An important aspect of this project is for me to learn about, explore, express and share my cultural food and heritage. So learning about the farmers’ protests in India over the last few months has struck a few different chords with me. I’m still processing and this is one way of me doing so.
If you don’t know about the situation, I’d just like to shed some light on the main aspects:
Three Farm Bills were passed by the Indian government in September 2020.
These laws have the potential to deregulate farming, leaving farmers open to exploitation by large corporations.
With their livelihoods at stake, farmers and their families held small-scale protests to begin and eventually marched to Delhi in November 2020, aiming to repeal the laws. This was the largest protest ever! And the protests are still going on after months.
Protesters were met with barricades, water canons and tear gas, with many injured and arrested. Their communication was cut off by blocking internet access and journalists reaching the protest sites.
I’m just scratching the surface here so please do your own research too.
These events, the treatment of the protestors but the vigor of the farmers have moved me. My Nani (grandma) came from a farming family and grew up in a small village in Punjab doing farm work herself. Most of the recipes I share on this page are Punjabi, inspired by what I saw my mum and Nani cooking. And so it’s painful to see the people who grow the crops for the cuisine I care so much about, who look and speak like the people I love, being treated as such.
I’m also feeling disconnected and guilty, I think a lot of second generation immigrants are. I’m having thoughts like: who am I, a British Pakistani, now living in the United States, to comment on this? Could I be any further from this? But that’s a ‘me’ thing and I think most children of immigrants have identity confusion. These labels can’t invalidate how I’m feeling, whether its ancestral trauma and/or the fact that farming in that part of the world is just a generation away from me.
Whether the situation is ‘close’ or ‘far’ away from you, I do want to highlight that we live in a global economy and India is a major contributor, exporting items like rice, cotton, sugar, spices and tea. What happens to the Indian farmers will very much impact the rest of the world. And from a humanitarian perspective we should have compassion for what they are going through.
There is a lot of information out there and a lot to take in so please do take some time to do your own research, process your thoughts and emotions, share with others and support and donate where you can.
My love and prayers are with the farmers and India ❤️