In this interview, Aamir Khan describes his latest movie and addresses the issue of rural farmer livelihood.
Although I’ve never seen the movie. I’m glad “someone” within the media has finally taken the intitiative to highlight the rural farmer plight. The struggle of farmers in India mirror the same struggle farmers in Pakistan experience. However, one might argue that the farmer struggle in Pakistan is increasingly intense because of the latest disasters (natural, social and political).
Imagine, Pakistan’s population is an estimated 149 million, and it is growing at the rate of 2.1 per cent per year. Now imagine this, nearly 67.5 per cent of country’s population is living in rural areas. Within these rural areas, most people live below the standard of living. Farmers in the rural areas suffer of a lack of food, medical help, farming tools, education, etc. On top of that, these regions have been known to suffer the brunt of pollution, natural disasters and internal violence. It is absolutely mind-boggling, these people do not have the basic essentials to support themselves let alone a family; on top of that, they are being challenged by extreme natural and communal disasters.
Many rural areas are located in areas isolated from the rest of the country. One might think, how is that possible? Well, within the Indian Subcontinent, rural areas are surrounded by mountains and other vivid terrain, making it difficult for people to travel and be exposed to the region. Unless the media sheds light on rural living, people in local cities will not understand or make it a priority. Rural life, and more specifically small farmer livlihood is important because not only does it identify a considerable number of the population, but agriculture is one of the basic fundamental elements that define the economy. If farmers are not taken care of, then regardless, the whole nation will experience some degree of the negligence. So let us not forget the importance of farmers and rural life.
As Aamir Khan expresses in the movie, next time you see a rural worker (or farmer for that matter), take another look, and consider their story and plight. These very people are not only our fellow neighbors, but they are the ones who help put food on our table… Why aren’t we doing the same in return?