The Uncommon Man Series : The Forgotten Farmer

Photo: asiatimes.com

This is a work of fiction – based on true events.

Opinion

Heer Khant

When he looked down, his feet shook! For once he decided to back out from the decision he had made, he was standing 50 feet above ground, to fall that much and die.  Why die? We’ll know, we’ll

know soon. But then he heard his child’s cry, behind him. That little child was lost, wondering what his father was doing.  The child wondered whether it was some kind of adventure his father was going to do! Wow, then even he could do it but what does he see? His father is not even looking at him…what to do? CRY! He cried. That cry saved a life. That cry was a hope for the child to get to do ‘that adventure’ and a hope for the father to abstain from ‘the adventure’. Ramdas, did not commit suicide. He thought if not live, then he could at least survive. Then God would take care of him he thought. Well, that’s the best thing for all of us to do, leave everything in God’s hand and just preach other than solving your own problems.

Ramdas was a farmer. He filled the stomachs of 100s of people but the stomachs of his family starved.  He was 29 years old and resided in a small village of Rajasthan. He was the father of three girls and two boys. The eldest girl was 16 and the youngest boy was 2.  The eldest girl Radha, wanted to study but as it is seen in our movies, she could not! Because she was a female, there was no money for her education and because the society did not approve of it. But of course the society approved of her marriage and that she should bear a male child soon after marriage. But the society did not have to suffer the pain, the risks, the harassment and the ridicule. They just had to speak.  Just as they spoke of Ramdas. Ramdas was considered to be a thief and a man of low-character, simply because he had no money. What sense! What hypocrisy!

Ramdas often went and wandered in the desert to find himself somewhere there. He was lost in the pain of debt, pain of starvation, pain of seeing his family smiling in spite of misery and the pain of not getting what he sowed. The desert never answered his questions and he came home empty handed, thinking what would he tell the money lender who banged on his door so hard that it was almost broken, what would he tell the Sarpanch’s goons who wanted to get his daughter married with the son who was married twice before and those wives had disappeared over night and what would he tell to his wife, who made plain daal everyday as that was the only thing they could afford! He had no answer. But still he would go home thinking God will do good to him.

One day, as he was returning home after finishing his chores, he saw two of Sarpanch’s goons dragging his daughter in a van. He ran to help her while the villagers peeped from their windows and shut their doors. Nobody came forward to help her; it felt like they were enjoying the tamasha. He tried to help his daughter but was kicked so bad that he almost fainted. His eyes were closing and the van faded in the dust which settled itself on his face. Another dust of words was thrown on him by the villagers. They spread the rumour that Ramdas had sold off his daughter.  He couldn’t take it any longer.  And then came the time when he stood on a bridge 50 feet above the gushing waters of the river which did not even show his reflection. But the cry of his youngest boy stopped him. What would happen of his family he thought…and decided to go back home.

But grief did not end there. The very next day, even before he took a deep breath, his son, Rishi died out of starvation. No food for the one who grew food. And to make matters worse nobody helped him to lead his son out of this cruel world, only one shoulder for four responsibilities. A few days passed in silence. In fear and shock. The picture of his daughter made him lose all his control. His helplessness took toll over him. He couldn’t die leaving his family behind. He couldn’t live with his family like this. He was left with only one option.

The next day there was a mention of Ramdas, in a small column, as a farmer who committed suicide after giving poison to the whole of his family. And after a few days, the news that the wife of the same village’s Sarpanch had took over that position under the Women Reservation plan of the government, made half-page space in most of the newspapers. This is the plight of our farmers, in a country where Agriculture is the main occupation and where the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ is so famous that it is printed on trucks. This is reality and after knowing this the saying, ‘Reality is harsh’ seems like the only truth.

This is written to raise a voice for those farmers as well as against the superstitions prevalent in the society which make a man’s life worse than hell. Please be aware and do your bit.

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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