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To whom so ever it may concern Respected Sir, Sub: Request for a ray of hope amidst a dark decade of deaths

and suicides I am a citizen of this respectable democratic country called India. Democracy is defined varyingly by great eminent politicians and democrats of the world, of which one of the most famous is that a democracy is a government by the people, of the people and for the people. It is this definition of democracy which gave me a driving force to write this letter. I am writing this letter because I believe that it is never late to take step towards a constructive change. In the recent days from about a year long I have been feeling nausea and pain deep inside my brain. This I thought was initially due to over stress at work or due to some physical disorder. I underwent a thorough check up and to my surprise the reports were absolutely normal. Then I tried to find a solution to this problem. And found that the cause of my problem is in the food which I am taking. I was born in an orthodox Indian family where I am taught to pray Annadata Sukhibhava before every meal. Having developed a habit of reading the news paper I have regularly found a host of articles about deaths of farmers. This has, hence become the chief cause of my nausea and pain, which in sighted me to do a personal level study of the same. Such a study of mine rendered alarming results. I would therefore like to share those results in this letter and make a request for a root level change in our present day agricultural system to stop this dreadful situation. I would like to start with the long debated issue of importance of agriculture in the society. It is in fact a disgraceful situation that in a country like ours having a purely agrarian economy, we are still debating the importance of agriculture, rather accepting it. As our former prime minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi proclaimed, the basic amenities which anyone in this country should have are Roti kapada aur makan. The first in the row come roti or food, that very food which is the foundation on which each of us is building our dreamy lives. We however failed in giving equal importance to food and its producers. Today is a result of yesterday and tomorrow is a gift which depends on our actions today. So let us go back to our past and perceive how our great country India managed its agro based economy. GO BACK TO THE VEDAS is what Swami Dayananda Saraswati emphasized as a solution to problems of modern India. This sentence can be elaborated and interpreted as go back to the Vedas, learn the essence of balanced living and transform it as per the present day needs, to have

a brighter and balanced future. This is what we have to achieve ultimately, sustainable living. A way of living that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The people of Indus Valley civilization built water diversion schemes and practiced rainfall harvesting, a powerful technology that was brought to fruition by classical Indian civilization but nearly forgotten in the 20th century. Farmers produced significant agricultural surpluses from terraced, hillside rice paddies etc. They depended on the monsoon, a weather pattern in which the bulk of a year's rainfall occurs in a fourmonth period. To store water a series of massive reservoirs, hewn from solid rock and designed to collect rainfall are built. Let us consider more recent times viz., before British rule of India. The Mughal, Chera, Chola, Pandya , Pallva and Sher Sha all had a basic common feature of strong agricultural system. In fact the Gupta period of Ancient Indian History known as Golden Era had attained such a name because steps like removal of accumulated silt are taken up and agriculture flourished. Even during all these periods in Indian history famine and drought existed and dealt with effectively. Today dams and canal systems are there to deal with drought conditions. But still a suicidal tendency started among our farmers. What could have been the possible reason? Before going further let us enlist a few factors which lead to suicidal tendency in any normal average human being.

Uncertainty/ Being confused A steep decline in business or property loss Disgrace in job or carrier issue Repeated failure. Severe poverty Hopelessness Physical or verbal abuses. Being trapped in a negative situation or being blackmailed. Feeling helpless and lonely. Disappointment.

Being bullied. Low self-esteem. Thinking of not being able to reach no way near to the position expected in life. Long term indecision.

It may look irrelevant to see this kind of a list here. But a careful analysis will make it clear that all these factors exists in every Indian farmers life. Statistics say that uncertainty about future is predominant cause in most suicidal cases. The suicidal tendency which was not there in drought and famine conditions off past centuries cropped up in todays well designed system. This is because we have made the system completely unstable and unreliable. Farmers are being supplied by the government of very bad quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. It would be very good to mention very less about the transport and storage systems, which are still worst.

Taking historical information would help in understanding the importance of agriculture. Present day situations analysis will leave us with a host of information on death cases. Taking up the challenge and making a policy change right from the root will only help us in coping with the situation. Till now a common mans view of the situation is presented here. Now, I shall enlist possible solutions of the situation, which any general Indian would expect from the government.

Public Sector Agriculture First important point would be reduction of fear of farmers. Prior to Rao-Manmohan reforms of 1991 Government of India had many manufacturing and service sectors under its direct control. The most important primary sector of agriculture is always left to its fate. Now, it would be right to take up this important sector as public sector undertaking. This may look impossible considering the very large cultivated land in India. Still pilot projects can be taken up and experimented. This means that the government should Lease land from farmers

Employ them in their own land Pay wages Such an initiative would certainly remove the fear and uncertainty existing in farmers mind. The cost benefit ratio of such a project can be justified if compared to costs incurred in giving subsidies to farmers, providing loans at less interest rates, providing minimum rates of procurement and cancellation of debts in case of low crop. Corporate Agriculture Secondly it would be apt to encourage corporate spearheads to invest in direct agriculture rather than its end product. This could be explained in the following way. We have several multinational companies which are maintaining direct agricultural products in their retail markets. Certainly there are cases of corporate business firms hiring or leasing the crop. Now its time that emphasis should be placed on hiring the entire farm and farming process rather than its crop. Agriculture should be made corporate.

Adopting Agriculture This would be a similar initiative as mentioned above. The only variation would be that the previous one can be imposed by government and this would be taken up by the multinational companies by themselves. Today many villages in India are being adopted by NGOs, film stars, companies etc and many developmental activities are being made. But it would be worth to note that, chief economic resource in all those rural areas is mostly agriculture. If it is developed other developments will follow automatically.

Regional Agricultural Research Centers R & D activities always have their pivotal role to play in change and developmental initiatives. A real life experience shall be mentioned here. Once when I was travelling from Singrauli to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, I met a person who introduced himself as agricultural scientist grade 3. The first and the only important question I asked him during the brief talk with him was that, what are the new varieties of seeds he has

invented? As a general man of this country I believed that scientists invent new things for society. To my bewilderment he laughed at me and said that his daily routine mainly consists of interacting with farmers and explaining them how to use new varieties of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc and all the research which I was mentioning would take place only in select research centres of the country. These people are there to implement what all they are giving. My next question was that, if this is the case, then how would they know how a particular variety of seed will react in particular weather and soil condition. The answer was quite expected. The conditions would rather be simulated in labs or the new varieties would be sent to the various regions and there the scientists would encourage farmers to experiment with them and bear the consequences if they are negative, keeping their life at stake. After all if our first priority is roti itself and our economy are purely agrarian based, then we should invest more in it. Establishing regional research centres as per the weather and soil conditions is of utmost importance. This is because conditions in India vary not only between states but also between districts. Targets of achievable nature should be set to such research teams and performance related incentives should be given to encourage them rather than giving promotions and salary hikes based on experience and stagnation. Such initiation would help establishing cordial relationship between farmers and researchers, making the farmers more inclined to use new inventions. Also research could be directed towards finding ways to produce crops in drought and rugged areas. Ways of making uncultivable lands into cultivable lands should be found out. Inspiration should be drawn from countries like Japan, where due to non availability of land people are doing irrigation on ships and building roofs. We are bestowed with a vast stretch of land making us the seventh largest country in the world and still we are unable to utilize our complete land resources. It is said that more than 25% of countrys revenue is used for military maintenance and research. Equally important is agriculture. Let us remember words of our former prime minister Lal Bahaddur Sastry, who clearly stated JAI JAWAN, JAI KISAN.

Agricultural Brain Drain India produces more than thousand bio technology graduates every year. Still a common notion exists in every other persons mind that anyone taking biotechnology as their area of study will have good opportunities only in the foreign countries. Such a typical brain drain should be stopped by giving the right form of vocation to all those enormous number of students. This would go in line with the previous step and makes every patch of land in the country cultivable.

Peoples Benefit- Cost Ratio India is still drawing more than 50% of its GDP from agriculture and related activities. If this is the truth then we cheating ourselves in the name of diversification and investing more in other sectors than in agriculture directly. I am certainly not against diversification but the point I would like to make is that diversification doesnt mean neglecting the backbone of our economy and running towards unknown avenues. It is high time to realize that a system becomes paralytic without backbone. We should be able to set our priorities in the right way. Any investment the government takes up would be justified by a benefit cost ratio. Now it is time that a peoples benefit-cost ratio analysis should be conducted for projects. This means that the total number of people being benefited directly by the project versus the cost involved should be analyzed. Emphasis should be laid on people getting directly benefitted because many indirect benefits can be drawn from any project to any person. (airport should not be taken up by govt. instead shud be taken up by pvt. Sector) Food Crisis India always followed the way of the world, rather than controlling it. As an example we can say that we have invited numerous number of software companies into the country, but never tried to analyze the direct benefits which the processes in the country inherited from them. This would lead to debates like it increased employment, purchasing capacity, foreign exchange reserves etc which we derived from software sector encouragement. All that argument is certainly acceptable, but that doesnt mean

we should leave what we are based on. This will make us a dependent country as it can be visualized from the recent economic depression. Now the point I am trying to establish here is that similar benefits of foreign exchange and employment can be drawn from improving agriculture also. To understand this let us analyse the oil crisis in the world. These situations lead to increase in wealth of oil rich gulf countries. Similarly India is bestowed with rich fertile soils and many rivers. A statistic data of world food needs would make it clear that the world is ought to face a food crisis within very few years. In lieu of all these conditions, it would be wise to use the resources, given by generous mother nature to our country and increase our production capacities. This will not only make the country rich in terms of foreign exchange and self sufficient in food reserves but also increases it control and power over all the countries of the world. After all the most important thing to any citizen of any country is primarily food and everything else comes next. The hydraulic despotism hypothesis of the origin of urban civilization states that cities could not have arisen without irrigation systems capable of generating massive agricultural surpluses. If this hypothesis is accepted, let us see its vice-versa. If massive agricultural surpluses are not generated urban civilizations would decline. Other important and most widely accepted issues for success of any project like effective planning, strict implementation, strong control, efficient quality control and all other similar and general solutions need no special mention here.

Conclusion As Lalu Prasad Yadav rightly described, India is country where eatables are sold on road and shoes are sold in Air Conditioned shops. In such a country balance could be achieved only through a holistic and complete change of existing system and the policies. Less emphasis has been laid on the statistics of the situations here, as statistics would be available readily. We are in need of innovative and thought provoking ideas, but not mere data and statistics. Some or all of these steps might have been taken up by the government in the same way or some other similar way. But the bare truth is that we are still failing and farmers are

still dying. Conflict will never yield solutions. So I am writing this letter neither to blame the existing policies nor to quarrel nor to revolt. I am writing this to inform humbly to the biggest democratic government of the world that a sense of disease and insecurity has cropped up among our crop producers, which is leading to a huge number of suicides in the recent years and I am very sure that if this situation continues, this fear of uncertainty will creep into every other man of the country and every one will start having ambiguity of getting food. Imports and other steps may handle the situation for a little while but that would last only for a decade or at best two. If a solution to root cause is not taken up very soon this fear of uncertainty of future will lead to suicides of common men other than farmers also and finally turning this largest democracy of the world into the largest graveyard of the world.