In all the realities, politics, economics and all the social realities!

Bihar state which had just gone to the Assembly polls preceded by one of the intense election campaigns, of course in the earlier lines of most extensive use of abusive rhetoric. Never before we saw certain desperation on the part of even national leaders who descended to some unacceptable levels of name calling! This should become unacceptable in the coming years!

It is a great pity. We have heard some time ago and in the end we can see how the Bihari voters reached their judgement. Democracy requires periodic change in power holding and this must be realised and kept in mind!

Corrupt candidates : Of course money power was there. Each one of the more affluent candidates had an average asset of Rs.1.47 crores (30% were in this class), as for the parties, BJP had 31 crorepati candidate, 91 candidates had average assets per candidate of Rs.5 crore and more, JD(U), 37 candidates, 30 candidates, had an average Rs.3.31 crores, RJD 35 crorepati candidate , RJD 35 crorepatis, Rs.4.79 crore, LJP 31 candidates out of 42 candidates, INC 17 out of 25 candidates BSP had 10 out of 19 total candidates. Some independent candidates had declared assets worth more than 1 crore!

Some candidates have declared more than 85 crore, 45 crores and 32 crores! The data is quoted from the Association for Democratic Reforms.

This side of the Bihar political story needs to be understood in proper perspective. Politics in any State, no less in Bihar is now a big money game and dynasty game and everyone is trying to figure out how the top leaders in Delhi and the state capitals can fit themselves into such a cosy inequity, unequal society and caste combinations. The ugly reality is that in the country democracy has not taken any roots, let alone deep roots.

It is all about money, power and immoral working of the society and politics and economics. Is there any semblance of social justice or economic justice as Mr.Tejaswi Yadav tried to articulate?

Let the readers, perhaps the most enlightened ones figure out this question in their own ways!

Bihar is a uniquely endowed state. As everyone knows the political parties are all using the very existing caste inequities in a cynical manner, come what might be its outcome and the major parties are the guilty one, piggy backing on the dominant local ones, the BJP on the JD(U), the Congress on the RJD, may be the attempts to the entry point in Bihar is very much similar to what is the reality in Tamil Nadu, where both the congress and the BJP find themselves in the same boat! As for Bihar at least in some ways the ground level realities are what must concern us.

In Bihar we learn that farm labour is almost 49% of the population while overall farm labour in the country is 42 per cent. So, the question of jobs for this segment is now the critical point and how this farm jobs issue will be tackled is now almost last out of the election debates, the Prime Minister’s election campaigns are full of inspiring new slogans while Tejaswi Yadav well positioning himself as a new messiah, talking all the time about the more secular political issues and his image this time has gone up over much to the change of the major national parties.

May be this is how politics is played out or how election strategies are worked out. As for agriculture issues, it is a vast subject and a magazine column is not enough to dwell on all the subject’s diversities.

The new three laws enacted by the Punjab Government is only a major obstacle. How the Opposition parties-ruled states would co-operate with the central government?

Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister has written an article on the farm legislations. Punjab is a big State which draws heavily on the seasonal migration of Bihari farm labour! And Punjab CM must be perhaps the biggest landlord in the State! On the one side is the feudalism that symbolises farm land ownership. The Chief Minister today has introduced a farm reform regime that is both equitable and also towards equal society not an easy job at any point of time!

Why we say this is to draw attention to educated sections at least that farm reforms is not a joke and not so at election times!

So, at least rest at ease that for a short time let us confine to the three farm laws enacted by the Central government. Change must come about in a modern economy, more so in the rural economy.

At present, there will be unequal distribution of farm land and it is the basic reality. We also have to admit that farm land would be owned at any point of time in an unequal way only. There has to be big farmers so that new investments and new technologies come into the agriculture operations.

The progress has to be slow only. Nowhere in the world farm lands are owned in an equal and equitable way. In villages agricultural lands are always owned in a hierarchical manner. Rural sociology must explore in detail this phenomenon. This reality must sink in and we have to promote agriculture by keeping the history of agriculture in all countries in mind. Even today, in Europe and more so in Eastern Europe seasonal agricultural labour migration is a reality.

This is the reality of agriculture everywhere. Let us study more and evolve some realistic discussion and debate. The positive side of Bihar agriculture is not fully written about, it seems Bihar otherwise, seems to be a rich state in terms of its natural resources. Its fertile alluvial soils, abundant river resources are not much written about. The Ganges river is a mighty resource. Its tributory rivers – Sone, Gandak, Burshi Gandak/Bagmati, Kosi, Mahananda-have always made Bihar a rich state! These rivers and the abundant waters have turned the state the ideal destination for the second Green Revolution. From Green Revolution to a new Corn Revolution! Many farmers in the Kosi-Seemachal belt, Bihar today produces 50 quintals per acre which is comparable to that in the US Midwest Corn heartland.

Bihar’s corn revolution is entirely private sector. The credit goes to multinational Sed companies which introduced the cultivation of single-cross size hybrids. They, along with large trading firms and feed millers, recognised the potential of planting these during the Rabi winter-season. When mild temperatures with clear skies, absence of flooding and low pests/disease infestation were conducive for higher yields. Moreover this crop can be harvested during April-June, when there was no corn available from the rest of India or even from South America.

Bihar farmers took to this hybrid maize cultivation during the early 2000s this new corn revolution is changing the maize season. Not just corn revolution alone, there are other alternative crops too. Litchi, Makhana (fox nut, all these have been achieved without any government initiative, do you believe?

No minimum support price, nor procurement nor functional APMCs! Farmers in other states like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are pampered on the other hands! Bihar’s rural roads have. Improved during the last. Two decades, they say.But electricity and water may be available for homes and of course much remains to be done.

But there are some hard realities. Three phase power supply is still in short supply and farmers use much diesel for pumping the water to their farms. Of course Bihar desperately need more jobs in the rural areas. This is the Assembly elections pitch.

However there is the reality of more rural migration population, they must go back and they will Bihar’s late rural land profile is very dark. Bihar agriculture is very much subsistence farming and the poverty is very widespread.

With all tall talk during the elections no one has a sincere honest mind set to say that unless industry comes to Bihar there is no hope for more productive jobs. This is also the reality in other low-level subsistence farming states like even Bengal.

How to bring industry is a million dollar question. Mr.Nitish Kumar the senior most political leader. Didn’t utter a word on industrialisation as the future path! Nor Mr. Tajeswi Yadav.

Of course others were keen about more seats for their parties that are all almost orphans without any define programmes. Bihari migrant labour will be going out for some unimaginable time. It is neither a bad idea nor a negative feature. No class structure can survive without a labour class, working class, servants class, can it?

So, let us learn to recognise the inevitability of a new type of moderate feudalism in the rural India and the attendant her classes. In ancient Rome and Greece there were slave classes, then came other classes and social divisions.

Now, we have a new world order and a growing international migrant labour class and now a new educated migrant labour from India itself to the Western countries! We seem to be living in a new world upsurge of a large migration population. So, rural poverty will persist till we overcome our own mental prejudices.

Let us introduce all progressive reforms and create a new prosperous Bihar by introducing all the needed modernisation processes in the economic and socio-cultural spheres. States’ politics too should change, corruption and weakening of democratic institutions should be rectified in a more open and civilised politics.

From Parliament to the Panchayat Raj institutions!

Democracy has a long and hoary history. From Athens to the entire world, for over 2500 years on a tiny hillock, what today we call the ancient Agora, today a neglected part of Athens to the last corners of the world, democracy has resonated and turned mankind into a civilized society.

We have had the good fortune to walk across the remaining pieces of that spot. We were inspired by the very name and forms of government they practiced. Any civilized man or woman must think it their good fortune to have had such a personal experience.

Blessed are those who had tread that little piece of territory. Up on the hills rises the immortal Acropolis, that man-made gem of white marble Architecture that held mankind to an unsurpassed reach of beauty and human excellence.

Now? Now, democracy is on the lips of everyone, from the common man to the great thinkers. Is democracy now a common man’s belief or practice?

Alas! It is not so democracy is corrupted in a wide variety of ways. In the name of democracy, certain highest qualities of modern man, even the most educated and highly competent ones, shall we not say, even the most highly qualified to turn not into ethical or moral personalities! Just the opposite behaviour!

In the name of constitutional oaths, men don’t bat an eye to take other in total disregard for any high ethics. In the 2500s BC, the great Athenian General, Pericles, declared that Athens is a school for the world and Athenians are the practitioners of Liberty and Democracy. The two words first pronounced by man!

Alas!! Today men for the sake of power for which they didn’t work at all seek office and profit and pensions and that is how democratic practices, its many nuances and norms are trampled in the dust.

Democracy is a delicate governance system, without democracy there can’t be social and economic justice! We, Indians, have come from a very historic background that of the contemporary British history! India got freedom from Britain in 1947 because in Britain at the time a new progressive party, namely the British Labour Party won the elections. The rival conservative party lost power because the British people were tired of the world war and they wanted a change. That is how the Indian national Congress won freedom.

Harold Joseph Laski

In our time at Oxford, in our own College, New College, a 14th century establishment there were many Labour Party leaders who came to power from the background of the Fabian Society which gave ideas, inputs to the Labour Party. Giant thinkers like Prof.Harold Laski inspired a generation, why, Laski inspired a generation of Asian and African students, some of them were with us at the Oxford colleges.

So, Pandit Nehru and some of his friends and colleagues were also part of this new awakening in India. The rest as they say, is history! India’s freedom struggle too was marked by several phases. Our own political history too much was affected by world history, from Soviet Revolution to other happenings and so what we today in India need to keep in mind is that political ideologies, even the current ones, from the Congress to the BJP and other minor or major formulations have to be seen and analysed and applied in the true historic context.

Today, we are driven by much a confused and contradictory political formulations. So, we too in India at the present are taken by fancy formulations. Many of the regional political outfits present their policies in a very superficial way and the situation has reached certain extreme nationalistic language.

For instance, at the end of the recently held Bihar Assembly elections, the BJP had raised slogans like Bharat Mata ki jai! What does this slogan mean? It is simple, very raw emotional pitch only?

Can we raise such slogans in an election context? We are sure this is not a positive educational and educational phrase, So too many other countries and peoples who go for extreme political slogans. This comment needs much detailed examination.

For example in the recent elections in New Zealand, the incumbent Prime Minister, Zacinda has done the most admirable, progressive thing, namely, she had inducted into her Cabinet representatives of the native indigenous people and also from the Opposition parties. How innovative!

We, a great democracy in the world, are still to reach that stage in our political evolution. It is really a revolutionary concept, to app the best brains and talents and the country concerned only would stand to benefit!

Democracy is a very powerful word. It has a hoary history. India, among other nations, has a great responsibility and a moral commitment to uphold democracy and democratic practices. Since only in India leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru came from, the former a great soul and latter a great sensitive democrat.
The very many ideals and institutions. They established and taught the people deserve our gratitude to work ourselves to some of their own ideals.

The Mahatma always spoke about the simple peasants of India, the rural people, the poor and the hungry. The latter with his own Western education and beliefs, Nehru was one of the great Fabian Socialists, Nehru was a personal friend of such thinkers like Laski, Kingsley Martin, the redoubtable editor of the Newstatesman, the Socialist weekly that educated the latter generation of Indians and Africans.

We were once the leaders of the Non-Aligned world. Today too we are the examples of good democrats. The world even today values us as example of tolerance, we accommodate Dalai Lama and such great souls. Now, there are practical political issues in the name of democracy, we have done not many positive things. First, the party system is being corrupted in the name of ideologies. Second, religion divides us. Secularism we struggle with to understand and absorb how can a country with so many religions, many ancient, can we choose one religion to uphold, others to struggle?

Third, social divisions. Caste is now our only hope to survive in politics, right?
How do we practice our Parliamentary system?

Without Opposition there can be a true democracy. We don’t practice a good parliamentary system, we avoid the Parliamentary debates, the question hour. Why we also select the candidates who don’t deserve to be there. The electoral system is in shambles. From democracy to authoritarianism seems like a quick walk and cross over!

Down to the States and then to the villages, there are a lot of things to do. We owe to our poor villagers, farmers, the landless. Many rights which we don’t deny but we don’t recognise!

We need it to distribute more powers to the panchayat raj institutions. There must be rigorous gram sabres and debates and financial power to the panchayats. We need to activate many new institutions like the Farm Producers Co-operatives. These are all the areas we have yet to penetrate. Now, there is darkness all around, so much corruption’s much non-functioning of institutions like RTI. Lokayukta, LokPal etc.
The subject calls for wider debate. There is fear, raids and much police brutality, violence against women etc.

It is for us to further enquire to make ourselves worthy of our great leaders, men and women who gave their lives and all to the worthy cause of the upliftment of the nation.

A country’s media industry scene gives its civilisation and culture!
How our media sector is doing?

The size, ownership, funding and the freedoms a media enjoys decides the purity of the media service.

Not all countries enjoy great reputations in the media industry. We, in India, inherited a great media tradition from our British colonial association. But today we need to invent ourselves to suit our times and our own country’s priorities.

Vadamalai Media is a very small venture and priorities thus we have to be modest considering the fast-changing media world today. Of course we now live in a very radically changed world with new technological revolutions, with Internet and other technologies, specially the revolution communications technologies had transformed the way we live and communicate and do businesses.

As for the current media scenario, we needn’t tell much, except to point out how every citizen of the entire world is driven by the mobile tech experiences. We have all the modern tech devices but do we really enjoy our freedoms thanks to these modern conveniences? Do we have role models in the media scenario today?

And editors like C.P.Scott of the Manchester, Guardian or a very independent editor like Harold Evans who passed way, alas, recently. The entire world is now on our palm thanks to the mobile phone and we enjoy so many freedoms to talks and converse with our friends and neighbours, why, with out own kith and kind even based abroad! So many conveniences at the touch of a click but do we enjoy all our freedoms? That is a question not many seem like asking!

Anyway, we were very much inspired and influenced by our experience in England where we went to Oxford for two generations. For printed media England is still the mother you try where the media grew into a mighty social force and generations of great editors, why, owners and others were great path finders. Just recently, a great editor of the old tradition, Sir Harold Evans passed away and he was for a long time the editor of The Times and he was later the editor of the Sunday Times. In our Oxford days we used to read the British newspapers very very avidly and in the process we also became acquainted with some of the big names in particular, we knew some of the greats, one is the well-known name, the late Kingsley Martin who edited the Statesman, which became the voice of British Labour Party, voice of British socialism and it was a very civilised era.

The London Times is still the bible for media men and women and though it has now become so emasculated there are stories from that long era of socially committed media times. Today? And in India today?

If the current controversies and debates in India is any indication, it is now a chaotic world, indeed. The media known in both the print and the mediums are marked by a very deplorable tabloid culture and baseless allegations, crime stories and also very criminal stories hogging the headlines are the staples fed ever house of the day. The more tabloid the more noisy and sounding more profitable. Now, the country is also undergoing some disturbing changes. First, there is no question time today in Parliament and the PM, as it used to be not conducting press conferences where the journalists can ask questions on the very government functioning and thus there is a sort of one way traffic.

In this scenario comes some very other disturbing news items. How the media is owned and funded is a question no one asks. Thus we see some of the biggest corporates buying out the media houses. Also, in their fight for survival, some news channels are resorting to some dubious funding processes. If the media is controlled by the monopoly capital, then, that is the end of media freedoms.

Already the lives of journalists are not easy, there is widespread fear in the society at large, no one hear dissent, there are no free speeches. And no exchange of views as it should be in an open society and a democracy. The role of the Opposition parties is also under threat and the opposition too doesn’t conduct themselves in a responsible way. So the media industry as we see today is not in a healthy and positive way. Now, what chance is there for a development oriented media space?

Is there any chance that a sectors’ vital sector indeed, like agriculture and rural development where the vast mass of people are concentrated has any chance to be heard in a fair and objective manner. Long time ago, the government used to promote development journalism. We like to request the government to create a space for the development journalism, with suitable incentives like priority in advertisement budgets and also many other priorities. The bureaucracy of the Indian broadcasting department almost ignored the development journalism space. Of course much more important is the need to create more awareness and also support for development journalism space.

Our print publications for the last quarter of a century is something unique and we want the Indian media fraternity to know our existence!

We firmly believe the agriculture and rural development are the perennial themes and we hope we will see much awareness coming in the time of online media and even here we are already on the way to carve out a special place for our online, digital transformation, the way we prioritise and go for the overmuch needed awareness. Only an awakened section of people in agriculture can raise productivity and help to raise the incomes of farmers and endless labour without much ideological noises. Thank you.

By KAUSTAV BHATTACHARYYA

There was maintained a calibrated detachment from the humdrum world of politicking. Rather the philosophical abstract world of ideas of politics was acceptable and welcomed. Apart from playing sophisticated games, enjoying music there was the pleasure of devouring good cuisine. The culinary heritage and tradition of Piedmontese exclusive clubs is worth the legend. In these Clubs food was served with all the elegance and formality as mentioned in the memoirs of Emilio Segrè, a Physicist and Nobel Laureate, “A Mind Always in Motion: The Autobiography of Emilio Segrè”, “On Friday I saw Carlo Perrier at Turin. I had lunch with him and his brother at the Philharmonic Club, in a great 18th century palace with butlers in white stockings and livery, but with average food.” The culinary items with respect to their ingredients and style of preparation and cooking is highly interesting and filled with powerful snippets of insight into history and tradition of Piedmontese region.

These ‘charming’ characteristic needs further exploration and analysis which is discussed in this second and concluding part of article on the Piedmontese nobility.

POLITICS IN THE CLUB – GENTLEMEN’S RULES:
This specific dimension of the elite Gentlemen’s clubs imbued with the ethos of aristocracy needs to be emphasized; a safe and comfortable distance from the world of politics. The society insisted on being totally apolitical and despite having members who were political heavyweights: the nobility types, diplomats, serving ministers. As a matter of fact quite recently, about 20 years back, one of the senior members had to step down due to his close affiliation with the ruling political dispensation of the day. It would be safe to state that the broader political position or temper of most of the members were liberal and moderate.

Perhaps the Indian context would be worth comparing with where the elites even the aristocratic ones are constantly yearning for political power and participation. Our elites need to ponder and reflect upon a situation or equilibrium to use an economics term whereby they can refuse government responsibilities and can exist and operate sans political patronage. What would be truly remarkable in 21st century India given the low ebb of politics to create a niche world of elites where it operates and independent of the political sphere.

A glowing instance from Whist Society is that of Cavour who on assuming the mantle of President in 1860 no longer intended to accept any government responsibilities given his disappointment with the armistice of Villafranca.

CUISINE – ARISTOCRATIC ‘AROMA’ & STYLE:
The Philharmonic Society Whist Club was reputed for its elegant, high-class dining so let’s explore some of the reputed dishes or culinary items including entrees, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Moncalieri Tripe, or in Trippa di Moncalieri is a traditional Piedmontese cuisine which is basically a sausage concocted from the tripe and the belly of cattle, like sheep, goats and pigs. This is procured locally from the Moncalieri rural cattle located in the province of Turin. Hence there is a distinct touch of local authenticity. I ‘macaron’ della Val Rilate is a handcrafted macaroni which happens to be a marvellous medieval tradition produced in the charming rural landscape of Montechiaro d’Asti. The process of making the macaroni involves rolling the dough around a knitting needle and the seasoning is a guarded Monferrino secret.

la finanziera is a traditional, archetypal Piedmontese dish in which beef and white meat is used for making. The name traces its origins to the dress usually worn by bankers and high-finance around 1800 who loved this culinary item. Bollito misto, a crowning glory of the traditional Piedmontese gastronomy is a variant of simple boiled meat which needs to be prepared with care, correct choice of meat portions cut, appropriate accompaniment of sauces and paired with good wine. The entree needs to be served with the right side dishes like boiled potatoes, buttered spinach, sautéed mushrooms, sweet and sour onions and a cup of broth. This dish occupied a grand place in the Italian cuisine of nobility, it is noted that around the 1800s King Vittorio Emanuele II would venture off to the small town of Moncalvo for a hunting session for wild game and then enjoy a hearty ‘convivial’ meal of Bollito with his friends. Bollito found its way into the landmark book of Italian gastronomic literature, ‘Libro de Arte Coquinaria’(The Art of Cooking) authored by Maestro Martino.

Zabajone al foie gras is a variant of the Italian dessert Zabajone served with the foie gras. Zabajone is an Italian dessert famous in the top tables of haute cuisine which was an accidental creation of the chef to Duke Carlo Emmanuele-I of Savoy. The original name was apparently Sambayon in honour of Saint Pasquale Baylon. The chef randomly poured some fortified wine into an egg custard. This soon emerged as the pudding served amongst the Piedmontese aristocratic circles and remained their favourite. The serving with foie gras add the decadent touch to a dessert steeped in tradition.

LOCAL AND ROOTEDNESS – CUISINE
If we were to now deconstruct and interpret the aristocratic influence or touch of many of these culinary servings then let’s first consider the characteristics which define or distinguish them as ‘noble’ cuisine and sets it apart from the rest. First and foremost which springs to mind is the ‘local’ rooted nature of the ingredients and recipes. Hence ‘local origins’ is very important for these culinary dishes to qualify as aristocratic. In many instances the Nobility patronized elite Gentlemen’s Clubs which inscribed the local shared identity onto their elite habitus and practices. There is a powerful lesson in this age of populist anti-globalization, anti-elitist sentiments about the importance of connecting with local culture and heritage like cuisine. Today most elites at the global stage have distanced themselves from local authentic reality of life and are basking in the suspended rarefied groundless sphere of luxury and opulence. This is most exemplified by the rise of Skyscraper tall restaurants overlooking the landscape of the city or region.

TRADITION AND HISTORY – CUISINE
Next we can locate this idea of a legacy of history associated with the great courts and families and their kitchens like for instance the dessert Zabajone arising from an accidental blunder committed by the chef in the kitchen of the Duke. This kind of ‘closeted’ history lends a certain mystique and charm to the culinary recipe and perhaps it tastes a bit romantic!! The cuisine has to have some association with history of a noble family kitchen or personal preference of the Royalty like that of the Bollito Misto favoured by the venerable King Vittorio Emanuele II. This is akin to a kind of endorsement of the cuisine and its taste by the most discerning and highest echelons.

FAMILIARITY NOT EXOTIC CUISINE
Apart from these two characteristics one which I would propose is that of familiarity like what’s served by grandmother or what one savours in the dining table for routine meals of the day. In many of the literature on these elite Gentlemen’s Clubs one finds the leitmotif or recurring theme of a familiar and homogenous environment which prompts many to define it as their ‘second home’. In the case of Circolo dell’Unione all the interviewees who happened to be members referred to the Club as their ‘second home’. For instance in most of the culinary dishes mentioned there is a sense of familiarity for the members and for instance the dish of La Finanziera which was enjoyed and relished by the bankers. This again needs to be reckoned by our contemporary global elites who revel in creating exotic esoteric ambiance of dining and entertainment. A great penchant and desire to clip and cut-off the roots of one’s existence or origins is clearly manifested and even applauded. Many commentators have derided this as the proverbial bourgeoisie 21st century exotic excursion.

In the summary one can appreciate and understand the way Piedmontese nobility went about creating a special niche for themselves in the sphere of socializing and aesthetics. Besides we learnt about a glowing instance of Continental European nobility. This demonstrates that there are multiple ways in which fading elite can retain its prestige and exude glory without craving and conniving for political power.

India has to change and specifically Indian agriculture sector has to change radically in many ways.

Today the politics in India is so polarised that even if you want to make any honest and even innocent pronunciation it is suspect and mistaken in terms of the highly polarised politics. And let us not forget for a minute that agriculture is very tough subject and very difficult to articulate in any objective manner. Agriculture is also a state subject and it is for the states to draw up and implement any meaningful agriculture policy or policies. Unfortunately, the politics in the States too is so polarised that those states what are under the Congress party dispensation are asked by Sonia Gandhi not to implement the Centre’s new policies. So we have to keep in mind the larger interests of the very entire farming community.

Here we would tackle only a few basic points. One, we have to first of all take a very broad outlook. Agriculture is the least efficiently performing sector also, the allocation in the budget for agri research is near zero do you know? Just one percent ! The reasons are many, one, the rural areas are so left our socially backward, the castes and the ethnic. Communities are too many and they have all remained tied up with so many traditional beliefs and superstitions. Democratic politics had brought about a very unpredictable rural society. The lands are fragmented and thus, those who support the government and others too often talk about the meagre land holdings.

The data about these vast landscapes is also lately twisted and thus, one new issue that is going to affect the future immediate as well as remote is how we are going to implement the new policies in the absence of reliable data. How to implement, say, the PM’s many welfare schemes, how to put the money in the hands of the small and marginal farmers’ hands?

So, we have to pause and suspect at every stage of policy implementation. The existing and emerging gaps in data pertaining to the dispersal of real potential beneficiaries. You can already see the allegations in the Pradhan Mantri schemes of how the free loans are diverted into hands of corrupt officials. And as we read in Tamil Nadu, the scheme is already in the dumps before it is put into practice! These are the sort of ground level realities we like to highlight and many more such government money-swindling acts are likely to come in the way very soon. So, first of all we have to ensure, the Central Government must first get reliable data is not fudged and the very openness and transparency must be ensured before we start talking about our hapless farmers.

We welcome them, the new bills, with certain qualifications and also with a progressive mindset! You see agriculture is a vast area of economic activity.
Yes, agriculture in India has been the subject of much controversy today. In sum, we can say with certain confidence that all who talk of farmers’ issues are very superficial and they don’t know, we say with some confidence, anything at all about the ground level realities.

The BJP has come out with the three bills, all related to the marketing freedoms for farmers and also with the promise of MSP and much else. The opposition led by the Congress party and in particular by Rahul Gandhi who has lately turned into a full-scale opponent of the BJP and more so directly towards the Prime Minister has turned the whole debate into a partisan politics whose end we don’t know yet full impact of the three bills on the future prospects on the Indian agriculture. The agriculture sector of India is a vast subject of importance. It is a bit ironical that politics in India today also has become so unprincipled that anybody and everybody who speaks on agriculture these days seem to be totally unsuited and unequal to the task! Unfortunately, democratic politics has brought out a sort of rootless people to high offices!

You live all your life in Delhi, you inherit some office or title and you become a leader, even a party functionary is now a leader. In the political parties too most of the persons who appear on the TV screens or get your name inserted in some obscure corner of a newspaper or a TV show is a leader and given the sort of politics we have fashioned in the country with so many of the present or past leaders, the numbers are so significant that there are no resources, we are told to book and carry out court cases against those implicated in criminal cases, the past MPs and MLAs and so on. Given the whole corrupt scenario of the politics and also the unconcern of the common citizen about these allegations, the number of lawyers and others who are making news by associating themselves with political parties and had held offices of ministers even for a brief period are all experts on their own assumptions, these persons also add to the vitiation of politics.

As for agriculture it is a no-man’s land for the mass of people. The office holders speak with authority, those who had lost their offices turn into a sort of permanent residents of the Lutyens’ bungalow zone for years and years. They don’t vacate their residences and for continuation of their occupation they somehow manage to hold on. Just you see how the members of the Congress Working Committee become members in the first place.Today each and every member of these sort of parties’ core committees are New Delhi residents and they are totally cut off from the ground level realities of the rural India.

The point here is that when we talk of agriculture we seem to speak so superficially and has nothing to do with the actual lives and livelihood realities. We are a small media group and we live and practise farming, you believe?

So we are totally unimpressed by the comments and criticisms of all these politicians, the crorepathis and the corrupt politicians who dare and comment and dare to give such bogus statistics etc. Everyone said without exception, it seems, that the average holds of farm lands has declined and now less than one hectare is hell by the majority of the farmers. Is this a magic reality? Is this something very unusual? Only those who live in the villages know well that in every village inequality and inequity is the basic ground level reality.

Not every one can hold big land holdings. It is the village reality that only a few, often one or two families can hold large holdings, every past century you can see that farming lands ceasing to remain big holdings, from old jagirdari holdings to progressive fragmentation. May be if we don’t further attend to farming issues, very soon villages would become desolate and the rest of the farming households would see their members further reduced and there could be empty villages without any younger generation continuing the traditional farming operations.

So, it is one more reason why we have to make farming a productive enterprise, we have to make farming change to respond to new scenarios. Let us welcome all changes with an open hand!
Any change is welcome in farming sector, so too the latest fermium bills. Only sad thing is how the bills were rushed through, may be the government has its own compulsions.

The government needs much sympathy and support, at least they enacted the bills! Of course politics is in reality very controversial politics one, it seems! Where the heads you win and tails you lose!
Now, we like to say certain things very clearly and emphatically!

First you have to reconcile with the Indian rural realities. One, the rural India would have to protect and promote the landless labour. You have to sustain this rural population segment as a permanent feature of Indian countryside, namely, the rural landless population!

India welfare State must address all the economic and social issues, like education, health and minimal protect from exploitation. This is a big issues but these issues will be there with us for long, in one election or other and politicians will continue to mislead and make false promises and this is a subject that needs a great deal of ideological debate and debate, a sort of education and even popular education.

Education is spreading now very furiously and education reformers have a great responsibility as to how to educate and awaken the public consciousness etc. Next to landless labour, there is the issue of the legal and traditional human rights. Land is becoming limited and therefore there will always be the land ownership issues.

Tenancy farming will also be there. You have to reform the current state of issues that remain unresolved. The old type, that is, the existing type tenancy r reforms. Have to go and new type of land ownership and tenancy reforms have to be brought out.

So, that there is a friction free environment in the countryside. The key to these issues like in the panchayat raj institutions that remain a part work only as of now. You have to address the panchayat reform in a committed way so that at the very bottom level the ordinary villager, the very bottom-level citizen feels the security of a non-exploitative social base. This is not there now. Today, there is a sense of insecurity and a fear of government itself prevails. The media and the NGOs and other voluntary agencies are all treated with a sure and dismissal outlook and this is very unfair and arbitrary government.

The Collector’s raj and the local party bossism must go. The corrupt and criminal elements are driving the social relations and the end result is no government and near anarchism and lawlessness.

Agriculture is the very root of Indian ethos. The latest agri laws are likely to contribute towards modernisation of Indian agriculture. There is no other way. The new generation agri laws would surely wipe out the old time mandis and commission agents. And the sort of nexus that had been built up in the mandis, be it paddy mandi or horticulture, like that of the onion mandis and the politicians and mandi bosses in mobilising election funds to other social and political nefarious relationships would go and they must go!

Yes, in their place the new age silos like those of corporate giants like Adani agri silos would come and there is so far everything positive and the farmers who take their produce only the good things have been said! Why not we acknowledge the ground level realities!

There would be only slow change in the rural Indian realities but we can think ahead and articulate rational policies even from now onwards. These are only some stray thoughts and let us debate and discuss issues without any ulterior motives.