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Jayas Green - Dr.Jaya Kurhekar
Education | Nature | Health | Many More


It almost seems like a dream today, but about sixty years back, Maharashtra state in India, had many self-sufficient villages! Every farmer in the village grew at least ten to fifteen types of various grains and cereals, available throughout the year, in variable amounts. They had huge kiosks full of jaggery syrup and jaggery. Liquid money wasn’t much available freely but wasn’t even required so dearly! Every transaction would take place through the exchange of grains and cereals. Slowly, groundnuts came to the fore, as cash crop and slowly cotton exited from the region of Marathwada. In order to have some money in hand, for festivals and the expenses following them, udid dal and lentils were grown as cash giving crops. Ground nuts were sown and reaped on such a large scale that even the laborers working in the fields, had one or two jute bags of groundnuts, in their homes, throughout the year! In those times, Maharashtrian families would add groundnut flour to all their curries, making them tasty and delicious. During lunch and dinner, they would consume baskets full of roasted groundnuts, a specialty of Maharashtrian food!
Enough jowar and other grains for the whole family, throughout the year, enough food for the cattle, enough money to buy new clothes at least twice annually during festivals, for the whole family, was the minimum requirement and expectation of a Maharashtrian farmer. People were happy, satisfied and content in those times, with minimum requirements.
The fields were lined with mud boundaries, which boasted of Mango (Mangifera indica), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and Jamun (Syzygium cumini) trees; wells had Bel (Aegle marmelos), peepal (Ficus religiosa), Ramphal (Annona reticulata) trees surrounding them; Umbar (Ficus racemosa ), Gondan (Cordia myxa) and Bhokar (Cordia dichotoma) trees on the banks of streams; Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) and Babhul (Acacia nilotica) trees in green pastures grown for cattle; one or two cash crops, Jowar (Syricum granum), Bajra (Pennisetum glaucum ), oil seeds and other cereals in green fields, was a very common sight and all were commonly available. Prosperity prevailed everywhere. Human beings, pets, domestic animals, other animals and creatures in nature were lucky to obtain anything they needed from the surrounding environment!
But as they say, every good thing has to end sometime! This pleasant picture transformed gradually. In 1972, Maharashtra faced severe famine and all prosperity collapsed. Western winds transformed cities and villages. Habits and concepts of eating and sowing changed. Groundnuts were replaced by hybrid jowar, which grew rapidly and in large amounts. The soil land available for sowing of jowar constricted. Rotis made from hybrid jowar could not satisfy hunger. Cattle wouldn’t eat the remains of hybrid jowar crop. Even though farmers consumed stomach full of rotis, before going to the fields routinely, they would be hungry again even before reaching. Cattle treasure decreased. The same farmers, who prepared their own seeds for the next sowing, and their own natural fertilizers, started depending heavily on hybrid seeds and chemical fertilizers. They started borrowing and begging for money required for buying these. A lot of wild type original crops of tur, ambadi, varai, sesame seeds, flex seeds, bhagar, kardai, disappeared slowly.
Ropes and clothes required routinely started being manufactured from nylon. Number of sugar factories increased. Sugarcane fields started occupying maximum space, with a great thirst for water. The environment was full of the smells of bagass and spent sugar. People got addicted to crude alcohol, available cheaply. The concepts of name, fame and greatness changed. Hybrid jowar appeared with a flourish, in a very short time and disappeared with the same speed. But whatever time it was existing, it weakened humanity and animals. Soybeans appeared on the horizon, with a lot of government concessions and donations. It flourished, replacing jowar and bajra. Food patterns changed. Wheat and rice started being imported from other states. The same farmer, who at a time had a lot of variety in his agricultural products, started producing just a single, monotonous produce. Soybean wasn’t very popular locally, for consumption. Initially, with three to four bags of jowar available at home, it could be consumed in various forms, in emergency. With the exit of jowar from the agricultural scenario, that support was lost!
Everything changed, including feeds for fields and food for children but nutritional values and biodiversity depleted. Ecological cycles and biological texture of soils collapsed, because of continuous flocking of fields with chemical fertilizers. Dung manure decreased because cattle decreased. As a result, water retention capacity of the soil decreased. The chances of all produce going waste, because of a single crop produce or all produce going waste, because of over production and costs getting crashed, increased. As is the condition today, sugar production has increased but tur or lentil crops have disappeared.
All above reasons and changing life styles led to increased suicides of farmers. Farmers started losing self esteem and self confidence, in the want of concessions and government help! Old parents and old cattle started being avoidable. A common man’s life was disturbed because of the bad influence of politics in every field of life!
Vices like alcohol and tobacco addictions, internal fights, jealousy corroded the villages. Farming and agriculture were neglected. Farmers were caught between the two blades of a vicious scissor namely moody nature and clever market management. A farmer started selling his mother – the black earth. It was bought by politicians and businessmen. Common man transported to cities. Agriculture was in jeopardy because laborers were not available. People lost all compassion for farmers.
Trees have depleted; canals and springs have dried up; wild life has disappeared; sweet tweets of sparrows have been replaced by loud roars of Dolby, assurances by politicians, bribery and corruption. Agricultural land is getting barren; farmers are disappointed and miserable whereas the remaining are non-bothered!
Today, a situation has come when people pay a sumptuous tip to the waiters in a hotel but they wouldn’t pay for onions, if they are priced high.
On this background, the government has beckoned to all Indians for a second green revolution. Though, one cannot but wonder, for whom and how this green revolution will take place?
Farmers’ children are not interested in agriculture, but are more interested in being around politicians, spending the whole day passing time and returning home late at nights. On whose responsible shoulders will this second green revolution rest? Who will take the initiative - corrupt servants, directionless education system, social media or sleeping society?
Can anyone find a way out?
Undisciplined people, who have severed their relations with black soil, cannot be expected to bring about the green revolution. Agricultural training must be made compulsory for every citizen of the country. There may be some chances of revival then!!!
                                             Picture will change, if mindsets change!!!

                                                                                                               Dr Mrs. Jaya Vikas Kurhekar

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