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General Victims Find Voice Via Their Kids

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by kds1980, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Apr 4, 2005
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    CHANDIGARH: Her voice is soft, shy, lilting and straight from the heart as this little girl sings ‘kabran vichon bol ni maye, dukh-sukh naal pharol dhe demaa main ur ke peke aana, peke honde maawan naal' (Mother, please speak out of the grave, let's talk about our joys and sorrows. I want to come flying to my maternal home, but it can't be a mother's home when the mother is not there). These lines truly depict a married daughter's yearning for her dead mother.

    The irony hits squarely on the face when one realises that it's a 12-year-old girl who is sending out an anguished cry for her mother, who has not died, but who has abandoned her children and an 80 year old mother-in-law after her debt-ridden, farmer husband committed suicide.

    Today, her eldest child, Jasbir Kaur, has become a mother to her two siblings as well as the 80 year old, depression-ridden grandmother. Jasbir cooks food, manages a water-less, power-less, two room kuchha home donated by villages, but manages to keep her smile intact and occasionally sings the song, yearning for her mother. For, Jasbir and 11 other children like hers, life has taken a different turn altogether after they decided to become the youngest activists from Punjab to highlight the farm crisis in the food bowl of India, and taking their protest right in the capital city of Delhi where they met the Food minister, Sharad Pawar and forced him to listen to their grievances. All thanks to consistent efforts of a young couple from USA, who are documenting their story in a movie with the help of Punjab-based Movement Against State Repression (MASR).

    "We suspect the centre is once again going to leave out Punjab from providing farm relief package of Rs 4,000 crore. It is because we never got any commitment from the food minister about Punjab's share," observed Manmeet Singh of Sach Productions, the company which is making a film on the families left behind by the dead farmers. Manmeet and his wife, Harpreet Kaur, who is the director of the movie, took the kids to Delhi and organized the protest along with an NGO lok raj Ssngathan.

    Though there were almost 12 children at the meeting, the minister was under the impression that only three farmers had committed suicide in Punjab so far, organizers revealed.

    He sought information about the 12 kids and said he would be writing to CM Parkash Singh Badal to provide for education and financial help.

    The struggle has turned children into activists, who would continue to fight for their rights long after the couple from USA is gone back and they are back to their villages, ready to struggle for their existence. Naresh Khan and Sher Khan, two spirited young boys declared proudly, "We'll continue our struggle," even though
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