Saturday, 28 July 2012

HARYANA NEED TO TAKE UP DRY-LAND FARMING

The Haryana State administration seems to have set wrong priorities in agricultural sector so far as sowing of crops is concerned necessitating the officials to ask for a hefty monetary package of `900 cr from the Central Government. The news items appeared in a section of the press speaks of the melancholic environment in Haryana. With this huge sum of money it intends to meet the expenditure incurred on purchasing expensive electricity from NTPC and other companies in the private sector on the grounds that most of the power is needed to save the basmati rice crop. It is a familiar fact that the electricity to farming sector in Haryana is already heavily subsidized thus putting additional burden on the urban people of the state, which have hitherto honestly paid electricity bills and taxes. Helping farmers by way of cheap and uninterrupted electric power supply for running of pump sets and tube-wells, most of them submersibles, in tackling the ensuing drought following scanty rainfall during this monsoon will not only put strain on the ground water aquifers but also prove hazardous from environmental and economic points of view. 

The native people of Haryana do not consume Basmati or other varieties of rice as their principle diet but grow it as commercial crop for cash. The agencies of the State Government and the traders procure the huge quantities from Mandis at low prices, every year. The rice is processed at shellers that dot the skyline of several northern districts of Haryana, particularly Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal. The traders/exporters neatly pack the rice, print a brand name on the envelope and sell it in India and foreign marts earning huge profit in which the share of the farmers is negligible.
Studies done done by economists as well as environmental and nutrition scientists about rice growing farmers in Haryana have only presented gloomy pictures, as he is not even able to extract the labor charges for self maintain its traditional diet that used to be rich in protein and minerals. Ninety five per cent of the earnings go into paying for the costly fertilizers- despite the fact that the item is subsidized, towards footing the bill for diesel or electric power required to innundate the rice fields, taking the produce to one of the nearest Mandis, paying handling charges in the Mandi or fees to traders for loading and unloading etc. In connivance with the officials, the subsidy on fertilizers is habitually cornered by the retailers and never passed on to the farmer. The farmer is never able to fetch a good price for the produce. 
The supply of electricity or cheap diesel to the farmer for growing rice has depleted the ground water aquifers to dangerous level in the State standing no change for replenishment in near future. Its environmental cost is huge. As vast areas covering rice fields in Haryana remain inundated for over two and a half months, its measured impact on the rainfall is known to be devastating. The evaporated water remains hung during the day and raise the level of humidity in the atmosphere causing great discomfort to both the people as well as animals. In order to avoid the oppressive heat caused due to sultry weather the people opt for more cooling devices, preferably air conditioners in homes and work place causing further demand on electric power and a drain on their family or commercial income.
The chain of reasons that may be responsible for the current phenomena of drought can be connected directly to the growing rice in mostly the semi-arid regions of Haryana. It is high time that the State governments of both the Punjab and Haryana should listen carefully to the agricultural-environment scientists, ICAR and ICRISAT and rigidly enforce a reversion to the old and time-tested, more beneficial crops of millets –Jawar, Bajra and lintels for the Kharif season.
It may take at least 25 years before the nature recovers the qualities of the ruined land that has faced the tragedy of growing rice on it. Studies conducted by the Hyderabad based National Institute of Nutrition have established that coarse grains form more nutritious and appropriate part of the diets of Indians than substituting it for shelled or Basmati rice. It looks as if the State government officials were oblivious to the better options and zealously pursued the agenda that seemed to favor more either the rich or was politically correct. In fact, the Central Government should promptly refuse the drought-fighting packages received from the States unless they assure of resuming farming practices fit for the rain-fed arid or semi-arid agricultural zones within next three years.

मानसून की बरसात कम होने अथवा अत्यल्प होने या बिल्कुल ही न होने की सूरत में अब हरयाणा, पंजाब और कर्णाटक राज्यों ने भारी मात्रा में केन्द्र सरकार से रुपयों की सहायता मांगी है. गोया मानसून की न सही रुपयों की बरसात तो हो ताकि इसमें से आधे रुपये राजनेताओं की जेबें भर सकें. इस समय सूखे से निपटने के लिये हमें पुराने तालाबों को पुनर्जीवित करने की, सूखे को झेल सकने की क्षमता वाली फसलों और बीजों की तथा समय पर सूखाग्रस्त क्षेत्रों में अनाज और पशुचारा पहुँचाने की जरूरतों पर ज्यादा ध्यान देना चाहिये. पहले के जमाने में हर खेत में किसान एक डाबडा, पोखर, ताल-तलय्या बना कर रखता था ताकि पानी की कमी के दौर में वह कम-से-कम पशुओं के लिये चारा तो उगा सके और कोशिश हो तो कुछ ऐसी फसलें भी जो थोड़े पानी में इतनी उपज दे सकें कि जान बच जाये. अकाल की स्थति में खेती में सम्रद्ध प्रान्तों से खाद्यान्न और चारे की उपलब्धता सुनिश्चित की योजना हमारी पास तैयार होनी चाहिये. लेकिन हमारे राजनेता या तो इस देश के नहीं हैं, या वो अपने देश की पारम्परिक जानकारी का इस्तेमाल करने की अपेक्षा कुछ और तरीकों से देश की जनता को बेवक़ूफ़ बनाने पर तुले हैं या फिर हम अपने देशज़ ज्ञान के नाम पर सब कुछ गंवां बैठे हैं. कौन किसको मूर्ख बनाने की फिराक में है यह तो समय बता ही रहा है लेकिन सूखे के नाम पर टैक्स के रूप में जनता की गाढ़ी कमाई की जिस तरीके से बंदरबांट करने की सोच इन दिनों योजना आयोग की बैठकों से मालूम होती है वो किसी भी सूरत में इस देश के लोगों की तो हो ही नहीं सकती. सूखा कोई इस देश में पहली बार थोड़ा ही पड़ा है कि हाहाकार मचा दिया जाये और क्या लोगों का अपनी शक्तियों पर से भी विश्वास उठ गया है ? इस देश के पारंपरिक ज्ञान की ऐसी दुर्गति और उपेक्षा तो अंग्रेजों के जमाने में भी नहीं हुयी होगी जैसी हमारी सरकारें अब करने पर आमदा हैं. आखिर हमारे कृषि वैज्ञानिक और दर्ज़नों कृषि विश्वविद्यालय क्या कर रहें हैं. हैदराबाद में स्थित इंटरनेशनल क्रॉप रिसर्च इंसटीच्यूट फॉर सेमी ऐरिड ट्रोपिक्स के साथ मिलकर कुछ क्यों नहीं किया जा सकता ?
एक अन्य बात यह है कि यदि सूखा-ग्रस्त राज्यों की ओर से धन की मांग इसी तरह बनी रही और सितम्बर मास भी बीत गया तो लगता है १२-वीं पंचवर्षीय योजना तो फिस्स हो जायेगी. सभी जानते हैं कि कृषि इस देश की जान है जिसके सहारे पूरे देशवासिओं का जीवन चलता है. उसको नष्ट होने देने से बचाने के लिये जेनेटिकली मोडीफायिड फसलों की नहीं बल्कि पोषक तत्वों से भरपूर, हमारी जलवायु के अनुकूल बढ़ने और पलने की क्षमता रखने वाली तथा कम पानी की मांग वाली फसलें उगाने की जरूरत है. लेकिन मुख्या नुक्ता तो यह है की इसमें धन नहीं बल्कि ईमानदारी और बेहद परिश्रम की जरूरत होती है.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Mahapanchayat of Khap resolves to fight foeticide in Haryana




बीबीपुर में १४ जुलाई को संपन्न हुई महापंचायत की कार्रवाई और वहां सर्वसम्मति से घोषित की गई दो सिफारिशों -कन्या भ्रूण हत्या पर रोक और कन्या भ्रूण हत्या के लिये दोषी पाये जाने पर मृत्यु दंड, के बारे में दिनांक १५ तारीख के समाचारपत्रों में व्यापक समाचार प्रकाशित हुये हैं. १०० से अधिक खापों के मुखियाओं की उपस्थिति में संपन्न हुये इस ऐतिहासिक सम्मेलन से कन्या भ्रूण हत्या से हरियाणा प्रदेश की जनसँख्या में स्त्री और पुरुष के अनुपात में गंभीर अंतर आने से राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर बदनामी की जो लहर पिछले कई वर्षों से चल रही थी उस पर चर्चा थम कर अब एक न्याय मोड़ पर आकर थमी है. इससे आगे खाप मुखियाओं को सोचना होगा की यहाँ लिये गये निर्णयों को लागू करने के लिये वे अपनी अथवा सरकारी व्यवस्था पर निर्भर होंगे. हालाँकि ऐसे संकेत दिये गये की खाप मुखिया ही इस बारे सचेत रहकर कुछ कार्रवाई करेंगे लेकिन समस्या को निपटाने से पहले तो उन्हें बहुत से तकनीकी और जैव वैज्ञानिक पहलुओं के बारे में विस्तार से न केवल स्वयं जानना होगा अपितु इस बारे में जागरूकता भी फैलानी होगी. दूसरा, कानूनी तौर पर यह देखना होगा कि कन्या भ्रूण हत्या की प्राथमिक सूचना कौन व्यक्ति, किस जरिये से, कहाँ और किसके पास दर्ज करवायेगा ? फिर, इसकी जांच कैसे होगी और कौन करेगा ? कन्या भ्रूण हत्या के केसों कि मॉनिटरिंग और उचित कार्रवाई कैसे होगी ? इसके लिये दोषी पाये गये व्यक्ति/व्यक्तिओं को, जिनमें महिलायें भी हो सकती हैं, किस प्रकार कि सजा का प्रावधान करना उचित होगा. दोष और अपराध कि गंभीरता और इसके नतीजतन समाज पर पडने वाले प्रभावों के बारे में सही आकलन कौन और किस आधार पर करेगा, आदि-आदि ? खैर एक अच्छी शुरुआत के लिये बीबीपुर नौ-गामा कि पंचायत और जाट-बैल्ट के खाप मुखिया स्वयं को बढ़ायी तो दे ही सकते हैं की उन्होंने पहली बार किसी देश और विदेश के मीडिया के जरिये उन लोगों का ध्यान खींचने में सफलता हासिल कि है जो खापों और उनके मुखियाओं पर आरोप लगते नहीं थक रहे थे कि वे अपनी मर्जी से विवाह करने वाले प्रेमी जोड़ों को मरने का फरमान जारी करते हैं. अब देखना यह है कि खाप मुखिया अपने संकल्प को आगे कैसे बढ़ते हैं. निस्ससंदेह इस महती कार्य में उन्हें महिलाओं का सहयोग बडे स्तर पर चाहिये. महिलाओं कि भागीदारी का इससे अच्छा अवसर पहले कभी नहीं आया था ! इस अवसर पर शोधार्थियों और वरिष्ठ सामाजिक चिंतकों और लेखकों की उपस्थिति भी प्रशंनीय थी.

I think we are making the issue more complex. The purpose of holding the conclave was to put across a message that female foeticide will be intolerable henceforth and that the Headmen of various Khaaps approve of it. They provided sort of social sanction to it. This type of sanction is necessary to move the spirit forward. It is for the social scientists, medical doctors, bio-scientists, geneticists, administrators, educationalist, publishers, authors and, of course, politicians to see how to push this agenda for the future so that a social evil prevalent for long in Haryana and that changed the demographic character can be controlled and people begin to take the birth of a girl child in healthy spirit. Society can only move forward with the presence of women in adequate numbers. They are the key to survival of human race. Everyone understands this. But when it became technologically possible to determine the sex of foetus, the un- or undereducated, illiterate folks started taken advantage for illegally removing the female foeticide. Its bad impact was soon felt and it were they village communities now that understood the disadvantage and moved in a direction to take them to secure a better future's by holding the Mahapanchayat. The Khaap Headmen -without detailed discussion and scholarly comments, understand what course of action is needed henceforth. The social, technological and medical issues can be taken up for discussion by other agencies by involving Khaaps. Two great things happened on the 14th of July : Moving in a positive direction and registering the event at the level of the State Administration at the highest-ranking level that was quick to announce a hefty reward of Rs. 1 crore to the Bibipur Panchayat. The rewarding of Panchayat will haven great impact on this movement to save the girl Child. Our countrymen must take notice of the benevolence of the CM of Haryana who saw an opportunity on this occasion to make good contribution. We appreciate his motive.



The Tribune report published on 17 July 2012 -'Foeticide goes unrecorded in Haryana' is an eye opener for both policy planners as well as demographers and also significant for social activists, critiques and the Khaap Headmen to take note of. The incidents like female foeticide goes unreported/unrecorded is because it is kept as a highly guarded secret in the community with the connivance of the ladies of the household as well as neighborhood. Nobody comes forward to report the pre-term disappearance of pregnancy even after the fact comes to the notice of many. How the Sarpanch of the villagers and whistle blowers, the activists and the medical service providers will do it is yet to be seen. The blowing of lid will require great courage and the whistle blowers face immense risk to their own life. Social repercussions for the whistle blowers will be harder to face. There is no legal relief to those blow the lid is blown. The whole social fabric is so thickly woven that any sort of transparency is impossible to attain. Unless the women of the household areas properly educated and empowered by the menfolk nothing concrete is expected to come out. Until then, the condition of the women in rural Haryana will continue to be down.

Three recent news reports (uploaded as images here) are worth taking notice:entitled as -'Here's the proof: Women more intelligent than men', 'Village vows to let girls live' & 'Child marriages: India acts mature' all appeared in The Times of India on 17 July 2012 and that too in the National Edition published from Delhi. Looking at these news items and carefully going through the content may be interpreted in a positive way by right thinking people, particularly those that are associated with women and child issues. They are also of great use to researchers that do research on various Khaap activities termed nefarious and anti-women. Marrying a girl before she comes of age and becomes capable in rearing children is a sure sign of backwardness. In Haryana people have long ago realized that the betrothal should not be done unless the married child (even if at an immature age) should not be done unless she attains the age of 18 yrs. Secondly, if the women have proven to be more intelligent than men we have been committing a great crime by aborting the female foetuses because by adopting this attitude we have been eliminating the number of intelligent human being from our society and thereby hurting the progress of society. Thirdly, Anahita Mukherji has done a commendable job in visiting Bibipur and talking to cross section of people -mostly women and Mr. Sunil Jaglan, the active Sarpanch of the village. Her report is worth appreciating that reflects a change of attitude of the media persons that operate on national level.
 

Following update is added

My article “Simmering Identity Crisis at Khaps” published in the Tribune dated July 27, 2012 has eminently served its purpose. It has aroused a lot of interest and controversy among the thinking beings. It has invited comments from many friends on Face Book. One July 27, my telephone constantly remained busy from early in the morning till late at night.The next morning also I received a number of calls. Almost all the callers were appreciative and largely agreed with my analysis.

On 27th I received a call at about 11 AM from some Yes Pal Malik. First of all, I could not place him properly. Then suddenly it dawned on me that the caller was from western U.P. and President of All India Jat Aarashan Samiti. I never had the chance of meeting the gentleman face to face.

My article dealt with the Bibipur khap panchayat conclave held in Haryana and another panchayat meeting near Baghpat in western U.P. which had put several restrictions on women below 40 years of age- not going to the market alone, ban on use of mobile etc. to save them from eve teasing. Mr. Malik complained that I, being a Jat, had maligned the Jat community in my article. He elaborated that there was no fatwa or firman, but only a suggestion to save women from eve teasers. I argued that whatever be the nomenclature, it was a decision to penalize the victims and letting the wrong doers go scott free. A panchayat worth its name should haul up the anti social elements, hand them over to the police or approach their families to apply a check on them, failing which such families should be socially boycotted- hukka pani bandh- an age old tradition in the khap panchayat. There was no justification for confining women to the household to save them from eve teasers. Then he harangued on paramparas- traditions , conventions and all that. I stuck to my guns.This continued for more than half an hour.

At this point Mr. Malik got exasperated and blurted out that there was a conspiracy by the media and some politicians to defame the Jats and their leaders. He insinuated that Hooda(CM, Haryana) must have given me ten -twenty thousand rupees to write this article.

At this juncture, I lost my temper and got infuriated. I always avoid getting angry. Anger is a destructive emotion which harms you more than the target of your anger. However, I could not restrain myself. I asked him not to utter this kind of non sense without knowing the background of the man in question. I retorted that every body was not a saleable commodity in society. As a Member and Chairman, Haryana Public Service Commission, I made recruitment for a number of years and many officers were recruited during my tenure. I challenged Mr. Malik to produce a single individual who could state that he/she had paid me even a single paisa for my help. Then I further retorted that while analyzing a situation I did not spare anybody. Even in my article in question I have referred to official correspondence which put Hooda govt. in poor light. I am always guided by Socrates’ concept of an intellectual as a gad fly who shakes the people out of complacence without caring for the consequences. I told Mr. Malik that I never thought that he was a man of such low level, it was beneath my dignity to talk to such a man, and I switched off my mobile.

I know that people like Mr. Malik come down to character assassination when they have no logical argument to support their contention. Some friends have advised me that I should avoid getting into arguments with such people by using the alibi of being busy in a meeting or some such thing. I find two difficulties in following this advice. First, reluctance to talk on my part would smack of arrogance. Secondly, the supporters of traditional panchayat system and their critics seem to be in two enemy camps arrayed against each other and there is no communication between the two. My feeling is that there are some well-meaning people in both the camps, though their world views might differ. Door must be kept open for dialogue and at some stage some common ground on some issues might be found.
Bravo! Sir. You aptly educated Mr. Malik -self-styled leader of the Jats, having gained no ground anywhere in village communities of Haryana. He is said to have huge stocks of ill-gotten money and have been brain washing the innocents in the... name of securing reservations for the Jats of Haryana. He was also charged with instigating the mobs at Mayyar village to take to arson and violence in which both private and public properties were damaged. Your reply needed the kind of firmness you depicted while speaking to him, which is viewed as a conduct above board. We have always recognized you as an upright person and a superb intellectual. Thanks for sharing the contents of the conversation with friends.