Hari Singh, a farmer in a village not far from Dehradun, had seen his father and family spend all waking hours on the field, from tilling the land, sowing the seeds, tending to the crop, harvesting, and finally taking the harvested crop for sale.
The routine also involved tending to the cows, bulls, cutting the grass for their feed, water, and general upkeep for their health.
He belonged to a traditional farm family, tilling the rich and abundant fields, mostly growing Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane, and other vegetables.
They also had many Mango and Leechi trees, the fruits of which were very popular and in high demand.
However, Hari did not want to become a farmer; in fact, his family did not want him to join the family profession; they wanted him to study and not follow in the father’s footsteps, grandfathers, and such.
They sold this rich and abundant land in small parcels bought by people who built single independent houses on them. This, unfortunately, is what has happened in Deharadun and the surrounding villages, and this is just a small example.
The land that produced the best quality food grains today has nothing but independent houses because all the rich land owned by traditional farmers has been sold – Why? – simply because it is not a lucrative profession.
They saw others who were not in the farming sector thrive, make money, and live a life of ease. In contrast, they woke up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning to tend to their fields, worked all day only to return, and tend to their cattle needs and repeat the same day after day endlessly. All that they got for their efforts was a simple life with limited finances.
This is one of the main reasons for the Farm Protests – the life they get to lead for their efforts is unappealing.
Imagine if all the rich fertile land disappears only to be brought by individual families to build their respective houses, bought by business owners to construct malls, and so on – Will the country be able to support the food needs of our massive population?
The Modi Government, in passing, the Three Farm Bills, has simply washed its hands of the primary and fundamental issues.
While the bills may offer more freedom to sell the produce to corporates but the corporates have been known to operate with the sole intention of maximum profit.
These huge corporations will buy from the farmers who offer their produce for the minimum price and not the maximum price.
They will squeeze the farmers for every cent of the profit earned. The farmers, instead of becoming Kings, will become Paupers at the hands of these corporates.
They will be forced to produce the crops that these corporates want them to grow.
The corporates will procure the wheat and the rice, process them in their respective mills, package them and sell them at a profitable price (margin) to consumers.
Where do you see the farmers benefit from this?
It has been several months since the Farmers Protestesting against the three Agri Bills passed in the parliament.
The seed of the protest landed in the state of Punjab, where it also found its roots, and as the roots got stronger, now it seems that the new shoots of the protest have started to grow in the neighboring states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
The farmers are collectively registering their dissent against the Centres move to implement the three farm legislations.
After they failed to receive any support from their respective state governments, the farmers decided to march towards New Delhi.
BJP holds fort in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and it is apparent that they would not get much hearing from the respective state governments, but the governments of Rajasthan and Punjab have given their full support to their agitation
The farmers’ main bone of contention is that either the central government should guarantee them the minimum support price (MSP) or withdraw the three farm bills.
However, the earlier part of the protests saw no response from the central government, and hence the protesting Punjab farmers decided to hold protests in New Delhi; along the way, the farmers from Punjab saw support pouring in from the farmers in adjoining states, and this has led to the mass movement protest towards ‘Delhi Chalo.’
In the recent development, Amit Shah has, on the fourth day of the protest, said that the Union government is ready to hold talks with the protesting farmers and that the agricultural minister has invited the protesting farmers on December 3 for discussion.
He appealed to them that the Delhi Police is ready to shift them to big grounds (Stadiums) because of the cold weather, where they will be given police permission to hold programs. He also mentioned that if they want the talks to be held before December 3, the same will be possible, provided they shift to these designated grounds.
However, something needs to be said about the methods adopted by the government to stall the protesting farmers.
The protesting farmers have been subjected to teargas, heavy water cannoning, roadblocks, police barricades, and digging up of the national highways surrounding Delhi.
It seems like the central government is holding the fort and defending itself against an enemy.
Ironically, these ‘enemies’ are the country’s very citizens that elected the present government into power.
Is New Delhi and the government not part of India? Or is it that the protesting farmers are not citizens of the country?
- The agriculture sector in our country is critical. We have an enormous population to feed, and it is not possible to import basic products from the international markets.
- We are also a country where a large population lives under the poverty line, at par with the poverty line or just a little higher than the poverty line. A tiny percentage of the population enjoys the living that can afford them much more than just necessities. And even a smaller portion that enjoys and lives an affluent lifestyle.
- Farming does not provide a lucrative income in our country.
- Most governments of the world support and protect the farmers, and the farming sector falls under the government purview.
How is that – India and the people who govern it always take the more authoritarian, highly debatable, and utterly nonsensical approach to things’ most logical?
Why is that – the so-called ‘public servants’ enjoy the best in life, get security, the perks, the salary, and the pension as ‘public servants’ even though most of them have criminal records and police charge sheets against them?
Why is it that – those in Indian Politics still follow the most outdated idea of succession?
We, the people of this country, have fought for our independence but are we really independent? Do we understand this independence? Do we respect this independence? And finally, the most important of all question – what have we done with this independence?