At Ghazipur border, two sisters from Nainital have set up a ‘Kisan Mahila Store’ with the aim of tending to the needs of women at the protest site. Over 1,000 women are now present at the site and more are expected to arrive in the run-up to Republic Day.
Gursharanjeet Kaur (25), the younger of the two, said, “We first visited the site on December 25. We saw a few stores but they did not have items like sanitary napkins. At the same time, women had just started coming in and we decided to make a few tents specifically for women.”
The sisters were involved in sewa in a gurdwara back in their hometown. They accompanied their brother and father, who started a langar.
The sisters then decided to devote their time and resources to women’s needs, and turned it into a reality with the help of friends and cousins.
They assessed the items that women needed most at the site. Harsharanjeet Kaur (28) said, “We decided to stay in the tents ourselves. We learnt that mosquitoes were a menace here and it is difficult for women to walk too far to use the washrooms.”
They made arrangements to move the washrooms closer to the women’s tents. The tents can accommodate around 80 people and they are currently setting up more of these.
Gursharanjeet is pursuing postgraduate studies in Biology and gives IELTS tuitions. Harsharanjeet works in the IT sector. While the sisters take care of the store, a few women volunteer to help them.
Anju Parveen (39) from Trilokpuri said sewa has become her full time job since the protests began. “I don’t have a farming background. I decided to come here and help because I eat food. It is our duty to help farmers.”
Items at the store range from sanitary napkins and new undergarments to soaps, shampoo, toothpaste and towels. Nanni Devi from Faridpur visited the store in the afternoon to collect sanitary napkins and a towel. She said the store has made her stay at the border much easier.