Wednesday, January 26, 2011

M. Rajshekhar: "A shrinking of world views"

He wonders why "we hardly see fiction about present-day rural India either written in English or translated into English?"

Seen any fiction recently about how the new lot of self-selecting government programmes are impacting rural India? Take NREGA. In Chhattisgarh and elsewhere, while the lot of the agricultural labour has improved after NREGA, small farmers are unable to afford labour now. [...]

Similarly, read any stories about environmental change in rural India? There is climate change, manifesting itself in erratic rainfall patterns across rural India. Or, for that matter, seen anything in your local bookshop about how villages are changing as our cities spill outwards — the rise in land values; the buzzing of real estate agents in and around villages looking for farmers willing to sell their land; and the younger rural generation, drawn by the gravitational pull of the cities, and only too aware that agriculture promises hard labour and uncertain gains, urging their parents to sell?