I hope you had the chance to read about Finolex’s #SaathHainHum initiative that I had written about here. Today, I am going to share with you my first hand experience of interacting with a farmer from Bharuch, Gujarat.
At the end of this video, Finolex had encouraged the viewers to write to them if one would like to interact with a farmer. I decided to take this up and within a few hours the call details were sent to me. I was actually quite nervous and was bubbling with myths like:
Myth 1: My hindi is poor and the farmer wouldn’t know English!
And this was busted! When I was first started speaking with Mr Kamlesh, I peppered my Hindi with a lot of English words. To my surprise, Mr Kamlesh started responding in English as well. This prompted me to ask him a few questions about his educational background and bam! Another myth was busted there and there.
Myth 2: Farmers in India are uneducated, sometimes even illiterate
Mr Kamlesh is a B.Sc Botany graduate who completed his studies 25 years back. He came back to his village to use the innovative methods of farming like irrigation which were fairly unheard of back then. He then want to expand his farm and currently holds 80 acres of land. He has 3 borewells and 3 drip irrigation systems from the Narmada river.
Myth 3: There is no scope for the youth studying in villages
Absolutely untrue! Mr Kamlesh’s son is studying MBBS to become a doctor and his daughter is completing her HSC exams in the science stream. Both of them dream of excelling in their own streams.
Once I got these three myths out of the way, I started asking him a little more about his day to day life. Mr Kamlesh and hiw wife get up around 6 for some yoga and then immediately proceed to their fields to carry out their day to day tasks. They grow sugarcane, bananas, toor dal and cotton in their farm seasonally and use irrigation on their land. They do face a low voltage problem which hampers the functioning of their farm but they have learnt to overcome this difficulty.
I also asked them to tell me about the time when they started irrigation for the very first time and Mr Kamlesh says that they were lucky enough to get a 50% subsidy. The rest he had to pay on his own for which he took a loan. As I listen to Mr Kamlesh describe the various processes that go into farming which feeds and clothes us city dwellers, I have a new found respect for him. Yes, he had a graduate degree and could have opted for a job in the city like you and me. Instead, he chose to go back to his roots to ensure that you and I could live easy.
As we end our conversation, I realize how much we owe to the farmers across India who are toiling away on their land while we sit in our air conditioned offices and homes in pure comfort. Hats off to these unsung heroes of rural India.