23 January 2007

THANK YOU FARMERS

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I have been invited for lunch and dinners where the head of the family offers prayers and thanks God for bringing us the daily bread. I have heard the priests pray before eating. Never once I have heard them thanking those who work hard in the fields in sweltering heat barefoot, bitten by snakes, scorpions, working with empty stomachs most of the time to bring food to our tables.


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These are very old pictures.
More than 25 years ago while trekking in the Himalayas I had to cross some villages, apple orchards, terraced fieds on the slopes. I was surprised to find empty tin cans lined up, tied to a string running from one end to the other on all the maize and corn fields. The villagers gave me food and shelter. I couldn't sleep the whole night. Some woman were making loud funny noises yodling, followed by intollerable rattling of the empty tin cans. This went on for the whole night. Next morning I asked this lady what was the racket all about. She said they have to sit all night in the fields make noises to scare away the bears who come and damage their fields. In broad daylight I used to wear layers of warm clothing and these ladies sit in bitter cold right through the night protecting the fields.

This is my tribute to them and all the farmers of the world, rich or poor. It is because of them that we survive.


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Most of our farmers look up to the sky and hope for the rains. They are still dependant on nature's mercy. Very few are lucky to be near ever flowing rivers, most of the rivers in the south have gone dry, you know the reason. Very few can afford water pumps.


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When the monsoon fails or delayed, it is their death. They pledge their lands with money lenders and they are in debt all through their lives. In most cases they lose their lands and the entire family commits suicide.

This is Thangappan and his grandson. Middle generation, the son is missing. He works as an attender in a government office.


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Its a never ending struggle for survival. Thankfully most of India is very fertile, sun shining 365 days a year. No other country has been repeatedly invaded like India. Only for this reason.


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India gained its freedom in1947. We were no longer slaves. But freedom hardly made any difference to these farmers. They continued to live a life in slavery as untouchables, shunned by the elite society.


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Well he is happy, not all can afford to buy a tractor. I don't have statistics, roughly only one in hundred has a tractor. This is just to give you an idea. only one in five hundred has sophisticated farming equipment.


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Now we are getting into different kind of slavery. Huge multinationals buy large chunks of lands and bring in all sophisticated farming equipment rendering these poor people jobless, a kick on their empty stomachs.

Where will they go ? please tell me where will these poor people go ?

They either migrate to the city or the whole family commits suicide. It is happening every day in India.

Is this what we call progress ?



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She is the mother of the little girl in the previous post who asked me to take a picture of her ear ring. Her future is uncertain. When they have no options they commit suicide.


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In the name of progress we can't kick these people out of existence. There are areas to be developed, and there are areas to be left untouched. Bringing in sophistication in large scale farming is a death warrant for these poor people.



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I understand our farming methods are still ancient. Is there any need to improve ? Today India has surplus food and yet thousands go to sleep hungry. This is a direct result of globalisation. Rich get richer and poor get poorer.




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Richer countries twist the arms of developing nations to accept imports and to cut farming subsidies. And our greedy politicians sign agreements without any vision for some benefits in return resulting in mass migration and suicides of the farmers. They all go to the cities already swelling with slums, searching for labour work, selling their women and little daughters, resorting to crime.


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The neighbour of my uncle BOUGHT an infant girl for 20 rupees, for less than half a dollar. They are giving her a good life as I heard last, though they themselves are poor. He is a bus driver in Coorg.


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If everything goes well, good rains at right time, we have a rich harvest, happy farmers. Work for farm hands. Joy for every one.


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How I would love to join them. I took the sickle in my hand and cut a little but couldn't match their speed, I was struggling. They had good fun watching me. Don't chop your own hands the lady said. they were laughing at me. Why are you taking our pictures ? What will you get taking pictures of us ugly people' ?
He thinks we are film actresses.

I said 'you are the most beautiful people I know' in my broken kannada, 'nimma bhaala sundari' You don't know how thankful I am to you people, Children don't know how food reaches them, all your efforts.
Don't know if they understood but they continued laughing at me.

I showed them the pictures on the screen during their lunch break under a shady tree. Though my battery was running low and no place to charge them. Each took turns to see, laughing.


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This is in Karnataka and they were teasing me for my broken kannada, They made fun of me for not getting married. Some of them had come all the way from Tamil nadu, my state, looking for work, they came to my rescue translating their kannada. I regretted not accepting their food. I ate some biscuits I carried with them and gave the rest to one chap who ate them all by himself without sharing. He just walked. I realised very late that they might have thought that I don't want to eat their food as they are untouchables. I was kicking myself on my 2 mile long walk back to the road.


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I was tired, had tea at a shop. Long walk to get a bus and I saw a couple of school kids hitting each other. I seperated them. Believe me this chap was crying a second before you can still see tears in his eyes and yet he managed a smile for the camera.


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You can see the older chap squeezing the neck of the younger one. They were pushing each other to see themselves on the camera screen and I missed the bus. Another long wait. Spent some time with the farmer's kids.


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Education is free for them. Absolutely free with free books, believe me. The government offers them many benefits. they are implemented very strictly in my state of Tamil Nadu. I can say half the benefit reaches them. Thats pretty good actually considering the dishonesty of our politicians. I blame the parents for not taking full advantage of all the benefits the government offers them. Good functioning schools here with well trained teachers all over Tamil Nadu, but standard of education remains poor but much better than other states of north India.

Things are different up north. Only 10% of the benefits reach the farmers. High ranking ministers are known to swindle money even from the cattle feed budget. They don't hesitate to cheat the holy cow. There are schools but no teachers, there are teachers and children but no schools. The school building exists only on paper. Massive swindling by the politicians.


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After the harvest comes the celeberation. Here in Tamil Nadu its called Pongal. They decorate their houses, decorate their cows and bulls. They may be very poor, they may be untouchables
but they know how to keep themselves happy and enjoy their lives. No one can take their joy away from them. here are some pictures.


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Pongal is not a religious festival, it has nothing to do with Hinduism or any religion. Celeberations go on for 3 days. Usually falls on 14th of January. Pongal is essentially a nature worship, thanking nature for being kind and for giving a rich harvest. Unfortunately pongal celeberations were supressed by the high cast people who promoted only religious festivals. Pongal festival was revived only seventy or eighty years ago.



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All the houses are freshly painted and decorated. On the eve of 14th, called Boghi, all old things are burnt. Lot of fun that night. They can't throw away and burn their things but they find something to burn. Fresh start from 14th January, everything is new.


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I am not sure if the cow likes it. The cows and bulls are decorated and worshipped.

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Here, Murugan a farmer is giving me and my friend Jawahar, tender coconut water. I am wearing a new pair of jeans.


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The year was good all over south India, rich harvest everywhere, they all are happy



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Next day is MATTU PONGAL Mattu is cattle, Its their day. The family piles on to a bullock cart and go sight seeing, it is called KANAM PONGAL. thankfully there is no bullock cart race here



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Wow ! New clothes ! they are happy, its so good to see them enjoy their life.
Wish them many rich harvests in future. I wish them all the joy sunshine and rain. I owe them my life.
Please keep them in your hearts, your local farmers, where ever you are.
Please pray for them, please pray for the safety of their children
I love you all.








62 comments:

Anonymous said...

awesome....super cool pictures!!!!what camera do you use???anyways u must be travelling a lot!!!!really cool!!!even my friends check ur blog now for the pics!!

Rauf said...

Hi Vinay, I am discussing a subject here, this post is not about pictures. I use an ordinary Panasonic camera, not expensive, this is not a digital SLR which are very expensive. But this has a very good zoom 35 - 420. Please take when ever you want. 45010088
I am in Royapettah.

Edith said...

Hi Rauf, they are great pictures - but! The words to them disturbe my peace of mind. Well, many of the people look happy, but most of them are struggeling for survival and that makes me feeling very sad. I'll never understand why so many people have to "fight" for their life.
I have two other questions: Why are many of them mentioned as untouchable,why don't they have same value as other people?
And why are cows seen as holy creatures? Why are they wondering about in the cities where they can't find any proper food? Edith.

Anonymous said...

.....

Anonymous said...

I cant even begin to tell you the kind of emotions and thoughts this post fills me with. Yes, all the joy and sunshine and rains to them.

what is life without struggle, but not this much.
they deserve a much better life.

Anonymous said...

What a moving tribute to those who feed us. Their beauty and generocity of spirit shines through in every photo.
The turbulent history, the globalization, the caste tradition are all factors here but I think the most culpable is the corrupt Indian government. I hope that voices like yours will be heard and the changes will be forthcoming...
My life values were dramatically altered after I read A Fine Balance by Rohinston Mistry about the untouchables. I can spend days criticizing my own government, but one thing I am proud of is how we treat our farmers - we are all indebted to them for our daily food.

Anonymous said...

Rauf: You brought me back my village memories. Just love that village smell of ignorance, beauty and love.

Life starts only in a village and without them we cannot eat our food.

Crawled thru' mystic.. but have seen your pics thru' ari's webpage.

iamnasra said...

A touching tribute...Im afraid to say the truth I was not able to read your words..I kept feeling so sad and heavy around my heart..Its so painful to know that hardship they undergo for the sake of to get food on the table ...Food comes with a price, the bites

I wish I can afford I must come to India and see it through my eyes

Thanks you for being my eye, I wish I can be sort of help of some sort

starry nights said...

Came here from Mystic Rose's Blog and I am so glad I did.A fitting tribute to the farmers. We so often forget the people who grow the food that we eat.I am guilty of doing that also.This was a very touching post.It is sad to see the farmers being displaced because of globalization.Thank you for sharing this with us.

Rauf said...

Hi Edith,
No human society is perfect, east or west, all have their own evils.

Cast system of India forms the skeleton of Indian society. This is thouusands of years old. We can discard the flesh and have new growth of flesh but the skeleton remains the same. We have no way of dissolving this evil skeleton, because religion grew out of it. Its a long story, You can get more details of the evils of Indian cast system on the net. I have screamed a lot in my various blogs.
I can't scream any more.

They may be untouchables, they may lead a miserable life of eternal slavery but they too have moments of joy, no one can take it away from them. They have no voice in the north but in south they are pretty vocal and their voices are heard. My government of Tamil Nadu is doing a lot for the upliftment of this cast. They are no longer submissive here. there is room for improvement though.

Cow is associated with Hindu religion for various reasons, it is believed to be giver of life.
'Gow Mata' is mother cow. We respect the cow as we respect our mothers. But the condition of cows in India is pathetic so is the treatment of women, which I have discussed already in the last post on Environment - THE FINAL SAY

Rauf said...

Mystic Rose, 2007 is for Andhra, I had decided last year, if i have enough money and strength.
Believe me I have no money and no strength, it is my passion which takes me to such places.

Sometimes I find fault with the working of blogs, infact I am ever so grateful to the blogs for giving us the paltform express our feelings. I have said in SPEED 13 that it is women who utilise this platform very well.I am a man biologically but I consider myself to be a moving and speaking tree. (now a blogging tree) I think I have to change my profile.

Hope your wishes come true Mystic Rose, I know they come from your heart.

Rauf said...

Mystic Rose, thank you for the link in your blog, I am overwhelmed and honoured.

Rauf said...

Isabella our government is bending under pressure from the rich countries which they need not. What I don't understand is, the country is rich in natural resources, abundant sunshine and water, no dearth of skilled man power, rich in minerals, no shortage of brains, in fact we are exporting our brains, and yet the country is ailing and is called a developing nation.

We had visionaries like Gandhi, vinobha Bhave' Dr. Ambedkar but their dreams were shattered by the self serving politicians. They believed in the power of rural India and not in the social elite.
India lives in villages Isabella, not in Bombay Delhi Calcutta and Chennai. We have no such visionaries left, who believe in rural power. Those who can help seek greener pasteurs in the west.

We Indians are a confused lot. Ironically after the John Lennon invasion the west is looking towards India for wisdom. We seem to be running towards achieving what the west has achieved and regretting. Cities are expanding, we are constructing shopping malls and residential flats office buildings on agricultural lands, Destroying forests to make up for the loss of agricultural land.
We are confused Isabella. We are not learning from the blunders west has committed.

Rauf said...

Hi Priya, Welcome to Daylight again, Sorry I am not welcoming you to a pleasant post. I promise you some pleasant and funny ones in future.

I live in Chennai but I spend a lot of time in the forests and in villages. Survival brings me back to the city. Though I will not write a poem on Chennai but I like it here too.

Recently I went to a village called kunrathoor and Padappai near Chennai after nearly 20 years but they turned out to be to be extentions of the city. The simple, charming rustic atmosphere which I experienced 20 years ago is gone. I felt sad. This is not progress Priya. village people can have a better life without shopping malls flats and theatres.
but we can't tell them not to live like us, the City people.

Thank you so much for stopping by and I thank Mystic rose for directing you, starry night and perhaps others to this blog.

Rauf said...

The raw beauty of India lies in its people Nasra, The place is like any other tropical country, warm sunny fertile, thankfully a little natural beauty and patches of forests are still left. hope you'd find time to visit one day.

Every society has its own evils. There is struggle for survival everywhere. Farmers in Asia Africa and Latin American countries face the same problems. They are all affected by globalisation and arm twisting of the richer countries.
I have only presented a fraction of miseries these farmers have to endure in my region.

Anonymous said...

i know you are trying to discuss a subject here!!!but then i did overlook the trouble that the farners are taking!!!when u see these pics..why think too much and be sad...in fcat...i enjoyed the pics..and forgot the rest!!!living every moment!!

Rauf said...

Good to see you here Starry Nights.
Welcome to 'daylight again'
Your blog and mine together would make 24 hours. I have spent a few full nights watching the stars. Unforgettable one was lying on the rocks of Nandi hills with clouds below me, in bitter cold with no warm clothing. Stupid idea but I did not fall sick. I am not very sensible anyway. Have done lot more stupid things in the past. Most fascinating night of my life that was. It was like lying on the clouds.

Remembering the blood sweat and tears of the farmers may not make much sense but one day it will drive us collectively to do something good to them as it becomes a habit to remember them. I have been going to the villages of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu all my life but there's hardly any improvement in their welfare, things are a shade better in Tamil Nadu. Its a different story in Kerala. More than half the labour force has gone abroad from past 30 years. They come back and buy lands and it is too shamful for them to do the same labour work they were used to. So they hire farm hands from Tamilnadu to work in tea estates fields and farms on daily basis.

thank you so much Starry Nights for stopping by and thanks Mystic Rose.

Rauf said...

hi Vinay, No one has time to read one lengthy post so I insert pictures in between to make it easier to read in small paragraphs.
Sometimes the pictures are not relevant.

Its easy for me to say thank you in response. Readers contribute their view and pespective which is very helpful to me. many times readers don't agree with me and they have helped me to change my view.

Neers said...

Rauf!!! Beautiful! Simply Awesome!!

Rauf said...

Thank You Neers, Welcome to 'Daylight Again'

drunk punk said...

love the pics. especially the smiling kids. whole families commiting suicide??? will the politicians ever learn. sadly no. I firmly believe anyone who expresses an interest in going into politics should immediately be banned from ever going into politics. politics just seems to corrupt. children die, families die and the politicians smile and say elect me I care. bastards.

Anonymous said...

excellent documentary with a passionate commentary. the giant that is india is gently awakening with the help of internet. thru the net and a mushrooming electronic media, awareness of our downtrodden brethren and their plight is being brought to the fore. it is ppl like you who are the leading lights of our 'true democracy'. online petitions have made their presence felt and slowly the politicians realise that they do have responsibility attached to their power.
POWER TO YOU MY FRIEND!!

Anonymous said...

what is so amazing about the juxtaposition of your words and your photographs is the reality that paradox is a natural state, joy and misery, smiles and poverty, all existing together. Humbling. Thank you for your engagement with the world, rauf.

ruth said...

I was shocked to hear a few years ago that a caste "lower" than the untouchables was "discovered." These are people who only come out at night, and many did not know they existed!

I have stopped saying grace at meals. But for a while recently (but I forgot and stopped, and now you have reminded me, thank you) I stopped and thanked those who had done everything to prepare my food. Of course they couldn't hear me, but I thanked the planters, pickers, packagers, etc. It made me realize each meal how much I have that I did not work for.

There are many migrant workers here in the US, some here legally, some not. They do work almost no one else in the US will do: work in the fields from sunrise to sunset for low wages. Now my university has a special admission for students from migrant families, which makes me very happy.

But it makes me crazy with rage that people with power go in and make vast changes that affect people's lives for bad!! Doesn't anyone listen, watch, think, wait? Speed was the perfect title for your posts. No one wants to take the time to do it right. Too much money will be lost! Oh no! Some executive will not make 400 times what his average worker makes! Horror!

I would not last one full day in the fields.

Anonymous said...

Great tribute to the invisible and harsh work that's behind everything we consume and which very often is carried out in dramatic circumstances.
Globalization entails hugely complex problems which have made life much worse (if not impossible) for the poorest people on Earth. Believe me, Rauf, no matter what they say, it won't be the richest nations in the Planet that are going to solve these problems.
Stunning pictures, as always :)

Rauf said...

Yes Neil, We unfortunately don't have honest politicians. Politicians and honesty never mix.
Farmer families committing suicide is a direct result of our politician's folly and lack of vision. No one is honest in administration.

I have said in my environment series that today's humans are more kind and more compassionate. As a result Lot of aid has been pouring in to India, mostly through Church agencies. A priest was arrested few years ago in Vyasarpadi selling the items which is supposed to go to the poor for free. He was caught because he did not pay the cops their share of the booty. Other priests have wisdom. they pay the cops and sell food and other material received as aid. This is a common practice.

please give my love to Jax and Caz
Hope you are rocking Neil. I tuned in. Downloaded destiny player.

Rauf said...

This can't go on for long MagicEye. In a few years we will be completely dependant on food imports when we can grow our own food by what ever ancient methods
We don't need any help from outside.
India is blessed with natural resources and yet we seek help.
I am a proud Indian. Largest WORKING democracy in the world. In fact India runs by itself by some magic. Magic is its amazing people.

Rauf said...

Oh you'd love it here Emily, food language culture changes every hundred miles. India is vibrating with colours. We do have problems, some social evils which are deep rooted. They can't be rectified overnight. It will take hundreds of years Emily. Today's younger generatation don't follow the traditions, they are open minded. I have hopes on them.

Rauf said...

Yes Ruth they are called 'Bhangis'.
Details of them are too shameful for me to write as children read this blog and comments.

As long as their plight and misery exists India can be called a backward country, a dark subcontinet. We may launch satellites, make nuclear weapons and flood the world with our software brains, We may invade the west with our wisdom through our Guru's sawamis and sages, we are indeed a backward country. This is the reason why I am up against these gurus and swamies and philosphers who go to Europe and US looking for dollars making abosolutely no effort towards social reforms badly needed here.

Japanese and Germans are sitting here to buy organic food products.
the whole of India is a potential gold mine.
Food is exported to rich Gulf countries. There is money in exports. Big time farming by large companies is going on using modern methods and sophisticated equipment. Government encourages foreign exchange coming in. Western countries apply pressure to import food. you can see the irony here. We export food and we import food. The result is death of the poor farmer.

Rauf said...

Claudia, i agree with you. We have to solve our own problems without seeking help. Help is more imports. Globalisation clearly means more business and more money for already rich countries. It may do little good for developing countries. In the longer run we will be completely dependant on food imports, more money for richer countries. We have already discussed GM food being dumped on developing nations in my environment series. Things are going from bad to worse for the local farmers throughout the developing world, not just in India. Since Indian economy is based on Agriculture, Indian farmer is worst affected.

ruth said...

At Christmastime a farmer down the road from us was killed when one of his bulls trampled his head. He was 80-something and loved his cattle. Farming is a very hard life, and your wishes for safety for them and their families is very appropriate. Add on to those inherent dangers the factors you've listed in this post that pertain to India, and it boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

hi Rauf, i am lost for words, whole families commit sucide my heart aches for them, a great post and wonderful photos, thank you my friend for this x

drunk punk said...

took the liberty of pinchin' one of yer pics. a few of me blogmates wander by but more haven't yet n they're missin out so I've give 'em a nudge to pop over n say hello. hope yer don't mind. take care mate.

Anonymous said...

Oh these are really stunning. I love the ones you found from 25 years ago. Your life has had many interesting journeys and observations Rauf. It is a pleasure to know you.

We all need to have a vision to deal with farmers...if we don't farm we all will not be able to eat...yet our totalitarian agriculture is also killing the planet. We need to learn to grow food in the cities with each other and trade to survive maybe?

I buy only from small local organic farmers...it takes more time, but at leaast we know the animals are not suffering. I only eat vegetables and try to avoid the dictatorship and slavery associated with growing grains and rice...they are worse than veges and no or little nutritional value.


We can eat less and share more. Roseanne Barr the comedian made a good point "half the world is starving and the other half is on a diet".


Excellent photos Rauf, you are a man speaking for many of us, thank you!

I love to hear what you are learning what you have learned and to study your thoughts!

Candy

Anonymous said...

Awhe awhe awhe – dearest Rauf, time flies!!!
It feels it’s only been a couple of days that I have been here to visit.
What an outstanding post.

I am not sure about priests or others, but when I pray to God and give thanks for my food on the table - I am selfishly thinking about my own good fortune and that of those sharing in the “plenty”, I shall also think back the food chain to its source and sent blessings to all involved.

We are very fortunate to have individuals like yourself that bring to the fore the plight of minorities.
It happens that our farmer suffer much the same fait – incredible as it sounds. Perhaps not as many suicides, but here is the bakers the re-posses (for defaulting loans that a freeze in the winter or lack of rain in the summer brought on) the farm equipment, and land because half the family had to leave the land for the city to make a living…
A lot of smaller farmers today actually have a full time job in the city and farm “after hours”, to their advantage (?), there is no such thing as 365 days of sunshine in this part of the world…. J

You know? The same kind of farming you refer to, is making its way into our lives also here, there is a name for it, I cannot recall, but we haven chosen a film for the Social Justice Film Festival on that very same topic.
An example of another situation was that for a number of years Monsanto has literally terrorized farmers to buy their genetically modified seeds, taking them to court to stop them from using their very own!!!
They would fly over the farms I survey the progress of farmer’s crops and go from there! Imagine such a criminal act! Yet, they have been “winning” up until recently - as the tide began to somewhat change with the renaissance of “organic” foods…
We are having the same kind of problems – albeit – in different ways. There is a lot of poverty around this parts too, but it IS hidden by glossy pictures of happiness and abundance… what saves as all, is a socialist government system that is set up to help (almost) everyone in need.
It is a necessity of this climate also to have such safe guards as one may fall a sleep outside on a cold, cold day and never wakeup…

Gratefully, for the great heart you have
Lots of love and hugs


PS.: You are teaching me to love India as my own...

Rauf said...

Dear Ruth, I have not even listed a fraction of the miseries and pain the farmers have to endure. There is something called 'bonded labour' which in other words is a slave till death. governmet passed this bonded labour abolition act in 1976 but the practice still continues. Bonded labourer's wife and children too are the property of the land owner. The son and daughter is not free to walk away. they become slaves automatically after the parents become too old to work and after they die. can you imagine this happening in the modern age ? And we are emerging as world economic power. We are launching satellites, we make nuclear weapons and we are software giants. What an irony !

Rauf said...

HER INDOORS, globalisation and bending to the pressures of richer countries has hit the farmer below the belt, they can't afford belts anyway. More and more farmers are migrating to the cities. Farmers are steadily losing their lands because they are not able to pay back the loans.

Hope you enjoyed your holiday in Tunisia HER INDOORS

Rauf said...

Neil, you don't have to ask, I am compiling an album and uploading them so that my blog friends can use the pictures without asking me. I am still sorting them out, hopefully I'll upload them in photo bucket in a couple of weeks

thanks so much for your support Neil, I very badly need it.

Rauf said...

Thank you Candy, all my Himalayan trekking pictures are in slides, too cumbersome to scan them, just scanned a few.

We committed a blunder on page one Candy, I explained what is page one in one of the posts in my environment series. It was like clicking on a wrong link and all the subsequent pages that appear are all wrong directions, all pop up windows offering different gods different philosopies all went wrong. Farming itself was a bad idea resulting in destruction of forests. I had cited an example of yosemite national park in one of the posts in the series, where native Indians were shot and killed
for defying the prohibition on hunting elks and what happened after that.

today Cities are expanding on Agricultural lands, city of Bangalore is a bad example, Politicians have no vision. they are allowing the city to grow. Now fresh agricultural lands have to be created, that comes at the expense of the forests. What a loss! there is no point in planting trees to create artificial forests, if you have time please read the post on artificial forests.

Rauf said...

Dearest Angeldust, funniest thing, they are not a minority. they form a vast majority in India and yet they have no voice. Our politicians need their votes to come to power. Thankfully they are allowed to vote. elections are one big joke in India Angeldust. You'll roll on the floor laughing.
Armed thugs come and capture the polling booths. cops just stand there and watch, there are cases of cops helping the thugs. Ballot boxes are stolen, these poor guys are stuffed into trucks like cattle and taken to polling booths and threatened to vote for their party, poor guys may get 10 rupees each (25 cents) in return. now its costlier. Politicians go and make promises in election speeches get votes and ditch these poor people once they come to power.
Just for an eyewash they come up with welfare schemes which are half implemented or not implemented at all. But here in Tamil Nadu things are taken seriously as the farmer community is pretty vocal. they will burn the whole state to ashes.

If I start telling you the stories of our elections you will beg me to stop, you will not have any more strength to laugh. They are so funny. I have to tell you about horse trading Angeldust..
Elected members of the parliament are up for sale. they are sold like slaves in the open market, can you beat that ? You can buy a politician in India Angeldust! hahaha! What sense can you expect from these people ?

Anonymous said...

Rauf: Youa re right. City life can shatter a village dreams as well. When people find a different lifestyle they want to have it too. I remember as a teenager wearing half-sarees, but its almost gone from vilalges and city girls. Everbody wnats to wear a salwar or something else.

Its a good post and it brought back my village memories. I still have my relatives and my dad's friends out ther.

Anonymous said...

am backseee!

L.L. Barkat said...

Rauf, stunning as usual. Have you read the work of Vandana Shiva?

I thought it was amusing that the people laughed over your photos. It seemed to make sense though, like as if someone came and photographed your camera. You might think, "what's so interesting about that?"

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. There are a lot of farmers and ranchers from my home state who suffer as we import more and more. Thankfully, some campains to buy wheat and beef products from our own state are helping.

Seems like the government could help out a little bit by providing some (not very technical) more modern equipment to the farmers along with education to the community for the upkeep of the machines?

Rauf said...

Priya, I don't watch Tamil and Hindi films, I find them very crude. My friends say films are improving now. However crude and absurd they may be, these films provide a few hours of entertinment for the poor millions.
They give a unique kind of comfort to the suffering people. They forget their miseries for a few hours. These crude and absurd films have always promoted national unity and religious harmony, which the politicians gurus and bhagwaans failed to do.
These poor people dream of a life like our Hero and the Heroines.

What you say about lifestyle is quite true Priya. these people have dreams too.

I don't see half saree Paavadai davani any more. It used to be so elegant. I remember Monahan girl's high school's uniform, white blouse white skirt and pink pavadai, it was beautiful, now they changed it to Punjabi.

Rauf said...

OWEEE Mystic Rose, good to see you back, How was your Fishing holiday in Alaska ?

Rauf said...

YES LLB, there was some good entertainment some good laughs for a couple of hours. They said only movie stars get photographed, I said you people are more important to the country than the movie stars. I don't know they understood my half kannada and half Tamil. I was a big clown for them.

Rauf said...

Hi Snowbug, welcome to Daylight again.

Education is free for them. You have no idea how much money is wasted during the elections. Its so easy for the government to provide simple tools to the farmers. Though we have more freedom of expression in india than anywhere else in the world, this freedom is more misused than used here. the media is shoddy and irresponsible at times resulting communal riots in which only the poor of all communities suffer the most with loss of life and damage to the property. Fields are burnt to ashes in communal hatred. Entire village is burt to ashes. People women and children are charred to death. this happens every day in India. such atrocities are committed by the higher cast people to keep this low cast community in its place.
these are the major issues which have to be addressed before we improve the methods of farming. Believe me Snowbug, the government run by the high cast people is least bothered about it.

e2d said...

Hi Rauf! Hope you are doing great.
What a post to read on republic day! "India lives (and sometimes dies)in her villages"...

Here is a coincidence.I was away the last few days and you know where I was? I was visiting some farms and talking to the farmers here (project work). For many farming is a part-time occupation.Came across a few who seemed to be filthy rich..one even owned two helicopters!They are called "gentlemen farmers" around here. Wonder who and why they got this name.
Anyways, amazing contrast-your post and my visit.

Rauf said...

good to hear about farmers doing well e2dees.

rachel said...

That's an amazing post! It's too bad this type of information is not broadcast for everyone to see. I wish we lived in an honest world. I think it was Thoreau who said, "You're only as rich as what you can live without." You have proven that these are among the richest people in the world, despite their hungery tummies. If Americans would stop eating beef and pork, there would be enough grain to feed the entire world many times over on just US crops. Then, these wonderful farmers would be able to think about other things like, how to spread their joy around the world.

Rauf said...

Hi Rachel, How you've been, I was thinking of Asking Ruth for your mail ID just last night and here you are !

You are absolutely right Rachel, we just think that we are in an honest world. We are not. We humans committed blunders on page one.
Believe me Rachel, poverty makes no sense, but it exists. Our planet can feed twice the population of this world, its so rich and giving and yet those who bring food to our tables go hungry, lose their lands to banks and money lenders and often decide to commit suicide.

Typing very fast, as I am leaving for Kerala in another ten minutes, taking an early morning train. I'll be back on the 3rd

I wish you all the joy health and sunshine in your life Rachel.
lots of love.

Anonymous said...

:P

ari4u said...

Rauf,
This post connects the dots and completes the circle of life. The farmers grow food, we eat the food and we thank god for giving us the food. Someone forgot to thank the hardworking farmers who come in between god and us. Thanks for hitting us on the head with a brick.

I love the picture of the field with the egrets. They are not scared of humans i guess. Egrets here are very flippy, they fly away at the first sight of humans.


I see you migrated over to the new blogger and lost the names of people who commented. Dont worry, it will be okay with the next post. This is a bug with the migration toolkit.

rachel said...

my email is missrachelhart@yahoo.com

I've sent your blog to a friend that I think will appreciate it as well:)

namaste

Rauf said...

Been traveling a lot Aamir, noticed your comment just now, not keeping up with new posts. Hope you are fine Aamir.

Rauf said...

Thank you so much Rachel

nicole said...

I have not been to India yet, but spent time in Nepal where the villages share similar traditions and challenges. Your pictures are beautiful and the words are filled with perfect caption. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life and journey with the rest of the web-world.
happy every day.
namaste.

Rauf said...

Thank you Nicole,
Globalisation has really hit these poor farmers below the belt, large multinationals are buying big chunks of land and using modern farming equipment rendering the poor farm hands jobless. They are migrating to the cities in search of jobs or resorting to crime or prostitution. every day there is news of entire family committing suicides.

Do you have a blog Nicole, the link here says no profile found

all the best.
rauf

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Mansoor said...

Hi Vinay, I was actually searching the web for to make an article on pongal for my daughter,( we are in Dubai), after going through your web page I realized how much I missed those days, in my childhood we use to celebrate pongal (though I am a muslim) wiht our friends and it was all fun, thanks for bringing back those memories in me - I will be using your photos for the essay
my mail khan69_4@yahoo.com
Thank you

Mansoor said...

sorry for the mix up in the name