“Sold-Out” screening of Rails, Jails, & Trolleys – A documentary film on history’s largest Farmer’s Protest Movement


There's never been a protest as large as what we witnessed in all of human history. The farmers’ protest was a spectacular display of fight, seva, and above all, love. And when it's your elders’ mobilizing, agitating, and hurting for our future…the protest crosses all borders and sits right inside your heart. Rails, Jails, and Trolleys documents the 2020-2021 farmers' protest in India from the lens of the Canadian diaspora. By bringing together diverse experts on and off the field, Henna captures the long history of agricultural decline in the subcontinent by sharing a concise and well rounded understanding of what led the farmers to protest to begin with. This needed to be archived for future generations. I’m most relieved that it was.

Raji Kaur Aujla

President, Willendorf Culture

The farmers protest in India was a people's movement with complexities that are incredibly difficult to communicate. Many of us were frustrated seeing the flattening of not only these complexities but also the humanity of those on the front lines by the Government of India. This documentary did an incredible job of linking our diasporic connections to the movement in India, and creating room to explore and unpack the nuances of this historical moment.

Mo Dhaliwal

Poetic Justice Foundation

"Bearing witness to the Farmers Protest in India impacted me significantly as a Punjabi, Sikh woman having lived most of her life in the Canadian diaspora. It significantly impacted my understanding of how food sustainability, farming, and the rise of global fascism/control had so many complicated layers. It impacted me significantly seeing how many Punjabis living in British Columbia in particular rallied together to fight against many different systems of corporatization, capitalism, but also fascism. As a Historian and educator, I was absolutely floored at how Rails, Jails, and Trolley's was able to address every single one of these layers of complexity to a diverse audience that are perhaps unaware of the ramifications of this Historic, and world's largest ever farmers protest. It is an incredibly valuable tool and asset that speaks across generations and cultures. It is a film with a particular purpose to educate, inform, and touch on the very difficult topics that many are afraid to touch. It is a brave film and I applaud Henna, the young person who made this film, the South Asian Studies Institute at UFV for supporting the production, and all of those involved."

Dr. Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra

Historian, Parks Canada

"Watching Rails, Jails, and Trolleys, left me with so many mixed emotions, here was I thinking that I knew what the Farmer’s Protest was about. If you think you do too, watch the documentary! It left me with a deep respect for the Indian farmers that protested, the wives that took control of the farms, and the diaspora all over the world that supported the farmers in their protest. But there is also this anger, from the disastrous impact of the Green Revolution (nothing Green about it) in the early sixties to the implementation of the 3 draconian farm-related laws by the Indian Government in 2020, which ignited the farmers' protest. Despite the farmer’s Victory, it leaves me saddened, many lives are lost, lands are degraded, and the farmers' worries are far from over… I applaud the filmmaker Henna Mann and the South Asian Studies Institute for giving insight into such a complex topic."

Annet Holierhoek

Teacher SD33

Rails, Jails and Trolley’s is a thought provoking film detailing the Indian Farmers Protest and the dynamics at play leading up to it. The film, told through interviews with a number of academia, journalists, and activists, helps better understand the importance of the protest and helps connect it to life in Canada in part by demonstrating just how fragile our own food systems are.

The world and our economies are interconnected, particularly food economies. Rails, Jails and Trolleys helps further our understanding of how the actions in one part of the world can impact food producers in other parts and how government policy can impact our way of life in a moment’s notice.

Agriculture and food culture are fundamental for a well functioning society as food should be for everyone. After having viewed the film twice, I can confidently say Rails, Jails and Trolleys is an important documentary that stimulates healthy discussion about food systems and security and the critical role governments play. Kudos to Henna Mann and the South Asian Studies Institute for making the film and brining it forward for our benefit.

Craig Nichols

I am Manveer Chatha, currently enrolled in the BBA program at the University of Fraser Valley as an international student. I have completed the first 2 years of my degree at the Fraser valley India campus. I have lived in Delhi for 20 years and was residing there when the farmer’s protest started in the year 2020. I remember that the protests were going on in various locations on the outskirts of Delhi at that time. My family owns lands in Punjab that we have rented out to small farmers who grow and sell crops on it to earn a living therefore, I was quite familiar with the current circumstances that our farmers face on daily basis. Although my family now owns a transportation business in Delhi and is not directly enrolled in the agricultural sector still all my family members were able to feel the pain of farmers and were aware of the unfavorable consequences that those unethical laws can cause. Therefore, I visited the Singhu border on December 26, 2020, with my family to meet my very active relatives in the protest and support our country’s farmers to win this battle against the government’s three black laws. We parked our car around 2 km away from the main area as there was no space available near the main protest site. I remember we walked to the entrance of the protest site and saw a different world. I was astonished by what I was seeing, there were thousands of people sitting on the road attending the regular meetings which were happening every day to make the protest more powerful and convincing. At the Singhu border, mostly Sikh and Haryanvi farmers were present because Delhi's entrance was nearest to those states. When I walked more towards the inside, I observed that people of every age were protesting with confidence and were aware of three black farm laws that would worsen their economic situations if implemented by the government of India. My uncle along with his family and friends came to the protest site on a tractor with an attached trolley they told us about the struggle they faced while setting up their temporary living on the roads surrounding Delhi. According to them, it was not at all easy to leave their houses and businesses and fight for their rights on the streets. I asked my uncle about their journey, and he told me that he was first coming alone but his family insisted and came along with him, they packed their clothes along with food and other essential things to survive in those harsh conditions. They decided to live in the trolley till the 3 black farm laws are taken back by the Modi government. He told me that major advancements were made in the protest by everyone as compared to the first day till then. More and more people started to visit these protest sites and worked hard to make facilities available for everyone as whole families came including children and ladies, therefore, individuals who were concerned made various amenities like washrooms and bathrooms on the roadsides for all the protesting farmers. After talking to my relatives, I explored the whole area and saw ladies and children preparing food for everyone under tents for all people anybody can go and eat at any tent or trolley without any hesitation, meals were prepared for thousands of people every day. Moreover, a lot of different activities were conducted regularly in order to make strategies to achieve their targets. After talking to more people of different age groups and genders I realized that all these people who are involved in this large protest are not just protesting but are setting up an example for the world to showcase the “power of unity”. I moved to Canada for my higher studies in August 2022 and talked to a lot of people here about the farmer’s protest I was surprised to know that most of the people were aware of India’s agricultural scenarios and applaud the farmer’s protest on an international level. When I got to know about the screening of the film Jails, Rails and Trolleys I got very excited and felt proud of my country’s agricultural people who fearlessly protested on the roads in adverse weather conditions and won that battle. After watching the Jails, Rails and Trolleys at The University of Fraser Valley, I was able to connect well with the film as it provided me with the same experience of emotions that I perceived from my visit to the Singhu border two years back. I got so emotional in some scenes that showed the real and raw side of the farmer’s protest as it covers all aspects and hidden stories of people sitting on the borders of Delhi. The film just not only talks about the residing situations of farmers on roads but is also fully packed with facts and truth about the whole journey of the farmer’s victory against the government’s cruel laws. What I liked the most about this film is that all the scenes showcase the real side of farmers and how important is their land to them that they protested fearlessly against the government despite being attacked and beaten by the police without any basis.

Manveer Chatha