One day, many years back, I decided to teach the children of my tribal village. I had been living there in the forest village for years now, and had learnt a lot from them. So I decided to share what I knew, starting with children who were 10 years or more.
Their curriculum sounded familiar- it almost matched what I had studied in school 30 years back: similar history, geography and maths. I was happy to teach them everything I knew. Slowly I started interacting with more senior students- almost All of them were either graduating in political science or nursing, since these were the two courses easily available in nearby colleges.
One day, many of our cows and many villagers too, had a flu. It was natural at the change of weather. However, there was a distinct pattern of behavior – the younger ones went to nearby Sohagpur clinic, while older ones came to our farm (since we had lots of herbs and natural flora), and after some discussion with me, took Vetiver, neem and Tulsi. Same were given to animals.
By morning the latter group was fine but the younger ones were still on pills.
That changed the direction of my interaction with young ones. Over time, I realized that the educated ones knew when Haldi ghati wars were fought or the map of the state, but had no clue about how to tend to animals, or regenerate the plants in their backyard or in forests and their medicinal values.
I was living in a two community village- one that had known about its culture, foods, and medicines, and one that had no clue about their own assets. Unfortunately, the former was getting scarcer each year. And thus a process of village wealth transfer to unknown far away entities was on- in the form of crippling education and health.
To add to it, from gardeners to forest experts, the entire set had become agriculturists- buying seeds and fertilizers, renting tractors and equipments for growing mostly wheat and soyabean. In other parts of the state, there were sugarcane growers also. All these varieties had gone GM changes.
Then I looked at urban malls – the shops had foods that had either sugar or wheat or soya as a base. They had replaced honey, millets or coarse grains or mahua flour , and pulses.
It was amply clear that on one hand village economy had been ruined, and on the other the urban consumer was being fed things that would soon lead to medical problems, that in turn would transfer more wealth.
The troika conspiracy of education, health and modern agriculture were a perfect tool for massive wealth transfer from unsuspecting households and villages to a few.
Such has been the scale of this (what I call a buy-out) that folks have got awards for industrial farming/ green revolutions, massive subsidies are given to run this cycle, and licenses provided for supporting activities.
But now I see a ray of hope; there is very little left to be transferred now. Too many need treatment, and ecology needs answers that lie in the reverse cycle.