Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, May 20, 2010

Soldier of the Soil

By M. Fayaad Islam

THEIR work is that of the caterpillar. By their determined pursuit, they have managed to help create the very fabric of the silk that is our society and our republic. Striving in the heat and by punishing their bodies in the rain and hail has these people attended to the needs of their comrades. The intense work leaves a mark one can be proud of, transforming the body into a form far greater and acute than Michael Angelo's mighty Statue of David. Sure they do not do it gratis, the great Adam Smith has already pointed out that no woman or man may work efficiently without incentive. But one must consider the fact that the reward for their effort is meagre compared to the benefit their arduous task provides. These sisters and brothers of ours are the ones who meet our daily requirements for sustenance. They once formed the soul of the economy and continue to be one of its largest parts. Whether it be looking all glossy in the sun, or tying the traditional 'gamchha' in a knot way above the comfortable level for most people, in a fashion that may not be replicated by most city dwellers, they will forever be an awesome symbol for our glorious nation. They are our farmers.

But what is farming? In a much lighter context, farming to some individuals in the developed world can be described with the one word- awesome. Why? Well to focus on the very basics, farming in non socialist societies is the freedom to grow almost anything you want. However the almost anything becomes absolutely anything in either the most extremely developed or underdeveloped societies. In other words, in a developed nation, farming signifies freedom, and peace with oneself and nature. It's one of the most environment friendly and honest forms of work available to mankind.

Over the years farming has unfortunately come to be seen as a paltry form of living. Due to its low income, intensely gruelling and mundane form of work in most underdeveloped regions of the world, children of the next generation try their best to pull themselves out to a better form of living. Although, the task is an absolute necessity for almost all nations around the world, only the developed treat their farmers with the respect they deserve. Most see it as a job that requires little or no education. However, countries such as the US, France, Israel, Canada and Australia has proved that with modern knowledge and technology, the agricultural sector can reach unforeseen heights, even surpassing the immense success one may enjoy in Farmville.

The task that was once incalculably taxing on the body and mind has now become a relatively less knotty and sometimes pleasurable work. Knowledge and technology blended with the correct amount of effort can give birth to untold success. Farmers in developed countries, has achieved a higher level of income and luxury, which most can only contemplate.

But with all the concept of a fast modern world brewing up in our over burdened think tanks, how can we possibly be satisfied with the ever-boring agriculture business? How can you, the lazy peace loving school kid possibly enjoy life in the agricultural word? The remarkable solution to these ageless questions is almost as simple as Farmville, thinks a brilliant writer from the weekly Thursday's amazing supplement. In-fact in the modern world farming can provide a life that most desire. Imagine, waking up in the morning with no noise other than the calling of the rooster. At breakfast you enjoy a fresh glass of milk that the milking machine happens to provide. Starting of your day, you roll up and consume your favourite blend of leaves while tilling or harvesting the land in the appropriate machine. In the afternoon, you and your comrade can enjoy a little bit of fishing. When it is finally evening and the birds are on their way home, you can even indulge yourself with a few rounds off the hunting rifle, and take one of them ducks to your dwelling for a nice roast with mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables, fresh from the field. All the land, peace and barnyard animals one needs to a relaxing life are evermore available. If you still think Farmville is top notch, then words like moron can best describe your personality.

However, we all know at the present, the task is all but glamorous. Farmers in our country are unappreciated and are treated in manners most undeserving. They are often cheated by the ever present middle men of the markets and most land owners. Some are forced to live in conditions which may contradict with some of the humanitarian laws of developed countries. It's either the inability of society that fails to support them in times of natural disasters or simply the deeds of immoral people that has forced them into a life of such hardship. A true citizen of Bangladesh should never be ashamed to be called a farmer, for that is what our ancestors were; farmers who toiled to provide their children and kinsmen with a better life, and a better nation. Farming was our past, and a large part of our present, one that supports the majority of the population of our country. By embracing it and advancing the art to the future, can we gain true prosperity.



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