We live in a country where the plight of farmers is not unknown. However, we do not try to comprehend these issues, only listening to what the media has to tell us about them. Having witnessed the lowest rainfall in 140 years, Tamil Nadu was declared drought-affected by O. Panneerselvam in January, 2017.
The government made promises but these promises never reached the farmers. The recent 40-day farmers’ protest revealed a clear picture of the government’s lack of interest in resolving the farmers’ plight.
Having incurred huge losses, the TN farmers began a protest at Jantar Mantar, demanding loan waiver, drought relief fund, and interlinking of rivers along with a finite resolution to the Cauvery dispute.
The negligence of not just the Centre but also the country’s citizens is visible. At a time when these farmers were eating mice and stripping outside the Prime Minister’s Office, we were busy discussing Raveena Tandon’s film or whether to uninstall Snapchat.
At a time when states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra were facing scarcities, we were busy discussing our abandonment of Fawad Khan. This shows how much we respect the farmers of our nation and how discussion of scarcity in the agricultural sector is often futile.
On one hand, the nation pleads allegiance to Mahatma Gandhi. However, its actions severely contradict Gandhian principles.
How were the freedom fighters of our nation successful with their motto? Not only was the nation united and analytical about war, they understood the existence of a problem and demanded a solution. Globalisation has progressed our lifestyles but regressed our mindsets.
We are being controlled by the visionaries of the media. They show us only what they want to. The foregone protests may not have been enough for us to comprehend the real crisis but there were people who not only understood the farmers’ problems but also offered them real support that went beyond Facebook likes.
Prashant, a 27-year-old marketing professional, resigned from his job and joined the protest from the 13th day. He says he doesn’t know where his career is headed towards. “We faced problems during our protests. We had to pee on the streets. It is important for the PM to know that farmers are the backbone of the nation. If he opposes us, he will have to face consequences. We are calling it off, but we can resume if nothing happens.”
Mallika Varan and her husband were part of the protest from the third day. They helped the farmers with food and medical aid. “The farmers who joined the protest in the initial stage went back to their homes because they were falling ill. In the beginning, we even took money for the services we provided but later we sponsored them. We realized, their condition is poor and they really needed our support.”
Mallika was forced by people to stop supporting the farmers. “My husband is questioned about my character. People question him how can he let me touch other men. I am giving them medical aid, I have to touch their hands if it is important.”
Agriculture was and will continue to remain the baseline of India. Without strengthening the base, a country’s development is impossible. A sector which employs a majority of the country’s population is an asset to the country. Help the farmers fulfil the motto, ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.