Saturday, September 5, 2009

India's Farmers TLTL -- Too Little Too Late

New York, NY
September 5th, 2009
7:32 am
Comment #17
New York Times
Chennai, Tamil Nadu India
September 5th, 2009
10:13 am

India TLTL -- Too Little Too Late

I have just returned to my teaching job in New York after three months conducting research in India. I traveled by bus and second class sleeper coaches on the Indian Railways and State buses, from Kerala to Kashmir, as I do twice a year, every year.

Caste-driven Psychopath as Finance Minister:
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement, (see his quote in NYTimes link below), is criminally irresponsible). This is the same political psychopath who, during this Monsoon Session of the Lok Sabha said \"In order to distribute wealth in India, we must first create it.\"

Mukherjee and his family undoubtedly eat at least three meals a day, grown mainly by India's impoverished, marginalized, landless sharecroppers.

Mukherjee represents that dominant pervasive caste ideology (he is a Brahmin) that derails at every step, any radical-progressive path to social justice for the poorest, most vulnerable, most hardworking Indians.

Cheating Our Farmers: Our Indian farmers, among our poorest, get virtually no assistance, in the form of usable, timely, inputs and price supports, from India's caste-driven political elites in govt. Suicides have long been disproportionately prevalent among our farmers.

Caste Mindset Foments Inequality:
Systemic Casteness, the root cause of India's entrenched socio-economic inequality, is pervasive throughout India, despite vigorous denial of this incontrovertible fact everywhere in India.

No Water/Food Security Policy:
India does not have a national enforceable policy of rainwater harvesting. All of Kerala's abundant monsoon, for example, runs off into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, after watering family fields.

Instead, that monsoon runoff in Kerala could become groundwater for the entire Southern grid. India has no fully articulated, benchmarked, accountability-driven, PRO-POOR food security or water security policy. India needs to speedily develop and enforce a water security policy in which unused monsoon rains become groundwater. Failure to conserve water must become a criminal offence, starting with our criminally negligent netas, both politicians and civil service bureaucrats with their guaranteed lifetime jobs.

Caste, Corruption, Apathy: Caste ideology combines with corruption-ridden, feudal and postcolonial dependency mindsets, to deliver a vast middleclass and dominant-caste apathy towards the masses of the poor. This caste ideology is so powerful that it has shown itself to be capable of recruiting across the social spectrum -- example, self-styled Dalit-ki-beti Mayawati of Uttar Pradesh who recently developed delusions of dominant-caste grandeur and wasted millions of taxpayer rupees to construct statues of herself across her state which leads in illiteracy, hunger and unemployment. That's caste performance and it punishes the poorest.

This blighted mindset makes it almost impossible to address food/water security issues using effective practical, commonsense strategies

The Drought/Flood Industry: Let's take India's desperate water insecurity. To be sure, there are monsoon shortfalls. But abundant monsoon years are not seen as periods of water conservation. Instead, heavy monsoons are bemoaned as floods, period of havoc and destruction. There is no concerted national policy fostering local community initiatives to dig wells and channels, sink borewells and distribute pumpsets, in anticipation of flood years.

Q.What makes a district droughted or flooded? Poor conservation, monoculture, loss of topsoil, reckless clearing of forest and tree cover. Droughts (and floods) for the most part are not naturally occurring events, not acts of nature, but the direct consequence of poor conservation, extraction, exploitation. Ideology becomes practice.

India therefore is not that much-touted India Inc. -- but India TLTL. Too Little Too Late. It's an ongoing tragedy.

Our unprecedented, deeply flawed democracy can and must do more for our most disadvantaged. Now not later.

Chithra Karunakaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright

Drought Puts Focus on a Side of India Left Out of ProgressBack to Article »

The crisis has underscored the problems facing Indian agriculture as the population expands at the same time that water resources come under greater pressure.

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