New Delhi: Harbhajan Mann, Jazzy B, Rabbi Shergill and a host of other Punjabi singers performed at an 'Artists for Farmers' concert at the Tikri border on Saturday, raising spirits of farmers camping on the road braving cold and rain as they await a resolution to their demand for repeal of new farm laws.
Some of them sang songs of dissent, some raised slogans and delivered motivational speeches, and virtually everyone paid their gratitude to the farmers protesting against the Centre's three farm laws for over a month now. Their message was loud and clear: "We stand by you."
Kanwar Grewal, Harf Cheema, Noor Chahal too performed in the concert. Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker, who has been vocal about her support for the farmers movement and joined the protest at the Singhu border, was also present at the event.
Harbhajan Mann extended support to the farmers' demand for repeal of the farm laws and thanked them for all the love they have given him over all these years.
Kanwar Garewal and Jazzy B, courtesy their protest songs, touched just the right musical note with the protesters.
Noor Chahal said the powers that be have long divided people in terms of religion and caste but it won't be able to do so here.
"I am a daughter of a farmer. Our history tells us that we have won many fights before. I am sure we will win this one too," she said to a packed crowd.
Majority of the Punjabi singers have supported the farmers in the ongoing protest.
Some like Kanwar Grewal and Harf Cheema, who have been associated with the movement since the very beginning, are also the voices behind some of the viral songs on the farmers movement. Their song "Peecha", which has got over 80 lakh views on YouTube, is a massive hit among protesters camping at different border points of Delhi. It speaks of the rift between Punjab and Delhi, farmer suicides and the Centre's "black laws".
"The programme was very good and it lasted for over two hours. They entertained us as well as supported us. They said that they are with us in this cause," said Jagtar Taari, hailing from Bhatinda district of Punjab.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are staying put at various border points of Delhi since late November last year to protest against recent farm laws of the Centre.
The three laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government's negotiations with farm unions to end over-a-month-long agitation appeared heading nowhere at the eighth round of talks on Friday as the Centre ruled out repealing the three contentious laws claiming nationwide support for reforms while the farmer leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their 'ghar waapsi' will happen only after 'law waapsi'.
The next meeting has been fixed for January 15, amid indications that any headway will now depend on a Supreme Court hearing scheduled for January 11 on a batch of petitions related to the protest....