The Noblest Vows and the Worthiest Marriage - Bringing together Agriculture and Technology

Dr Alka Jain
Dr Alka Jain

Advancement in medicine and agriculture can save more lives than any other field of research. So while the nations of the world are busy fighting economic battles, boosting political manipulations and loathing each other, the bell tolls continuously to proclaim that the ultimate battle will be won by none than the son of the soil!

He who ceaselessly toils on his plot of land and yearns to make the monochromatic earth burst with colours, who tills and ploughs with deft hands, who caresses his plants more often than wiping his sweaty face, is the new hero. The winner has finally arrived- in books, policies, and theory. He, “the farmer” is the new icon ready to usher in a revolution- the uprising against hunger and death. The revolutionary’s weapons are the soft and luscious grains and the enemy is the vicious hunger and starved bellies. The armour is the disposition for peace and perseverance and the cannons are the beautifully crafted tools.

So are we ready to wage the war? A war without arms and warriors, sans manipulations and greed? From theory to practise, the road is long and dreary. The destination is glorious but the journey, tedious and challenging. The readiness is missing and the tools need whetting. The technical world needs to rush out in the fields not just for a handshake with peasants and a promise for better pastures, but to merge with them and bring about a culmination of tradition and technology. Poetic as it may seem, and imaginary to the core, I cannot help but desire a marriage between farms and technology.

The shortage of human resources in the agricultural field is a calamity. The families of the farmers and the rural youth are willing to take up menial jobs but are adamant about not participating and contributing to their farmlands. They are more attracted to science and technology and are pursuing it for higher socio-economic gains, but ironically not moving back to the farms that need this newly acquired knowledge because of stereotyping of agriculture as an outdated, regressive, and mundane activity. All this is taking a toll as the youthful and energetic hands that were sculptured to groom and breathe life in the earth are moving to “greener pastures” far from the smell of raw and ready earth.

Unfortunately, I once observed at the railway platform, hordes of farmers from the neighboring rural world waiting to push themselves in already overcrowded compartments; Lock, stock and barrel! Their entire household fitted in grimy and tattered jute bags. An entire village migrating as construction workers to Delhi A majority of them treaded barefoot and out of their jute bags, worn out and crumpled clusters of ‘clothing’ gaped out. Also, some proud occupants of the bag were a few aluminum utensils and bottles of cooking oil! Humanity caught at the most embarrassing moment! This is what flowed out as pain from my pen;

पलायन एक बोरी में गहृ स्थी पूरी जमा बैठी,

रोज़गारी में, गरीबी का हक़ कमा बैठी।

घिस चुके तलवों से पीछा छुड़ाते जूते,

कीलें ठोक, पैरों से फिर दबा बैठी।

एक बदरंग हुई बोतल में स्याह तेल भरा,

नून की कीमत पर ज़ज़ंदगी गवां बैठी।

बेटिकि ट्रेन की सवारी,

काफिला साँसों का,

पिररयों से ललपि,

हर कज़ज़ वो चुका बैठी।

अधखुली छाती- नंगे बदन लदे बच्चे,

वो कभी का उन्हे पत्थर- हृदय बना बैठी।

गाँव में थी हवा, शहर में काम के झोंके,

वो पलायन की राह पर कदम बढ़ा बैठी।

ना सुकून की, ना खजाने की ललक है उसको,

 एक मुट्ठी अनाज, मन ही मन पका बैठी।

िव मे मवाद, मन में आस की पीड़ा,

एक मजदरू को, मजदरूी की जंग खा बैठी।

So how to save the jinxed farms? The answer lies in making agriculture dynamic and innovative. By making agricultural science, an adorable art and enabling scientists to see poetry in plants. It is this that will lure them to the fields. More than bookish knowledge, the arousal of senses and sensitivity is crucial. And simultaneously we need to make farming lucrative and appealing. The present scenario with increasing farmer suicides, endless poverty and senseless migration is frightening away our new breed of technology-enabled farm friends. The shroud of death must be replaced by the veil of hope! So are we ready for the holy vows?

Dr. Alka Jain,
Assistant Professor (English) College of Horticulture and Forestry,
Rani LakshmiBai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi

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