Friday, January 01, 2021


In Sunjeev Sahota’s ‘The year of the runaways,’ Avtar, Randeep, Tarlochan, Gurpreet and many others, having made it to UK – via dangerous journeys on illegal routes, with help of visa-wives, under the guise of study visas, having jumped tourist visas – share a rundown house in Sheffield as they struggle for survival and as they attempt to open the doors to a future that they believed they would find here when they undertook those journeys.

They work sixteen hours x seven days to make less than eight hours x five days of ‘legal’ residents as the contractors exploit them, they sleep few hours a day with their little bags packed in case of immigration office raids, they sleep under bridges in freezing nights, they undercut each other to stay on jobs, many a times they fight, they brave sickness and injury, they leave the one who needs hospital care at the emergency doors when there is no other option – as deportation awaits at the other end of hospital exit, they make it through a day at a time, a week’s worth of earning at a time, a work season at a time, they make it alive through a year, through the year of the runaways.

She takes the mike on stage of Kisan Sanyukt Morcha at Singhu Border, ‘Main New Zealand to aayin haan, Delhi airport to siddha ethe protest te, tuhade naal baithan.’ ‘I have come from New Zealand, from Delhi airport straight to protest site, to sit with you.’

He takes the stage of Kisan Majdoor Sangharsh Committee, ‘meri flight si London di December shuruat vich. Hun cancel ai. Jad tak aapan jit nahi jande.’ ‘I had flight for London in the beginning of December. Now it is cancelled. Till the time we don’t win this.’

The banner at a langar reads – ‘Midland Langar seva society.’

A poster on trolley reads – ‘Doaba Kisan March, with the support of NRI brothers.’

Everywhere in these miles of tractor -trolley townships, the runaways, having graduated to become affluent diaspora, show their presence.

They have joined the five boys of KisanEktaMorcha IT Cell in millions and spread the word to every corner of the world.

They have organized rallies in their cities, they have got the parliaments of the world to take notice, they have not allowed the state, the sold-out mainstream media and Joseph Goebbles of our times, the BJP IT cell, to let this movement fall in a voiceless vacuum.

The runaways have stood up and made themselves counted.





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Sukhdev Singh is milking a buffalo when I call him. We are speaking after a long gap. His voice carries the same cheerful energy I remember....