P. Sainath: Inequality and India's Agrarian Crisis
Film Reflection Paper
The documentary deals with India’s agrarian crisis and the fact that nearly 200.000 farmers have committed suicide in India over the last 10 years. Despite India’s fast growing and politically free media, the mainstream media hardy reflected the farmers’ distress. There are several fashion, sport and movie correspondents, however, not a single correspondent is working full time on poverty. For example, the Lakme fashion week drew a lot of media attention, while at the same time the farmers growing cotton where taking their lives at a rate of 6-8 each day. Rural Affairs Editor of Hindu newspaper P. Sainath sustainably covered the growing inequality and the crisis with its detrimental effects on farmers. Sainath states that the agrarian crisis is caused by the drive towards corporate farming and the predatory commercialization of the countryside which inevitably lead to the biggest displacement in Indian history. Some controversial facts that are highlighted are the following: whereas the per capita availability of food grain fell and hunger rose in India which is considered as an emerging market, hunger fell in 2 sub-Saharan countries. In 2002 - 2003 India exported 20 million tons of food grain mainly used for feeding cattle in Europe, while at the same time Indians were starving and have to pay a higher price for the grains. The subsidies of Europe and the US destroyed cotton industry in other countries and Sainath even makes the point that their subsidies are killing Indian people. The entire structure of global trade and the monopoly of western companies over commodities enable the plundering of 3rd world farmers, therefore they should share the responsibility. As 60% of India’s people are still dependent on agriculture, the fertilizers and pesticides are very costly, and the crops yield very little profit, farmers see no other...
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