What an idea sirji! Agro minister says yoga can help farmers deal with global warmingSHOWMIK BISWAS/CATCH NEWS


What an idea sirji! Agro minister says yoga can help farmers deal with global warming


The idea

  • He said that yoga can help empower seeds and enhance soil fertility
  • Yoga will help farmers “face today’s challenges such as global warming and climate change”
  • Singh had earlier said that farmers’ commit suicide because of failed love affairs

The failures

  • The government, both UPA and NDA, has done little to address farmers’ distress
  • The recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission haven’t been implemented
  • Instead of taking concrete steps, the agriculture minister is making inane suggestions like yogic farming

When the agriculture ministry issued a press release on Monday listing the steps it has taken for providing relief to farmers, it forgot to add a suggestion made by its own minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Singh’s new mantra for curing farmers’ distress is yoga. Of course, Singh’s solution is hardly surprising given his belief that farmers commit suicide because reasons like failed love affairs.

Speaking at a function organised by Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual organisation, the minister said on 14 September that yogic farming can be used to “empower seeds” and enhance their potency “with the help of positive thinking” and “by rays of parmatma shakti (God’s power)”.

According to a report in the Indian Express, Singh explained that Rajyog – the branch of yoga developed by the Brahma Kumaris – can “enhance the soil’s fertility” and “help the activity of micro-organisms in the soil”.

Singh’s discourse on yogic farming didn’t end there. He further said, “Everyday, farmers should give vibrations of peace, love and divinity to seeds and land with the help of Rajyog. This will help increase growth and resistance power”.

Singh says farmers should use Rajyog to give vibrations of peace, love and divinity to the land

Yoga is nothing less than magical, in the minister’s opinion. According to him, yoga will help farmers “face today’s challenges such as global warming and climate change”.

Singh has decided to translate his words into action. He declared that the Union government is going to support yogic farming.

Yogic farming

Brahma Kumaris claims that it has been running a yogic agriculture project in the country for many years. Under this project, the organisation claims it trains farmers to not just improve their mental well-being but also to improve productivity of their fields, through meditation.

The principles of yogic agriculture include:

  • Depositing seeds for 10 days in the meditation hall of a Rajyog centre.
  • Organising daily group meditations to charge the room with spiritual energy.
  • Visualisation” of 7 colours of the spectrum associated with 7 spiritual attributes “to charge the atmosphere and the seeds”.
  • Getting farmers to meditate for a few minutes before sowing.
  • Spending an hour everyday “to send spiritual vibrations” to the fields.
  • Going to the fields every Thursday for a special meditation.
  • Planting flags that symbolise yogic practice at each corner of the field.
  • Meditating on the infected plants in case of crop diseases.

While any premier agricultural research institution of repute is yet to validate the effectiveness of these practices, Brahma Kumaris claims that scientific research has already established that it works. Of course, they conveniently forget the fact that the state where they began their experiment from – Maharashtra – witnesses the highest number of suicides by farmers.

Yoga and suicide

One wonders how farmers will respond to the minister’s proposal. Since January this year, over 600 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region alone. At least 31,176 farmers have committed suicide across the country in the last 3 years, according to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Even these numbers could be well short of the reality as there has been a change in the NCRB’s methodology.

Last month, the Supreme Court pulled up the government over its inability to prevent farmers from committing suicide.

Indicating its dissatisfaction with the government’s efforts, the SC also said that the National Policy for Farmers 2007 had failed to address the agrarian crisis. The apex court instructed the government to re-examine the policy.

Simple measures recommended by the Swaminathan Commission are yet to be implemented. These include:

  • Making the government’s Minimum Support Price for farmers at least 50% more than the cost incurred.
  • Expanding the reach of the formal credit system to reach the really poor.
  • Extending crop insurance that is available to only 15% farmers out of the millions who lose their crops to unseasonal rains, drought, floods and hail.
  • Reducing farmers’ dependance on rains in 60% of the area under cultivation in the country.

But instead of taking any concrete steps, the agriculture minister wants farmers to sit crossed legged on their drought-stricken fields and chant in order to create energy in their starving bodies.

Leave aside addressing agrarian distress, the least the NDA government can do is to stop playing cruel jokes on India’s farmers.