The camp has fridges stocked with food and desi ghee. It also has water tanker, mosquito nets, and for a new identity and address, a milestone in front of every shed. There’s attached bathroom and toilet. The 1,000 tents in a 20-kilometre row at Tikri has unique numbers for the Punjab and Haryana farmers to recognise their spot. They have parked their tractor-trailers opposite to each other along the highway to the national capital. Each shed can hold 50 farmers but the occupancy on Monday was only 10 to 20.
Some farmers fitted ACs but almost every shed had fridge, coolers, and dish TV. Farmers dug up pits for toilets and put a water tanker in front of each shed, where they also have gas cylinders, flour, utensils, and the good old kundi-sota (mortar and pestle sets) for grinding chutney. The camp is adorned with posters of Bhimrao Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh.
Farmer Wazir Singh (72) of Petwar village near Narnaund town in Haryana’s Hisar district said: “Here since December, we are dug in for a long fight. A village committee rotates the shift, sends all the supplies, and does all the fundraising. We are determined to break Modi (the Prime Minister).” He said: “We might seem only a few but, at one call, the entire village can reach the Delhi border in two hours if the government tries to use force. These milestones in front of their sheds are a message to the government, that we are ready to make this camp a permanent residence.”
Jaipal (55) of Farmana in Rohtak district said: “Farmers are no longer politically naïve. Seven months of agitation has taught us to cook and help out each other. The Punjab and Haryana farmers have developed a new relation. We have our eyes on the Uttar Pradesh elections, where our fellow peasants are ready to teach the BJP a lesson. We spend the day playing cards, smoking hookah, and chatting. We have developed an understanding on the SYL issue, that it’s all politics.”
Rajesh Kumar (45) of Buradahar village in Jind district said: “Modi jhooth ki factory hai (Modi is a lie maker), who took our votes and deceived us. We must oust him, however long it takes. On one call, we can fill this camp with lakhs of farmers, thanks to our network. The clashes with police in Jind, Hisar, Sirsa, and Tohana were proofs of this undercurrent.”