Published: 04th January 2021
AISA sets up free libraries for farmers at the protest sites in Delhi
Apart from Tikri, they have also installed similar libraries at the Singhu border, Ghazipur border and at the Shahjahanpur border
The metro station near Delhi's Tikri border isn't a usual one. For the past few weeks, farmers from across states are protesting there against the centre's newly introduced and passed farm bills. It has been quite different from your regular protest site that consists of a sloganeering mob. For instance, recently, a kabaddi match was organised there to keep up the farmers' spirits. Pizzas were delivered to them at langars and an NGO had installed foot massagers for them.
Now, the All India Students' Association has installed a makeshift library there for the young farmers, especially students to read. Named the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library, it has books, newsletters and newspapers.
Apart from Tikri, they have also installed similar libraries at the Singhu border, Ghazipur border and at the Shahjahanpur border. "Since inception, we see at least 100-150 people come to these libraries every day to read," says Prasenjit Kumar, AISA National Working Secretary. "We have books in Hindi and Punjabi and a few books in English. Our readers are mostly young people," he says.
All the books and bookshelves in these libraries, Kumar says, are donated by wellwishers. "We have had authors and literary enthusiasts donate books to us. A lot of them wished to remain anonymous, but were keen to donate to the cause," he says. The farmers' protest, according to him is a gamechanger and has revolutionised the face of protests in the 21st century India. "So, as students, we wanted to do our bit to make it as productive as possible," he says.
These libraries are free for all to access. Now apart from reading rooms, AISA, along with CPIML's trade union All India Central Council of Trade Unions have set up free medical camps for the farmers there. They are now raising funds to buy more books, bookshelves and other necessities for the farmers. "We are raising funds to also provide them with sleeping bags, blankets and battery operated lights. These libraries will exist as long as these protests go on. We had also installed a similar library last year, during the Shaheen Bagh protests," says Kumar.