BHOPAL: At a time when farmers demanding farm loan waiver and remunerative prices for their agricultural produce are reportedly throwing fruits-vegetables and spilling milk on roads in Punjab and Haryana, a village in Madhya Pradesh has come out with a novel way of protest by organizing feast for villagers out of the held overstock of fresh milk.
As part of Gaon Bandh movement which forms part of the ongoing ten-day nationwide stir by farmers, milk and vegetable farmers in Balaghuda village of Mandsaur district didn’t supply vegetables and milk to the market on Friday and Saturday.
After offering a part of milk for the ‘Abhishek’ of Lord Shiva at a nearby temple, remaining 1.5 quintal milk was used to prepare kheer (sweet delicacy made out of milk) and distributed among villagers in the evening on Friday, particularly the economically weak people and agricultural labourers who can’t afford such a feast.
The kheer arranged in small paper cups was distributed among around 800 people of the village and neighbourhood after being offered at the temple of Shiva and Hanuman.
“We blocked the supply to markets, but didn’t want the milk and vegetables to wasted at any cost, owing to which we distributed large volume of vegetables, particularly ladyfinger among poor villagers and then invited everyone in the village as well as those from neighbourhood to relish the kheer made out of 1.5 quintal milk held over by us for the success of the stir,” said Kunjilal Patidar one of the farmers associated with the stir.
Another protesting farmer Mahesh Patidar said “on Saturday evening, we’ll offer chilled milk as cold drink to the villagers free of cost to positively use the held over milk stock, while on Sunday barfees (sweets) will be prepared from the stocked milk to be distributed among poor villagers.”
A self-styled farmers leader Amritram Patidar, who was allegedly involved in last year’s violent farmers stir in the district and has been served bond over notice by local administration for possible breach of peace in the coming days, said “last year spilling of milk and throwing of fresh vegetables on roads gave a bad name to farmers agitating for their genuine cause last year. Owing to this only, we decided this year to not waste stocks of fruits, vegetables and milk by throwing or spilling them on the road.”
Importantly, the Balaghuda village, located 15 km from Mandsaur district HQ is believed to be the starting point of the violent farmers stir in June 2017 in Mandsaur district. On June 6, 2017, just three kms away near the Barkheda Pant village, five farmers were killed allegedly in police firing on an unruly mob resorting to arson and violence.