Farmers Rising in Shahpur, India

Published: 23 January 2019 > India

Last January 19th, as part of the OBR campaign, Jagori Grameen organised the event titled Jashn-e-Samvidhan Jashn-e-Kisan (celebrate constitution- celebrate the farmers)

650 women and men farmers gathered in Shahpur to celebrate farmers and their rights enshrined in the Constitution. The farmers and speakers in unison spoke about the disastrous impact on agriculture as well as on the health of the land and the forests due to the increasing   chemicalisation and corporatisation of the land and the forests.  The market oriented agriculture policies, use of chemical frtiliser and pesticide have destroyed the sustainable agriculture practices of the farmers form the Himalayan region. Sukhdev Vishwapremi- working on Dalit rights spoke on the effects of the Green Revolution and their demand for equal land distribution to all women and men farmers. Lal Hussain, a social activist spoke about the rising discrimination along religious and caste lines infiltrating the Muslim nomadic shepherds thus destroying the age old practices of pastoral migration, livelihood related to the production of milk and its related products that were part of their sustainable economy.  today the there is complete industralisation of all their products and the packaging industry has eroded the social and cultutral relationships as each individual came to their doorstep to buy the products and kinship system was built around it. Upamanyu Ji – a well-known environmentalist, Gandhian and a social activist, shared his extensive knowledge about tradition agricultural practices and the challenges facing the farmers of a very fragile himalayan region. He urged the farmers to go back to traditional farming. He gave excellent examples of bio diversity in the area and how food, medicinal use and the regeneration of the land are interlinked.  He like the earlier speakers talked extensively about the deadly effect of Marketing of seeds by corporate companies, the poisonous fertilisers and pesticides.

Abha Bhaiya, the OBR National Coordinator spoke about the relationship of the land and the women and our exploitative approach to both. While women are the back bone of the rural economies and play most significant role in food production, cattle raising and feeding the family, they are never seen or counted as farmers she emphasized that women cannot be over burdened with all this work without men sharing the work equally.  Similarly with mono culture and poisoning of the land, we need to come back to celebrate the fertility of the land and give her back its regenerating power. Both women and the land need revitalization and required rest. The next speaker Himanshu Ji, a committed activist and the leader of some very significant  peoples movements,  also spoke about  how today’s  farmers and the agriculture both are undergoing a very dangerous decline. He also shared how there is rising food insecurities due to the industrialization that undermines farmers’ access to food security.

As part of this very vibrant programme the farmers that Jagori has been working with more than a decade also shared their experiences with natural farming and their views on the dangers of privatization and chemical farming.

The programme was dotted with songs and skits on the theme of natural farming by women from the Jagori field area. and the colourful banners added to the success of the event. A lot of slogan shoutign enthused the audience.  Overall, it was a day of learning and sharing, raising commitment to organic farming.

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