My friend pointed out here, that I haven’t been expressing too much of an opinion lately at Una Voce and he is right.
One plausible reason is that I have spent far too much time lately researching Indian agriculture for a presentation due sometime next week. The problems of Indian Agriculture are too numerous to summarize in a hour and so distilling and redefining the problems has lately become the centerpiece of my attention.
I spent my afternoon today working on Indigo plantations and what they have to do with colonial rule. I was surprised but not unduly so to re-discover how much nonsense I had unwittingly absorbed during high-school about ‘development’.
Let me step back and explain the context. One part of the project I am working on demands that we present a thorough history of Indian agriculture- at one of our group meetings I suggested a good place to begin might be to look at how widespread Indigo plantations had ‘hurt’ Indian agriculture in the past.
Little did I realize then that this was my brain-washed mind recalling an absurd little sentence I had been forced into reading and believing in high-school. The book was called the ‘Violence of The Green Revolution’ authored by a food fascist cum fake scientist cum feminazi who goes by name Vandana Shiva. Sitting at a ‘farm’ far away from the ‘evils’ of the developed world such as cellular phones, mp3 players, electricity, gas stoves and mattresses a small group of sixteen year olds were forced to read this violent, inaccurate and utterly despicable rendition of the state of Indian agriculture.
Somewhere hidden in those pages was the idea that ‘Indigo mono-culture(s)’ had destroyed Indian farm land and made them un-cultivatable. The stupider side of my mind for some reason accepted this suggestion and regurgitated it at the group meeting. My friend sent me a mail today asking me if I could find any sources online to check that claim because she couldn’t find any.
I consented to look and to dismay it turns out that Indigo is actually a legume- not only does it not rob soil of nutrients- it helps fix nitrogen and so by all conventional biology must have helped make soils more fertile and rich. The downside of Indigo planting was that it was out-competed by synthetic technology and Indian farmers launched a civil disobedience movement against the adoption of this newer technology- simply because it would take away work.
Being as this was, the one argument Vandana Shiva’s book got right was that Indigo was a mono culture, primarily because it was enormously profitable to grow Indigo. There was of course nothing remotely democratic about the way the British got Indians to grow Indigo on a wide scale- farmers were oppressed and cheated out of their profits, nevertheless the argument and the facts have nothing to do with the destruction of soil. The arguments are and were economic. And so I had to eat my hat.
This is of course not the first set of incorrect facts (or lies – as I call them) that Vandana Shiva has resorted to. This is another example of how bogus her arguments are.
The second goof-up which has made me more than red in the face lately is a bizarre $2800 (and counting) telephone bill because my own inability to read and comprehend the fine print in contracts.