15 Kisan Rally - an Introspection - Prof Avkash Jadhav

posted Mar 14, 2018, 9:32 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 14, 2018, 9:32 AM ]
On March 12, as I was entering my college at Dhobi Talao, I saw many unfamiliar faces outside my college, in a state of despair, agony, some with hope, with aspirations, and most of them exhausted, but without any loss of spirit and spark that lit their face. On entering my college, I handed over my bag to the security guard, and immediately turned back; the distance of 20 metres from the main road to the main gate of my college put me through innumerable introspections.

As I came out, I met farmers from my state who had been walking for the last six days, with minimal means at their disposal. They had walked throughout the night to reach Azad Maidan for their final destination of protest. I sat with them, enquired about their well-being. They had not had tea and breakfast since morning. Though they didn't ask for anything, my mere interaction with them made them feel they have the attention of urban-centric people.

I returned to my canteen and placed an order of 200 cups of tea and biscuits for them. I could not but get back to continue the conversation with them, which moved me to the core. They told me their reasonable demands and least expected the state government to take cognizance of their existence, and give them a fair price for their production. I noticed their swollen feet, dark patches around the eyes, and the bare minimum attire, which expressed their woes of the last six days struggle. Some got emotional while others still had hope that they would get justice.

Finally, after some time, the tea arrived, and as I started distributing the tea, I saw some members offering their cups to the elderly men and women of their group who couldn't reach the pot due to exhaustion and ill health. The tea and biscuits were distributed so that everyone got some. These expressions were phenomenal, and indeed brought out those virtues which we teach as part of compulsory subjects to our students. It is inherent to them and they practise it with pride.

I really had my best morning tea with them. After spending almost an hour with them, I left with the empty can of tea, and many startling and distressing questions as I entered the safe confines of St Xavier's College campus.

My questions are still haunting me

1) They told me they were supposed to start in the morning, but preferred not to cause inconvenience to the students of the city appearing for their SSC exams. If they are thinking about our children and their future, is it not our responsibility to think about the future of their children too?

2) They told me they don't want to trouble and disturb the city life. Is it not our responsibility to see that even their self-sustained rural fabric is not disturbed by the uneven policies?