Nepal | May 27, 2020

Our understanding of development

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Santosh Bhattarai
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Since time immemorial, human civilisation has been making a move from rural to urban areas in a bid to prove that a superior being must indulge in the urban ordeal. Dividing fertile land into small plots to raise concrete multi-storied buildings is what we as human beings perceive as development.

During the Dashain vacation, I had wanted to luxuriate in the serenity of my village for a fortnight. Exhausted by the hectic schedule of urban life, I thought my village stay would be pleasant and worthy. I was hoping to experience some real rural life during my stay. Instead, I was witness to things I had never seen before in rural life. Earlier rural areas were indeed rural, people there were laborious, had unique farming skills, did not have to buy vegetables and dairy products. But this year, I saw people heading for the nearest town market to buy vegetables and other farm-related stuff.

People have turned urban-centric. Leaving their fertile land barren, they have started dreaming of city life. Selling their high-yielding land at throwaway prices, they are moving in the wrong direction. They are buying vegetables, milk and other ordinary goods at exorbitant prices, which they easily could have produced on their fertile land.

Seeing all this, a question hit me hard: “Why are people attracted to the urban-centric life? Why are people so reluctant to cultivate high-yielding fields? In which direction is human civilisation heading? Even after hours of contemplation, I could not find an answer to these questions. People keep complaining about the current market inflation, about the skyrocketing prices they are having to pay for ordinary goods, still their productive land is left uncultivated. Isn’t this shameful? Unfortunately, the urban-centric civilisation has already gripped the rural farming spirit. Instead of cultivating their productive land, people have surrendered themselves to the inflation-driven market.

Importing goods like vegetables and fruits in a country which claims itself an agricultural nation sounds ridiculous. It is a pity that farmers are paying exorbitant prices for pesticides-laden agricultural produce. Our journey to prosperity is possible only when we dig the fields and grow fresh vegetables, fruits and crops. Instead of being inclined towards an urban-centric, hectic life, we must learn to love the serenity of our villages for sustainable development.

 


A version of this article appears in print on November 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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