Echoes from the Fields: Melodic Ode to Agricultural Nostalgia

“To be a farmer is to be a student forever, for each day brings something new” JOHN CONNELL

Peer Mohammad Amir Qureshi

As the first rays of dawn painted the canvas of my Facebook feed, a captivating video unfolded before my eyes. Enchanting and evocative, it portrayed a symphony of women meticulously sowing paddy saplings. In that fleeting moment, I was whisked away to a bygone era when farming pulsated with unbridled passion and boundless zest.

It was a season that not only yielded bountiful harvests but also bloomed with artistic grandeur. A time of jubilant celebration, akin to the revelry of religious and artistic carnivals. Alas! Those cherished memories now reside in the realm of nostalgia. The towering significance of agriculture in Kashmir, where it serves as the veritable lifeblood, employing a staggering 64 percent of the populace.

The backbone of Kashmir’s economy, agriculture weaves an immense potential of abundance and opportunity. Ah, how vividly I recall those early mornings, roused by the thunderous roar of tractors! My brother and I, drawn like moths to a flame, would flock to the fields, entranced by the ballet of those mighty machines tilling the soil. The mynas, charming little guardians of the land, would flock in droves, savoring the veritable feast of insects and pests, unfurled from the fields. Alas, the grand assembly of these feathered heroes has ebbed to naught, for they were once stalwart defenders, masterfully vanquishing vile intruders that menaced our crops.Oh, the enchantment that stirred within the hearts of children, beckoning them to the fields during the sacred ritual of tilling! Such was their insatiable hunger to claim a seat upon the majestic tractors, consumed by a greed that knew no bounds. And lo, as if destiny itself conspired, I too partook in the kaleidoscope of childhood adventures, my spirit buoyed by the camaraderie of treasured companions.

Together, we danced amidst the symphony of tillage, soaring on the wings of elation, basking in the glorious rapture of tractor rides across the resplendent, furrowed canvas of the earth.

Yet, over the past decade, the landscape of agricultural practices has metamorphosed. No longer do individuals immerse themselves wholeheartedly in the noble craft of husbandry. What was once a revered responsibility, ardently embraced by our forebears, has been reduced to a mere formality. Outsourced laborers now shoulder the burden, from tilling the earth to planting paddy saplings.

Cast your gaze upon the yesteryears, when the denizens of Kashmir infused the land with their indomitable spirit. With zeal aplenty, they personally placed each paddy sapling in the fertile soil, their harmonious voices echoing through the fields. Inviting their kin and kindred souls, they forged bonds of love and camaraderie, extending a helping hand while reaping a shared fiscal harvest.

A choreography of roles unfolded, as children scattered the saplings with laughter, while women remained behind to concoct teas, lemon-infused elixirs, and tantalizing repasts. Amidst the scintillating sun, the intermittent respite brought sips of lemon nectar and succulent slices of melons. The land bore witness to a grand feast, as women gracefully carried wicker baskets brimming with delicacies, accompanied by eager children lugging pots filled with mouth-watering culinary Kashmiri delights. But alas, those blessings have dimmed, eclipsed by covetousness, envy, and a lamentable shadow of authenticity. In the realm of agrarian metamorphosis, where migrant labourers from Bihar and surrounding regions have taken the reins, resides an underprivileged and impoverished community battling to secure their livelihood. Yet, their susceptibility becomes a fertile breeding ground for deceit, as nefarious elements exploit their vulnerability, cunningly portraying their toil as trifling, thereby diminishing their rightful wages.

Interestingly, it is noteworthy that these very non-local labourers now demand higher compensation for their services, reversing the tides of fortune. Our hearts yearn for the revival of our agrarian heritage, for within it lies the very essence of our communal tapestry.

Let us not succumb to idleness, for it is our grandparents who beseech us to tend to the fields of prosperity. Should we falter in our commitment, we shall witness the tragic transformation of lush landscapes into desolate barrenness. Let us awaken to the irrefutable truth that agriculture is a legacy, a priceless gift for generations yet unborn.

The author is a columnist and Poet Pursuing msc in zoology from HNBGU Garwhal Uttrakhand. He can be mailed at ehsaanamy133@gmail.com.

News Desk

News Desk staff at The Kashmir Radar. Posting unbiased news as we believe in pure journalism!

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