(As told to the author by Shantanu Sen)
India and other third world nations like ours have become a victim of exploitation, in the hands of the rich and powerful industrialists.
In the year 1960, India witnessed the Green Revolution. The objective behind the Green Revolution was to maximise the yield of cultivation and to protect the crop from insects, pests, etc. At the time of the Green Revolution, none of the farmers used chemicals in the form of insecticides or pesticides. India was famous for its organic cultivation. Therefore our motherland had never been in contact with the toxic insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. Besides this, use of urea and DAP did not prevail in those times.
During Green Revolution, the farmers were told that if they do not adapt to modern techniques, then their yield will diminish eventually disrupting the economy as well as the livelihood of the farmers at large.
Therefore Government and the industrialists created a nexus to provide those chemicals to the farmers at free of cost in their initial use. Farmers started using those toxic chemicals in the fields. When Government started providing free pesticides and other chemicals to farmers and eventually at subsidized rates, its demand use grew massively. With the rise in its use, the virgin soil depleted and the soil started becoming contaminated. Later the scenario turned worse when farming on those contaminated soil was infertile without those chemicals and the Government redeemed the free or subsidy leading to higher prices of those chemicals. Eventually due to the increase use of such chemicals in the field, the resistance capacity of the crops from those chemicals started depleting resulting in the diminishing of the nutrition value and health of the crops. In the research, it was found that only 8% – 9% of the chemical used in fields is favorable for agriculture. But the quantity in which it is used, the impact on rice, pulses, vegetables and fruits can be adverse. We consume it and this affects us in two distinct ways.
Firstly, when chemicals are sprayed in the fields, the chemicals have its traces on air and through air; it gets into the respiratory system of humans giving birth to numerous ailments. The worst victim of the same, are the farmers. As per the Government reports, nearly 76,000 died due to respiratory problems whose inception happened due to these chemicals. Another way is when in large scale, chemicals are sprayed on crops; when humans eat those crops. The traces of those chemicals and its composition can be found on the layers of the crops. So, its consumption is equivalent to the consumption of poison. In such circumstances; numerous people die due to prolong consumption of such crops. More significantly, this is an open secret but there are no Government statistical reports to validate the same. Well, the birth of cancer, diabetes and other critical diseases can be attributed to the massive use of these toxic chemical which have direct contact with our platter of what we consume.
An addition of dark incident, the night of 2nd December 1984, Bhopal witnessed the worst disaster that killed more than 16,000 people and affected more than 5,00,000 people with blood disorders, genetic disorders, respiratory disorders, etc. The reason behind this fatal disaster is the leak of Methyl Isocyanate from the storage tank of Union Carbide India Ltd. that manufactures pesticides. Infamous industrialist named Warren Anderson was convicted of causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 (the maximum punishment allowed by Indian Penal Code). But he fled from India. Despite numerous attempts of Indian Judiciary to bring back this powerful fugitive, the United States of America declined to extradite him due to lack of evidence. But do you still think that the atrocious deaths of thousands will ever get justice? Even in various parts of India, there are factories of Union Carbide still operating with a new name and so exist other factories like United Phosphorous who are in the business of manufacturing these toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals are openly sold in massive quantities to the farmers in the form of various Government schemes. Unfortunately the chemical composition used in making these pesticides is the chemical composition of mass-destructive atomic weapons that was used in 2nd World War. By consuming these chemicals daily on our platter of food, we are becoming sick and slowing walking towards brink of death.
Now the question is why would anyone be in this business of homicide? Well, there are more than 1,000 companies which manufacture these toxic chemicals and rich powerful industrialists of nearly 24 nations run these massive industry. Prior to 1960, those chemical producing companies which were facing tough time to exist, have become the booming industry today. These companies have their Indian subsidiaries and they have an annual turnover with profits of more than 5,00,000 crore rupees. When these questions put up to those traders of death, they reply that if the farmers do not use these chemicals, then the yield will diminish, crops will get destroyed, farmers will have less productivity, the economy will shrink and there will be scarcity of food eventually the whole nation will have to face starvation. In a rational society, such arguments can be labeled as “absurd”.
Even if we cross-analyse these arguments, if we don’t use any toxic chemicals in the form of insecticides or pesticides and insects and pests destroy the yield, the government will have to bear a loss of ₹1500 – ₹2000 crore. Instead of this ₹1500 – ₹2000 crore loss, the foreign companies do a business of a whopping ₹5,00,000 lakh crore.
Examples like Endo Sulphane, a pesticide, which has been banned for the last 30 years in 56 nations as it’s the prime reason for cancer and genetic disorder is important to consider.
Unfortunately, the industrialists of those companies still come to India and sell the same Endo Sulphane to Indian farmers. But on May 13, 2011, the Supreme Court banned the production and sale of Endo Sulphane in Kerala and Karnataka making it a major setback for industrialists in India. Still, due to the power of those industrialists, the sale of Endo Sulphane happens in the market.
Most of the pharmaceutical companies in India are from other countries. By producing toxic chemicals, one set of industrialists are creating diseases on a large scale and meeting their after effects, other manufacturers produce and sell expensive medicines and healthcare services. These chemicals create cancer patients and patients with genetic or with blood disorders.
The price of medicines for cancer, genetic disorder or blood disorder are even more expensive. But this business of life and death goes on because some industrialists only care about their profits even if it is at the cost of human lives.
Many reports prove that the use of pesticides can be a cause for cancer. If the use of pesticides ceases, then how on earth will the sale of cancer medicine and chemotherapy increase? It is all correlated. We all know that the medicines for cancer are patented. The whole market is controlled by rich and powerful American and Europen industrialists whose sales are significantly higher in India and other South Asian countries.
If the Patent becomes Off Patent (open source), then the monopoly over the trade of cancer medicines will cease to exist resulting in a competitive pricing that could have been beneficial for the patients. According to them, to increase yield, the use of the chemical is favourable; then why such use is forbidden in their nations? In America, if a farmer practices organic farming, he receives 400% subsidy. So, if a farmer invests $100 in practising organic farming, then the Government will purchase his yield at $400 and sell it worldwide at a higher price because of the excellence in its quality as per the nutrition composition is concerned.
Now the burning question of the hour is what is the solution to this massive problem? How can we surmount this atrocious web knitted by the industrialists? What are the alternatives we have?
The answer to this question lies in the hands of the doctors of this nation. The doctors have the solution for this. When a patient visits the doctor with his/her suffering, the doctor should provide a clear and transparent picture about the whole nexus of toxic chemicals manufacturers and how they produce inorganic food. The doctor should prescribe generic medicines with their respective compositions so that patients need not resort to expensive “patented” drugs and become a prey in the web of this scam propagated by rich industrialists.
In India, the doctors are regarded akin to God and so is their significance in the society. If doctors influence the patients along with other stakeholders of the society to consume organic yield only, this will not only create demand for organic products in the market but will also diminish the use of harmful chemicals. The need of the hour is to have an “Organic Green Revolution” which is only possible if farmers adopt an organic method of farming to produce fruits, cereals, vegetables, etc.
The quality of the yield too will be better resulting in higher profits, and a part of the yield can be exported at higher prices. The time has come for the nation to be healthy and this is only possible if we can boost organic cultivation and promote it with incentives and subsidies to those farmers who adopt the same. This will certainly put an end to the menace propagated by tycoons like Warren Anderson who are in the business of trading deaths and milking massive profits from it.