Friday, February 24, 2017

in defense of the Green Revolution

there were many famines in india from 1940s to 1970s. lacs of people died. agri infra was almost non existent in those decades after independence. dependency on imports was near total to feed the population. and that sucked out precious foreign exchange which india had v less at that time because exports was v low unlike today. land was in plenty but the agri productivity per acre was v v low. plus irrigation network was pathetic. agri output depended hugely on rains. no finance from govt was available before green revolution. farmers were in the total clutches of zamindars and money lenders......all these problems got addressed for the first time in free India. many like American agronomist Dr. Norman Borlaug, Indian geneticist M. S. Swaminathan and other scientist took the challenge and started what was later called the Green Revolution. feeding the starving crores of a poor freshly independent country was a bigger priority than bothering about the possible unforeseen side-effects. when our near and dear is dying we don't mind giving him alopathic drug despite knowing the side effects to kidneys etc. saving patient is more important. side effects can be taken care of. nobody expects the patient to keep eating medicines as a food when he recovers. green revolution was not a bad concept at all considering the realities of those times. we should admit that we didn't have the social and national maturity to change course once the starvation was brought under control. who stopped us from take measures to move away from side effect causes? why didn't we? green revolution was an immediate disaster response of a new nation to feed its half a billions. it was understandable. what other alternative did we have? except remain begging for the international grants whenever bengal like famine struck again? just because we over did it or didn't have the head and character to change course doesn't mean that the first positive collective effort of Indian farmers and scientists and not-so-corrupt-then politicians was a mistake. it wasn't. it was a brave response under all sided crisis. why didn't we course correct when we saw signs of side effects? present drug problem, dilution of culture, erosion of family values has little to do with the original concept and execution of the so called green revolution. it had other causes like what happened from 1980 till now....we can't blame everything on the (hunger) freedom movement fought by our farmers and scientists despite constraints. the nation is forever indebted to these great sons and daughters.