Covering a 180 km journey on foot is not only arduous but also poses several logistical challenges – arrangements have to be made for food and water, for instance.
But the 35,000 farmers who undertook the Long March from Nashik to Mumbai to draw attention to the agrarian crisis in rural Maharashtra had these grounds covered, and then some.
Spotted in the crowd of protesters were a couple of farmers with odd contraptions on their heads. A closer glimpse revealed that these devices were mini solar panels, the size of big hats, that some farmers had carried along so they could keep their phones charged during the six-day journey. The group of protestors – about 35,000 in number – left Nashik on Tuesday and reached Mumbai on Sunday.
A handful of farmers were spotted with these devices, which they were sharing with fellow protestors. They said a half-hour charge could give enough juice to phones to run for a couple of hours. The panels could charge four-five phones at a time.
On Monday, farmers gathered at the Vidhan Sabha with a list of demands for the government. These include the waiving off of all loans and electricity bills and competitive prices for crops, among others.
Photos by Shone Satheesh.