Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TWO VILLAGES WITH THE SAME NAME (15th June 2010, 1530 Hrs)

It was really an amazing experience yesterday when I headed towards the village Khurjhadi to meet two deceased farmers’ families. While I pedalled my way in hot sun, the serene beautiful landscape captivated me to a new high with the vast expanse of land in every direction, dark ploughed fields, cattles grazing far away, few village folks looking at me in amazement and one sweet old villager in cycle asked me – ‘Itne dhoop mein kahan ja rahe ho bhai? (where are you going in such a hot sun my dear?)’ I told him I was heading towards Khurjhadi.

The up and down terrain, zig-zag narrow roads, chirping of birds all around and some beautiful landscape – all in all, everything was asking me only one thing – ‘When will the rain come?’ I surely had no answer whatsoever and felt sad as I pedalled my way towards the village. After an hour’s ride I reached the village. However, much to my surprise I had reached the wrong village. The villagers did confirmed the village’s name is Khurjhadi but they also informed me that there has been no suicide in their village. In a way I was a bit disappointed but I was happy to hear that no one has ever committed suicide in this village.

The villagers told me that I was looking at Khurjhadi (Fokta) while their Khurjhadi was Jamata. The one that I was supposed to visit is in another direction and far away. So I had to turn back. While I was returning, I saw an old farmer ploughing the field. I stopped to click some pictures and interacted with him. He was an old farmer and must have crossed 65 plus years and yet he was working. I asked him Kaka (uncle) how many acres of land do you have? He was honest to confess that he had no land and is working as a labour there. I was really sad to hear his confession and thought – when child labour is considered a crime, why is that old-age labour not a crime? A soldier who protects and serves the country is retired after 55 years to get pension… but what about the farmers, who feed the nation has to work till he dies and never gets pension from the nation… WHY? WHY? WHY? Is this what we call RIGHT TO EQUALITY – India’s Fundamental Rights???

He is 65 plus years old and working as a labour

The owner, who was working in the nearby field came and we interacted for about 30 minutes to know about each other. I did counsel them about the building of bhaand around their fields to increase the ground water table, switching over to organic farming for better future, plantation of neem trees all around their fields for organic manure, avoid poisonous chemical fertilsers and pesticides to help save Dharti Maa… the farmers are well aware of all these things but informed me that they have no choice because they don’t have enough money to sustain for three long years to switch over to organic farming. Even if they switch to organic farming, who will feed their families for three long years till the land regains its fertility to give proper yield? I did tell them they should atleast try with a smaller patch of land and gradually increase the area for organic farming.

However, in some small fields I noted there were organic manure lying in big heaps, which made me feel very happy. I only wish the government should start a huge revolution to make organic farming a mandatory in Vidarbha at the earliest. After a while, my disappointment not to reach the correct village was turned into an amazing experience interacting with those farmers.

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