Friday, 7 November 2014

The state of the farmers.

Cry, The beloved Country. 

In my village the farmers are a completely dejected lot. None of their children is brought up to farm. They want them to somehow get any job in a city. When an honourable seven acre farmer from the Kamma hamlet became a driver in a city, salaaming people far more worthless than him, it is demeaning. But nobody feels farming is a honourable and viable profession at all. This has been so for our past many years in the village, not just this drought time. And this is the case for both the farmers and the landless agricultural labour. The sector has been kept depressed and denied.

The farmers introduce themselves as 'we are only farmers'. When Naren  used to go from the village to get his daughter  from the hostel, she used to beg him as a child to not come in his white veshti, kurta and green towel, as her friends would ask in some surprise and disdain, "Is your father a farmer ?" This is the respect accorded to those who produce our food for us.

The sector is getting finished, while the labour and farmers see each other as enemies. That was one of Naren's district level activities - as he worked on Dalit issues and the Dalits saw him as one of them, as he worked on farmers issues and they saw him as one of them, and as he worked to address the conflicts and bridge towards a common cause.

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