”ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಮಿರರ್ ” ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಾ ನಂದಕುಮಾರ್ ಲೇಖನ

                                                        Land and sense of belonging
By Prathibha Nandakumar,
                                                                                                             Bangalore Mirror| May 10, 2015,
Land and sense of belonging
Mahadeva has strong reservations against the land bill
The Land Acquisition Bill has divided the nation into those batting for it and those opposed to it. Writer activist Devanuru Mahadeva criticises the bill and hopes that finally justice will prevailFor all those secure in their urban homes, jobs and opted lifestyles, it is difficult to imagine the plight of a farmer whose land has been snatched away from him.He has nowhere else to go and knows nothing but farming. What happens when you throw stones at the nest, shoo away the birds, smash the eggs and then talk about conserving the environment?
The consequences of passing the Land acquisition bill is something akin to it, argue the farming fraternity of the country. Writer and activist Devanuru Mahadeva has strong sentiments against the Bill.
“Remember what Modi said before the elections? He said if we come to power we will make zero the farmers’ suicide. His party members reverberated the mantra throughout the country. It lured the voters and Modi became the Prime Minister. The man who had assured that he would nullify farmers’ suicide is bringing in Land Acquisition Bill! A farmer is a farmer only by his land. If you snatch away his land, he is no more a farmer.
Only when a man who has land commits suicide it becomes a farmer’s suicide, if he has no land, it can no longer be termed farmer’s suicide! This is the strategy of this government to make zero the number of farmers’ suicide.”
Mahadeva echoes the thoughts of farmers in another strong metaphor.
“In India land is like a tree. Birds, animals and man construct their life around it. An acre of land can sustain the lives of not only the farmer’s family but also of several others indirectly. Such is the life of rural community. This is our culture and our identity. Those who are rushing to bring in the Land Acquisition Bill are insensitive towards such things,” he says.
He compares it to the land laws implemented by the British.
“The British brought in such laws as we were slaves to them. But I fail to understand how our own men, our representatives can be so desensitised to our rural community. It is treating humans worse than animals. According to this Bill, if a land is not utilised for the purpose it is acquired for it will not be returned to the farmers! It is clearly a case of real estate mafia. This is treachery at its worst,” he says.
Devanuru uses colourful language to critique the state of affairs.
“You know, once upon a time, at the royal courts there used to be dancers. They would dress up and perform to please the kings. Currently, the likes of Ambani, Adani and such industrialists have become kings and our Prime Minister and his ministers have become like the ones who dress up to dance to their tunes,” he says.
Devanuru alleges that all the capitalists have to do is indicate with their toes, and the ministers are happy to pick it up and make it into laws.
“In fact, ministers of all states are waiting anxiously, rubbing their palms, eager to please the ‘lords’. This is the tragedy of our country, the nexus between politicians and capitalists putting up a grand performance. Where does it end? Amidst scores of slums if one rich mahal is built and the GDP is declared based on an average then the slum dwellers are also declared millionaires! Even when the slum residents have nothing to eat! If we do not wake up and rectify this absurd and uneven distribution of wealth, our country will become a nation for flesh tourism. This is most cruel, immoral and we cannot accept it. Those who call our country “mother” should realise it and stop it.”
Mahadeva has coined a new term to describe the private sector. “It has become a caste now! It also leads to inhuman tendencies. Urbanisation too is falling pray to the castewise division of extensions. The real estate ‘lords’ control land acquisition. If the government really needs a particular land for a specific purpose the farmer will give it, we have no problem with it. But when the land is snatched from a farmer and handed over to real estate and not used for its intended purpose, then there is danger,” he says.
Of late, as a consequence of open market policy, we see a lot of food items being both imported and exported. Mahadeva describes the situation as “volatile.”
“Food war is worse than armed war. It is the cruelest and most inhuman of wars ever. Not many realize that sometimes food is imported at a cost ten times more than producing it here. If only our government reaches out to the problems of farmers and respond to them we can definitely hope for survival. If not doom is certain. Every citizen of our country has the responsibility of making Modi avoid getting a title of ‘Trader of Motherland’.”
When it is brought to his notice the many surveys that indicate that farmers don’t want their children to continue their in the profession and would rather prefer they seek jobs in the corporate sector, he brushes it aside and says, “It is a common feeling among all professionals; no clerk or coolie or paurakarmika or for that matter anyone doing physical labour want their children to have the same life. More than 80 per cent of the people want their children to have better lives. Hence don’t make it specific to the farming community.”
The bill was slated for passing on Friday but was deferred to next week.
Devanuru hopes ‘justice will prevail’.
Amen to that.