“… Once in your life you will need a lawyer, a doctor, a policeman and a preacher.. But everyday, three times a day – You need a farmer.” – (Brenda Schoepp)
Amidst the grappling crisis between the central government and the Country’s famers, the spotlight has been on the latter. Despite the adversity that they are facing, despite not having enough for themselves, yesterday’s Guru Purab had thousands of them on the streets in almost every northern town of India, engaging in community service. It almost felt surreal to see them as a community, selflessly offering free food to anyone that crossed them by.
“Delhi Chalo” is a grim reminder of the erstwhile slogan coined by Subhas Chandra Bose. He had marched with an army in a quest to free India, akin to the Farmer’s march that has arrived in the National Capital with just one resolve – security towards their produce – for us.
The Centre and the Farmer Representatives have had two meetings but there has been nothing conclusive. While it appears that the former has no intention of rolling back its three farm bills, the latter have put forth one request – Fix an MSP (minimum sale price) so that their produce will be sold and they will get their payment – timely. This definitely puts the Centre into a labyrinthine fix!
Most of the farmers hail from Punjab and Haryana, India’s main agricultural belt. The State government has shown its solidarity to them but to make it a law would require a signature from the President of India, one that most likely will not happen. There is an old saying – “Don’t reinvent the wheel. The things you are doing, no matter how seemingly unique has been done before. Take advantage of, and perhaps expand upon your predecessors work.” (Paul Heacock)
The Centre is right in theory but practically, it is the farmers melancholy cries that touch the heart. Corporate India goes by the ‘T’ and does not understand or allow for any deviations in its system. Rural farmland India on the other hand needs its Arthitya’s (commissioning agents) who take care of their loans, bad produce and timely and adequate prices for their crops. The farmers believe and rightly at that, that the new bills will remove the Arthiya’s and the corporates will not be as sympathetic in their times of need.
The divide between Urban and rural India is a wide deep crevice that cannot be conjoined. Even when the farmers have nothing, they still are devoted to their duty of feeding India..
The political vote bank is rural India, most specially the Sikh community. We cannot put new reforms in place and eradicate the old.. because the truth is that a Corporate executive sitting at a plush airconditioned glass office in Mumbai is not going to understand the importance of a relationship, with a dhoti clad turbaned farmer, like the way his relationship manager , aka – the Arthiya did!