The farmers agitating at one or five out of the 125-plus road entry points to Delhi may wish to look at two facts.
One, historically, a siege of Delhi has never succeeded, though Delhi has been plundered over the ages. The present blockade of some few roads into Delhi is being over-played to generate a hype across all parameters. No power on earth can stop people and commerce from moving in and out of Delhi.
Two, the farmer is only one of the few parts of the quintessential farm-to-form chain which has over a hundred components.
So our dear farmers need to reflect. And here I proceed to do the same, having been from a farming family where two generations before me lost farmland in the Punjab for various government-type reasons: First was grandparents at the time of Partition; Second was my father’s inability hold on to a farmland while simultaneously serving in the Armed Forces. I had spent enough time seeing my father and other relatives chase files to subliminally decide that farming wasn’t going to be my occupation.
Yet, by a stroke of luck, I joined a profession where I moved the farming essentials to finished farm produce and all points in between by all means of transportation: air, land and sea. Farm machinery, fertilisers, grains, pulses, refrigerated cargo, live animals, dairy, processed food etc. Gradually, my idea of a good holiday was to visit real farm to food entities.
Hence I offer a few anecdotal values which could sober up you, the agitating farmers, beefed up by people of all kinds, ideologies and agenda.
Anecdote One: I used to represent a livestock carrier company moving male animals for slaughter from Australia and New Zealand to Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf. From Day One, the shepherds & farmers knew who the end consumers were, what exactly they wanted, and delivered as per specifications. Reflect: It was the customer who was supreme and right down to the type of feed and ancestry of the animals—everything was to commercial considerations.
Anecdote Two: Farms in Madhya Pradesh grow lower output of wheat per acre than in Punjab. They also use lesser fertiliser per acre than do their counterparts in Punjab. Goats have now replaced cows and buffaloes. Their land also remains fertile for longer periods. MP-Sharbati wheat is now the go-for generic all over India, even in homes in Punjab. Reflect: How did this happen?
Anecdote Three: Pigs go on hoof from Punjab to different parts of India for processing. This tends to increase the costs so much, that importing processed pork from far-away USA and Canada is cheaper. Reflect: Why is pig farming not catching on in areas closer to where pork is consumed in India? The answer lies in the monopoly that a certain family has or now had in boar semen from Canada for distribution in India.
The point I am making is simple: The farmer is not a stand-alone entity to decide what is good for the Nation. Root Cause Analysis takes one to a simple conclusion – follow the money. I choose to ignore politics and religion in my analysis but certainly shall take inputs where the money uses religion as a front.
The agitating farmers need to reflect: Are farmers from Punjab buying land elsewhere and shifting out of Punjab? Or. Are farmers from elsewhere buying land in Punjab and shifting to Punjab? That’s the first reality check.
Reflect on the credibility of your so-called leaders of the agitation. Are these champions in reality on the fringes of democracy here?
Reflect: There are 125-plus entry-exit road points to Delhi. Add rail and Metro. There are 100s of steps from Farm-to-Folk. And the Rest of India is certainly self-sufficient in food.
Food Security is as important as External and Internal Security. The role of the Punjabis of Indian-origin or rest of the world is not to be denied or denigrated here. Our Punjabi ancestors have lost too much in the past in the hope of better times for their next generations. They can’t be put to blackmail by a handful of misguided elements. More so, when India won’t go hungry only because you are agitating. There is ample food security in India.
So, if you still wish to block Delhi, go ahead. Block 1, 5 or whatever entries you could. Worse invaders have tried and failed to destroy Delhi. Why not sit across the table and discuss?
Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.
A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago.