An Indian Farmer
India – is an agricultural country
Indian economy is predominantly an agricultural economy. The farmer is the backbone of this economy.
Poor farmers not benefited
Of course, the mechanization of agriculture has taken great strides in India. But in the process, only the rich farmers have benefited to the maximum extent. The poor farmers are still poor as ever. They hardly make both ends meet and are often semi-starved. Even the free supply of electricity and water to farmers in certain states has helped. Only the rich farmers and not the poor and marginal farmers.
Many of the poor farmers in India are in a debt trap from which they find no means of escape. It is because of this mainly that many farmers in certain states have even committed suicide.
Daily routine, Food, and dress
Let us study the daily life of a common or typical Indian farmer. A typical Indian farmer has only a small tract of land comprising a few fields. He gets up early in the morning, completes his ablutions, and says his prayers. Then he takes his meager breakfast. But it is often nutritious since it comprises butter and buttermilk. Now, instead of taking buttermilk, farmers are fonder of taking tea.
The farmer then goes to his fields. There he has to do several kinds of jobs from morning till late in the evening. If he is a rich farmer or even one belonging to the middle-income group; he mostly has employed some migrant labourers who do various jobs in his fields. Otherwise, he himself has to do all kinds of jobs.
Such jobs include sowing the seeds if it is the sowing season; using his oxen to plough the field if he has no tractor for levelling the soil; watering the plants, cutting the crops, winnowing if the crop is cut and dried; separating grains from the husk; taking the crop to the market for the purpose of sales, etc. Sometimes, he has to use his tools to weed out the unwanted plants from the growing crops. Again sometimes he has to use fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, etc. Sometimes, he gets the help of some members of his family in one or more of his activities.
At noon or in the afternoon, the farmer takes a rest in the shade of some tree with a dense growth of leaves. At that time; his wife may bring his lunch if he has not already brought it with him. He has a siesta.
After a short rest which may include a nap, he starts his work again. In the evening he returns home. He is quite tired from hard physical work all the day. But that stands him in good stead, since he is quite hale and hearty and has strong muscles, proper circulation of blood, and a strong heart.
Family and Habits
At night he sits with the members of his family. He listens to some music over the television or if he is a religiously minded one, as often he is, he listens to some sweet, soothing spiritual hymn through an audio cassette, if he has one. Such hymns he may listen to in the morning also before going to his fields.
Health, education, etc.
A typical Indian farmer wears long, loose simple clothes and a large turban. He is generally illiterate and has not have much knowledge of the tricky problems of the world such as environmental pollution, population explosion, world arms race, etc. But many of the farmers in our country have got some sort of education or literacy through adult literacy classes if not by any other means. They now send their children to schools, colleges, and universities. Some of their children are doing well in foreign countries.
The necessity of awakening him
Some poor farmers still encourage their small, minor children to work with them in their fields. They should be persuaded not to do so. The children should be sent to a school which is the proper place for them at this age.
Some farmers are still steeped in the evils of superstition, child marriage, dowry systems, and spending huge amounts on marriages and other functions and even on litigation. Batches of students should visit villages and meet such farmers to impart knowledge and literacy to them. Some farmers are in the habit of drug-taking, drinking, smoking, etc. The students should also teach them to keep away from such evils.
Farmers should be advised to work on a cooperative basis particularly in the matter of marketing so that they are not cheated by the agents. They must be provided remunerative prices for their produce.