At a time when the country is facing farmer protests in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, P. Sainath, journalist and founding editor of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) has laid bare the facts which have given rise to the current situation.
In a video, Sainath has pointed out how it is more important for us to not focus on the events per se, but try and figure out the real causes of the agrarian crisis in India. “It is essential to look beyond the empirical evidences provided by pro-government think tanks and to empathise with the farmers,” he said.
Sainath talked of how farmers have their own specific problems which need to be highlighted.
He pinpointed issues that have been bothering the Indian agrarian scene for quite some time now. “Loan waivers are only a tool and not a solution for the problems of the farmers”, he said, adding that Genetically Modified (GMO) crops are not something that would suit the Indian context.
Sainath also brought to light on a new trend – the farmer protests have taken place in relatively prosperous areas. For instance, the agitation in Maharashtra occurred in Nashik, and not in Marathwada and Vidarbha. He put a lot of stress on the farmer suicide issue, clearly stating that it requires targeted focus of the government. Sainath suggested a ten day session of the Parliament dedicated completely to this issue.
In the 90-minute long video, P Sainath questioned the betterment in the agricultural sector that the government had promised. He remarked at the futility of advertisements in newspapers that laud the government for its commendable efforts.