For a farmer who sustains himself and his family of four through agriculture, it seems paradoxical that Chikkegowda is keen to sell off his land. One look at the land prices a few kilometers from his fields unravels the paradox — an acre of land sells for Rs 45 lakhs. A few kilometers from his field is the main highway to Bangalore. Chikkegowda, on the other hand, makes just enough selling surplus vegetables and ragi grown on his five acres. What would he do with the money if he did manage to sell his land? Pay off his loans, buy his wife some gold jewellery, deposit the rest in the bank and live off the interest. Until such time, to make ends meet, Chikkegowda must work the field with his son everyday from 6am till sundown. And yet, he says he is one of the lucky ones in the village — a farmer who has land, two cows which yield milk and a pair of bullocks which are the most indispensable objects in his life. “Several others,” he says as he gestures to several people standing around him, “don’t own anything. They have to depend on a government that is blind to the poor.”
This article was originally published in Tehelka, a leading independent news magazine in India, known for its investigative journalism.