There are many ways to look at each story, in On The Contrary, I discuss views that are prevalent and while I may not disagree with them, I don’t think that is the only way to look at the subject.
“This is the new India which celebrates when India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, follows up his gift of a 60-million-dollar jet-plane to his wife with the most expensive residence in the world, a twenty seven-storey house for a family of four, built at an estimated cost of one billion dollars, which boasts three helipads, four storeys of hanging gardens, and a staff of 600 domestic helpers. This, in a city where at least two hundred thousand people sleep on pavements, and more than 40 per cent of the population lives in shanties.” India’s Poverty is Social Violence, Harsh Mander on NDTV.com
The passage by Harsh Mander highlights the way we look at the wealthy. But I believe the view is inherently wrong because we only see what we want to see. We see that Mukesh Ambani has a multi-million dollar home. What we don’t see is that the same sentence also tells us that he has 600 domestic staff to run it. That’s 600 jobs more than what most of us have created. That’s about 600 families that have food on the table because Mr. Ambani decided to build a home that gave them a livelihood.
Okay, let’s concede that Mukesh Ambani is no great shakes, after all he is just carrying forward what his father built. But then we heard similar outcries about Sachin Tendulkar’s home.
Mr. Mander’s article goes on to tell us that Prime Minister Modi’s ideas to attract big business through sops is a bad idea. So what would he have us do? Can we sustain our population on farming? Do we have enough land so that everybody can have their own little plot on which they can grow what they need? At the current population estimates, each person would get 0.0025 sq km as their own. This assumes that all the area in India is equal and arable. Employment is the only way out for this over-populated country of ours. We know that. That is why we tout our “young population”. We need factories, we need software companies, we need BPOs – we need them all. Farming is no longer an option.
Our population demands that we have a predictable food supply, and farming (conventional farming) cannot meet this demand. We have to look at giant indoor farms, where we can control water, nutrients and temperatures without being at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather. Neither our farmers, nor the government is equipped to take on this project – private business is, because there are profits to be made from it. Simple.
Long years ago, humankind settled down and started to farm. The farmers became rich and powerful; the hunters were shunned as violent and uncouth men whose time had passed. Life has come a full circle and the time of the famers is now past. The hunter is on the ascendancy again. But there is a difference. This time the farmer and the hunter must work together. The farmer will work on the hunter’s farm.