"I know why these farmers are here" said Chandrakant Patekar, a 37-year-old office assistant at a corporate firm in Suyojit complex in Nashik. Thousands of farmers walked by this building on their way to the ground at Mumbai Naka around 6 p.m. on February 20, when Patekar had just finished work.

"In the villages, every drop of water counts. People have to walk kilometres to find some water. In the city, we waste 25-30 litres of water each time we bathe," Patekar said. He added that he knows of the distress of farmers because he sees them struggling to pay back the loans they take from the finance company he works at. "Many of our customers are farmers. They tell us that there is no water for farming and so they can't pay us their instalments."

As the farmers marched, Patekar (in the blue shirt, pointing, in the photograph on top) and a friend from another finance company took pictures and selfies from the terrace of their office building. Patekar thinks that the present government doesn't have the will to save the farmers. "They haven’t supported the farmers in four years. How can they do it in four months?" He is glad though that the government has now promised to meet the farmers’ demands.

Rahul M.

Rahul M. is an independent journalist based in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, and a 2017 PARI Fellow.

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