Kisaan ki Byathaa / A Farmer’s Tale

We have all come across news pieces on how the farmers in our country are even now, even after all these technological advancements, strangely stuck in feudal times where they depend on rains, loans and Lords (in another shape) for their livelihoods. We read such pieces then turn the page. Some of us perhaps still ponder more about their fates. Some write about it, like this author who has written a beautiful, moving poem on how a farmer and his family are driven to death.

If this doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will. Those who may not be able to understand Hindi, may kindly use Google Translator for their reading pleasure. But to please is not the point of this piece of poetry. It’s to make us think why our farmers still languish in poverty even after the largest tax exemptions and lowest loan rates for farmers. Why is it that even though the Government has established institutions and yojnas for the farmers, they still resort to suicide? Why is it that agriculture, the so called largest employer of this country, is the least profitable?

I am reading Godaan by Munshi Premchand these days, and strangely enough, the situation with farmers today doesn’t seem much different from what it used to be back when this great work was written, i. e. the 1930’s.

Remember how in our Social Science and Geography textbooks India was always, always introduced as an ‘Agrarian’ country? The way our farmers seem to be dying or looking for other jobs, it seems those textbooks will have to be changed soon…

Madhusudan Singh

आसमान में बादल छाये, गुजर गया अब जेष्ठ, बैल हमारे बूढ़े हो गए, जोत रहे सब खेत,
धनियाँ कैसे बुआउँ धान, कैसे जोतुं खेत-2।

हाथ का कंगन,कान के बाली,
गिरवी रख दे गहने सारी,
झट कहकर पल्लू में बाँधा,
हाथ में गहने सब धर डाला,
तड़प रहा पर मौन खड़ा था,
कृषक बेचारा गौण पड़ा था,
सूखे, बाढ़, अकाल ने उसकी,
बुद्धि सारी छीन लिया था,
खुशियां अपरंपार जहां पर,
रोज दिवाली, होली थी,
रब का कैसा खेल यहां अब,
ख़्वाबों में ही होली थी,
पूर्वज की ये धरा निशान,
छोड़ के जाए कहाँ किसान,
सबल बनी पत्नी समझाई,
आँख में आसूं पति की आयी,
पत्नी बोली तुम्ही से गहना,
फसल कटेंगे वापस करना,
बिचलित मन भयभीत ह्रदय में,
स्वाभिमान भर पति ने बोला,
गहने संग उपहार भी दूंगा,
साडी पुरे सौ का दूंगा,
सच में साडी सौ का दूंगा…….,
गले लगाकर पत्नी उससे बोली मीठे बैन, दूर करो चिंता…

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