When I went to Madras, now Chennai, for my college studies, Pachayappa’s College kindled my literary instincts and they found many outlets. I was surrounded by Tamil scholars and writers of repute and the college itself was a breeding ground of first rate scholars and politicians, all bred in the then prevailing environment of Dravidian political consciousness.

Alone among my class mates in the college, I was the one who was a habitual wearer of pure white khadi and I was a nationalist, having been trained in a pucca Gandhian school, the school’s foundation stone was laid by none other than Mahatma Gandhi himself! That was in 1934.

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Now for my poetry. My first poem in Tamil was written in my 9th class in the high school in the year 1949-50. It was immediately published in the then well-known literary magazine “Vasantham” published from Coimbatore. The magazine enjoyed the patronage of the then influential industrialist and a leading public figure, Sir Shanmugham Chetty. He had the distinction of serving as India’s first Finance Minister. 

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Ajit Singh’s call for productivity and intensive farming.

Do they know the ground reality of agriculture?

Who speaks for farmers? How committed is the government for the agri sector?

At the second International Congress on Plant Physiology, the President said this. The agri minister said this. What about the Prime Minister and his distinguished Cabinet colleagues? The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Agri Minister and in an indirect way the Food Minister are all the senior politicians and ministers who have the authority and moral responsibility to give agriculture its due priority in the scheme of things.

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But no credible agri export strategy is visible!

Surplus onion and potato production and fall in prices!

This `annual ritual’ gives us an idea of how horticulture sector is capable of over producing and prices crashing! Indian horticulture cries for attention. What we need is not extension of horticrops. Nor crop productivity. What we need is to improve quality in every way. Instead of expanding production, we need assured market for specific crops. Quality production, quality packaging, brand building and States-specific export agencies to attend to crops specific to their regions could add more to the incomes of farmers. A beginning has already been made in India by the government identifying about 40 agri-export zones all over the country through which horticultural produce such as mangoes, gherkins, rose onions, lichees and so on.

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