Aman Bagh (www.amanbagh.org) is an organic, natural farm on 6 acres in Mangar village, in south Haryana, India. This 20-minute movie was created from a powerpoint presentation made at a private forum in July 2017, and is therefore without a voice-over. It starts with the political economy of inequality in India, and then takes the viewer through a summary of 5 years of our experiences & cultural practices since we commenced farming on this land in mid 2012.
Farming in India finds itself enmeshed in multiple existentialist crises, though it seems to me that it is but one fly in a corner of the spider’s global web of the ‘market’. The problems of Indian farming are clearly a proximate result of the long-standing neglect of domestic agriculture and rural India by the ruling urban elites since 1947, and by the colonial British before that. Till today, the higher castes in India overwhelmingly constitute the urban, educated elites running the bureaucracy and private and public institutions; with a minority of aspiring middling rural castes being accepted into this closed club. However, the visible and increasing inequality in India today has more than purely domestic causes, it is global since the 1991 victory of the markets in the Indian economy. It has been a victory of conspicuous consumption, of technology, and of private capital that integrated across global markets. Humans across the world have mastered the deepening and widening of an unsustainable and exploitative civilisation that treats people, other living species, and planet Earth as ‘resources’ to be made productive for consumption.
The dimensions of the problem are overwhelming, and the limits to growth have long passed. We are deaf to the voices of future generations.
Organic farming on self-cultivated small farms, aiming for sustainability of resource use instead of exploitation and a race towards ever-higher production, can be one part of the solution in India where more than 80% of peasant households own less than 5 acres and many are yet organic by default. However, organic food in India is currently just another facet of consumption by the urban middle class; it is simply another market. The conundrums are many.