The bharat bandh was the stark reminder of the harsh reality that a democracy is not based on power of the majority but on the unity of the minority. Unity of traders wins always when in conflict with the majority of farmers.
Why is it that less than four per cent of India which is involved in trading is able to grind the nation to a near halt while farmers who are over 55 per cent are never able to accomplish this impossible feature? I do not despise them traders but yes I am jealous of the fact that we farmers are only able to shut ourselves in if at all.
The first script in the world the cuneiform script was invested to keep count of the live-stock. Also the commercial activity in the world was trade of livestock and grains. The farmers have had a long strenuous relationship with the
traders selling them there produce. The traders have provided an essential function of purchasing the farmers produce. Nothing has changed over 5000 years, farmers produce and traders buy our produce. The farmers put the hard work adding value while traders without any significant contribution to increase value make the money. The problem is that in that time frame farmers are still being short changed even though the governance of much of the world has changed from many forms of dictatorship to democracy.
Presuming a democracy would correct this long standing anomaly in the system would have been logical thought process. But a democracy does not function like that; those who can bring to the table maximum cash or maximum votes are what political parties will pander to. Load and piles of cash are used to influence the media and the people while the small minority can be pleased more easily with sops than a majority.
The traders fear to lose their livelihood and I do not blame them for that. Traders act, react and behave as one unit, based simply on the need for self- preservation alone. Even after thousands of generations of being at the wrong
end of the rope, we farmers do not want end this vibrant self-centred community, as we still want our produce to be purchased. All we want is that we get a higher share of the consumer price for our produce of hard work and sweat.
A fair share of India growth story, is all we ask for and are consistently denied by all political parties.
For farmers, FDI is not a big blessing in its present form, it is just not good enough to be fighting for and nor bad enough to close the country down. FDI could definitely be a means to bring about competition to the existing
monopoly of the traders whereby we farmers could hope to leverage that competition for getting better prices. But without proper prerequisites, FDI in itself may not suffice. Logically these large corporations will need to bypass the
middlemen to make a bigger profit, but logic is a devious perception of the mind not to be trusted. A mandatory clause for compulsory direct purchase from farmers would have helped things greatly. A far higher increase in commitment in backend investment spread over the next ten years would also be greatly appreciated.
Beggars are not choosers and that is the reality that farmers face today. Things have come to such a pass due to the divisions in the ranks of farmers themselves, but that needs to be contemplated in greater detail next time.