Delhi: A Battlefield

Delhi has become the battlefield of this fight. The throne of Delhi trembles at slogans and rallying cries of those fighting. The guards of the working class have delivered the greatest blow of the century to the central government. The unions and the people are advancing step by step on a united path to log their victories and the Modi government is seen forced to prostrate at the People’s Court. Punjab is dedicated in its leading role in this movement, living through historical moments of the united farming peasantry and youth. The seemingly far away Delhi has been dragged closer by the people. The concrete barriers used to block our way on the national highways are now being used as fire pits. On the massive highways that enter Delhi, new villages have appeared. Those who want Sarbat Da Bhalla (Wellbeing of all) are presenting an exemplary character to the whole world. The working people have dedicated their hard earned living to this movement. All classes of society are contributing to this united movement. And the foremost fighter of this movement is the farmer and laborer. There is a challenge in the eyes of the food provider, people’s sentiments are daring Delhi, and Delhi sits alarmed. The throne-takers are repeating the history of Baba Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Chacha Ajit Singh, and Bhagat Singh. The seatholder of Delhi breaks out in sweat in the middle of Poh (December month) when he remembers the demise of Aurangzeb and Hitler. At the edges of Delhi, those who long for Begampura (A town without sorrows) have surrounded Delhi with makeshift villages. The air smells of hard earned meals being cooked. At the entrances of Delhi, Bhai Lalo’s fire burns in the thousands of stoves cooking meals. And somewhere far away in the darkness of Delhi, Malik Bhago lurks, seemingly preparing for his cremation.

In this protest, IPTA Moga has been continuously entertaining and inspiring at the forefront. The team has a historical role in a historical time – Art has created a unique space in this movement, and the participating artists have become more conscious in their performance. The “Frightened” play is an example. For two continuous months, traveling from village to village, this play has highlighted the fight of the working class. On everyone’s tongue are poetry, ballads, and revolutionary songs written to channel the people’s anger. The same artists who have clashed and collided with the police in Punjab and triumphantly kept their campaign alive, were at the forefront of Singhu border clashes at the entrance of Delhi. This movement has birthed new songs and poems. People know the words before they are spoken. The entire caravan is a joyful demonstration of plays, acapella groups, painters, and every kind of artist. It has transformed into a large art gallery. The team walks 4-5 kilometers to show their plays. People get up on their trucks and trolleys to watch and listen. In the play, a mother points to Delhi and asks her, “They have bombs, rifles, and cannons. How will you compete?” The son replies, “Old woman, we have Guru-Nanak-given plow and the morality of hard work.” The people boom echoing slogans in support. The play continues. The artist begins to sing, “Soora So PehchaaNiye” (The warrior is recognizable). The workers of the whole world join in and the sky echoes with their song. The songs transform into the songs of the people. We are fighting as we face Delhi. And today is the birthday of Guru Nanak. Candles light the national highways. Conversations of religious wisdom are advancing the struggle. The artists, holding candles, have made a circle in the middle of the trollies. The people anxiously await today’s special show. To illuminate the area, the people have turned on their tractor lights. Before the heirs of Bhai Lalo begin the “Whose Blood Is This” play, they evoke the energy of writing the Zafarnah to Delhi. People extend their honest earnings to the artists, but the artists refuse to accept all offerings except love. People glare at Delhi with burning eyes. We revisit the pages of history as we perform, and through the historical Malik Bhago, people see the Malik Bhago of today. People raise slogans of Long Live the Workers towards Delhi to show their steadfast resolve. The eternally optimistic, proud people must win this movement, so it is important that we speak loudly and clearly. 

Standing alongside this struggle, the youth is fighting for two hopes. There is the question of saving agriculture and then there is the guarantee of employment for the unemployed youth, and the success of this movement will empower both issues. It is no longer an exaggeration for the youth to mobilize for the BNEGA (Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act).  The people became their own media. The cellular network in this area is jammed. Making a phone call is nearly impossible, but still our issues have been shared internationally. Humanity has invested everything. After participating in the movement all day, everyone returns to their trollies and makes and eats langar (collective meal), and then begins to write new songs about their new experiences. Perhaps, the songs of the people are the songs that arise from amongst the people. This is the deciding fight and it must be fought with all our intensity.