The lot of the Indian farmer is in hard indeed. He has to toil in his fields in the sun the whole day long, yet he hardly gets the bare necessities of life. He lives a life of poverty in most unhygienic surroundings. The house he lives in is a kachcha one. It leaks in the rainy season. There are no modern amenities of life. The village is without a drain. Water stands and stinks here and there. There are mosquitoes in abundance. The farmer’s standard of living is very low. His cattle and his family live under the same roof.
The day of the farmer begins with the first crowing of the cock. The first thing he does is to feed his cattle, to milch his cows or buffaloes and take a tumbler of tea which his wife prepares for him. Then he untethers his oxen, yokes them to a plough and goes to the fields. He ploughs his field singing as he does so. In the meantime the sun rises. The bright disc of the sun rises up spreading heat all round but he does not mind it. He is used to working in the sun and shower.
He keeps busy throughout the morning hours. Drops of perspiration trickle down his cheeks. But it does not bother him. Is he notengaged in the noble task of growing food for his brethren?
At noon his wife brings him food. It is the same coarse food which his ancestors had been taking for centuries. He swallows his food and then drinks water from the well nearby. Occasionally he has a pot of ‘lassi’ with his food.
Then he rests under a shady tree. Sometimes, he is seen snoring heavily. At three O’clock he sets to work again. If he is not engaged in ploughing, he has so many other things to do. Sometimes, he is seen leveling the field. At other times he is sowing seeds or watering the field when the corn is about a foot high. This he does by cutting off a part of the main channel and letting water flow into his land. During the harvesting season he bends over the sickle, cutting and binding bundles of corn. At this time his wife, too, works with him.
In the evening he turns homewards. The sweat on his body dries up. When he reaches home he is tired with the day’s hard work. He, therefore, takes rest. He smokes his ‘hookah’ and relaxes. Then he goes to the chaupal and chats with the other farmers.
During the harvesting season he is busier than ever. He is happy however. He has laboured hard and the rich crop is the fruit of his labour. He stays in the fields for most of the time. He keeps a watch at night. The crop is his valuable treasure and he must keep it safe from stray cattle and thieves and fire. During the day he spends most of his time in threshing and winnowing. At last the corn is collected and stored. Such is the life a farmer leads.