When Suresh Ediga asked me to write forward to his new collection of stories ‘A Crisis Called Farming’ i was more than excited. Suresh is not only a good friend of me but i feel one of the best human beings i met in my life. Always with loads of energies to work for people, strengths to question any one any time and big heart to support any cause in any form.
here goes the forward!
When I was doing my Ph.D in Pusa Institute, New Delhi, we organised a ‘Joy of Learning’ through Delhi Science Forum, where kids from all over the rural India were brought to Delhi to create a learning system which they enjoy unlike the regular school and class room system. Each of us volunteered with a group of kids to various institutions and get them exposed about what is happening there. I was asking each one of them what they feel about their teachers. One girl, Charulatha said she feels teachers are not honest. I asked what happend? She narrated her story. The Hindi teacher explained how Sun is a god and Hanuman tried to eat it and Karna was born to him. In the next Science class, the teacher was telling about how we are part of a solar system, earth revolving around Sun. She asked the teacher, genuinely, what she should write in the exam if there is a question ‘who is sun?’ and told her confusion about what is told in Hindi class. The teacher’s impromptu reply was to write as ‘God’ if the exam was Hindi and as ‘Planet’ if is a science exam. This haunted me several years after that. How our school system, media and market around us makes to believe in and live with very contradictory opinions. This has become more rampant and prominent when it comes to issues of development. The inquisitiveness in kids is gradually killed in by the schooling system. The questions are not answered, imaginations are not promoted, contradictory view points are never accepted and encouraged. We grow as dump conformist adults who cannot comprehend the reality based on the knowledge one has gained.
Demystifying the myths of development, particularly about rural livelihoods related issues is at this point of time when rural India particularly, farming sector is undergoing a deep crisis. While there are number of reports and books written on the crisis, there is not enough literature available to explain issues in a simple language and put things in right perspective.
Story telling is recognised as the best way to communicate a message and now used as an art form or teaching tool for a variety of purposes. Suresha Ediga, is known to master this art. His passion is not only to understand and solve people problems but communicate and make others think and act. In this process he brought out a compilation of the bed time stories he told to his daughter as a book ‘You, Me & A Story’ which was a instant hit. Through story telling, complex developmental issues are communicated in a more simple way keeping up the inquisitiveness of the kids.
This time Suresh picked up much complex subject of farmers issues for his new book ‘A Crisis called Farming’. This is a collection of 50 stories, each touching upon one dimension of the problem. Each story giving an understanding of the problem and what can be done. The stories also touched upon some individual farmers and farmer collectives which could find their way out and extended the helping hand for the fellow farmers.
I am sure this book will built right perspectives not only in adults but kids as well. This will help them to know what food does to the environment where it is grown or to farmer who grew it before it came to your plate. It also carries stories about what you can do as an individual and stand4farmers.
Suresh Ediga, has done commendable job and should be appreciated not only for the well written content, but also for the story telling format. Hope he will bring in more books on these issues and more people will get inspired to do so.
Must recommended for not only kids but for everyone who want to understand the nuances of development and particularly about the agrarian crisis and way forward.