(The following was written, and published on Facebook, by Anang Pal Malik on 30-09-2012, in response to P Sainath’s documentary Nero’s Guests. -Ed)
V S Naipaul says that almost all novels by Indian authors are autobiographical because Indians know so little beyond their immediate family. They observe nothing, read nothing about their own communities, their own country, and their own history. When they get chance to travel, they are so absorbed that they are not able to observe the train coach they are travelling in. He quoted Gandhi’s writing on his travels to England and showed that all the time Gandhi was talking to himself in his head instead of observing the people and places he was visiting.
And that is how this agrarian crisis, or Farmer Suicides, has become such an in thing with the urban educated Indians. Because they know nothing about India, beyond their homes and close relatives.
I don’t know whether Sainath ever read Premchand or saw the movie Mother India because Hindi is not his mother tongue. If he had read, or read and contemplated, he would have known that indebtedness of farmers in India has been one constant at least in many centuries before Independence, period of which Premchand wrote.
And no, I did not come to know about farmer indebtedness through these sources. I know it firsthand. I am son of a farmer, born and brought up in a village located just 100 km from Delhi. I grew up hearing the stories of farmer indebtedness in my own family, in our village, and in the area around; during the time of just one to two generations ago. How that changed?
In 1933, a “Capitalist” set up a sugarcane mill in the nearby town. Farmers who till then used to crush sugarcane in bullock driven crushers in villages and making ‘gur’ and selling it in the mandis in the same town, started supplying the cane to the mill instead. Prices and payments both became more certain. People from nearby villages got employment in the factory, decreasing number of dependents on the land. People could buy tractor trailers to deliver cane to the mill. A large number of people started making trailers and repairing tractors. Soon, more mills came up and my district is now one of the richest rural districts in India. With Independence came the electricity and tubewells. In 1950s was set up the first tubewell in our village. Now number of tubewells in my village are beyond counting. As a rule, we raise three crops each year, totally independent of rainfall. Earlier there was one rajbaha (small branch canal) for the village serving about 30% of village land and for the rest it was bullock driven rahats. Rahats disappeared four decades ago and two decades ago SC ruled that Yamuna water belongs to Haryana and so that rajbaha is also dry since then. Muzaffarnagar, my district boasts of a very high literacy rate and a very large number of engineers and doctors, majority children of the farmers, yours truly included.
And landless? No they did not starve to death with all these technological inputs. They are no longer landless labourers either. No village resident in my village except those who actually own land works in farms. They all work in small industry and construction projects in nearby towns and earn twice to thrice of farm wages. For farm work earlier farmers used to get labour from eastern UP. Now people from eastern UP have moved to non-farm work in cities. (Those watchmen you find everywhere in malls and at Toll booths). Then they used to come from Bihar. That also stopped for the same reason. Now entire farm labour in my village and district and all districts nearby, comes from West Bengal and Orissa.
No, farm indebtedness did not come with reforms of 1991. Reforms to whatever extent they were allowed by the assorted armies of Socialist politicians, “activists”, NGOs, communists, and bureaucrats who all only actually benefit from the Socialism, have actually reduced farm indebtedness.
Tubewell irrigation was what made farmers independent of rains in my area.
Norman Barlaug introduced, in association with Pantnagar University (a University set up and funded by the evil Americans, by the way), my own University, introduced newly developed high yield varieties of wheat, raising yield two to three times.
A sugarcane mill gave an assured market, assured payments to cane growers.
All this resulted in people getting education and moving to other vocations reducing dependents on land.
Industrialization and better crops and a market did not ruin us. It gave us everything we have and made farm indebtedness a distant memory in the region.
Just till 1950, every few years we Indians used to die in millions like flies because of droughts. Now droughts do not lead to mass deaths, with no assistance from foreign country, India feeds its 120 crore people even in worst spells of droughts.
Coming back to Sainath. He repeats all the Left lies in the video and gets ready confirmation by ‘interviewing’ suitable people. I will discuss some here:
1) His contention, Rural Maharashtra has 8 hour power cuts, Mumbai has none, so no irrigation leading to farmer suicide. Facts instead, power cuts in rural Maharashtra actually range from 12 to 16 hours daily. But no power cuts in Mumbai, the industrial power house of India, are not responsible for that. Whenever a power plant in Maharashtra is proposed (or anyhwre in India, for that matter) whether it is coal based, gas based, hydro or nuclear, Comrades of Sainath go berserk with claims of mass displacement, pollutions , MNCs takeover, etc., etc., etc….and project more often than not is shelved. Without power plants how do we have electricity I don’t know. If Sainath knows, he may please enlighten us.
2) Left ownership of education has produced a mathematically challenged and economically illiterate generation who fall for all fraudulent claims of mass displacement. No development work except Dams involves acquisition of residential land, and dam oustees are always settled on the periphery of reservoir. Development work brings jobs and prosperity to the villages themselves; stopping migration to cities. Recently when strike in Maruti Manesar was broken, villagers in the area distributed sweets because they knew that with factory open again, jobs and prosperity would not move to Gujarat. Let Sainath give me addresses of villages where bulldozers have flattened villages to make way for factory forcing people to flee. I would like to verify. The phoney interviews with displaced people sitting in the back of trucks would not do.
3) What does he want to prove by showing what those idiotic celebrities and the dumb children of the rich say? That that is how India thinks of its unfortunate ones? Bollywood represents me? I never knew. As for the children of the Rich, they have been such dumbs at least since the time of Roman Empire (earlier records are not available). Hundred and twenty crore people of India do not think like those children of the Rich.
4) So the Mumbai stock market is responsible for farmer suicides? There are countries with no stock markets- Afghanistan, Somalia, Cuba, N Korea. Sainath can move into any of them and live happily ever after. As I said earlier crushing farm indebtedness was there much before world ever heard of a stock exchange.
As for Chomsky and that London Conference on “world inequality”, the next big dream of the Left is a World govt, controlling all the wealth and allocating it fairly. Does anybody really believe that a member of a tribe in African jungle can and should be forcefully made (by seizing and redistributing wealth) as prosperous as a New Yorker? Chomsky, that self-loathing, West hating, third worldist, pal of the terrorists of the worst kind (he regularly goes and commiserates with murderers of Hamas), is actually a Linguist who has become darling of the worldwide Left because of the hate he spews against the Free World, and blocks attempts to resist creeping Socialism in the US.
Why the Leftists are doing this? Spreading canards of an exploiting India, burying its poor under the factories?
In the Panchtantra (We no longer read Panchtantra in schools, perhaps Left wants to keep us away from that excellent source of ancient wisdom.), there is this tale of a Brahmin who purchases a goat from a fair. Four charlatans see him purchasing the goat, and decide to divest him of his goat. One by one, they run into him and talk him into believing that it was a dog he purchased, not a goat. He leaves the goat and walks away. Charlatans of course get the goat.
The strongest army and the best of people can’t defend a country if they lose belief in justness of their cause and don’t believe that their country is worth defending. The underground Leftists are fighting Indian State in the forests. Their overground comrades and sympathizers are doing the job through newspapers, TV and documentaries by continuously drilling into the heads of the people that India is evil, cruel, exploiter, lackey for the blood sucking Capitalists, MNC stooge, mass displacer of the people, doing nothing for the indebted farmers. In short India has no reason to exist, India is not worth defending. And if India is not worth defending in the minds of its people, it will not be defended, it will collapse in thousand pieces which the Leftists believe they will get to pick up….will they????? Or will it be barbarians from across Wagah ??? But that is another story for another day.