Tuesday, January 05, 2021


The market is in full swing. There are some selling socks – ‘6 jodi garam juraab 100 ke,’ there are few selling bags - from small handbags to full size luggage bags, there are many piles of jackets, shoes, belts, towels, there are a few cobblers, there are mobile cover kiosks, and there are few selling boiled eggs and omellete, fruits walas - guava in particular, and there are salad and chat walas. The market is tailored for the crowd that walks through it. Atmosphere is electric. The crowd more than any Sunday market in any crowded corner of any city.

Squeezed on one side of the highway, left open as pedestrian access by the security barricades, the market has come up on the path that everyone uses to reach the Singhu protest site, the main stage of Kisan Sanyukt Morcha and the tractor-trolley township beyond it. Ever since the stage of Kisan Majdoor Sangharash Committee came up on this side of the barricades the pedestrian traffic has zoomed and so has the number of sellers.

Adjoining the few hundred meters of the market is the barricaded section, now with a handful of security personnel, along with the state machinery for crowd control – the riot control vehicles and Varun – the water canon mounted vehicle. For now, the crowd flows uncontrollably, a river, having created their own channel. For now, the state machinery stands helpless, witness to and at mercy of the real power, people.

On the barricade raised along the walkway, where the river flows, a charlatan has left a message for another charlatan.

In the sky right above the state machinery, at the point that is marked as a border by the state, a solitary kite flies. It soars like the spirit of people underneath.




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