Friday, 4 September 2009


The monsoons have failed. I make this comment based on my recent visit to villages near Nagothana in Maharashtra. To hear from farmers first hand clears up the garbage being published very quickly.

I spoke to a person called "Mama" who works at a "resort". Mama, primarily a farmer works at the resort. He says - that he cannot remember the last time the rains were so bad. The farmers, he says, are going to have an impossibly difficult time and he thanks his stars for having a steady job in the resort. Conversations with locals both at the EcoMantra property and Palas resort leads me to the conclusion that we are in a mess. The agricultural sector will take a few years to recover and these few years give an opportunity to further alienate the small farmers from the rest of the country.

The media is ready to link the delayed monsoon with a failed economy but not with the disastrous lives of farmers. People will disagree. They will say that the monsoons (or the lack off) are getting lots of coverage. My reading is that the coverage is limited to the impact that the failed monsoons will have on the lives of the middle-class urban Indian and not on the lives of the farmer community.

Could it be possible, that the media is SOFT on the story for several reasons -
  • Large retail chains are hoarding pulses and food grain in an effort to manipulate prices.
  • Advertising related to cricket is critical to the electronic media. The fact the Sharad Pawar happens to be a key player on the BCCI team and the Cabinet Minister for agriculture seems to be working in the favor of the government as far reporting on farmers is concerned
  • The media somehow believes that it does not need to cover issues related to farming because their readership is Urban India. They are under the misguided belief that the average reader is dumb and insensitive. They can not be further from the truth.

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