Homemaker to mass mobiliser: How life changed in 9 months for this woman

Balihar Kaur Randhawa, who studied till Class 10, is a member of the Kirti Kisan Union (KKU).

Balihar Kaur Randhawa, a 53-year-old farmer activist, divides most of her time these days between Delhi’s Singhu morcha and travelling from village to village in Jalandhar to motivate more women to join the protest. In between, she also puts her shoulder to the wheel in helping her family take care of their two acre farmland and three cattle.

Before the farm stir began, Randhawa would was content being a homemaker, apart from being an occasional helping hand at the farm and her family dairy.

But now, activism is the mainstay of her diverse duties. This is her new way of life since the past nine months, she says, adding that she is willing to hammer away at these challenges till the battle against Centre’s farm laws is decisively won.

“Hun asin apne bare ni sochde balki sadhe sareyan vaste sochde han kyunki hun sab kuchh sadha sanjha hi hai (Now we do not think about our own families alone, but for all (protestors) as now we are all in it together),” says Randhawa, adding that
she along with her husband and son take turns to spend time at Singhu border.

“One member our family has always been there ever since the protest began…the other two take care of the fields, the cattle and local mobilisation in Jalandhar,” she says.

“It is hectic and we are not living like a normal family…But now it has become part of our life and we will not rest till the time our demands are not met,” she says calling the stir a ‘do or die’ agitation.

Randhawa, who studied till Class 10, is a member of the Kirti Kisan Union (KKU). Recalling her part in the farm stir, she says that she takes a batch of women protesters to Singhu every month, stays there for around 10 days and then returns.

Then she spends time in village Saidowal near Nurmahal in Jalandhar, moving in neighbouring villages almost daily to motivate women and to decode farm laws and their impact. “I tell them (women) that if these laws come into force then farmers will be forced to sell their crops on roadsides not in mandis, and their land will be taken over by the big corporate houses by reducing them to just labourers on their own fields. I tell them that gas cylinders, essential food items, which are already witnessing a steep rise, will be out of the reach of the poor and even the middle class,” she says, adding that she is also getting flexi boards, posters made related to the farm agitation from her own pocket to get them installed across villages.

“Women recognise me now and follow me during our programmes in Punjab and at Singhu,” she adds.
Randhawa says that no one expected the agitation to last this long, but now everyone is prepared for the long haul.
“If government is adamant, we are also firm and will continue with this peaceful protest for years till it reaches its logical end,” she stresses.

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