On the Farmers’ Trail of Cauvery Calling - Spirited Warriors on the Ground
May This Never Happen to Any Farmer!
“I pray that it does not happen to any farmer in the world, not just in India,” said Anup, unable to bear the pain of the farmers he met during the Farmers’ Outreach Campaign.
“When I reached this particular village, I saw many farmers who looked drunk - their eyes were red. They looked sad and hopeless. ‘Why are they drunk in the middle of the day?’ I wondered.
“Despite all this, our Tamil speaking volunteers began to explain the benefits of agroforestry - how it will increase their income and ease their life struggles. I was simply standing and watching all this. I noticed that many of these farmers became anguished and even sadder after listening to us. I took the help of a Tamil volunteer and asked them, ‘You don't seem to like what we are saying, why is this so?’ I didn’t expect this answer from them.
“They said, ‘It’s just a little late for us to hear all this. About 4-5 years ago we sold our lands to pay off our debts. Now, we are just laborers and don’t know when our next meal will be. Our children are also working as laborers.’
“I stood still, trying to hold myself from crying. This is happening to our farmers who grow food for us. I can’t believe it. I hope what Sadhguru has initiated as Cauvery Calling comes to fruition soon – before it is too late!” Anup was beside himself with grief as he narrated this shocking truth.
This is true for farmers across the length and breadth of our country. With small landholdings, no water resources and impractical as well as outdated farming techniques, they are unable to sustain farming in the land. They pile up debts as they try to save the land that fed them for many generations, before giving up. Then in utter desperation they end up selling the land, not knowing how to sustain a business that solely depends on water and good soil conditions.
United in Diversity
Anup is one of the hundreds of volunteers who are supporting Cauvery Calling’s first leg of action on the ground. These volunteers have come from various parts of India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. While some of them are housewives or enthusiastic young students, others are established doctors, engineers, and businessmen. All of them have taken time off a busy schedule to be part of this much-needed outreach to our farmers. Though coming in touch with the hard reality of our farmers shakes them inside in a way that many have never experienced before, this emotion energizes their spirits. They are keen to offer themselves in a joyful and celebratory way. Here is a glimpse into their unbridled excitement of being on this voyage.
Spirited Warriors on the Ground
“A group of crazy volunteers is what I would say we have here! Since yesterday, there has been incessant rain, and the stay facilities are nowhere as convenient as what most of them are accustomed to. The night was biting cold and I wonder if any of them were able to sleep well, but all of them, without giving an exception were ready to go by 7:30 AM right after their morning sadhana!” shared Swami Prajagara, an Isha Brahmachari, who is in charge of the Cauvery Calling “Action Now” in Karnataka.
“We are all from different backgrounds and age groups with one common agenda - to spread Sadhguru’s message of agroforestry among the villagers. It feels like true unity in diversity. Language has been my handicap, but I guess intent and spirit soar beyond that. People in the village could sense my eagerness and involvement, and many advised me to learn and speak in Kannada with them the next time I was there.”
“The spirit of generosity in India still resides in its villages. So much warmth, openness, willingness to include a guest visiting their village is simply amazing. They have so little and yet they want to share it all with us from the city, whereas we have plenty and yet we lack the spirit to share,” said Shilpi, an Entrepreneur. Celebrating the beauty of rural India, she urged that we include her experience here to appeal to the city folks reading this blog. She observed that you don’t need to have much in order to share, and that actually, it is in the spirit of sharing that we experience abundance.
“The farmers are more open to agroforestry than we expected, but they need the support of the government with a policy that allows them to harvest during need. They should not get harassed when they want to cut their trees,” shared another volunteer who has been a part of the village outreach team over the last few days.
“One day, our campaign area was near Nanjanagudu, where there has been a heavy downpour resulting in poor visibility, and it’s been quite dark during the daytime. After the morning Guru Pooja, our coordinator, an Isha volunteer, checked with us if we were up for stepping out in such weather. He got a loud “YES”, which is still echoing in my ears. Such has been the spirit of these warriors!” a volunteer recalls.
Stay tuned, and join these spirited warriors who are out there to ensure that farmers live well and that Cauvery flows in her full glory - by incessantly going from home to home, farmer to farmer and carrying the message of economic change and true wellbeing.
Editor’s Note: Anyone can support Cauvery Calling. Here are a few ways to get involved:
Connect to the farmers of Cauvery basin. Stay Tuned!