Sometimes i wish i had been born in a farming family, where two or three generations had been farming. Maybe then things would’ve been different. To buy land & start farming at this ripe old age feels a bit odd. Yet speaking for myself it feels like the most natural & sensible thing to do. Give me a desk job…. would be a disaster waiting to unfold….. give me a bit of land and i will find so many ways to express myself!
If i look across the fence to the 3rd generation farmer, i see that none of the present generation of young farmers are interested in farming. It’s a confused situation… parents do not want their children to farm, & the children have got into their head that farming is a chore to be avoided. It’s dirty work & does not give you cash income to buy the latest mobile phones (sigh !). Parents too want cash, they also are taken in by the (false) lure of the city. As a result massive land holdings of prime agricultural land are being sold to “outsiders”.
Prakash (37 years old) & Vimal (30 years old), who work with me, are probably the last generation of farmers who are happy to work on land. They have three children, two boys & a girl. They want their boys to study well & find a job in the city & when their daughter grows old enough to marry, they will look for someone who has a job in the city ! End of story.
One would’ve thought that Village Pishwi located in a tiny corner 65 kms from Pune will be away from all the consumerist culture but the truth is far from it. Every one has their fangs out, everyone is out to be part of the loot. Every one is devising new, new ways to extract more monies. It’s a pity that a simple & enriching human to human friendship or interaction has become such a rarity. It’s sad & almost cynical of me to write this of my own village…. but as of now it’s the truth. I guess there are no ideal situations. I’ve lived many years in villages about 150 kms from Bombay & I’ve seen with my own eyes how a humane culture slowly gets destroyed, bit by bit.
But at the end of the day who am i to make these statements, as if i am a holy cow and sitting in an ivory tower. I am as culturally lost & empty & is a horse with no name !
But one thing i have learnt is that farming is a skilled job. A skill that is no less worth than that of any CEO working in a multinational company. Sometimes i wonder why farm labourers are paid a pittance. But such is the travesty of life, an absurd or grotesque misrepresentation, a parody.
Something of an aside but which got me thinking – i had to get some of my land papers updated to insert that there is a bore-well on the land etc…. the patwari (talati in marathi) asked me how much did you buy this land for ? i told him it costed us a couple of lakhs per acre. After a bit of thought he tells me now your land is worth nothing less than 7 lakhs an acre !
“A sowing of pure seeds in God’s earth,
and then no income! Impossible…… “
Something else which got re affirmed in the last one year is that farming is intricately related to forests, to tree cover, to bio diverse flora & fauna. The moment these links are broken, then one gets thrown into a cage & the keys are lost forever
Even though extensive planting has been done from the sweepings below the trees (basket full of sweepings would include earth worm castings & fallen dried leaves etc) it is evident that vigorous, systematic growth is yet to be achieved. Micro nutrients are missing, micro organisms are missing & i am tempted to get a small calf so that nutrients are recycled in an efficient manner.
more later…. i leave you with the stunning yellow blossoms of Amaltas on the river side