They promise to build memorials for Life Care Hospital, Jangi Kitab Library in Cholang village in Jalandhar

The song and the dance had started the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three agricultural laws but the roar of “Jo Bole So NihalSam Sri Akal (Victory slogan in Punjabi) ”came out loud on Thursday when a speaker announced from the main stage at the Singhu border that all of their demands had been accepted and that they would leave for their homes on Saturday. Farmers camping at the protest site for 378 days engaged in a celebratory dance as drumbeats played in the background.

Removing the tarp from his makeshift accommodation, which had become his home for a year, Kuldeep Singh, 40, a farmer from Patiala, said he will miss the place dearly but is happy to return home. “Who could have imagined seeing so many trucks, carts and flags together in one place. This is what I will miss the most, ”he said.

“I am overwhelmed,” said Gandhi Vir Bhan of Kaithal of Haryana, trying to hide his smile. “Free principal zameen mil gayi thi Delhi mein. Ab chhorni padegi (We got free land to stay in Delhi. Now we’ll have to leave it), ”he laughed as he sat with his peers in a partially dismantled shelter. “It has been a remarkable and possibly the most memorable year of our lives,” he said.

The Life Care Foundation hospital, which has treated thousands of people at the protest site over the past year, will close after all the farmers leave, said Avtar Singh, the man who ran the protest. ‘hospital. “We will be going back with a bang. There will be DJs on ‘Kisan Express’ and ‘Kisan Metro’ (trucks so named because they transported protesters to the main stage), ”Avtar said.

The legacy of Jangi Kitab Hospital and Library – which have been a permanent feature of the site despite harsh weather conditions and fluctuating crowds – will be commemorated at Cholang village in Jalandhar where a farmer reportedly donated land for the memorial. . “The replicas will be installed and every year on November 26 we will meet there,” he said.

Looking back, Avtar said that not only the farmers but also the local residents had become the hospital’s regular patients. “We lost just over 700 people during the demonstration. The numbers may have increased dramatically without the hospital, which is the blessing of the Almighty. “

According to Mr. Avtar, the protest was a success because of the elderly people who did not move. “If they had given up and left for circumstantial reasons, the demonstration would have collapsed.”

It was this protest that prompted Jagdev Singh, 55, of Barnala, to take back his camera after 20 years. Mr Jagdev cycled around the protest site for hours on end, snapping photos – sometimes discreetly – to capture the perfect moment, then sharing them on his social media account. Sharing his story, Mr Jagdev said he was a wedding photographer for 10 years before he had an accident and injured his leg. He quit photography and became a full-time farmer. “A year ago when I came for the protest I took my camera back and I don’t think I’m going to stop now,” he said.

The protest also gave many people lifelong friendships. Jagtar Singh, 22, from Sangrur, hugged his friend Jagmeher Singh, 47, from Patiala, saying: “We have become lifelong friends here. I know I have someone for me in Patiala and he knows he has me in Snagrur.

Mixed emotions

As the protest draws to a close, street vendors at the site are unhappy, while traders in the surrounding area are happy. Ramvir Singh, who had set up his stand at the Singhu border for a year now, said he and his family had all meals at the site and his business was also running well. “I’m now going to go back to the crossroads about a mile from here and see how it’s going there,” he said.

Naresh Kumar, 42, a grocery store owner at Kundli Junction, said his store has been closed for more than a year due to the protest and that he hopes to revive his business now. He had to move his store down as barricades had been set up outside the store and no one could reach the place. “People have lost their money and their livelihoods. Many traders left for good because they could not afford the rent. Now there is some hope, ”he said.

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