According to the essayist in Wikipedia, there is an airstrip rarely used in Khandwa. So really, we need to know why no one came to enquire from the Government when the Morcha began. This is one of the most fearsome aspects of government through neglect. Governments cannot run by wilfully ignoring the wishes of the people. A boy at the Crossroads in Delhi sold me 42 turberoses last week for fifty rupees. Why "forty two", I kept thinking, and then suddenly, I understood, his father had wrapped forty two stems of flowers, to say once there was a "Quit India Movement".
The local people are entrenched in the stories of the Freedom Movement, and when I passed places like Betul on the way to Kerala, there are small sleepy railway stations where the ubiquitous fried breakfasts stare at you and as you travel past the cotton fields, you know why Gandhi made cotton the symbol of the Freedom Movement.
Today, agricultural lands are being appropriated by the market garden, rice wheat, bajra and cotton are substituted by flowers for middle and upper class use, so whether it is the poverty of those who sell the roses, or those who stand in water saying that they want land for land we really need to know why they are being left out of the national discourse.
Pension for road workers, displaced farmers and pastoralists, and education for their children, (even Tehelka was sold by eight year old children at the Traffic corners and this has been substituted by Fashion magazines and Paul Coelho. The right of farmers to keep their lands, or receive equally productive ones is something that should be our primary agenda.
About the Contributor: Prof. Susan Visvanathan teaches Sociology at JNU and is the author of "The Children of Nature: The life and legacy of Ramana Maharshi' (Roli 2012) and "Nelycinda and Other Stories" (Roli 2012)
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