Thursday, 28 March 2013

Perspectives : Agriculture, Health

A student of economics views agriculture & allied activities as ‘primary sector’ in the structure of a country’s economy. Industry is considered secondary and Services as tertiary. Developed economies are those in which the dependence on agriculture is miniscule (less than 5%). Lesser the % of population dependent on agriculture, more developed is the economy considered. Someone has taught this to the world and today it has become an almost an unquestionable law of economics. I view the ingraining of this thought as nothing short of systematic brain-washing. It’s probably nothing different from what happens with fundamental extremists.
Agriculture and allied activities ensure survival. When we say that 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture, we’re assuming earning money is the only need. But for physical survival, every person is dependent on agriculture. Think of it, what constitute the secondary and tertiary sector are not life essential, but agricultural is, without exception. Viewing agriculture only as contributor to the economic growth, measured purely in terms of money is hugely demeaning it. A farmer is earns the least when compared with his peers in secondary or tertiary sectors. The world views him as ‘undeveloped’. What more, he views himself as inferior to others. A farmer is widely considered as someone who drags the GDP growth % down. He tries hard to ape the city counterpart and before he dies, the least he ensures is that his children are out of farming. 
Thus, slowly, but surely, we have an increasing tribe of people, who think of themselves as contributing far more than a farmer. They think they are the ones who make the clock tick. The children in this tribe don’t know that roti is made from wheat and wheat grows on plants.
It is in the interest of this non-farmer to at least wake up to the reality that his survival is under-written by the farmer and his growth is largely dependent on the same farmer being sold his goods & services. These goods & services, though, in most cases, are not life-essential.
Having money to buy food is not as re-assuring as being able to grow food. Times are changing fast. With the quality of food deteriorating (due to use of excessive chemicals), being able to grow food will possibly be the only way to ensure continuous supply of good food. 
Cancer and other ailments, which are caused primarily due to modern lifestyle, are commonplace nowadays. The suffering is not just for the patient, but also the closest relatives – and quite some suffering. Not taking care of one’s own health should be considered as grave is a suicide attempt. Ultimately, taking care of the body is our responsibility towards the maker.
Taking care to keep away from specific ailments is almost impossible. What has caused cancer in a person, is still unknown. There may be multiple reasons. What seems appropriate is that one follows basic lifestyle discipline, as downloaded by very old-timers. The attack on the body is from so many fronts: water, air, food cooked outside. It is impossible for any person to plug all the loop-holes identified. The most logical way is to holistically understand healthy living practices and subordinate everything else to this way of life. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Perspectives : Happiness, Profession

Staying in Barkheda poses significant challenges to a city dweller. So many things we take for granted in a city are a struggle. The flip side is that many of these things, when accomplished, give genuine happiness. Procuring clean drinking water, being able to burn the chulha, electricity, things we take for granted in a city, which give no happiness in a city, give tremendous happiness here. When I realized this, I thought it strange. Is this the kind of happiness I’ve come here to get? But on second thought, what the heck! Happiness is not this kind or that. If something makes you happy, just be happy. That’s all there is to it.
We in a city are so trained to match skills with people. For example, a doctor, a mason, a plumber, a mechanic, a cook, a carpenter, all are supposed to be people with special skills. So much so that we’ve even classified some work as something which only the maid can do! But in a village, almost everyone is able to do the basic work of each of these ‘professionals’. Isn’t it how it should be? So elementary, but we’re making more and more compartments…even teaching 4 year olds that these are various ‘community helpers’. Is it possible that on a particular day, in some household, no one has cleaned after the kid has done potty, because the maushi was on leave! Parenting may also become a special vocation!!!