Mumbai: Bollywood celebrities like Riteish Deshmukh, Dia Mirza and Onir on Monday expressed support and respect for the farmers community as an estimated 35,000 peasants completed a 180-km march to Mumbai over six days to bring to the notice of the government the agrarian crisis gripping the state.
The group of peasants — men, women, youth and even seniors — abandoned their night’s rest, to march from the Somaiya Grounds, Vidyavihar, starting 2 a.m. (Monday) to reach the historic Azad Maidan at dawn, to avoid inconveniencing students appearing for the ongoing board examinations.
This gesture has been hailed by Bollywood celebrities, some of whom have saluted the spirit of the farmers and some of whom have commented on their plight with a pun.
Here’s what they said:
Riteish Deshmukh: Farmers walked 180 km, asking for the rightful compensation for their crop. On their last stretch they walked all night making sure they didn’t disturb the SSC board examinations. Compassion, respect, salute, Jai Kisan.
Dia Mirza: Our destinies are entwined. Our farmers grow our food. Their lives and livelihood are in peril because of climate change, exploitative middle men, lack of sustainable support. Stand by our farmers.
Onir: Respect Kisan Long March. These farmers have kindness far beyond most arrogant political rallies who don’t care about public inconvenience.
Prakash Raj: With blisters in the foot… hunger in their eyes, our farmers have walked seeking fairplay, dignity. This is the truth because of your lies and failed promises… Will you give them justice as they knock at your door… before they rise to knock you out #justasking.
Siddhartha Basu: Not just the Maharashtra government, all of India needs to listen and respond positively to the acute distress of our farmers everywhere.
Shirish Kunder: As long as the farmers and soldiers are willing to die for us, respect? The moment they protest against any injustice, political agenda? We love docile cows!
Shruti Seth: You can be sure that this will be turned into a political slugfest and the poor farmers will return home empty handed. And then the government will deflect all the attention to something absolutely nonsensical. Hope we grow brains by 2019.
Maria Goretti: My heart goes out to our farmers and their plight… my grandparents were farmers, I know how difficult this is.
Pritish Nandy: The Indian farmer is an amazing person. He is fighting a losing battle against nature, life and the state for years now. He deserves our respect and support. Not political cliches.
Kunal Kemmu: I feel very emotional listening to the plight of the farmers and their stories. Walking barefoot and with bare necessities and still being as patient, calm and disciplined. I really hope we find a way to help end the prolonged ordeal of the backbone of this country – Jai Kisan!
Atul Kasbekar: Massive respect! Farmers in the mammoth agitation agreed to walk across the city at night so as to not inconvenience citizens, especially kids appearing for exams.
Abhishek Kapoor: Put yourself in the farmers’ shoes today. They’ve walked a very long way to be heard. Hope they get what they want cause it’s going to be a long and hard summer. Please don’t whine about traffic jams.
R. Madhavan: I totally and whole heartedly support this for all farmers in this nation. Let’s make that difference.
Rahul Dholakia: Should write a film (that’s all what I can do) where the protagonist dupes the bank of thousands of crores and then he distributes the money to all the farmers to clear their debts and escapes abroad! And just imagine if the bank belonged to Netas! Farmers rock.
Puri Jagan: Bhaiya gobhi kaise diye? – 20/kg — Bhaiya 15 ka laga do. Domino’s, 1 medium pizza. – Rs 285 — Rs 300. Keep the change. “Farmers are dying”.