Home > Planetwatch > Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry!!!!

Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry!!!!

Yesterday, while browsing Google Earth, I was surprised to see large swathes of yellow and brown near my home in Kerala. My impression, from a ground zero perspective of our hometown had always been of uninterrupted verdure. The satellite image was a revelation. It clearly showed that concrete houses and pineapple plantations had supplanted trees and vegetation.

Over the past few years the landscape has changed much and so has the mindset of people. This is of course not a phenomenon limited to Kerala; one finds it everywhere. In most homes, children, after education, have migrated to cities leaving behind the old to tend the farmland. Meanwhile, exorbitant labour charges, scarcity of  fertilizers, vagaries of climate, poor yield and thinner margins have rendered farming unprofitable. While traders and middlemen rake in enormous profits, farmers are left high and dry with hardly an incentive to pursue agriculture. The downturn in farming has come at a time when burgeoning population has lead to unprecedented demand for real estate, especially within commutable radius of major cities.

The nonviability of agriculture coupled with skyrocketing real estate prices have tipped the scale, converting large tracts of farmland to commercial or housing complexes. Concrete, steel and glass have substituted chlorophyll. Gurgaon is the best example of this kind of skewed development. Farmers who sold their land to the real estate mafia became millionaires overnight, owning expensive cars and sprawling mansions. They now provide car rental and real estate services to the new landlords – call centres and multinational corporations.

The rapid deterioration in extent and quality of farmland is among the root causes for the high food prices, water scarcity and extreme temperatures that we face now. These problems can be overcome only by effectively addressing the underlying causes. Dharna’s, Bandh’s, Hartal’s and Rasta Roko’s does not answer the problem at all. However, with an opposition focused on booby trapping the government to derive every miserable political mileage, we are likely to listen to more high decibel rhetoric in the days ahead, with scant attention paid to the real issues.

We are right now teetering on the brink of several crises which can blow up big and hurt us badly, unless appropriate action is taken now. What is at stake is the survival of civil society. A food scarcity can quickly dissipate our civilizational pretenses, turning us into savages. The images of stampede that we see on TV when food packets are distributed during natural calamities could very well become the order of the day. To avert such a calamity, we need to come out of the coma induced by the daily dose of morbid scandals dished out by the political, Bollywood and cricket celebrities and recognize the issues that need urgent attention. Political parties must forget their differences and forge together workable plans to tackle the problems. The need of the hour is not partisanship but partnership.

Image courtesy:  http://www.sxc.hu/

Categories: Planetwatch
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: