Suicides reports of five farmers from Western Odisha within a week have gripped the whole region in shock and grief. The netas are busy in party works and no one bothered them because it is not an election time. Neither had we heard any sympathetic words from the agriculture minister in any media. Adding to insult, the state is welcoming the central drought investigating team in western Odisha whereas the state deny the health team to investigate the child death in Cuttack. Why ? Because health investigating team may found facts which may defame the government but if the drought investigating team found drought then it will compensate the state monetarily. This is the mentality of the present state government.
The culture, economy and society of Western Odisha have evolved by build-up with a cohesive bonding affiliating to agriculture since time immemorial. Western Odisha is based on an agrarian economy. If harvesting of crop is good, farming community thinks about marriages of their daughters. If crop harvesting is not as per expectation, they postponed marriages. All the major festivals like Nuankhai and Phuspuni are agrarian. While Nuankhai is the festival of first crop cutting and offering it to the God/Godess, Phuspuni is the harvesting festival. Today, Nuankhai is celebrated even in foreign countries and major metros of India by the non-residents. But the man behind the Nuankhai and Phuspuni festival, the farmers, is living in an unspeakable pathos and insurmountable grief.
Villages in western Odisha have been established by our forefathers with agriculture in its centre and other business in its peripheral. And the fraternal society has developed with a cohesive bonding between each community depending on each other for their profession and living. Today the scenario has changed. Village has lost its life. The cacophonies of Coke to condom industries have entered into the village grocery shop. Village is no more a village; it is slowly transforming into a semi-urban community which is lifeless, and lives alone insides closed doors, without any sympathy and dialogue with its neighbors. Youth are jobless, frustrated and migrating for a living. The remaining are aging and ailing parents, unmarried daughters with utter helplessness.
The state government has never tried to restore the community life rather it has destroyed and divided us by caste and community for vote politics. To show-off and lure the voters it has all kind of schemes for all categories of people but none are in use; all government schemes are as if meant for the thekadar and chamcha of the ruling political party.
Take my case, I’m a jobless youth lives in an unknown village. My parents have agricultural land, but I have no land in my name, no home, no ration card, and no farmer card. Even I do not know, whether I’m a BPL or APL.
The Government collects huge revenue from this region, almost 75 per cent. But never works for the tax payer. The farming community who filled the state treasury is abandoned like anything. Farmers are deprived of their basic rights. They are neglected. If a state is not meant for its subjects then the subjects have to introspect about the state. Time has arrived.
The author comments on culture and politics.