No Blade of Grass for the Indian Grasshopper

This could be good title for a budding writer sometime in 2050, when the entire country will become a huge, concrete jungle – unless something happens to stop the cannibalization of agricultural lands by greedy real estate developers and to a certain extent, industrialization.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. No longer do you see him tilling the lands – he is busy searching for a job in the nearest city, trying to become a dhabawala, taxiwala or autorickshaw wala, because he thinks that he can make more money being an autorickshaw wala than being a farmer. What a fall for the glorious Indian farmer!

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. Because he no longer gets the kind of labour he used to get once upon a time. All the labourers that he used to get once upon a time have migrated to the urban areas to work as construction labourers, which give more daily wages. The poor little Indian farmer is struggling to get labourers to work in his lands, and all the labourers that he does get are asking for sky high wages because everywhere else, that is what they get.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. The easiest way for him to get more money is to start growing cash crops – which will give him more and immediate money and where the gestation period is very less. Who cares whether the country’s foodgrain production goes down or not? One poor little Indian farmer will make no difference, he thinks. Unfortunately, a lot of poor little Indian farmers make up a big number and the result? There is shortage of foodgrains and pulses, and prices shoot up.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. Once upon a time, he was the undisputed Indian who really safeguarded India’s cultural treasures. Every kind of village festival and celebrations to mark cultivation, etc, were observed. These days, as he doesn’t have much money, he is content to do a puja on his laptop if he has one, using a computer programme that causes sounds just like a regular puja (the old grandma in the other room thinks that he is really doing the puja) or attends the government sponsored village fair or trade fair and sometimes even manages to get to dance the village dance for a small sum – the tourists are happy, you see.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. The person who was the source of agriculture, crops, and grains, ad lastly, one who GAVE JOBS, is himself searching for jobs these days because maintaining farmlands is so costly. Either he has to become a very rich farmer with lots and lots of lands, or he could sell his small piece of land to the bigger landlords or real estate agent – there is no middle path where he could still till and live.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. The original Indian farmer depended more upon his hard work, and depended upon his immediate community’s support and hard work. The new ones send their children to the states for study, who don’t come back. Even if they do, they force their parents to opt out of farming. Some even come armed with an MBA degree, and really do business and agriculture the aggressive videshi way – that traditions die a slow death.

The poor little Indian farmer, is almost extinct. Thiruvalluvar, the ancient tamil sage, said, “Uzhuthundu Vaazhvaarey Vaazhvar; Mattrellam Thozhuthundu Pin Selbavar”, meaning, “Only those who till the land and live, live – all others go behind the person who tills the soil”  Today, no farmer sees his profession or work as that of a wonderful lineage – Many farmers are busy trying to sell their land to the real estate developer and settle for a flat in their own lands!

If you are one of the readers who read this and if you do believe that Indian Agriculture needs a boost in the proper direction to help SMALL FARMERS who really make a lot of difference to the economy, then please use the net and do something to help the Ordinary Indian Farmer. In fact, many of India‘s “NETIZENS” are not even aware from where their chappatis or rice comes from.Even Today, despite so much of Industrialisation, America’s Agriculture has remained vibrant and strong because the tradition continues. In India, people are OPTING OUT OF AGRICULTURE because they find it no longer lucrative. Sad, isn’t it?So, if you are one who owns some land, or if you happen to come across anyone who wants to quit Agriculture because it is not lucrative enough, let’s do our bit and atleast “encourage” those persons – It may not really help in actuality, but even if  one out of hundreds or thousands do go back to Agriculture, it is good for the country.

I am prompted to write this because recently, I met a group of about 15 youngsters in Coimbatore Railway Station,trying to go to “Chennai” to eke out a living – Surprisingly, almost all of them possessed lands and were revolting with the idea of their parents to follow the family’s traditional work – AGRICULTURE – and when I asked them as to why they were trying to go away to far away Chennai instead of living like kings in their own land, one of them said, “It is so boring in our village – atleast in the city we could see a few movies as and when we want ” – I remembered the old film, Guide where Guddy enacted some beautiful emotions. I could only see guddy in each of these youths – enamoured by the film industry and its illusions, they were trying to go to a city and live each day in penury because they think that City life is somehow better than village life, and the life of a farmer is lesser than that of an autorickshaw wala…….There is nothing wrong in following a dream – but if you look at their logic, it is said to see that they were  not being properly guided…..All the same, I didn’t have the time to counsel them, even though I spoke to them for some time to know about their “dislike” for agriculture, and hence this blog. In future, if I happen to see someone like them, I sure know what to do…..