On March 12 2018, the country witnessed history when 50,000 farmers went back home with blisters on their feet and content in their heart. When the blazing heat of Mumbai couldn't mellow down their spirit, the gruelling 200-km, six-day long 'Long March' by over 35,000 farmers ended on a positive note, with the Maharashtra government conceding most demands on Monday evening.
While the social media displayed solidarity and support, a 44-year-old JNU alumnus had secretly won a battle.
A former President of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and a firebrand leader of the Students Federation of India (SFI), who is now the Joint Secretary of All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), Vijoo Krishnan had always felt close to home with the farmer's issues. Growing up listening to stories of the first major uprising in the Malabar region by the peasants, he belongs to the same Karivellur village in Kannaur where farmers rose against the British imperialism and feudal system in 1946, and fought the landlords who wanted to smuggle paddy from the village at a time of acute starvation, says a report by News18.
A native of Kannur in Kerala, Vijoo is known for his teaching stint at the Post Graduate Department of Political Science at St Joseph’s College in Bengaluru, post which he went onto becoming a leader of the Students Federation of India. A full-time activist, he is also a member of the first Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH).
In an interview with news18, he had said,
This is an uprising of the agrarian sector and it has been happening for the last two years. It is happening in many parts of the country such as Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh apart from Maharashtra. There were various kinds of agitations prior to this and now we have an active participation of about 50,000 farmers.
With swollen eyes, blistered feet and torn clothes, the farmers' march focused on the main demands pertaining to the complete implementation of the loan waiver scheme announced last year, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and compensation for victims of damage to cotton crops following bollworm infestation and the unseasonal rains and hailstorm.
The decision was announced at a rally addressed by State ministers along with farmers' leaders at Azad Maidan where the peasants arrived at dawn on Monday, following which the AIKS leaders announced that the agitation was withdrawn.
"We held very cordial discussions and have conceded most of the demands of the tribals, labourers and farmers who took part in the march," Fadnavis announced in Mumbai.
(With inputs from IANS)