Last weekend we visited the Golden Glades secondary school to hoist the flag and celebrate Independence Day with the children. We were also there to inaugurate a new water tank that was donated by Nirvana Adventures to provide drinking water to the school children. The students had a program of patriotic songs and there were of course a few speeches. One speech given by the one of the girl’s from class 10 really touched us all. She spoke about ‘swatantra’ and questioned its relevance today citing the incident of the farmers at Pawna. How independent are we she asked if we are not allowed to express ourselves and share our concerns about the water of our own lakes being chanellised to industrial towns that have polluted their own water sources. She sure had a point there.
The entire Kamshet region is shell shocked by this incident where farmers protesting the diversion of their waters. First we take their land and submerge it and then those very waters are diverted elsewhere. What do we do with industrialization if we do not have food to eat? How can we turn guns onto farmers running helter skelter?
Seeing those images on the television was a terrible shock. Hey this is not the enemy – they put food on our tables and we need to respect them and listen to their concerns. It was hard to face our own staff and instructors like Ravi Bandya, Sandeep, Mangesh, Eknath whose parents are farmers in this very region and to look at the hurt and confusion in their eyes. There is no explanation that can make this unfortunate incident go away.
Yes the farmers of Pawna assembled on the expressway and halted traffic – but such protests are a part of our history and our very own struggle for independence. How does the farmer grow crops without water? Should he wait for it to run out before he voices his opinion . Should we put it down to politics or call it kalyug and pass it off ???
It is time to reflect and to act
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Astrid & Sanjay Rao
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