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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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Columns

Farmers withering away in the heat of technology

Uma Ram

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If the barter system of yore were in vogue now farmers would have been the richest people in the world. But with the invention of money, the plight of these food bowls of the world called farmers in today’s world has turned pathetic.

“If you have had your meal today, don’t forget to thank the farmer who produced it!” But how many of us express our gratitude in this mechanical world of today, where feelings are restricted to just emoticons on gadgets? Is it the pace of the world, the technological developments, avaricious quest for money beyond humanitarianism or the selfishness to acquire the luxuries abandoning even parents in old age homes or lack of empathy towards kith and kin that have stiffened the human hearts?

We live in a materialistic world where people flaunt not only their possessions but even their grooming from the most flamboyant centres of the world. Knowing fully well that a product not worth even Rs 500 is priced Rs 5K, people flock for brands and consider it a shame even to ask for the available seasonal discounts. Products are purchased online by a mere touch of the Android without even feeling them. But the irony is that our basic food supply is at stake.

No one can refuse or counter argue this truth that, the same person purchasing a foil pack of frozen peas from a mall priced many times its worth will be seen bargaining with a vegetable vendor on the roadside for a few rupees. They might be willing to pay any amount to a product labelled “exclusively hand crafted eco-friendly lamp” from a shopping precinct but will argue to their level best to bring down the price of clay diyas on a pavement shop, and flaunt that too, as how cleverly they bargained for more diyas for just a few rupees.

Sadly enough there is little guilt or remorse that through such acts, they have swindled a day’s meal of a poor vendor’s family. Questions remain as to why they ignore the fact that the poor vendor had compromised his family’s hunger helplessly for the little money they bargained.

It is this mindset that has made the rich richer and poor poorer. People who boastfully donate for recreation clubs overlook the disabled hungry souls stretching out for alms on the streets. This same merciless attitude towards those selfless souls named farmers, in whose lives, “a successful day means the worst dirtied clothes”, is that which has led to suicide by thousands of farmers across our country, unable to clear their debts.

On the contrary, multi-millionaires cleverly manipulate even world banks and lead a luxurious life in foreign lands through loop holes in the law. Why do people fail to understand that it is for their daily bread that someone somewhere is toiling in the boggy soil, amid heat and dust, with sore feet and a malnourished physique?

Farmers are those selfless souls who toil for others’ food, but don’t get even their own bread in return. Technology is to be blamed for the numbness created in people’s mindset today, lacking empathy for fellow beings. The impact of the gadgets is so fierce that it shuns clarity of thought. The brain is full of thoughts related to either pending works in the gadget world or the impact of the social and celluloid media propagated through them.

Nano technology has deprived the human brain of coherent thinking that if farmers perished from the face of the earth there would be no food for us. If everyone quit farming, who then would provide food for the human race? No more does any farmer want his children to take up the ancestral profession. Everyone wants to move out of their native villages or develop their village into towns and cities of concrete structures with all technological facilities.

During a recent talk show, one of the speakers pronounced why he was dead set against farming. He recounted his grandmother’s last words. She made him promise that he would not be a farmer and would leave the village to live in some city. The reason she made him give the promise was that his grandfather had committed suicide unable to pay back his debts.

The net result is telling – fertile agricultural lands converted into commercial and residential plots. Already, man has destroyed 75 per cent of the earth multiplying only his race, vanquishing other life forms. Now his greed has made him unaware of the fact that he is ready to convert the entire earth into a concrete structural apocalypse.

If every person starts thinking of the starving farmers’ families before taking every morsel of food, the entire scenario is sure to change. None will ever waste a single grain of food as they will realise that somewhere some farmer’s sweat and blood has gone into producing it.

So arise, awake and stop not till the farmers become prosperous. Forget not that the alert signal is already switched on. We need to wake up before the dreaded plastic chokes the earth, floods clog the environment and occludes our systems too with carcinogenic food products and demolishes our race. Support farmers and not mechanisation. Digital India can wait. But not the lives of our farmers. They have already waited enough.

( The author of the column is Uma Ram, freelance writer from Coimbatore )

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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