Akanksha Dhingra: Gen-Z Plays A Critical Role In The Farmers' Protest
Through platforms like Instagram, gen-z has brought forward the unheard voices and real-life stories of the agitation.
April 12, 2021 | 2.5 min. read
Youth today, often chastised for their extensive use of social media and sometimes ridiculed for lack of purpose, have emerged as a critical part of the Farmers’ Protest.
Generation Z, or gen-z, has been participating in the protests and continues to cover the movement from the ground. Through platforms like Instagram, gen-z has brought forward the unheard voices and real-life stories of the agitation.
Moose Jattana is a 20-year-old activist who traveled from Australia to Delhi on December 8, 2020, to support the Farmers’ Protests. Jattana was brought up in Australia and has actively talked about feminism as well as sharing information on many social movements in the past.
“I am not afraid of an authoritarian government, just scared of giving into it,” she said. “I felt that my people needed me, and I had to be there ... a part of it was anger and the other was helplessness.”
When Disha Ravi, a 22-year-old climate activist in India that was arrested by the Delhi Police for editing a protest toolkit on Google Docs, it became clear to her that democracy was dying in India.
“That arrest did not scare me enough to shut me up,” Jattana said.
Ayush Singh Gulia, 22, a storyteller and volunteer at the Farmers’ Protest outside Delhi, said the arrest of young activists like Disha Ravi and Nodeep Kaur instilled more courage in him to continue supporting the movement.
“Soora so pehchaniye, jo lade deen ke haeth, purja purja kat mare, kabhaun na chhaade khet (he alone is known as a hero, who fights in defense of righteousness. He may be cut apart, piece by piece, but he never leaves the field of battle),” Gulia said, quoting from Gurbani.
“For me, getting arrested is not something that could deter me from the path I and most volunteers around me are on,” he added.
As mainstream media became the ‘Godi media’, those who play in the lap of the Indian government, social media has become an important medium for youth looking to access the true experiences of protestors.
Sharing memes and aimlessly scrolling through Instagram are stereotypes that do not accurately reflect today’s youth. Instead, they are spreading the word, doing their research, talking back when needed, valuing diverse points of view, and, most importantly, understanding democracy, Angel Arora, a third-year fashion student at Ryerson University, said. Arora’s hometown is Jalandhar, Punjab.
“Being in Canada, I could not do much, I did not know what news to rely on,” Arora shared. “I follow some Delhi-based photographers like Akshay Kapoor, and he went live on Instagram during the protests. I believed what I saw, that was real news.”
Standing up for what is right against these challenges makes Gulia proud of himself and his heritage, “Being a part of history, feeling the blood of legends like Bhagat Singh Ji, Sukhdev, running in my veins”.
Regardless of the chilly winters, barriers, and police brutality, the Farmers’ Protests continue to stand strong.
“I feel courageous, I feel brave, and I feel most of all that I am fulfilling a purpose,” Jattana said.
“I am doing what I am meant to be doing no matter what. It’s only the bare minimum when we see suffering. Try to eliminate it, or play a part in activism,” Jattana added.
Akanksha Dhingra is a third-year journalism student at Ryerson University, Toronto, with minors in political science, professional communication, and communication-design. Akanksha holds great passion for everything concerning storytelling and digital marketing. You can find her on Twitter at @Akankshadhingr5
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