The bleeding, blistered feet of farmers marching along the streets of Mumbai earlier this week are a grim reminder of the state the community is in. Identified with lush green fields, sprouting food for the entire nation, farmers today are synonymous more with suicides, protests and helpless faces in the event of droughts or rotting grain.
In a country that boasts of being an agrarian economy, farmers and their fields have paid the price of prosperity. In a rush to boost productivity, fields were inundated with chemicals, pesticides and genetically-modified crops in the garb of the Green Revolution, writes Lathika George in her book, Mother Earth, Sister Seed: Travels through India’s Farmlands. Travelling the breadth of the country to farms and villages in search of the “endearing images of bullock cart races in fallow fields or farmers flying kites after a harvest”, George questions why what was, and should be, the cycle of life has now become the cycle of death.