Blog 4 – Insecure about Inequality

“Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud.Who was responsible? Neither kings, nor priests, nor merchants. The culprits were a handful of plant species, including wheat, rice and potatoes. These plants domesticated Homo sapiens, rather than vice versa.” 

~ Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind

The poorest 99% account for 27% of India’s gdp

The main reasons for the past poverty of the farmers in the villages we visit are as follows:

Lack of dams: dams are built in the regions of Nashik that produce wine, which is more profitable for businesses to export. Regions that produce staple foods such as grains, rice and sugarcane are neglected. 
Dam proposals have been actively blocked by past governments and allegedly by some NGOs who wish to profit of the poverty of the poor. More on this later. 
Depletion of ground water levels : lack of attention by past governments to invest in bore wells, check dams that meant ground water levels fell massively and irrigation systems are poor. 
Reliance on foreign corporations for expensive fertilisers and pesticides: farmers did not have knowledge on how to farm without using chemicals. 

You will note I say “past”. The organisation I have been with have investing heavily in the past 2 years to increase ground water levels and water accessibility in the villages, diversify income sources by teaching marketable skills to farmers and families of farmers (such as sewing and making Khakras (wheat crisps)), reducing reliance on artificial fertilisers and providing regular healthcare to reduce labour loss. The areas now have food to survive on and money to buy some clothes. There is still a long way to go to improve other villages in the region and make them self sustaining, but the model of a holistic approach appears to be working. 

Mother Theresa is a figure of humanitarianism not only India but globally, and rightly so.    
Unfortunately, there is some controversy regarding Christian missionaries and their methods for conversion in Nashik. 
Allegedly, they are set up in regions with vulnerable populations : slums and small villages. The Adivasi are a trusting people. They welcome all those who enter their villages : regardless of their intentions. Before the mobile health unit was set up, when the villagers would have concerns over their health (a viral infection for example) they would turn to Ayurvedic medicine. Sometimes this would not work and they would desperately search for an ailment. There are churches conveniently placed nearby that run religious “clinics” , inviting locals in with diseases to be cured. Allegedly, priests have been using “holy” water, which has been mixed with steroids and giving it to the villagers. This provides the villagers with some temporary strength that makes them believe in the power of the church, slowly leading them to convert. The church readily gives out alcohol to farmers and sweets to the children, but have not made a conscious effort to improve local wellbeing.

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