38. Some non-farmers believe that only farmers can benefit from The Water Conservation Project . What are your views on this point?

38

When we visited various villages to propagate the Water Conservation Project , we always advised them that all the people of the village should get involved in water conservation activities of the village. It will increase the agricultural production and all the people of the village will benefit from this rise. Hearing this, a non-farmer, sitting in the village meeting, got up with a question-

“If the production of a farmer is increased, how can a non-farmer benefit from it?”

I gave them the following example.

“A farmer visits his field of cotton every day. When he has a look around, he sees the rich crop of cotton and thinks, ‘Oh! What a rich crop of cotton! This year one VINGHA of my land will yield 800 kgs of cotton.’ His joy knows no bounds. This overjoyed farmer goes to the barber’s shop for a shave. The barber asks, ‘A simple shave or a special shave?’

The farmer says, ‘Of course a special shave.’ Why did this happen? The farmer got a richer crop and was willing to spend more money. The result was that all the little artisans could benefit from the richer agricultural production. But when the same farmer, badly hit by a drought, goes to his field of cotton to have a look around… what does he see there? The well has dried up and the crops have died. Looking at this barren field, the farmer slowly returns towards his village with tension and anxiety writ large on his face! He not even looks at the barber’s shop. The farmer, who was willing to spend money for a special shave thrice a week, is not ready to get a shave once in a month. When his wife expresses her displeasure at his month old thick beard, the farmer visits the barber’s shop for a simple shave. Friends, this is how the cycle goes- the farmer earns money by his rich farm production and this money supplies the whole mankind with earning opportunities. Man earns his living and satisfies his basic needs.”