the country.
In their somewhat “unorthodox” modes of protest, women drew upon the symbolic and performative lexicon that legions of “disobedient” women have employed for decades, both globally and nationally, in “voicing democracy and reclaiming citizenship”.
From carrying portraits of their sons and husbands who have died by suicide on account of agrarian distress; to holding tractor rallies; reciting poetry; performing skits; “manning” and guarding the public stages; singing, picketing and “cooking” up a storm at the langars that supplied food to protesters camped in the cold, they invoked shared traditions of women’s political activism. Their mobilisation over the last several months, especially in Punjab, also involved raising consciousness through villages, markets and gurdwaras, to “sit-ins” at sites of corporate power, raising the crescendo with pit siyappa (songs of mourning).
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The Indian Express, 16 February, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/farm-laws-protest-women-farmers-are-at-delhi-borders-as-equal-stakeholders-demanding-a-voice-7190266/