The Indian government recently agreed to three new laws that give private entities more control and freedom in the country’s agricultural market.
Farmers across India have taken to the streets, the highways and the borders to protest these new laws for they believe it will cripple this part of the country’s economy. They don’t believe big business will have the interest of the people in mind, something that has proven to be true in other countries.
Musicians have stepped up and are using their talents and voices to support all their local farmers that provide them with food.
One of these songs is Pecha. According to a recent interview Harf Cheema (one of the musicians behind the song) said the song is about “common people fighting against the government for their rights”.
“First, farmers will feel attracted towards these private players, who will offer a better price for the produce. The government mandis will pack up meanwhile and after a few years, these players will start exploiting the farmers. That’s what we fear,” Multan Singh Rana, a farmer in the northern state of Punjab, told BBC Punjabi.Quote source: https://bbc.in/3lZMB9b
Harbhajan Mann is another musician that wrote a song in support of the farmers. According to a Facebook post he wrote he grew up in a family of farmers and he believes he is in debt to farmers around his country. Recently Mann was recently selected for the Punjab government’s ‘Shiromani Punjabi Singer’ award. In addition to using his voice as an artist Mann decided to decline receiving the award in support and protest of the actions being taken against farmers in India.
“How can I accept this award when my mother earth is in danger.”– Harbhajan Mann
As farmers and their families have literally set up camps around the country the protests will seemingly continue for an unforeseen time – or at least until the government listens and makes the changes that this valuable part of the Indian society is demanding. Until then musicians will step it up and continue filling the soundtrack of the protest.
Cover photo by Ravi Choudhary, a photojournalist with Press Trust of India (PTI).
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