Towards sustainable agriculture!
Not pursuing an unsustainable rural development strategy!
Our conception of agriculture and rural development as things stand is so out of date and not in accordance with how the Indian rural realities are shaping up with rapid urbanization and employment opportunities are opening up with education spreading on a vast scale. Agriculture is a serious subject. It needs a more open mind and a very different socio-cultural outlook.
Agriculture is all about farming. And land ownership. This is a sector where too many inequities and inequalities and injustice and much suffering are accumulated over the years. More because of our urban-elite desires reforms can’t take place. Farm, rural issues are also very complex and complicated too!
They are basic and critical for our peoples’ well-being, social harmony, and also for health and living standards. The rural social hierarchies need to be addressed in some depth. Our universities also must study the many social and sociological issues of rural society.
There are many social classes and there will always be a feudal class and a workers’ class to make farming a paying activity. We as a people are too much preoccupied with politics of a very superfine layer. After Independence, some seventy years have passed and yet some colonial hang ups persist. One is the food ration shops! They are surviving the war years and they are a reminder of the long history of poverty, successions of famines, and re-born deaths. In 1860 alone, there were three major famines in Punjab in 1860, 1868, 1865 in Orissa in Rajputana states in 1865 and later also in the same century in 1876-78. In fact, must needs to be written of Indian famines in the Victorian period and in spite of many propagandists writing in showing the Victorian times, not one Indian even today know the real-life story of the much-praised Queen Victoria, she had 9 sons and we don’t know much about them except their mush publicized visits and the great durbars.
The point I want to make here is that the Indian economy suffered a great deal under the British rule and there were periodic families and record deaths of people took place.
The Mughals built canals and created an equal distribution of the river waters and it was a rare instance of one or two public spat men like Arthur cotton who took up the canalization of the Indian rivers, the Indian economy was very backward and there was always a shortage of food in Indian history.
Now the one big lesson we, the rulers, have to learn is that agriculture and food production are so intrinsically linked that there is always the danger of doom shortage which now, in our own time, there is the new politics of free distortion of food articles under the democratic governance.
Now, the more populistic governments are winning elections with so many wrong policies like distribution of cash to the voters, there is every possibility that poverty is unlikely to go away at the time, even now there is an 11 odd percentage of people living under the poverty line. Democratic government is also becoming more and more corruption-driven regimes and there is never the situation likely to become debt-free regimes.
There is a reported 5 lakh crore debt for the Tamil Nadu government alone. There is also the likelihood of unsustainable economic management, the 100-day poor worker’s employment scheme, and how long the governments can sustain this unsustainable rural employment scheme possible?
Surely, agriculture in India would be always a small farmers economic capita land ownership is likely to down further. With one or two hectares per capita would always be an unsustainable rural economy reality.
Sow seeds to discuss further in some depth, the future of Indian agriculture. For this purpose, we need first to meet the farmers face to face and seek their sympathetic response.
The current imbroglio over the nearly 8-month old agitation in the Capital needs to be called off.
One suggestion is that we accept the farmer’s demands in to and as the Supreme Court itself had suspended the laws indefinitely there is no loss of face for the government and also the farmers.
All that is needed is to have an open mind and also shed any egos and seek reconciliation.
If there is a will, there are always ways!