Farmers have understood that the only way for getting media attention is to do something sensational
It has been a season of discontent for India’s farmers.
It began when farmers in Tamil Nadu staged a 23-day protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office in New Delhi demanding debt relief as their crops were ruined by a drought last year. To draw attention to their plight, they wore human skulls and conducted mock funerals.
Since then the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra witnessed a wave of protests, where farmers emptied milk containers and dumped vegetables on the road. Things escalated even further in June this year when at least six people were killed as police fired at the protesters in Mandasur.
Ramon Magsaysay awardee, journalist, and Founder Editor of PARI (People’s Archives of Rural India) P Sainath has played a prominent role in bringing out issues pertaining to inequalities existing in the agricultural sector for years now.
The Manipal Journal had the chance to interact with Sainath for an exclusive interview with relevance to his video, “Why are our farmers angry?”, and his views on the agrarian crisis. In the following two parts excerpted below, we bring to you the veteran journalist’s views:
Are loan waivers a solution to the crisis?
A loan waiver is never a solution, and nor are the farmers telling you so. They are asking for loan waivers because they are unable to bear the debt burden. Loan waivers were frequently resorted to in Colonial British India, and in those days unlike now, it was much more serious because there wasn’t a nationalised banking system. It was all private loans. The media, which attacks loan waivers, do they ever mention to you in the same breath that 75 percent of the non-performing assets of those nationalised banks are bad debts of top corporations of this country? From Part 1. Read more >>
Assertion of democratisation is necessary to eradicate the inequality in the agricultural sector
I don’t think the government had any intention of implementing these promises. The National Commission on Farmers (NCF) headed by Dr. Swaminathan, provided four volumes of a report and a draft policy on the farm crisis. These volumes are lying in the parliament since 2006-07. Ten years have passed; neither has the parliament conducted a discussion on this, nor had the media ever addressed the same. From Part 2. Read more >>