Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Saturday, October 20, 2007

distrubing trends

i had commented on the the sugarcane industry of western maharashtra and gujarat which spark off mega migration of labour.

while that is easily understood, here is more - mass migration for education. read the article here.
Hundreds of farming families like the Manekars are making a beeline to Karanja from districts like Washim, Buldhana and even Yavatmal in the hope of a better education for their children
and at what costs
... education in town for the children has added a burden of about Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000 to the family's annual budget, not including the lost income from the livestock.
and hell for the children
The transition from rural to urban life has its impact on the children as well. Rural children, especially those who have been admitted to expensive private schools, find it difficult to deal with the tougher syllabi and the added burden of the English medium.
and when the alternate choice (village school) is functioning
"Good education is possible even in villages. In my own village I ensured regular classes in the school through the village education committee. But town education makes a big difference in the way children dress, talk, behave and present themselves."
and what of farming and familiar livelihood options
"Agriculture means just endless hard work and debt burdens - no respect, no freedom, not even a decent livelihood. Everyone wants the farmer to stick to the land while they enjoy the fruits of development. If there is one thing I want in life, it is to see my grandsons in good jobs and my granddaughters married to officers."
and disturbing fall-out
"I turn to education in the hope of a better life for my children. But this is a different trap. I am losing income (Vijaya has had to sell livestock too, and her farming is suffering, left in charge of hired help), I am spending more than I can afford, I am tiring myself out with the dual responsibility, only to see my daughters, who were bold and free, turning into timid, clingy and difficult little girls."
this episode is just a fractal image of the trend i anticipate to escalate.
along with the well-known bugbears that afflict rural education (infrastructure, teachers, etc), the curricular and reality mismatch is fracturing rural society.


Vanessa said...

Thats the case with my maternal cousins....they are in a small village in konkan. ST buses take them to school everyday, but they have to cross the river to get to the bus. In rainy seasons its almost impossible. NEarest bridge across the river is a couple of miles walk....on a difficult terrain. Its a hard life.

So, finally they shifted to Ratnagiri. My grand[arents stay back in the village. After them, what happnes to the farm and all knows

csm said...

v - these are the small stories unfolding across.
with the diminishing viability of traditional vocations (more due to historical attrition), the desperation to give their kids a better life, if pushing people. it is certainly from pan to flame.
desperate people will get exploited, thats the reality of today.