Friday, July 02, 2010

P.Sainath and farmer suicides.

There is an issue of Vogue lying on the floor. They took a long time to put it together , a year and a lot of international co-ordination to get Abhi and Ash to pose pretty in Istanbul. Let Vogue be your inspiration, the editorial says. Monsoon chic and all that.

My mind works in constant irony. But I will resist it now . You say you know hunger statistics already ask what can we do sitting here in an airconditioned room anyway.

I went for a talk by P.Sainath yesterday. He taught us in college and by now we know he repeats some of his jokes, his favourite statistics and he even presents them in a way that will have you shocked. At Wardha, a fellow journalist told Sainath that he believed the farmers in Maharashtra committed suicide because they were alcoholics.
Sainath said if alcoholism was a legitimate reason for suicide , then there will be no journalists left on the planet.

In the budget, there is evidence that the government wrote off Rs. 500,000 crores of corporate tax. Revenue forgone , the section was titled. Five hundred thousand crores. And a farmer commits suicide every thirty minutes , sorry thirty two because of debt.

A TV journalist shoved mike up nostril of Sainath's friend and asked " What is the dream of the Indian farmer? "

The friend answered promptly that the Indian farmer's dream was to be an European cow.
The subsidies that the European cow gets exceed the earnings of an Indian farmer, obviously.

The man shocks, but that is why I go there to hear him because it is so easy to get absorbed in your own life. I still remember this one line that he said in his speech at our graduation ceremony .He said that we must report on the ''important processes of our time'' which we overlook for cricket, business and bollywood. CEOs , bottomlines, travel, theatre stories later, I am still not there but I want to be.

As Sainath said , if he has been in journalism for thirty years, it means he has to be an optimist.

Some Ivy League type who announced that he is an academic asked Sainath if modernising was possible without injustice because somebody has to get screwed. He gave Historical examples.
Sainath simply said that the problem is that we , the rich have decided that it is clear, who gets screwed each and every time.

1 comment:

Aditya said...

I think you are really really lucky to be in his audience!