Farmers Agitate Immersed In Neck Deep Water! Jal Satyagraha In Khandwa!

Fifty one farmers including old women had been staying immersed in neck deep water for the last fifteen days. Crabs and fishes were biting them and the limbs of many of them, particularly the old ladies, were deteriorating fast. They could not call it a day because they wanted their demands met first. The farmers had been protesting against what they considered wrong moves by the government. They say it is Jal Satyagraha (Water Movement for truth)-their final struggle even if it means death.

Even the media did not pay them attention for ten days, busy as usual covering the insane politicking going on all around. The state government finally thought of examining their demands and meeting them only on the 13th day. A group of observers from the Central Government is likely to visit the agitating farmers today.

The agitating farmers were from the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, a central state of India. They cultivated in the low-lying areas surrounding the Omkareshwar dam over the river Narmada. Since the river was flowing above the danger mark the government of Madhya Pradesh decided to open all the gates of the dam and to increase the height of the dam. The farmers protested that their low lying lands and villages would be submerged by the decision and that the decision had to be taken after first extending compensation and rehabilitation facilities to them. They claimed that a huge chunk of land had already been submerged and demanded the height of the dam to be reduced from 196 to 189 meters. Activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) that had been going on for decades joined in the protest. A ruling by the Supreme Court of India that says villagers must be rehabilitated at least six months before such moves are implemented was also quoted. 

Desperate needs mostly require desperate measures. With the state government not listening the farmers had no other option but to undertake a movement in a drastic and eye catching manner. Therefore, they decided to immerse themselves continuously in neck deep water to attract attention and ultimately to safeguard their subsistence cultivation to survive. Unfortunately even the desperate measures took a desperately long enough time to get noticed.

Such a scenario is only befitting the current degeneration that threatens to set in over the country’s political, social and economic existence. Political parties or leaders are busy exchanging charges or allegations or blackmail between themselves with nobody interested in a solution; the Indian Parliament, the supreme constitutional body of a democracy, gets stalled continuously leading to a washout of a full session; the pretentious fight against corruption only adding to the chaos and the poor masses who understands no economics and less politics getting ignored totally.

A mass watery grave is good enough to waken India’s leaders? Who knows!


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