We live our lives in kind of mixed reality. It is a world of illusions and smoke-screens. There are people whose only purpose is to act as props for people who sit in the background. They make a nice picture- that of a kind, ethical doctor, the hardworking engineer, the moral teacher and the latest media darling- the poor farmer.
The very purpose that these props are carefully cultivated by the media is because they make us emotion and throttle the reasoning. You cannot talk much to a reasonable man. He will see the reason together with you, if it exists. He cannot be persuaded by your literary skills. If you cannot talk much to a reasonable man, you can, as well, not much write to him and as a media entity, if you cannot write much, what do you do then?
So what you need is a prop that elicits emotions, thereby impacts reason and then create an outrage around that image which, even if untrue, brings forth human feelings. That is what is happening to what is being termed as Farmer agitation. The prop here is the hungry, poverty-stricken farmer, which Munshi Premchand wrote about. He sits about in the village, lives in a hut, begins the day early, and toils through the day to make ends meet. He lives in absolute hopelessness. He is a sorrowful figure, who sweats in the fields, while the owner of the field sits at the village chaupal, smokes a hukkah and discusses important things like how jeans causes rapes and maggi is a social evil. The man who toils in the mud, sits on the electoral placards and the man who deliberates and debates in spotless clothes, makes the government.
The poor man in the field, needs roads, schools to change the course of the fate. He needs it to be able to hope for the sake of his kids. He is the landless farmer. His ancestors lost out on wealth distribution when it was being distributed. He is a farmer without land. He does not know anything about reserve price, which is a big electoral game for those who are agriculture industrialist. They have lands they do not want to part away with. Their acres ploughed and nourished by the sweat of the landless farmers bring them the riches to fuel their SUV, and funds the nightly adventure of their young to malls in neighboring suburbs. The farmer, the real farmer has no hope for himself and thanks to these land-sharks, has no hope for his future generations.
One need not be an economist or a financial expert to understand that only way to wealth which can appear out of thin air is knowledge and all it needs is opportunity. The man, the last man in the line, doesn't have the transportation to walk to the development growing in patches in one of the fastest growing nations. You need to bring development to him, opportunities to him. You need to get him schools and roads and hospitals, so that he can ensure that his next generation can move out of the squalor that he has been doomed to. That is the farmer who needs caring, not the pretense-farmers who run diktats in the villages, from behind their hukkahs. Latter only claim to be farmers and are in fact, for better part of their times are what they truly are- the land capitalists. It is plain logic and you do not need to go away to foreign lands to introspect in order to gain insight about it.
Let’s not fool ourselves. This protest on Land acquisition is not a farmer’s protest, it is a protest by landlords to maintain the status quo. They would not, with their chubby cheeks and well-fed body look good on the protest placards, therefore the less –privileged farmer comes in and sits in as a theme-picture of the protest and make up for the numbers to threaten a government, fulfilling the political dreams of the status-quoists, is desperate to come back to power, who for sixty years maintained the status quo with all its ugliness of social disparity unchanged.
If the land acquisition policy, the new one, needs amends, let there be amended. Let this not be a mean to create unrest solely for the purpose of paving the road to ruling the nation for a listless, disinterested and undeserving crown prince. A writer is not a social scientist, not he has the brains of a financial guru. He only has a heart and penetrating eyes which can see through the lies. His is only to share his vision of truth with those who are being misled by cultivated images of untruth, to tap on their emotions. Don't throw your intellectual force behind the illusions. See to it that for the child of landless or even marginal farmers, the only way out of the quagmire of social injustice is joining the army or becoming a migrant labor. Let us not use farmer suicide as an argument. That farmer would not have committed suicide even in case of failed crops if he had rural infrastructure to give him parallel employment option, to carry his produce faster to farms, easy bank finance to support him, and a roof over his head by affordable housing. Let the truth be out in all its ugliness. Then the experts can walk in and measure things on facts.
(Until 2013, Land acquisition was governed by Land Acquisition Act of 1894, through sixty years of congress rule and no land lord, who now pretend to be poor farmers, was outraged, since it followed the British policy of keeping the landlords on their side. The incensed and outraged political side, in a rush to crown their prince, forgets that while they object to five sectors which are kept out of ambit of consent requirement- Industrial Corridor, PPP, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and Defense for sixty years had all the government acquisitions immune of dissent and the first son-in-law happily acquired the land around the DMIC Industrial corridor. Now, with the latter three, no-consent provision, I don't think anyone whose heart bleeds for the real farmer would have an issue, the other two need to be made clearer, but then as I said above, let experts do that.).