Farmers have to change

June 25, 2008

The media here in Karnataka was all filled with a police firing which killed a farmer in North Karnataka till few days back. The incident was reported in a very much biased way by all the newspapers and news channels. It was obvious that they would take the farmer’s side. Agreeable, since the sole bread winner of the family was killed by the police. But the other side of the story was just brushed under the carpet.

The kind of violence indulged by the farmers is really worrisome. One wonders as to why the farmers have suddenly started protests and indulged in burning buses and pelting stones at police stations, agriculture offices and other state government properties. The reason being given is the shortage of fertilizers. Many questions intrigue me here. Why did the farmers suddenly start protests just after the new government assumed power in state? Did they not face any shortage of fertilizers till now? If so, they dont seem to have proper planning for the future. Why did any so called farmer-leader not go to the governor and make a representation of the shortage of essential farming supplies in the state? There was Central rule for more than six months in the state, and in case of any protests then or even any peaceful representations, farmers could have really got their problems solved long back. I seriously wonder if these protesters are all true farmers or farmers instigated by the opposition or just not farmers at all, but political cadres. If the case belongs to last two categories, then perpetrators of violence should be handled firmly. If they are genuine farmers, then there are more things to do, apart from just providing them fertilizers.

Indian farmers have come a long way in utilizing the chemical fertilizers so much so that they just cannot do farming without them. Stopping the use of fertilizers suddenly is definitely not possible, but gradual reduction is very much possible and essential. They can get together in small groups and manufacture organic manure and pesticides locally to suit their requirements. The kind of coordination seen in protests is actually needed in bringing a change in the farming methods. Better material management, better storage and processing and better marketing of the produce is needed. They must also look at improvised and customized tools for Indian farming conditions.

Farmers have to reduce their dependency on the government. Most of them still depend on the governments for things right from seeds, fertilizers to selling the produce. The latter one needs large network and huge investments. But other things can be managed by the farmers at their level itself – preparing seeds for the next crop or even procuring manure. Again, proper coordination amongst themselves will help them a lot.

I believe that for most of the farmers, corporate farming can be the key for their problems. Especially for the small and medium farmers, who generally have issues with finance, economy and business of their farming, corporate farming is a bless. Opposition to such initiatives saying that they harm farmers’ interests, that too by people who do not have any know-how of farming, is naive in deed and only has ulterior motives driven by a sick ideology of anti-all-corporate. Farmers should try their luck with corporate farming when the good old times of happy farming with the complete government support are gone.

The so-called farmer leaders have failed the community badly. Those self proclaimed leaders are only making money and fame in farmers’ name. They also do politics over farmer suicides. Many a times those leaders are themselves not true farmers! Farmers have to be cautious of such terrible leadership.

Farmers really need to stop ending lives, for that it gives no relief for their families, neither solves their problems. If they believe that by ending self the families can survive with the compensation by the government, is utter foolishness. Unfortunately many of them believe so strongly in getting compensation that they do end up in ending their lives. The administration and as a society we all need to do something to stop this suicide spree by those who provide food for us. These suicides are also a psychological issue apart from the financial failure of farmers. It is imperative to counsel the farmers in distress, motivate and orient them towards a self-confident and self-sustained entity. They are insecure — socially and financially.

Dirty politics around farmers’ death has to stop. I saw the opposition parties up in arms against the government protesting the killing of one farmer in police firing. While I do not deny the crime on the part of police and blood on the hands of the administration, the politicians should also shed a tear or two for those who are committing suicides. I see the Congress making a huge hue and cry on the issue. It should look into what it has done in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and what it did in Karnataka. They are hunting for the new chief minister’s head. When they can celebrate Sharad Pawar, they have zero morality to talk about farmers. Sharad Pawar is better off licking cricketers’ boot than serve the poor farmers. I also saw some communists coming out and protesting here and there on the issue. Believe me, I could not control laughing, for me having seen brutal killings of poor farmers in West Bengal and absolute ignorance of their plight by the state government.

I remember one Mr. R. Madhavans [not the ‘maddy’ guy, but a revolutionary farmer who despite being an IIT graduate, has taken up farming as a passion and finds peace of mind in his high-yielding farms] repeated quote that farming is not just an art, but also true science and a great engineering.

I know, these things are easily written as a blog and forgotten there after. But somehow, someone needs to bring revolutionary changes in fields or at least trigger them. The hands that feed the nation should never beg for their own bread.


Snub snub snub Pranab!

June 25, 2008

the loser

The world seems to enjoy snubbing the Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee. First he got snubbed in Russia with its premier Vladimir Putin ignoring Pranab’s visit. Even the Russian foreign minister did not meet his Indian counter-part. Pranab found himself in a very uncomfortable situation when he was frisked at Moscow airport. Poor guy! Next was China’s turn with its premier Wen Jiabao not meeting Pranab; instead he visited the earthquake affected Sichuan where things were actually under control!

Now its the turn of Australia. Pranab during his recent visit did ask for uranium supplies to India which was strongly turned down by Australia. It was such a shame for India that even after requesting by its foreign minister, it only got snubbed by Australia. The same Australia supplies uranium to China, which has a poor record of nuclear proliferation.

These three incidents are really of great significance. With India talking a nuke-deal which was nuked by the Left, did not care much for Russia. At the same time, China has successfully improved its relations with Russia. The world knows about the new Australian PM’s pro-China stand.

India has find itself in a very hopeless position with neither the nuke deal working out nor any relationships with some of the key players in the global affairs improving.

The no. 2 in the Indian government is a bad loser. Indian diplomacy has hit a new low with almost every one in the current rule getting humiliated in one way or the other including Madam President, during their visits. The next government will have a herculean task ahead to set the things screwed up by the UPA right.