“We played the tarpa in the  Long March and we are playing the tarpa today too. We play it at all important events,” says Rupesh Roj, referring to the wind instrument he is carrying. Rupesh is among the farmers from Maharashtra going towards Delhi this week – in vans, tempos, jeeps and cars – in support of other farmers, many of them from Punjab-Haryana, who are protesting at the capital’s borders.
After the new farm laws were passed in Parliament in September this year, lakhs of farmers have been protesting across the country, demanding these laws be scrapped.
Around noon on December 21, around 2,000 farmers from nearly 20 districts of Maharashtra – though mainly from Nashik, Nanded and Palghar – gathered at the Golf Club ground in central Nashik for a jatha, a vehicle morcha to Delhi. They have been mobilised by the All India Kisan Sabha, affiliated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Of these, around 1,000 have continued journeying beyond the Madhya Pradesh border, going towards the country's capital city.
Among those who gathered in Nashik was 40-year-old Rupesh from Palghar’s Vada town, who belongs to the Warli community. “We Adivasis have a lot of shraddha [respect] for our tarpa,” he says. “Now we will play and dance our way to Delhi.”