Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, December 2
The deepening agrarian crisis and its catastrophic impact was discussed during a national-level seminar on Peasantry in Colonial and Post-Colonial Punjab at GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar.
The seminar was organised by the post graduate department of history and was sponsored by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.
Renowned economist Dr Sucha Singh Gill visited as the chief guest, while former chairman Minority Commission Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol was the guest of honour. They were extended a warm welcome by College president Manjit Singh Gill, secretary SS Thind and Principal SS Deol.
The Principal brought forth the plight of farmers in his introductory address. He said the high incidents of farmer suicides and rising frequency of farmers’ agitation were the symptoms of deep malice prevalent in our system. He sought a solution for the revival of this sector from within the society. The chief guest, by quoting various notable economists, threw light on the contributing factors from the past that led to the death of peasantry as the economies transcended towards industrialisation. He pointed that it just takes one generation for the peasantry to fade away. The agrarian crisis should not be confined to farmers alone and should include farm labourers and rural artisans. He suggested a cooperative effort and a strong pro-peasant leadership to break the vicious cycle.
The guest of honour urged the present society to learn from the past experiences and quoted that revolution was not exported but created. Sukhpal Singh from the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, shared his insights from the survey conducted over the past years regarding farmer suicides in Punjab. He highlighted that a farmer’s plight was full of woes and exposed to risks from prices, demand, weather and whims of policies and regulations. He said for farming to be made profitable, the terms of trade must favour farmers. This is possible only through harmonious forward and backward linkages. GNDU professor Sukhdev Singh Sohal drew contrast over the Punjab peasantry in prosperity and debt. He questioned whether artificial intelligence would prove to be a bane or boon for this sector.
President S Manjit Singh Gill contributed by taking the initiative for providing free education to any family of this region facing dire situation due to dependence on agriculture. The evening session was chaired by Prof Bawa Singh, who is closely associated with various farmer revolutions. Sir Ganga Ram Kheti Model and Social Models were discussed during this session. In the end, Dr SS Thind, secretary, presented the vote of thanks and summarised the proceedings by pointing out the inevitability of migration from agriculture to other sectors, but through education and social cooperation this chronic problem was surmountable. The college magazine ‘Gurusar’ was also released on the occasion.
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