Nagpur: Mohan and Sheela Rathod are/ were marginal farmers who were left with just 3 acres of land when family divisions took place. With this one ‘asset’ they aspired to put their two sons through school and get them a decent education whereby they would not have to depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
Mohan and his wife worked hard at their tiny farm trying out different crops and hoping against hope that it would bring money into their coffers – they did not have big dreams. No fancy cars, or house, or even more land; just enough to live by and send their lads to school.
But in today’s State and state of affairs, this was a futile dream, as they soon discovered. Money was just being spent – first Bank loans and then when that avenue closed since they could not repay, money lender’s usurious ‘karz’. Yet, things came to such a pass that reluctantly, the parents as well as the sons had to become daily labour working for others.
Not able to take this turn of events, and despairing for their children’s future Mohan and Sheela both consumed poison.
Sheela died before she could get treatment and Mohan is critical. It was the sorry lot of the sons to watch all this and run to get neighbors to come and help – but too late, as it turned out. They have already lost their mother and may soon be fatherless too.
Many farmers of Vidarbha and Marathwada had high hopes of their CM in this winter session of Maharashtra assembly at Nagpur. Their minimum expectation was that with four years of continuous drought at least their farm loans would be waived. When this did not happen, but a confusing ‘package’ was announced which was not going to translate into immediate relief, the Rathods gave up on hope – like many others.
Watching other kids going to school while their young sons had to begin working was the last straw for this couple. They did not even pause to wonder how much worse life is going to get for their offspring when they become orphans.
Will the situation get any better for rural Maharashtra when not just these two hapless kids but the entire farming community is feeling orphaned and let down by their government?
How many more Sheelas and Mohans will be sacrificed at the altar of – our Food Necessity?
One day, we will be left with no one willing to grow wheat and rice and fruits and cotton for us – but by then it will be too late to make amends.