Wednesday, February 1, 2017

closure of boundaries to the rural poor for purposes of migration for work

Industrialisation brings with it it’s own squalor, and yet, the desires of the modern world are such, that we increasingly want faster cars, faster aeroplanes, newer computers, smarter cities. The result is the death of the country side, and the imminent wars that are waged, when a rural proletariat rises. Those who govern, accept the potential  turmoil as something that needs to be controlled, and they do this with cannon ball and gunfire. An impoverished peasantry, consisting of landless labour, and restricted to it’s own radius of small town and village represents the poorest of the poor. Their sense of worth comes from the skills they have achieved as mason and labourers, and their freedom to travel across the country. They voted in a government on the bases of their hope that Ramrajya would be realised, that they would enter a space where nobility, truth and statecraft would give them the promises made through jagrans and mobilisation, depleting the ranks of the communist parties.
Religion is one way in which the quietude of the masses is ascertained. Malthusian economics represents the poor as  being without will, and without a future. But this is not the 19th century, and the symbols of the 21st century are present very clearly through varieties of mobilisation. Both Magsaysay award winners, Aruna Roy and T.M. Krishna have shown us how deeply embedded they are in the culture of the poor, embellishing their activism through the participation of young people from all walks of life. Aruna Roy, through her participation in Spic Macay was able to socialise generations of young college students to the necessity of being involved in the rural life of the poor, where they would be encouraged to go with them to their festivals, mobilisation camps, and learn to keep files in the office of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, as well as share their life. What they discovered however,  was the tremendous energy of these communities.  Without valorising poverty, they learnt the good lessons of eating healthy food, and the benefits of manual labour. The vocation of being with the people and speaking on behalf of them remained constant with these volunteers, though many of them returned to Industry or globalised occupations as university teachers, designers or lawyers. The real debate in India has always been around the co-existence of industry and agriculture, with organic farming now the new catalyst to how we think about survival in an increasingly war torn and polluted world.
T.M Krishna with his Poromboke Paadal on you tube tells us in the traditional way of those who can converse to the community through music and other aesthetic forms, (in this case a video) that the coexistence of industry with nature becomes problematic when traditional communities are forced out. The sullying of Ennore creek and the industrial ash that falls on everything is something that can be withstood by popular protest. We only have to think about why we want industrialisation, if it is proving to our accumulated destruction as a civilisation. While not being able to put back the clock, the idea of the commons so essential to nature and humans is the text of the song. Do we have any idea of the way in which clogging waterways will affect the future generations that are to benefit from the presence of what we have till now taken for granted, such as seasons, rainfall and agricultural cycles. Industrial farming and the consequence  increase in cancer rates is so endemic in Punjab (www.cancer train 339 from Bhatinda to Bikaner) that the noticeable increase in death rate has asked individuals whether there is a link between pesticides and cancer. In Kerala where the products of pesticide infused commercial agriculture  bought from Tamil Nadu,  resulted in high cancer statistics. This got the Scientists to propagate successfully, organic farming on terraces and grow bags and horticultural gardens,  to which housewives, retired people and new age farmers responded successfully.  T.M. Krishna asks us when industrialisation proceeds in a way that the rights to livelihood are taken away, what is the accounting process that goes on? Do you and I also become Poromboke which has been transgressed? Will our children and their children have no rights to Nature?
 Do farmers have rights? Yes, they do, by custom and habit, which is a legitimate space for public interest litigation. In America,the response to Trumpism is huge. It is because American intellectuals still live by it’s feeling for it’s original mandate, which is the refuge for the ostracised. That it wiped out its indigenous populations by its frontier policies made it ever sensitive to it’s politics of assimilation and to collective implication in wars. Today, people are educated, so that makes them respond to political manoeuvres of the capitalist right wing state.

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