Hundreds of farmers – men and women, along with some children – from the villages of Bihar boarded the 13257 Jan Sadharan Express and travelled for 16 hours, covering 990 kilometres, to reach Anand Vihar Terminal in east Delhi at 2 p.m. on November 29, 2018.

While waiting for the others, the first few to step off the train wasted no time – their march to Ramlila Maidan began on the platform itself where they began raising slogans: “We must get pension! Implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendations! We demand one and a half times MSP…”.

More farmers had arrived on other trains earlier that morning. They told us about their demands, problems, the long-unresolved issues about rain-fed farming and drought, the rising costs of diesel and fertilisers – while the price that their crops fetch in the market remains nearly stagnant. They spoke of  how difficult it is  to give their children a good education or provide decent healthcare for their families.

The farmers in the video featured here are from villages in Madhepura, Sitamarhi and Siwan districts of Bihar.

Namita Waikar is a writer, translator and Managing Editor at the People's Archive of Rural India. She is the author of the novel 'The Long March', published in 2018.

Other stories by Namita Waikar
Samyukta Shastri

Samyukta Shastri is an independent journalist, designer and entrepreneur. She is a trustee of the CounterMediaTrust that runs PARI, and was Content Coordinator at PARI till June 2019.

Other stories by Samyukta Shastri