An MSP Farmer is an endangered entitled species who is resisting every attempt to make it head outside into the real world, removing its addiction to mammary of the State, whilst at the same time very aware of some ground truths and changes taking place around it. An MSP Farmer cannot be blamed for this fear of change, because she is surrounded by confusion sown in her head by people who are going to suffer even more, when decades of loot and scoot comes to an end.
An MSP Farmer is not representative of Indian Farmers. The simple fact that farm produce of all sorts continues to flow throughout India is proof enough. This includes marine produce, dairy farming, livestock for meat, cereals, pulses, vegetables, coffee, tea, spices, herbs, everything, and value-added products therein. If anything, the export of farm produce from India to the other countries in the world, has only gone up.
An MSP Farmer is like the member of an exclusive Club, squatting on land provided cheap or even grabbed free during Partition or presented by the Crown or by sucking up to the Badshah, to their ancestors, now suddenly being asked to pay taxes on profits. Also, to fall in line with the GST Chain, as well as provide title to female lineages. The Clubs are packing up in the Cities, and the Farms have spread all over the Country, often to better results.
An MSP Farmer is a tool in the hands of distant benami owners, often family members who have managed to lay their hands on real estate by hook or by crook or by kabootar trade, now discovering that the free lunch is over because the new Farm Laws enable Direct Benefit Transfers to the bank accounts of the registered owners of the land. This is one of the biggest problems being faced by benami land owners in MSP areas. Cash honeymoon is over.
An MSP Farmer cannot be blamed either. Change has arrived in MSP Dehat with a tight slap. Circumstances have turned his once fertile lands into chemical minefields. Generations have found solace in alcohol and narcotics. Bonded labour is not so easy to trap anymore. Huge houses built on homestead lands are expensive to maintain. The old fall-back of joining the Armed Forces is not as easy anymore since it requires modern skill sets and good physiques-in addition, more women are leaving to wear uniforms too, so the feudal mindset is in turmoil.
An MSP Farmer is stuck at the Gates of Delhi, because unlike his predecessors, he is unable to identify the real enemies – which include climate change. The MSP lands are not behaving as per the calendar anymore and this is something hunter-gatherers away from coastal areas historically have not been able to resolve except by conflict with others. The option of sweeping over the mountain passes to ravage, pillage and capture, are no longer available as they were to their ancestors.
Most of all, an MSP Farmer is unable to realise that he is a species headed for extinction, and the drum-beaters from within their own communities aided and abetted by others who would eat off their bones, hovering around them are actually pushing them deeper into a downward spiral, while the vultures gather to pick on their remains.
What is a solution for the present MSP Farmer impasse?
Instead of meeting MSP Farmers for discussions in Vigyan Bhavan, it may make more sense for the Government to go along with a representative group of a few thousand MSP Farmers on an all-India Real Farming Tour, to see what Real Farming is and how well it is doing. (This idea came out of a conversation with a retired IAS Officer who used to organise farmer tours, all expenses paid, in the best of Air Conditioned Transport, to visit successful farming in other States of India.)
The MSP Farmer is headed for extinction and does not know what all the other Farmers can see as clear as daylight.
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.